Vrana battles Andrew Gordon. (Photo: Jeremy Long/Lebanon Daily News)

Washington Capitals 2014 first-round pick Jakub Vrana has had a strong start to his North American career. After scoring 12 goals and 12 assists in 44 SHL games, Vrana arrived in Hershey on April 9. Since then he’s dominated the AHL, registering five assists in three games, including a three-point performance on Saturday that landed him first star of the game honors. Coach Troy Mann has Vrana playing left wing on the second line along with veterans Jim O’Brien and Casey Wellman. As you can tell, it’s going splendidly.

Since we know you guys are more of a visual crowd, here’s GIFs of all of Vrana’s delicious apples. He wears #39.

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Photo: Kyle Mace / Chocolate Hockey

Friday night in Portland, Maine, one Washington Capitals prospect had an odd milestone. 2013 first-round pick Andre Burakovsky scored his first American Hockey League goal. In an odd twist, it came 163 days after his first NHL goal earlier this season.

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Photo: Ola Westerberg / Bildbyran

Defenseman Christian Djoos, drafted by the Capitals in the seventh round of the 2012 draft, is set to join the Hershey Bears. Djoos’ SHL season ended as Brynas was swept by regular-season champs Skelleftea.

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Hockey is Even Better in Slow Motion (Video)

Much like Jay Beagle, I discarded my dearest flipper this season and traded it in for an iPhone 6. On Saturday, I went to the Hershey Bears game and went crazy with its video settings and some attachable camera lenses I bought. The results were incredible.

From my glass side seats I captured Mike Moore‘s overtime game-winning goal and the Bears subsequent celebration. Like they celebrated freaking inches from me. While I didn’t notice it live, former Caps enforcer Liam O’Brien kissed Moore on the noggin. Also, I’ve never seen Philipp Grubauer so excited in my life.

No matter if it was Steve Oleksy doing a double skate stop in front of the net or Connor Carrick flipping the puck to himself skating up the ice, there are so many amazing things we miss in hockey at full speed. So I slowed them down.

Here are the Hershey Bears in slow-motion.

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Photo: Hershey Bears

Nathan Walker is the first Australian to be drafted by an NHL team. Someday he’ll be the first Australian to play in the NHL, but right now, Walker is the first Australian to play in the American Hockey League.

The Hershey Bears are doing something to honor that fact. On Saturday, the Bears will be giving snow globes away to the first 5,000 fans.

The globes will showcase Walker. Also: a kangaroo.

I’m not making this up. Look at this zoomed-in photo below. That really is a kangaroo.

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Photo: Kyle Mace/Chocolate Hockey

Remember a few weeks ago when we wrote about Stan Galiev scoring 3 goals in 3 games for Hershey? That torrid streak continued to 8 goals in 8 games before snapping this past weekend.

Galiev, who has 9 goals and 4 assists, is ranked second on the Bears in goals and fifth in points. This is a renaissance.

Let’s check out the other five goals from his 8-in-8 streak.

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Ex-Hershey netminder David Leggio, he of Pierre McGuire impression fame, seems to have found a loophole in the rulebook. We couldn’t be prouder.

Playing for the Bridgeport Sound Tigers of the AHL, the 30-year-old Leggio, who represented the US at this year’s World Championship, faced a 2-on-0 after his team turned the puck over at center ice. As ex-Lightning forward Dana Tyrell made his way past the blue line, Leggio knocked the net off its moorings.

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We had to use this photo. See more from Amanda Bowen.

Wilson is going to Hershey, and it’s not for a rehab/conditioning stint.

Tom Wilson played 82 games for the Capitals in his rookie season, but he was given remarkably little opportunity to excel. With fewer than eight minutes a night, Wilson scored just three goals and seven assists on the bottom line, though he did rack up 151 penalty minutes.

Things looked bright for Wilson’s sophomore season, but an ankle injury in July set him back significantly. Now, having missed camp and the first two weeks of the season, Wilson is finally ready to return to hockey …but he’ll be doing it with the Hershey Bears of the AHL.

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Photo: Hartford Wolf Pack

On Sunday afternoon, Capitals’ AHL affiliate Hershey Bears defeated the Hartford Wolf Pack 1-0 on a goal scored by Casey Wellman with just 1.5 seconds remaining in overtime. Wolf Pack goalie Jason Missiaen made 36 saves on 37 shots over 67 minutes of play, while Caps prospect Pheonix Copley held down the fort for the Bears, recording his first shutout as a pro.

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Photo: Kyle Mace

The Hershey Bears lost their season opener to the Norfolk Admirals, but a goal by Steve Oleksy gave the hometown fans something to cheer about.

Oleksy, having narrowly missed a roster spot with the big club, will spend the season in the AHL unless he gets called up. Plays like this are exactly what Oleksy needs to stay on Washington’s radar.

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