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Photos: Chris Gordon

The Capitals held their annual Casino Night on Wednesday, where fans dropped serious cash on live and silent auctions. Caps players couldn’t participate in those auctions, but they were given a bunch of raffle tickets.

One of the items up for grabs: a chance to meet Alex Ovechkin. “It is my dream!” Dmitry Orlov joked as he looked over the raffle items.

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Gambling with Play Money: Caps Casino Night in Photos

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Yep. (Photos by Chris Gordon)

Wednesday night, the Washington Capitals held their fourth annual Casino Night at the Pentagon City Sheraton. Fans had the opportunity blow fake money gambling with their favorite players, as well as dishing out real money on a live auction featuring big-ticket experiences, a silent auction on equipment and memorabilia, and a raffle. The money made from Casino Night will benefit the Monumental Sports & Entertainment Foundation. The team has raised nearly $1 million on past Casino Nights, and the live auction this year took in over $40,000.

“We did a got of research on craps,” Karl Alzner, who was there with his wife Mandy as well as her mom and grandparents, told me. “The correct throw and the technique and all that.”

“Even though it’s play money it’s still a lot of fun,” Alzner added. “We get to dress up.”

When I talked to Tom Wilson about the night, he had one main takeaway.

“Ovi’s pretty risky,” Wilson said.

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

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Photo: Rob Carr

We’ve assumed for so long that the problem with the Caps is lack of defensive depth. I’d wager 90% of everything written about the Caps and Wednesday’s trade deadline states that the team lacks a solid, number-four, right-shooting defenseman. It’s been pretty obvious that filling that one spot would help fill the ranks of Washington’s defense.

That makes a lot of sense. Since October, the Caps defense had essentially been Mike Green, Karl Alzner, John Carlson, and any other three guys.

But I’m not so sure anymore. Indeed, I’m starting to wonder if the Caps wouldn’t be able to succeed merely by upgrading their bottom pairing– namely John Erskine and Connor Carrick.

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Orlov - Rob Carr

Photo: Rob Carr

Comcast Sportsnet Philadelphia is reporting that the Department of Player Safety has suspended Dmitry Orlov two games for his boarding hit on Brayden Schenn during Sunday’s home game against the Philadelphia Flyers. (UPDATE: Confirmed by the NHL.) Schenn was apparently not injured on the play, but Orlov’s hit constituted a charge, a blindside hit, and an airborne hit.

Orlov was assessed a five-minute major penalty for the charge, during which the Flyers scored one goal. The Capitals went on to lose in overtime.

Orlov will be eligible to return on Saturday’s game against Phoenix.

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The Risk and Reward of Dmitry Orlov and Mike Green

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Photo: Evan Vucci

Thursday night, defense partners Mike Green and Dmitry Orlov were on the ice for two goals against. On Florida’s first goal, Jesse Winchester torched Orlov, blowing past him on the far wall. For the Panthers second goal, the duo left men wide open in front of Braden Holtby before Brad Boyes flipped the puck in.

Sunday afternoon, however, the pair was brilliant — at least for the first 50 minutes. Orlov had the first multi-goal game of his career while Green racked up three assists. It’s usually a zero-sum game with Greenlov: they either win big or lose badly.

Today, though, it was both. With 10 minutes left in game, Orlov went after Brayden Schenn, who had just hit him behind the net. Dima unleashed a brutal board in the corner, receiving a well-deserved five minute major. The Flyers got scored on the ensuing power play. They added two more to stun the Caps in their first game back at home since the Olympic break. Orlov and Green, naturally, were on the ice for the game-tying goal.

“He didn’t change,” head coach Adam Oates said of Orlov’s hit. “He was on the same shift and he went right back after him.”

“You’ve got to suck it up when it’s your turn,” the coach continued. “They hit hard too. They’re big boys too. They’ve got to push, they’re losing. They’ve got to push. We’ve got to be able to handle that.”

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The shame.

Dmitry Orlov was having the game of his life. He scoarlov’d twice against the Philadelphia Flyers. He was playing smart, heads-up hockey.

But in the third period, Dima committed one of the most foolish penalties of his career. After taking a rough but clean hit from Brayden Schenn in the defensive zone, Orlov decided it was time for payback a little bit later.

Orlov lined Schenn up, leaped, and hit Schenn face-first into the boards. Schenn’s head bounced off the glass. Schenn skated gingerly off the ice.

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Photo: Rob Carr

In the first period, Dmitry Orlov scored his first goal since December 15th. In the second period, Dima got another. O RLY?

The SCOARLOV only happened though because of a heads up play (or maybe a life-saving decision) by Jason Chimera. The Ice Cheetah, laying helpless in the slot after being mauled (see what I did there?) by a Flyers player, lifted his legs up ice so Orly’s shot could hit the net.

It certainly did.

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The Washington Capitals had their second straight matinee on Sunday, this time taking on the Philadelphia Flyers. And on Washington’s first goal of the game, they got a SCOARLOV.

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Caps Players Share Their Olympic Vacation Plans (Video)

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Moar jokes from these two!

Before the Washington Capitals left for Olympic break, I asked the non-Olympian players what their predictions were for Sochi. That was great, but I also asked them where they were going on vacation.

Some players were heading home, some were heading back to Hershey, and then others — whom I will not name — might have fibbed a bit about where they were actually going.

Check it out.

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Before Saturday’s game, I visited Kettler Capitals Iceplex and asked players for their Olympic picks. With the Caps sending five players to Sochi (Alex Ovechkin, Nicklas Backstrom, Marcus Johansson, Martin Erat, and John Carlson), I wondered where Washington’s non-Olympians would place their allegiances.

I figured that since the RMNB staff was able to put its own biases aside when we made our predictions, maybe the players would do the same and maybe even offer some hardcore, dispassionate hockey analysis.

Nope. Not even a little.

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