Troy Brouwer

Photo credit: Chris Gordon

Over the summer, General Manager George McPhee started snatching players like a rabid mom snatching groceries on Supermarket Sweeps. In are gritty NHL veterans like Joel Ward, Roman Hamrlik, and Jeff Halpern. Out are fan-favorites like Matt Bradley and Boyd Gordon.

Beyond the discounted signing of Tomas Vokoun, there may have been no better addition to the line-up than the Draft-night trade McPhee swung with the Chicago Blackhawks in which he landed Troy Brouwer for a first-round pick. Brouwer, who signed an affordable two-year deal worth $2,350,000 per year on July 6, was part of the Blackhawks’ 2010 Stanley Cup Champion squad and is known in part for his physical, hard-hitting game. The 26-year-old right wing has also been a proven scorer at every level he’s played, tallying 20 goals in the NHL, 40-plus goals in the AHL, and 100-plus points in Juniors.

So with Opening Night only a few days away, what can Caps fans reasonably expect offensively from Brouwer? Also, how about some bizarre facts about Troy that only RMNB can dig up? Follow me past the jump to find out.

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Catching Up with Capitals Great Olie Kolzig

Olaf Kolzig speaking at the 2011 AHL Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony

Photo by Chris Gordon

Olaf Kolzig is announced to the Hershey crowd as the Eastern Conference's Honorary Captain. (Photo by Laura G.)

Olaf Kolzig is announced to the Hershey crowd as the Eastern Conference's Honorary Captain. (Photo by Laura G.)

On Monday, the AHL formally inducted four new members into its American Hockey League Hall of Fame: Maurice Podoloff, Larry Wilson, Harry Pidhirny, and Mitch Lamourex. Foster Hewitt Award-winning broadcaster Mike Emrick was the master of ceremonies, while Caps’ head coach Bruce Boudreau served as the keynote speaker.

Among the honorees at the event was former Capitals great Olaf Kolzig. Kolzig, in Hershey to serve as the Eastern Conference’s Honorary Captain at the All-Star Game, was recognized for his six stellar seasons in the AHL. Olie backstopped the Rochester Americans to the Calder Cup Finals in 1993 and won the championship with the Portland Pirates in 1994, where he was also named playoffs MVP.

After the induction ceremony concluded, I caught up with Kolzig downstairs at the media luncheon in the Hershey Theatre. With the rare opportunity to speak to a childhood hero, I asked Kolzig about the Capitals’ run to the Stanley Cup Finals in 1998, the playoffs meltdown last year, and why he reunited with the team after their messy divorce three seasons ago.

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Above, are highlights from the Caps Pens Alumni Game where the two-period exhibition ended in a 5-5 tie. One of my favorite All-Time Capitals, Peter Bondra, tied the game in the final few minutes with a wicked slap shot from the middle of the circles. In Bonzai’s post-game scrum with the media, he revealed that the scrimmage actually got quite intense.

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Peter Bondra chats with Alan May at the Reston Town Center skating pavilion.

On Sunday morning, the Washington Capitals and the Reston Town Center skating pavilion hosted the Mites on Ice Outdoor Classic. Some of Northern Virginia’s cutest youth hockey players from ages 4 to 7 donned Caps jerseys and played puck with some pros. There was a tournament of half-ice games, a full-ice championship game, and– from what we hear– some adorable goal celebrations.

As a bonus, the Caps also sent out alumni Alan May and Peter Bondra to give a skills demonstration, skate with fans, and sign autographs after the tournament.

I was sick with the flu and unwilling to spend the morning in the cold rain, so RMNB buds Nour H. and Lindsey N. pinched in to capture the event for me via photos. Thanks, ladies.

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Caps Skate with Fans at DC Sculpture Garden

John Carlson holds what appears to be a really happy baby

Prepare to have your heart-strings tugged at. The Washington Capitals participated in a public skate at the D.C. Sculpture Garden this morning. Our hero Suzanne K. was on the scene and snapped some superb pictures. If you’ve been waiting for photos of Nicky Backstrom skating hand-in-hand with adorable little girls, your wait is now over.

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Caps Convention in Photos

Alex Ovechkin waves to the crowd at Caps Convention during an interview with DC101's Elliot Segal

Elliot Segal glares as Alex Ovechkin high-fives an invisible child.

The second annual Caps Convention was held this past Saturday at the Washington Convention Center. Along with the entire Washington Capitals roster, a number of prominent alumni made appearances, including Olie Kolzig, Peter Bondra, Yvon Labre, and Rod Langway. Fans got to meet and greet their favorite players, get autographs, and demand “Happy Birthday” be sung to them.

The event was a tremendous success. RMNB’s own Neil Greenberg was there to document the day. Enjoy!

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David Bondra Is Drafted 21st Overall In The 2010 KHL Draft

son-david-bondra-with-dad-peter-bondra

In honor of his dad, David wears #21.

Wearing 21 in honor of his father?

Friday, June 4th the KHL held its second annual draft and Peter Bondra’s son David Bondra, was selected 21st overall by Metallurg Magnitogorsk (don’t confuse Magnitogorsk with Metallurg Novokuznetsk, where Dmitri Orlov plays). Bondra was available in last year’s draft but was never selected.

Bondra currently plays for the Washington Jr Nationals of the Atlantic Junior Hockey League (the 3rd level of US junior hockey). According to AJHL official site, current South Carolina Stingray Nikita Kashirsky (who’s also Ovi’s childhood friend) have played for the club. A few highlights of David’s season thus far include him being named an AJHL All-Star and netting a goal in the game. He finished 14th overall in scoring (22 G, 29 A in 40 GP) during the AJHL season and was named to the Slovakian U-18 National Team.

His father, the Capitals’ current franchise leader in points and goals, recently spoke about his son in an interview with the Russian newspaper «Sport Den Za Dnem» (Sports Daily):

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