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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)

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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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Ovi poses with Maria, Artem, and Uncle Pavel. (Photo: @Ovi8)

All five Washington Capital Olympians packed their bags and left for the airport on Sunday. Players were scheduled to catch their NHLPA-arranged flights out of Newark International Airport around noon.

According to Nicklas Backstrom at Saturday’s morning skate, the players would fly directly into Sochi on a ten-hour flight. He was not looking forward to it.

“I’m not even sure it’s going to be exciting the first hour,” Backstrom said on Saturday. “Everyone’s going to be tired. We’ll get as much sleep as we can because when we wake up it will be morning. We need to get into a rhythm right way with [Russian] time.”

On Sunday, Alex Ovechkin, Backstrom, and John Carlson were all spotted by Rich Clune Chere of The Star-Ledger and NJ.com at Newark’s airport.

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John Carlson Packs Team USA Bag For Sochi (Photo)

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Photo: @AdamVingan

It’s break-up time for the Washington Capitals: some players are going on vacation, some players are driving back to AHL Hershey, and five others are flying to Sochi on Sunday to compete in the Winter Olympics.

In the locker room after the the Caps 3-0 shutout over the Devils, John Carlson was caught by NBC Washington’s Adam Vingan packing his super fancy-looking Team USA bag. Is that persian leather?

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Photo: Patrick Smith

On Thursday night, the Capitals registered an important pair of points against the streaking Winnipeg Jets. The game wasn’t the only big event. Eight Olympians from the Jets and Caps were honored in a pre-game ceremony. It was capped off with U.S. Secretary of State dropping the puck between Team USA’s Blake Wheeler and John Carlson. With the Olympics already underway, Carlson talked about the experience and his thoughts on Sochi after the game.

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