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Our long national nightmare is over. Brooks Laich has finally given Michael Latta and Tom Wilson the Instagram follow-back for which they had been begging for a longlong time.

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Those meddling kids are at it again.

After Brooks Laich posted an update on his Instagram Tuesday showing him traveling back to LA for the Holiday Break, Laich’s liney Michael Latta and Laich’s former liney Tom Wilson started begging for a follow back again.

Christmas has come early, you guys.

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Hockey is becoming increasingly less violent. Head shots are punished, fighting is going extinct, and speed and skill are becoming paramount. Nevertheless, there’s still a place for a good open-ice hit, like the one Capitals defenseman Matt Niskanen delivered on JT Brown in the third period of Friday’s grand comeback. The Lightning took exception to the hit, which knocked Brown’s helmet off. The testy nature led to a Capitals power power that tied the game, completing the rally.

“That happens a lot now nowadays unfortunately,” Niskanen said of Tampa’s reaction. “Everyone everywhere says they want good clean checks, but then they want you to answer for it. It’s understandable. We do it too. We get riled up if someone gets hit pretty hard. But it’s a hockey game.”

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Photo: Jacquelyn Martin

With the Capitals down 3-0 midway through Friday night’s game against the Tampa Bay Lightning, Capitals head coach Barry Trotz made a goalie change. He pulled star netminder Braden Holtby, the league’s leader in wins and goals against average, replacing him with backup Philipp Grubauer. Holtby slammed his stick on the bench before ripping off his mask off and kicking it down the tunnel to the locker room. No longer in control, Holtby was too agitated to sit down, watching play unfold with his hands on his hips for several minutes. It was the first time Holtby has been pulled all year.

“We’ve got so used to Braden being so strong for us that we tend to be a little loose sometimes,” Trotz told me Saturday morning. “He’s been erasing our mistakes. I was making a statement: enough’s enough. He’s been our MVP from game one on. Why are we doing this to him?”

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Top Cheese: Michael Latta Scores a Skill Goal (Video)

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This was basically Latta’s celebration (Photo: Dave Reginek)

The Washington Capitals looked stellar in the first period against the Ottawa Senators. Their jerseys looked great and their play looked even better. And thanks to this breakaway goal by Michael Latta, they’ll take a lead into the second period.

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Your day is about to get better: the Washington Capitals released their holiday video and it’s a doozy. Featuring Alex Ovechkin wearing a pink bunny costume, Michael Latta getting his tongue stuck to a pole, Rod Langway as Santa, and Alex Ovechkin in a pink bunny costume, this video is an instant classic.

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An Important Update on Brooks Laich’s Instagram Follows

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This week, amateur quadcopter pilot Brooks Laich did something on Instagram he hadn’t done since joining: he followed two accounts. Previously he had been following only fiancee Julianne Hough. So which two accounts did Brooks follow? Could it be?!

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Photo: @kuzya092

While teammates Andre Burakovsky and Stan Galiev watched what the NFL billed as a “professional football” game in Maryland on Monday night, Evgeny Kuznetsov pal’d around D.C. with one of his idols, Detroit Red Wings center Pavel Datsyuk.

Kuzy posted a photo of himself with Datsyuk and an unidentified other serious-looking man Monday night, using the graduation cap emoji, presumably because he’s hoping to learn a thing or two from the Russian “Magic man.”

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Late in the first period, Michael Latta stuck out his leg and tripped Jets center Mark Scheifele. Defenseman Jacob Trouba responded by cross-checking Latta, and then they fought at center ice for nearly a full minute.

Meanwhile, a mini line brawl began behind the play, with Tom Wilson skating towards Mark Stuart and wrestling him down to the ice.

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Here’s Wilson and Latta play fighting each other last year.

This morning towards the tail end of practice, Caps roomies Tom Wilson and Michael Latta had a brotherly disagreement about something. According to CSN Washington’s Jill Sorenson, the kerfuffle, which sounded like it was minor and may or may not have been playful, ended with a tackle and some yelling. The Washington Times’ Zac Boyer said the episode lasted seconds and that Brooks Laich broke it up.

We have some ideas on what might have started it.

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