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On Tuesday night, Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin had a normal Ovi night: he scored two goals and dangled the puck through a dude’s legs. In a new twist, he also dropped down to his knees in his first period and blocked a shot off his skate.

Ovi skated off the ice gingerly. Two seasons ago, he broke his foot on a similar play.

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“Cautiously optimistic” is one of those contorted bits of language that gets tossed about with abandon in Washington. DC loves bad language; the more obfuscatory and non-committal a phrase, the greater its use. Orwell called it “that mixture of vagueness and sheer incompetence,” which makes us laugh because, while Orwell was referring to official British government communications, that seems an even more apt description of the Washington Capitals at several points over the past few years.

Not so this year. The front office, the coaches, Trotz and the team all look like they’re pulling in roughly the same direction. The point is: no modifiers about it. When it comes to the Capitals, call us Optimistic. Ish.

Which brings us to tonight’s tango with the New Jersey Devils (3-0).

Traditionally, this is the point where we trade barbs about the other place we’re playing, noting what a vile and smelly pool of despair it is. But we’re talking about New Jersey here. Saying mean things about New Jersey is like yelling at a sick puppy – it takes no talent and everyone just ends up feeling awful. So let’s just say “New Jersey” and leave it at that.

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Photo: Geoff Burke

So much happened Tuesday night during the Caps/Sharks game that it was impossible to cover it all. Liam O’Brien tallied his first NHL point, the Caps came back like two different times from an impossible deficit, and terrible hockey player John Scott summoned the power of Thor to lower the boom and score his first goal since dinosaurs roamed the earth.

There was another play I loved that I didn’t get to cover. DID YOU SEE THAT ‘AND ONE’ MOVE OVI PUT ON LOGAN COUTURE??? OMGGGGGG.

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The Baltimore Orioles have been swept out of the ALCS by the Kansas City Royals. That was an unceremonious end to the team’s best season since 1997. I’m still stunned.

The Orioles had a truly magical season. They lost Matt Wieters to injury after just 26 games and Manny Machado after 82. Newly mortal but still spectacular slugger Chris Davis missed the playoffs to suspension for taking adderall without permission. And yet they found new talent in improbable places: Steve Pearce’s out-of-nowhere slugging, Nelson Cruz’s redemption tour, Zach Britton’s heavy-gravity closing, and whatever the hell you would call Ryan Flaherty and whatever the hell it is that Ryan Flaherty does.

The Orioles dominated the AL East and swept the ferocious Detroit Tigers in the ALDS. And though they were felled by the Kansas City Royals in four straight, blooper-filled, small-ball disasters, I still love the Orioles. If you love them– or Maryland at all– I’ve made some shirts that might interest you.

(If you’re not from Maryland and/or hate us for this stuff, just skip over this one! We still love you.)

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Alex Ovechkin, Evgeny Kuznetsov, and Dmitry Orlov were all that Fury premier tonight. And lo and behold, they actually got to meet Brad Pitt. AND give him a custom made Caps jersey too.

How cool is this? Oh man.

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Photo: @WashingtonCaps

On Wednesday night, the movie premiere of Fury, Brad Pitt‘s latest film, was held at the Newseum in Washington D.C. According to The Hollywood Reporter, this is the first time Sony has held a world premier in the nation’s capital.

The movie, which takes place in Europe during the final month of World War II, is about a five-man crew that must try to accomplish a deadly mission in the heart of Nazi Germany. It stars Pitt, Shia LaBeouf (ew), Logan Lerman, Jon Bernthal, Michael Peña, Jason Isaacs, and Scott Eastwood.

Many famous war celebrities were scheduled to attend such as retired four-star general Colin Powell, former Army Chief of Staff George Casey, and three-time NHL MVP Alex Ovech… Wait, what?

Related: Alex Ovechkin and Evgeny Kuznetsov Present Brad Pitt With Washington Capitals Jersey

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This was awesome. (Photo: Toni L. Sandys)

Welcome to The Awesome Index. This column collects the very best people, or things, or abstract concepts in the Caps universe each week. It won’t be as stat-driven as the Sunday Snapshot or as comprehensive as Japers Rink’s Ups and Downs. It’s just a hastily assembled, somewhat defensible ranking of what looks great in red this week.

Awesome, right?

Now come and tell me where I’m wrong.

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Win this autographed Mike Green jersey by making a small donation to the Fisher House.

Editor’s note: RMNB reader Katie Sieck needs your help for a real good cause that we’ve discussed here before. Everyone who donates $20 or more has a chance to win some cool Caps loot, so donate and help her out. Katie takes it from here.

In just a few weeks, I’ll be running through the streets of Arlington and DC during the 39th Marine Corps Marathon with 30,000 of my closest friends. I thought that the best way to celebrate running my first marathon would be to run as a member of a charity team that supported members of our military and their families. Many of my family members and friends have served our country in the military, and some continue to serve—it was an easy decision. I’m running “The People’s Marathon” with Team Fisher House and the Fisher House Foundation.

If you support me and this worthy cause, you could win an autographed Mike Green jersey, a 2011 Winter Classic baseball cap, and a 2011 Winter Classic knit hat.

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O'Brien signs his first NHL contract.

O’Brien signs his first NHL contract.

It always seems there’s one player at every camp who comes out of nowhere to make the team. Last season it was Connor Carrick. This season it was undrafted free-agent invitee Liam O’Brien.

The forward, who managed just 42 goals in 261 junior games, did not get signed by Brian MacLellan to a three-year entry-level contract because of his scoring prowess. It was his tenacity and grit.

All of O’Brien’s strengths came through during Tuesday’s 6-5 shootout loss to the San Jose Sharks. O’Brien tallied his first NHL point in his third NHL game and also got a bunch of media coverage for taunting bear-on-skates John Scott.

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The Cardiac Caps are Back: Sharks beat Caps 6-5 (SO)

Patrick McDermott

Irwin is an anteater. (Photo: Patrick McDermott)

It’s started as badly as you could imagine. After just 10 minutes, the Caps trailed the San Jose Sharks 3-0. But a stirring effort in the second period brought the Caps within striking distance. Remember, last season, when the Caps would go down two goals and you knew it was over? Well, now that’s over.

Matt Irwin connected for two in the game’s first five minutes, followed up by John Scott (seriously) five minutes later. Holtby out, Peters in.

The Caps got three back in the second period, including Ovi’s third of the year, but the Sharks led 4-3 going into the third.

Tommy Wingels kicked off the third period with either a hardnose goal or Carlson and Orpik just gave up. No matter, Ovi neutralized it with an Ovi shot from the Ovi spot with under 10 minutes remaining. Troy Brouwer stalked up to Niemi’s net like a panther before tying the game from the slot.

Overtime was thrilling but didn’t give us a result, so…

Shootout bullets!

  • Backstrom did NOT put the biscuit in the basket
  • Marleau did NOT put the biscuit in the basket
  • Kuznetsov did NOT put the biscuit in the basket
  • Pavelski put the biscuit in the basket
  • Fehr did NOT put the biscuit in the basket

Sharks beat Caps 6-5 in the shootout.

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