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Eastern Conference

Capitals’ T.J. Oshie Says Team Must Break Out This Season

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It’s been a rough offseason for the Washington Capitals but despite the loss of a few key plays, forward T.J. Oshie is putting the pressure on for the team to do better next season.

Oshie is expecting the Caps new players to step up.

“We lost a lot of really, really good players, and I think we knew that was going to happen,” Oshie said on Monday (h/t NHL.com).

“Now we’re going to need a lot of younger guys to fill in for a lot of different roles.”

“I’m looking for everyone to take that next step,” Oshie said.

“It’s not one or two guys; we need everyone to get on board and to find that next level. From our star players to our support players and to the guys that play the dirty minutes, we need everyone.”

Washington won the Presidents’ Trophy in back-to-back seasons but were eliminated by the Pittsburgh Penguins in the Eastern Conference Second Round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs in both years.

“I don’t expect us to run away with it like we did the past couple years in the regular season,” Oshie said.

Still, Oshie is confident that the Capitals can do much more.

“You look at our goal scoring and we have [Ovechkin] coming back for another great year,” Oshie said.

“[Nicklas Backstrom], who in my mind is the best two-way center in the League, and then you got [forward Evgeny Kuznetsov] who also got that big contract (eight years, $64 million). That’s a pretty solid group with a lot of offensive threat.

“But again, we can’t rely on one or two or three guys to make or break us. We will really need to make it a group effort to make up for players that we’ve lost and to help lead the young guys that are now going to be stepping in.”

Oshie looks specifically at Pittsburgh as a team who had their young players step up and wants Washington to do the same.

“You look at Pittsburgh, for instance, and see how they had those young guys step up,” Oshie said.

“That’s what we are going to need to do. Between the younger players stepping up and the veteran players continuing to produce at the high level they have, we’ll be OK.

“We just need to keep playing our best hockey, starting at training camp, and be ready for playoffs when they roll around.”

Eastern Conference

Lightning Shopping Slater Koekkoek

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The Tampa Bay Lightning are shopping defenseman, and former first round pick, Slater Koekkoek, according to SportsNet’s Elliotte Friedman.

Tampa Bay is now motivated to trade away their once prized prospect, who is currently playing with the Syracuse Crunch on a conditioning stint.

Koekkoek is waiver eligible and will become a restricted free agent with arbitration rights in the summer of 2019.

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Columbus Blue Jackets

Blue Jackets’ Sergei Bobrovsky Will Not Dress Due To Team Incident

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The Columbus Blue Jackets have announced that veteran goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky will not dress for tonight’s game against the Nashville Predators due to what is being described as an “incident”.

Blue Jackets general manager Jarmo Kekalainen stated the following:

“There are certain expectations and values that we have established for our players that define our culture. An incident occurred in which Sergei failed to meet those expectations and values, so we made the decision that he would not be with the team for tonight’s game. This is an internal matter and we will have no further comment at this time.”

In corresponding moves, the Blue Jackets has recalled Jean-Francois Berube, and placed both Brandon Dubinsky and Markus Hannikainen on injured reserve.

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Eastern Conference

Leafs’ Frederik Andersen Targeting Saturday Return

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Toronto Maple Leafs’ goaltender Frederik Andersen said that he is eyeing the team’s upcoming game against the Boston Bruins on Saturday to make his return to the ice.

Andersen was placed on injured reserve on January 3rd, retroactive to December 23rd, and hasn’t played since December 22nd.

Despite his goal of a Saturday return, Maple Leafs’ head coach Mike Babcock is looking towards Monday’s game against the Colorado Avalanche as the best time for his return.

Babcock pours a little cold water on Andersen’s reveal, saying it might be Monday vs. Colorado. Hmmm…— luke fox (@lukefoxjukebox) January 9, 2019

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