Ask Not the Sparrow How the Eagle Soars, Hockey’s Back!

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If you’re like me, October can only mean two things: Halloween is coming, and HOCKEY IS BACK!!!

To celebrate the return of the Caps, I did what I do best: Illustrate! Here we have Jason Chimera as the Ice Cheetah, John Carlson as Captain America, Nicklas Backstrom as Thor, Braden Holtby as the Holtbeast, and of course, Alex Ovechkin as the namesake, the Russian Machine. Our hockey superheroes in Red are ready to soar into DC again, prepared to thwart whatever stands in their way.

(The quote comes from an anime I watched summer, Kill La Kill. I thought it was pretty fitting, since y’know…. eagles/weagles.)

Hockey is here, so you know I’ll be in the stands, unleashing a little fury to do my part for the thwarting.

LET’S DO THIS.

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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John Carlson Got Married Today, Looked Really Happy

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Photo: @lexsolofs via @CAPLDY

Earlier this evening, Washington Capitals defenseman and fifth member of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles John Carlson got married to his long-time girlfriend, Gina Nucci, in a beautiful outdoor ceremony at Woodend Nature Sanctuary in Maryland.

Gina looked stunning in her gown and aw, man, Carly looked so danged happy. We’re thrilled for them.

Carlson now becomes the second Capital player to get married this summer, joining Mike Green in holy matrimony (ugh, not with each other; you know what I mean).

All our young guns are grown’d up.

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A few weeks ago, we reported that Russians Evgeny Kuznetsov and Dmitry Orlov had come back early to the states to start working out for next season. One Russian we forgot among that group is Stan Galiev, a Caps prospect in the last year of his entry-level contract.

With all those Russians in the weight room, an outnumbered John Carlson had no choice but to surrender control of the stereo. In protest, Carlson posted a video of what he had to suffer through on his Instagram.

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kuznetsov-ice-bucket-challenge

On Sunday, we posted a story about former Capital Mikhail Grabovski completing the Ice Bucket Challenge with Nikolai Kulemin in ridiculous fashion.

Since then, a bunch of money and awareness for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (also known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease) has been raised and the Ice Bucket Challenge has gone viral. At this point, if you haven’t done it yet– you’re a big weirdo.

Over the last 24 hours, a bunch of Caps people have completed the challenge. Since I’m guessing there will be more, we’ll be updating this post as they happen all day.

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You Should Adopt John Carlson’s Dogs Amy and Jo

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That sound is your heart melting.

Earlier in the year, Washington Capitals defenseman John Carlson did an ad for Show Your Soft Side, an anti-animal abuse campaign. It was a great gesture, and Carlson joined Karl Alzner as one of the biggest dog advocates on the team.

Well tonight, the Olympic defensemen went a little bit further, this time offering a unique opportunity for followers of his Twitter account. Carlson put two adorable puppies that had been living with him as a foster parent up for adoption. Yes, you can totally own two of Carly’s dogs. They are eight-weeks old.

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Photo: @Nationals

On Sunday afternoon, Washington Capitals John Carlson and Steve Oleksy joined Tyson Strachan at Nationals Park to help promote Strachan Strays, a program started by the minor league defenseman to raise awareness for dog adoption. And really, any charity that inspires photos like this I totally support.

Carlson, Oleksy, and Strachan signed autographs and posed photos with fans. I think they went on the field too. Beyond that, I’m not sure, so let’s check the Twitter machine.

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john-carlson-wawa

[Editor’s Note: Laurie C., a long-time RMNB reader, randomly ran into a Caps player today. I’ll let her explain.]

Today, my addiction to Wawa paid off. I stopped into the Joppa, MD store to grab a sub. While I was browsing the candy bars, I noticed this familiar individual. I only got a side glance but then I realized “Holy crap, that’s John Carlson….I think!” Immediately I looked around for Alzner, but he was nowhere to be found.

So I walked up to him, like a total goon ball and asked, “Are you who I think you are?”

He laughed at me and said, “Yeah, probably.”

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John Carlson: 2013-14 Season Review

Photo: Eric Hartline

The other half of Carlzner. This is the one with all the offense. And the flow. Let’s talk John Carlson.

By the Numbers

82 Games played
23.9 Average time on ice per game
10 Goals
27 Assists
46.9% Shot attempt percentage during 5v5
48.0% Goal percentage during 5v5
7.6% On-ice shooting percentage during 5v5
92.7% On-ice saving percentage during 5v5

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Evgeny Kuznetsov takes off his pads after Sunday’s game. (Photos by Chris Gordon)

By tomorrow morning, big changes may have already struck the Washington Capitals. After the Caps’ final game, a 1-0 shootout loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning, the players were somber, but not angry. They’ve been dealing with postmortem questions since Thursday. Four days later, those questions haven’t got any easier to answer, even if the team’s flaws are clear.

I brought my camera into the locker room as the players took off their skates for the final time this year and faced probing reporters Sunday evening. They’ll have to face the latter again tomorrow morning.

Take a look at my photos.

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