Buckle up, friends; we’re taking a victory lap.
Over the last year (technically more like 9 months), we’ve had some terrific highlights. Yes, the grim shadow of the playoffs still hangs over the year, but we choose to remember the good times. Our finest moments are usually our team’s finest moments as well, and so our recollection includes the high points of both the team and our silly blog.
At latest count, our Facebook page has 1,047 likers (including my mom). The parade of typos we call our Twitter account has 1,493 followers. The website itself is north of 300,000 hits, which is kind of dumbfounding if you think about it too long. Our teammates Neil and Fedor have parlayed their skills into gigs with VOA and Washington Examiner respectively. Even Peter has managed to hustle free pub fries from The Greene Turtle using the blog.
If we had to pick a single highlight for the year, it would have to be Andrew Gordon’s residency during the Calder Cup Finals. When Ian blackmailed convinced Andrew to pitch in, we didn’t know quite what to expect. Once Andrew turned in his first column, we figured out that his writing chops are just as formidable as his hockey skills. Andrew provided an unprecedented look not only behind the scenes, but also into the heart, of professional hockey. We are eternally grateful to Andrew for both his candor and the oodles of traffic he delivered.
We’d also be remiss without mentioning our campaign to get the President to see a Caps game, unfortunately named Barack the Red. We still hold out hope for victory next season! Then there’s #beardpact, our tragically abbreviated effort to document the facial hair growth of Caps nation during the playoffs. Given that Peter had to shave his beard for wedding immediately before the Caps lost three straight games, maybe we shouldn’t have included this one in the list. Oh well.
Most Read Stories of the Last Year (in disconcerting reverse order)
- Semyon Varlamov Finally Rehabs Again With The Hershey Bears
Ian told us of Varly’s kinda triumphant return to pro hockey in early February, and everyone kinda flipped out about it. Partially because the Future of the Franchise was finally on the mend and partially because his helmet has a bazillion eagles on it.
- Could The Kovalchuk Signing Mean The End For Semin In DC?
Just last week, Neil peered into a crystal ball with one eye and Ilya Kovalchuk’s ridiculous contract with the other. Through the fog he saw the boyish grin of Alex Semin, whose one-year extension looms over the coming season like… well, a fog.
- Ovechkin, Semin and Varlamov End Year With Devastating Loss In World Championships Gold Medal Game To Czech Republic
The Caps’ parade of misery finally reached its completion with Team Russia’s disappointing silver finish at the world championships. And we, like rubberneckers, couldn’t help but stare at the sadness on the Alexes’ faces.
- Russian Lessons Part I: Learn To Say Ovechkin Correctly
Fedor endeared himself to us with this crash course in Russian. But now I can’t have a conversation with Ian without him hooting, ah-BOOCH-kin.
- Rejoice! Samantha Casey, Miss Virginia USA, is a Big Caps Fan.
This was one of our favorite fan profiles and unsurprisingly the most popular. Apologies to Michael Jenkins and all the people whose bandwidth this page ate up with its two dozen images.
- Braden Holtby, Superstitions & the Introduction of “Holtbyisms”
Holtby is now Hershey’s number-one netminder, and he’s one wacky dude. Let’s keep him and his Holtbyisms in the Caps organization for a long time to come.
- Alex Semin Smokes, Russia Loses Its Dang Mind
Fedor and I had a bear of a time getting to the bottom of this one, probably because it’s a non-story. At least we steered clear of “Leave Britney Alone!” territory.
- Caps vs. Pens: The Fix Is In?
Addison did a terrific job revealing that officials put the whistle away for the Penguins when they play the Caps. It’s math, people. Deal with it.
- The Latest Updates From Ilya Kovalchuk’s Facebook News Feed
From long ago (last week), Neil and his weird, weird mind summoned up the social networking world of Ilya Kovalchuk, who really isn’t that awesome by the way.
- Habs Fans Boo National Anthem. How Will Caps Fans Respond?
Yay! One that I wrote! The gist is this: Caps fans rule, and everyone else sucks.
Most of those items came from the last few months. That’s because readers like you keep showing up in droves despite our best attempts to drive you away. Still, some of you have probably missed some good stuff! There was the bizarre origin of our fascination on Varly’s malingering groin. And that time Ian met Mike Green, sometime before he started blocking us on Twitter.
My personal favorites always seem to be the games themselves. Like when Ovie became captain and John Carlson became Captain America, or when the Caps got smacked down in their last loss for a long while, or the first win of many. There’s the Snowpocalypse game, the history-making win, Nicky Backstrom’s well-timed hat trick, and one particularly soul-crushing defeat.
Pull Quotes for the Ages
Hey, The Pensblog. I was trying to post some funny JPEGs on your site, but it was down during the 3rd period, dude. Next time, right? If you come to Chinatown for a game, we’ll buy you a pint. P.S. – sorry about your team. XoXo.
We’re not documenting a successful season here; we’re documenting the path to a championship. Respecfully, I don’t want to hear any more talk of a Spinal Tap “This one goes to eleven” streak. This one does not go to eleven. This one goes to June. [sigh]
Our first press credential, given to Ian on the night Hershey lost their first home game in forever.
Ian’s press pass from development camp, where we stole office chairs.
Courtney Moritz’s dog Bailey has a discriminating fashion sense.
Ted Leonsis writes on Ian’s wall. Ian was unbearable for days after this. Also note that Ted signs his FB messages. That’s hilarious.
Validation, Facebook style, from Uncle Ted
…and from Andrew.
Miss Virginia USA wears the RMNB t-shirt.
Mike Knuble picks up the garbage, nabs the Gordie Howe. Ian creates this image, which still makes me laugh.
Peter and Stevie K partook the new Caps tradition of feasting on victory wings.