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Friday Caps Clips: All-Star Smashville

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Daily Washington Capitals news and notes: Ovechkin down, Kuznetsov up, Trotz has a homecoming and more.

Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

Your savory breakfast links:

  • In which Alex Prewitt rides shotgun on a Caps' back-to-back and brings us along for the ride. [SI]
  • The fancystats are matching the eye test - Caps have the East on lockdown and could maybe peek a bit further ahead. [WaPo]
  • ESPN's Linda Cohn is a diehard NYR fan but just might be stepping out with the Caps this time 'round. [Puck Daddy]
  • Bubble wrap please, plenty of it, and quickly. [DCer]
  • Brian MacLellan's offseason moves continue to bear fruit. [SI]
  • All-Star festivities begin today with the NHL Fan Fair (plus a Puck Daddy meetup):
    • Ladies and gents, your 2015-2016 NHL Most-Stars, in convenient mug-shot form. [Tennessean]
    • Mascot musical chairs? Mascot musical chairs. [@wyshynski]
  • Many barrels of pixels are being spilled over both the Caps' decision to pull Alex Ovechkin from the ASG and the Lig's subsequent one-game suspension:
    • It's a risk-and-reward thing. [AP]
    • "But you have to think about the big picture. The big picture for my ownership, my general manager, the players in our room, our team, and our fans is that we have to make the right decision."  It's a prudence thing. [WashTimes, PHT]
    • The new 3-on-3 game format made it also a medical thing. [WaPo]
    • Hey NHL, suspending players who are hurt is a stupid thing... [Yardbarker, Chicago Tribune]
    • ... and some folks are just fine with it. [SBNation]
  • Oh hai there, Nicky All-Star. Pretty fantastic, yes? [PHT, RMNB, USA Today, WashTimes]
  • You too, Evgeny Kuznetsov... [RMNB, CSNMA, Caps Outsider]
    • ...the center of attention. [Dump-n-Chase]
    • Oh, and that 3-on-3 action? Here' five players who will thrive there. [USA Today]
    • This isn't his first All-Star rodeo, y'know:
    • 18-year old Harry Potter received a league invite to the 2011 KHL All-Star game, and he played on Team Jagr (blue unis). Kuzya's breakaway challenge starts just before the 2:00 mark. The goalie in Team Yashin red is the immortal Dominik Hasek, exercising his inner Kolzig. The goalie in blue at the other end of the ice is Stefan Liv, who perished just a few months later in the Locomotiv plane crash.
  • What a great week for Barry Trotz, who gets to return to the city he loves and the team that he built from the ground up, having led his new team to the top of the standings... [WaPo, NHL.com]
  • ... and he also returned to visit his Best Buddies program. [CSNMA]
  • Finally, happy 27th birthday to Jim O'Brien, happy 30th birthday to Chris Smith Bourque, happy 33rd to Tim Gleason, happy 39th to Jason Doig, happy 52nd to Ed Kastelic, happy 35th to Roman Tvrdon - and here's to the late Wayne Stephenson, who would have been 71 today.