Michal Neuvirth holds up his new mask that has Olie Kolzig painted on the side

Photo credit: Chris Gordon

Over the summer, Swedish airbrush artist Dave Gunnarsson released photos of the new goalie mask he painted for Michal Neuvirth. It was a thing of beauty and something all Capitals fans could appreciate.

One side of the mask features images of Neuvirth’s hometown along with a portrait image of Czech goaltending great Jiří Holeček. On the other side there’s an action shot of Olie Kolzig, the franchise’s leader in wins, juxtaposed with the old Capitals dome logo and stars.

The gesture was not lost on Kolzig, now an associate goaltending coach for the Capitals and technically one of Neuvirth’s coaches.

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Mike Green Bulls Over Michal Neuvirth, Goes Upside Down

Mike Green Michal Neuvirth-9906

Photos by Chris Gordon

Caps training camp may not be officially underway yet, but almost all the players are now taking part in self-led practices at Kettler Capitals Iceplex (the team can’t hold formal workouts until the CBA terms are finalized). Without coaches leading the drills, these sessions haven’t been particularly riveting. Still, hundreds of fans filed into the rooftop rink to get a glimpse of world-class NHL hockey for the first time in months.

Speaking of world-class NHL hockey, the highlight of the day came when Mike Green got too close to Michal Neuvirth before bulling over the young netminder. Green then got lodged in the net upside down. Man, it’s good to be back.

“I had Lasik eye surgery yesterday so my vision’s a little off,” Green told reporters after the practice. “I didn’t realize he was that close to me. I apologize though.”

Take a look at some pictures of the incident after the jump.

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Michal Neuvirth flying back to America

Photo credit: ahaonline.cz

There are three Washington Capitals players that have yet to make an appearance at Kettler Capitals IcePlex this week: goaltender Michal Neuvirth, defenseman Roman Hamrlik, and potential top-six winger Wojtek Wolski. You can now cross Neuvirth off that list. According to The Washington Times’ Stephen Whyno, Neuvy flew to Washington on Wednesday and plans on skating with his Caps teammates on Friday morning. Sorry, Brett Leonhardt. You must now vacate the ice.

Before Neuvy left for America (some time in the last six months), he took in a tennis match with his girlfriend Monika. Thanks to ahaonline.cz, you can see them not-smiling for the camera.

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Ovechkin speaks to the media

Miss the media? “Not really,” says Ovechkin. (Photo credit: @SWhyno)

This morning, a bunch of Washington Capitals players jumped back on the ice for an informal practice. Those who skated include Alex Ovechkin, Braden Holtby, Mike Green, Mike Ribeiro, John Carlson, Michal Neuvirth, Matt Hendricks, Jason Chimera, Jay Beagle, Jack Hillen, and John Erskine.

At 11am, Caps general manager George McPhee then spoke to the press for the first time since dinosaurs roamed the earth. GMGM revealed that injured defenseman Dmitry Orlov is “improving” but questionable for opening night (but you already knew that), and side-stepped questions on Nicklas Backstrom’s health, acknowledging that the team can’t examine him until a new CBA is ratified. Hershey Bears defense prospect Cameron Schilling will also be given a shot to make the team out of training camp. McPhee’s full comments are below.

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Capitals Players React to NHL Lockout Ending on Twitter

John Carlson

John Carlson’s hair at the Redskins game. (Via @DCSportsBog)

At 5:45 on Sunday morning, we learned that the NHL and NHLPA had reached an agreement on a new collective-bargaining agreement. Washington Capitals players took to Twitter, and yes, they were happy.

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Peter said it best a few weeks ago. RMNB has zero interest in covering the actual lockout. “Financial negotiations (and their public face) are all about posturing, tedium, and equivocation,” he said. “Whereas our principal interest in hockey has always been scoar, moar, and goals.” We have gone to great lengths to cover hockey and try to make things fun as possible while patiently waiting for the NHL to end the madness.

But now that Washington Capitals players are bickering with each other through the media, we feel compelled.

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Michal Neuvirth is Losing Hope for an NHL Season

2 weeks brake?!?! U gotta be kidding me.. Losing hope!!

Michal has since deleted the tweet. I’d make some crack about “brake”, but I don’t want to set up any “lost in translation” jokes for you.

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Photo credit: Kyle Mace of Sweetest Hockey on Earth

Because I’m an optimist, let’s say there’s an NHL season this year. As soon as the new collective bargaining agreement is signed, sealed, and delivered, the Washington Capitals goaltenders will debut shiny new masks. Michal Neuvirth, who has been playing with Sparta Praha of the Czech Extraliga, has been wearing a new mask featuring former Capitals great/current goaltending coach, Olie Kolzig, on its side.

I spoke with Braden Holtby on Saturday about his thoughts on Neuvirth’s new bucket. After I showed him the mask on my iPad, Holtby chuckled and flashed a big smile in approval. “Olie’s done a ton for the organization,” Holtby said, “so that’s pretty cool.”

Not to be outdone, Holtby has been wearing his own new mask playing with Bears. Unlike last season, where his helmet featured a split Bears/Capitals theme (and oh yeah don’t forget that awesome bear on a rollercoaster), Holtby’s new headgear is ALL CAPS (get it?).

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“Watching Ovie in Prague!” (Photo credit: @mneuvirth30)

Dynamo Moscow traveled to Prague Tuesday to take on HC Lev Praha and if Alex Ovechkin took a peak at the crowd near his defending goal, he would see a familiar face. Washington Capitals goaltender Michal Neuvirth, who’s currently playing for Sparta Praha of the Czech Extraliga league, got tickets for the game to cheer Ovi on.

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Michal Neuvirth and his New Mask Debut With Sparta Praha

Neuvy’s bio photo for Sparta Praha.

On Tuesday, Washington Capitals goaltender Michal Neuvirth and his awesome new mask made their debut with Sparta Praha of the Czech Extraliga. Neuvirth, a Sparta alum, never played for the major league team before, but did spend time with their junior affiliates before coming over to the North America to play junior hockey with the Plymouth Whalers as a teenager.

Unfortunately, Neuvirth and his Sparta Praha teammates lost to Ceske Budejovice (say that three times fast) 3-2. Neuvy had 34 saves (a respectable .917 save percentage) and a few spectacular stops.

We actually found highlights of the game! You can check them out below the jump. Neuvirth wears #40 and is the guy wearing the Capitals colored goalie pads.

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