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Brooks Laich has taken a lot a heat for his play this year. Our commentariat is in full revolt over Adam Oates’s insistence on keeping him on the second line, even though he and his linemate Troy Brouwer have posted awful numbers. Well, Friday night against the Red Wings, Laich registered his first goal in almost a month.

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Alex Ovechkin is Doing The Troll Face A Lot Lately

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Every NHL player gets an allotment of tickets for games. It’s written in the CBA. Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin apparently had a milestone day in this regard, as Mike Green reports on his Twitter account that Ovi has given away his tickets for the first time ever. John Carlson is the beneficiary. No big deal, but there is a reason we’re writing.

Check out the photo. Ovi knows what the internet wants, and he delivers the troll face for the second time in two days. John Carlson is notable just because he is not yelling or grimacing for the first time. And there’s good ol’ Steve “Norris” Oleksy poking his head out between Ovi and Carlson’s torsos. Why not. They won three in a row.

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Wheeee! Steve Oleksy Hip Checks Krys Barch (GIF)

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Photo credit: Greg Fiume

Late in the third period, Washington Capitals defenseman Steve Oleksy took a naughty, naughty retaliatory slashing penalty. The Florida Panthers’ Tomas Fleischmann scored on the resulting power play, pushing the game to overtime. It was a bad play, and Oleksy should have known better.

But Oleksy showed remarkable restraint and dexterity a bit earlier when weird ol’ Krys Barch tried to challenge every Capitals player on the ice to a fight. Instead of dropping the gloves, Oleksy did Barch one better. Binky ducked a hit (a late, charging hit) and flipped the psychotic enforcer end-over-end.

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Photo credit: Eric Hartline

Fighting in the NHL has been on the decline. It might be on its way out of the sport. Roster spots for goons are dwindling. Nerds have found no evidence that fighting impacts winning.

Yet on Friday night in Philadelphia, the Flyers decided the only way to save face after a figurative beatdown from the Caps was a literal beatdwn. Once Joel Ward scored his hat-trick goal, Wayne Simmonds threw an elbow to incite a fight with Tom Wilson. Ray Emery, Flyers back-up goalie and trained boxer, skated all the way down the ice and started throwing punches at Braden Holtby — even though Holtby declined to fight.

Steve Oleksy then dropped Vincent Lecalvier. Alexander Urbom fought Brayden Schenn. There was also a bit of loud noises from John Carlson.

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Photo credit: Len Redkoles

Vincent Lecavalier, the man who (thankfully) spurned the Washington Capitals offseason for a deal with the Flyers during the offseason, was all smiles before last night’s game. Why wouldn’t he be? The 33-year-old forward is making a cool $4.5 million over the next five seasons, and he is producing– leading the Flyers in points (7 in 9 games).

After the game, however, Lecavalier was lucky could move his head. His team started a ridiculous line-brawl after getting smoked 7-0 and, the French Canadian, who has dropped his gloves 25 times, fought Steve Oleksy. That proved to be unwise.

Lecavalier reportedly lost teeth in the bout and is day-to-day with a facial contusion (someone please explain to me what that means).

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During last season’s playoffs, Washington Capitals rookie forward Tom Wilson lost his right skate blade after attempting a big hit on a New York Ranger player in the defensive zone. This is apparently a huge problem in hockey. Without his blade, Wilson’s legs flailed like a baby giraffe trying to walk for the first time. Wilson fell over a bunch as he desperately tried to inch to the bench.

Good times, but I thought that it’d be the only time I’d ever see that happen in a Caps game. Wrong.

In Vancouver on Monday, defenseman Steve Oleksy experienced the horrible malfunction. After blocking a Kevin Bieksa shot with his left skate on the penalty kill, Binky started to skate up the ice. As he did, his blade popped off. Wuh oh.

Stuck in the middle of the circles without any help, Oleksy tried to get his footing but could not. He even tried, unsuccessfully, to block a shot while sliding on his hip.

Eventually, after a little help from some teammates and the ref, Oleksy made it back to the bench. What an adventure though.

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Steve Oleksy’s Amazing Curl-and-Drag — Really

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Pure skill. (Photo credit: Nick Wass)

On Saturday night, the Washington Capitals got back on track with 4-1 victory over the Columbus Blue Jackets. The skillful play of the new second line was the story, especially Martin Erat and his three assists. Erat, though, wasn’t the only flowing haired playmaker on the ice. That title also belongs to Steve Oleksy, who made a sublime curl-and-drag on Brooks Laich’s second period tally.

Picking up the puck from Martin Erat, Oleksy charged towards the faceoff dot. Blue Jackets winger Cam Atkinson attempted the poke check, but Steve O went all sick nasty, blowing past him. Oleksy then dished the puck to the front of the net and Laich finished the play. Beautiful.

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Swag. (GIFs by welshhockeyfan)

Washington Capitals defenseman Steve Oleksy had one hell of a night (which Chris Gordon wrote about in more detail here). Oleksy earned a second period assist on one sick dangle and then later got in a fight with Brandon Dubinsky in the third. While he didn’t necessarily win the bout, it’s what he did during it that earns him some bonus swag points from RMNB.

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Winning Feels Nice: Caps Top Blue Jackets 4-1

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Happy times! (Photo credit: Patrick McDermott)

Finishing up their longest home stand of the season, the Washington Capitals took on new look (!) Columbus Blue Jackets Saturday. Facing a bunch of weak teams, the Caps didn’t do well in their last four games of their five game set at Verizon Center, posting a record of 1-3 and falling to 2-5 overall. Yesterday, Adam Oates had enough and went all “Screw everything! YOLO!” on the lines. Erat to the second! Fehr on the fourth! Grabo on the third! Other things! Par-ty!

No offense in the first frame. In the second, though, power play powerhouse Joel Ward rifled one top shelf on Sergei Bobrovsky to give the Caps the lead. Washington added to it about six minutes later when Brooks Laich popped in the rebound after Steve Oleksy’s inexplicably fancy stick work. The Caps took it home in the third with tallies from Troy Brouwer and Alex Ovechkin. Garbage goal for Artem Anisimov late. Wee! Caps top Jackets 4-1.

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John Erskine: Even-Strength Albatross (Video)

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Photo credit: Elsa

Ostensibly, John Erskine is a top-4 defenseman, but his performance so far this season leaves much to be desired. He has been on the ice for the last five even-strength goals scored against the Caps.

The team’s goal differential during 5v5 play, by the way, is minus-5. Coincidence?

Let’s take a look at how those goals went down.

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