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After the Washington Capitals defeated the Buffalo Sabres 1-0 in their preseason opener on Sunday, the game’s only scorer, Andre Burakovsky, spoke to CSN Washington’s Al Koken. Burakovsky said stuff but who cares; look at that baby in the corner.

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Photos by Chris Gordon.

In the last couple days, we’ve made a lot of Barry Trotz’s new tough, tiring training camp. The outlook is part of a trend of forced seriousness as Trotz and Brian MacLellan look to turn the Caps from underachievers to a spring success story. Trotz’s psychological makeover manifested itself in the latest way Sunday, when the players stepped into the team’s new locker room at Verizon Center for the first time. In additional to new stalls, the room features a large version of the team’s secondary logo on the floor, which was roped off. “Don’t step on the logo,” members of the media were warned by a team spokesman upon entering the room.

“I think there’s a pride we should have in our organization,” Trotz said. “It’s about what’s on the front of the jersey, not what’s on the back of the jersey. What’s on the front of the jersey is very important and should be a little sacred. Plus it makes the room look great.”

“Few things are sacred now in sport and I want our logo to be something that we’re very proud of,” he concluded.

Here are some photos of the new room.

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Caps Install New Hat Trick Displays at Verizon Center (Photos)

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Photos by Chris Gordon.

This season, the Capitals are celebrating their 40th anniversary. Since they weren’t able to raise any Eastern Conference Regular Season Champion banners last year, the team decided to add a new installation outside section 111 honoring the hat tricks in franchise history. The exhibition, in a neat touch, includes displays of headwear collected after 13 hat tricks at Verizon Center since 2008. Most of those, naturally, come from Alex Ovechkin, with cameos from Nicklas Backstrom and Troy Brouwer and departed Caps Alexander Semin and Mathieu Perreault. There’s currently space for three more hat tricks. How quickly those get filled will depend on whether teams keep leaving Ovi wide open at the near circle.

Below, take a look at some photos.

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Here’s Joe B and Locker in Fedoras

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This is how we know hockey is truly back. Hope you’re enjoying the preseason silliness. (Pic by Stars and Sticks.)

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Photo: Chris Gordon.

Day two of Capitals training camp was Saturday, and the team continued the tough pace set by Barry Trotz on Friday. Each of the three group of players spent about an hour and the half on the ice, focusing on drills designed to simulate game situations and learn the system. With the first preseason game just hours away, three groups of Caps battled along the boards for loose pucks and charged at the net. Unlike previous regimes, Trotz is throwing the players into the fire quickly.

“This is the one day we had to prepare to play tomorrow,” the coach told reporters. “We tried to get a lot of stuff in that was situational.”

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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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The best moment of Caps Rookie Camp didn’t happen on the ice. It happened on Monday in front of a podium. That’s where one Czech, Jakub Vrana, who knows some English, helped another Czech, Vitek Vanecek, who knows virtually none, speak to the media.

The result was a five-minute press conference full of laughing, inscrutable Czech banter, and one-sentence English translations for the media.

Curious as to what Vrana and Vanecek were actually saying to each other in their native language, I reached out to Darina Sameková, a bilingual Czech, and asked her to translate LITERALLY EVERYTHING.

The result is a stressed-out Vrana desperately trying to get good answers out a joking Vanecek. It’s just the best. You have to trust me and read this.

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Caps Install Hat Trick Display in Verizon Center

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Photo: Washington Capitals

A few years ago, Washington Capitals owner Ted Leonsis mused on his blog (I can’t find the article anymore) about someday doing something special with the hats that Caps fans throw onto the ice after a hat trick.

Fast forward a few years and Leonsis has seen the idea through. The Caps have unveiled a hat trick display at Verizon Center located behind section 111 of the main concourse.

Unfortunately, the photo that the team tweeted out is kind of hard-to-see. But don’t fret. When we get to our first home game, we’ll have some better ones to show you.

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