Ted Leonsis

Caps owner doesn’t think window of opportunity is closing


Alex Ovechkin recently celebrated his 28th birthday, so he’s clearly not a youngster by NHL standards. He’s given the Capitals some great seasons and had some terrific talent around him, but Washington hasn’t gotten past the second round with him.

All the same, Capitals owner Ted Leonsis doesn’t think time is running out for this team to win a championship.

“Well, when our players are 36 years old I’ll probably feel that,” Leonsis said, according to CSN Washington. “But we still have a relatively young team and our core players are just now entering their prime. … I think the window is still wide open for us.”

It helps his argument that Ovechkin is one of the oldest members of his team’s core. Nicklas Backstrom won’t turn 26 until November, Mike Green is still a few weeks away from his 28th birthday, and goaltender Braden Holtby is just 24.

So even though the Capitals won the now defunct Southeast Division in five of their last six campaigns only to fall short in the playoffs, they aren’t in desperation mode yet.

“But this is an important year, obviously, for everybody,” Leonsis added. “We think we have a really, really good team and we want to qualify for the playoffs and we want to go deep in the playoffs and win a Cup.”

The Capitals have two preseason games remaining before the face the Chicago Blackhawks in their season opener on Tuesday.

Report: Islanders cut first-rounder Barzal from camp

Mathew Barzal
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It seems Mathew Barzal has played in his last game in a New York Islanders’ uniform for a little while.

Barzal took part in the Islanders’ preseason finale against the Washington Capitals on Sunday, but after that contest the Islanders decided to return him to WHL Seattle, per Newsday’s Arthur Staple.

He was taken with the 16th overall pick in 2015 NHL Entry Draft. That selection was well-traveled as it originally belonged to the Pittsburgh Penguins, but was involved in the David Perron trade and then moved to the Islanders as part of Edmonton’s deal to get Griffin Reinhart.

Barzal is noteworthy for his skill and speed, but he may have slipped in the draft due to a knee injury he sustained during the 2014-15 campaign.

The Islanders also reassigned Kirill Petrov, Kevin Czuczman, Scott Mayfield, and Adam Pelech to the AHL’s Bridgeport Sound Tigers.

Torres offered in-person hearing, potentially setting up long suspension

Torres hit

What will Raffi Torres get this time?

The 33-year-old forward that has become known primarily for his controversial hits has once again put himself in the sights of the NHL’s Department of Players Safety. They confirmed that he was offered an in-person hearing following his hit on Jakub Silfverberg Saturday night. He declined the opportunity to meet with them face-to-face, but the offer itself is an important detail because it gives the league the option to suspend him for more than five games.

It certainly seems like the stage is set for a lengthy suspension. While Torres is not considered a repeat offender as his last suspension came more than 18 months ago, the NHL still retains the right to consider his history when deciding on this matter.

Among other incidents, he was once was banned from 25 games for his hit on Marian Hossa in 2012, although it was later reduced to 21 contests after an appeal. The NHL found that Torres was guilty of breaking three rules for that hit; namely interference, charging, and illegally hitting the head. The NHL is reviewing Torres’ latest incident for the same three violations.

You can see the hit below:

And here it is slowed down:

Torres got a match penalty and Silfverberg left the game. Fortunately, Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau said that Silfverberg could have returned, but was kept out for precautionary reasons.