Forsberg (2 of 6)

Photos by Chris Gordon.

Saturday, Filip Forsberg will play at Verizon Center for the first time. Caps fans eagerly awaited this moment when he was drafted 11th overall in 2012. But in March of 2013, Forsberg was sent to the Nashville Predators in exchange for Martin Erat and Michael Latta. It was a bad trade from the start, made worse when Adam Oates ran Erat out of town. Ever since, it’s been a sore spot for Caps fans. This season, the wound has been ripped open. Through 75 games, Forsberg has 56 points and is in the running for the Calder Trophy. While Caps fans still miss him, it seems Washington never made much of an impression on Forsberg, who laced up for the Capitals just once, during the team’s 2012 Development Camp.

“From coming here, things turned out in a way that no one really saw coming,” Forsberg said Friday, when he visited Kettler Capitals Iceplex for the first time since the trade. “They’ll always be a part of it, but obviously I never really made anything for the Capitals.”

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tom-wilson-baked-goods

Photo: Maggie D’Arcy

On Friday, the NHL announced that they were idiotically fining Tom Wilson $2,000 for diving. That’s probably okay with Wilson though because today he left Kettler Capitals Iceplex with about $2,000 worth of baked goods.

It was a decent trade-off.

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travis-boyd

Senior Travis Boyd leads Minnesota to the NCAA Tournament (Photo: Brian Ekart)

With all six conference tournaments ending last Sunday, the field for the NCAA Tournament is set. This weekend, the top sixteen teams are divided in four single-elimination regional tournaments whose winners will face each in Frozen Four semifinals in Boston on April 9. The championship game will be played on April 11.

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ovechkin-messi-lol

Soccer legend Lionel Messi and the Argentinian national soccer team are in Washington DC this week for a friendly against El Salvador on Saturday.

After taking in a Wizards game earlier in the week, Messi met with Alex Ovechkin– one of Messi’s biggest fans– to exchange jerseys. Ovi totally fanboyed.

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While handicapping the Art Ross race with ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun, Wayne Gretzy, the greatest hockey player to ever live, shared effusive praise for Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin.

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ovechkin-the-crazy-8s

For the last ten years, Max and Zach Wolpoff,The Crazy 8’s, have been a familiar site at Washington Capitals game, sitting on the glass right beside the Caps bench. Yesterday, we wrote about how the Caps/Devils game would be the Ovechkin superfans’ last together due to higher learning.

During warm-ups, Alex Ovechkin gave them a parting gift. In yet another gesture in a season full of them, Ovechkin gave the brothers two game-used sticks. It was a complete surprise to them.

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AlznerGoal

Photo credit: Patrick McDermott

On Thursday night, Adam Oates was back behind the bench at Verizon Center for the first time since being fired at the end of last season. Much has changed since then. On this night, the Capitals were playing with sticks that were familiar to them and their coach was not giving his players the cold shoulder. But the most important change, at least on this night, came on defense. Oates instituted a defense system that required blueliners to give up the puck almost immediately after gaining it. This led to forced passes and a myriad of odd-man breaks against. It turned former Norris Trophy nominees like Mike Green into subject of ridicule. The Capitals defense, on the whole, was very bad.

This year, however, things are different. In offseason, new general manager Brian MacLellan added some much needed balance to the Capitals by signing Brooks Orpik and Matt Niskanen to big money deals. New coach Barry Trotz has also freed up its defensemen, allowing them to carry the puck when necessary. This has led to a resurgence for Green, who has 39 points this season. Other blueliners have also chipped in. Through 73 games, Karl Alzner had more than doubled his career high in goals and surpassed his career high in assists.

Against the Devils, Alzner added his fifth goal of the year in a decidedly un-Oatesian way.

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evgeny-kuznetsov-otgwg

Photo: Alex Brandon

10:45 AM Update: 12 hours later, the NHL has finally credited Kuznetsov with the goal.

Original Post: (Before you read this, know that the NHL is still crediting Matt Niskanen with the OTGWG, which is incorrect.)

If you ever wanted to understand how far Evgeny Kuznetsov has come as a hockey player, his game-winning goal against the Devils– and the seconds before that– are all you need to see.

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Adam Oates Sucks: Caps beat Devils 3-2 (OT)

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The Capitals hadn’t played a game since the late 80s (okay, Saturday), so they looked rested and dialed-in for most of Thursday’s home game against Adam Oates and the New Jersey Devils. Then the third period happened, wherein the Capitals played a prevent defense, which is about as effective as the rhythm method is at birth control.

Inconceivably, Karl Alzner scored first, wandering deep in the offensive zone, where Oates did think him naughty for being there. Eric Fehr doubled down in the second period because he’s terrific, but then Travis “Pat” Zajac cashed in on one of the Caps’ many power-play turnovers. The Caps surrendered the possession game in the third period and relied way too much on Braden Holtby. Steve Bernier tied it up in the final thirty seconds to force overtime, but who cares– Matt Niskanen fired the niscannon to get the OTGWG. (Or maybe Kuznetsov tipped it? Doesn’t matter. CAPS WIN!)

Caps beat Oates 3-2 in overtime.

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tom-wilson-big-hit-again

Tom Wilson‘s been his normal wrecking ball self tonight. Early in the game, he was ushered to the box along with Mark Fraser after both players committed roughing minors. The resulting 4-on-4 hockey led to a Karl Alzner goal.

Later in the period, Wilson laid out Eric Gelinas in the neutral zone. Gelinas’s airborne body then slammed into Brooks Laich. Ouch. I’m getting whiplash just looking at this.

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