(Photo credit: Chris Gordon)

The Caps began their annual Development Camp on Monday, held at Kettler Capitals Iceplex in Arlington, Virginia for the fifth year in a row. The six day session features prospects signed in the organization, including Cody Eakin, Stanislav Galiev, Dimitri Orlov and Mattias Sjogren, as well free agent invitees and players selected at the Draft last month.

Day one was pretty exciting. Group A skated around a bunch of cones, Bruce blew his whistle a lot, Troy Brouwer addressed the DC media for the first time, George McPhee looked super dreamy, Olie the Goalie (coach) showed off his new sweatpants, Sjogren lost a chicklet, Group B skated around another bunch of cones, Bruce blew his whistle a lot more before the day was capped off with everyone’s favorite drill: wind sprints! And some trick shots of course.

Below, I relive the day in photos!

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Following today’s development camp activities, Dmitry Orlov (now and forever spelled with a y) and Stan Galiev spent a few minutes goofing around on the ice. Moving the net up the ice, they practiced point-blank distance trick shots before calling it a day.

Orlov and Galiev flipped the puck from around the back of the net, from halfway up the ice, and from extreme angles. Perhaps they’re working on one of those Granlund-style lacrosse goals, or maybe Stanislav Galiev’s header (13 seconds in) is the real future of the Capitals’ offense. Either way, we’re probably looking at the future of the Caps: fun, creative, and somewhat mischievous.

Ovi’s gonna love these guys.

RMNB Party 3.5: Saturday, July 16 at Front Page VA

Oh snap. Come party with us on Saturday afternoon at The Front Page in Arlington!

Huh? Dude, read above. It’s a party at Front Page VA after all the development camp shenanigans are over.

Why? Why not, man? It’s summer time. We miss you guys. The prospects are in town. Tons of changes in the Caps org. Peter got a new bulldog. Pick a reason; they’re all good.

Where? The Front Page. 4201 Wilson Boulevard Arlington, VA 22203. Just across from KCI. A stone’s throw from Cold Stone. You can’t miss it.  We’ll be hanging out at the front bar and the outdoor patio.

When? Well, again, we told you this already. It’s like you’re not paying attention. Saturday, July 16, 2011. Right after the scrimmage (which starts at 10am). Let’s say 1 PM, but it could be anytime around then. Party goes on til 5-ish. Then you can go crash Michael Jenkins’ party.

Who? You, hopefully. Of course we’ll be there, and that includes RMNB-, WaPo-, and ESPN-published sports maven slash Twitter personality Neil Greenberg.

3.5? We’re doing half-parties now. Since the eventual RMNB Party 4 will be so massive that house plants will be knocked over by its gravitational pull, we thought giving this one a modest point five was the right thing to do.

Anything else? Happy hour specials from 3 to 5 if your whistle needs wetting.

So will we see you there?

Caps trade Eric Fehr to Winnipeg

Fehr scored two goals in the Winter Classic and was named the #2 star of the game. (Photo credit: Jamie Sabau)

Just after 5pm Friday, the Caps made waves around the hockey world, announcing they had traded right wing Eric Fehr to Winnipeg for the Jets’ fourth-round pick in the 2012 Draft and prospect Danick Paquette.

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Photo credit: John McDonnell

Five years ago to the day, Jeff Halpern signed the first big-time contract of his career, a four-year, $8 million pact with the Dallas Stars. The contract took Halpern, who had just completed the most prolific two year stretch of his career (90 points in 149 games), away from his hometown team, and left Washington without a captain.

When Mike Luit, Halpern’s agent, addressed the signing with the Washington Post’s Tarik El-Bashir, he said, “It took Jeff a very long time to come to this decision. He said to me, ‘No matter which way I go, when I sign a contract, I’m going to feel sick.'”

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Capitals offensive stud Jeff Schultz may be, you know, Canadian but that didn’t stop him from participating in a “dramatic reading” of the Declaration of Independence on Monday, the Fourth of July.

RMNB reader Laura Keivel — who was nice enough to email us photos of the event — explains.

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UPDATE: The house is now off the market and under new ownership, so we’ve removed the photos and struck out the now-inaccurate content.

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Former Capitals great and new associate goaltending coach Olie Kolzig has put up his 15,260 square foot property up for sale. The 90-acre Kennewick, Washington estate is available for just $4.1 million or, in other words, just a few Maybachs.

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At 35, Tomas Vokoun knows he doesn’t have much time left be on a winning team with a chance at the Stanley Cup. And for the Czech netminder, Washington, DC is the place be as he signed a one-year, $1.5 million deal to come to the Caps Saturday.

“The money side, it’s not great but, you know, I think the opportunity is unbelievable,” he said on a conference call Sunday morning. “I decided that this chance for me to extend my career and play for a great team and have fun playing.”

Vokoun, who has at total of 262 big league wins, has been in the playoffs just twice in his NHL career, spending the last four seasons with the cellar-welling Florida Panthers. In those years in the Southeast Division with the Cats, Vokoun got an up close look at the resurgence of the Capitals in the Alex Ovechkin era and liked what he saw.

“I know how good that team is,” said Vokoun, who turned down a three-year offer from the Panthers. “I know I’m going to have fun. I’ve been on winning teams before but nothing like Washington. … I just felt I wanted to move on and try something different.”
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Photo credit: Richard Wolowicz

After absorbing an eight-game losing streak in December and seeing their offense repeatedly not click, Bruce Boudreau and George McPhee decided that the time had finally come to change the team’s run ‘n’ gun style to a more defense-first system. During the year, the Capitals traded top six forward Tomas Fleischmann to Colorado for veteran Scott Hannan and also picked up Dennis Wideman at the trade deadline. The results were stunning.

After finishing 16th in the league in 2009-10 with a goals allowed per game of 2.67, the Capitals finished in the top five in 2010-11, with 2.33. Washington also had the third best penalty kill in the league last year, improving almost six percent from the year before. However, the Caps still flamed out early on in the playoffs, being swept by the Tampa Bay Lightning.

“I felt we needed to add a defenseman last year in the summer and we didn’t do it,” McPhee said Friday. “We made the trade the during the year, but it’s a hard process to go through.”

So in response, McPhee signed 37-year old defenseman Roman Hamrlik, who played the last four seasons in Montreal, to a two year, seven million dollar deal.

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Photo credit: John Russell

On Friday, the first day of free agency, the Capitals surprised many as busiest team in the NHL. Dumping Semyon Varlamov to Colorado, they then signed five players, including three bound for Washington’s NHL roster. The biggest wild card of the bunch? Thirty-year old right wing Joel Ward, who was given a four year $12 million deal.

“It’s going to be fun to make a new batch of friends and join a new family, start bonding right away,” Ward said of joining the star-laden Caps. “Obviously you see them on the highlight reel every night.”

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