Trotz Family

Following their sun-splashed practice at Nationals Park on Wednesday, the Washington Capitals stayed on the ice for an informal skate around the outdoor rink, joined by their friends and family — and there were plenty of them. Michael Latta got around 50 tickets for his guests, though he’s not the Capitals leader. According to Latta, John Carlson asked for even more. While the media was ushered away from the rink during the skate, NHL Network cameras and the Caps Twitter account captured some of the heartwarming moments.

These guys are adorable.

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After practice this morning, Tom Wilson interviewed roommate Michael Latta for a video on ESPN.com. However, Wilson’s interviewing skills — though it was a fascinating conversation — aren’t why I’m writing today. This is a post because Caps’ back-up goaltender Justin Peters pied Wilson in the face.

“Is that for the deke?” Wilson says to Peters out of frame, while wiping his eyes. “I put his jockstrap in the stands out there and now he’s coming at me.”

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Barry Trotz’s Weapon: Ice Time

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Photo credit: Rob Carr

On Saturday night, Nate Schmidt and Andre Burakovsky sat out as the Capitals faced the Devils in Newark. Tom Wilson, the first line right wing, was also benched for most of second period. Barry Trotz’s weapon is ice time, and he uses it.

For Schmidt, it was his first scratch of the season, coming on the heels of excellent play alongside Mike Green throughout the year. The game before, Schmidt had misplayed Blue Jackets forward Michael Chaput, who scored a game-tying goal late in the game.

“Sometimes you have to reset players when they’re not going very well,” Trotz said the benchings. “You have to give them a little jolt.”

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The second period of the Caps/Blue Jackets was insane. There were 42 penalty minutes in the middle stanza and three fights. The bout that kicked things off was Tom Wilson going up against 6’2″, 215 lbs enforcer Dalton Prout. Wilson has pretty much never lost a fight at the NHL level.

You might know Prout from his one-punch knockout of Milan Lucic.

Wilson fared a bit better than Lucic, but not much better.

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In episode one of The Road To The Winter Classic, EPIX brought us into the luxury apartment of Caps forwards Tom Wilson and Michael Latta. It was the best segment of the night– probably because their apartment wasn’t so luxurious as we might have thought.

Not-Liev Schreiber described the design of Wilson and Latta’s bachelor pad as somewhere between “minimalist and utilitarian.” If your ping pong table is also your dinner table, that’s pretty accurate.

“I roast him on it a lot,” Wilson joked.

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On Tuesday night, as EPIX’s The Road To The Winter Classic began, the Caps began what became the longest shootout in NHL history. The scheduling conflict forced fans to make a difficult decision: reality TV or live hockey. For those who stuck with the live hockey, they got a shootout that went a record twenty rounds, five more than the previous record, which also belonged to the Caps. Nicklas Backstrom and Alex Ovechkin actually shot twice in the losing effort.

Karl Alzner, Michael Latta, Nate Schmidt, Brooks Orpik, John Carlson, and Tom Wilson all got their first career shootout attempts in the same game.

With all the wackiness on the ice and the game determined not to end, the Caps turned to a late-game baseball tradition to influence the outcome: rally helmets.

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Wish-recipient Lauren Santora had a great weekend. Her dream came true meeting Alex Ovechkin. She scored on Braden Holtby, a goal that was eventually narrated by voice of the Caps, John Walton.

And that was just Friday. On Saturday, the eight-year-old suffering from type 1 diabetes, was honored at the Caps/Lightning game. Well, if you call getting snowed by Tom Wilson an honor (which she probably would).

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Artsy. (Photo credit: Patrick McDermott)

Tom Wilson needs to play like Tom Wilson,” Capitals coach Barry Trotz said early this month. “If Tom Wilson starts to play like someone else, then he won’t be on the first line.”

It’s been over a month since the bellicose winger got promoted to top line duty. He was in full bloom on Thursday, agitating the Blue Jackets all night. His premiere moment of belligerence came midway through the second period when Wilson goaded James Wisniewski into taking four minutes of penalty time for attempting to disfigure Wilson’s face.

Wisniewski’s assault failed, his stick snapping upon contact with Wilson’s chin.

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wilson-laughs-lightning

Washington Capitals forward Tom Wilson took a lot of punishment in the first period against Tampa. Willy Baby drew three minor penalties from the Lightning after absorbing several brutal cheap shots, including two punches to the head at center ice and one headfirst boarding.

In typical Willy Baby style, he remained undaunted. He laughed off the Lightning’s feeble attempts to injure him. If my lip-reading skills are still passable, I’m pretty sure he wanted to punch someone multiple times in the face.

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All This Happened, More or Less: Isles Beat Caps 3-2 (OT)

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Photo credit: Al Bello

“That is my principal objection to life, I think: It’s too easy, when alive, to make perfectly horrible mistakes.” – Kurt Vonnegut

For years, the Islanders have made that quote ring true. Confused ownership, terrible hockey and of course Nassau Colosseum. The old place will soon be gone from our TV screens. The smell, the lighting, the architecture, the scoreboard stolen from the local high school. So it goes.

Now, though, the Islanders are moving on. Pretty soon they’ll playing their games in a decedent building in Brooklyn. They’re also now good at hockey. The Caps had trouble with that tonight.

The first period was mostly dominated by the Isles. Anders Lee put them up top after John Carlson failed to cling to his man. Washington then released a small furry of shots before Alex Ovechkin got the Caps back in it with another one of them goals from the circle place when his team has more people on the ice. Travis Hamonic then gave New York the lead again when his high flying wrist shot made it past an effectively blindfolded Braden Holtby.

The second was mostly Isles, but the Caps came on towards the end. The Isles took another unnecessary penalty and Ovi did The Thing. 2-2.

Isles pressed in the third but there was nothing doing.

In the extra, scrapeless frame, Nicky grabbed someone’s stick. John Tavares threw his hands in the air. That’s all. Isles beat Caps 3-2 (OT).

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