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Photos: Amanda Bowen

The Washington Capitals are 3-0-2 and are tied for first in the dumbly-named Metropolitan Division. It’s a good time to be a Capitals fan, which is why now is a good time to share these photos Amanda Bowen took at Wednesday’s practice.

Ovi: keep listening to Barry; he knows what’s up.

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Photo: @BrouwerRangers

We are told they did indeed get a high-five though!

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mike-green-goal

Washington Capitals defenseman Mike Green missed opening night, still healing up from an upper-body injury. Green made his debut in Boston on Saturday and scored on a beautiful one-timer from the point.

The goal was made possible by Russian rookie Evgeny Kuznetsov, playing in Nicklas Backstrom’s spot on the second power play unit, who found Green with a perfect pass from across the ice.

Look at this.

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Head Coach Barry Trotz is Actually the Devil (Photo)

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Photo: @frankgindc

After the Capitals lost 2-1 in the shootout to the Montreal Canadiens, head coach Barry Trotz spoke to the media about– GAH!!!

Not satisfied with being bench boss, Barry has become the actual devil, evidenced by this photo and Kuznetsov’s ice time. Now begins a long, 82-game journey to h-e-double hockey sticks.

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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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Six Capitals Predictions to Warm Your Heart

The Caps last played meaningful hockey on April 13th. Here’s what I wrote in that game recap:

…this is the end of this. Whatever’s next, it won’t ever feel like this again. The roster, the coaches, the front office– the sword of Damocles looms above them all. A shining new era is tip-toeing nearer.

And then everything changed. New coach, new system, new GM, new defense, new forwards, and I think I saw a few new gray hairs on Ovi’s head. The tumult of the last six months has been discomforting for some, but I’m excited.

I bet I can get you excited too. Lemme try.

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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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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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Photo: Geoff Burke

The Capitals got shellacked 6-1 by the Buffalo Sabres at Niagara Center on Wednesday, but one Caps player continued to make a case to be on the opening night roster: Swedish prospect Andre Burakovsky.

Burakovsky, who set a Swedish OHL record with the Erie Otters last season by tallying 87 points (41 goals, 46 assists) in 57 games, appears — at least to this writer’s eyes — to be the front-runner for the Caps’ second-line center opening.

The 19-year-old first-round pick led all skaters on Wednesday with five shots on net. He also hit the post on a breakaway in the first period. Through three games this preaseason Burakovsky has a goal and an assist. During Sunday’s game against Montreal, he forced a turnover by Canadians defenseman PK Subban along the boards and set up Joel Ward for the game-winning goal. In the Caps first preseason game of the year, he scored the game-winning goal.

Wednesday, Burakovsky centered Troy Brouwer and Brooks Laich on the team’s de facto second line.

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CapsLockerRoom (2 of 5)

Photos by Chris Gordon.

In the last couple days, we’ve made a lot of Barry Trotz’s new tough, tiring training camp. The outlook is part of a trend of forced seriousness as Trotz and Brian MacLellan look to turn the Caps from underachievers to a spring success story. Trotz’s psychological makeover manifested itself in the latest way Sunday, when the players stepped into the team’s new locker room at Verizon Center for the first time. In additional to new stalls, the room features a large version of the team’s secondary logo on the floor, which was roped off. “Don’t step on the logo,” members of the media were warned by a team spokesman upon entering the room.

“I think there’s a pride we should have in our organization,” Trotz said. “It’s about what’s on the front of the jersey, not what’s on the back of the jersey. What’s on the front of the jersey is very important and should be a little sacred. Plus it makes the room look great.”

“Few things are sacred now in sport and I want our logo to be something that we’re very proud of,” he concluded.

Here are some photos of the new room.

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