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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Photo by the incomparable Chuck Gormley

For those of you who need something optimistic to clutch onto after the first day of training camp, I have some news for you. Brooks Laich did not get injured within the first ten minutes of camp (unlike last year). So maybe this is the season he becomes healthy again. Fingers crossed.

On top of that, the good-groin’d Laich is returning to his role as a quote machine, which was sorely missed. On Thursday, he spoke to Mike Vogel and answered a question many of us have been wondering.

What is Barry Trotz’s system going to be laich (get it)?

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Photo: @juleshough

Way back in April, Washington Capitals hunky forward Brooks Laich cut a video for TSN, explaining five things every man should know how to do. Well apparently he left one very important thing off that list: how to gut and filet a frigging fish.

Laich, who is vacationing with his girlfriend Julianne Hough whom he totally loves, gave tiny-men-in-training Bronson and Quaid a lesson they’ll never forget.

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Photo: @BrooksLaich

You’re bummed right now. I get it. Alex Ovechkin and Maria Kirilenko have broken up, Weezer is making new music (their new single is terrible), and the second Hercules movie of the year is about to drop and it’s got The Rock in a wig. It’s a bad time to be a human. Heavy Ovi thoughts tonight.

But there is some happy news on the romance beat. Brooks Laich used the L word in a happy birthday tweet to girlfriend Julianne Hough.

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Trotz MacLellan (11 of 13)

Photos by Chris Gordon

Early Monday, the Washington Capitals announced that they had promoted Ross Mahoney, who has been the Caps’ director of amateur scouting for the past 16 seasons, to the vacant assistant general manager position.

At 1pm, Caps GM Brian MacLellan held a conference call with reporters to talk about Mahoney’s promotion, but the discussion quickly turned to everything else.

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Brooks Laich: 2013-14 Season Review

Brooks Laich suffered a groin injury during the 2013 lockout that has changed the trajectory of his career.  The former 20-goal scorer now struggles to play a full schedule and struggles to justify his 4.5 million dollar cap hit. After an operation this spring, there are now two futures waiting for Laich: a return to glory is one. The path of Tom Poti is the other.

By the Numbers

51 Games played
16.9 Average time on ice per game
8 Goals
7 Assists
48.0% Shot attempt percentage during 5v5
45.5% Goal percentage during 5v5
7.6% On-ice shooting percentage during 5v5
92.5% On-ice saving percentage during 5v5

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Photo: Chris Gordon

On Monday, the Washington Capitals held Breakdown Day at Kettler Capitals Iceplex. For two hours, Caps players filed out of the locker room and conducted exit interviews with the media. Because of the whole no playoffs thing, there were a lot of long faces.

There’s about three hours of interview video to surf though on Monumental Network. Because I hate myself and care only about you, dear reader, I’ve transcribed all the key quotes. And because this is RMNB, I also pointed out the fashion choices. Sadly, there was no crazy hair this year.

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Off to the Golf Course: Caps Breakdown Day in Photos

Breakdown Day (6 of 12)

NHL plus-minus spokesman and hair model Alex Ovechkin speaks for the final time this year. (Photos by Chris Gordon)

Monday was an odd day at Kettler Capitals Iceplex. We entered the day expecting to Adam Oates and George McPhee shed some light of their respective fates — or at least try to defend their time here.

Instead, we got an awkward stand-off with reporters. Within minutes of a spokesman announcing that McPhee would not be meeting the media, the general manager walked out to an area clearly visible to reporters. He chose to hold court with Connor Carrick in front of the entire Capitals press corps before reiterating that he would not speak today.

McPhee’s job — if he doesn’t leave of his own volition — is now in the hands Caps owner Ted Leonsis, who has never fired a general manager.

There were, however, other things that happened at Kettler on Monday: Jay Beagle got asked what he thought of Jay Beagle centering Alex Ovechkin, Dustin Penner ignored reporters to play with his phone, and Brooks Laich said that he really, really, really believes he’s healthy again.

Below, take a look at some of my photos from the day.

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This could not come at a better time. Once and future Caps forward Brooks Laich starred in a segment with Cabbie Richards of TSN called “Five Things Every Man Should Know.” Guest-starring Dustin Penner and Evgeny Kuznetsov– as girls, the video teaches you (not me) everything you (not me) need to know about how to be a manly man.

Brooks guides us (you mostly) through the vagaries of manly tasks we (you) so often get wrong. It’s indispensable viewing: instructive, entertaining, has nothing to do with the Caps’ season, and features D.P. and Kuzya as girls.

Enjoy.

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