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Alex Ovechkin may not have scored on opening night, but no worries: he’s on pace for a goal per game anyway. The Russian machine scored his second goal in the first period on Saturday, giving the Caps a 2-0 lead.

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Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin scored his first goal of the season and tell me if you’ve heard this one before. It was a power play play goal from the left face-off circle. Tuukka Rask didn’t stand a chance.

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Alex Ovechkin Crushing Dudes (GIFs)

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Photo: Geoff Burke

This offseason felt particularly long, so I smiled extra wide on Thursday as I watched Alex Ovechkin crush Montreal Canadiens left and right. While Ovechkin didn’t score in the shootout loss, he did finish the night with six hits, tied with Brooks Orpik for the most among all skaters.

My favorite hit was Ovechkin leveling left wing Jiri Sekac. The Czech was playing in just his second career NHL game. This had to hurt.

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Photo: Leonid Elenin’s Facebook

On March 31, 2009, Russian astronomer Leonid Elenin discovered an asteroid. Some five years later, Elenin has chosen the perfect name for it: Alex Ovechkin.

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Ask Not the Sparrow How the Eagle Soars, Hockey’s Back!

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If you’re like me, October can only mean two things: Halloween is coming, and HOCKEY IS BACK!!!

To celebrate the return of the Caps, I did what I do best: Illustrate! Here we have Jason Chimera as the Ice Cheetah, John Carlson as Captain America, Nicklas Backstrom as Thor, Braden Holtby as the Holtbeast, and of course, Alex Ovechkin as the namesake, the Russian Machine. Our hockey superheroes in Red are ready to soar into DC again, prepared to thwart whatever stands in their way.

(The quote comes from an anime I watched summer, Kill La Kill. I thought it was pretty fitting, since y’know…. eagles/weagles.)

Hockey is here, so you know I’ll be in the stands, unleashing a little fury to do my part for the thwarting.

LET’S DO THIS.

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Photo: Chris Gordon

Recent years in Caps-land have been chaotic, but there’s always been something you can rely on: everybody having a different opinion on how Alex Ovechkin can improve. You’d think the sixth fastest player to 400 goals is maybe doing alright, but for the media and the revolving door of Caps coaches, “fixing” Ovechkin is always all the rage.

Dale Hunter wanted Ovechkin to sacrifice his body and block shots, Adam Oates wanted The Great Eight to play with fourth-liners, and Bruce Boudreau wanted Ovi to push the pace and look for odd-man breaks.

Now it’s Barry Trotz’s turn.

When asked if he’s noticed “subtle” changes in Ovi’s play during the preseason, the new Caps coach spoke about what he’s wanted the Russian machine to improve on: defense.

Here’s the key quote: “His stick was up around his shoulders at the start of camp and now it’s below the waist. We’ll get it right on the ice before too long.”

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A few weeks ago, Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin hosted a private skate for children with developmental disabilities. It was a cute skate, but the cute meter went to 11 when Ovechkin was asked out on a date by Ann, a 10-year-old who has Down syndrome.

Now that’s a confident woman.

After playing her request off that day, the bachelor decided to have Ann’s entire family over for dinner at Verizon Center on Sunday. After they watched the Capitals beat the Hurricanes 5-2.

It’s about as adorable as you can imagine. Wait, actually no. It’s moar than that.

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Photo: Amanda Bowen

The Washington Capitals concluded their preseason on Sunday by dismissing the Carolina Hurricanes 5-2 at Verizon Center. That five spot led to a bunch of high-fiving on the bench, which our Amanda Bowen dutifully captured.

Check out below for details of Alex Ovechkin’s new gloves, Barry Trotz’s poker face, and a whole lot of smiling Caps.

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Editor’s note: We don’t always get everything right here at RMNB, and we don’t always have the perspective to deal with the criticism we get. For that reason, we’ve asked Eric Fingerhut to act as an independent critic of our work and to keep us honest and accountable. Here comes the RMNB Ombudsman.

Hi, I’m Eric Fingerhut and you may know me from my incessant (some would even say tiresome) criticism of the Washington Post Sports section. I am the new ombudsman at Russian Machine Never Breaks, which means I’ll be providing a monthly critique of the site — as well as hopefully providing a voice for some of the complaints of readers. What are my qualifications for this new post? Well, I’ve been a fan of the Caps since the days of Guy Charron and Bernie Wolfe, I like to write criticism and, most importantly, Peter and Ian asked me if I’d be interested in the position and I said yes.

So let’s start with how RMNB handled the most controversial move of the Caps’ offseason, the signing of Brooks Orpik to what this website called an “insane” five-year, $27.5 million deal. I think the site’s initial response to the contract was similar to the first reactions of many Caps fans — even the biggest supporters of Brooks Orpik would have to acknowledge that signing a 34-year-old defensive defenseman to a five –year deal for more than $5 million each year in a salary-capped sport is a questionable move. And RMNB backed up their strong opinion with solid analysis — Peter had a great post on the day of the signing contrasting what Ted Leonsis and Brian MacLellan had said just a few weeks earlier about things such as the importance of puck possession and the danger in signing aging veterans to long-term contracts, and then noted how the Brooks Orpik signing seemed to undermines everything they had so recently professed to believe.  A later post speculating on how the defense might line up – and how someone is going to make lots of money to play third-pair minutes – was also quite interesting.

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Photo: Amanda Bowen

With the final preseason game in the books for the Capitals, the team’s opening night line-up is shaping up: Alex Ovechkin, Nicklas Backstrom, and Eric Fehr will be on the top line. Marcus Johansson, Andre Burakovsky, and Troy Brouwer will man the second. Jason Chimera, Brooks Laich, and Joel Ward will be on the third. The fourth line looks set, though scrappy free-agree invitee Liam O’Brien looks to have earned his way into a contract with Hershey or a two-way deal. Michael Latta, though, appears ready to play alongside Evgeny Kuznetsov and Chris Brown on the fourth line. That might change when Jay Beagle comes back from injury.

“That would be a question for Mac[Lellan],” Trotz said of O’Brien. “He’s been as good as anybody especially in that role.”

“He’s a player that demanded to be noticed,” the coach added.

19-year-old rookie Andre Burakovsky appears to have also made the team, beating top prospect Kuznetsov to center the team’s second line. At least initially.

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