The votes are in and last week's top GIF was also the bendiest - so one more time, here's Philipp Grubauer making every Caps fan stand up and cheer (and every male cringe in pain):
That's some pretty sweet stuff right there - but it might not be a match for the sweetness we have in store for you this week. Because while the Caps may not have been so good on the ice, there was still plenty of good to go around... and it starts with a very special visit from a very special kid.
8-year-old cutie and Children's Wish recipient Braden Nienaber got the chance of a lifetime last Sunday when he was allowed to make the ceremonial puck-drop before the Caps took on the Sabres at Verizon Center. Lining up for Buffalo was team captain Steve Ott - a guy just begging to be thrown out of the faceoff circle. So Braden did just that, to the delight of everyone watching (including Caps' captain Alex Ovechkin):
It just doesn't get better than that.
Of course, that wasn't Braden's only chance to shine. Earlier in the weekend he got some lessons on dropping the gloves from a guy who has made it a regular practice this season, Tom Wilson. Looks like Wilson should pick on someone his own size:
...we don't need hockeyfights.com to tell us that the decision in this one goes to the pint-sized pugilist. Nice right hook there, kiddo.
But back to the big boys, who also occasionally rough each other up. And when the Caps played host to the Leafs last week, it wasn't all that surprising that the game was filled with all kinds of toughness and feistiness and, dare we say it, truculence. At one point it was John Erskine and Dion Phaneuf whispering sweet nothings to each other - or at least grunting monosyllabic curse words - before a brave linesman decided to intervene:
Sorry, stripes. You get in the way of Big John, you get a faceful of hockey glove. That's just the way it goes.
And now, a brief note to the NHL - the Caps do not need to play by your rules. Especially that one that dictates how many players can be on the ice at one time:
Yup, that's overtime... and that's five Caps on the ice. And yet they still manage to not only not score but be hemmed into their own zone because the Caps.
Okay, so the Caps can fight. We've got proof of that. They can cheat (badly). We've got proof of that, too. But we've also got proof that the actual hockey part can be good on occasion.
Just bear witness to this gorgeous passing play by the Caps that results in the most gorgeous of things, a goal against the Pittsburgh Penguins:
Amazing vision from Dmitry Orlov to find Marcus Johansson in the corner (and through a slew of bodies). Perfect execution on the quick pass from Johnasson to Jason Chimera in front of the net. And as much as we'd like to say Marc-Andre Fleury was Marc-Andre Fleurying, there was just nothing even a good goalie was going to be able to do on that play. Beauty.
Of course, if we're talking about beauties, we usually don't need to look much further than the man who wears #8 for the Caps, and he gave us a few options this week - but this one was probably our favorite:
Notice Brooks Orpik attempting to defend against Ovechkin in the only way that seems plausible: remove his stick from his hands. A penalty? Should have been. Effective? ...not really. Because Ovechkin being Ovechkin, he merely retrieves the stick and makes the Penguins pay. Like a boss.
So that wraps it up for another week in GIFs - which was your favorite? Cast your vote and check back next week to see which moving moment moved the meter the most!