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Ribs salutes the fans after his overtime goal in game five. (Photo credit: Patrick McDermott)

For perhaps the final time in DC, Mike Ribeiro is street. (Photo credit: Chris Gordon)

For perhaps the final time in DC, Mike Ribeiro is #swag. (Photo credit: Chris Gordon)

The Washington Capitals have been searching for a second-line center for years. Last summer, they finally got one. In a shortened season with the Caps, Mike Ribeiro was excellent — even when his team wasn’t. He anchored Washington’s power play, turning Alex Ovechkin — a guy the Caps have invested $123 million in — into a lethal threat.  He stabilized the top six. He led the league in points on the man advantage, a huge source of the team’s scoring. He will soon be a free agent. The captain wants him back, though, and so does the coach.

“The most important thing is to re-sign Ribs,” Ovechkin told Slava Malamud. “It will be tough without him.”

“You all saw how valuable he was to our team,” Adam Oates added. “Hopefully the parties will work it out because we love him.”

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Photo credit: Mike Hensen

After a thrilling third period comeback against the London Knights, the Plymouth Whalers wilted in overtime to Dale Hunter’s crew, 5-4. The game five loss in the OHL’s Western Conference Finals ended Plymouth’s season. The good news for Caps fans is that because of the Whalers early exit, 2012 first-round pick Tom Wilson will be able to make his debut in the Capitals organization imminently.

Way back on March 29th when Washington Capitals General Manager George McPhee addressed the media in a 40-minute long fireside chat, he was asked bluntly if he’d like Wilson join the Bears after his season ended in Plymouth. McPhee reponded,”Mm-hmm. Yeah.”

“To bring the kid straight to the NHL — maybe he’s ready for the NHL — but I’d rather him start in Hershey and see how it goes,” McPhee explained. “If he’s good enough to play here, you can make a change. It helps everyone to spend a little time in the minors.”

A few minutes after Plymouth’s loss Friday, the voice of the Bears, Scott Stuccio, confirmed what McPhee said, expecting Wilson to join Hershey in their playoff series against the Providence Bruins.

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My Apology, and How We Got Here

Patrick McDermott

Photo credit: Patrick McDermott

Sooooooooo… I was wrong about the Capitals. And I’m sorry.

Early in the season, I waved away the Caps’ struggles, citing some strong puck possession numbers. But as those numbers eroded and the Caps kept losing, I hedged my bets. The Capitals were giving up too many penalties, performing poorly on the kill, and were not really tilting the ice. By the middle of February, I became wary. Cut to early March, when my last ounce of pollyannaish pluck was depleted. I said the Capitals weren’t headed for the playoffs, that their possession was debilitating, and that a turn of good luck wouldn’t be enough to turn their fortunes around.

I was wrong all over. My bad.

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George McPhee is Pleased With This Turn of Events (GIF)

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GIF by welshhockeyfan

George McPhee has had a tough year. Two months ago, his Washington Capitals were just about dead last in the league and looking hopeless. Fast-forward to April 23rd: The Capitals are going to the playoffs. The Capitals have won their division. The Capitals’ captain is the league’s best scorer.

Damn right, he’s gonna celebrate. Imagine that relief, that vindication. He’s been under fire for months now, and he’s unscathed. If that doesn’t merit a Bender-from-Breakfast-Club fist pump, nothing does. File this far away from GMGM’s 3OT freakout and the raaaaaaage.

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Photo credit: Tom Wilson’s Instagram

There comes a time in a teenager’s life where the dream of becoming a star athlete dims and must be replaced. At the age of sixteen, that’s what happened to Toronto native Peter Wilson.

“I really fell in love with writing when I was in grade 11,” Wilson, who played hockey competitively as a kid, explained. “I had a really great literature teacher who took me under her wing and showed me some really cool books. I found writing to be really fun and therapeutic.”

In college, Wilson continued to explore literature and challenge himself, just like he did on the ice with hockey. When his passion shifted away from the ice, Wilson dropped gloves with a new opponent: the competitive field of writing.

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MartinErat

Photo Credit: Nick Wass

The Washington Capitals think they have a shot at the Stanley Cup. This season began with a pitiful start under new head coach Adam Oates, but the team is better now. They’re used to his system, they’re healthier, and they’re picking up pieces to help them in the short-term.

“We weren’t going to be sellers,” said George McPhee yesterday. “You never know once you get in. Let’s see what happens.”

“We have a good thing going here,” said Mike Ribeiro. “We know how good we can be.”

“I have complete confidence in the guys in this room,” said Troy Brouwer. “We have the ability in here to make a splash in the playoffs.”

“I want to play for the Stanley Cup,” said Martin Erat. “Washington is one of the places where you have a chance.”

On Thursday, the Caps moved into playoff spot for the first time this season.

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Photo credit: Hannah Foslien

A little before 5pm, the Washington Capitals traded their future in the hopes of winning a Stanley Cup now: Filip Forsberg for Martin Erat and Michael Latta.

Many people, including us, think that is a bad idea. Erat, while a top-six forward, is aging and well compensated. The Caps are now on the hook for his $4.5 million yearly salary for the next two seasons, with a salary cap that is going down by six million next year. He’s scored just four goals this year.

Washington, it seems, wants to win now. If they don’t — and remember it’s a toss-up and whether they’ll even make the playoffs — this trade will have been a bad idea. George McPhee, therefore, has some explaining to do. He did that Wednesday evening.

“I wasn’t going to sell,” McPhee told Monumental Network. “I wasn’t going to attempt to sell anything. We would add if we could and I think we added a real good piece.”

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George McPhee is Wrong About a Lot of Things

Photo credit: Bridget Samuels

In speaking to the press last Friday, George McPhee talked about about pretty much everything there is to talk about: his plans for the trade deadline, the Capitals’ outlook for future success, and what in particular has been the team’s problem this year.

And he was wrong about pretty much everything. McPhee either doesn’t recognize how bad his team is or he refuses to acknowledge it publicly.

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George McPhee Speaks for a Really Long Time (Video)

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Photo credit: Getty

Washington Capitals General Manager George McPhee spoke twice today– first to Mike Vogel and later to the general press corps. He covered pretty much everything in those chats: injuries, the trade deadline, incoming prospects (including his desire for Forsberg to come over). While he was non-committal about his plans for the deadline (“There may be a lot happening. There may be nothing happening. I don’t know.”), McPhee did chalk up his team’s difficulties this season to injuries. Just like he did last year.

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Photo credit: leksandsif.se

Washington Capitals General Manager George McPhee spoke with Mike Vogel on Thursday to discuss a variety of issues. He covered his plans for the upcoming trade deadline (more on that later) and his vision for the club in the future. That vision certainly includes first-round pick Filip Forsberg, a talented winger who was recently named the HockeyAllsvenskan’s best under-20 player and was a World Junior Championships All-Star. McPhee announced today that he’d like Filip Forsberg to join the Hershey Bears when his season concludes on April 5th.

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