Date: January 12, 2017

Alex Ovechkin glad to reach 1,000 with Capitals fans

By Tom Gulitti – NHL.com

Alex Ovechkin was one of maybe a handful of people in Verizon Center sitting down.

The Washington Capitals captain wasted no time getting his 1,000th NHL point, scoring 35 seconds into a 5-2 win against the Pittsburgh Penguins on Wednesday, and the crowd was giving him a standing ovation.

Ovechkin’s teammates joined in, standing and banging their sticks against the boards. But Ovechkin remained seated until Nicklas Backstrom did what he has done so often during their 10 seasons together and provided an assist, shoving his longtime linemate in the backside to get him to stand.

“I think he was tired from his shift, so I had to push him up,” Backstrom said jokingly.

With the fans chanting “Ovi! Ovi!”, Ovechkin stood and raised his left hand to acknowledge them.

“He should be honored like that if you reach 1,000 in this amount of games he has,” Backstrom said. “It’s pretty impressive. All the credit to him. He’s an unreal player and he’s been fun to watch.”

Ovechkin became the 84th player in NHL history to score 1,000 points, the 37th to do so with one franchise, and the first to do it all with the Capitals (546 goals, 455 assists). He did it in his 880th NHL game, making him the second-fastest active player behind Jaromir Jagr (763 games), according to the Elias Sports Bureau.

“After [the] Montreal game, I knew [I’d] have a chance to reach 1,000 points in front of the fans and my family and people who are back home watching on TV,” Ovechkin said. “It’s a pretty special moment, pretty amazing moment.”

After he reached 999 points with a goal and two assists in a 4-1 win against the Montreal Canadiens at Bell Centre on Monday, Ovechkin’s parents, wife and brother were at Verizon Center to see him go for 1,000 against Sidney Crosby and the Penguins. Ovechkin demonstrated his flair for living up to dramatic moments by scoring in Montreal and tying Canadiens legend Maurice Richard with his 544th goal, 29th in NHL history.

Capitals coach Barry Trotz said he told Ovechkin after that game that, “It was really sort of cool that he tied Maurice Richard in Montreal, but I think it’s only fitting that you get the 1,000th point here for our fans.”

“So he did it, and he didn’t take much time,” Trotz said.

After taking a pass from Backstrom on a 2-on-1, Ovechkin carried the puck into the Penguins zone on the right wing and then cut into the slot before taking a wrist shot that sailed past goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury‘s glove.

“Well, it took him long enough. That’s what we were thinking,” Capitals right wing Justin Williams said. “I just shook my head. I’m not shocked about anything he does.”

The goal gave the Capitals a 1-0 lead.

“That was a great start for him and for us,” Trotz said. “He sort of had that look in his eye once he touched the puck that something good was going to happen. So real happy for him. I know the guys were thrilled for him and a little history.”

Ovechkin scored a power-play goal, point No. 1,001, from his signature spot in the left circle 8:06 into the second period to make it 2-0. Backstrom assisted on that one too.

It seemed most appropriate that he got one on Ovechkin’s 1,000th point. Backstrom has assisted on 204 of 448 of the goals Ovechkin has scored (46 percent) since Backstrom joined the Capitals in 2007-08.

“He’s the guy who I enjoy playing with and we understand each other well,” Ovechkin said. “Good chemistry together.”

Ovehckin is up to 21 goals, tying him for third in the NHL and within five of Crosby for the League lead, and has seven goals and five assists in the past 10 games. But he’s far from a one-man show.

Backstrom had a goal and three assists Wednesday and has two goals and six assists in the past four games. Williams scored his 12th goal of the season and has 10 goals and eight assists in his past 18 games. Evgeny Kuznetsov  who assisted on Williams’ goal, has two goals and seven assists in his past five games. Goaltender  Braden Holtby has allowed three goals over his past four games.

With a seven-game winning streak and a 14-2-2 record in their past 18 games, the Capitals reached the midway point of their schedule at 27-9-5 with 59 points, one behind the Columbus Blue Jackets for first place in the Metropolitan Division and NHL standings.

The Capitals also jumped two points ahead of the Penguins, who have a game in hand, and ended Pittsburgh’s five-game winning streak with their second regulation loss in their past 17 games (13-2-2).

“We’re winning, but I hope the best hockey’s going to be a little bit later,” Ovechkin said.

Player better later, meaning in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, is all that matters for Ovechkin and the Capitals this season. They ran away with the Presidents’ Trophy and set a Washington record with 56 wins last season only to lose to Pittsburgh in the Eastern Conference Second Round.

They’ve been trying to build as the season has progressed and have been flying under the radar with the Blue Jackets, Penguins, who are reigning Stanley Cup champions, and New York Rangers grabbing most of the Metropolitan headlines.

Although the Capitals seemed to make a statement by ending the Blue Jackets’ 16-game winning streak with a 5-0 win last Thursday and defeating the red-hot Penguins, they say that was not their intent.

“No, absolutely not,” Backstrom said. “We’re just trying to play our game quietly. So don’t write anything about it.”

Too late.

NHL unveils jerseys for All-Star Game

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By NHL.com

The National Hockey League’s Centennial, the Los Angeles Kings’ 50th anniversary, previous NHL All-Star Games and the Hollywood setting all influenced the design of the jerseys that will be worn during the 2017 Honda NHL® All-Star Game at STAPLES Center in Los Angeles on Sunday, Jan. 29.

All four All-Star team jerseys are available for purchase starting today at shop.NHL.com, the TEAM LA Store at STAPLES Center and the NHL Powered by Reebok Store in New York City. The jerseys will be available at select local retailers, including Lids Locker Room, DSG and Fanzz, within the next week.

The 2017 Honda NHL® All-Star Game again will be a three-game tournament, played in a 3-on-3 format, featuring teams representing each NHL division. The four All-Star teams – the Atlantic, Central, Metropolitan and Pacific – will wear jerseys that feature colors worn by the Kings during their 50-year history: Purple (Forum Blue), Gold, Black and White. The silver also is a nod to the NHL Centennial logo and the NHL Shield.

The Pacific Division (featuring the hometown Kings) will wear the black jersey. The Atlantic Division will wear gold, the Central Division will wear purple and the Metropolitan Division will wear white.

Each jersey features a band of stars that is reminiscent of the uniforms worn in NHL All-Star Games from 1989-91. Each of the 10 stars represents a decade in the 100-year history of the League. Four stars on the socks represent the four divisions in the NHL today.

The 2017 NHL All-Star patch is located on the right shoulder, while a full-color team patch for each player is found on the left shoulder. The custom font for the numbers and player names is inspired by the letters in the iconic HOLLYWOOD sign. Fans will be able to order player-customized versions of each All-Star jersey at designated retail locations during the 2017 Honda NHL® All-Star Weekend.

2017 NHL All-Star Game rosters revealed

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By NHL.com

Toronto Maple Leafs center Auston Matthews and Winnipeg Jets right wing Patrik Laine, tied for the lead among rookies with 21 goals each, were among the 40 players named Tuesday to the four divisional rosters for the 2017 Honda NHL All-Star Game in Los Angeles. Washington Capitals right wing Alex Ovechkin, who has 19 goals and is the reigning Rocket Richard Memorial Trophy holder, was also named.

The 40 players selected by the NHL join the four captains, who were voted in by fans earlier this month, to take part in the 2017 Honda NHL All-Star Weekend at Staples Center in Los Angeles. The 2017 Coors Light NHL All-Star Skills Competition is Jan. 28 at Staples Center (7 p.m. ET; NBC, SN, TVA Sports). The 2017 Honda NHL All-Star Game is Jan. 29 (3:30 p.m. ET; NBC, SN, TVA Sports).

Each division is represented by six forwards, three defensemen and two goalies. The divisional teams will compete head-to-head in the Skills Competition on Saturday and then will face off in semifinal games Sunday. The winners of the semifinal games will play for the championship. Each game is played in a 3-on-3 format with two 10-minute halves.

The four coaches for the 2017 Honda NHL All-Star Weekend will be Michel Therrien of the Montreal Canadiens (Atlantic), Bruce Boudreau of the Minnesota Wild (Central), John Tortorella of the Columbus Blue Jackets (Metropolitan) and Peter DeBoer of the San Jose Sharks (Pacific).

The Pacific Division won the 2016 All-Star Game in Nashville, defeating the Central Division 9-6 in the semifinal and the Atlantic Division 1-0 in the final.

Edmonton Oilers center Connor McDavid, who leads the League with 48 points, was selected as captain of the Pacific Division. Pittsburgh Penguins center Sidney Crosby, who is first in the NHL with 26 goals, is the Metropolitan Division captain. P.K. Subban of the Nashville Predators, is the Central Division captain but has not played since Dec. 15 because of an upper-body injury. Montreal Canadiens goaltender Carey Price, who is back after missing most of the 2015-16 season because of a knee injury, is the Atlantic Division captain. Price is 20-6-4 with a 2.12 goals-against average and .928 save percentage.

ATLANTIC DIVISION

Forwards: Nikita Kucherov, Tampa Bay Lightning, Brad Marchand, Boston Bruins, Auston Matthews, Toronto Maple Leafs, Frans Nielsen, Detroit Red Wings,
Kyle Okposo, Buffalo Sabres, Vincent Trocheck, Florida Panthers

Defensemen: Victor Hedman, Tampa Bay Lightning, Erik Karlsson, Ottawa Senators, Shea Weber, Montreal Canadiens

Goaltenders: Carey Price, Montreal Canadiens (C) Tuukka Rask, Boston Bruins

METROPOLITAN DIVISION

Forwards: Sidney Crosby, Pittsburgh Penguins (C), Taylor Hall, New Jersey Devils, Evgeni Malkin, Pittsburgh Penguins, Alex Ovechkin, Washington Capitals,
Wayne Simmonds, Philadelphia Flyers, John Tavares, New York Islanders

Defensemen: Justin Faulk, Carolina Hurricanes, Seth Jones, Columbus Blue Jackets, Ryan McDonagh, New York Rangers

Goaltenders: Sergei Bobrovsky, Columbus Blue Jackets, Braden Holtby, Washington Capitals

CENTRAL DIVISION

Forwards: Patrick Kane, Chicago Blackhawks, Patrik Laine, Winnipeg Jets, Nathan MacKinnon, Colorado Avalanche, Tyler Seguin, Dallas Stars,
Vladimir Tarasenko, St. Louis Blues, Jonathan Toews, Chicago Blackhawks

Defensemen: P.K. Subban, Nashville Predators (C), Duncan Keith, Chicago Blackhawks, Ryan Suter, Minnesota Wild

Goaltenders: Corey Crawford, Chicago Blackhawks, Devan Dubnyk, Minnesota Wild

PACIFIC DIVISION

Forwards: Connor McDavid, Edmonton Oilers (C), Jeff Carter, Los Angeles Kings, Johnny Gaudreau, Calgary Flames, Bo Horvat, Vancouver Canucks, Ryan Kesler, Anaheim Ducks, Joe Pavelski, San Jose Sharks

Defensemen: Brent Burns, San Jose Sharks, Drew Doughty, Los Angeles Kings,
Cam Fowler, Anaheim Ducks

Goaltenders: Martin Jones, San Jose Sharks, Mike Smith, Arizona Coyotes

 NHL All-Star Game stays with 3-on-3 tournament format

As the countdown to the 2017 Honda NHL® All-Star Weekend, continues, the National Hockey League (NHL®) announced today that the 2017 Honda NHL® All-Star Game will return to a 3-on-3 All-Star Tournament among the NHL’s most talented star players from each division.

The 3-on-3 format, which debuted last year, will divide the NHL All-Star Game into three 20-minute games, with star players from each NHL division making up the four All-Star teams: Pacific, Central, Atlantic, and Metropolitan. The 2017 Honda NHL All-Star Weekend will include the 2017 Coors Light NHL All-Star Skills Competition™ on Saturday, Jan. 28, where each NHL division’s All-Star team will compete for the right to select both their first opponent and when their 2017 Honda NHL® All-Star Game semi-final matchup will be played; first or second on Sunday, Jan. 29. The winners of each semi-final game will face off in a winner-take-all $1 million matchup.

Details on the 2017 Honda NHL® All-Star Game format include:

• The 2017 Honda NHL® All-Star Game will be a three-game tournament played in a 3-on-3 format with a prize pool of $1 million to be paid in its entirety to the tournament’s winning team.
• The tournament will feature four teams, one team representing each NHL division: the Pacific, Central, Metropolitan and Atlantic.
• Each team will be made up of 11 players from each division: six forwards, three defensemen and two goaltenders.
• The 2017 Coors Light NHL All-Star Skills Competition™ is now a matchup between each NHL division’s All-Star team, with the winning division earning the right to select both their semi-final opponent and when their semi-final game will be played; first or second on Sunday.
• Each game in the 2017 Honda NHL All-Star Tournament will be 20 minutes in length.
• Teams will change ends at the 10-minute mark of each game. Games that are tied after 20 minutes will be decided by a shootout.
• The winners of each semi-final game will play each other in the All-Star Tournament Final to determine the overall tournament champion. 

The Los Angeles Kings, who are celebrating their 50th anniversary, and the city of Los Angeles will play host to the 2017 Honda NHL All-Star Weekend. The festivities begin with the opening of the 2017 NHL Fan Fair, including the NHL Centennial Fan Arena, on Thursday, Jan. 26 and continue with the celebration of the 100 Greatest NHL Players at THE NHL100 on Friday, Jan. 27 (6:30 p.m. PT / 9:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN, SN, TVAS) at Microsoft Theater. Tickets to THE NHL100 and the reveal of the 100 greatest players in NHL® history are available here.

The 2017 Coors Light NHL All-Star Skills Competition will take place on Saturday, Jan. 28 (4 p.m. PT / 7 p.m. ET,