Rangers beat Caps 7-0: Initiate Panic Protocol

I’ll meet you at the bottom if there really is one / They always told me, “when you hit it, you’ll know it” / But I’ve been falling so long, it’s like gravity is gone, and I’m just floating
– Drive-by Truckers

RECAP: Six losses in a row. The season’s fourth shutout. Bad defense, worse offense. Seven goals against. Ovechkin fought. Caps and Rangers tied at 19 scoring chances. Hannan minus-7 SC differential. Hendricks minus-5.[END RECAP.]

Here’s a list of worthless excuses:

  • The flu has ravaged the roster.
  • Jeff Schultz broke his thumb.
  • HBO’s cameras are scrutinizing.
  • Last year’s playoffs loss has the team biding time until the postseason.


Photo credit: Scott Levy

The Capitals are no longer a super-talented team with Stanley Cup aspirations. They’re not that offensively loaded crew who mysteriously loses games to lesser teams in freak occurrences. The so-called “bad bounces” cannot sustain for two weeks, but bad habits sure as heck can. Yes, the losing streak is awful, but the team hasn’t played their right brand of hockey since March. Back then, there were no un-winnable games. Now the opposite seems true.

So we’re downgrading the Caps. They are now a losing hockey team with mediocre talent. It will remain this way until they can prove otherwise. Neil and the numbers say that a loss like this should happen 0.02% of the time, so tonight is the freakiest of freak occurrences. right? But doesn’t it feel like this slump could go on forever?

Photo credit: Jim McIsaac

Mike Vogel has been the voice of reason: “Don’t panic,” he says like the late, great Douglas Adams. But that’s no longer possible for us. Here we go.

Initiate Panic Protocol

ARTICLE I:  No more Caps jerseys, t-shirts, hats, underpants, or toast until they win. No rocking the red unless you’re at the game.  If your hair is red, dye it black. Send the bill to Ian; he’ll reimburse you.
ARTICLE II: Just to be  safe, you should probably un-friend all redheads on Facebook.
ARTICLE III:  Firing the cursed, winless Scott Hannan is not enough. He must be flogged and exiled from D.C. Salt the earth.
ARTICLE IV: Joe Beninati will publicly burn his ghastly, unlucky suit.
ARTICLE V: Set aside 10-15 minutes every day for silent, uncontrollable sobbing.
ARTICLE VI: Morrissey’s Your Arsenal is the only music you can listen to. Two and a Half Men is the only TV show you can watch. Mozzarella sticks and soda shall be your only nourishment.
ARTICLE VII: No more uppercase (formerly known as “capital”) letters. All lowercase. This post is exempted from Article VII.
ARTICLE VIII: As of Monday night, RMNB is going dark.

Joe B must burn this suit of the night

Joe B must burn this suit of the night

That’s right, people. We’re turning the lights off at RMNB until the Capitals end their winless streak. It’s a drastic measure, but it’s necessary.

We’re panicking because something’s gotta change. And that change doesn’t mean personnel or coaching or systems. No one is Graham Gano here. We just need good habits and superior effort from our heroes. We need them to be the team we love, not the disaffected clowns who are apparently just killing time until the playoffs. If the Capitals can crash the net, fight in the corners, clear the puck out of the zone, and fight off the forecheck, everything will be alright.

Here’s King Cnut the Great, fighting off the tide all by himself.

Everything will be alright.

Additional reporting by Neil Greenberg.

  • Lindsey

    Uh. Article I & II suck.
    – Redhead No.1

  • Peter Hassett

    Sorry, Lindsey. We didn’t make the rules, we just enforce them with inflexible brutality.

  • Ian

    Aw, man. I was just starting to become pretty good friends with Lindz too.

  • R17a

    ARTICLE VII – agree!

    ARTICLE VIII – http://www.GlobalCapsFans.com will be dark – only the broadcasting of matches …

    Believe and Wait!

  • I am a natural redhead, so I’m already having a hard enough time not taking this personally. You’re not helping!

    I don’t know what makes me feel worse: reading/hearing things where people don’t seem worried, or where they do. All I know is, I am really worried. It feels like we can’t win. I feel it, and worse, I think the whole team feels it. How can you win if you don’t believe you can?

    I feel like I felt during the playoffs last year. Suddenly we can’t score, something that really shouldn’t be a problem for this team with this roster, and I feel like there is a snowball effect and it just keeps getting worse and worse. It feels never ending. God I hope it’s not.

  • Abhi

    Hell no.
    I’m not doing anything that lets someone call us a bandwagon fanbase.

  • Ian

    Make sure to check out the interviews after the game. They’re worth taking in.

    Here’s Bruce:

    Here’s Ovi, Eric Fehr and and Andrew Gordon:

  • Peter Hassett


    The panic protocol does not mean abandoning the team. It means taking drastic measures to reverse the bad mojo.

    Feel free to add your own protocol amendments that work for you personally.


  • Mia

    Watch Two and a Half Men? Why are the fans the ones who have to be punished?

    To show my solidarity I will refuse to open this Kit Kat bar because of its red packaging. It’ll be hard but we’ve all got to make sacrifices.

  • Abhi

    Ah. In that case:
    -No turning to CSN.
    -Not using my lucky red pencil for exams anymore.
    -No eating red food (meat, strawberries, tomatoes, peculiar types of chili).
    -Changing my desktop background from a Caps logo to a panorama of a wildebeest herd crossing the Serengeti.
    -Taking down all my red Christmas lights (actually I would suggest this for all of you).

    -Should we still be on lockdown when I got to the mother of all parties next month (read:Model UN conference) I will wear only black or white. No celebratory Caps tie for the last day

  • Peter Hassett


    Yes. Two and a Half Men. It’s not about punishment, it’s about asceticism, self-flagellation, and self-denial.

    Good move on the Kit Kat.

  • Peter Hassett


    All great ideas! Good work.

  • lydia

    i am a little offended at morrissey being included alongside two and a half men but i am already taking article vii well in stride, obviously.

    thanks rmnb for making a depressing night even a little bit funny. i just bought one of the winter classic hats literally last night, but it’s being thrown in my closet for now. a cold head is worth a winning hockey team and i’m superstitious enough to believe…just maybe…it could work.

    i’ll miss rmnb in the meantime, though! i hope the twitter account won’t be going dark too, as i spend an embarrassing amount of time on it…

  • Peter Hassett


    Morrissey is awesome. Arsenal is included because it is a brutal masterwork that will strip your soul bare and break you down to a shriveled husk of a person before rebuilding you from scratch out of pure courage or awesomeness.

    That’s what we need right now.

  • BobbyG

    @Peter Hassett: are you serious about Article VIII??? The Caps don’t play again until Wednesday night vs. the Ducks. RMNB is going to be dark until at least then, as in no new threads or posts?

    I’m not abandoning the Caps, but I sure am getting close to needing to rent a panic room to vent my frustration. It isn’t just that they have lost 6 games in a row, it’s HOW they lost the games. They’ve been shut out 4 times in the last 11 games, looking lost and clueless or undisciplined in the process. They’ve either forgotten the basics or else decided they aren’t that important anymore, as in they’re too good and talented to be bothered paying attention to such pesky details.

    I know the postseason is the most important thing, but come on. To discard the regular season altogether, to count on flipping the switch at the last minure is potential suicide. It’s time for the team leaders to take control of the room, to call a players-only meeting, to vent and get whatever is bothering them out in the open, away from the coaches and everyone else. Maybe this shock to the system will open their eyes to what they’re doing wrong and allow them to right the ship before it runs aground or sinks like a rock.

    HBO has been following both the Caps and the Pens, but the difference in on-ice performance between these teams over the same stretch is shocking. I wonder what the first episode of the 24/7 series is going to look like.

  • DarkStranger44

    Won’t be unfriending my redheaded friends on Facebook. They aren’t ALL responsible for this debacle.

    I have already replaced my computer desktop that had a picture of the OBS line in action with a Star Trek picture. Except one of the Star Trek characters reminds me of Ovi (or Ovi reminds me of him, to be more accurate).

    We can’t totally give up red during the Christmas season.

    Until our next win, Do Svidaniya.

  • Abhi

    Do Pobeda?

  • Dominic

    I set down my favorite capitals hat this evening. Tears awash on my face, the vague unknowing scent of defeat hanging in the air, and my capitals jersey streaked with booze and tears. Had to endure that game at a bar with a bunch of obnoxious rangers fans, and had to hear them cheer when Ovie got hurt. This losing streak is the most depressing thing i’ve ever been privy to. I’ve now got to hang all of my jerseys up in the closet, and silently watch over my caps shrine until such time as the hockey gods decide to smile upon us once more. I’ve decided that perhaps we need to make daily sacrifices. Perhaps killing a penguin in my front yard in a ritualistic manner will make the world right again. I don’t know, but this state of depression is something that I will have to deal with until we get a win again. While I will miss RMNB’s posts, I have nothing but the utmost respect for your willingness to do whatever it takes to get our boys back on track, Godspeed. Goodnight, and Good Luck. -Nic

  • Abhi
  • Pingback: Who is Really to Blame for the Losing Streak? | Capitals Outsider()

  • R17a

    До победы —- Do pobedy

  • BobbyG

    @DarkStranger44: OK, I’ll bite. Which Star Trek character is on your desktop? I’m curious as to who Ovie reminds you of from this show.

    BTW, all the red lights I painstakingly put up last weekend on my Christams tree and windows are NOT coming down, not even for superstitious reasons. The Caps will just have to undo the damage without my having to shed the red.

  • Nour Hijazi

    RMNB going dark? Is Voldemort taking over this website -___-

  • Shaun

    To those who are encouraging violence towards penguins, whether video game, or ritualistic killing, the Penguins don’t have anything to do with this losing streak… not yet *cries*

    I just want it all to go back to normal, this is torturous! I haven’t felt this bad since Glen Hanlon was coach. I just want this pain to subside.

  • Em

    Listen, I told you guys the other night that the bad streak WASN’T OVER. So I’m utterly surprised to see all this mayhem today. (Not really.)

    Guys, if you’ve never been through rehab, if you’ve never gotten all your dirty crap out in the open, if you’ve never been so weighed down with stuff that you could barely breathe…well, now you know what it feels like. This is the kind of pain that only people who have fought their dirtiest demons feel. And we’re feeling it as FANS. The guys are feeling it even more. I cried last night during the game. I was feeling the pain myself, but I was crying because this is our boys’ soul-searching, heart-wrenching, character-building test, one that unfortunately is going to be displayed world over for everyone to see on HBO. They are going to be better players and people and a better team when it’s over–mark my words. (Not that you will, since you didn’t listen to me LAST GAME.)

    The Pens are playing awesome hot hockey. Good for them. They’re peaking early. Good for us. Don’t lose the faith. Let the boys work out what they have to work out. If it means that you can’t watch while that happens, that’s okay. Not every parent can watch their child struggle with addiction and get through it, either. Doesn’t make you a bad fan–just makes you human. It’s torture, but this too shall pass.

    Sorry RMNB–I’m wearing red today to support my boys and I drive a hot red car! (And if I thought it’d help their confidence, I’d have sex with the entire team. But…they gotta work this out on their own.)

  • Rockin’ The Red in VA

    Does Knuble still have that goat? Just curious now would be a good time to sacrifice it….

  • Bruce sounds so deflated in his presser….

  • No Fleischmann, no heart. No heart, no win.

  • Pingback: Capspocalypse…. « Make Lemons…()

  • I’m just like every other of you out there when it comes to the Caps playing poorly. If the Caps win, I am in a happy mood. When the Caps lose, I get depressed. When the Caps lose repeatedly, I lose faith.

    -But not hope. Sure, the Caps haven’t played like this since Glen Hanlon or Butch Cassidy, but I’m sure this streak won’t go on forever. That’s the thing about calling this a streak. A streak, implies that this is just a phase. That there is an ending.

    So while I am just as hurt and ashamed as everyone else, I am not shy to report that I am wearing a red shirt today. True, it may not be very present under the sweater and scarf I am wearing, but that’s the thing. I know there’s a glimmer hidden somewhere. I know our boys can do it. They’ve gone against odds before, so why can’t they do it again?

  • this is rock bottom for the Capitals.

    the only place to go from here is up. they have too much talent too struggle this badly for much longer. you have to think they will improve.


    Having grown up in a Rangers house – and having a family full of Rangers fanatics – this is going to make the trip home for Christmas doubly unbearable.

    Thank God for vodka.

  • Peter Hassett

    Aaaaaaaand 28IS GREAT takes the lead for best comment of the thread. mcawful has yet to weigh in.

  • Rockin’ The Red in VA

    10:40 am UPDATE: My wife and I just got in a fight over her wearing red. I told her it is forbidden until we win. . . this is getting ugly!

  • How sweet was November? Clearly we all just need to bring back team mustache.

    No blades to the upper lip ’til we right the ship!

  • Pingback: Six-Game Losing Streaks Are Rare()

  • CDizz

    “Listen, I told you guys the other night that the bad streak WASN’T OVER. So I’m utterly surprised to see all this mayhem today.”
    God you guys, we are SO STUPID for not listening to Em!
    Who are you to think that people should listen to you? You’re a woman.

  • J.P.

    the worst part of watching this ongoing exercise in putridity is seeing how utterly, awfully, stomach-punchingly GUTLESS this team is…. these guys have been largely absent in both the mental and physical aspects of clawing themselves out of the hole they’ve dug so deeply. it’s embarrassing to see how little fight these guys bring to the table when the chips are down. where’s the heart, gentlemen? where’s. the. flippin’. heart?

    i’ve got a bottle of Stolichnaya in the freezer that serves up shots after goals – that bottle remains depressingly full. find your courage, boys. find your hearts, boys. and most importantly, find your guts, boys, ‘cuz when you do, the goals will surely follow. me and my empty shot glasses await.

  • Sister Ovechkin

    My workplace Caps shrine has been shrouded in black until the bottom of this madness can be found. Maybe we can call A & E’s Intervention because I believe that even HBO is mumbling to themselves, are we really filming this? Really? I am getting myself to a nunnery in the meantime….to plead to the Hockey gods for their eternal souls….

  • PatM

    I’m going to try my ritual i use for the bears of playing a game on NHL 11 the day they play…… I did it with the bears the last 2 years by playing as the bears against whoever they were playing, so it might work if i do a quick Washington VS Anaheim game on Wednesday. Everyone feel free to join in if you own the game!

    I have no idea why, but for some reason I have a really good feeling about Wednesday…

  • Em

    CDizz–LOL! I am so glad you got the “woe is me” humor in my post, and I’m doubly appreciative that someone on the internet thinks I’m a woman! 😉

  • CDizz

    Does not compute.

  • Pingback: Can’t Lose()

  • Pingback: The Machinist: December 17, 2010()