joel-ward-first-pitch-nats

Photo: Brad Mills

Classy. The Washington Nationals are not as near and dear to my heart as the Baltimore Orioles, but they did something super awesome on Thursday, when they had Washington Capitals forward Joel Ward throw out the first pitch before their game against the St. Louis Cardinals.

Ward getting the opportunity to throw out the first pitch after a career year is cool enough on its own, but doubly so because it came on Jackie Robinson Day at Nats Park. Ward wears #42 in honor of the Dodger legend.

After getting some advice from Nats pitcher Ross Detwiler, Ward stepped to the mound confidently and delivered a perfect strike. Though the heave was a bit of a moonshot.

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marcus-johansson-injured

Friday night against the Chicago Blackhawks, Marcus Johansson‘s whirlwind season ended sadly when — while standing in front of the Chicago Blackhawks crease — he got hit by a high-rising shot authored by Nicklas Backstrom.

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Braden Holtby Falcon Punches Ryan Callahan (GIF)

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American hero Ryan Callahan is well known by Capitals fans and not for good reasons. When he captained the New York Rangers, his Rags beat our Caps twice. Despite what the national media likes to tell us, he’s not really the most honorable player.

That’s why it felt good to see Callahan fall like a sack of bricks to the ice after he got punched in the mush by Braden Holtby.

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angry-backy

The Washington Capitals have been eliminated from playoff contention, and, sure, Friday’s game against the Chicago Blackhawks — the 81st game of the season — was literally meaningless. But dammit, don’t tell that to Nicklas Backstrom.

Backstrom had a goal, an assist, and set his focus on recording his first career Gordie Howe hat trick. Angry Swede is angry.

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ovi50

Alex Ovechkin is the first player to hit 50 goals in five seasons in a couple decades. His powerplay goal (naturally) in the first period of Tuesday’s game against St Louis introduced Ovechkin to the company of eleven storied scorers– including names like Gretzky, Lemieux, and Bossy.

Number fifty was nifty– a quintessential Ovi shot from the Ovi spot, clanging off the crossbar on its way home. Ryan Miller didn’t stand a chance.

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mojo-brouwer

The Caps-Blues game started off nice enough. The good guys drew a penalty late in the first period when Derek Roy slashed Alex Ovechkin. The Caps power play had a couple of looks, but everything went wrong after that.

It ended with Troy Brouwer and Marcus Johansson lying on the ice in pain, the second white-on-white collision in as many weeks.

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Photo: Terry Wilson/OHL Images

Capitals first-round pick Andre Burakovsky has had an excellent run in his first season in North America. After scoring 41 goals in 57 games during the regular season, Burakovsky kicked off the OHL playoffs with six goals in four games before hitting a mini-slump of three scoreless contests (all of which were won by his Erie Otters).

That slump lasted through a tight, low-scoring game 3 of the series between Erie and the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds. With less than two minutes left game and up 1-0, Burakovsky– who doesn’t play with Erie’s stars of Dane Fox, Connor Brown, Brendan Gaunce and Connor McDavid– ensured the win.

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daniel-bryan-high-fives-caps-fan

In I-can’t-believe-I’m-actually-writing-about-this news, Sunday night at the SILVERDOME — err, I’m sorry the Superdome — WWE held their own Superbowl of Superbowls: Wrestlemania. And because it was the 30th anniversary, it was extra super. Stone Cold came back and drank some beers with The Rock, The Undertaker got his ass unmercilessly kicked by Brock Lesnar, and Triple HHH did something narcissistic again. That last one’s not special.

And sorry Peter, no, CM Punk did not come back.

Arguably the most special moment was when a former independent wrestler, the very bearded Daniel Bryan, won the WWE World Heavyweight Championship over DC’s own Batista and Randy Orton. Bryan is tiny and shouts “yes!” a lot and everyone loves him.

From where did he summon this mighty power though? Obviously, from the video they showed before the championship match, in which a younger Bryan high-fives a guy in a white Capitals jersey.

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varly-jersey-off-his-back2

Photo: @m0tar

On Sunday, the Colorado Avalanche held their fan appreciation night at Pepsi Center in Denver, Colorado. Just like the Capitals, each Avs player gave the jersey off his back to one adoring fan.

After making 30 saves in 65 minutes of work (plus a shootout), a very tired Semyon Varlamov was the first to give his jersey away.

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ovechkin-shot-ouch

Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin has one of the hardest shots in the NHL. Usually the pucks Ovi shoots hit the back of the net. But sometimes they don’t — especially due the huge curve he has on his stick — and those wild pucks can do some serious damage.

That’s what happened on Saturday night against the Isles, when Ovi’s shot eluded Evgeni Nabokov, rang off the post, and hit defenseman Calvin de Haan square in the chest.

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