Filip Forsberg Just Got in His First Fight

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Swedish forward, former Capitals draft pick, and gentle human Filip Forsberg got in his first NHL fight on Saturday night. It was to defend the honor of former Capital Mike Ribeiro, who probably doesn’t deserve to have his honor defended.

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It’s been almost three years since the Caps traded Filip Forsberg for Michael Latta and some other dipshit that I don’t even want to mention right now. The Capitals are the best team in the league and Evgeny Kuznetsov is one the most promising young players in the game. Yet, dammit. Imagine if they had Forsberg too.

Forsberg didn’t leave much to the imagination as in the second period he scored a video game goal on the Caps PK. Dude skated around the whole Caps team and snapped a shot past Braden Holtby’s glove like he was a beer league goalie.

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Photo: Patrick McDermott

Filip Forsberg is a painful topic for Caps fans, like Esa Tikkanen and WMATA. We try to avoid it when we can, but Saturday’s matinee put young Filip front and center. The Calder contender, whom George McPhee traded away for an underperforming and underutilized rental and whom Trotz sent down to the AHL while coach of the Predators last season, recorded three points.

To live is to suffer, and to be a Caps fan is to suffer so much more sharply.

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Photos by Chris Gordon.

Saturday, Filip Forsberg will play at Verizon Center for the first time. Caps fans eagerly awaited this moment when he was drafted 11th overall in 2012. But in March of 2013, Forsberg was sent to the Nashville Predators in exchange for Martin Erat and Michael Latta. It was a bad trade from the start, made worse when Adam Oates ran Erat out of town. Ever since, it’s been a sore spot for Caps fans. This season, the wound has been ripped open. Through 75 games, Forsberg has 56 points and is in the running for the Calder Trophy. While Caps fans still miss him, it seems Washington never made much of an impression on Forsberg, who laced up for the Capitals just once, during the team’s 2012 Development Camp.

“From coming here, things turned out in a way that no one really saw coming,” Forsberg said Friday, when he visited Kettler Capitals Iceplex for the first time since the trade. “They’ll always be a part of it, but obviously I never really made anything for the Capitals.”

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Photo: Debora Robinson

Since December, Andre Burakovsky‘s usage in the Caps lineup has been curious as Barry Trotz has had to juggle playing time among veteran and younger players. Coming into Sunday’s game, the skilled young Swede had not received more than nine minutes of ice time since the beginning of February. He’d been used as a fourth-line center, a second-line winger, and a first line winger. He had been scratched in three of the team’s last four games.

But in Burakovsky’s return to the lineup on Sunday against Anaheim, The Burracuda scored twice off of two amazing primary assists from Alex Ovechkin. He played nearly 13 minutes on the team’s first line.

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Photo: Capitals Instagram

Yesterday, Capitals general manager Brian MacLellan spoke to the media about the first half of the Caps’ season. A large chunk of the conversation revolved around Mike Green and his upcoming UFA status, which Adam Vingan documented on NBC Washington.

MacLellan was also briefly asked about the lopsided Filip Forsberg trade and what he thought of him as a player. He replied honestly.

“I think he’s played well,” MacLellan said. “Obviously he’s one of the leading candidates for the Calder Trophy.”

He continued, “If you’re asking if I would like to do a do-over [on the trade]? Yeah. Sure.” Then he nodded his head a few times and flashed a coy smile. This became a national story.

Is it even fair for MacLellan to have to answer to this deal nearly two years after it was signed off on by his then-boss George McPhee? RMNB investigates.

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RMNB’s Favorite Memories of Filip Forsberg

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Photo: Homer McFanboy

Tonight the Washington Capitals will play the Nashville Predators for the first time this season. The big storyline heading into this game is Barry Trotz returning to his old stomping grounds.

Trotz spent 15 years as head coach of the Predators. He was the team’s first coach and might have even named them. Three of Trotz’s children still live in the city, and he left on the goodest of good terms over the summer. Like Brooks Orpik in Pittsburgh, Trotz will probably get a video tribute tonight. There will be lots of feels.

But let’s not forget the other storyline tonight: this will be the first time Filip Forsberg plays against the team that drafted him, and it’s going to be awful.

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The Washington Capitals have gone to major lengths to promote Barry Trotz since hiring him this summer. And while Trotz is certainly an improvement over former coach Adam Oates, the Caps still find themselves as a middling team (after a scintillating October), with fans finding little to be excited about for the future.

Check out the conclusion of Peter’s recap last night.

Sigh. Am I all alone in thinking that Caps fans are kind of at a low right now? The team is still way better than the Oates!Caps, but this ain’t exactly working either. All the great stuff the Caps were doing in October is gone now, and all the inefficiencies in the lineup are costing goals on a nightly basis.

We’re one month out from the Winter Classic, but the community seems melancholic. I don’t blame ‘em; at some point wins are needed to justify enthusiasm. The Capitals have let you down.

Meanwhile, Trotz’s former team, the Nashville Predators are undergoing a renaissance without their former bench boss. The irony is miserable.

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To All the Caps I’ve Loved Before

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There’s really no need to read this piece. Your life will be no better for having read what’s below. Your life might actually get worse. You should probably stop right now.

(Last chance.)

So the Caps have freed some players over the last few years, and it feels like all of them have turned into beautiful hockey butterflies. The team had good reasons to trade or release some guys; others… not so much. In this still very young season, those hockey butterflies are playing so good it’s like they’re trying to make you jealous. Well, it’s not going to work, hockey butterflies.

Okay, yeah, it is.

I’m gonna take a peek around the league, in a totally non-Facebook-stalker-y way, just to see how certain ex-Caps forwards are doing in their new homes. Pretty freaking well, it turns out. Starting with prospect-bust-turned-Calder-standout Filip Forsberg, lemme run down who has moved on and how they’re doing.

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For those who cry over spilt milk (me), here’s a photo that may give you a Maalox moment. Former Capital Filip Forsberg hung out in Sweden on Friday with current Capital Andre Burakovsky. They look so happy.

The Swedish national teammates were together celebrating Midsummer in Forsberg’s hometown of Leksand.

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