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The Noon Countdown: Keeping the Gloves On

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A look at a more disciplined Caps crew

Washington Capitals v Carolina Hurricanes-Game Six Photo by Gregg Forwerck/NHLI via Getty Images

16 - Number of days remaining until the start of the Capitals’ 2019-20 season. But it’s also...

...the number of major penalties taken by the Caps in 2018-19, tying them with the 2012-13 and 2016-17 squads for the lowest total in franchise history. Not surprisingly, Tom Wilson led the team with six in his own right (which also was a career-low for him).

Major penalties — and fighting majors in particular — have been in decline in the NHL over the last 10-15 years, across the League and for the Caps specifically. Four of the Caps’ five lowest major totals ever have come in the last four seasons; in fact, their highest total in the post-lockout era was in 2010-11 when they picked up 46 majors.

So what was the most pugnacious year in team history? That would be the 1989-90 Caps, the only team to crack triple digits with a whopping 104 major penalties... not surprising on a team that boasted both Alan May (who had 31 by himself, and a team-leading 339 penalty minutes overall) and Dale Hunter.