This is random timing, but why not?

Over the summer, Andre Burakovsky and Evgeny Kuznetsov participated in the NHL Rookie Showcase. The Caps teammates signed autographs and took photos for their first NHL trading cards. We also noticed they held hands with other NHL rookies and figure skated for reasons that were never completely clear.

Almost nine months later, now we know: Upper Deck hired a semi-professional figure skater to teach the rookies some… uh… new moves.

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Photo: @andreburakovsky

A few days ago, when he was still in Hershey, Andre Burakovsky took a photo with the  Easter Bunny and teammate Liam O’Brien.

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Photos: Kyle Mace/Chocolate Hockey

Sunday in Bridgeport, CT, Washington Capitals prospect/guy-that-should-really-be-on-the-team-right-now Andre Burakovsky had a goal and an assist in the Hershey Bears’ 4-3 win over the Sound Tigers. The victory clinched a playoff spot for Hershey.

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Photo: Kyle Mace / Chocolate Hockey

Friday night in Portland, Maine, one Washington Capitals prospect had an odd milestone. 2013 first-round pick Andre Burakovsky scored his first American Hockey League goal. In an odd twist, it came 163 days after his first NHL goal earlier this season.

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jojo and burra

Marcus Johansson has been one of the Washington Capitals’ most improved players this season. One of the main reasons Johansson has set a career high in goals is that he is shooting the puck more than he ever has in his career. I talked about this back in December. Here’s a quick recap:

In terms of shots per game this season, Johannson is averaging 2.04 shots. If he were to maintain this over an 82 game season, he would have 167 shots on goal, shattering his previous career high of 107 he set last season. If, Johansson were to pump 167 shots on net in a season and shoot at his career average of 12.8 percent, he would score 21 goals, which crushes his career high of 14 set in 2011-12.

However, Johansson’s play hasn’t appeared as strong lately. Including his empty net goal against Columbus, Johansson has just three goals over his previous 21 games. Something is up.

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Photo: @tom_wilso

Late last week, sometime scratch/sometime first-line winger Andre Burakovsky left the warm Swedish confines of Nicklas Backstrom’s house to move in with Backstrom’s figurative children, Michael Latta and Tom Wilson. Burakovsky is reuniting with Wilson, the man who first introduced him to mac and cheese and “cinnamon rollers.” Burakovsky calls Wilson a “really good friend,” despite Wilson putting a bag over his head at Development Camp.

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Photo: Debora Robinson

Since December, Andre Burakovsky‘s usage in the Caps lineup has been curious as Barry Trotz has had to juggle playing time among veteran and younger players. Coming into Sunday’s game, the skilled young Swede had not received more than nine minutes of ice time since the beginning of February. He’d been used as a fourth-line center, a second-line winger, and a first line winger. He had been scratched in three of the team’s last four games.

But in Burakovsky’s return to the lineup on Sunday against Anaheim, The Burracuda scored twice off of two amazing primary assists from Alex Ovechkin. He played nearly 13 minutes on the team’s first line.

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I want to start by saying I genuinely like Barry Trotz. I think he’s a good man and a good coach. He’s brought with him to Washington some of the brightest minds in hockey, he’s reversed a decline in the organization, and he’s helped Alex Ovechkin become a more complete player. I don’t think Trotz has gotten enough credit for that. He is exactly what fans wanted last summer: an experienced head coach.

But now that we’re more than halfway through the season, I see some worrying trends in this organization that reach all the way down to the AHL level.

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Nicklas Backstrom’s 400th Career Assist (GIFs)


Nicklas Backstrom finally got number 400. His 400th career assist came late in the second period, a quick response to Ryan Johansen’s goal just 33 seconds earlier.

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Wardo’s face.

Four minutes into the second period, the Capitals faced what seemed like an insurmountable three-goal deficit. Instead of giving up, they calmly chipped away at the Stars’ lead. Eric Fehr responded one minute after Jason Spezza’s goal ,then Andre Burakovsky tallied a sweet power-play goal ten minutes later to bring the Capitals within one.

It was a sick snipe.

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