The greatest GIF from last week as voted on by you, the readers? Coincidentally it's also the greatest ceremonial faceoff moment ever. Take it away, little Braden:
It's cute because it's a kid. It's funny because it's never happened before. But what puts this one over the top is the guy to whom it happens: Steve Ott. A jackass in games, but a heck of a sport when it counts. Well done, everyone.
Okay so on to this week, which was... well, let's just say it wasn't the best of weeks for the Caps. When you score just two goals in three games and (obviously) lose all three, and your captain is injured, and you're mired in the middle of a lengthy losing streak, it's pretty safe to say that the fun times and GIF-worthy moments are kind of hard to come by.
But never fear, because there were a few select moments worth reliving... and we dug every one of them up. Every last one. Each crumb of goodness in a week of blech. Let the good times roll!
As bleak as this season has been at times (and as bleak as it's becoming), one of the bright spots has been the ongoing dominance of Alex Ovechkin and his penchant for scoring goals like no one can, and often when no one can. So it's not surprising that in an otherwise terrible week offensively, one of the better moments was this one, provided by none other than the captain himself:
No big deal, that's just an other-worldly goaltender he beats with his typical laser of a shot. You know it's coming, Henrik Lundqvist. And you know where it's going. And yet there is nothing you can do to stop it. Nothing.
Yeah, we dare you to repeat that awesomeness on the rest of his teamma-... oh never mind.
So just as everyone knows Ovechkin is a gifted goal-scorer, everyone also knows that Nicklas Backstrom is an amazing playmaker. One of the less-discussed elements of his game, however, is his strength and almost sneaky physicality - which is good, because it allows him to do stuff like this:
Milan Michalek just learned the hard way what it's like to take on Mean Lars... and lose. Meanwhile Backstrom doesn't appear to even break a sweat, so there's that.
Okay, so Backstrom is one tough Swede. Let's check in with his countryman, Marcus Johansson, who appears to have some sort of stick malfunction and wants to make sure everyone knows about it-OH DEAR GOD WAIT MARCUS STOP:
(Of course even directing a jumbo jet onto the ice didn't help the Caps score. They really can't successfully cheat at all, can they?)
Onward and upward...
We all got a dose of cute last week with a sneak peek at little Braden Nienaber's time with the Caps a few weeks ago. And the tossing of Steve Ott is a classic moment (as was that sneaky right hook that felled giant Tom Wilson). Now we get a new competitor in the "how many times can we make people go awwwww" contest with this homage to one of Ovechkin's best-known celebrations:
Tiny little munchkin, great big personality. Love it.
Finally, a reminder to everyone feeling a bit low about hockey this week - it's okay, we'll get through this together. And in case you ever need it, nothing lifts your spirits like a good hug:
Let the others fight and claw each other's faces off. Let the fists and curse words fly. Deep down, superstar defensemen Mike Green and Erik Karlsson know that when it comes to hockey... it's all about the love. N'aww.
And that about wraps it up for another week in GIFs! But before we let you go vote, another flashback to one of our favorite moments in the 1998 playoff series between the Caps and Sabres - the moment when Dominik Hasek completely lost his head. And his blocker. Observe:
Goalies be crazy, and let's be honest... Hasek was the goaliest of them all.
As always, shout-out to Brendan for the GIF work - be sure to follow him on Twitter for more.