Oops. Russian Machine made a boo boo. (AP Photo)

Oops. Russian Machine screw up big time. (AP Photo)

At around 2:00pm, after Alex Ovechkin was tossed and Chicago was starting the third period with a 3-0 lead, I got a call from RMNB lead writer Peter Hassett who’s currently spending his last day in California for a weekend wedding. He said and I quote:

“I thought the Tampa Bay Game was the disaster game of the season. I guess it’s this one now.”

I reminded him that there was still 1 full period of play left- which is a lot of time for the Capitals even without Ovechkin – and that Chicago blew a similar 3-0 lead to the Flyers the day before. Undeterred, Peter replied “Dude, It’s Over.”

So of course, the Capitals were victorious and won in Overtime over a stunned Chicago Blackhawks team, 4-3. SORRY PETER. We’re just going to warn you now, we’re not in the mood for happy bullets.

  • Everyone wants to talk about Alex Ovechkin and his ejection. We will too. But we first want to point you to a potential reason for the Caps terribly slow start: With daylight savings the night before and the team flying to Chicago – which is an hour behind on Central Time – the Capitals actually lost two hours. Thus, for them, it felt like the start of the game was at 10:30am. If you’ve ever played a Varsity Sport in High School, we’ll just tell you – it takes awhile for the body to wake up that early. Which is a perfect segway into…
  • Alex Semin. WTF dude? You must be misunderstood, because if I went by your body language today, no part of you wanted to be playing hockey. First, you take a horrendous obstruction penalty in the first period. Then in the second, you try to lean in on an imaginary defenseman on a breakaway and go hurling towards the net out of control. The result? Semin AGAIN goes careening head first into the goaltender on a breakaway. No goal, offensive zone penalty number two. Fedor’s comment on AIM: “stupidest penalty in hockey ever for Semin.” It’s hard to disagree. Our favourite Siberian must love soccer, because he keeps trying to bring the “header” into hockey. Finally, when you lose your best player, someone else must step up. And that my friends wasn’t Alex Semin…
  • It was Nicklas Backstrom. The unassisted overtime winner was delicious, yes, but Nicklas Backstrom’s first goal of the night – the Capitals second – came at the tail end of a 5 on 3 powerplay and right after one of his most ill-advised turnovers of the year (saucer to Brooks Laich on 2 on 3). Without a goal there, momentum swings back to the Blackhawks and the game’s over. When asked post game about the team’s victory without it’s best player, Lars responded: “It’s a strong sign, especially now at the end of the season. We know he [Ovechkin] is a key to our team and he scores a lot of goals. We have shown that we can play, that our other key players can play, too.”
  • Who else can really play when a big game’s on the line? How about David Steckel? We’ll just come right out and say it, Stecks is the type of player you need to win a Stanley Cup. Period. On Fehr’s game tying goal, Steckel hustled to beat out an icing call and deftly threw the puck out to his open teammate. Not only that, all game long he played good defense, finished his checks, and won a bunch of faceoffs. And if it wasn’t for…
  • Joe Corvo blowing a terrible assignment off a faceboff on the Blackhawks second goal, Steckel would have ended the game with a +1. We’ll be honest, Corvo’s freelancing is starting to piss us off a little. Yeah, he’s a good defenseman, and he can really move the puck well. But with his brain farts accumulating by the week and the ladies’ already questioning the effectiveness of his goatee, Corvo is close to losing Caps fans complete support already. COME ON CORVO. GET IT TOGETHER.
  • It’s hard not to enjoy a game when NBC’s Mike Emrick is calling it. He said two flat out hilarious things. First he said “LAICH GETTING UNSIGHTLY WITH PATRICK KANE.” I’m not even sure what that means. And then Emrick described a ho hum blocker save as Jose Theodore “WAFFLE-BOARDING [THE PUCK] AWAY.” Oh Mikey, you so folksy.
  • And oh yeah, how can I forget that Alex Ovechkin guy? We said it on Twitter. And we’ll say it here again. We all know that the Ovechkin hit was not worth a 5 min boarding major with replay. But live – it looked really dirty, Brian Campbell had his back turned and was in a vulnerable position, & Campbell ended up getting badly injured on the play. Sometimes there are hits that are too risky to make. And the Russian Machine needs to stop putting himself in this position. Blame his passion, blame whatever you want. But it’s got to stop. He’s already starting to gain a reputation as a dirty hitter. Since we get to watch him every game, we as Capital Fans know there’s no malice involved here. But in a day of age where video clips of these types of hits are so easily accessible – and you’re the most talked about player in the game – this is going to be another bad black eye.
  • NHL head disciplinarian Colin Campbell has already clarified the Ovechkin automatic suspension talk: “The knee [suspension from Dec. 1] does not apply as he was suspended for that. If you get two boarding game-misconduct penalties, you get an automatic suspension if 41 games have not lapsed. In [Ovechkin’s] case, 41 games have lapsed since his last boarding [game misconduct], so he is not suspended automatically.” We here at RMNB predict an Ovechkin suspension anyways.
  • Ovechkin on the hit: “I didn’t hit him hard. I pushed him, but he fell bad. It probably looks bad.” Um yeah.
  • If President Obama saw the game today and wants to be associated with a winner, there’s no doubt who that should be anymore. The Capitals were pretty awful for 40 minutes + and still managed to beat his hometown team. So now, let’s make that transition as easy as possible for him, by you joining our rapidly growing Facebook Petition.
  • Finally, the Washington Capitals now have 101 points through 69 games and have gone over 100 points for the 6th time in franchise history!!!! Oh? You don’t give a crap? Bigger goals you say? My bad.

Anyways, today, was just a flat out weird game. Brooks Laich’s goal in the third period made me feel like this victory was inevitable however. And that’s a bad sign. This team spoils us hardcore, and I hope we don’t rely on these crazy comebacks later in the year. Because in the playoffs. It’s Not. Gonna. Happen.

Stay tuned to RMNB this week. We’ll have some fantastic, exclusive Barack The Red content, and hell, we might even get Peter back … sometime. But while we have you now, we just wanted to say that we have been humbled by the incredible amount of attention we’ve received the last few days because of our Obama site. Our success here wouldn’t of been possible without trailblazers like Japers’ Rink and On Frozen Blog leading the way. It’s more of a testament to their awesomeness than anything we ever did. So we say thank you to you and to them and we state emphatically that we realize our place. Which is still the worst blog ever.

  • Rob

    Good stuff except…..Corvo did not blow anything. 4 on 4 is generally a man to man type of situation. Steckel blew the assignment, or at the very least as a center did not recognize the Corvo following his check high which means Steckel should rotate back low. It happens, but blaming Corvo for that is incorrect IMO. Good article otherwise.

  • Peter

    Nice work, Ian!

    I’m at the San Diego airport playing PokerStars! GO CAPS!

  • http://www.russianmachineneverbreaks.com Russian Machine Never Breaks

    Rob, I’m not sure I can completely agree with you on that one. Forwards and Centers should be covering the Defenseman at the point – which was where Steckel was going. Why Corvo was out there is beyond me. But I’m gonna side with the guy who’s been playing in Bruce’s system for 5+ years and blame the new guy. Forgive me if I’m wrong.

  • Rob

    You may not at all be wrong, it is just my opinion and is the way I was taught to play. I am not clear on what Bruce asks the players to do in that situation, but I do know as a team it seems to me the Caps often look confused in a 4 on 4 situation. In general after a face off in the offensive zone the man taking the face off is going to be responsible for the other man taking the face off.

    In the systems I am aware of generally the center is going to be responsible for the center. The wings are responsible for the points on their side of the ice, but 4 on 4 can be different. Just depends what the coach asks them to do. One thing I do know for sure, if your check has the puck you cannot just let him skate away giving him time and space to make a play. Guys have to read and react, it maybe just bad communication. Or, maybe I am wrong and Bruce asks them to do something I am not aware of.

    I am going to go watch that play again, it could be I am not remembering it correctly. I do know I yelled at Steckel (via my TV) after the goal ;)

  • http://www.russianmachineneverbreaks.com Russian Machine Never Breaks

    Rob, If you can somehow get video of that onto youtube, or send us a photo, that would be great. I’d love to solicit other opinions as well. Anyways, the end game needs to be that the Caps can’t mistakes like that against good teams or you’re going to pay. Simple as that. We can’t have stuff like that going on in the playoffs.

  • Tim

    Good, game. . .good summary! This is the type of win the Caps need to pick up some momentum heading into the final stretch, and a run into the playoffs. I wholeheartedly agree; these three goal deficit, comeback wins WILL NOT happen in the playoffs! GO CAPS!

  • Rob

    RMNB, I am not very good at capturing or editing video, but I will look around for it. The best I can do right now is to provide a link to the play at NHL.com http://video.nhl.com/videocenter/console?hlg=20092010,2,1022&event=CHI29 .

    The way I see it is Steckel was facing Towes, Corvo was on the left wing with Kane and Nick was on an open right wing at the circle. Poti was deep. Anyway, Towes won the face off directly to Kane, Kane skated out above the circle and Corvo followed him. Nick skated toward the blue line to cover the point, Poti dropped back to the front of the net and Steckel sort of floated around the circle then moved out high toward the blue line sort of following Kane. IMO Corvo had no choice but to check Kane, Nick was not in a position to get to him in time and Steckel having just taken the face off was not in position to check him. I do not think Corvo had much choice no matter what Bruce asks them to do in that situation. So either Steckel lost his check and got caught way too high, or Steckel did not read the play and rotate back low to cover for his D-man that was caught up high.

    A little disclaimer, I play defense and I always like to blame forwards for anything bad that happens in the defensive zone, it is always their fault ;) Also, I am a little out of it due to pain killers I need to take after injuring myself playing monday night.

    I agree the Caps need to tighten up. They looked like they were sleeping walking through the first period, they looked the same against Tampa the other night. Intensity for 60 minutes just does not seem to be there right now. Semin kills me, so much skill, so little thinking

  • Darla

    Segway is a brand name; what you’re looking for is segue.

  • http://www.russianmachineneverbreaks.com Russian Machine Never Breaks

    Darla, great and hilarious find. I actually dig my mistake more now and am not going to fix it. Peter will probably lash me when he gets back to Maryland anyways though. Thanks for the comment.

  • Tom

    “I reminded him that there was still 1 full period of play left- which is a lot of time for the Capitals even without Ovechkin – and that Chicago blew a similar 3-0 lead to the Flyers the day before. Undeterred, Peter replied “Dude, It’s Over.””

    The Blackhawks lost that game 3-2, and at one point, trailed 1-0. They blew a late lead, but nothing compared to what they did today.

  • Chris

    Nice wrapup.

    One thing though. On your first bullet, I think you’ve got it backwards on the time zone shift. True, everyone lost an hour due to daylights saving, but since the east coast is an hour ahead, that should cancel it out and make 12:30 (Central time) feel like 12:30. It’s the folks in the mountain time zone that 12:30 would’ve felt like 10:30. And 9:30 to the Pacific time zone folks.

  • Ken

    It was a dirty play and Ovechkin should be suspended. You cant blame every penalty on Ovechkins balls to the wall style.

  • http://www.russianmachineneverbreaks.com Russian Machine Never Breaks

    I don’t have the time zone thing backwards because they played the game in Chicago, literally at 11:30am so people on the East Coast would see it at 12:30.

  • Chris

    Oh, my bad. Then it still would’ve felt like 11:30 to them. Still early I know.

  • http://www.russianmachineneverbreaks.com Russian Machine Never Breaks

    No Chris, it would have felt like 10:30am to them – like I said in my article – because of Daylight’s savings the night before.

  • Chris

    Let me try to map this out.

    At gametime:
    In DC (where the Caps came from) – 11:30 became 12:30
    In Chicago (where the Hawks were more or less adjusted to the time) – 10:30 became 11:30

    In Chicago it would have felt like 10:30. But in DC (where the Caps were coming from), it would have felt like 11:30. So if anything, it would’ve been a disadvantage to Chicago, who were still essentially on Central time, despite having played a quickie in Philly the day before. That is unless the Caps flew in right after the TB game and quickly got adjusted to Central time.

    This is the dumbest argument ever when talking about hockey. haha!

  • Peter

    YOU PEOPLE ARE CONFUSING THE HELL OUT OF ME. THIS TIME CHANGE STUFF IS WORSE THAN THE POLITICAL STUFF.

    Brain hurts.

  • yuk

    It seems that for Caps early morning Sunday NBC games are always sleepy time, since the same happened against Pens (remember 1:4 and 5:4). As an excuse for Semin it should be noted that he got 2 penalties and Hawks score one goal, but at the same time, he owned 2 penalties and Caps score two goals (counting Baks. goal also) and Caps won, which matter most. Not so bad ratio at the end of the day.

  • http://www.russianmachineneverbreaks.com Russian Machine Never Breaks

    I agree it is dumb. Hahahaha. I mean come on guys. I just thought it was interesting to point out.

  • Chris

    Yeah. lol. Morning hockey is no good. But I liked the result!

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  • Timothy Oh

    What a hit… it’s not ovies fault that Campell has a weak collarbone