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Photo: Drew Hallowell

TSN’s Bob McKenzie did his annual coach’s poll and I’m now paralyzed by superstitious, jinx-y feelings.

27 of 30 NHL coaches voted in McKenzie’s poll. A staggering 25 of 27 coaches picked the Capitals to come out of the Eastern Conference and play in the Stanley Cup Finals. Two lost souls have Jagr Fever, picking the Florida Panthers to play in a championship series I would refuse to watch.

Meanwhile, the Capitals were heavily favored by coaches to win the Stanley Cup. Washington received 16 votes while Chicago (nine), Los Angeles (one), and Tampa Bay (one) also received consideration.

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Photo: Patrick Smith

Thursday morning, the NHL announced one-game suspensions for Alex Ovechkin and Jonathan Toews for withdrawing from this year’s All-Star Game in Nashville. Ovechkin, who played the entirety of last night’s game against the Flyers, says he is suffering from a nagging lower-body injury that he suffered in mid-November. Meanwhile, Toews suffered an illness against the Carolina Hurricanes on Tuesday and did not finish the game.

Via Wikipedia, it’s Ovechkin’s fourth suspension of his career. In 2009, Ovechkin was suspended for two games after a knee-on-knee hit to Carolina Hurricanes defenseman Tim Gleason. Later that season, Ovechkin was suspended for another two games after a dangerous hit to Blackhawks defenseman Brian Campbell in March. On January 23, 2012, Ovechkin also received a three-game suspension for a hit on Zbyněk Michálek of the Pittsburgh Penguins. The following day, Ovechkin announced he would skip the 2012 NHL All-Star Game due to the suspension.

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Evgeny Kuznetsov Named to First NHL All-Star Game

Evgeny Kuznetsov

Photo: Geoff Burke

Capitals center Evgeny Kuznetsov has been named to his first NHL All-Star Game, the team announced this morning.

Kuznetsov joins Nicklas Backstrom and Braden Holtby in representing the Caps, and replaces Alex Ovechkin on roster. The team announced after last night’s overtime loss to the Flyers that Ovechkin, who had been selected as the captain of the Metropolitan Division All-Star team, will miss the game because of a lower-body injury

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alex-ovechkin-injury

Photo: Patrick Smith

Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin will miss this year’s All-Star Game and the Caps’ February 2 game against Florida to rest a nagging lower-body injury. Ovechkin was voted by fans to be the captain of the Metropolitan Division All Stars. Hockey Night In Canada’s Elliotte Friedman was the first to report the news.

After Wednesday’s game, Caps head coach Barry Trotz said the injury has been bothering Ovechkin since mid-November. “If we wanna accomplish what we wanna accomplish we can’t do it without Alex Ovechkin, and that’s the bigger picture,” Trotz said according to Julian Coltre.

Meanwhile Ovechkin was apologetic he could not attend.

“I want to thank the fans for voting me and tell them sorry, but right now our focus to getting ready for the rest of the year,” Ovechkin said, according to NHL.com’s Katie Brown. “It’s hard, because I like to show up, I like the show and do some show, but it sucks.”

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marcus-johansson-injury

Photo: Maddie Meyer

Marcus Johansson left Wednesday’s game after suffering an upper-body injury in the first period.

It’s not apparent exactly what the injury is, but it probably occured when Philadelphia’s Wayne Simmonds smeared Johansson into the boards halfway into the first period.

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Help Us ID This Mystery Fan in a Nate Schmidt Face Shirt (Updated)

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Admit it, when you saw the above picture, which the Capitals posted on their social media platforms to advertise the game-night hashtag for the January 5 matchup against the Bruins, you thought, gee, that would make a killer shirt.

Well, guess what. You were 100% right.

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It’s Michal Neuvirth vs Braden Holtby for the First Time Ever

Wednesday night’s game between the Capitals and the Flyers is significant for two reasons: first, it’s the only Caps game to be played in a thirteen-day period; second, it’s the first time Michal Neuvirth will face the Washington Capitals in a regular season game. Better yet, this is the first time Neuvy will face his weakest competition yet in the opposing net.

We cannot wait.

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kuznetsov-williams

Photo: @CapsSTM

The Washington Capitals hosted a VIP season-ticket holder party at Bobby McKey’s Dueling Piano Bar Tuesday and something subtle but brilliant happened. During the event, Evgeny Kuznetsov and Justin Williams switched jerseys. Or should I say Evgeny Williams and Justin Kuznetsov.

It was either a sign of respect or those jokers were trying to confuse everyone.

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capitals-dominating-like-woah

This might be the understatement of the century, but the 2015-16 Washington Capitals are really good. They’ve won 35 of their first 46 games, they hold a 12-point lead over Florida in the Eastern Conference, and they’ve got a 14-point cushion over the Rangers for the Metropolitan Division crown.

But if we turn our heads to the President’s Trophy race, that’s where things get even crazier.

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Brooks Laich

Photo: Patrick Smith/Getty Images

Want to get the VIP treatment from the Washington Capitals? It’s easy. All you have to do is be from outside North America, have your weekend plans to attend Caps game cancelled by a historic blizzard, then randomly bump into Brooks Laich at the White House. Got it?

As unbelievable as that may sound, it’s exactly what happened to a German Caps fan named Daniel, who was in town to see the Caps take on the Ducks and Penguins but had to implement plan B when the NHL postponed the games on account of the snow.

NHL.com’s Katie Brown has the deets from Kettler this morning:

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