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The GIF Tournament Begins

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In the absence of actual, live hockey, we offer up a month of moving hockey snippets that will battle it out for the greatest prize in all of Caps GIFdom.

Collage by Brendan Sheridan

Over the past year, we have dutifully collected GIFs of the best, the most spectacular or the funniest moments from the Caps' 2013-14 season, on and off the ice. Each week we presented them to you, the readers, for judgment - and with a simple click of a mouse, you let us know which one you thought was the best.

But those weekly exercises in democracy can only tell us so much about which GIF is the creme de la creme of the GIF world - which GIF reigns supreme and can lord it over his other little GIF-y friends. No, to truly find out which GIF is the best, we have to pit them against each other to see which one is left standing at the end.

To do this, we used your votes (and just a smidgen of executive veto power) to come up with the top 16 GIFs from 2013-14. And with the field set, we will now let them battle it out for your affection - and your votes - in the first ever Japers' Rink GIF tournament!

The Methodology

We sifted through all 97 entrants from our Capitals in Motion posts, whittled them down to 16 and ranked them based on a highly scientific (i.e. completely and utterly subjective) formula. This formula took into account two factors:

a) the percentage of the votes each GIF got in its debut week
b) strength of competition

So, for example, a GIF that came out on top by a large margin in its respective poll might be ranked lower than one that pulled in a lower percentage of the votes but faced stiffer competition. Of course, we also might have just liked one better than another. In other words... just go with it.

The Names

In the spirit of everyone's favorite bracket-building competition, the NCAA tournament, we've divided our competitors into four "regions"; unlike the NCAA tournament, however, the names of our groups have no actual relevance beyond the simple fact that the old division and conference names are cool. So we will feature the Patrick Division and Adams Division (within the Wales Conference) and the Smythe and Norris Divisions (as part of the Campbell Conference).

Seriously... do not attempt to find any link between the GIFs in a set division and that division's name. Any relevance is purely coincidental, and to be honest, somewhat frowned upon. Did we mention just go with it? That applies here, too.

The Schedule

The tournament will take place throughout August, with the first branch of the semifinal round (Patrick and Adams) being revealed today. The rest of the schedule will be as follows:

- Friday, August 8 - Semifinal Round 2 (Smythe and Norris)

- Friday, August 15 - Division Finals

- Friday, August 22 - Wales and Campbell Conference Finals

- Friday, August 29 - Stanley Cup Final

...yes, that's right, the Stanley Cup of GIFs. Because gosh darn it, someone is going to win a Cup in a Caps jersey if it kills us.

Our Inspiration

The Credit

We'd be remiss if we didn't note that this tournament was blatantly stolen from inspired by the good people at SB Nation, who have put on five such tournaments covering GIFs from across the entire sporting world. If you haven't had a chance to peruse them, take the time to do so at some point - we can only hope to pay homage to those masterpieces with our tournament and we bow at the feet of their creator, Jon Bois.

And of course additional credit and thanks go to our GIFmaster, Brendan, who contributes his time and effort to making sure no moment goes un-GIF'd. Doing the lord's work, for sure.

*********

So that takes care of the introduction - let's get things rolling with the Wales Conference GIFs, as they get set to duke it out for a trip to the Division Finals.

Click the link below each match-up to view the GIFs and to cast your vote for your favorites. Voting for this round will close at 11:55 pm ET on Wednesday, August 6.

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PATRICK DIVISION

Perry drops in for a visit (1)
vs.
Attack of the shaving cream bandit (4)
Vote Now!


Green's awkward line change (2)
vs.
An apple for the rookie (3)
Vote Now!

***********

ADAMS DIVISION

Swede dish (1)
vs.
Hat's off for Grubauer (4)
Vote Now!


Brouwbomb debut (2)
vs.
Ovechkin plays footsie (3)
Vote Now!

***********

The bracket so far:
[Click to embiggen]

Bracket

Will your favorite make it out of the first round? Or will it stumble and bow out early like... well, you know. It's up to you - don't forget to check back and vote!