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Photo: ITAR-TASS

On Thursday night, Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin returned to the spotlight for the first time since he accepted his fourth Rocket Richard Trophy in Las Vegas. The re-emergence was for good reason.

Ovechkin was the head judge of Miss Moscow 2014. (Hall of famer Pavel Bure was on the panel too.)

“In my opinion everything went very well, very lovely,” Ovechkin said to TV reporter Ivan Obydenkov. “For us, the judges on the panel, it was one hundred percent clear who the winner was.”

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Starting at noon, it’ll be open season on unrestricted free agents in the NHL. Last year’s contracts will be up, and we’ll be inundated by a flood of exorbitant salaries and impractical terms. For the last few years the Caps have mostly been bystanders to the free agency frenzy, but with $12.7M in salary cap space, they’ll likely be a bit more active today.

I cut this video to discuss what might animate the Caps’ offseason strategy: where they stand as a franchise, what holes they need to fill, and where the problems are not.

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alex-ovechkin-richard-trophy

Photo: @myregularface

At 7:45 pm, Alex Ovechkin was awarded his fourth Maurice “Rocket” Richard trophy for leading the league in goals. Instead of getting invited on stage, Ovechkin was interviewed at his seat by new Hockey Night In Canada host George Stroumboulopoulos.

Ovi said he was excited for himself and his team– and his coach… who doesn’t have a job anymore. So. Yeah.

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Photo: @WashingtonCaps

Late last week, Alex Ovechkin flew to North America for a weekend-long electronica music fest. Also, the NHL Awards. After concerts and the time by the pool, Ovechkin also managed to take care of some serious business too: caucusing with his new coach, Barry Trotz.

The coach and his pupil had dinner on Saturday night (I’m guessing in lawn chairs behind Tiesto’s turntables) and discussed which wing Ovechkin would play, the team’s new system, and well, other stuff that we’re not allowed to know right now so quit asking because it’s private. I guess we’ll find out at training camp.

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ovi-in-vegas

Photo: @a0gr8

A year ago at this time, Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin was in London supporting fiancee Maria Kirilenko at Wimbledon. This year: not so much.

That’s because the engaged Ovechkin (still technically a bachelor) is in Las Vegas one week before the NHL Awards. He’s there with some of his best friends for what seems to be a party of some sort. In completely unrelated news: AskMen just named Sin City the number-one bachelor party destination.

Ovechkin has done us all a solid by incoherently chronicling his trip on Instagram. The most compelling thing he’s posted so far has been the video of him at the pool. People walk by him like he’s no big deal. Only in Vegas, I guess.

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Photo: kuzy092

Over the past week, Washington Capitals rookie forward Evgeny Kuznetsov has been jet-setting across the world on vacation with his wife Nastya.

Kuzya could certainly use the rest and relaxation. Last season, the winger played hockey in two different leagues and did not make the playoffs in either. He also participated in the World Championship and suffered two somewhat major injuries.

The 22-year-old has addressed his pressing mental and physical concerns by taking a vacation that is positively siiiiickkkk.

Let’s vicariously enjoy it (like we did with his car), shall we?

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Someday This Will Be Us

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Photo: @amelladventures

Over the weekend I was bored and started browsing through Instagram on my iPad. I ended up looking at all the photos and videos Kings fans uploaded after they won the Stanley Cup. You would think that’d be a mistake (okay, maybe I cried a little), but in the end it reminded me why I want the Caps to win their own cup so badly some day: the celebration is unmatched.

From a fan’s perspective, here’s what scoring the Stanley Cup/winning goal is like; here’s what it’s like to see the captain of your team first lift the cup; and here’s what it’s like to riot in the streets of LA and down a police-controlled drone.

It’s pretty frigging cool.

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Photo: sports.ru

On June 1st, Washington Capitals rookie forward Evgeny Kuznetsov traveled to the city of Kopeysk, located in the region of Chelyabinsk, to play a friendly. Every Children’s Day, Kopeysk hosts a charity soccer game. This year’s pitted hockey players against the city’s district administration.

Kuznetsov, joined by KHL players Georgy Gelashvili, Danis Zaripov, Anton Burdasov, defeated the city officials, but it took an extraordinary effort by the Caps young gun.

(Yes, we’re writing seriously about a soccer game right now. Summer can’t end soon enough.)

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On Sunday night Alex Ovechkin introduced the world to his dogs using Instagram. I did not know this, but he has five of them and they are all German Shepherds. And they are all ready for bedtime.

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Alex Ovechkin Dances Onstage in Moscow (GIF)

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There was an Alex Ovechkin sighting in Moscow on Saturday, and it wasn’t awkward at all. Ovechkin got up onstage and danced to Irakli Pirtskhalava’s performance at the ICON nightclub.

We’ve got the GIFs. The glorious, glorious GIFs.

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