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The Caps Are Playing The Next 4 Games Without The Russians. Whatever. More Rest For The Playoffs.


Tough break for the Caps. Even though Ovi gave a very heart-felt apology for hanging out in a hotel room with his friends



and even though he has the antibodies (uhhhh, ya think? He was partying in Russia all offseason)



He still has to sit out possibly the next 4 games due to breaking protocols. Not just Ovi, but also Kuznetsov and Orlov, as well as Samsonov who tested positive. Look, we can debate the rules and protocols til the cows come home, but the rules are the rules and they were broken, so no sense of arguing the logistics of being allowed to share a sweaty locker room but not being able to play video games in a hotel room.

So the Caps march on, led by Stanley Cup Champion Tom Wilson, to play the next 4 games without the Russian Mob Squad. 2 vs the Sabres, and then 2 vs the Isles, using these lines:



All things considered, it could be worse. I don't know. That 3rd line will just wear on you and maybe Sprong can jumpstart the 4th line. It'll at least be fun to watch Vrana play top line minutes with Backstrom. And I expect to see Oshie double shifting late in games if the 3rd line hasn't done anything.

Does this suck? Yeah, absolutely. But let's look at the positives: 

- Ovechkin getting early season rest. It's going to be a sprint of a season, we all know that. The Caps looked dead in last year's playoffs, we know that too. The 4 games he's missing now will come in handy when the rest of the league is skating through quicksand come April.

- Vitek Vanecek is awesome. I love Ilya Samsonov, but I also love Vanecek. It'll be good to see him get playing time as the starter as Samsonov recovers. He's a 2 time AHL all-star, who knows what sort of ceiling he might have. Should be a good test for him.

- Conor Sheary SZN. If you wear 73, you should be playing. I expect Sheary to light the lamp twice in the next 4 games.

Obviously it's not optimal, but the Caps will survive this 4 game stretch. And Ovi will return to the lineup as angry and vengeful as ever. It was already going to be a weird season, so at least they won't make this sort of mistake during the home stretch. Still Our Year.