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One of my all-time favorite Capitals is Peter Bondra, so I’m so very happy to spread this news.Bonzai will participate in the ceremonial puck drop before Thursday’s home opener against the Montreal Canadiens– along with Hall of Famer Rod Langway, long-time defenseman Sylvain Cote, and everybody’s favorite color commentator, Craig Laughlin. Thursday marks the team’s actual 40th anniversary of the franchise’s first game in 1974, so that’s the reason for all the hubbub.

The Caps will also wear white alternate uniforms during the home opener that will be auctioned off during the game. A donation of Evgeny Kuznetsov’s game-used jersey can be sent to me via RMNB, ATTN: Ian Oland, I Know You Won’t Buy It For Me But It’d Be Really Awesome If You Did Street, Frederick, MD.

Are you getting excited for hockey? Peter is and I sure as hell am. We’re just two short days away!

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liam-obrien

Crash it and good things will happen. (Photo: Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

The Capitals have announced that they signed forward Liam O’Brien to a three-year entry-level contract. O’Brien was a free agent invitee to both development and training camps. While other free agents invited saw little time as soon as the main camp started, O’Brien stayed with the Caps all the way, scoring five points (one goal and four assists) as well as getting 17 penalty minutes (including three fights) in five preseason games.

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wojtek-wolski

Photo: Championat.com

A few years ago, Polish-born forward Wojtek Wolski came to the Washington Capitals as a reclamation project. Instead of becoming a permanent member in the team’s top six, he became a permanent denizen of Adam Oates’s doghouse and left for the KHL. Since then, he has had some success with Torpedo Nizhny Novgorod.

And by success I mean setting insane records. Today Wolski set the KHL record for the fastest hat trick ever. He did it pretty fast.

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Wilson speaking to reporters last month. (Photo credit: Amanda Bowen)

After Sunday’s final preseason game, Barry Trotz said the team’s lineup was all but set. No matter what, it will be temporary. While Mike Green and Michael Latta seem likely play Thursday, Jay Beagle and Aaron Volpatti will have to wait longer to come back from injury. Adding to the myriad wounded Capitals, Dmitry Orlov and Tom Wilson may not be back for a while after breaking various things during the summer.

Orlov broke his wrist this summer while playing for Russia. The Capitals insisted Orlov would likely be ready in September or October, but now his return date has been pushed back. Same for Wilson, who broke his fibula this summer in what the player termed a “freak accident.”

Last month, Barry Trotz said Wilson might be back by opening night, but the Capitals’ Senior Editor and Content Strategist Mike Vogel tweeted on Sunday that he does not expect either Orlov or Wilson to be ready until sometime in November, approximately six months after Orlov’s surgery. Wilson’s agent wouldn’t commit to a return date but agrees Wilson is weeks away.

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Photo: Amanda Bowen

With the final preseason game in the books for the Capitals, the team’s opening night line-up is shaping up: Alex Ovechkin, Nicklas Backstrom, and Eric Fehr will be on the top line. Marcus Johansson, Andre Burakovsky, and Troy Brouwer will man the second. Jason Chimera, Brooks Laich, and Joel Ward will be on the third. The fourth line looks set, though scrappy free-agree invitee Liam O’Brien looks to have earned his way into a contract with Hershey or a two-way deal. Michael Latta, though, appears ready to play alongside Evgeny Kuznetsov and Chris Brown on the fourth line. That might change when Jay Beagle comes back from injury.

“That would be a question for Mac[Lellan],” Trotz said of O’Brien. “He’s been as good as anybody especially in that role.”

“He’s a player that demanded to be noticed,” the coach added.

19-year-old rookie Andre Burakovsky appears to have also made the team, beating top prospect Kuznetsov to center the team’s second line. At least initially.

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Before the Washington Capitals took on the Carolina Hurricanes on Sunday, there was a wedding at center ice of Verizon Center. Mike and (the now) Liz Shannon tied the knot in front of family and friends standing inside the home and away benches.

Now, getting married wearing Caps jerseys on the ice of the Capitals home arena is pretty cool, but this is where I’m going to blow your mind: CSN’s Joe Beninati and Craig Laughlin participated in the service.

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Alex Ovechkin is at the Nats Game and You’re Not

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From @rpchandler

The Washington Nationals are currently up 1-0 over the San Francisco Giants in game 2 of the NLDS.  I’m here in Frederick watching from my couch, but your boy and Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin is at Nats Parks taking in the game. Twitter person @rpchandler tweeted the photo above.

Ovi shared video from the start of the game.

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From the Capitals Instagram

It was a normal Saturday afternoon until Caps beat writer and pun master Adam Vingan shattered our worlds:

The Bulliest Dozer, self-published by author Pamela Edwards with Fehr listed as a contributor, is an actual thing with a kids book pedigree. Edwards is the author of some 40 children’s books. Fehr scored twice at the 2011 Winter Classic. We’re all gonna read it.

Update: Monumental has posted video of Fehr discussing the book. We’d embed it, but they no longer seem to allow embedding video. Interesting.

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courtney-laughlin-craig-laughlin

Photo: @courtlaugh22

During Wednesday’s Capitals preseason game against the Buffalo Sabres, Courtney Laughlin, daughter of long-time Caps color commentator Craig Laughlin, announced that she is joining CSN Washington’s pre-game show, Caps Central.

Courtney will make her TV debut next Thursday before the Capitals home opener against the Montreal Canadiens.

I spoke to Courtney via email Wednesday night, and she explained her new role.

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george-mcphee

Photo: Dave Sandford

On Wednesday, ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun released a fascinating feature on former Capitals General Manager George McPhee and former Penguins GM Ray Shero, which you must read right here right now because you have nothing else better to do.

So what did we learn today?

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