Photo: @Latta17

New Washington Capitals general manager Brian MacLellan has made some polarizing moves on Tuesday. First, he signed Justin Peters to a reasonable deal to serve as Braden Holtby’s back-up. Then, GMBM unloaded a boatload of cash to Brooks Orpik’s door, which he has been roundly criticized because Orpik is old and bad.

Mixed in with those signings, the Caps announced that they have re-upped restricted free agent Michael Latta to a two-year, $1.15 deal. That’s worth celebrating.

Latta, the only remaining gem of the Filip Forsberg trade, is a straight-up good hockey player. Playing mostly with Tom Wilson and possession anchor Aaron Volpatti, Latta managed a better-than-it-seems 48.6 percent possession score. He also tallied four points — including the GWG against Detroit — and drew a ridiculous amount of penalties. The dude can penalty kill. He can also fight (poor Rinaldo). And he is a pest– a good one at that.

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Photo: Grant Halverson

Around 12:30 PM, the Washington Capitals made their first splash into free agency, signing a minor yet potentially important player. Carolina Hurricanes goaltender Justin Peters has signed a two-year, $1.9 million deal, worth an annual average salary of $950K.

Peters, drafted 34th overall by the Hurricanes in 2004, will likely be the back-up for Braden Holtby. Peters played in the AHL before earning a call-up. He proved himself a solid goaltender as Cam Ward struggled with injury.

Peters is a notorious Caps-killer, posting a 4-3 record with a 1.67 GAA, .938 SV%, and two shutouts in seven career games against his new team.

Simply put: Peters is a solid goalie who can handle a potentially larger role if necessary. And he comes at a good price.

This move also signifies that Capitals prospect goalie, Philipp Grubauer will now be relegated to AHL Hershey and have to play out of his mind to force his way to the NHL.

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We’ve got some important, breaking news on the Alex Ovechkin beat tonight. Margarita Glukhova of ITAR-TASS is reporting that the Russian machine has been named head judge for Miss Moscow 2014.

Ovechkin, 24 hours removed from winning his fourth Maurice “Rocket” Richard trophy, will judge the ladies on their talent and their swimsuits.

Also, if I’m reading this right, Ovechkin will judge a dance number. And if there’s anyone who knows dance, it’s Ovi.

Below, Igor Kleyner has translated the entire press release. Congratulations, Ovi, on this important and distinguished honor.

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Capitals Name Todd Reirden Assistant Coach


Reirden and his crazy eyes.

Pittsburgh Penguins assistant coach Todd Reirden was not unemployed long. After the Pens hired the WHL’s Mike Johnston as their new coach early on Wednesday, Reirden was fired. A mere eight hours later, Reirden was employed once again, this time by new Capitals coach Barry Trotz. Reirden will take over parts of both Calle Johansson and Blaine Forsythe’s roles with the team.

So who is he? First and foremost: a former player that was in my old video games. Long since retired, Reirden’s been an assistant coach since 2008. Working with the Pens last season, Reirden worked closely with Pittsburgh’s defensemen (ranked 7th in goals in 2013-14) and the power play unit, which — according to the Capitals PR — scored the most power-play goals (164) and posted the highest power-play percentage (22.3%) in the NHL since 2011. That’s exciting.

Pittsburgh has been an elite team for a long, long time with a slew of offensive superstars in Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin. It’ll be interesting to see how much Reirden’s systems and coaching impact the Capitals.

But baby, I’m ready for the ride.

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Photo: @myregularface

At 7:45 pm, Alex Ovechkin was awarded his fourth Maurice “Rocket” Richard trophy for leading the league in goals. Instead of getting invited on stage, Ovechkin was interviewed at his seat by new Hockey Night In Canada host George Stroumboulopoulos.

Ovi said he was excited for himself and his team– and his coach… who doesn’t have a job anymore. So. Yeah.

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Please contain your excitement. Ladies and gentlemen, Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin has arrived at the NHL Awards and he’s ready to mingle. In classic Ovi form, he has put on his most finely pressed blue suit (which is not at all new) and unbuttoned it. Guido look accomplished. All he needs now is a cigar to complete the look.

The NHL Awards show will be airing live from Las Vegas at 7 pm. Until then, we’ll be updating this post with all of Ovi’s escapades.

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It’s official. Tuesday afternoon, the Washington Capitals announced the hiring of Mitch Korn as the team’s new goaltending coach. Korn, who has been Nashville’s goaltending coach since 1998, has coached Pekka Rinne to consecutive Vezina Trophy nominations in 2011 and 2012. Before joining the Predators, Korn spent seven seasons with the Buffalo Sabres, where Dominik Hasek won four Vezina Trophies and two Hart Trophies. That’s a pretty good resume.

Caps great Olie Kolzig will remain in the organization in a unspecified role. The Capitals announced that Kolzig was not fired, but “expressed his desire to not continue as a full-time goaltending coach due to family reasons.”

Today’s news confirms an earlier report by The Tennessean’s Joshua Cooper from two weeks ago.

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After years of getting eviscerated by internet memes made by pouty hockey fans, LeBron James has had enough. He’s leaving Miami. I know many of you want him to take his talents to the District. The Wizards just need that last piece or two to become a real contender, and LeBron could be it. I’m happy to confirm the report: LeBron is coming to Washington.

…Just not to play basketball.

He’s going to sign with the Washington Capitals.

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Calle Johansson is one of my all-time favorite Washington Capitals players. He’s one of the most consistent two-way defenseman I’ve ever seen play and one of the gosh-darn nicest and funniest guys in the world.

That’s why this is so awkward. Around 8:50 PM on Monday night, tucked in between Alex Ovechkin’s media presser and the NHL Awards tomorrow, the Capitals’ Mike Vogel released the news that Johansson will not return next season as an assistant coach. He has stepped down and will be returning to Sweden.

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Photo: @WashingtonCaps

Late last week, Alex Ovechkin flew to North America for a weekend-long electronica music fest. Also, the NHL Awards. After concerts and the time by the pool, Ovechkin also managed to take care of some serious business too: caucusing with his new coach, Barry Trotz.

The coach and his pupil had dinner on Saturday night (I’m guessing in lawn chairs behind Tiesto’s turntables) and discussed which wing Ovechkin would play, the team’s new system, and well, other stuff that we’re not allowed to know right now so quit asking because it’s private. I guess we’ll find out at training camp.

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