Who Will Be the Odd Man Out In the Caps Blueline Logjam?

Jack Hillen and Steve Oleksy are frontrunners for defensive spots on the Caps opening night roster. (Photo credit: Greg Fiume/Getty Images)

With days to go before the start of the regular season, a few questions regarding the Washington Capitals’ opening day roster remain unanswered. First among them is this: who will be the Caps bottom-pairing D-men?

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Steve Oleksy Nearly Fights His “Mentor” Matt Hendricks

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Steve Oleksy tangles with Mike Fisher during Thursday’s game. (Photo credit: Alex Brandon)

During Saturday’s Caps convention Steve Oleksy joked that he wore “black and blue like accessories.” It didn’t take long for Steve to bring back his trademark look.

Towards the end of the second period in Wednesday’s preseason game against the Nashville Predators, Oleksy got tangled up near the net with Mike Fisher. The two exchanged words, and soon Oleksy was pummeling the Preds star. The Washington defenseman easily won the bout, though the right side of his face was bulging out like a boulder was jammed underneath his cheek.

“It doesn’t matter if it’s preseason or regular season,” Oleksy told reporters after the game. “That’s part of my job, that’s part of the reason I’m here. It doesn’t matter who it is, I’m gonna try and hold people accountable.” Continue Reading

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Monumental Network provided a live telecast of the Caps Alumni game Thursday to the delights of thousands. During the game’s third period, Washington Capitals radio man John Walton and Comcast SportsNet sideline reporter Al Koken noticed some Caps players watching the game along the boards. After one particularly brutal shift by Olie Kolzig (on defense!), Monumental’s cameras panned to goalie Braden Holtby, flanked by teammates Tom Wilson, Steve Oleksy, and Andre Burakovsky (seen above checking out his guns). Holtby couldn’t stop laughing.

Let’s hope Braden comes back to play in alumni games after he retires. I can’t wait to see how funny he thinks it is then when he can’t fully crouch and a 70-year-old Kolzig is scoring goals on him.

19 Days Out: Steve Oleksy vs Jack Hillen in a 4D Battle

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Photo: The great Clydeorama

The Capitals are stocked with three excellent defenders in John Carlson, Karl Alzner, and Mike Green. Each brings something to the veritable table: Carlson has an offensive upside, Mike Green is a power play maestro, and the stay-at-home Karl Alzner is threatening to crack a 2.5% shooting percentage any day now.

You can pair those three any way you want, but it is still unclear who else among the other Caps D-men is up to the job of playing in the top four. Here’s a lovely chart  from Greg Sinclair that illustrate’s how Caps D were used and how they performed last season:

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Green with his fiancée Courtney Parrie

On Tuesday night, extremely rich and beautiful sports people congregated at the National Building Museum on F. Street for the 10th annual SneakerBall. As described by the SneakerBall website, the event is “the only black tie and sneakers gala that celebrates the best of sports in the region.” SneakerBall awards athletes and sports owners for extraordinary charity work.

Washington Capitals defenseman Mike Green was given with the JB Impact Award, which honors the player who has used sports to most positively impact the area through community service. Green, who was making his first public appearance since getting engaged, does lots for the DC Community and his Canadian homies such as his “So Kids Can” charity, t-shirts, and creating awareness for Calgary Flooding victims.

“It is an honor to receive the JB Impact Award,” said Green in a very press-release-y press release from the Capitals. “I’ve been fortunate to be involved with several projects that have given back to the Washington, D.C., community, and I look forward to another season giving back to those in need through service.”

While you’re happy for Green, you’re just here for the photos of Caps players in suits. It’s okay, I get it.

If you ask me, Karl Alzner hits a homerun with a smart navy blue suit and pants combo. That said, Steve Oleksy also gets points for somehow managing to be in every photo. Also, fake sources tell us that Jason Chimera turned down Tyson Strachan’s invitation to be his date Tuesday.

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Without hyperbole, best photo of the summer. (Photo credit: @Nail10_1993)

Before last season, Washington Capitals defenseman Steve Oleksy played for seven different minor league teams in five years. His label as a journeyman ended in early March when Mike Green suffered a groin injury. Needing a right-handed shot, General Manager George McPhee called up Oleksy after being impressed by the 27-year-old’s work for the Hershey Bears at the AHL Showcase. He did not get sent back down.

Oleksy may have gotten his big break, but that doesn’t mean he slacked off over the summer. The versatile defenseman has been a mainstay at 2SP, a giant 15,000 square-foot sports performance and training center located in Madison Heights, Michigan.

Oleksy also made a new Russian friend while training: 2012 first overall pick Nail Yakupov.

In fact, judging by their interactions on social media, they are the bro-siest of bros now.

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Development Camp FanFest (24 of 28)

Caps prospects Tom Wilson and Madison Bowey celebrate the red team’s 6-4 scrimmage win. (Photos by Chris Gordon)

The Washington Capitals’ annual summer Development Camp for prospects and free agent invitees came to an end on Saturday. Fans packed Kettler Capitals Iceplex for the final scrimmage, an equipment sale, and an autograph signing from Steve Oleksy.

This was Stevie O’s first FanFest after his wild rise this past season and the level of fan attendance impressed the d-man.

“To see the support here at Kettler this weekend for the Fan Fest and watch the up and coming prospects really shows how passionate they are,” Oleksy told reporters. “When you walk into a building like this mid-summer and they’re at maximum capacity it’s a great feeling as a player.”

Below, take a look at my pictures from the day — you’re really just here for ones of Tom Wilson anyway.

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Photo credit: @WashKastles

Washington Capitals defenseman Steve Oleksy was back in town tonight, a few days before his autograph signing at Fanfest Saturday. To kill some time, Oleksy traveled out to The Wharf to catch some Washington Kastles tennis — the same team who earlier this week won a record 34-straight matches.

For his troubles, the Kastles gave the Caps’ feel-good story of the year a chance to return serves from retired tennis star Andy Roddick.

It went about as well as you’d imagine.

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More Steve Oleksy Face Violence (GIF)

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GIF by welshhockeyfan

Two days after Steve Oleksy took a wrist shot to the cheek, he absorbed even more facial violence in game two, this time getting high-sticked in the mouth by Derek Dorsett. Dorsett was whistled for a minor penalty, and Binky, just like on Thursday, didn’t miss a shift. But his poor face.

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Steve Oleksy has never been considered a top prospect. In fact, before he made his NHL debut for the Washington Capitals in March, Oleksy played for seven different minor league teams in five years. It’s been a long and often painful road Oleksy has traveled, one that was made even longer because of Braden Holtby.

You see, earlier in the season when Holtby and Oleksy played together in AHL Hershey, the sassy goaltender from Saskatoon, Saskatchewan decided to play a prank on the new Bears defenseman.

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