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Photos: Washington Capitals

Friday morning, the Capitals released the design of their new Courage Caps hats and t-shirts. 100% of the proceeds benefit TAPS, a national organization that provides care for the families of America’s fallen military heroes. The Caps say they’ve donated $486,261 to charity through the sale of more than 15,000 hats and nearly 7,000 T-shirts to fans. That’s awesome. Way to go, you.

What’s even cooler is that the team had a few players model some of the new gear this year, including Matt Niskanen, John Carlson, and Brooks Orpik. But I’m guessing – and this is just a hunch – that our readers are going to want to visually consume the Tom Wilson pixels.

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Brooks Orpik’s Nosebleed, Dammed (Photo)

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Photo via @NHL

Alex Ovechkin wasn’t the only Caps player to get banged up on Sunday. At some point during the game against the Ducks, Brooks Orpik got whacked in the face and had his Brooksie beak bloodied.

No matter, Greg Smith shoved something up Orpik’s nose so he could return to play…

…tex.

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Assistant coach Todd Reirden was tonight’s Legal Seafood Bite of the Night. He cut a babyface promo on his long-time pupil, Brooks Orpik.

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Photo: Bruce Bennett

Hockey fans were rightly worried about Brooks Orpik following his collision with Cal Clutterbuck on Monday night. Despite Barry Trotz’s assurances that the hit was “not as bad as it looks,” many feared Orpik would be sidelined with a long-term, lower-body injury.

That doesn’t seem to be the case. Barry Trotz confirmed on Wednesday that Orpik is a game-time decision to play at the Winter Classic. Orpik will take warm-ups with the team at Nats Park.

Based on the video below, sent in by reader Patrick N., Orpik seems to have somehow escaped significant injury.

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Photo: Bruce Bennett

Washington Capitals defenseman Brooks Orpik plays on the edge, always looking for the big hit. That’s why he’s a league leader in the statistic and universally respected among players. Tonight, Orpik landed a big hit on Cal Clutterbuck and may have seriously injured himself.

It was scary.

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Photo: Gregory Shamus

Crazy-eyed Brooks Orpik spent 11 seasons in Pittsburgh before leaving for rival Washington as a free agent. Before that, he won a Stanley Cup with the Pens in 2009 and was a fan favorite in the ‘Burgh. Saturday night was his first time back in his old stomping grounds.

“[It’s] one of those things you’ve just got to get through,” Orpik said to The Washington Post’s Alex Prewitt the morning before the game. “Once you get through the first time, then it becomes a little more normal, I guess. I don’t know what to expect, to be honest.”

It ended up being a memorable homecoming.

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Tonight at 10 PM, the first episode of EPIX’s Road To The Winter Classic will air online featuring (hopefully) organic, not-at-all-contrived coverage of the team we love (also the Chicago Blackhawks). I admit I’m super excited for all the right reasons (pageviews!). Some old RMNB footage might even make a short cameo on the show.

EPIX has posted exclusive photos, featuring some fantastic portraits of Caps stars.

I have a feeling at least half of you are going to be very excited to continue scrolling. I even included a few GIFs and a video too.

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Mike Green, Bottom-Pairing Defenseman: Part Two

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Photo: Amanda Bowen

Last week, Peter offered up some thoughts on Mike Green and his deployment as a “third-pair” defenseman.

Some commenters believe that, and I’m paraphrasing here, Green is a dominant possession player primarily because he plays against weaker competition. But is quality of competition that much of a driving force behind why Green is doing so well at shot-attempt differential? Does Brooks Orpik suffer at the same because of the tougher opponents he faces? If they swapped assignments, would Green would become Orpik in possession and vice versa?

I have doubts.

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Capitals defender Brooks Orpik was on the ice for seven opponent goals last week, but his underlying play has actually been improving. His usage is suspect, but he hasn’t been any better or worse than expected. On DC101’s Elliot in the Morning today, Elliot Segal said Brooks Orpik has been just “as advertised,” which I think is exactly right.

Coming off a brutal loss to the Maple Leafs on Saturday, Orpik spoke with Elliot on Monday morning on a variety of topics– though one recurring theme was how awesome Pittsburgh is. Yeesh.

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All This Happened, More or Less: Isles Beat Caps 3-2 (OT)

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Photo credit: Al Bello

“That is my principal objection to life, I think: It’s too easy, when alive, to make perfectly horrible mistakes.” – Kurt Vonnegut

For years, the Islanders have made that quote ring true. Confused ownership, terrible hockey and of course Nassau Colosseum. The old place will soon be gone from our TV screens. The smell, the lighting, the architecture, the scoreboard stolen from the local high school. So it goes.

Now, though, the Islanders are moving on. Pretty soon they’ll playing their games in a decedent building in Brooklyn. They’re also now good at hockey. The Caps had trouble with that tonight.

The first period was mostly dominated by the Isles. Anders Lee put them up top after John Carlson failed to cling to his man. Washington then released a small furry of shots before Alex Ovechkin got the Caps back in it with another one of them goals from the circle place when his team has more people on the ice. Travis Hamonic then gave New York the lead again when his high flying wrist shot made it past an effectively blindfolded Braden Holtby.

The second was mostly Isles, but the Caps came on towards the end. The Isles took another unnecessary penalty and Ovi did The Thing. 2-2.

Isles pressed in the third but there was nothing doing.

In the extra, scrapeless frame, Nicky grabbed someone’s stick. John Tavares threw his hands in the air. That’s all. Isles beat Caps 3-2 (OT).

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