Brooks Laich First Pitch (23 of 24)

Photo credit: Chris “Effing” Gordon

Brooks Laich threw a strike.

That’s kind of his modus operandi. Ever reliable and always competent, Laich excels at pretty much everything he does. And before throwing out the ceremonial first pitch at the Baltimore Orioles game on Monday, Laich gave time to the media on a variety of issues. He nailed that too.

In the interview, Brooks speaks at length about his fan allegiance (split between the Orioles and Expos), how his struggles in the postseason extended to youth baseball, and his totally appropriate adulation of Cal Ripken.

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PHOTOS: You Guys, Cal Ripken Was at the Caps Game

Cal Ripken, Jr., the greatest man ever to live, attended the Washington Capitals 1-0 win over the Pittsburgh Penguins on Wednesday.

Ripken played all 21 seasons of his MLB career with the Baltimore Orioles, the greatest baseball franchise ever to live. He finished 5 seasons with a batting average above .300, hit 431 home runs, won the World Series in 1983, and batted in 1697 runs. Ripken owns the MLB record for consecutive games played (2,632) and also our hearts.

Seriously, just look into those baby blues. What a hero.

Below the jump, check out pictures of Cal hanging out at the Verizon Center.

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Vokes and the boys celebrate the shutout. (Photo credit: Patrick McDermott)

The Washington Capitals lost two straight games in California before coming back home to lick their wounds and face the Pittsburgh Penguins. The Pittsburgh Penguins, however, were not available for hockey. The team that showed up was some shell-shocked, injury-riddled assemblage of yinzers in PGH uniforms. Not that the Capitals were much better.

Jason Chimera stepped up for the national broadcast, scoring on a breakaway set up by Jeff Halpern’s lovely set pass and some poor decisions by Paul Martin and Evgeny Malkin. And then… nothing. That’s all she wrote. Caps beat Penguins 1-0.

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Alex Ovechkin Orioles Ceremonial First Pitch

Photo credit: Ian Oland

On the eve of his 26th birthday (send us your birthday cards!), Alex Ovechkin — adorned with *gasp* Cal Ripken’s retired #8 Orioles jersey — traveled up I-95 Friday to take batting practice and throw out the ceremonial first pitch ahead of Baltimore’s match-up against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.

The Great Hockey Eight, making his first ever appearance at Camden Yards, had only one goal: not to embarrass himself in front of a few thousand Charm-Citiers.

“I’m kinda excited,” Ovechkin told CSN’s Chris Miller before the first pitch. “I saw on YouTube John Wall’s [first pitch] a couple of minutes ago, and I hope it’s not gonna happen with me. I practice a little bit so it’s good. I feel comfortable.”

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Rangers beat Caps 2-1 (SO), Offense M.I.A.

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Matt Hendricks celebrates his shoot-out goal. (Photo credit: Mitchell Layton)

Last time the Washington Capitals and the New York Rangers met, well… it was bad. But we had higher hopes for tonight and a rejuvenated Caps offense.  Aside from Matt Hendricks and the superb Braden Holtby, we got disappointed big time.

Matt Hendricks found the perfect spot to receive a surgical pass from Marcus Johansson and turn it into a goal. Then, late in the third, Marian Gaborik scored a greasy goal following a series of puck bounces and deflections that only the Large Hadron Collider could map. And so we headed into overtime, which has been famously unkind to the Caps lately. The five-minute, four-on-four period was exciting but scoreless, and so the gimmick beckoned. The Capitals lasted until the fourth round, when Martin Biron rebuffed Marcus Johansson and Artem Anisimov beat Braden Holtby with alacrity. A lazy loss. Rangers beat Caps 2-1 (SO).

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