- The Washington Times - Tuesday, September 19, 2017

The Washington Capitals played in their first preseason game Monday against the New Jersey Devils — and the amount of penalties called were ugly. 

The Capitals committed 10 penalties — seven in the first period — in a 4-1 loss.

But it was just as bad for New Jersey, who also had 10 penalties, and the rest of the NHL. Referees are enforcing stricter interpretations of slashing and face-off violations. 

Against New Jersey, the Capitals had three slashing penalties and two game face-off violations. The NHL wants to speed up face-offs, Capitals coach Barry Trotz said. Players have to stay within the perimeters of the red circle before the puck drops.

Trotz, who is a member of the NHL’s competition committee, said it was always the rule, but there will be a closer watch from referees.

The Capitals coach, though, didn’t seem worried. 

“Players adjust,” Trotz said. “They’re smart. This league is the best league in the world. They’re smart and going to adjust. That’s why the best time to enforce a lot of this stuff is in the preseason.” 

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