Caps Steal Two Points in Nashville. Win 3-2 in OT.

Brooks Laich deflects home Alex Ovechkin's shot from the point as the Caps steal a win in Nashville, 3-2.

Brooks Laich celebrates his OTGWG. (Photo Credit: Joe Howell)

With Tom Poti and Mike Green out due to injury, we all knew that the Caps’ defense was going to be a little bit suspect tonight. But really, the main issue for the visiting team ended up being their collective effort. Case in point was the opening face-off where Tomas Fleischmann lost the draw cleanly to Cal O’Reilly. He then turned and watched helplessly as Steve Sullivan raced past his four other unprepared teammates and went in alone on Michal Neuvirth.

But for Neuvy, it was no big deal. He stone-walled Sullivan 8 seconds in. He stone-walled five Predator powerplays, including 29 seconds of a 5 on 3. And he made 37 saves in total to collect his fourth straight win.

Thanks to ten minutes of actual hard-work in the third period and two minutes of pure domination in the extra session, the Capitals leave Bridgestone Area with a huge 3-2 character victory.

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This or That: Tiger Woods or Phil Mickelson?

Here was our favorite response.

Oh God, someone get me out of here.

Have any of you ever wanted to watch some of your favorite NHL players sweat it out on camera? Well if you have, then this “This or That” segment produced by Caps365 is for you. Almost the entire Caps roster is asked a simple question: Tiger Woods or Phil Mickelson? However, for some, this becomes a question of: Does dominance on the playing field trump who you are as a person?

The responses are hilarious. A few of the guys respond in complete defiance (Varly), some blush (Alzner) and some respond in uncomfortable laughter (Laich).

So who would you choose: Tiger or Phil? Whose answer did you like the best? And what is John Erskine so happy about?

shoe-graphic

Up for grabs today.

This photo is up for grabs today.

Our humble little blog, Russian Machine Never Breaks, spent the last year cutting our teeth writing about the Washington Capitals. Through our labors we learned about the team’s secret weapon: the Hershey Bears. This Pennsylvanian cache of dynamic, young talent kept us entertained long after the Caps took their early curtain call at the playoffs. The Hershey Bears marched dutifully to their 11th Calder Cup championship led by guys like Andrew Gordon, a right winger with bright prospects whose only mistake in his young career was to blog with our lowly ilk.

The HBH-ers inspired us, and we decided they deserve more than a measly category on this site. So all of the Russian Machinists got together one night, drank a couple root beers, one thing led to another, and now we have a bouncing baby blog in the family.

Ladies and gentlemen, we are proud to present to you

Sweetest Hockey on Earth

Piloting the new site will be Kathryn Hedrick, intrepid reporter and author of Flashy Glove Save, and Kyle M., photographer with a sports-coverage pedigree. Together they will relay to you the promise and excitement of the Hershey Bears Hockey with the same gusto, pizazz, and thesaurus-ness you find here on RMNB proper.

So join us in bookmarking www.sweetesthockeyonearth.com on your laptop (and iPad), following @SweetestHockey on the Twitters, liking us on the facebook, and plugging this RSS feed into your feed reader. We’ll make it worth your while.

To celebrate SHOE (oh dear, is that really the acronym?), we’re holding a little contest. Among those of you who network up with us and help spread the word on Friday, we’ll select the most enthusiastic to receive some free RMNB merch and the signed photo above. We’ll announce our winners before Hershey’s home opener on Saturday Night.

Go! Bears! Go!

Alex Ovechkin: 50 in 50?

ovechkin-goal

Could Ovi join Maurice Richard as one of five players to score 50 in 50?

Could Ovi join Maurice Richard as one of five players to score 50 in 50?

Alex Ovechkin kept his pace for an 82-goal season intact against the Islanders which got me thinking: is 50 in 50 even close to a reality?

50 goals in the first 50 games is a rare feat indeed. It has only been done by five players: Maurice Richard in 1945. Mike Bossy in 1982. Lemieux in 1989. Brett Hull did it twice, and in back-to-back seasons no less (1990-1 and 1991-2). The Great One accomplished the feat three times: 1982, 1984 and again in 1985. So why not Ovechkin?

To estimate his chances I will use something called a Monte Carlo simulation. It starts with me using the shots on goal and shooting percentage for Ovechkin since he made his debut in the league 5 years ago to the last game of the regular season in 2009-10. Only regular season games were counted. For instance, he has only been held to zero shots on goal 3 out of 396 games, or .76% of the time. He has shot 20% in 32 of his regular season games, or 8.08% of the time.

Using this data, and Excel’s random number generator, I simulated goal-scoring totals for 50 games. Then, I ran this 50-game season 10,000 times and calculated the results.

Before I reveal the chances, take a guess at what you think they are. I’ll wait….

Ok, now that you have your guess, let’s look at the numbers.

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Caps beat Isles 2-1 in a Squeaker

Nick Backstrom tips-in Alex Ovechkin's slap shot from the point. Caps win 2-1.

D.J. King's first bout of the year only took one shift. He should have a nice shiner tomorrow. (Photo by Nick Wass)

D.J. King's first bout of the year came on his first shift of the year. He should have a nice shiner tomorrow. (Photo by Nick Wass)

Nicklas Backstrom’s first goal of the year is the game-winner! (Photo Credit: Bruce Bennett)

The Caps’ final game of their three-game residency at Chinatown maintained their perfect record there, but also continued the sloppiness haunting this early season. Despite a few soaring, individual efforts, the team as a whole could not click. For the second game in a row, it was the efforts of Alex Ovechkin and Michal Neuvirth that made all the difference.

Alex Ovechkin‘s second period goal and third period deflection via Nicklas Backstrom were all that was needed to put the team over the Islanders’ lonely score by the fresh-faced Nino Niederreiter. Little Mikey recorded 23 good-looking saves to endear himself a remaining skeptical minority of Caps fans.

This mid-October, mid-week match with the New York Islanders was a bit of a snoozer , as the Caps keep on looking ugly and winning anyhow. Lessons still need to learned apparently. Oh well. Caps beat Isles 2-1!

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Caps Scoring Chances: Week 1

Marcus Johansson

Readers of the blog know I put a lot of stock into numbers to help put context around which players are performing and which aren’t. Corsi is one of my favorites because it is a good proxy for territorial possession in a game.  To get a player’s Corsi rating, simply add up all the goals, shots on goal, missed shots and blocked shots of that player- both for and against- when he is on the ice. If it is positive, that player helps create scoring chances, and if it is negative – well, the opposite happens. Or, simply go to Behind the Net, and let them do the work for you.

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Narrowly Escaping Defeat, Caps beat Sens 3-2 (OT)

Alex Ovechkin scores the OT Game-Winner Against the Sens. Verizon Center Erupts in Joy.

Your new desktop background: Ovi’s  OTGWG. Click to enlarge. (Photo credit: Greg Fiume)

Well, you could argue that the Washington Capitals did not deserve tonight’s win over the Ottawa Senators. You’d probably be right. If not for the superdeluxe hockey of the Great Eight, the Senators would take a matching pair of points with them as they leave D.C.  Despite a dominating performance for the entire game, the Senators trailed 2-1 until Ryan Shannon‘s beautiful wrister beat Michal Neuvirth. But it was Alex Ovechkin who, in overtime, displayed some future highlight reel material to beat Chris Phillips and Pascal LeClaire for the game winner. Mocking expectation, the Caps picked up the win, and they’ve also got a ton of new injuries to show for it. Oh well. Caps beat Sens 3-2!

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Defending Mike Green’s Fight Against Ilya Kovalchuk

Pat Sajak Looks on as Ilya Kovalchuk and Mike Green Fight

An unimpressed Pat Sajak looks on as Ilya Kovlachuk & Mike Green fight. (Photo credit: Heather Mabb)

Now look, last night we took a few shots (a har har) at Mike Green for fighting Ilya Kovalchuk. See here, here, and here. But really it was all in good fun, and we were reacting to something we saw after one take.

Today, after video of the fight made its way to the masses, it seems as if other people jumped at a chance to make it personal with Green Life. Let’s take a look at the comments on hockeyfights.com shall we?

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Rachel Cohen’s Illuminated Take on Caps vs Devils

GreenKovyPunch

[Ed. note: Russian Machine Never Breaks’ resident artist, Rachel Cohen, attended last night’s home opener against the Devils. Here is her recap of that eventful game, doodles and all.]

Opening games seem, in my opinion, to be among the most exciting games of the year. But of all the opening nights I’ve been to, last night’s Devils-Caps game one has to be the #1 most exciting. Decked from head to toe in red (literally: I was wearing a wig), I entered Verizon Center for the first time since March; eager to see my Caps play again. And play they did!

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Caps beat Devils 7-2 as the Circus Comes to Town

OvieScoars

Ovie converts on the penalty shot. (Photo credit: Greg Fiume/NHLI via Getty Images)

In the eternal words of Keanu Reeves, whoa.

Tonight’s bout between the New Jersey Devils and the Washington Capitals was everything last night’s lackluster opening game was not. The Caps offense took no prisoners while savaging the Devils’ net.  The game had pretty much everything you could ask for: prolific Capitals goal-scoring, the role-playing you’d expect from Caps depth players, and solid goaltending from Michal Neuvirth. And then everything went to hell in the boku battles that erupted late in the third.

Two goals and an assist from Alex Ovechkin, two assists and a goal from John Carlson, two penalties and an assist from Alex Semin. These are the Capitals you’ve been missing. Seven beautiful goals from all sorts of Caps heroes put this game far out of reach for the Devils, who found their only recourse was starting five fights in the waning minutes.  Caps beat the Devils, handily, 7-2.

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