carly-olmypics-sign

Photo: @juliamae91

Washington Capitals defenseman John Carlson is two games away from flying to Sochi, Russia, to participate in his first ever Olympic Games. Beyond some patriotic mittens and a press conference in front of The White House, the fanfare around Carlson’s honor has been, at least in my opinion, kinda tame.

Tonight, that’ll get kicked up another notch. During pre-game warm-ups, Reader Julia D. will be holding the sign above. It reads Good Luck Carly! Bring home the gold! It is awesome and I love it.

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While the Washington Capitals haven’t had their best season on the ice, they have graduated to a new level of awesome when messing with each other off-ice. So far this season, we’ve been seen a Brouwer Bomb, a Backy Bomb (my personal favorite), and Joel Ward styling and profiling during a Karl Alzner interview.

On Sunday, during a national broadcast game against the Detroit Red Wings, Alex Ovechkin got into on the act, this time messing with fellow Olympian John Carlson during a pre-game interview.

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This makes an excellent creepy wallpaper. Click to enlarge. (Photos by Patrick McDermott)

In 2008, the Washington Capitals launched Courage Caps, a program to benefit military charities through the sale of team-branded hats and shirts. This year the program will fund TAPS, the Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors, which provides support for families of killed American solders.

This year’s Courage Caps promotion will formally launch on February 4, when the team will put the merchandise on sale online as well at Verizon Center and Kettler. The day before, Jack Hillen will skate with some families the program has helped.

On Wednesday, the Caps sent us some photos of the new gear. Now in its seventh year, Courage Caps is starting to run out of military themes, but I think winter digi-camo look is a good one.

The chosen models, however, is where we’ll have our fun. Everything starts off well with John Carlson, the team’s resident US Olympian. Next in the gallery are Karl Alzner and Nicklas Backstrom, two of Washington’s most docile heartthrobs and noted not-Americans. I would gone with maybe an angry Casey Wellman, a Californian, draped only in an American flag. Or maybe Connor Carrick, feeding a Nathan’s hot dog to a bald eagle. Either way, it’s all for a good cause.

Here are the images of this year’s edition:

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chimera

Photo credit: Justin K. Aller

Editor’s note: The Washington Capitals have lost seven straight games. Things are dire right now. But this story is why we love hockey and have the best readers in the world. Michael R., a regular commenter on the site, left this comment in our game recap. We felt compelled to share it with all of you. Take it away, Michael.

Normally, when I go to games, for financial reasons, I get seats in the upper level. But for Alex Semin’s first game back in a non-Capitals uniform (a few years ago), I wanted to sit close, so I sprung for lower level tickets, row C, by the faceoff circle of the Caps-shoot-twice end, on the penalty-box side. With 30 seconds left in the game, the Caps held a 3-0 lead. Most of the fans were packing up their belongings, not paying close attention to the game. Suddenly (and I’m still not sure how this happened), the puck came over the glass fast, and hit an approximately 12-year-old boy sitting in front if me. He was woozy, his mother was (understandably) freaking out, and myself and others nearby were trying to get the attention of ushers/Verizon Center medical staff.

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John Carlson’s Patriotic Mittens (Photo)

john-carlson-usa-gloves

Photo credit: @WashCaps

Team USA revealed their Ralph Lauren-designed Opening Ceremony uniforms this morning. They are hideous. Less hideous: these patriotic gloves worn by Captain America John Carlson at Kettler Capitals Iceplex today.

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Johansson (red) laughs during the preseason Capitals Alumni Game. (Photo: Chris Gordon)

The Washington Capitals’ defense allows the second most shots per game in the NHL. They’ve put perhaps their best defensive prospect, Dmitry Orlov, through recall-scratch-repeat hell. Now that Orlov is finally playing, he’s paired with a guy who has a similar skill set, Mike Green.

Then there’s the frequent shuffling of the Caps blue line deck. Due to injuries, on-ice struggles, waiver pickups, and call-ups from the minors, Washington has used twelve different defenseman this season. Just about every blue liner in the organization has gotten a shot as part of the 2013-14 Caps D corps.

As we head towards the stretch run, the Caps seemed to have settled on a lineup for now: John Carlson, Karl Alzner, Mike Green, Dmitry OrlovJohn Erskine, and Connor Carrick. Though Washington’s defense has been its biggest flaw, its recent improvement may also their best chance at making — and succeeding — in the playoffs.

A few weeks ago, I spoke with assistant coach Calle Johansson, the man who runs the Caps’ blue line, and asked him about some of his decisions, including some of the positives from this season.

The full transcript is below.

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After the Washington Capitals’ morning skate at the Xcel Energy Center, several players had a chance to meet Jack Jablonski, the now 18-year-old Minnesotan who was paralyzed after being hit from behind during a high school hockey game.

Instead of becoming a sob story, Jablonski has become an inspirational figure in hockey. Here’s his story, beautifully told by ESPN 360.

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carlson-smiles

As Washington Capitals defenseman John Carlson made his way onto the ice this morning, he was treated to a bit of a surprise. His teammates gave him a rousing stick salute, a day after being named to the United States’ Olympic Hockey Team.

Carlson’s nomination was a bit of a surprise; it took a lot of hard work to play his way onto the roster.

That fact does not seem to be lost on his teammates.

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Photos of John Carlson at The White House

Carlson

Photo credit: Chris Gordon

Washington Capitals defenseman and everybody’s favorite bro from New Jersey, John Carlson, was named to the United States Olympic Team a few hours ago. But you already knew that. What you didn’t know, however, was to celebrate, the Caps scheduled Carlson to hold a press conference at 7pm in front of The White House.

It’s the third time over the past two decades that the team has used the White House as a backdrop, a rare occurance. It’s always cool, well minus one of the players that was involved. Let’s review!

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USA Hockey 2014 Olympic Portraits

Photo credit: Bruce Bennett

Over the summer, Washington Capitals defenseman John Carlson was invited to Team USA’s orientation camp held at the Caps’ practice facility in Ballston, Virginia. At that point in time, Carlson was a bit of an afterthought for the team: he was arguably there more to excite the hometown fans than actually challenge for a roster spot.

Four months later, Carlson, after taking advantage of more opportunity due to injuries on the Caps blue line, was named to Team USA’s roster for the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia. The announcement was made on NBC after the Winter Classic.

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