GMGM to Scott Hannan: You. Complete. Us.

The Capitals traded Tomas Fleischmann for Avs Defenseman Scott Hannan

Either the rumors were true, or even a blind squirrel bumps into a nut sometimes. In the end, Tomas Fleischmann is now a mile high, traded to the Colorado Avalanche for blueliner Scott Hannan.

If we look at the trade from Flash’s point of view, it’s a great move. He goes to a team that wants him, most likely to fill a Top 6 spot left vacant when leading scorer Chris Stewart broke his hand in a fight with Minnesota’s Kyle Brodziak. Sometimes a change of scenery is just what a player needs to get back on track. RMNB wishes him the very best.

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Get over to our babyblog SHOE to watch Ian Oland’s interview with the Hershey Bear’s own Andrew Gordon. Last week, Ian cornered the AHL’s most prolific scorer in the locker room and forced him to answer questions about Sidney Crosby, not making the Capitals roster, Braden Holby’s eccentricities, and punishing AHL schedules.  Gordon, who contributed to RMNB this spring, was a very good sport.

Here’s your pullquote: “My skill-set is equal, or if not, better than [Sidney's].” The kid’s a laugh riot.

How could you not click a link when it’s this big?

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Evgeny Kuznetsov

When a Caps Prospect goes above and beyond the call of duty, a one paragraph summary in Prospect Watch does not suffice. Today, we detail the fantastic first half of Evgeny Kuznetsov’s sophomore KHL season. Take it away, Fedor.

Kuznetsov raises his arms to Traktor fans during a post-game celebration routine. See our video below to see what we mean.

Kuznetsov gestures to Traktor fans during a post-game celebration. See the video below for more.

During the 2010 NHL Entry Draft on June 26th, General Manager George McPhee had his sights set on one player. In his eagerness, he even tried to trade away a prospect for a move up ten spots in the first round to get his man. That would prove to be unnecessary.

Evgeny Kuznetsov fell to the Caps at pick number 26. “We think he’s a very, very dynamic player,” McPhee said of Kuz at the time. “He can skate, he thinks the game well, he moves the puck, he really attacks the net.” Braden Holtby agrees.

Fast-forward five months. You’ll find the 18 year-old tearing up the KHL in only his second season. Since being put on the “Young Guns Line” with Andrei Popov (a Philadelphia Flyers ’06 draftee) and Anton Glinkin, Kuznetsov has found some serious chemistry with his linemates. He has four goals and two assists in six games since the EuroHockeyTour break ended on November 17th. His team, Traktor Chelyabinsk, has won five straight games.

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The Constant Changing Of The Linemates

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The Caps blew out Tampa Bay 6 to nothing, and– just when we thought sitting Fleischmann was the answer the lines were clicking– we got more change. Admit it: you thought line combos were chosen using random ping pong ball selection. How else can you explain the constant Changing Of The Linemates?

This week we’ll take a quick look at how the top 6 line combos and blueline pairings are doing at even strength and how the goalies are doing overall, with respect to scoring chances. In the following weeks (as I get more comfortable with SQL) I will add goals scored for and against. For now it’s just scoring chances. I use a specific definition of what I consider a scoring chance based on shot quality data and log everyone who is on the ice at the time using the script from Vic Ferrari. As always, you can find the spreadsheet online.

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Ovi’s Shootout Goal Lifts Caps Over Canes 3-2 (SO)

Go slow, Ovi!! Alex Ovechkin scores on Cam Ward in the shootout.

The Washington Capitals hosted the Carolina Hurricanes in a pleasant matinee of stick’n’puck and HOLY WOW I SAW THE CAPS WIN IN PERSON FOR THE FIRST TIME EVAR!!!

Marcus Johansson got it started early with a crease-borne knock-in set up by Eric Fehr. A 2-on-1 breakway by the Alexes led to a picturesque second tally (Minor scored, Major gets the assist). Erik Cole made the Caps pay for not clearing the zone and put the Canes on the board early in the second period. There the score sat until only 2.2 seconds remained in regulation. With Cam Ward on the bench and an extra attacker up in our face, Eric Staal tied the game, earned the Canes a well deserved point in the standings, and sent us all the way to the shootout. Where Ovi and Varly totally dominated. Caps beat Canes 3-2 (SO).

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Caps beat Bolts 6-0 in a Blow-out-y Thing

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What kind of game were you looking for to punctuate your holiday weekend? Oh, seriously? Gaudy? Well, here comes the Washington Capitals and their brawl with the Tampa Bay Lightning to auspicate your weekend. (yeah, we made that word up.)

The Caps’ score summary is kind of a chore, but prepare yourself anyway. First, John Carlson scores off of MJ90’s face-off. Second, then John Erskine sinks one that baffles Tampa Bay goalie Mike Smith. And from there, the Capitals unleash el furio. Here’s your goal recap: Alex Semin scores at will, and no one else is capable. Tom Poti capped it off with a spit in the eye, making this 6-and-0 victory. So all of y’all asking about the best team in the league? Keep asking: Caps beat Bolts 6-0.

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Nicky calmly celebrates his second period goal while Ovi spazzes out. (Photo credit: Gregg Forwerck)

Brads bleeds after his first period fight with Troy Bodie. (Photo credit: Gregg Forwerck)

Brads bleeds. No big. (Photo credit: Gregg Forwerck)

Unquestionably, the Washington Capitals came into tonight’s tilt against Carolina facing adversity for the first time all year. They had lost three consecutive games, two of which pathetically, and had generally looked careless and sloppy throughout each. After Monday’s 5-0 loss to the New Jersey Devils, their jolly Captain faced questions about his leadership after showing a lack of tact during Bruce Boudreau’s press conference with Caps media

The Caps also came into tonight’s game a bit bruised up. They would be forced to pick themselves off the mat without early-season standouts Michal Neuvirth and Mike Green, who were nursing lower-body and upper-body injuries respectively.

So in came the recently-rehabbin’ Semyon Varlamov, Tom Poti, and a reinvigorated Russian Machine.

Tonight, it only took two minutes to realize that our beloved Caps came to play. Alex Ovechkin laid out Chad LaRose with a fiery open ice check. Unequivocally, that hit set the tone of the game.

Nicklas Backstrom then decided to celebrate his birthday in fashion – albeit a day late – scoring in both the first and second periods. Semyon Varlamov made all the big stops when needed and our heroes dug deep and prevailed despite third period momentum-changing tallies by Sergei Samsonov and Eric Staal. Thanks to Brooks Laich, the Caps beat Carolina 3-2. LOSING STREAK OVAHHH!

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Shutouts With Five Goals Against Are Rare

David Steckel skates away after another Devils goal.

How bad is bad? (Photo credit: Andy Marlin)

Getting shut out twice in three games is bad, but when they both involve giving up five goals against it is definitely no laughing matter. All teams, even Cup contenders, eventually have to pick up their socks, but how often does it get this bad?

In the last two years there have been 2,460 regular season games played. In that time a 5-0 shut out by the home team has happened only 12 times. The visiting team has accomplished this feat only five times, making five-zip shutouts as a whole rare birds indeed.

But how often should it happen against a team as good as the Washington Capitals?
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Devils beat Caps 5-0

Holtby's Body Language says it all

Braden Holtby’s body language says it all. (Photo credit: Bill Kostroun)

Hendy tries to light a fire under his boys. Instead he gets pounded by Adam Mair. (Photo credit: Bruce Bennett)

Hendrick's fight fails to ignite the team (Photo credit: Bruce Bennett)

It was like the end of the Wild Bunch if the Wild Bunch look bored while getting massacred by the Mexican army.

Friends, I love you too much to recap this game fully. I usually detail the goals here, but I like you too much to subject you to that punishment. Suffice it to say the New Jersey Devils scored a lot and the Washington Capitals did not score at all. The goals were ugly and avoidable. This was a solid hour of embarrassment– if only the Washington Capitals were capable of embarrassment.

This was the worst game of the Bruce Boudreau era. Devils beat Caps 5-0.

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Three and a Half Minutes of Alex Ovechkin Dancing

Hey, it’s Monday.

Thanks to Stephanie C. for sharing! And thanks to Caitie H., who created this masterpiece.

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