Photo: Geoff Burke

Thursday night against the New York Islanders, one Russian player sent a pass to another Russian player, who scored. This time it was Evgeny Kuznetsov to Alex Ovechkin for the latter’s 36th goal of the season. It was only the latest example of Kuznetsov’s fearsome weapon: the behind-the-back assist (or the Kuzy pass from the Kuzy spot).

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Photo: Maddie Meyer

Tuesday, Braden Holtby joined Sportsnet’s Hockey Central to talk about the Caps’ success this season and breakout star Evgeny Kuznetsov. In a Players’ Tribune article released Monday, Kuznetsov exclaimed his love for the daytime TV gameshow, Family Feud. “I just want to play hockey, come home, watch the Family Feud, go to bed,” wrote Kuznetsov.

According to Holtby, it’s not just Kuznetsov who watches the show. It’s the whole team.

“That’s a hit in the locker room,” Holtby said on Hockey Central. “Especially before games or whatnot. [Family Feud] kind of brings the team together. It’s kind of our thing to do.”

Holtby was asked how this all began.

“I don’t know who started it,” Holtby said. “In the weight room at Verizon Center, it seemed to always be on at that time. The crowd got bigger. I’m only a part of it when I don’t play. I don’t know, you get those funny routines and it loosens guys up before the game. It’s a good thing to have.”

The rest of Holtby’s conversation follows.

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Tuesday morning, Capitals heartthob Brooks Laich announced his engagement to star Julianne Hough. Because the super-famous Hough is a triple threat (actress/singer/dancer) and on one of network TV’s biggest shows (Dancing With The Stars), nearly every news outlet in the world covered the proposal, including TMZ, ABC World News, and NBC Nightly News.

That’s cool and all, but anyone can post an Instagram photo and relay the news that a couple is engaged. I need hard-hitting analysis. I need deep, incisive journalism. I need Access Hollywood’s comprehensive coverage of the proposal– an entire segment dedicated to explaining who the heck Brooks Laich is.

Billy Bush, take me on a sports journey.

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Photo: Rob Carr

Tuesday, recently-traded Caps forward Troy Brouwer continued to say his goodbyes, this time joining 106.7 The Fan’s Grant and Danny for a 12-minute interview. The segment was fascinating, and at times sweet (in that awkward radio kind of way). One of those moments was when Brouwer received a surprise call (at the 10:50 mark).

“This is Gary from the Verizon Center,” the caller began. “From all the security guards in the Verizon Center, we’d like to wish you good luck in your next stop and we’ll see you around.”

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Former Capitals head coach Adam Oates surfaced on Monday morning on St. Louis sports talk radio to provide expert insight into what the Caps’ offseason moves mean for the team.

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On the first day of free agency, long-time Capital Mike Green signed a three-year, $18 million contract to play in Detroit. Despite being the most sought out UFA on the market, Green found the decision, according to Bill Roose of DetroitRedWings.com, to be a “pretty easy one.”

Here’s Mike Green in his own words on why he signed with Detroit.

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Photo: USA Today

33-year-old Patrick Sharp just won his third Stanley Cup in six years with the Chicago Blackhawks. He’s also likely won something else: a permanent trip to another team this summer.

Tuesday night, ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun went on Montreal’s TSN 690 and had a discussion about the Blackhawks and their difficult cap situation. According to ESPN, the team has a little more than $66 million committed to 13 players next year. That includes the first year of identical eight-year, $84 million contract extensions for Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews.

With next year’s cap expected to be $71 million, the Hawks have little wiggle room to fill out the roster, especially because they want to re-sign restricted free agent forward Brandon Saad. Moving Sharp would free up $5.9 million the Hawks could spend elsewhere. LeBrun believes Chicago will shop Sharp during the offseason and he could end up on the Washington Capitals.

Via Chris Nichols of Today’s Slapshot:

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Wednesday night, the Caps and Rangers played another brilliant hockey game, which came in a series full of brilliant hockey games. Every game in the series was close, so it was appropriate that game seven would be decided in overtime.

10:18 into the extra period, there was a faceoff in the Rangers zone. Hall of Fame broadcaster Mike Emrick decided that this was his moment to say something poignant– something to capture the moment– the tension of the game, the drama of the sport, and the anxiety of its nervous fans.

Instead, this is what he said.

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Alex Ovechkin: ‘We Were So Close’

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Photo credit: Kathy Willens

After the Capitals nearly came back from a 4-1 deficit in game six, Alex Ovechkin assured the media the Capitals would go to New York and win game seven. They did not, but Ovi did everything he could. He scored Washington’s only goal, throwing a game-high six shots on net. In the end, it wasn’t enough. After the game, Ovechkin spoke to reporters in a hushed tone. The game clock above his locker was frozen on the moment the Capitals’ season ended.

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Photo credit: Frank Franklin II

Braden Holtby lay on his back, looking straight up at the ironic Madison Square Garden ceiling. In 73 regular season games, Holtby anchored the Washington Capitals. He did the same for 13 postseason games, offering up one of the best playoff performances by a goaltender ever. In Wednesday’s game seven, he made 37 saves. But goalies — even great ones like Holtby — can’t stop everything. There was nothing he could do to prevent Derek Stepan‘s overtime winner, the goal that ended the Capitals season. After the game, Holtby, still clearly shaken, spoke to the media.

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