Game Diary: Caps-Pens Game 7, A Somber Remembrance

The Caps Lose to The Penguins in Game 7 - Ovechkin and Crosby Shake Hands

Springtime was magical. Puck fans watched with rapt attention as the Capitals overcame a 3-game deficit to beat the Rangers, and we felt like we were living in charmed times. “Could this be the year the Caps actually do it?”, we would whisper to ourselves in quiet corners.  The team never looked better than it did during those last four games against New York, and we wondered how far it could go.

We would gather at our friends’ houses, donned in red, and we would cheer the team from afar.  Tickets were just too darn expensive, so we’d need to pick our game well. Not attending wasn’t an option. The team was too good to miss. Semyon Varlamov had risen from obscurity to become the Kerri Strug of goalies (that is, lithe and successful). The trifecta of Semin, Ovechkin, and Backstrom had turned D.C. into a veritable hero city. Mike Green and his ever-shrinking mohawk was weaponeering his defense. And a young team rallied around its senior Russian, Sergei Federov.

So when the Caps moved up two games over the Pittsburgh Penguins in the conference playoffs, we knew it was our time. We would secure tickets to the Caps Stanley Cup finals. But everything started to go pear-shaped, and we began to worry if such a series would arrive at all. The Pens snatched the next two games, and we were in a pickle.    My friends and I advanced our schedule and procured tickets to the tentative game seven of the Pens-Caps series.

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Wednesday Webhits: The Frost King’s Links Of The Week

This week we’ve got a the guys who take the most punishment on the ice (hits), a better save percentage using an adjustment for the penalty kill (which puts a certain Caps’ goalie in pretty good company), the snipers who score goals more than one would expect, and a look at which Conference is stronger and what that means for who could end up in the Stanley Cup Finals.

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Caps Beat Wings 3-2 Thanks to Theo!

Jose Theodore Shuts Down Red Wings, Caps Win 3-2

#needsmorebradley We think yes.

#needsmorebradley We think yes. (AP Photos)

EVEN LATER UPDATE:  Lisa Hillary comments have been clarified.  Varly’s involvement in the Olympics is “doubtful”.  This is definitely a more pessimistic take than others are sharing, but not completely dire.

LATE UPDATE:  During the post-game report on CSN, Lisa Hillary reported that Semyon Varlamov has had another setback in his recovery (groin, then MCL strain).  According to CSN, Varlamov will NOT be playing in the Olympics.

Every year, the Detroit Red Wings are a staple of the playoffs. It’s a truism of hockey that to get to the cup you must first go through them. For the bigger part of tonight’s hockey game, it looked like the Washington Capitals were not up to the challenge. But there’s a new truism — one that the Capitals have coined– that strength comes from depth. Through the efforts of low-key players like David Steckel, Matt Bradley, Jose Theodore, and Nicklas Backstrom (okay, he’s a superstar); the Caps came back to win a crucial game.

Let’s review shall we:

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inSEMINation T-Shirt

Our last t-shirt of this crazy four t-shirt day (see our 3 new Bruce Boudreau T-Shirts below) is a doozy. And by doozy we mean terribly inappropriate and probably should never be worn by anyone ever. Seriously. Leave our website, we’re awful people. Like we didn’t even make this one in kid’s sizes for fear someone in a Maryland Private School might be expelled. But sadly, there is an audience for this type of trash, and the Russian Machine must abide.

So with that positive introduction out of the way, we bring you our newest t-shirt, appropriately titled the “inSEMINation.” Available in Men’s and Women’s sizes. Where did we get this idea? Why did we even make this? Well, obviously the Russian Machine is partial to his fellow Russian Superstars on the Capitals. So when anyone says something glowingly or creative about one of our players, we must act. Immediately.

During the Capitals 5-3 beatdown of the Flyers, Heather Blumburg blurted out this beauty of a tweet to celebrate a goal by Alex Semin, which immediately got our attention. We were so impressed, we created this t-shirt in less than one hour after we saw it.

As a side note, yes, the Capitol building shown here is meant to be a phallic representation of where most of Semin’s most ardent supporters reside: Siberia Washington DC. And yes, we considered putting a white 28 above the dome, but it was just too distasteful distracting from our typography on the bottom.

So for those girls in College who want to party and impress their current hockey-loving boyfriend with your knowledge of hockey and the human anatomy, this shirt’s for you. And no, I’m not eagerly awaiting the “Stay Classy, @russianmachine” tweets when I sign back online onto Twitter. Sigh.

Bruce Boudreau WTF T-Shirt

If you’re Bruce Boudreau, you’re livin’ large. You’ve got a Book Deal, a budding acting career, a Bobblehead, a Jack Adams Trophy, and the two-time NHL MVP on your team. How could life be any better? It’s hard to say.

But realistically, even with all of those luxuries, you’ve still got some problems. BIG problems. Like your GM just signed a guy barely playing NOW to a two year contract, you watch your team get beat up every fight it accepts, and your number one goalie has been out half the year with a multitude of weird, crotch-related injuries.

So if you’re feeling like Bruce is feeling after your “other” star winger gets whistled for another offensive zone penalty in the third period, then protest along with Gabby, and buy our WTF T-Shirt, available in Men’s and Women’s Sizes. Also available in Blue and White in Men’s and White in Women’s.

Protesting bad ice, a flat beer, or a nasty breakup with your girlfriend after you find out she’s cheating on you with the Capstronaut, has never been easier – or more stylish with this tee!

Want to see the rest of our Gabby T-Shirts in this series? Take a look below the jump.

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The first dog to ever sport a RMNB T-Shirt

Yes Fido, you are suffocating in Awesome!

Another T-Shirt Tuesday is among us my friends. And this week I learned something that I never thought I’d know: How a dog looks in one of my T-Shirt Designs. Wow. The look in his eyes says it all: Please kill me now! I’m suffocating in Awesome!

We wanted to extend a huge thanks to Reader Courtney for modeling our entire line of T-Shirts and to our good friend DookFn who became the first person to invade Verizon Center with one of our Tees! I mean hell, they’re no Chad Dukes (meaning they know something about hockey), but we’ll take what we can!

To see everyone who has modeled in our t-shirts thus far, please join our Facebook Fan Page and take a look!

Check out all of the new photos below the jump and yes, this is your cue to buy yourself a RMNB Tee and support your fellow starving artists.

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The Significance Of Blogs In The Mainstream Media

CAPTION

Seriously. Someone buy this newspaper!

Allow me to break into the excellent coverage Peter provides on the Capitals to discuss the significance of blogs in the mainstream media.

I am a newspaper reporter, so it may surprise many of you that I even know what a blog is.

The general consensus of blogger nation seems to be that newspaper reporters don’t understand online media, and that’s why our industry is “dying.” I bring this up because the folks at Camden Chat ripped me apart for a negative column I wrote about how much the Orioles are going to stink this year. Basically, one of the commenters said negative columns like mine are the reason why the print industry is dying.

Allow me this rebuttal.

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Our friend Fedor Fedin translates Alex Ovechkin‘s interview following the Sunday’s Flyers game.  Below A.O. discusses shooting strategy, breaking a bad stat, and free wings.

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Laich lifts Caps Over Flyers! 5-3

Brooks Laich has a monster day as the Caps win 5-3 over the Flyers. (AP Photo)

Brooks Laich has a monster day as the Caps win 5-3 over the Flyers. (AP Photo)

When the Caps last met the Flyers, the blood had to be squeegeed off the ice. The December 5th 8-2 smackdown might have been the nadir of the Flyers’ season, and we sorta knew they’d bring everything they had to today’s faceoff. Unfortunately for the Flyers, that “everything” included goalie Ray Emery. By the end of the first period, the Caps had figured out the Philly netminder and began a steady treacle of goals for all sixty minutes. Notably, Brooks Laich emerged from a long goalless streak (in regulation at least) to drive two pucks behind Emery. Caps win, 5 to 3.

Let’s break it down:

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The Washington Capitals suit up to play the Philadelpha Flyers today at Verizon Center.  And wouldn’t you just know it?  We’ve got some injuries.
  • John Erskine is still out with an upper-body injury. Erskine (pictured below) hasn’t played since the Thrashers game on the 9th. Johnny hasn’t been a bit off since around Christmas, so we’re hoping this rest will give him a chance to recharge his batteries.
    John Erskine and his flesh-colored hair are out tonight.

    John Erskine and his flesh-colored hair are out tonight.

  • Brian Pothier didn’t skate at yesterday’s practice at Kettler, so we suspect he’ll be out again tonight.  Pothier sustained a rib injury during the Panthers game earlier this week. That leaves us with two D-men missing in the line-up.
  • So here comes Captain America himself: John Carlson. The star of the WJC had a pretty good game (2 shots) against the Leafs on Friday, and he’ll probably play tonight. Does anyone else get the feeling we’re looking at the future of the franchise?
  • Hershey Bear Karl Alzner will probably rejoin the Caps next week, but until then we’ll probably have to make do with Tyler Sloan on a D-pairing. After that, Tyler can get back to earning a massive paycheck for doing pretty much nothing.
  • Russian machine Alexander Semin was a gametime decision on Friday night. While his wrist continues to bug him, he got the clean bill of health and snatched up two points. He’ll probably be on the ice tonight, and he’ll certainly get a hat trick.  He’s due.
  • Wednesday’s pugilists, Shaone Morrisonn and Jason Chimera, sustained no injuries from their (totally awesome) fights. Chimera came to the defense of a battered John Carlson at the end of the Leafs game and could have faced suspension for an instigator penalty in the last five minutes. The white wizards of the north in Toronto decided that this wasn’t a case of thuggery and message-sending, and will not be enforcing that suspension. Chimera will be playing tonight.
  • Finally, Semyon Varlamov remains on the mend, nursing an MCL sprain. We’d love to see him by Thursday’s Pens game, but we’ll probably have to wait until next weekend. At least he won’t have to hang himself.

This afternoon’s matinee begins at 3 PM. The Philadelpha Flyers continue to be a team in crisis, but I wouldn’t count them out. There’s something honorable in their struggle. Of all the Caps’ rivalries, the Flyers are the only team I WOULD pee on if they were on fire.