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Early in the first period, as CSN+ came back from commercial, the end-zone camera zoomed in on Washington Capitals defenseman/dudebro John Carlson chatting with a referee. As Carly skated away for the face-off, he did some open-mouth breathing and we noticed something curious.

It’s hard to make-out, but indeed, Carly is still wearing the patriotic Team USA mouthguard he wore in the Sochi Olympics.

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Eric Fehr: Whew.

Midway through the second period of the Washington Capitals game against the Anaheim Ducks, Caps defenseman John Carlson had an oopsy. As Captain America attempted to clear down the ice, he nailed Eric Fehr right in the side of the head with the puck.

Not good. Commence freaking out.

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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: @AdamVingan

Last week I solicited Sochi predictions from the non-Olympians on the Washington Capitals. It was apparent that the Caps locker room was united. Almost every player was Canadian.

“Canada all the way,” Brooks Laich told me then. “Canada’s going to lay a beat down.”

That’s why this morning, I was not surprised to see that some of John Carlson‘s teammates messed with his locker ahead of the Team USA/Canada game today. Above Carlson’s gear, there was a piece of tape that read “GO CANADA” with a maple leaf drawn to the side.

That’s great, but the story doesn’t end there.

Defenseman Connor Carrick, who recently represented the U.S. in the World Junior Championships, noticed what was going on, ripped the tape off, and threw it in the trash.

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Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games

Photo: Jeff Vinnick/HHOF-IIHF Images

Yesterday, after the United States beat Team Russia in the shootout 3-2, there was a handshake line — which let’s all agree is one of the best traditions in hockey. During the Sochi Olympics, opposing players have high-fived each other at the conclusion of every preliminary round game, an act normally reserved for elimination.

Because of this, we get to see what I’m going to ahead now and declare the second best Caps related photo of the Olympics (Nicky and Mojo biking together will always be first). Here, wonderfully captured by the IIHF’s Jeff Vinnick, John Carlson and Alex Ovechkin shake hands after the game. They look amused.

Thanks to Morgan M. for instagramming the photo, and @MikeBradley27 for originally posting.

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Photo: Streeter Lecka

Washington Capitals defenseman John Carlson scored the United States’ first goal of the Olympic tournament Thursday. Team USA head coach Dan Bylsma had a lot of great things to say about him.

“I thought to get our feet underneath us, especially those young guys on defense, I thought they played large,” Blysma said to NBC. “We have Paul Martin and [Ryan] Suter back there, but Cam Fowler and John Carlson in particular, and Ryan McDonagh, played well on the back side.”

He also said it was “fitting” that Carlson scored the first goal.

But boy can things change in a hurry.

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Photo: Jayne Kamin

Alex Ovechkin and Team Russia played John Carlson and Team USA Saturday morning. The game was an instant classic, the best of the Olympic tournament thus far. Russia lost 3-2 in the shootout after TJ Oshie scored the deciding tally on Sergei Bobrovsky five-hole.

Ovechkin spoke to R-Sport after the game.

“Today’s game was even worthy of a final,” he said to Alexander Rogulev. “It was a good game, unfortunately we lost in the shootout.”

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John Carlson’s Patriotic Mouthguard (Photo)

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Photo: Streeter Lecka

All week, we’ve been documenting the patriotic gear the Caps have been wearing in the Sochi Olympics. Alex Ovechkin has Russian-flavored sticks and skates. John Carlson has some stars and stripes on his Bauer twigs. But we missed something crucial.

On Thursday, Japers Rink’s Becca H. pointed out more piece of patriotic gear on Carlson: his mouthguard.

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john-carlson-usa-goal

Photo: Martin Rose

The United States of America opened Olympic tournament play against Slovakia on Thursday morning. It was a beatdown of epic proportions. The US won 7-1, starting with a beauty of a goal from Washington Capitals defenseman John Carlson, who is playing in his first Olympiad.

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John Carlson Has a Patriotic Olympic Stick Too (Photos)

CarlsonUSA

Photo: Jayne Kamin

If there’s one thing about the Olympics (other than massive rights fees), it’s all the custom swag participants get. I’d become a cross-country sprinter if it meant getting free Russian flag skis.

The practice also extends to hockey. We’ve already seen Alex Ovechkin‘s majestic Russian flag skates and sticks made custom for Sochi.

But there’s a another Cap rocking another red, white, and blue: John Carlson. Seems like he’s brought his own American flag-branded sticks to the Games. I first saw these in the locker room at Verizon Center, but was unable to snap a picture before the equipment dudes packed up the gear. Now we’ve got photos of Carlson putting the sticks to work at Team USA’s practice on Tuesday.

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