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On Tuesday night, as EPIX’s The Road To The Winter Classic began, the Caps began what became the longest shootout in NHL history. The scheduling conflict forced fans to make a difficult decision: reality TV or live hockey. For those who stuck with the live hockey, they got a shootout that went a record twenty rounds, five more than the previous record, which also belonged to the Caps. Nicklas Backstrom and Alex Ovechkin actually shot twice in the losing effort.

Karl Alzner, Michael Latta, Nate Schmidt, Brooks Orpik, John Carlson, and Tom Wilson all got their first career shootout attempts in the same game.

With all the wackiness on the ice and the game determined not to end, the Caps turned to a late-game baseball tradition to influence the outcome: rally helmets.

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The Curious Case of Joel Ward

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Most NHL players make their NHL debut between ages 20-22. and hit their peak point production around age 25.

And then we have Joel Ward.

Ward played his first full NHL season at the ripe age of 28 and has been most productive during his age-33 and -34 seasons. I’ve written before that Ward’s rise in production isn’t sustainable. I’m still not convinced it is fully, but I’m less skeptical than I used to be. What Ward is doing now, namely crashing the net, might be behind the late bloom.

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Caps Team Build, Jenga-Style

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Photo: @WashCaps

Recently, Washington Capitals head coach Barry Trotz broke up the highly-successful “twins” duo of Joel Ward and Jason Chimera. Now, Ward is playing on the third line with Brooks Laich and Eric Fehr. Building good chemistry takes a lot of practice on the ice. But off of it, it appears Trotz is taking team building literally.

After practice, Ward, Laich, and Fehr were stacked on a cart like Lincoln logs and pushed back to the locker room.

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Last night, TSN Insider’s Trading panel discussed a number of topics, including the Oilers’ shortcomings, Jay Feaster’s Twitter jab, and a potential re-tool in Arizona. They also talked about Caps general manager Brian MacLellan, whose patience with the team is allegedly running thin.

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Photo: @a0gr8

The Washington Capitals are out in Phoenix ahead of their game with the Coyotes on Tuesday. And our mustachioed heroes have made the most of their off day. Alex Ovechkin put on his favorite Vladimir Putin t-shirt and took a selfie with Evgeny Kuznetsov and Dmitry Orlov. I’m pretty sure that shirt is honoring Putin and making him look like a action movie star, which, uh, yeah.

Other Caps players actually made it out of the hotel rooms.

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After the Caps lost 3-2 to Edmonton on Wednesday, Caps coach Barry Trotz changed the lines. He broke up the Joel Ward/Jason Chimera “gang green” line (which is seriously the worst nickname for a lot of reasons).”Last couple games I can’t say they’re a great line for us,” Trotz told the Washington Post.

“Yeah, green line got blown up,” Ward said. “We got scored on last game. It was a tough loss for sure. I guess a little shake-up can’t hurt. We’ll see what happens.”

Crazy things happened. The Caps fourth line, which had been dormant all season, went nuts with Wardo on the right wing on Saturday night. Ward scored two goals (one on the power play), the latter of which was credited as the game-winning goal. And Ward would have had a hat trick, but he put himself into the net instead of the puck.

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After the Capitals were defeated by the Sharks, head coach Barry Trotz switched up his forward lines for Thursday night. Eric Fehr, the one true love of hockey bloggers, was moved off the first line and reunited with forever linemates Jason Chimera and Joel Ward. It paid off with a 6-2 win. The new third trio was Washington’s best all night.

It looked as if they weren’t going to come away with anything to show for it against the Devils, but that’s when Cory Schineder capped off his awful night with a gift.

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Photo: Amanda Bowen

On Thursday night, the Washington Capitals opened the regular season with a shootout loss, falling to the Montreal Canadiens 2-1. RMNB’s Amanda Bowen caught a bunch from opening night, including the Brouwer Rangers’ new sign, Liam O’Brien’s fight, and the ceremonial face-off, which included Rod Langway, Peter, Bondra, Sylvain Cote, and Craig Laughlin.

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In what will hopefully be a never-ending series, CSN Washington’s Jill Sorenson interviewed third-line amigos Joel Ward and Jason Chimera in a segment aptly called Wardo and Chimmer. In the video, the friends, who filmed one of the funniest videos of last year, explained when was the exact moment they fell in love.

“I don’t know if it was love at first sight,” Ward explained.

“Sometimes love takes a long time to build,” Chimera countered.

I don’t know; you just have to see this.

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Photo: Amanda Bowen

With the final preseason game in the books for the Capitals, the team’s opening night line-up is shaping up: Alex Ovechkin, Nicklas Backstrom, and Eric Fehr will be on the top line. Marcus Johansson, Andre Burakovsky, and Troy Brouwer will man the second. Jason Chimera, Brooks Laich, and Joel Ward will be on the third. The fourth line looks set, though scrappy free-agree invitee Liam O’Brien looks to have earned his way into a contract with Hershey or a two-way deal. Michael Latta, though, appears ready to play alongside Evgeny Kuznetsov and Chris Brown on the fourth line. That might change when Jay Beagle comes back from injury.

“That would be a question for Mac[Lellan],” Trotz said of O’Brien. “He’s been as good as anybody especially in that role.”

“He’s a player that demanded to be noticed,” the coach added.

19-year-old rookie Andre Burakovsky appears to have also made the team, beating top prospect Kuznetsov to center the team’s second line. At least initially.

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