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Photo: @a0gr8

The Washington Capitals are out in Phoenix ahead of their game with the Coyotes on Tuesday. And our mustachioed heroes have made the most of their off day. Alex Ovechkin put on his favorite Vladimir Putin t-shirt and took a selfie with Evgeny Kuznetsov and Dmitry Orlov. I’m pretty sure that shirt is honoring Putin and making him look like a action movie star, which, uh, yeah.

Other Caps players actually made it out of the hotel rooms.

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Photo: Dennis Wierzbicki

On Wednesday, Washington Capitals forward Brooks Laich did his weekly radio segment with the Sports Junkies. The Wawota, Saskatchewan-native has missed nine out of the last ten games with an upper-body injury. On Wednesday, Laich told the Junkies that doctors believe he’s dealing with a painful nerve problem in his shoulder/collarbone area.

Laich returned to game action last Friday against the Chicago Blackhawks only to re-injure himself. “By the time I left the arena, I couldn’t touch the left hand to my face,” Laich said. “So obviously it was a little bit sore.”

Um, yeah. That’s not good.

Laich’s full comments on his injury are below.

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I love the mustaches. (Photos: @a0gr8)

In amazing Caps-related holiday news, Russians Alex Ovechkin, Evgeny Kuznetsov, and Dmitry Orlov have decided to dress up as The Three Musketeers for Halloween. I’m sure this is because they’ve all been inspired by the brilliant Alexandre Dumas novel and not because this was the easiest trio-themed costume they could find at their local Party City.

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Photo: Amanda Bowen

This morning at Kettler Capitals Iceplex, Barry Trotz took a hammer to the lines that have been so successful in the early part of the season. Alex Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom have been split up. The team’s second line, consisting of Marcus Johansson, Andre Burakovsky, and Troy Brouwer, has been blown to smithereens as well.

The Capitals also made a roster move this morning, recalling Tom Wilson from AHL Hershey and demoting Chris Brown. Brooks Laich, who suffered what appeared to be a shoulder injury last week, did not skate with the team and will not play Wednesday. Trotz believes Laich may practice later in the week. Come on, baked goods, I thought you had magical healing powers!

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Photo: @brookslaich

Two weeks ago, after recovering from injury, Capitals defenseman Mike Green scored his second goal in as many games. During the intermission, Green spoke to Al Koken and credited an unusual source for his recovery: banana bread given to him by neighborhood kids.

On Sunday night, injured forward Brooks Laich got his own special surprise from some adorable youngsters: 21 chocolate chip cookies. Or maybe 20. It looks like #21 is half eaten in Caroline’s hand.

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Brooks Laich Got Hurt Again (GIF)

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During the 2012 lockout, Capitals center Brooks Laich injured his groin playing for the Kloten Flyers. Since then he’s struggled through injury, missing 70 games over the last two seasons.

Laich promised that this campaign would be different, and so far it has. Through five games his groin hasn’t visibly hindered him. He’s played big minutes. But during the third period of Saturday’s game, Laich absorbed a tough shoulder-to-shoulder hit from noted goon Shawn Thornton. He immediately left the game.

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A very curious photo has popped up on the Capitals Instragram, and I’m still confused. It’s Brooks Laich in a top hat and fake beard, looking all like Abraham Lincoln. I had no idea what this meant until I read the caption.

No, Laich is not giving us an early glimpse of his Halloween costume. Nor is this a new look encouraged by Julianne Hough. Actually, Laich was voted the “Honest Abe Players’ Player of the Game” tonight, so– as punishment, I guess– he has to wear this.

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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

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: Amanda Bowen

One hundred sixty days after the Washington Capitals missed the playoffs for the first time since 2007, 66 players took to the ice in Arlington, Virginia looking to atone for a lost season. New head coach Barry Trotz put his players through a 45-minute practice and then a rigorous skate test, which left many exhausted, including Alex Ovechkin. This year’s training camp is supposed to be a hard one, part of Trotz’s plan to transform this team from an also-ran into a real success. The Caps have just two days of training camp to get their legs under them before the preseason opens on Sunday.

Below the jump are photos from the day via RMNB’s newest contributor, Amanda Bowen.

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