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RIP (Photo: @WashCaps)

Washington Capitals head coach Barry Trotz might have given his players the day off Thursday, but everyone ended up on the ice anyways. The Caps held what I can only describe as an “intense team building event” at the Calgary Curling Club and I’m sad to report there was one casualty: Alex Ovechkin‘s pants. Let us have a moment of silence for #OviPants.

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Photo: Washington Capitals

This Wednesday against the Detroit Red Wings, the Washington Capitals will be holding Hockey Fights Cancer Awareness Night. Caps players will wear purple jerseys during warm-ups while both goaltenders, Braden Holtby and Justin Peters, will be wearing lavender-colored masks throughout the game. How cool is that?

The jerseys will then be autographed and auctioned on the main concourse during the game. Also notable and adorable, eleven-year-old Ryan Darby from Make-A-Wish will participate in a ceremonial puck drop. Hopefully, he throws Henrik Zetterberg out of the dot like Braden Nienaber did with Steve Ott last year.

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Nicklas Backstrom Scores 500th Point (GIF)

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Playing the Atlanta Thrashers on October 5th, 2007, Nicklas Backstrom scored his first NHL point, an assist on Michael Nylander’s power-play goal. Five-hundred games and 2,570 days later, the 26-year-old Swedish center has scored his 500th career point, a power-play assist on a John Carlson goal.

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John Erskine Got Surgery, Will Be Out of Action for a While

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Photo: Greg Fiume

John Erskine suited up 37 times for the Caps last season. Rumor has it he was playing through injury for most of them. Erskine had already lost his spot in the starting six this season before suffering an upper-body injury during a recent practice.

It was a “little bit of an older injury that sort of got irritated so we left him [in DC], had it looked at right now,” Barry Trotz said to The Washington Post’s Alex Prewitt on Tuesday. “[It] could get aggravated more as he keeps going, if he doesn’t take care of it now. [Trainer Greg Smith] said we’ll take a look at it.”

Now, the Caps tell us Erskine underwent surgery on Wednesday to repair a disk in his neck.

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Photo: Rob Carr

On Wednesday morning, Sportsnet released an interview with Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin. They asked Ovi about lots of interesting things: the music video he co-starred in August, what he remembers from his first NHL goal, and fancy stats!

I’m going to go ahead and share that last part.

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We had to use this photo. See more from Amanda Bowen.

Wilson is going to Hershey, and it’s not for a rehab/conditioning stint.

Tom Wilson played 82 games for the Capitals in his rookie season, but he was given remarkably little opportunity to excel. With fewer than eight minutes a night, Wilson scored just three goals and seven assists on the bottom line, though he did rack up 151 penalty minutes.

Things looked bright for Wilson’s sophomore season, but an ankle injury in July set him back significantly. Now, having missed camp and the first two weeks of the season, Wilson is finally ready to return to hockey …but he’ll be doing it with the Hershey Bears of the AHL.

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ChimeraGoal

Photo credit: Patrick McDermott

Last season, Adam Oates tried to reinvent Eric Fehr. Instead of being an auxiliary winger, Oates turned Fehr into a checking line center. Actual hockey isn’t NHL 15, so the role was uneasy for Fehr. Center is a  greater responsibility than being a scoring winger, offensively and defensively. Pivots are, perhaps, a little smarter than the rest of us. Fehr never quite settled into the position and bounced around the lineup and the press box under Oates. He did, however, find success with Joel Ward and Jason Chimera, inspiring a cult following for the line.

This season, it looked like Barry Trotz put an end to the Eric Fehr 3C experiment, placing the Manitoban on the top trio with Nicklas Backstrom and Alex Ovechkin. After Tuesday’s histrionic 6-5 loss to San Jose, Trotz’s shifted his lineup. Fehr was back with Ward and Chimera. On Thursday, the line was Washington’s best. While they only registered one of Washington’s five goals — and it was barely even a goal — the trio shut down the opposition and earned praise from Trotz. Against the Panthers, the third line was again inspired. Chimera had a myriad of chances while scoring Washington’s lone goal of the night. It was set up by a brilliant pass from the corner from Fehr.

“With that line, I think that Fehrsie’s got really good hockey IQ,” Trotz said. “He can read off those two guys.”

“That whole line’s been really good the last couple games,” he added.

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Alex Ovechkin, Evgeny Kuznetsov, and Dmitry Orlov were all that Fury premier tonight. And lo and behold, they actually got to meet Brad Pitt. AND give him a custom made Caps jersey too.

How cool is this? Oh man.

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I swear I’m not making this up.

Groupon has a new offer. For a good price you’ll get tickets to the Caps and a t-shirt, but who cares. Just check out the promo text:

Hockey teams are often named after intimidating natural phenomena, such as the Tampa Bay Lightning, the Colorado Avalanche, and the Tuscaloosa Puberty. Experience the fury with this GrouponLive deal.

(Emphasis mine.)

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Caps Hire Analytics Pioneer Tim Barnes, aka Vic Ferrari

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The best, err… only, photo of Barnes on the net. (via CBC.ca)

The Capitals have, kinda notoriously, not been friendly to analytics in recent years. In a blog post this summer, owner Ted Leonsis made a crack about fans complaining that the team didn’t acquire “Joe Corsi and Peter Fenwick” during free agency.

Now, the Caps have hired the creator of the Corsi stat to run analytics for the team.

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