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Photo: @beatsbydre

Monday afternoon, after surprising six-year-old Bensten Schone at his McLean, VA home, Alex Ovechkin decided– oh heck, let’s just make 35 more kids’ days too.

Ovechkin and Beats By Dre hosted youth hockey players from Fort Dupont’s Ice Hockey Club for a practice at Kettler Capitals Iceplex. Former Caps and current CSN Washington analysts Alan May and Brent Johnson joined in on the fun too.

While the event was sponsored by a multi-billion dollar company, Ovechkin did not spend his time shilling merchandise. Instead, he skated with the kids and was a big adorable goofball.

See exhibits a, b, and c.

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#Caps win! #FistBumps #CapsWild

A video posted by Washington Capitals (@washingtoncaps) on

After every victory, Barry Trotz has a tradition. He stands outside the locker room and offers fist bumps to the players. All year, the Capitals have documented this on Instagram. I, a noted poopy pants, think this whole thing is contrived. Apparently Brooks Orpik agrees.

Watch as Orpik walks by and ignores his head coach after the Caps’ 3-2 win over the Minnesota Wild. Maybe Orpik’s most endearing moment of the season.

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alex-ovechkin-maxim

Photo: @capivan8

During Wednesday’s practice, the Capitals welcomed a fourth Russian onto the ice. Four-year-old Maxim Goloschapov was flown from Moscow to Kettler Capitals Iceplex because he won a promotional campaign held by Bauer Russia.

A few months ago, Bauer asked their followers to “show us your hardest shot by putting it on Instagram with the hashtag #MX3Russia. The winner gets to go to Washington to meet Alex Ovechkin.” Teeny tiny Maxim won with these two videos.

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Evgeny Kuznetsov’s Eventful Game Against Buffalo

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Photo: Elsa

In Saturday’s 6-1 trouncing of the Sabres, Evgeny Kuznetsov caught my eye on a couple of goals. On the lone Sabres tally, Kuzy seemed confused on where he should be. On one Caps goal, Kuzy was instrumental in helping to end Brooks Laich’s long goal-less streak.

Before taking a look at the two plays, I’d caution against reaching grand conclusions on Kuznetsov’s game based off of any two plays, including these. But, Kuznetsov has been criticized for inconsistent play this season, and performances like the one detailed below are an example of what draws that criticism.

Here’s what Barry Trotz had to say about the rookie’s development this morning:

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Here’s Every Top-Line Beagle Goal, For and Against

Jay Beagle, Mike Green, Alex Ovechkin

Photo: Alex Brandon

Jay Beagle is having a career-best season. With 10 goals and counting, he’s got more offensive flair than ever before. That offense has come with criticism– not for Beagle himself, who is a talented and beloved bottom-sixer, but for the coach(es) who deployed him on the top line with Alex Ovechkin.

We, among others, criticized Adam Oates for playing Beagle and Ovechkin together in 2013-14. In 42 minutes together last season, Beagle and Ovechkin and were outscored 8 to 1 and outshot 94 to 58. This season, inexplicably, Barry Trotz has used Beagle and Ovechkin together even more (112 minutes and counting), though he’s seen much better results.

In 2014-15, Beagle and Ovechkin get outshot by merely 15 shot attempts every 60 minutes, which is only as bad as, say, John Scott.

Hockey, I’ve been told, is about results. So here’s every top-line Beagle goal I could find from this season.

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Bensten Is Going Home Later This Week

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I’ve got some great news to share with you. Well, actually I’ll let Bensten tell you.

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Welcome to Washington, Curtis Glencross

Photo: Amanda Bowen (See more from Military Appreciation Night)

I’ve written about the Caps zone entries on the power play twice this season (here and here). One of the main takeaways from those stories is that Marcus Johansson is crucial to the Caps PP zone entries. Often, he’ll receive a pass in neutral from Nick Backstrom and then carry the puck into the zone along the wall.

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With all the sweating under those helmets, hockey players’ hair understandably gets a little crazy after practices and games. Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin has found a way to hide this as best he can during interviews: hats.

On Sunday, Ovechkin added a beanie to his repertoire. After the Capitals’ 4-0 over Toronto, Ovechkin wore it all wrong.

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Photo: @nikkibrust

Last week, the Caps and Penguins played one of the most tense games of the season. It included a first-period brawl that spilled onto the Pens bench. For whatever reason, NBCSN showed us just one or two angles of the dust-up and then moved on. On Reddit, user beardyman22 shared a story that didn’t make it to air that night.

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ted

NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman was in Washington DC yesterday. While he was in town, he took in the Caps-Pens rivalry game from the owner’s box at Verizon Center. Bettman also held court with the local media.

When asked about the growth of hockey in the DC Area over the last decade, Bettman marveled at the job both Alex Ovechkin and Ted Leonsis have done. Seconded.

“It’s the Ovechkin era and there’s an era that’s a little bit longer than that one and I would call that the [Ted] Leonsis era,” Bettman said beaming. “I think Ted’s ownership of this franchise has been nothing short of phenomenal in terms of how the community has been engaged and in terms of how fans have connected with and interacted with this franchise; the stability of ownership and management has been very important.”

Then it got weird. Bettman credited (I think) definitely-not-Washington Capital Evgeni Malkin.

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