Photo credit: Bruce Bennett

As the second period of Wednesday night’s game seven against the New York Rangers ended, Eric Fehr remained on the ice as his teammates walked to the Capitals locker room through a tunnel at the corner of the rink. He kicked his legs and circled Washington’s offensive zone for a minute before joining them. Playing his first game since April 19, Fehr had taken six shifts through two frames, a member of a fourth line that hardly received ice time.

As the game wore on and headed to overtime, head coach Barry Trotz began utilizing Fehr and Brooks Laich more. Fehr was on the ice when the Capitals iced the puck in the middle of a line change past the midway point of the fourth period. Fehr, who missed almost a month with an upper-body injury, would be required to take just his fourth faceoff of the night. He won it, but the Caps sent the puck to the other end on a failed clearing attempt. Seven seconds after beating Derek Stepan on the draw, Fehr faced Stepan again. The pair tied each other up, but Rangers forward Jesper Fast poked the puck to the point. The Capitals’ season was over a few seconds later.

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Welcome Back, Eric Fehr (GIF)


After missing the last ten playoff games due to an upper-body injury, Corsi King Eric Fehr is back in the Caps lineup, and he’s looking great on the team’s fourth line.

Skating with Tom Wilson and Brooks Laich, Frank nearly helped author a goal after forcing a turnover in the Rangers defensive zone.

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Last week, Eric Fehr met the media to update them on the injury that has keep him out of the lineup for most of the playoffs. After two minutes of optimism and indirect answers, the scrum was finished. The day’s routine necessity had been completed. As the rest of the media shuffled away from Fehr’s locker, I made an offhand comment that the F-16 was getting ready for flight.

“There are some bad nicknames out there,” he told me. “Of all the nicknames to have, that’s a pretty cool one.”

I asked what he thought of his other nickname, Fehrsie.

“See, that’s the thing: I hate those nicknames,” he said. “Anybody with a last name with a –y on the end would probably be the worst one. Spelling it –ie doesn’t change anything. You need to be creative. As a group we’ve tried to be more creative with guys. We tried to change it up a little bit.”

Inadvertently, I had just stumbled on a massive scoop. Over the next 10 minutes, Fehr revealed the other hidden nicknames of the Capitals locker room. Some you might know– others you don’t.

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Tom Wilson just made the biggest play of his young career.

After Henrik Lundqvist made a beautiful pass off the glass to a forward Carl Hagelin, the Rangers skated into the Caps zone with speed on a two-on-two break. Hagelin dished the puck to a trailing Kevin Klein. And that’s when Willy Baby came out of nowhere.

Wilson poke-checked the puck, fell over, slid into another Ranger, and slammed into the end boards. Matt Niskanen got the loose puck passed it to Curtis Glencross alone at the red line.

Glencross scored on the breakaway.

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Photo via @DJ_SAAM

Tom Wilson had a lot of good fortune last night. His team won, and he did not feel any ill effects from his ten-minute misconduct, which appears to have been called for this sweet jersey-pulling suplex.

After the game, his luck remained. Via Talk The Red’s Saam Bozorgmehr, Wilson got to hang out with Academy Award-winning actor and wacky anthem singer Jamie Foxx in Clarendon.

Foxx was in DC for the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children’s Hope Awards.

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Swedish bruisers. (Photo credit: Len Redkoles)

Over the past season, we’ve seen Marcus Johansson go from a talented set-up man into the Caps third leading goal scorer. Andre Burakovsky has gone from an 19-year-old babyfaced rookie into, for a while, the team’s top-line right wing. In the past two weeks, those two have added more facets to their game. In the 2015 playoffs, Johansson and Burakovsky have become physical forces on the ice. But instead of going for needless checks that only put them out of position as so many players do, Marcus and Andre pick their spots, using their bodies to bump opponents off the puck or maintain possession.

“You never want to approach a game looking for hits,” Brooks Orpik, who was third in the league in that stat during the regular season, told me Wednesday. “If you do that you’re gonna be out of position.”

“We can’t try to be a skill team all the time,” he added. “If you are a big team, you have to use that to your advantage.”

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Photo credit: Frank Franklin II

At 12:40 p.m. on Saturday, Jay Beagle won the opening faceoff of game two of Metropolitan Division Final against the New York Rangers. Instead of controlling the puck, however, the Capitals allowed the Rangers to set up for a rush out their defensive zone. As the Rangers took the puck up the ice, Washington’s top forward and defensive lines jumped on the ice. Brooks Orpik didn’t do so fast enough. Jesper Fast fed the puck to Chris Kreider in front. Thirty-eight seconds into the game, Washington was down one-nil. By the end of the first period, New York had a two-goal lead. The Caps had been outshot 15-4, completely outmatched for the first 20 minutes of play.

“I think we had a great start,” defenseman Marc Staal told reporters at the team hotel on Sunday.

But instead of sitting on their lead as they did in game two, the Rangers only plan to press more on Monday.

“It’s one thing to stay patient,” Staal said. “I think it’s another thing to stay aggressive.”

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It’s almost like Willy relishes the hatred he’s getting from Islanders fans.

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In game four, Caps winger Tom Wilson injured Islanders 38-year-old defenseman Lubomir Visnovsky with a clean hit behind the net. That threw gasoline on an already simmering fire — Kyle Okposo injured Eric Fehr the game before in another clean hit— and Visnovksy’s teammates came to his defense through a war of words in the media.

“He’s an idiot,” Islanders forward Kyle Okposo said. “That guy runs around, he hits reckless. He jumps, leaves his feet. There’s no place for that.”

“We could have easily hit a lot of guys like that too,” captain John Tavares said.

On Thursday night, the Islanders looked to serve some frontier justice to Wilson.

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Lubomir Visnovsky leaves the game after being checked by Tom Wilson in the second period. (Photo credit: Bruce Bennett)

Last season, searching to make an impact as a rookie with limited ice time, Tom Wilson got himself into a lot of trouble, often making questionable hits and dropping the gloves whenever he got the chance. He finished the season with the seventh highest number of penalty minutes in the NHL. Now in his second season, and sometimes skating top line minutes under new head coach Barry Trotz, Wilson has moderated his game, becoming less of a wrecking ball and more of an agitator. In game four, however, the wrecking ball was back.

With Lubomir Visnovsky attempting to corral a loose puck behind his own net, Wilson came flying in, delivering a massive shoulder to chest blow. While Visnovsky was ravaged by the hit, the check appeared clean. The puck was there, Wilson never left his feet, and he hit Visnovsky square in the chest. Nevertheless, the refs took umbrage with the hit, calling Wilson for a change. The Islanders were outraged.

“He’s an idiot,” Islanders forward Kyle Okposo said of Wilson, according to the New York Post. “That guy runs around, he hits reckless. He jumps, leaves his feet. There’s no place for that.”

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