Capitals and Blackhawks: Anybody’s Guess What Sunday Looks Like

GAME TIME IS 12:30 pm ET

Washington Capitals: 45-11-4

Blackhawks: 38-20-5

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Sunday will be a day of unknowns and surprises as the Washington Capitals and Chicago Blackhawks settle in with line changes, new players, and the pressure of the trade deadline hanging over them. It isn’t clear right now if Brooks Laich, who was placed on waivers Saturday, will be on the fourth line or sitting in the locker room watching. Caps newest defenseman, Mike Weber may be in for the game, but there is no clear word on that either. And then there is Michael Latta who was sick Friday, skated Saturday, and should be on the fourth line, unless Stan Galiev is in again. And let’s make it even more confusing by adding the question about Jay Beagle. Coach Trotz said in Saturday’s press conference that Jay could be put in anytime, including Sunday. Jay himself said, Sunday, Tuesday, or this week.

Now the Blackhawks. They made some moves on their roster this week that are clearly intended to bolster their run for the Stanley Cup. They acquired Dale Weise, Tomas Fleischmann (Flash), Christian Ehrhoff and Andrew Ladd. Additionally the Coyotes picked up Jiri Sekac off waivers. According to the Chicago Tribune: “During Saturday’s practice, Ladd skated on a line with center Jonathan Toews and Andrew Shaw on the right wing. Andrew Desjardins was on the left wing with Teravainen at center and Fleischmann on the right wing. Marian Hossa (leg injury) did not skate. Ehrhoff was on the Hawks’ fourth defensive pairing with Viktor Svedberg.”

Bottom line, it will be an unpredictable afternoon in the Windy City. Hold onto your hats friends!!

Caps Forward Lines: based on Friday and possible changes

  • Ovechkin Backstrom Oshie
  • Burakovsky Kuznetsov Williams
  • Chimera Johansson Wilson
  • Laich Richards/Beagle Latta/Galiev (We really have no clue, anybody’s guess!!)

Defensemen Parings

  • Alzner Niskanen
  • Schmidt Chorney
  • Orlov Orpik

Goalies

Braden Holtby  Philipp Grubauer

Injury List

Still: Maybe Jay Beagle. And John Carlson(lower-body).

Chicago Blackhawks: What we know now based on Saturday Practice

Forwards

  • Ladd Towes Shaw
  • Panarin Anisimov Kane
  • Desjardins Teravainen Fleishmann
  • Mashinter Rasmussen Panik

Defensive Pairings

  • Keith Hjalmarsson
  • Gustafsson Seabrook
  • Riemsdyk Rozsival

Goalies

Crawford  Darling

Injury List

Marcus Kruger and Marian Hossa

Waivers, Laich, and Beagle

The Washington Capitals announced on Saturday that they were placing Brooks Laich, the only player that has been with the team as long as Alexander Ovechkin, on waivers. With the return of center Jay Beagle seemingly around the corner, the Caps are finding they need to free up some room on the team salary cap. If another team picks up Brooks they also pick up the balance of  his $4.5 million contract.

  • The salary cap—the maximum amount a team can spend on player salaries—is a complex calculation of the percentage of earned revenue that is further complicated when adjusting for the value of the Canadian dollar and the Canadian TV market.
  • Roster movement also requires constant adjustment to ensure that the teams stay above the minimum ($52.8 million) and that they don’t bump too close to the maximum or “hard cap” of $71.4 million

Although Laich has been healthy this season, in 59 games he only has one goal and six assists as he centers the fourth line. He hasn’t scored since November 5th against the Boston Bruins. In the past five games Brooks has demonstrated the drive to succeed that he is known for with three shots on goal, two in one game. Despite his efforts and the hopes of Caps fans that this season would be his breakout season, the numbers prove otherwise.

 What‘s the Waivers Thing?

Article 13 of the Collective Barging Agreement (CBA) includes the rules that regulate how a player is moved from the NHL to minor league affiliates. As part of the process a player is first offered to other teams in the NHL before being sent down. Teams have 24 hours to claim a player and if he is not claimed by another team, his team can send him to the minors. Note that a team does not HAVE to send an unclaimed player to the minors. If they don’t sent him send him down after 30 days, he must remain in the NHL.

What About Jay Beagle?

Jay Beagle sustained a hand injury on 30 December 2015 and has been out since. He began working out with the trainers before team practice and joined the team for practice 20 February and was cleared for contact three days later. In the team interviews Saturday he indicated that he was close to returning, perhaps this weekend but certainly this week. He said he is feeling stronger. To bring Jay off of the injured reserve list though means that Washington will need to make room for his salary.

Moving Forward

From a salary cap perspective, in this case, if Brooks isn’t picked up and the Caps decide to send him to Hershey to play with the Bears, the Capitals would free up $950,000. It would give them the ability to acquire a player for whatever gap they believe they have. Add in a little John Carlson on the Long-term injured reserve list for a few weeks, also gives them a bit of freedom on the salary cap, according to Chuck Gormley of CSN. Right now it’s a roster movement game to open the door for the return of Jay Beagle or the acquisition of a new player. And then when Carly is ready, the legal minds at the Caps will have to sort it all out again. Let us not forget additionally after the trade deadline there is not roster limit to how many players a team can carry.

Caps-Habs Photo Gallery

Okay… so we’re a little behind in our gallery posts but today is catch up day! YAY!

First up in our series of posts today is Montreal.

Warm-ups:

The bad guys:

Game Shots:

A few pre-game moments…

Photos by Brittney Marcum and Mel Abernethy