Two weeks have passed since Russian Machine Never Breaks implored President Obama to attend a Caps game and Barack The Red. To say we’ve been floored by the reaction would be a total understatement. In the days since our plea, we’ve received nods from Puck Daddy, D.C. Sports Bog, On Frozen Blog, Homer McFanboy, DCist, LaVar Arrington, and even “Uncle” Ted Leonsis himself! Then, 1,244 people joined our Facebook Petition (join now if you haven’t yet), including Japers Rink, Dmitry Chesnokov and the affable Caps Owner (yes, really)! But to be honest, we were all completely shocked last Friday afternoon, when Scott Wilson, White House Correspondent for The Washington Post, asked the President’s Press Secretary, Robert Gibbs, for a response to our open letter. Joke or not, my letter being read before the White House gaggle was the highlight of my career and a fitting testament to the obscene number of hours Blogadyte Ian Oland has put into site.
Wow. Before we begin, I need a cup of apple juice and a good cry.
Okay. Better now.
The debate prefacing tonight’s game between the Washington Capitals and Pittsburgh Penguins was whether or not this was “just another game”, but that’s just silly. In hindsight we know that any time these two forces meet, something remarkable will happen.
Tonight we rode an emotional rollercoaster through 60 minutes of regulation hockey, another five of overtime, and four shootout rounds before the decision was made. We saw the best and worst of Capitals hockey tonight. But thanks to Old Man Mike Knuble and the Macedonian monster Jose Theodore, the Caps were victorious. Caps beat Pens 4-3 (OT).
In just a few hours, the Washington Capitals and Pittsburgh Penguins will face off for the second-t0-last time ever before the playoffs in a few weeks. The stakes are not as high as they have been– both teams are sure things for the post-season, D.C.’s win streak has ended, and NBC’s Pierre McGuire won’t be leaving drool streaks on the glass barrier between him and the Pens bench. Still, any meeting between these two rivals guarantees an exciting game. Except that one time. But unfortunately, both squads have modified their lines to accommodate injured players. And when our hockey heroes cannot play, we must toast their immortal memory in a feature we like to call… Russian Machine Sometimes Breaks!
Biostatistician and devoutly “warped” Caps fan, Stevie K, is gifted with numbers in a way that I am not. Whereas my girlfriend does not permit me to keep score at Scrabble, K has performed a statistical analysis to ascertain how soon, in a perfect situation, the Washington Capitals can secure the Presidents’ Trophy (hereafter “The Prez”) for the first time in the team’s history.
What follows is a peek into a disturbed mind, wherein the machinations of p-values and standard deviations are comprehended with ease. Abandon all hope, ye who read on, of understanding what Stevie K now lays at your feet; let the numbers wash over you and ease you into a narcotic stupor. Trip the light fantastic amidst a really big spreadsheet. I promise to bold the important stuff that makes sense to normal human beings.
Some of the Caps’ best games this season have been against the Tampa Bay Lightning, and tonight was no exception. Marking Captain Alexander Ovechkin‘s return after suspension, tonight’s bout with the Bolts gave us hits, goals, fights, and — for once– a team that looked truly solid.
Goals from Tomas Fleischmann, the Russian Machine himself, and Alex Semin lifted the Caps above the Tampa Bay team, but the glory of the win must belong to the most excellent Jose Theodore. Stopping all but one of the 34 shots aimed at his net, Jose made tonight’s 3-1 victory possible.
Above Tatiana Ovechkina (left) sits with her son Alex (middle) many years ago.
Today, March 19th, is Tatiana Ovechkina’s 60th birthday. In celebration of the milestone, Soviet Sport’s Pavel Lysenkov phoned in from Russia to Alex Ovechkin’s home in DC and interviewed the Great Mother of the Great 8.
In the translated article below, Ovechkina discusses what she loves to cook for her sons, why she didn’t fly to Vancouver to watch Alex in the Olympic Games & if he’s completely gotten over the crushing loss to Canada.
I know that photo isn’t from our game, but it’s too cool to pass up. (Photo credit Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
Ian “Bloglethorpe” Oland joined me for tonight’s game at Russian Machine Never Breaks World Headquarters, located miles under the Alleghany Mountains and adjacent to a combination Pizza Hut/Taco Bell. You’d think this would be occasion for celebration, as the top-ranked Caps should be able to stomp the Canes even without Ovechkin, still suspended after having been caught riding dirty. And while the Capitals showed some shimmer with Joe Corvo’s two goals, their laziness and disinterest allowed the Hurricanes to exploit one too many plays. Sad to say it, but the Hurricanes beat the Capitals in overtime 4-3.
While the Washington Capitals continue their fight for the Presidents’ Trophy, the President busies himself with making his brackets on ESPN’s SportsCenter show. Your boy Dan Steinberg and his Sports Bog provides typically exemplary coverage of the unveiling of the Presidential brackets (Barackets?).
Obviously, the President loves him some sports. We do, too. The NCAA basketball tournament is one of the most exciting sports events of the year, and we could never disparage the President for being into it. We just want our Caps to get a little love, too. Speaking of, have you signed the Facebook petition yet?
Tonight, the Washington Capitals play the Hurricanes. Ovechkin’s still suspended, Varly’s in net, and I’ll be able to watch the whole thing live for once. Last time the ‘Canes and Caps met was only one week ago, and that game implausibly went to overtime before D.C. pulled out the win. Hopefully, tonight will be a secure win in only 60 minutes.