BurakovskyFirstGoal

Photo credit: Patrick McDermott

Two summers ago, Andre Burakovsky came to Capitals Development Camp as a skinny but skilled winger a few years away from the NHL. He made friends with Tom Wilson, about 11 months his senior, and the Canadian introduced him to life in North American and the “cinnamon rollers” that come with it.

Wilson made the Caps roster as a 19-year-old three months later, playing in every one of the team’s 82 games but barely getting on the ice. He registered 15 times more penalty minutes than points. Connor Carrick, another 19-year-old, also made the team out of camp. Though Carrick impressed early with manifest skill, he struggled as the season went on. Thanks to the Caps barren defense, Carrick was playing minutes he wasn’t ready for. Like Wilson, Carrick was ill-served by his rookie experience.

“It’s tough for a young kid,” new Caps GM Brian MacLellan said in his introductory press conference, admitting the team should have handled the players differently.

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ovechkin-asteroid

Photo: Leonid Elenin’s Facebook

On March 31, 2009, Russian astronomer Leonid Elenin discovered an asteroid. Some five years later, Elenin has chosen the perfect name for it: Alex Ovechkin.

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Remembering Jay Beagle’s Flip Phone, “Flipper”

rip-flipper

We got some devastating news from The Washington Post’s Alex Prewitt on Tuesday: Jay Beagle‘s long-time companion Flipper has gone to a better place. By better place, I’m thinking a dumpster or a Verizon Store recycle bin.

Flipper is survived by my T-Mobile RAZR and Ted Leonsis’s LG Revere flip phone.

This news has shaken me to the core. I haven’t eaten. I couldn’t sleep. I’ve just been sobbing for hours on end.

Who is Jay Beagle without a flip phone? It’s like Adam Vingan without the puns. I don’t recognize it.

To console you, dear RMNB reader, as well as myself, let’s remember the better times– the times when Jay Beagle was still really, really technology-challenged.

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peter-bondra

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 copy

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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joe-b-locker-wedding1

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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