Can The Washington Capitals Win The Presidents Trophy This Year?

With only 12 games to go the Washington Capitals are within striking distance of another franchise first: The Presidents’ Trophy.

Along with the cash bonuses to the organization it ensures home ice advantage throughout the playoffs – a huge plus to a team with a 26-4-4 record at the Phone Booth and PK issues away.

It is a five horse race (Washington, Chicago, Phoenix, Vancouver and San Jose) and the Caps have the easiest road to the prize.

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Florida Panthers lose to the Washington Capitals 7-3

Alex Semin Getting Some With Cory Stillman (Both Photos by: Eliot J. Schechter)

Above: Alex Semin Getting Nasty With Cory Stillman, Top: Tomas Vokoun Getting Some Love From The Florida Fans (Both Photos by: Eliot J. Schechter)

I’ll be honest, I’ve never been more bored by a drubbing than tonight’s 7-3 Caps victory over the Florida Panthers. Maybe it was because Japers Rink’s FREE ALEX signs got more facetime than the Russian Machine did. Maybe it was because the hundreds of people who WERE in attendance at BankAtlantic Center in Sunrise, Florida, were practically comatose during the entire game. Or maybe it was because Florida’s team defense was so bad that every member of it could have been replaced by a lawn chair and no one would have noticed a difference.

Oh well! A win’s a win, right?

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Alex Ovechkin Suspended For Two Games …And Why Not?

The world is not fair.  Our man, Tarik El-Bashir, broke the news a few minutes ago:

Ovechkin has been suspended two games by the NHL.

Fresh-faced dynamo or redivist thug?

Fresh-faced dynamo or recidivist thug?

Alex Ovechkin‘s hit on Brian Campbell, which left the recipient with a broken collarbone and an super-sized off-season, has been adjudicated by NHL disciplinarian Colin Campbell and his trusty pile of chicken entrails.  Two games off seems to represent an understanding that there was no intent to injure, but that A.O. is not a first-time offender as well.   It’s not a large enough sentence to sate the trolling haters to whom we shall not link, and it’s probably too severe for apologists like Mike Milbury and everyone hanging out on the #Caps hashtag. So now we all get to be grumpy!

Those missed games, both away from Verizon Center, will be against the Panthers and Hurricanes. Unless he quits the NHL and signs with Metallurg Magnitogorsk tomorrow, Ovechkin should return Saturday at Tampa Bay.

Your reactions, bile, hatred, condolences, recommendations for downtime activities, and sorrow are welcome in the comments below.  We will be spending the next couple of minutes composing a litany of foaming rage so potent it may render you sterile.  So …look forward to that.

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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.

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Dmitri Orlov: I Always Like To Go On Attack

Dmitri Orlov

Much like in the NHL, the KHL has farm teams. And since Metallurg Novokuznetsk failed to make the KHL Playoffs, the team decided to option their finest young defensive prospect, Caps 2009 2nd Round Draft Pick Dmitri Orlov, down to the MHL’s Novokuznetsk Bears. (Bears? Are you SERIOUS?!) And for those who are confused, the MHL is Russian for Molodyozhnaya Hockeynaya Liga or the Junior Hockey League. It’s exactly like the AHL, the only difference being that the MHL is for younger players only.

Anyways, lucky for us, Fedor translated an exclusive interview between Andrey Osadchenko and Dmitri Orlov. Below the jump, Dmitri talks about being the highest scoring MHL Defenseman for the month of February, what it was like to miss the playoffs, and why he picked the number 9.

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It’s The Penalty Kill, Stupid

Will the Caps be able to overcome their PK woes in the playoffs? (AP Photo/Haraz N. Ghanbari)

Will the Caps be able to overcome their PK woes in the playoffs? (AP Photo/Haraz N. Ghanbari)

[Ed Note: With Peter galavanting in the middle of California for a wedding and Ian scrambling to keep up with all of the Barack The Red happenings, we're not going to have a gamer tonight covering the Lightning's 3-2 victory. Who wants to read more about that anyways? Not I. So tonight, we bring you something that has become a growing concern for the crew here at RMNB: the Capitals below average Penalty Kill. Will this do them in when the games really matter? What do you think? Read Neil's article and let us know in the comments below.]

To misquote Yogi Berra, “95% of hockey is half defense.” Or more precisely, 58.3% defense according to Alan Ryder.

Now whether that is true or not remains to be seen, but what we do know is that goaltending is not the issue for the Caps going into the playoffs – it is their Penalty Killing (PK).

If we look at the teams that won The Cup since the 1979-80 season a distinct pattern emerges:

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The White House Responds To Barack The Red

Seriously. Read Here.

(via the DC Sports Bog)

More to come later. Holy crap!@!1!!@!@!#@@#

Nathan Burchfiel Presents The Barackstronaut

Look everybody, it's the Barackstronaut

We’ve already gotten a few outstanding entries for our Barack The Red call for Artwork. But the first entry I thought was worth sharing comes above from Nathan Burchfiel who has created The Barackstronaut. YES! LOOK AT HIM GROOVE!!

Anyways Caps Fans, from now until the end of the regular season, if you’ve got a clever and humorous way of artistically showing Barack Obama as a Capitals Fan, please shoot it our way. We’ll put it up on our Petition Page (please join if you haven’t yet) and you’ll be entered to to win our grand prize – a free t-shirt from our store. If you place in the top 5, your work goes on the Barack The Red website. Keep the artwork coming!

A Screenshot of Barack The Red

We keep hearing that the Capitals are the talk of D.C. sports. Going to a game is now the hip thing to do. Red sweaters haven’t surpassed power suits in prominence, but it’ll happen eventually. So what could cement Washington’s reputation as a hockey town? Well, a Stanley Cup, sure. But also, we really want President Barack Obama to rock the red!

Russian Machine Never Breaks is proud to announce our new initiative…

BARACK THE RED!

Our intention is to get POTUS into the Verizon Center for a Caps game. Our mini-site is dedicated to this proposition. It is there you can find our Obama video, our open letter to the President, and much much more.

Caps Nation, We can pull this off. Go join the Facebook group today, print off a copy of the letter and send it Barack’s way, and make some artwork. Most of all, spread the word. If we can convince the most powerful man in the world to support the most powerful team in the NHL, good things are bound to happen.

Special thanks to Tim Montenyohl for creating the video, Peter Hassett for all the fantastic writing & the support of my friends and family. I couldn’t of done it without you.

Caps Beat Canes 4-3 (OT)! Two for Mike Green!

He didn't score, but he always makes for a good photo! (Greg Fiume/NHLI via Getty Images)

He didn't score, but he always makes for a good photo! (Greg Fiume/NHLI via Getty Images)

For the second time in consecutive nights, the Caps allowed a 2-0 game go to overtime. Tonight’s battle with the Hurricanes found the Caps continuing to struggle with the penalty kill, but a superlative effort from Mike Green and an overtime goal from Tomas Fleischmann earned the red team the win.

The Caps clearly have not yet returned to their pre-Olympic break heights. The top line is whiffing on the crease-cluttered opportunities they used to exploit. The penalty kill unit gave up only one goal on four chances tonight, but they’re still not operating at full capacity. The usual suspects (*Cough*Semin*Cough*) are still committing penalties and surrendering pucks with alarming frequency. Fixing these problems will be crucial not only in the post-season, but in the next few weeks to secure the President’s Trophy.

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