George McPhee brought in two veterans, Jason Arnott and Dennis Wideman into the fold today

It is with a heavy heart that I inform you that the Jake Hauswirth era is over. Hauswirth was packaged along with Washington’s 3rd round selection in the 2011 draft for defenseman Dennis Wideman. The 3rd round pick is minor, since a player drafted in that round plays an average of 71 NHL games — total for their career — while they amass an eye popping 24 points. But the Caps lost Hauswirth, so a moment of silence.

Now let’s focus on picking up the pieces, and see what goodies George McPhee got Caps fans.

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This evening, George McPhee addressed the local media after he made two big acquisitions before the NHL’s Trade Deadline at 3pm. First, in the morning, McPhee acquired puck-moving defenseman Dennis Wideman from the Florida Panthers for fringe prospect Jake Hauswirth and the Capitals’ third round draft pick in 2011. GMGM also landed Jason Arnott from the New Jersey Devils for David Steckel and the Capitals’s second round pick in 2012. Above, McPhee talks about the newest additions to the Caps’ family and explains how he believes they will help the team.

RMNB’s Trade Deadline Challenge

RMNB's Trade Deadline Contest

This is what's up for grabs: a Braden Holtby signed puck

Up for grabs: a Braden Holtby signed puck

Update: Let’s announce the winners! (This gets complicated. Bare with us.)

At 11:44am on Twitter, Caps’ senior writer Mike Vogel reported that the Capitals made their first trade of the day at 11:15 am, trading prospect Jake Hauswirth and their 2011 third round draft pick in exchange for puck-moving defenseman Dennis Wideman of the Florida Panthers. Since Vogs is an official member of the Capitals and the @washcaps twitter handle did not announce the trade, we’re going to go with the times Vogel tweeted AND the official time of the deal. Therefore we have two winners to announce.

The first winner for the 11:15 time is Nichole U., who may or may not have her own Monte Carlo Machine. She guessed that GMGM’s first trade would come at 11:12 am. Only three minutes off! Fortunately — or unfortunately depending on how you look at it — she is the significant other of RMNB blogger Neil Greenberg. Therefore, she is disqualified from winning. The next closest time was long-time reader of the blog, Amanda H., who guessed 11:08 am. So Amanda, please email your address to thecrew@russianmachineneverbreaks.com so we can send you your puck.

The second winner – for when Vogel tweeted and announced the trade – is Betsy P., who guessed 11:43 am, only a minute off of his time. Betsy, please email us your address as well and you’ll get a signed puck too.

Thanks to everyone else who participated! That was fun. Let’s do it again next year.

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Why Scoring Chances Are Important

Alex Ovechkin shooting

Photo credit: Thearon W. Henderson

They talk about them on the pre-game shows. Coaches lament about how many or how little they had. I write about them. They’re everywhere. Scoring chances are a new craze sweeping North America. By my count seven teams are currently being tracked, the Oilers by Dennis King at MC79hockey.com, the Flames by Kent Wilson at Flames Nation, the Rangers by George Ays at Blueshirt Banter, the Panthers by Derek Zona at Litter Box Cats, the Canadiens by Olivier at En attendant les Nordiques, the Leafs at Under the Helmet of Slava Duris and the Caps by yours truly. Find out why after the jump.

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Video: Varly Talks About The Stories Behind His Masks

A mask is more than just protective gear for a goalie. It is a ‘keeper’s face on the ice, often showcasing parts of his personality. Capitals Red Line caught up with Semyon Varlamov to give fans the story behind Varly’s buckets.

Caps Rally In Uniondale, Beat Islanders, 3-2

Alex Semin scores the Game Winning Goal against the Islanders and celebrates with Backstrom and Ovechkin

Photo credit: Mike Stobe

Matt Hendricks proves once again why DJ King's unneeded on this team. (Photo credit: Kathy Kmonicek)

Hendy tried to spark the team, but instead he got his face Kanopka'd. (Photo credit: Kathy Kmonicek)

With the Washington Capitals in danger of losing a second game in two nights, their flabbergasted head coach Bruce Boudreau called a timeout and made some adjustments.

He scrapped his floundering top line and put together his dream team trio in a desperation last resort to try and spark a squad that inexplicably could not create scoring chances.

It worked.

With Alexander Ovechkin, Nicklas Backstrom and Alexander Semin playing together, the Capitals rallied from two goals down to beat the rapidly improving New York Islanders, 3-2, Saturday night for a pivotal road win just two days before the trade deadline.

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What Do All These Shutouts Mean For The Caps?

Alex Ovechkin

Photo credit: Rob Carr

Friday’s 6-0 drubbing by the Rangers was the ninth time the Capitals have been shutout this season. Washington is now well on their way to being shut out in double digit games for the first time since 1999. As you might expect, getting shutout is not a recipe for playoff success — if you’re fortunate enough to even make the playoffs.

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Shutout Number Nine: Caps Embarrassed at Home, 6-0

Rangers score, win 6-0.

Photo credit: Rob Carr

The only good part about tonight: Neil's most recent Capitals Insider post about Ovi was included as part of tonight's Media's Notes.

The one bright spot: Neil's latest Capitals Insider post about Ovi was included as part of game's Media's Notes at Verizon Center.

Shutout and embarrassed by the New York Rangers. Now where have I heard that before? The Caps certainly did their best December 12 impression on Friday night, with the added twist of dropping the game in front of their home fans, who didn’t respond kindly.

“I am absolutely not happy,” said Capitals head coach Bruce Boudreau. “I mean our fans deserve better. That’s three games in a row at home. You know, we deserved to get booed there. It’s not fun when you come home and you got the best fans in the world and you play like that.”

The first action in the contest came when Jason Chimera delivered a hard check along the boards to the Rangers’ Michael Sauer, who didn’t take well to Chimera’s rough play. After a little back and forth the two dropped the gloves with neither getting too much of an upper hand. Just under six minutes into the game the period got ugly for the Caps. It started when Mike Green and Derek Stepan went for the puck in the corner with Stepan catching Green with an elbow. The recently injured Green immediately hit the ice, clutching his head before heading to the locker room as soon as play stopped. Just seconds after Green’s injury Steve Eminger gave the Rangers the lead, as the puck knuckled past Caps goalie Michal Neuvirth. At 14:47 in the period Sauer got into the action again setting up Erik Christensen in front of Washington’s net, putting New York up by two. The Capitals would get a chance to rally when Alex Ovechkin skated down the wing, beat Ryan McDonagh, and fired a shot on Rangers ‘keeper Henrik Lundqvist as he slid down the ice on his rear. Sounds familiar, eh? This time, however, Ovi was unsuccessful.

In the second frame, things would only get worse for the Capitals. At 4:19, while on the power play, Christensen would pot his second of the night, set up by an excellent backhand pass from Ryan Callahan. The Caps in-game entertainment crew responded by playing “Unleash the Fury” much earlier than usual. But that did little to stop Washington’s poor play as later in the period Stepan would extend New York’s lead to four after a misplay by Neuvirth.

In the third, the Rangers put a five-spot on the Caps when Vinny Prospal flicked a wrist shot over Neuvirth’s shoulder. But that wouldn’t be it. Brian Boyle would extend the lead once again in the waining moments of the game. Are you still reading? Rangers rout Caps, 6-0.

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Video: Derek Stepan’s Headshot on Mike Green

The New York Post’s Larry Brooks reports that the NHL will review the hit. If this isn’t the definition of a headshot, I don’t know what is. Do you think Stepan should be suspended? Let us know in the comments below.

UPDATE: Steve Zipay, who covers the Rangers for Newsday, reports that Stepan will not be suspended. However, Bob McKenzie of TSN tweeted that Stepan has been fined for his actions.

Recently, Capitals prospect Evgeny Kuznetsov was interviewed by the Russian show “Hockey of Russia”, taking part in their video column “Without a Helmet.” Basically, the premise of the segment is that a helmet full of printed out questions are sent in by the viewers. The helmet is then handed to an unsuspecting player who must pick questions out and answer them one by one. Some questions require serious responses while others are more playful.

The Russian commentator on the program introduces Kuznetsov as “the most popular young player in Russia, maybe even in the world.” He goes on to say that the 18-year old is so fondly recieved in his home country because of his openness with the press and his witty retorts. Let’s file this video as circumstantial evidence.

After the jump, we have included a full transcript of the interview including context to some of the questions and defintions of a few of the Russian words. For example, we don’t expect any of you to know what “ZAGS” is. Enjoy!

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