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Friday Caps Clips: Capitals @ Blackhawks Game Day

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Daily Washington Capitals news and notes: Previews of tonight's Winter Classic warm-up, Laich returns, Kuznetsov sits and more.

Rob Grabowski-USA TODAY Sports

Your savory breakfast links:

  • It was pretty unlikely that the Caps were going to lose any of the last five games... so of course, they lost all five. Special, special pandas. [Rink]
  • Okay, so they've lost five straight - where does this little early-season slump fit into the greater historical context, and what could it mean going forward? [Rink]
  • Previews of tonight's pre-Winter Classic clash with the Blackhawks from VogsNHL.comAP, Peerless, and the Chicago Tribune, and be sure to check out our SB Nation pals over at Second City Hockey for the other side of tonight's matchup.
  • Yes, you've heard it before, but it remains true - the Caps have improved, and the underlying numbers are really good. It's just those pesky surface numbers... [HockeyProspectus]
  • News and notes from yesterday's pre-flight practice:
    • In general. [Monumental video (TrotzHoltbyRinkside Update/Wilson/Chimera cameo)]
    • One of the things the Caps need to work on is establishing a net-front presence. [WaPo]
    • Enter Brooks Laich, who will probably be in the lineup on Friday night... at the expense of, believe it or not, Evgeny Kuznetsov. [WaPoCSNWRMNB]
    • And yet, despite being headed for the first healthy scratch of his career, Kuznetsov has a pretty mature response to the whole thing. [WaPoCSNW]
    • Practice makes perfect, and for the Caps, practice is where their focus is right now. [CSNW]
  • That loss to Calgary on Tuesday was a rough one, but not without its bright spots, including the play of Jay Beagle, Michael Latta and Liam O'Brien. [WaPo]
  • Here's a surprise: John Carlson and Brooks Orpik are not actually considered to be the League's best shutdown D pair. Or the second-best. Or third. Or fourth. Or... [WaPo]
  • The 2014-15 Washington Capitals: a work in progress. Among other things... [Sports Network]
  • ...like, say, a disappointment. [USA Today]
  • That does it. Dishonor for Connor!! [SBNation]
  • Checking in on the Calder Trophy rankings, where Andre Burakovsky has slipped a few spots after a recent slump. [ESPN ($)]
  • Being a DC sports fan is about heartbreaking, soul-crushing losses... which means you can sometimes forget the rare, beautiful comebacks. They happened! Really!! [Blog So Hard]
  • A number of local rinks, along with the Caps, will be participating in 'Try Hockey for Free' Day this weekend, a nationwide initiative to get kids interested in hockey. [NBC4]
  • 'Tis the season for ugly holiday sweaters... and for just $84.95, you could be the proud owner of an Alex Ovechkin-themed one! Such a deal. Such. A. Deal. [WaPo]