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Soccer legend Lionel Messi and the Argentinian national soccer team are in Washington DC this week for a friendly against El Salvador on Saturday.

After taking in a Wizards game earlier in the week, Messi met with Alex Ovechkin— one of Messi’s biggest fans– to exchange jerseys. Ovi totally fanboyed.

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While handicapping the Art Ross race with ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun, Wayne Gretzy, the greatest hockey player to ever live, shared effusive praise for Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin.

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For the last ten years, Max and Zach Wolpoff,The Crazy 8’s, have been a familiar site at Washington Capitals game, sitting on the glass right beside the Caps bench. Yesterday, we wrote about how the Caps/Devils game would be the Ovechkin superfans’ last together due to higher learning.

During warm-ups, Alex Ovechkin gave them a parting gift. In yet another gesture in a season full of them, Ovechkin gave the brothers two game-used sticks. It was a complete surprise to them.

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Photos via the Wolpoff’s

Ever since the NHL came back from the 2004-05 lockout, there has been a constant in Washington: Alex Ovechkin. And also those crazy fans who sat beside the Caps bench wearing 8’s on their heads. They’ve been shown on CSN Washington countless times during games. They are as much a fabric of the Caps fan experience as The Horn Guy, Goat, or the Brouwer Rangers.

I have some sad news to deliver. Thursday night will be the last time you see Max and Zach Wolpoff, The Crazy 8’s, in those seats during a regular season game. Time and higher education have become sad realities for the Wolpoffs.

Max will be leaving the area in the fall to attend Boston University to study communications. His goal is to one day take over the play-by-play duties from Doc Emrick or Joe Beninati. His older brother Zach, already a sophomore in college, is studying geography at Hofstra. Being relocated to New York has made attending games difficult the last two seasons.

“It’s hard to believe that it has been ten years– an entire decade,” Zach told me Tuesday. “Two presidents, an arena name change, a jersey change, two winter classic wins, three captains, five coaches, five division championships, two GMs, a countless number of players that I could probably name most of, and about 15 inches of hair.”

The brothers credit their Uncle Gregg as being the brain child behind the wearable 8’s.

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In this week’s snapshot, Peter offered his assessment of the Caps’ chances this Spring in the playoffs:

However they looked in October and whatever hot streaks we’ve seen this season, the Capitals are not a championship team. (Or, if they are, we haven’t seen evidence of it lately.) They’re not bad like under Adam Oates (and for that I am grateful) but they’re not great. They’re just good. They’re a good team with a good coach.

Unless the bounces go bad or they draw a tough team, these Capitals should make it into the second round of the playoffs. No further.

I tend to agree with Peter. The Caps are a solid team. And while anything can happen once you get into the playoffs, I wouldn’t put any kind of money on this being the Caps’ year. They are a good team, but they are not currently a Cup-caliber team.

But, like I said, anything can happen once you’re in the playoffs. So let’s look at three reasons the Caps could win the Cup, beyond the fact that hockey, much like life, is often more random and unpredictable than we can comprehend. And then to be end on a downer, we’ll look at three reasons the Caps won’t win the Cup.

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Photo: @beatsbydre

Monday afternoon, after surprising six-year-old Bensten Schone at his McLean, VA home, Alex Ovechkin decided– oh heck, let’s just make 35 more kids’ days too.

Ovechkin and Beats By Dre hosted youth hockey players from Fort Dupont’s Ice Hockey Club for a practice at Kettler Capitals Iceplex. Former Caps and current CSN Washington analysts Alan May and Brent Johnson joined in on the fun too.

While the event was sponsored by a multi-billion dollar company, Ovechkin did not spend his time shilling merchandise. Instead, he skated with the kids and was a big adorable goofball.

See exhibits a, b, and c.

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Photo: Pavel Lysenkov

In his latest article in Sovetsky Sport, Pavel Lysenkov embedded an obscure photo from nine years ago which I totally had to share. It’s Washington Capitals captain Alex Oveckhin dressed-up in ridiculous battle armor and posing with a horse with an emo haircut. He’s Alexander The Great. Get it?! His name is Alexander and he’s gr8, so…

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Photo: @aleksandrovechkinofficial

244 days after his engagement to Russian tennis player Maria Kirilenko ended, Alex Ovechkin is dating again. At 4 AM on Sunday morning, Ovechkin posted a photo of himself with Nastya Shubskaya. The caption in Russian reads:

Моя девочка,спасибо что ты появилась в моей жизни !!!очень дорожу тобой❤️

According to Igor Kleyner, it says in English, “My girl, thank you for appearing in my life!!! I cherish you so much❤️”

O rly?

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Photo: @aleksandrovechkinofficial

On Thursday, Sovetsky Sport’s Pavel Lysenkov spoke to Alex Ovechkin’s mother, Tatyana Ovechkina, on her 65th birthday. Much of the conversation was devoted to the two-time gold medalist’s career in basketball, but Lysenkov managed to get one adorable tidbit about the Russian mother’s personal life too.

Ovechkina revealed how she and Ovechkin’s father, Mikhail, first met 47 years ago. She was an 18-year-old athlete and he was a soccer player.

It’s cute.

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Photo: Bruce Kluckhohn

Alex Ovechkin just scored again– this time off a beautiful face-off win by Nicklas Backstrom.

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