CherryBlossoms (11 of 21)

Photos by Chris Gordon

This post isn’t about hockey. Instead of writing depressing things about the Caps, I’m gonna post some pictures of pretty flowers. K?

With the Caps out of the playoffs, it’s time to find some new springtime passions. If you’re not watching hockey, going outside is always a good bet. Sunday, I decided to brave the tourists and take a look at the this year’s cherry blossoms. If you go 7 in the morning you can actually avoid most of the dreaded People From Other States.

After walking around the tidal basin for four hours, I came to a shocking conclusion: DC’s not so bad. Here are my photos.

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Off to the Golf Course: Caps Breakdown Day in Photos

Breakdown Day (6 of 12)

NHL plus-minus spokesman and hair model Alex Ovechkin speaks for the final time this year. (Photos by Chris Gordon)

Monday was an odd day at Kettler Capitals Iceplex. We entered the day expecting to Adam Oates and George McPhee shed some light of their respective fates — or at least try to defend their time here.

Instead, we got an awkward stand-off with reporters. Within minutes of a spokesman announcing that McPhee would not be meeting the media, the general manager walked out to an area clearly visible to reporters. He chose to hold court with Connor Carrick in front of the entire Capitals press corps before reiterating that he would not speak today.

McPhee’s job — if he doesn’t leave of his own volition — is now in the hands Caps owner Ted Leonsis, who has never fired a general manager.

There were, however, other things that happened at Kettler on Monday: Jay Beagle got asked what he thought of Jay Beagle centering Alex Ovechkin, Dustin Penner ignored reporters to play with his phone, and Brooks Laich said that he really, really, really believes he’s healthy again.

Below, take a look at some of my photos from the day.

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Photos by Chris Gordon

Washington Capitals general manager George McPhee appeared at Kettler Capitals Iceplex around 12:50PM on breakdown day. That’s not a surprise. However, this year, instead of addressing the media after all of the players depart like every other year, GMGM declined comment. Hmm.

According to The Washington Post’s Katie Carrera, McPhee said to the crowd gathered around him “I’ll talk in a couple days.” He then coolly sipped on a can of Diet Coke and had a conversation with 20-year-old defenseman Connor Carrick.

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kuzya-selfie

Last night, Chris Gordon published a photo post entitled Evgeny Kuznetsov, Jay Beagle Take Adorable Selfies With Fans After the Final Game of the Season (Photos).

Yeah. Our resident photog posted a bunch of photos of people taking photos. It was our third most read post on Sunday. The internet is a dumb place.

Well, the actual Caps fans taking those photos with actual Caps players have graciously reached out to us and now we’ve got the original selfies.

Brace yourself. These are great.

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Camp McPhee: The Story of Lt. Christopher Mosko

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Lt. Mosko at war. (Photo: US Navy)

Lt. Mosko at war. (Photo: US Navy)

Lt. Mosko and his wife Amanda in Hawaii in 2010. (Photo via NY Times)

On April 26, 2012, Lt. Christopher E. Mosko, a Naval explosive ordnance disposal technician, was killed along with two fellow servicemen when they hit a roadside bomb heading into a village. He was 28-years-old.

Lt. Mosko was stationed at a remote 30-man outpost in Zabul province called Camp McPhee. He had been in the military since 2007, joining after getting a degree in finance and engineering at Drexel. He left behind a wife, Amanda. The couple married in 2009 after meeting in R.O.T.C. They both ended up in the Navy. After his death, Lt. Mosko was awarded a Bronze Star and a Purple Heart.

Two years later, Americans have left Camp McPhee. Our involvement in Afghanistan is coming to a close, and Afghans are in the process of electing a new president. While there will likely be an American presence in the country after this year to train Afghan forces, the majority of the troops have already come home. Twelve years after special operations troops chased Osama Bin Laden through the mountains of Tora Bora, the war is winding down with uncertainty and 2,316 American fatalities, including Lt. Mosko.

A few days ago, on a sunny Friday afternoon, I met one of Lt. Mosko’s friends. They grew up together, attending the same high school in Eau Claire, Wisconsin. Years later, coincidentally, they found themselves in the same dusty collection of buildings in Central Asia.

“It’s kinda like the Wild West where we were,” the friend said. “It was just on an island out there. Us versus them.”

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Evgeny Kuznetsov takes off his pads after Sunday’s game. (Photos by Chris Gordon)

By tomorrow morning, big changes may have already struck the Washington Capitals. After the Caps’ final game, a 1-0 shootout loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning, the players were somber, but not angry. They’ve been dealing with postmortem questions since Thursday. Four days later, those questions haven’t got any easier to answer, even if the team’s flaws are clear.

I brought my camera into the locker room as the players took off their skates for the final time this year and faced probing reporters Sunday evening. They’ll have to face the latter again tomorrow morning.

Take a look at my photos.

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OviKuznetsovOrlov

Photo: Chris Gordon

For the first time in their respective careers, Washington Capitals Alex Ovechkin, Dmitry Orlov, and Evgeny Kuznetsov will all play together on Russia’s national team. As first reported by Yahoo Sports’ Dmitry Chesnokov, Ovechkin announced the news after the conclusion of the Caps’ season-ending shootout loss to the Lightning.

The World Championships, which will be held this year in Minsk, Belarus, begin on May 9th and end May 25th.

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EvgenyKuznetsovSelfie (1 of 4)

Photos by Chris Gordon.

Jay Beagle may not own a smartphone, but he’s a nice dude. After Sunday’s 1-0 shootout loss to Tampa, the Caps held the ritual Jerseys Off Our Backs ceremony. When a man was presented with Beagle’s game-worn sweater, team photographers were swarming all around. However, the guy had more important business: Taking a selfie with Jay Beagle.

Later in the ceremony, someone else got the same idea. After pulling number 92, a gentleman tried to take a selfie with Evgeny Kuznetsov. His arm, however, was too short. Not to fear. Kuznetsov, an active user of social media, took control, asking for the phone and taking the series of photos himself. It wasn’t Kuznetsov’s first time doing that either.

Related: The Selfies With Evgeny Kuznetsov and Jay Beagle From Fan Appreciation Day

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KarlAlznerGoogleGlass (3 of 4)

Photos by Chris Gordon

After missing the playoffs for the first time in seven years, most Caps players were resigned when they spoke to the media after the game. However, the team’s annual Jerseys Off Our Backs ceremony added a little levity to an otherwise despondent day.

In particular, one member of the Capitals staff was skating around the ice wearing Google Glass, presumably filming the proceedings on them. Karl Alzner, though, wanted a try. As other players were giving away their sweaty garb, Karl tried on the gizmo wiz-bang for himself.

We’ll add the video to this post when it’s published, but for now take a look at some of my photos.

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marcus-johansson-injured

Friday night against the Chicago Blackhawks, Marcus Johansson‘s whirlwind season ended sadly when — while standing in front of the Chicago Blackhawks crease — he got hit by a high-rising shot authored by Nicklas Backstrom.

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