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Friday night against the Chicago Blackhawks, Marcus Johansson‘s whirlwind season ended sadly when — while standing in front of the Chicago Blackhawks crease — he got hit by a high-rising shot authored by Nicklas Backstrom.

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Braden Holtby Falcon Punches Ryan Callahan (GIF)

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American hero Ryan Callahan is well known by Capitals fans and not for good reasons. When he captained the New York Rangers, his Rags beat our Caps twice. Despite what the national media likes to tell us, he’s not really the most honorable player.

That’s why it felt good to see Callahan fall like a sack of bricks to the ice after he got punched in the mush by Braden Holtby.

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Saturday at Harry Grove Stadium was Hockey Day. The Frederick Keys staff wore hockey gear (I’m wagging my finger at you, girl in Malkin shirsey), and two former Washington Capitals, Craig Laughlin and Alan May, threw out the ceremonial first pitches and signed autographs for fans on the concourse.

Before the first pitches were thrown, however, there was some intrigue.

The night before, during the Caps telecast, Laughlin promised to CSN Washington’s Joe Beninati that he would zing the ball into home plate going “105.”

Let’s goooooo to the videotape.

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angry-backy

The Washington Capitals have been eliminated from playoff contention, and, sure, Friday’s game against the Chicago Blackhawks — the 81st game of the season — was literally meaningless. But dammit, don’t tell that to Nicklas Backstrom.

Backstrom had a goal, an assist, and set his focus on recording his first career Gordie Howe hat trick. Angry Swede is angry.

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That might explain why the Capitals are playing so well tonight.

Thanks to @terpgrrl for the screenshot.

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Embrace your own futility and everyone will love you for it.

Thanks to carrotbazooka for first posting. Also, Happy Birthday!

 

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Photo: Rob Carr

Now that the Washington Capitals will officially miss the playoffs for the first time in six years, this is a great time to focus more on the tendencies of this Adam Oates-led team. While a lot of positive stories have been written about the team’s revitalized power play and its Russian captain, there’s a lot of reasons why we think Oates may be holding this team back from bigger and better things. Like, here’s twenty of them.

Then there’s the whole issue of the Caps sometimes looking like a beer-league team on the ice. Over the last few weeks, Caps players have violently collided into each other three times. Three. Times. And in two straight games.

Because this seems to be more like a pattern than a series of freak events, I collected GIFs and video of all the times it’s happened during Oates’ tenure. It’s happened… a lot.

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Jaroslav Halak’s Agent Has Beef With Adam Oates

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Photo: Bruce Bennett

In a season that has been inordinately long and drama-filled, here comes MOAR drama! On Tuesday, Washington Capitals head coach Adam Oates announced that Jaroslav Halak would not start against his old team because Halak reportedly said he didn’t feel “100% comfortable” playing. Halak then spent most of the afternoon getting criticized by local and national media for a lack of desire and toughness. We thought this conversation should have stayed private.

Halak’s agent, Allan Walsh, has issued a statement and apparently he agrees with us. I hope you’re ready for some venom, Oatesy.

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This season has been a major blower, but there’s been one consistent bright spot. No matter what people say about his unsightly (but distorted) plus-minus, Alex Ovechkin has been phenomenal this year. On Tuesday he scored his 50th goal of the season, reaching the mark for the fifth time in his career. It was the first time he’s done so since 2009-10.

After the game, Ovi cheesed with the milestone puck.

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Alex Ovechkin is the first player to hit 50 goals in five seasons in a couple decades. His powerplay goal (naturally) in the first period of Tuesday’s game against St Louis introduced Ovechkin to the company of eleven storied scorers– including names like Gretzky, Lemieux, and Bossy.

Number fifty was nifty– a quintessential Ovi shot from the Ovi spot, clanging off the crossbar on its way home. Ryan Miller didn’t stand a chance.

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