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Sarah and Green at Kettler in 2009 (Photo credit: Sarah Abrecht)

In 2008, Hagerstown native Sarah Abrecht fell in love with hockey. After graduating high school, Abrecht landed a gig at Kohl’s and her coworkers quickly learned of her new obsession.

“My two bosses were huge fans too,” Abrecht told me. “The husband of one of my bosses actually gave a pair of free tickets to my sister and me for a Washington Capitals game April 4th of that year. The seats were 11 rows back from the box. It was such an awesome experience!”

In the first period, Abrecht got to see Capitals defenseman Mike Green — in the throes of his breakout season — score a beautiful goal on the New York Islanders. Green’s slick skating and skill were fun to watch, but Green also proved to be a pretty cool dude off the ice too. When Abrecht met the Vespa-enthusiast at a Columbia, Maryland autograph signing for Muscle Milk (that I may or may not have gone to) he became her favorite player.

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Mike Green’s Hair on Breakdown Day (Photo)

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Photo via @raedanda

If you’re looking for a symbol that articulates the Washington Capitals 2012-13 season, look no further than Mike Green‘s hair on breakdown day. Green, looking as if he just rolled out of bed, sported a massive mohawk, every hair follicle seemingly unsure which direction it wanted to point towards. The mohawk then flowed tidily into a well-kempt beard.

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Sad Caps (Photos)

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Photo was touched up to remove the NHL executive handshake-passing the ref a 100-dollar bill. (Photo credit: Greg Fiume)

With their 5-0 loss to the New York Rangers in game seven, the Washington Capitals have been ungently booted from the postseason again. A period of healing and reconciliation now begins (also probably some suntans), but first we need to take a look at the sadness. The infinite, infinite sadness.

Let’s just take it all in, mope around for the next day or two like red-rocking Eeyores, and wallow in the wah wah wah (that’s what a sad trombone sounds like). It’s not fun; no, but we need to give the grieving process time to do its thing.

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In game six on Sunday night, the Capitals did not receive a single power play despite a few egregious fouls by the New York Rangers. One of the worst missed calls came in the first period, when Mathieu Perreault was decked into the boards by Michael Del Zotto.

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Mike Green Scores Again (GIF)

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Photo credit: Kathy Willens

The Capitals lost to the New York Rangers 4-3 on Monday, but let’s not let the sadness get the best of us. There were some good moments in the game, most notably Mike Green‘s exemplary play throughout. In 24:32 of ice time, Green had two shots, blocked two others, led his team in possession, and scored his second goal of the playoffs. And it was a beauty.

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Bad Ice and Bad News: Rangers beat Caps 4-3

Bruce Bennett

Photo credit: Bruce Bennett

Game three of the quarterfinal series between the Washington Capitals and New York Rangers was an opportunity for a statement. The Capitals could have played just as they had last week and put NYR in a headlock. That didn’t happen. Instead, the Capitals got drawn into a quagmire on rocky ice– a penalty-punctuated, back-and-forth battle that they could not win despite dominating the even-strength game.

Rangers beat Capitals 4-3. Capitals still lead the series 2-1.

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[Editor's Note: Instead of rocking the red at Verizon Center for game two on Saturday, five-year Caps season ticket holder Ilan was at his brother Eyal's graduation at Indiana University. Enjoy.]

I am a long-time hockey fan, long-time Caps fan, and season-ticket holder. My brother and I grew up playing hockey and sweating the Caps hardcore. When I was in high school, we converted our basement into an indoor rink, and while pretending we were Olaf Kolzig, Craig Berube, and Peter Bondra, we wreaked havoc to the tune of drywall crumbling and light bulbs bursting. It was awesome.

Now for the not-so-awesome: I had to miss game two. My brother actually managed to graduate college this year, and his graduation ceremony was scheduled for that Saturday in Bloomington, Indiana. I thought about skipping his graduation but I am not a douche. Instead we tried to convince our mom to let us skip the festivities of the graduation at Indiana University and fly my brother home for game 2. No dice. Then I found out the worst part: we had to be at the ceremony at 2 pm. I wanted to die.

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MikeGreenOTgoal

Boom. (Photo credit: Greg Fiume)

Whether he’s riding a Vespa on 66, sporting hair that doesn’t make sense, or scoring an overtime goal, Mike Green is always cool. Even in some of the game’s most heated moments, he retains his composure. After Saturday’s one-time blast to put the Capitals up 2-0 in the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals, he now has eight overtime goals in his career.

Because of his late-game abilities, his “Game Over Green” nickname is well known. But now, it seems, Greenie may have another one.

“He’s calm all the time with the puck in regulation, so when it gets to overtime and guys start to get the shakes a little bit, he’s still calm Mike Green,” defenseman Karl Alzner said. “We call him Casual Mike every now and then.”

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zbenchcelly

GIF by welshhockeyfan

Odd thing about low-scoring overtime wins: half the players mob the goal-scorer and the other half  (and I’m extending mucho kudos for this) mobs the other guy, the goaltender.

Way to go, Mike Green and Braden Holtby. And bravo to the guys who remembered how they got to OT in the first place. This lovely GIF is going right next to Joel Ward’s bench-clearer in Boston on our GIF mantel shelf.

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Epic celebration! (Photo credit: Greg Fiume)

In the last couple years, Mike Green has struggled mightily with injury. His goal production has slumped, and he has failed to put up more than 8 goals and 24 points in the last two seasons. But over the summer, Washington Capitals General Manager George McPhee went all in on #52, giving him a three-year contract extension and a substantial pay raise. A lot of people, including me, were critical of the signing. We were wrong.

That confidence McPhee showed in his struggling player has paid off this season, as Green has returned to form, scoring 12 goals and tallying 26 points in 35 games. Against the Rangers on Saturday, Green did what he did best– scoring the game-winning overtime goal, the only goal of the game. AND HOLY #$%& WHY I AM WRITING SO SERIOUS. WHAT A GOAL WHAT A GOAL WHAT A GOAL!

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