Capitals Players Coach a Hockey Clinic: One Mother’s Experience

Brooks Laich with Josh

Joshua poses with Brooks Laich (Photo credit: Cheryl Nichols of Caps News Network)

Editor’s note: After two friends won an auction at Caps Care Casino Night, RMNB reader Julie Roemele was presented with the opportunity of a life-time: to learn hockey from some of her favorite NHL pros. This past Sunday, Kettler Capitals Iceplex hosted a Capitals hockey clinic featuring workshops from Brooks Laich, Matt Hendricks, Semyon Varlamov, Mike Green and Assistant Coach Bob Woods. Below, Julie describes her and her son Joshua’s experience.

Julie's all smiles as she skates at on the fresh sheet of ice at Kettler Capitals Iceplex. (Photo credit: Cheryl Nichols)

Julie's all smiles as she skates at on the fresh sheet of ice at Kettler Capitals Iceplex. (Photo credit: Cheryl Nichols)

When someone gives you the chance to learn from the best, you don’t pass it up. So when my friends Mark and John called to invite me to a hockey clinic with the Capitals that they’d won at the Caps Care Casino Night, I couldn’t feign disinterest because I was a little afraid I’d be unsteady on the ice. Admittedly I’m more hockey mom than hockey player, even though I’ve been taking lessons for a year now.

Once at Kettler, the participants (there were about 20 of us) were split into five groups of four to work at five different drill stations. First up, defense with Caps Assistant Coach, Bob Woods. He’d pass each of us the puck and instruct us to circle as if trying to lose an opposing player. He would then dump a puck into the end boards while we skated after. To be honest, I suck at this and I was glad when the ten minutes were up, but it’s a skill I need to improve if I’m going to be a better player. I’ll definitely keep practicing it.

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Chris Simon

A portrait of Chris Simon taken by the KHL’s official magazine, Hot Ice

After leaving the Washington Capitals in 2002, Chris Simon played for five different NHL clubs over the following seven seasons. He received four suspensions during that time, including a 25-game ban for slashing Ryan Hollweg in the face and a 30-game sit down for tripping Jarkko Ruutu and then stomping on his leg with his skate.

In 2008, Simon opted to have a clean slate and joined the KHL. He signed with the league’s toughest team, Vityaz Chekhov. Known as the “Indian” among Vityaz fans, Simon quickly became a fan favorite and was named captain of the team. With Vityaz, he participated in the mega-brawl against Avangard Omsk, which resulted in both teams accumulating 600 PIM and a cancellation of the match. However, Simon’s scoring totals steadily grew every year in the KHL (eight goals in 2008-09, 13 in 2009-10 and 16 in 2010-11) and he was recently named to the 2011 KHL All-Star Game. Rumors that he would be traded at the deadline were circulating and finally, five days before the All-Star Game, he was traded to UHC Dynamo Moscow, who were looking to add some grit to their line-up for the playoffs. The second seed in the East, Dynamo was upset by Dinamo Riga in the first-round in a heart-breaking six-game series. Shortly after, Sport-Express spoke with the former Cap.

Below the jump, RMNB’s Igor Kleyer has translated the rare Simon interview. The 39 year-old talks about what it was like to learn Russian, who helped him settle in with his new team and why he decided to become a “tough guy” in the first place.

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Varlamonster

Photo credit: RMNB’s Chris Gordon

After the Capitals dramatic 5-4 (SO) victory against the Flyers Tuesday, Soviet Sport correspondent N. Bragilevskaya caught up with Caps goalie Semyon Varlamov. Varly, who is now healthy and awaiting word of his next start in net, spoke extensively to Bragilevskaya about his struggles with injury, what’s plaguing Alex Ovechkin — if anything — and what the coaches have told him about who will be the starting netminder in the playoffs.

Below the jump, RMNB’s Igor Kleyner has your translation.

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Leo Komarov

When talking about the KHL player Leo Komarov, you have many different things you can describe him as: fan favorite, agitator, hitter or secondary scorer. Knowing that he was raised in Finland you understand Komarov is like Jarkko Ruutu or Sean Bergenheim. He is the type of guy you hate to play against.

Komarov, who was born in Estonia but is a duel citizen of Russia and Finland, is one of the Russian league’s brightest young stars. He racked up 26 points (including 14 goals) while registering 70 penalty minutes over 52 games in the 2010-11 KHL regular season, and also played in the Kontinental Hockey League’s All-Star Game. In the playoffs, which ended, well, earlier than expected for Dynamo, Komarov posted a remarkable four goals in just six games.

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Capitals are offering for sale Charlie Sheen Insipred Winning T-Shirts at Kettler

UPDATE: Well, it looks like you guys listened. After the D.C. Sports Bog and Puck Daddy picked up on our story, these went flying off the shelves and sold-out in less than two hours! The Capitals are now accepting pre-orders for the next shipment.

We here at RMNB take Violent Torpedos of Truth seriously. So when I found out about this #Winning Charlie Sheen inspired t-shirt that would go on sale today at 10am at Kettler Capitals Iceplex, I just had to share it. For just $17.99 you can become a warlock too. If you’re interested make sure to get them fast as this is a limited run.

Special thanks to @Katerstheace on Twitter for making this public and Tim Burt, Retail Operations Manager at KCI for creating them.

PLAYOFFS! Caps Top Flyers, 5-4! (SO)

Semin wins it

#GoodSasha (Photo credit: Paul Bereswill)

Awwwww! Photo credit: Matt Slocum

Awwwww! Photo credit: Matt Slocum

The Washington Capitals are in the 2011 Stanley Cup Playoffs. Now, don’t start panicking. The Caps of this year are different. They play postseason-style defensive hockey. (Well, let’s just forget about the D tonight.) Washington has their swagger back too. They’re just one point off the top spot in the East and are firing on all cylinders as April awaits.

Nicklas Backstrom opened the scoring at 7:52 after his wrist shot from between the circles snuck under Flyer goalie Sergei Bobrovsky’s shoulder. Weak goal. Then with under three minutes left in the first period, ol’ man Mike Knuble chipped in Marcus Johansson’s pass from behind the net to push the Caps lead to multiple goals. Spongebob never saw it. Weak goal.

Under 1:30 into the second stanza, Dennis Wideman fired a shot from the point the found twine after Bobrovsky failed to react in time. Weak goal. New ‘keeper. At 8:05 Kris Versteeg got himself an easter egg. Number 10 in orange and black racked up his 19th of the year after his off-target pass hit Wideman’s skate. With just over 30 seconds left in the frame Claude Giroux inched Philadelphia ever closer, one-timing Andreas Nodl’s perfect pass past Neuvirth. The Czech netminder never even moved on the shot after biting on Nodl’s excellent fake. The Flyers would then tie the game 10:02 in the third period when the Capitals got Jeff Schultz’d. Mr. Nasty’s outlet pass was deflected by Giroux and Nodl slapped it home. Daniel Briere would then score the Flyers’ fourth unanswered tally, saavily tipping a a Kimmo Timonen shot from the point home. 4-3, Fly Guys. Panic!!!1 Luckily for you guys, Swedes are good at hockey. Johansson would tie the game up on a perfect shot from the point with 3:19 left. What does that mean? Overtime.

In the extra period, there would be chances a plenty, but neither team would convert. You know what lies next: The Gimmick.

Ville Leino: goal. Matt Hendricks: fake, fake, fake, fake, fake, fake, fake, leg lift, fake, fake, fake, backhand and GOAL! Giroux: miss. Backstrom: GOAL! Briere: Goal. Up next, The Enigma. GOAL WSH #28 SEMIN, Backhand, Off. Zone, 7 ft. Playoffs, here we come! Caps top Flyers, 5-4 (SO)

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Michal Neuvirth’s New Goalie Mask

Mask Header

Photo credit: DaveArt

On Saturday, Capitals goaltender Michal Neuvirth took to the ice for practice wearing a new mask designed by Swedish airbrush artist David Gunnarsson, who also paints Semyon Varlamov’s masks. Neuvy is not sure if he is going to wear this mask for the rest of the season or not, but I’ll let Gunnarsson take it away.

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The New York Times: Three Goalies and One Net

Neuvy/Varly

Photo credit: Chris Gordon

Earlier in the season, some of the critics (and at least one esteemed newspaper columnist) were saying that the Caps needed an older and more experienced netminder. Now, the quandry is that they have an abundance of young talent and need to finally settle on a goalie before the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

With Braden Holtby back in Hershey, the contest seems to be down to Michael Neuvirth and Semyon Varlamov. The young goalies, by the way, were roommates on the Caps recent road trip. What did they talk about? “Expensive cars,” Neuvirth confided after Monday’s practice.

Read more about the goalies and the choice Bruce Boudreau faces in this post by RMNB’s own Chris Gordon for The New York Times’ Slap Shot.

Last week, Soviet Sport correspondent Alexei Mikushin caught up with Evgeny Kuzetsov and his lovely fiancee Nastia. The young couple, who was spotted in what looks to be a parking lot, commented on the state of their relationship and upcoming wedding.

If you’ll pardon our blatant rumor mongering, Evgeny Kuznetsov’s wedding is very much worth talking about. By June 3rd, Kuznetsov will only be 19-years old. While this may seem a little ‘Old World’ — the two are tying the knot after dating for just five months — there are no reports suggesting that a prenuptial agreement includes Nastia’s prospective price in goats and fine linens. Dowry jokes aside, this expedited courtship could have practical ramifications stateside.

Given his recent ambivalence in interviews about playing in the NHL after, at least another season with Traktor, the early wedding could indicate the couple plans to move to Washington as early as the 2012-13 season. Leagally, a pre-departure wedding would insure a much smoother transition should Nastia want to accompany Kuzetsov to the states. And taking into account the comparisons other Russian Caps have made between Russian and American women, maybe Kuzya’s just planning ahead.

Below the jump, RMNB’s Igor Kleyner has translated the entire article and video.

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Update: Nick Kypreos of Rogers Sportsnet reports that Matt Cooke has been suspended by the NHL for the rest of regular season and the first round of the Stanley Cup playoffs.

During Sunday’s Penguins vs. Rangers game, Matt Cooke was up to his old tricks. The 32 year-old former Capital delivered an elbow to the head of a defenseless Ryan McDonagh. The Ranger player went down like a sack of potatoes but fortunately was uninjured. Cooke received a five minute major for elbowing on the play and a game misconduct. As Daniel Tolensky points out, Cooke has played in 881 NHL games yet has only been suspended a total of ten matches in his career. The League obviously deserves some of the blame for allowing Cooke’s dirty play to continue without significant consequences for his actions.

A month ago, Pens owner Mario Lemieux criticized the NHL for being too soft on the Islanders’ players that participated in the mega-brawl between New York and Pittsburgh. Just a week ago, Sidney Crosby said the NHL needed to fight deliberate head-shots. But now their own player, Matt Cooke, is once again under Colin Campbell’s review. Below, we’ve chronicled Cookie’s dirty deeds throughout the years.

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