The Washington Times - January 19, 2013, 12:56PM

TAMPA, Fla. | Adam Oates met with the “core” of his Washington Capitals last week. By core, he meant Alex Ovechkin, Nicklas Backstrom, Mike Green and Brooks Laich.

Now they’re not just the core, they’re the captains. Oates told his players and then announced that Backstrom, Green and Laich will be the alternate captains this season. Obviously Ovechkin keeps the “C.”

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“They are the core of this team. They’ve been together for a long time and a real good nucleus obviously and talented guys,” Oates said this past week. “It’s their job to be the pros of this team and let their habits rub off on the other guys. And it’s their team.”

Backstrom and Laich have experience as alternates. It will be the first time in his NHL career for Green.

Backstrom and Green will have the “A’s” in the season opener Saturday night at the Tampa Bay Lightning because Laich isn’t even on the roster as he deals with a groin injury. Oates said Laich did not travel with the team to Tampa.