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Boyd Gordon celebrates his first period goal on Monday. (Photo credit: Patrick McDermott)

The Washington Capitals got their first hockey (non-shootout) win of the season on Monday, beating the Edmonton Oilers 4-2. The game, though, was a bit of a mirage. While the power play got back on track with two goals, their struggles at early in the game– especially at even strength– are a massive problem for the team. The Caps were outshot 10-3 in the first period despite playing against arguably the worst defensive team in the league. While the Washington media corps overlooked this in their post-game questions, Adam Oates understands the trend is glaring hole for the team.

“I’m taking suggestions right now,” Oates joked when I asked him how he thought the team could fix its liability. “We addressed it, we talk about it, and hopefully we’ll conquer it. We gotta find a way to just keep focused earlier.”

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TroyBrouwer

There are no pictures of Brouwer’s scoreage. Step your game up, photogs. (Photo credit: Geoff Burke)

Troy Brouwer finally got on the scoreboard Monday night, scoring his first goal of the year off some nice tic-tack-toe passing on the power play. It wasn’t the only first in the Brouwer family that night though: Troy and Carmen’s daughter, Kylie, turned one.

“It’s something that I’ll remember,” Brouwer told me. “It was nice to be able to do it now — five games too long for me.”

Unable to throw a party Monday due to the game, the Brouwers hosted a large party for the baby girl at their home on Sunday. A large number of Capitals players attended, along with a myriad of family relatives. At the end, the birthday girl received a large cupcake — there’s no word on whether the 12-month-old was able to metabolize it or what her wish was — and a necklace from Mom and Dad.

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Brouwer not happy.

Washington Capitals forward Troy Brouwer was disgusted after the team’s 5-1 shellacking to the Colorado Avalanche. The Capitals have lost four of their first five games and if you ask Brouwer, the losing has nothing to do with the team’s talent level. Brouwer thinks it has everything to do with the team not working hard enough.

“We’re going to be be hard-pressed to make the playoffs if we continue on the path we’re on now,” a calm but frustrated Brouwer said to Monumental Network. “I think playoffs should be the furthest thing from our minds as of right now.”

Below are his full comments to the press.

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ovechkin-celebrates-goal-flames

Photo via Caps Instagram

Washington Capitals Captain Alex Ovechkin is 28 year old. Over the years, he’s had his critics: no Stanley Cup, no Olympic gold, he keeps trying the same move, why isn’t Brooks Laich the captain already?

But if you look at how Ovechkin stacks up against others, he’s already one of the greatest to ever play the game. He seems destined to be a first-ballot hockey hall-of-famer.

Fun fact: did you know that with his masterful two goal performance on Thursday, Ovi surpassed Eric Lindros in goals? He entered the game with 372 regular-season tallies, the same as Lindros had at the end of his injury-plagued 13-season NHL career. Ovechkin is two games into his ninth season.

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brouwer-ovi-wedding

Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin is getting married to Maria Kirilenko. We know that; there’s a ring. But what about the date? Up until now, there has been nothing but speculation and rumors. Some of those rumors, to Ovi’s bemusement, implied that he had allegedly cancelled or postponed the wedding. A few days ago Ovechkin promised Sovetsky Sport’s Pavel Lysenkov a call as soon as the date is set.

Enter Troy Brouwer, who spoke to another Sovetsky Sport reporter, Leonid Varshavsky, on Tuesday.

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brouwer-grabo-celly-fail

GIF by welshhockeyfan

The Caps lost 4-3 to the Blackhawks in overtime tonight, but that doesn’t matter. Instead, let’s remember this game for the time Mikhail Grabovski and Troy Brouwer’s failed to celebrate correctly. The second line clearly needs to develop some more chemistry here or it’s going to be a loooooooong year.

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BrouwerHeader

Yep. (Photos by Chris Gordon)

There were some wild panels at this year’s Capitals Convention. My friend Kate cooked with Mike Green, George McPhee talked about getting verbal abuse about trades from teenage girls, and Ted Leonsis… well, I guess that one wasn’t so weird. The best one of all, though, was the ping pong tournament between pairs of Caps players. Taking part: Karl Alzner and John Carlson, Marcus Johansson and Nicklas Backstrom (aka Team Swede), and Mathieu Perreault and Troy Brouwer (Team Sexy Legs). Team Sexy Legs you ask? Well, just take a look at Troy’s outfit. I will never look at my thighs the same.

In the end, Team Swede won all their games, taking the tournament crown. Below, take a look at my photos.

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The Brouwer Rangers and Troy Brouwer

The Brouwer Rangers showed up to this year’s Capitals Convention on Saturday. Being the first Caps Con in their new dubs, the duo made an entrance: they met Alex Ovechkin, took silly photos with cardboard cutout Caps players, played street hockey, and signed autographs for fans (!!!). The highlight of their day, though, was taking a posed photo with their savior, Troy Brouwer.

Brouwer, who is a huge supporter of the two, smiled big and put his fists up with the Rangers in solidarity. I’m getting the feels just looking at this pic. It’s perf.

View all our 2013 Capitals Convention posts.

Aussie Nathan Walker Scores First NHL Goal, Kinda

Credit: Washington Capitals

Jack Hillen scored the Capitals’ first goal of the preseason during the Kraft Hockeyville game in Belleville, Ontario on Saturday night. Or so we thought. Per Mike Vogel, Australian Nathan Walker has been changed to the official goal scorer. Or at least he should’ve been.

“I think it did,” Walker’s linemate Troy Brouwer told Vogel when asked if he thinks Walker deflected Hillen’s shot. “I went over and told the ref. I know there aren’t a whole lot of cameras in that little rink to straighten it out. They said they changed it, but they didn’t announce it. Those things are very important in preseason. In the regular season guys don’t care as much. But in the preseason, it could be the difference between making the team and not making the team. Hopefully he got credit, or hopefully who needs to know knows that he got a touch on it.”

Nice to Brouwer to speak up for a younger guy like that.

A good impression in the preseason is crucial to Walker’s chances of getting a contract. As the only player in camp not affiliated with the Caps or Bears, Walker has to distinguish himself and find his place in the organization soon. And since scoring goals is a still a going concern in hockey, there’s no better way to build a resume than putting the puck in the net. Walker did exactly that.

GIF and video of the play are below.

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20 Days Out: Must Have Brouwer’s Power

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I’m not trying to make this series coincide with jersey numbers, but when the Rangers call upon you ya gotta step up.

Troy Brouwer had an excellent 2012-13 season. He improved his 2011-12 goal total by one despite playing 35 fewer games. But he did so by scoring on 7 of the 28 shots he took while on the brower play, a feat I don’t expect him to repeat in 13-14. That doesn’t mean we should sleep on Troy B though; in fact, he will be a crucial factor in the team’s success this season.

I expect Brouwer to be paired with Mikhail Grabovski and Martin Erat, two players known for being stout on tough defensive assignments and driving play in the offensive zone. Brouwer will be expected to be the line’s finisher, a pretty cozy job if you can find the work. His well-above-average 14% shooting percentage should serve him well on the second line, but the secret will be to shoot like a maniac.

We know he’s got the set-up men; we know he’s got the skill; now Brouwer has to become the kanooblian force at even-strength we’ve always hoped he’d be. If Brouwer crashes the net and takes — let’s say– 7+ shots for every 60 minutes he’s on the ice, the Capitals will have two deadly scoring lines. But if Brouwer won’t shoot or if his lofty shooting percentage drops, the second line will be inert, allowing opponents to focus on shutting down Ovechkin and the top line instead.

That’s a lot riding on Brou-Brou.

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