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Photo: Bruce Bennett

Tuesday, Washington Capitals General Manager Brian MacLellan held a conference call with the media from Las Vegas, where the 2016 NHL Awards are taking place. MacLellan touched on his plans for the Caps’ restricted free agents, his thoughts on hockey coming to Vegas, and his worries about the upcoming expansion draft.

MacLellan also talked at length about current restricted free agent Marcus Johansson and what the current plans are in regards to contract talks with the Swede and his agent. MacLellan said that he was “optimistic” about the negotiations, but that some of the comparables for Johansson may have a higher salary than they are comfortable with.

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You Can Buy a ‘Rock the Rainbow’ Caps Shirt Now

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Brandi and Braden Holtby represented the Washington Capitals in this month’s Capital Pride Parade. The shirts they wore, which I guess we’re calling #RockTheRainbow, were a hit even before the crushing sadness of the following day’s news. Everybody wanted one, but only a select few Caps org folks actually had the privilege.

That changes now.

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Ovechkin poses with the Rocket Richard Trophy, which he won again this year, at the 2014 NHL Awards. (Photo: Harry How)

The Washington Capitals had a domineering regular season in 2015-16, running away with the Presidents’ Trophy by 11 points. On Wednesday evening in Las Vegas, their personal feats from this past season will be honored. Well… most of them.

One Caps player already has hardware locked up: Alex Ovechkin, who won the Richard Richard Trophy as the NHL’s leading goal scorer. It was his third straight 50-goal season. But there will be no crazy blue suits on the red carpet this year. Ovechkin will not be in Las Vegas to claim his prize.

“Alex will not be attending the Awards this year,” a Capitals spokesperson said in an email to RMNB, declining to elaborate further. A spokesperson for the NHL also confirmed Ovechkin’s absence.

Ovechkin is also a finalist for the Mark Messier Leadership Award for the work he did for the American Special Hockey Association. Let’s assume he’s not going to win that one, lest the Awards become even more awkward.

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Here’s Your 2016-17 Caps Schedule

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Photoshop by maddyjl

Here’s something to liven up what is otherwise one of the dullest off seasons in recent memory: The Caps have released the schedule for next season.

In a shocking turn of events, half the games are road games! Let’s look together.

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The full schedule won’t be released until Tuesday, but we already know how the 2016-17 season will begin: with pain.

The Washington Capitals will open up the new season at home against the Islanders on October 15, but two days prior they’ll be in Pittsburgh for the Penguins’ home opener.

That night, the Penguins will raise their new Stanley Cup banner in front of the Washington Capitals, who don’t have one of those.

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Ilya Samsonov Draft

Photo: Bruce Bennett

This Friday, the Capitals will be picking from the 26th position during the 2016 NHL Entry Draft. The Caps have had great success recently drafting from the bottom of the first round and will try to find another diamond in the rough again this year.

Over the last few weeks, NHL draft experts have been publishing their Mock Drafts. I’ve collected who they believe the Caps might pick to see if there are any patterns.

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Photo: @DetroitRedWings

Eighteen years ago today, the Washington Capitals’ longest playoff run in franchise history ended in a whimper. Riding two power play goals from Doug Brown, the Detroit Red Wings defeated the Capitals 4-1 at MCI Center to win their second straight Stanley Cup.

No NHL team has repeated as champions since that year. The Capitals have have not advanced past the second round since, despite winning two Presidents Trophies.

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During rush hour Wednesday afternoon, the Capitals announced that defenseman Karl Alzner underwent successful surgery to repair a sports hernia. Alzner suffered a torn groin injury in the playoffs, which kept him on the bench for most of the Caps’ season-ending loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins. Alzner played just two shifts early in the second period before being pulled from Game Six.

The initial injury seemed to have occurred during the first round series against the Flyers but progressively grew worse.

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Eric Fehr Wins Stanley Cup With Pittsburgh Penguins

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Photo: Jared Wickerham

During the summer, Eric Fehr left the organization that drafted him in 2003 for its biggest rival.

“I knew that come free agency day, when [the Penguins] came calling, I knew there was going to be, not necessarily an uproar, but I knew that Caps fans would be upset about it,” Fehr said recently to The Washington Post’s Mark Giannotto. “But at the end of the day, it was a good opportunity for me. It was a good fit, and I was excited about the team that was here having played against them for as many years as I did. Knowing how good they are, I wanted to be a part of that.”

And in the end, the move paid off. Fehr is now a Stanley Cup champion for the first time in his career. The Winkler, Manitoba native will get a championship ring and have his name immortalized on the Stanley Cup forever.

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Photo: Puck Buddys

Saturday afternoon, Braden Holtby and his wife Brandi supported the DC LGBTQIA community and “Rocked the Rainbow” in the Capital Pride parade. The Holtbys were also joined by several members of the Capitals including PA Announcer Wes Johnson, in-game host Erin Magee, Slapshot, and the Red Rockers.

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