CapsCanes05

Photo: Amanda Bowen

The Washington Capitals concluded their preseason on Sunday by dismissing the Carolina Hurricanes 5-2 at Verizon Center. That five spot led to a bunch of high-fiving on the bench, which our Amanda Bowen dutifully captured.

Check out below for details of Alex Ovechkin’s new gloves, Barry Trotz’s poker face, and a whole lot of smiling Caps.

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evgeny-kuznetsov-preseason-goal

Photo: Alex Brandon

Washington Capitals top prospect Evgeny Kuznetsov has struggled during much of the preseason. He’s blown assignments, been the cause of several opponents’ goals, and looked generally lost at center. On Sunday, Barry Trotz moved Kuznetsov back to wing, the position he’s played for years in Russia. Kuznetsov looked far more relaxed.

Playing on the fourth line with Chris Brown and Liam O’Brien, Kuznetsov immediately scored in the first period of their final preseason game.

The goal took poise and patience.

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My friend Steven Frietas did some cool stuff at the preseason game against the Flyers the other night. By now you’ve already seen Amanda Bowen’s beautiful photos, but now please check out some of that same action in slow motion.

My favorite spot is Niskanen, without a stick, smushing R.J. Umberger (I think) into the glass.

Enjoy, and please follow Steven on the Twitters; he’s hilarious.

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five-year-old-ovi-head

Photo: @FuzzyByskitz

Reader Brian took his five-year-old son Ethan to the Caps Flyers preseason game on Thursday. After the Caps won in the shootout, Brian and Ethan spotted a man on the concourse with a giant Ovechkin head. Brian asked if his son could take a photo with said Ovechkin head. This is what happened.

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andre-burakovsky

Photo: Geoff Burke

The Capitals got shellacked 6-1 by the Buffalo Sabres at Niagara Center on Wednesday, but one Caps player continued to make a case to be on the opening night roster: Swedish prospect Andre Burakovsky.

Burakovsky, who set a Swedish OHL record with the Erie Otters last season by tallying 87 points (41 goals, 46 assists) in 57 games, appears — at least to this writer’s eyes — to be the front-runner for the Caps’ second-line center opening.

The 19-year-old first-round pick led all skaters on Wednesday with five shots on net. He also hit the post on a breakaway in the first period. Through three games this preaseason Burakovsky has a goal and an assist. During Sunday’s game against Montreal, he forced a turnover by Canadians defenseman PK Subban along the boards and set up Joel Ward for the game-winning goal. In the Caps first preseason game of the year, he scored the game-winning goal.

Wednesday, Burakovsky centered Troy Brouwer and Brooks Laich on the team’s de facto second line.

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schmidt-elbowed

Last season, Washington Capitals defense prospect Nate Schmidt had his year ended early after suffering a knee injury on a low-bridge hit by Norfolk Admirals defenseman Garnet Exelby.

Playing Montreal on Sunday, Schmidt narrowly missed a head injury after getting elbowed in the noggin by Jarred Tinordi, son of former Capital, Mark Tinordi.

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Ovechkin Fist Pump

Photo: clydeorama

Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin scored his first goal of the preseason. It is literally exactly how you’d imagine it.

Powerplay goal? Check.
At or near the left circle? Check.
The goalie knew it was coming and still couldn’t stop it? Check.

Look at this ish.

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csn-philly-trivia

Photo: @Estebomb via @ajkais13

Comcast SportsNet is cheap, so we have been subjected to the Philadelphia Flyers’ broadcast of the Capitals preseason game tonight, plus Craig Laughlin. So not only have we been listening to the remedial hockey analysis of Keith Jones, but we’ve also been subjected to trivia like the brain teaser above.

Duhhhh. No idea, CSN Philly. Can you give us a hint?

The more difficult question would have been: who is that guy who is not Aaron Volpatti?

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Here’s Joe B and Locker in Fedoras

joe-b

This is how we know hockey is truly back. Hope you’re enjoying the preseason silliness. (Pic by Stars and Sticks.)

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1 Day Out: Sochi

The NHL regular season begins tomorrow, and yet, for some people, the real action won’t begin until February. For the second time in our bloggity life, the NHL season will be interrupted for the Olympic hockey tournament.

Olympic hockey is great. The ice is big and weird, the rules confuse me, and the final games are like the All Star game except not absolutely unbearably awful like the All Star Game, which sucks. It’s Crosby and Team Canada vs Ovechkin and Team Russia vs Someone and Team USA vs Someone Else and Team Other Country Probably Sweden.

Here at RMNB, we are going all-out for the Olympics. We should — no wait, I just decided– we WILL send one of our writers to Russia for the event. Just picking at random… Fedor. There. Done. I’m a decision-maker. Fedor, if you’re reading this, please contact Ian for your traveling expenses.

Some people say Olympic gold is even better than winning a Stanley Cup. These people are called Europeans. For Europeans and European-sympathizing North Americans, the NHL season is going to be one big prelude to the Olympics. As rosters are finalized and the ice is laid down in Sochi and Evgeny Kuznetsov rehabs, our attentions might be momentarily swayed from Caps hockey. Please forgive us if that offends you. We feel duty-bound to cover it all and root for our preferred players’ quest for Olympic gold.

But we won’t ever forget that Stanley Silver is more valuable.

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