Photo: Robert Mayer

In his first game back since the crushing disappointment of Sochi, Alex Ovechkin did what Alex Ovechkin does, scoring the game-winning goal in a crazy, 5-4 bonanza against the Florida Panthers.

He also got two assists. Three-point night for the Great Eight. Deal with it.

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Ovechkin takes a break during Tuesday's practice. (Photo: Carolyn Kaster)

Ovechkin takes a break during Tuesday’s practice. (Photo: Carolyn Kaster)

Backstrom answers questions at Kettler Capitals Iceplex on Tuesday. (Photo: Carolyn Kaster)

The Caps sent five players to the Olympics. None of them accomplished their ultimate goal, and only one (Marcus Johansson) appears likely to come away with a medal.

The Sochi games were most disastrous for Washington’s two best players, Nicklas Backstrom and Alex Ovechkin.

On Tuesday morning, Backstrom and Ovechkin talked to the DC media for the first time since their disappointments, holding successive press conferences at Kettler Capitals Iceplex.

“It’s been a couple tough days,” Backstrom said at the start of a media availability that became combative at times. “I don’t wish no one to have to go through this. It’s not fun.”

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Amid the chaos of Nicklas Backstrom‘s gold-medal game suspension on Sunday, Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin quietly joined his second social media network, Instagram. The Russian machine chose the subtle username, a0gr8 because modesty. Then he went wild, posting pics of everything Ovi. Let’s catch up.

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After 42 years out in California, The Tonight Show returned to New York City on Monday. New host Jimmy Fallon didn’t wait long to make a joke about Alex Ovechkin. In his fourth Tonight Show on Thursday, Fallon introduced a segment called Olympic Thoughts and had some fun with a recently taken Ovi photo.

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We’ve sometimes lobbed criticism at Washington Capitals head coach Adam Oates, but one thing we can agree on is that his handling of Alex Ovechkin since being hired has been excellent.

Oates has reinvigorated the Caps captain, helping him to win the MVP the last season. Under Oates’ tutelage, Ovechkin has grown as a player and a scorer.

On Wednesday when asked about the mountains of criticism for Ovechkin after Russia failed to medal in their own Olympics, Oates — in my opinion — had one of his finest moments as a Capital.

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Team Russia Knocked Out: Reactions and Sad Photos


Photo: AP

It started off so well. Ilya Kovalchuk scored early in the first period of Russia’s quarterfinals game against Finland, but Finland fought back (as good teams do), scoring twice later in the period, including a goal from septuagenarian Teemu Selanne. Finland added another goal in the second period. Russia couldn’t come back. They lost 3-1.

This is no ordinary loss. After getting blown out by Canada in the Vancouver 2010 Olympics, this was supposed to be different. Russia was supposed to medal. They were supposed to win gold in front of their home fans.

Instead: sadness, disappointment, blame. Again.

We’ll be updating this post with images and quotes from the players as they come in.

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Photo: Winslow Townson

Team Russia defeated Norway 4-0 on Tuesday to advance to the quarterfinals tomorrow against Finland. Despite leading his countrymen in shots again today (4), Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin did not score. He hasn’t tallied since Russia’s first game and first goal of the Olympics against Slovenia – a drought of three games – though he leads all of Team Russia in shots fired (21).

Ovechkin spoke after the game to RBC.ru and was asked about the lack of goal scoring. He also had intense words about playing Finland.

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Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games

Photo: Jeff Vinnick/HHOF-IIHF Images

Yesterday, after the United States beat Team Russia in the shootout 3-2, there was a handshake line — which let’s all agree is one of the best traditions in hockey. During the Sochi Olympics, opposing players have high-fived each other at the conclusion of every preliminary round game, an act normally reserved for elimination.

Because of this, we get to see what I’m going to ahead now and declare the second best Caps related photo of the Olympics (Nicky and Mojo biking together will always be first). Here, wonderfully captured by the IIHF’s Jeff Vinnick, John Carlson and Alex Ovechkin shake hands after the game. They look amused.

Thanks to Morgan M. for instagramming the photo, and @MikeBradley27 for originally posting.

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Photo: Jayne Kamin

Alex Ovechkin and Team Russia played John Carlson and Team USA Saturday morning. The game was an instant classic, the best of the Olympic tournament thus far. Russia lost 3-2 in the shootout after TJ Oshie scored the deciding tally on Sergei Bobrovsky five-hole.

Ovechkin spoke to R-Sport after the game.

“Today’s game was even worthy of a final,” he said to Alexander Rogulev. “It was a good game, unfortunately we lost in the shootout.”

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