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Mayhem.

We knew from the moment Tom Wilson shoved Evgeni Malkin during warm-ups that tonight’s game would be a cluster. Sure enough, eight minutes into the first period, everything went to hell.

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In the third period of their last game, the Pittsburgh Penguins took a bunch of cheap shots at the Washington Capitals. On Wednesday, as the Caps and Pens prepared to play the final game of their regular-season series, Tom Wilson approached Evgeni Malkin during warm-ups.

And gave him a shove.

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Photo: @tom_wilso

Late last week, sometime scratch/sometime first-line winger Andre Burakovsky left the warm Swedish confines of Nicklas Backstrom’s house to move in with Backstrom’s figurative children, Michael Latta and Tom Wilson. Burakovsky is reuniting with Wilson, the man who first introduced him to mac and cheese and “cinnamon rollers.” Burakovsky calls Wilson a “really good friend,” despite Wilson putting a bag over his head at Development Camp.

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What a day for Tom Wilson. In the first period, he executed a perfect double check with Jason Chimera. In the third during a fight with Matt Martin, the manchild nearly ripped the dude’s jersey in half.

That is an impressive feat of strength.

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Even though he’s only two seasons into his NHL career, Tom Wilson has had a bunch of impressive highlight reel hits. Saturday against the Islanders, he authored another one. This time with his pal Jason Chimera.

As Travis Hamonic gathered in a puck behind the Isles net, Wilson and Chimera caught him with, what Craig Laughlin referred to as, a “double whammy.”

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Photos: Washington Capitals

Friday morning, the Capitals released the design of their new Courage Caps hats and t-shirts. 100% of the proceeds benefit TAPS, a national organization that provides care for the families of America’s fallen military heroes. The Caps say they’ve donated $486,261 to charity through the sale of more than 15,000 hats and nearly 7,000 T-shirts to fans. That’s awesome. Way to go, you.

What’s even cooler is that the team had a few players model some of the new gear this year, including Matt Niskanen, John Carlson, and Brooks Orpik. But I’m guessing – and this is just a hunch – that our readers are going to want to visually consume the Tom Wilson pixels.

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I want to start by saying I genuinely like Barry Trotz. I think he’s a good man and a good coach. He’s brought with him to Washington some of the brightest minds in hockey, he’s reversed a decline in the organization, and he’s helped Alex Ovechkin become a more complete player. I don’t think Trotz has gotten enough credit for that. He is exactly what fans wanted last summer: an experienced head coach.

But now that we’re more than halfway through the season, I see some worrying trends in this organization that reach all the way down to the AHL level.

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The Caps’ Video For Bensten Is Powerful Stuff

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I hate feeling my own feels. The Caps just turned my insides to mush with this two-minute video dedicated to Bensten “Bman” Schone. As you’ll recall, Bensten is the six-year-old Caps fan who was struck by a car after accidentally sledding into the road. He’s been slowly recovering from a brain injury ever since.

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When word spread that six-year-old Bensten got hit by a car sledding late last week, one of the first players to wish him well publicly was Tom Wilson.

Wilson knows a thing or two about fighting, and before Washington’s game against Anaheim Thursday, the enforcer spoke to WUSA’s Surae Chinn and had some uplifting words for the young Caps fan.

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Photo credit: Patrick McDermott

At this point, Capitals-Flyers games seem to devolve into elaborate displays of petty violence almost by habit. There’s no real point, but they do it every game. Sometimes, they even start punching faces. Last year, the Caps got into 18 fights with the Flyers, including the preseason. That accounted for a third of Washington’s fight total for the season.

“Not many guys on this side like them on that side and not many guys on that side like us,” Tom Wilson told me. “Last year there was a lot of high emotion.”

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