Oh, Hey, It’s Tom Wilson Shirtless

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Photo: @tom_wilso

I’m sure half our readers could not care less about this photo. Like no cares at all.

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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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Calgary Flames center Lance Bouma looked to lower the boom on fourth-line enforcer Michael Latta early in the first period on Tuesday. Instead of hitting Latta, Bouma nearly went head-over-heels into his own bench.

Whoops!

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Michael Latta fights current teammate Kris Newbury in a game last year.

According to Alex Prewitt of The Washington Post, Eric Fehr will return to the lineup this weekend and the healthy scratch will be one of four players currently practicing on the fourth line. They are: Jay Beagle, Michael Latta, Liam O’Brien, and Tom Wilson

Scratching Michael Latta would be a mistake and here’s why.

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During the fall, 20-year-old forward Liam O’Brien was given an amateur contract from the Capitals. Back then, his goal was simply to stick around for a few more days. Instead, he became one of the most impressive players during camp, earning a three-year entry-level contract at its completion for his hard work and grit.

On October 14th, O’Brien notched his first NHL point (and first NHL tongue wag) against the San Jose Sharks. Against the Canucks on Sunday, O’Brien scored his first NHL goal on former Vezina Trophy winner Ryan Miller.

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Tom Wilson‘s broken ankle has finally heeled (get it? boo). Tonight he will play in his first game of the 2014-15 season… with the Hershey Bears. Wilson was re-assigned to the AHL earlier this week.

It’s unknown how Wilson will play in Barry Trotz’s new system, but there’s one thing I’m confident of: he still knows how to face-punch good.

Proof: Last week, RMNB’s Amanda Bowen caught John Stamos’s brother-from-another-mother participating in a fake scrap with Michael Latta.

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Photo: @Latta17

Washington Capitals center Michael Latta went to his first Redskins game tonight. Treated by “Uncle @GreenLife52,” Latta joined injured forward Tom Wilson and sorta-injured defenseman Mike Green at Fedex Field.

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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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Photo: Aly D.

On Friday, the Washington Capitals took a break from the norm and traveled up to Navy’s Annapolis campus for a team-building event. The Caps got a tour of the Naval Academy from the university’s hockey team, ate lunch in the dining hall with midshipmen, and even held an open practice at McMullen Ice Arena.

Reader Aly D., a hockey player herself, had the chance to attend practice and see her favorite team skate. After the players left the ice, she met basically the entire team, taking selfies with Mike Green, Braden Holtby, and Michael Latta.

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Washington Capitals Prospect Rankings: Summer 2014

Andre Burakovsky is the best Caps prospect yet to play a game with the big club (Photo: Elsa/Getty Images).

With rookie camp upon us, RMNB presents the new edition of its semiannual prospect rankings.

Prospect rankings factor in a player’s potential, his probability to reach his ceiling (including an assessment of that player’s adaptation to NHL’s style of play), and physical and mental maturity.

The Caps prospect pool is considered top-heavy, with four Caps prospects ranked in top-50 league-wide by both Corey Pronman and NHL.com. However, there’s believed to be a significant drop-off in talent after that. While Capitals management has tried to make their prospect pool deeper, they’ve still got work to do. The Caps are considered thin at center in particular, underlined by auditioning their two top wingers for a center slot.

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