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Friday night, the Capitals lost to the Rangers 3-2. I mostly abandoned GIF’ing, but for good reason. Andy Tongren, the lead singer of the Young Rising Sons, came to my house to watch the game. Yes, a legit rock star came to my house to play with my ferrets, play fetch with my kitten, and watch the Caps.

The Young Rising Sons are signed to Interscope Records and currently recording their first full album. They’ve released two (very good) EP’s, which you can buy on iTunes here and here. You’ve likely even heard their monster single “High” before, which is catchy af.

Andy and drummer Steve Patrick play hockey (even with me outside the 9:30 Club) and are huge Caps fans. Steve is the nephew of Capitals president Dick Patrick.

I interviewed Andy in my basement during the game. We talked about touring, Justin Bieber, the Caps obviously, and the Man V.

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The last twelve days have been a whirlwind for Taylor Chorney. A journeyman AHL defensemen for most of his career, the Caps’ 7th D earned a two-year contract extension that will keep him in the NHL through 2018. Chorns’ good play while Brooks Orpik was out injured inspired the Capitals to make a deal.

The monetary raise wasn’t the only thing Taylor’s family could celebrate. On Tuesday, Taylor Chorney’s wife gave birth to the couple’s first child, a son named Turner William. That night, Chorney was scratched for the Pens game and likely missed out on a lot of sleep, but with back-to-back games, Barry Trotz immediately put Chorns back into the line-up Wednesday against the Toronto Maple Leafs.

In the first period, Chorney’s good luck continued. The defenseman scored his first goal since February 15, 2011, and his very first goal as a Capital. How long has it been since Chorney has dented the twine? During that stretch, Alex Ovechkin scored a whopping 225 times.

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BrooksLaichLeafs

Photo: Patrick McDermott

The tribute video was just over a minute long, but the ovation seemed endless. Brooks Laich’s teammates past and present stood and banged their sticks on the boards in recognition of his devoted service to the Washington Capitals and the game of hockey.

It began when he joined a last place team in February 2004 — Alex Ovechkin wouldn’t play his first game in Washington for another 20 months — and ended when he left in February 2016, with the Caps smashing NHL records with their eye on their first Stanley Cup in franchise history. Laich’s trade to the Toronto Maple Leafs was billed as a salary dump, but it was one that left Washington’s general manager on the verge of tears. After Bruce Boudreau, Alex Semin, George McPhee, and Mike Green departed, Laich was one of the last of the Rock the Red, run-and-gun core that made hockey relevant in this town again.

“I wish the guys good luck,” Laich said when asked what he said the his former teammates during the tribute. “I looked down the bench and wished the guys good luck.”

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ovechkin-laich

Photo: Marianne Helm

Early Sunday morning, Brooks Laich was dealt to the Toronto Maple Leafs in what was essentially a salary cap dump. Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin typed a particularly sweet message to Laich on Instagram immediately after the trade was announced.

“Me and u was together since my 1st year,” Ovechkin wrote. “We make this team together! Im gonna miss u bro good luck to u!!! Gonna miss u!!!”

Since then, Laich flew to Toronto and made his debut Monday night in the Leafs 2-1 loss to the Lightning. Afterwards, Laich said he still had mixed emotions about the trade. “My heart was really there [in DC],” he admitted.

Wednesday night, in a cruel twist, Laich will be forced to revisit his feelings of the deal when Toronto plays the Capitals in Washington.

Ovechkin admitted how weird the situation will be after the Caps’ morning skate, Tuesday.

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Photo: Claus Andersen

Twenty-four hours after getting traded, former Capitals Brooks Laich and Connor Carrick made their debuts for the Toronto Maple Leafs. Laich, wearing number 23 (weird), had a shot and a hit in 12:27 of ice. Carrick, wearing number 8 (bold), had three hits in 19:13 TOI (fourth most on the team). Carrick also fought J.T. Brown in his second NHL bout. The Leafs fell to the Lightning 2-1, but they outshot Tampa 32-28.

After the game, Laich admitted that “there’s certain times where a little wave of emotion comes” when he thinks about his 12-year career with the Caps being over.

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Claus Andersen

Photo: Claus Andersen

At around 10:45 pm Daniel Winnik received a call that “shocked” him: he was traded from the from the Toronto Maple Leafs to the first place Washington Capitals. Within a half hour, Caps fans had the a similar reaction when they heard of the transaction. Brooks Laich, DC’s longest tenured athlete, who had played all but one game of his 743 game NHL career with the Capitals, was going the other way. Because of his loyalty to the organization, Laich was making $4.5 to skate on the fourth line. He had scored just one goal so far this season. And the Capitals made a decision to help their hockey team.

“I was a part of scouting him in the beginning, so it’s hard,” Capitals general manager Brian MacLellan, who said the 32 year old’s contract was “weighing us down” in terms of what the Capitals could do this offseason, said. “It’s frustrating, but we had to do what‘s necessary to keep the organization, keep the team going forward here.”

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barry-trotz-icing

The Washington Capitals and Chicago Blackhawks played an entertaining, mostly even game on national TV Sunday afternoon. The Caps dominated the first period, Blackhawks dominated the second period, and the two teams played an even third period. It was unfortunate that one team had to lose. It was even more unfortunate that a team had to lose on what appeared to be a missed icing call.

Here’s the play.

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PatrickSmith

Photo: Patrick Smith

The Capitals came back to beat the Minnesota Wild 3-2. Though they eventually had dramatic goals from Alex Ovechkin and Dmitry Orlov, they looked listless for more than 40 minutes of play. After the game, Caps head coach Barry Trotz could anticipate what was coming.

“It’s 31 times that we haven’t scored first,” Trotz told a reporter who asked about Washington’s poor play early on. “Not that I count it out.”

The Caps have now have now allowed the game’s first goal seven games in a row and 14 of their last 17 games. Many of these slow starts have been against mediocre teams like the Coyotes and the Wild who both made Washington look pathetic in the first period this week. The Capitals usually come back — barely. Twelve of their last 14 games have been decided by one goal. Eight of those 12 games were victories for Washington.

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RobCarr22616

Photo credit: Rob Carr

Last year, the Capitals’ top defense pair was John Carlson and Brooks Orpik. This year, those two have missed a combined 43 games. Tonight, it was Carlson’s turn again.

“He probably saw the doctors tonight and we’ll probably have an update (Saturday) because I don’t really know yet,” head coach Barry Trotz said. “He’s not 100 percent or he would have played tonight. It is a lingering of the old injury so we just want to have the opportunity to let’s get it settled down or fixed. Whatever we need to do let’s just do it so that it’s not lingering on.”

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michael-latta-dolphin

Photo: @latta17

Saturday at Kettler, the Washington Capitals held a strenuous morning skate ahead of their game that night with the New Jersey Devils. After team drills, Michael Latta worked on his (surprisingly good) stick-handling at center ice, before saucing some passes with former roommate Andre Burakovsky.

Despite only playing in 40 games this season, Latta has already put up a career high in points (7) and has been a valuable contributor from the Capitals’ fourth line. When he hasn’t been on the ice, the St. Clements, Ontario, native has been one of the most fascinating players on the team, dancing with dolphins, begging for Instagram follows, and ragging on roommate Tom Wilson.

I spoke to Latta about life, hockey, and Caps Twitter on Saturday inside the locker room. It was a good chat.

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