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Photo: Amanda Bowen

One hundred sixty days after the Washington Capitals missed the playoffs for the first time since 2007, 66 players took to the ice in Arlington, Virginia looking to atone for a lost season. New head coach Barry Trotz put his players through a 45-minute practice and then a rigorous skate test, which left many exhausted, including Alex Ovechkin. This year’s training camp is supposed to be a hard one, part of Trotz’s plan to transform this team from an also-ran into a real success. The Caps have just two days of training camp to get their legs under them before the preseason opens on Sunday.

Below the jump are photos from the day via RMNB’s newest contributor, Amanda Bowen.

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Photo: Amanda Bowen

On the first day of training camp, new Washington Capitals head coach Barry Trotz set the tone for the upcoming season by putting all 66 Caps players through a difficult skating test.

According to The Patriot-News’ Tim Leone, “the conditioning skate involved skating the length of the rink down and back twice and then back through the red line.” What made it worse was this came immediately after each group’s 45-minute practice session. Talk about brutal.

The players only had to do the test three times if they were able to beat 38 seconds on the first two trips and 41 seconds on the third. However, if they failed to meet those times on any of the tests, they had to do the insane skate twice more.

On Thursday, Brooks Laich spoke about how the new coaching staff would require every player to meet the same standards and that they didn’t care “what your last name is.” Which brings me to these photos of a pained-looking captain and three-time MVP Alex Ovechkin after completing his test.

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Photo by the incomparable Chuck Gormley

For those of you who need something optimistic to clutch onto after the first day of training camp, I have some news for you. Brooks Laich did not get injured within the first ten minutes of camp (unlike last year). So maybe this is the season he becomes healthy again. Fingers crossed.

On top of that, the good-groin’d Laich is returning to his role as a quote machine, which was sorely missed. On Thursday, he spoke to Mike Vogel and answered a question many of us have been wondering.

What is Barry Trotz’s system going to be laich (get it)?

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Washington Capitals forward Brooks Laich came out from the lockerroom and addressed with the media why he left the ice only after ten minutes this morning. “It was a left hip flexor,” Laich said to 106.7 The Fan’s Sky Kerstein. “It is completely non-related to what happened to me last year.”

“We’ll monitor it day-by-day and it should come back very very quickly,” Laich added according to Monumental Network.

Laich also suggested that the ice at Kettler may have contributed to his injury. “The ice back home [in Saskatchewan] is very hard, and I came here and this ice is very soft.”

Laich says he tweaked his hip and first started feeling pain last Thursday.

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Photo credit: Justin K. Aller

Well that was fast. Our long national nightmare continues. Brooks Laich is hurt again.

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James and Shannon show off their jerseys at Front Page Arlington. (Photo credit: Ian iPad)

On Sunday, the Washington Capitals officially opened training camp at Kettler Capitals IcePlex in front of about 1,000 raucous Caps fans. There wasn’t an empty seat in the bleachers, and rows of red-clad fans, four to five people deep, surrounded the rink. It was as if the lockout never happened.

But there were some fans not in red. They stood out from the pack, and that was intentional.

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