Garrett Mitchell

Mitchell at Caps Development Camp over the summer (Photo credit: BridgetDS).

Mitchell (left) speaks to Trevor Bruess and Wade MacLeod in July, 2010. Photo credit: Chris Gordon/CapsSnaps.com

Mitchell (left) speaks to Trevor Bruess and Wade MacLeod. Photo credit: Chris Gordon/CapsSnaps.com

The Capitals have some great middleweight, gritty forwards. Guys like Matt Hendricks and Matt Bradley. Steve Pinizzotto is also down on the farm in Hershey. Now you can add one more name to that list: Garrett Mitchell.

The Capitals announced today that they signed the free agent right wing to a three-year entry-level contract beginning next season. The 19-year old Mitchell became the latest player from the 2009 Draft to be signed by the Caps. Previously, Marcus Johansson (1st round, 24th overall), Dmitri Orlov (2nd round, 55th overall), Cody Eakin (3rd round, 85th overall) and Brett Flemming (5th round, 145th overall) all elected to sign their entry-level deals. That leaves only Boston College defenseman Patrick Wey (4th round, 115th overall) — a member of Team USA in the 2011 WJC — and Benjamin Casavant (7th round, 205th overall) without contracts. Suffice to say, a very bountiful and productive draft class for General Manager George McPhee.

Mitchell, picked 175th overall in 2009 Entry Draft, would seem to project as a future third or fourth line player in the NHL if he develops fully. According to the HF page about Mitchell, his upside (besides the physical aspects) are leadership, penalty killing and skating.

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Carlson Looks Right at Home as Caps Blank Devils, 3-0

Neuvirth Save

Michal Neuvirth make a save on the bewildered $100 million dollar man (Photo credit: Bruce Bennett).

Veteran winger Mike Knuble netted two goals while registering one assist on the night. Photo credit: Andy Marlin

Veteran winger Mike Knuble netted two goals while registering one assist on the night. Photo credit: Andy Marlin

It’s easy to forget about John Carlson.

The rookie Washington Capitals defenseman logs 20 minutes a night, rarely makes stone-headed blunders and chips in the occasional pressure on transition.

Yet as the Caps nudge ever closer to clinching a fourth straight Southeast Division championship, Carlson’s rock-solid contributions are becoming increasingly harder to ignore.

The New Jersey native had two assists, logged almost 23 minutes of ice time and played nearly flawless hockey in a 3-0 shutout win of the New Jersey Devils. The win tied the Capitals for first place in the Eastern Conference with the Philadelphia Flyers and made an improbable New Jersey playoff bid seem even more unlikely.

Despite moving into third-place on the all-time Washington Capitals points list for rookies, Carlson was not named one of the three stars of the night. Yet his sharp work while joining the attack led to two goals, and his steadiness in the back helped the brilliant Michal Neuvirth register his fourth shutout and third since February 4.

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A Recap of RMNB Party 2: Electric Boogaloo

Horn Guy and Fedor

If there was one photo to sum up the night, this would be it.

On Saturday night, we hosted our second RMNB par-taaaaay at The Front Page in Arlington, Virginia. The event was all for charity, raising an astounding $2,500.08 for the Brian and Emily St. Louis Family Fund. We held a silent auction featuring some lovely pieces of Caps memorabilia and held a raffle for those of you who couldn’t drop the big bucks. As promised, some quasi-famous people showed up including Caps P.A. announcer Wes Johnson, CSN anchor Michael Jenkins, Caps beat reporter for 106.7 The FAN Sky Kerstein, Japers’ Rink blogger J.P., Mike Vogel of the Capitals, Brian Murphy of Hail! Magazine and Homer McFanboy, the Washington Post’s Dan Steinberg plus super-fans Goat and The Horn Guy! Teen heartthrob Fedor Fedin was also there, though he didn’t seem to move much. All things considered, it was a pretty awesome night. But hey, you already knew that! If you want to relive the party (or for some reason need convincing on why you should come to our next one which is tentatively titled RMNB Party 3: Let’s All Drink Out Of This Big Silver Cup Thingee) check out the pictures from the night below!

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When I was a kid, I always loved it when it was St. Patrick’s Day. We’d get those chocolate gold-foil coins from our teachers, my classmates and I would all talk like drunk Irishmen, and we’d all wear green from head to toe — or face the consequences of a painful pinch from 20 classmates. Plus, I was always the only one in my class named Ian and I’m actually 15% Irish. That always got a lot of attention from the girls… for one day at least. Now, things are totally different. Everyday, I go into work. I have the same routine. And I never really know what the date is unless I go to the bank at lunch. How depressing is that?

So this year, in an effort to reconnect with my inner-youth, I unilaterally decided that RMNB would have a St. Patrick’s Day post. And what better way to celebrate than by drinking until you turn green watching this video produced by the NHL, featuring a special cameo by — you guessed it — Alex O’Vechkin. Enjoy!

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The Streak Ends: Wings Edge Caps, 3-2

Zetterberg's Second Goal

Sigh. (Photo credit: Dave Reginek)

The Capitals came back twice against the Detroit Red Wings Wednesday night, but it would be a matter of inches that would stop them from extending their winning streak to ten games.

The Wings’ Henrik Zetterberg opened the scoring at 12:23 at in first period, firing a one-timer over Caps ‘keeper Michal Neuvirth’s shoulder. Washington would get it right back, however, as John Carlson’s blast from the point found twine just 33 seconds later. D.J. King got his second point of season on the play. I know! Woo!!! Less than two minutes after the Caps tally, Detroit would once again jump out in front as Valtteri Flippula clogged up the crease and deflected Brian Rafalski’s slapper past Neuvirth.

Alex Ovechkin would tie things up once again under six minutes into the middle frame. After taking a nifty backhand pass from Alexander Semin, Ovi raced up the middle going one-on-one with Brad Stuart before firing a wicked wrist shot through Stuart’s legs. Boom! 2-2.

Midway through the third period, Zetterberg would knot his second tally of the night. He lifted the puck over Neuvirth’s head from a sharp angle as the Czech netminder hugged the post. The Capitals attempted to rally late and came this close to doing so as Semin’s wrist shot hit just off target, ringing the crossbar with just 20 seconds remaining. Streak over. Wings edge Caps, 3-2.

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Video: Remy’s “I’m a Caps Fan” Rap

Remy’s latest rap “I’m a Caps Fan” premiered tonight on CSN Washington and it’s a beauty. Well, of course it is. Why? It features a RMNB t-shirt! Take a look:

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Johansson Scores

A game-altering fight? Matt Bradley fights Paul Mara immediately after Travis Moen's fluky goal. (Photo credit: Richard Wolowic)

A game-changing fight? Matt Bradley fights Paul Mara immediately after Travis Moen's fluky goal. (Photo credit: Richard Wolowic)

#Winning (Photo credit: Richard Wolowicz)

Returning to the Bell Center for the first time since the ill-fated 2010 Stanley Cup playoffs, the Washington Capitals got a little bit of revenge Tuesday night, extending their winning streak to nine games in the process.

The game got off to a positively wild start with two goals and a fight in the first 1:48 of play. After Tomas Plekanec was called for a hooking penalty the Caps headed to an early power play. With a  lot help from the end boards, Marcus Johansson put the Caps up 1-nil as the dump-in from Dennis Wideman bounced right in front to the waiting Swede. Just 26 seconds later, however, Travis Moen tied things up on another odd play behind the net. Washington netminder Braden Holtby attempted to rim the puck along the boards but instead passed it right to Moen in the corner who fired the biscuit into the wide open net. Just over 20 seconds later the action continued with Matt Bradley and Paul Mara dropping the gloves right off the face-off in a bout that ended in a draw. At 13:23, Brooks Laich put the Caps on top 2-1 after picking up the perfect outlet pass from Karl Alzner, who was on the ice for nine more scoring chances and just one against. Whew. Another calm night in Montreal, I see.

Andrei Kostitsyn continued the back-and-forth play 3:28 into the second period, firing a wicked wrist-shot pass Holtby’s catching glove. Washington put forth a fury of shots in the remainder of the frame, racking up 19 for the period. It would be to no avail, however, and the teams would head to the third knotted up.

Johansson would strike once again at 6:43 in the final period, putting home a perfect backhand pass from Alex Ovechkin to give the Caps the lead. Just over ten minutes later, Mike Knuble would seal the deal converting on a two-on-one with Marco Sturm after Sturm delivered a perfect pass to the veteran winger. Take that, Frenchies. Caps top Habs, 4-2.

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Caps Wear Green to Honor St. Patrick’s Day

Green Jerseys (8 of 15)

For the second time in ten days, the Washington Capitals took the ice for pre-game warm-ups in some unusual duds. The occasion for Sunday’s sweaters? St. Patrick’s Day.  However, the holiday isn’t until March 17, falling three full days after the Caps wore these uni’s. On top of that, Washington, D.C. isn’t exactly known for its Irish heritage. Nevertheless, the jersey were auctioned off during the game with a portion of the funds going to charity. Take a look at the rest of my photographs of these rather, um, interesting jerseys after the jump.
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White House (32 of 33)

Photo credit: Chris Gordon

Mike Green was back in a Capitals jersey on Friday, though unfortunately for him, he won’t be seeing game action in one for at least a week. Suffering from a concussion after taking a blow to the head from Derek Stepan of the Rangers, Green was placed on long-term injured reserve, holding him out until March 22nd at the earliest. Russian Machine Never Breaks caught up with the 25 year-old Canadian on Friday at the White House. Green had been invited to participate in a street hockey clinic at part of Michelle Obama’s “Let’s Move” campaign. The First Lady even asked Green how to drop the puck to begin the event. “I told her, ‘Just drop it. Don’t throw it up in the air,’ Green recalled. “She was fine.” He also had a front row seat when the Chicago Blackhawks were honored for their 2010 Stanley Cup championship by President Barack Obama. I assume, however, he would me much happier to be on the other side of that picture next year.

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Capitals celebrate Mike Knuble's OTGWG

GROUP HUG! (Photo credit: Rob Carr)

Jason Chimera brings the intensity in a second period fight with Brent Seabrook. (Photo credit: Jacquelyn Martin)

Jason Chimera brings the intensity in a second period fight with Brent Seabrook. (Photo credit: Jacquelyn Martin)

In dramatic fashion, in front of a national television audience  and a sellout crowd at Verizon Center, the Cardiac Caps were once again back at work as Washington pushed their winning streak to eight. Less than one month ago it would have been hard to imagine any of this happening. Nevertheless, the Caps are now just a single point out of first-place in the Eastern Conference.

“Guys have a bit of a swagger right now, back to the way things were,” said Capitals goaltender Braden Holtby.

The Blackhawks opened the scoring less than five minutes into the contest. After receiving a feed from Marian Hossa, Nick Leddy put the puck past Holtby. Just under two and a half minutes later, however, Boyd Gordon would knot the game at one. After picking up an errant pass by the ‘Hawks power play, Gordon raced down the wing before firing a slapper past Chicago netminder Corey Crawford for the shortie. Late in the first frame, after John Erskine drew a holding penalty, Washington headed to their recently anemic power play. This time, however, it would be different. New Cap Jason Arnott fired a bullet from the point that found twine, giving Washington their first lead of the game.

Three minutes into the second period, Chicago would tie the game at two when Holtby gave Tomas Kopecky a little too much daylight. Kopecky seized the opportunity, banking the puck off ‘keeper’s back from behind the goal-line. In the waining moments of the stanza, things got physical when Chicago’s Brent Seabrook delivered a hard check behind the net to Jason Chimera. Everyone favorite fire-footed, stone-handed forward took exception to Seabrook, challenging him to a duel. Seabrook appeared to come out with the win in the bout but it was Chimera got the take-down.

“Chimmer, I thought, he was a factor. He did not get a star or anything, but I thought he was a real big factor in the game,” said Chimera’s teammate Brooks Laich. “He was the one that sort of instigated that little rhubarb there. I think he does a good job and takes one of their top defenders off. So I think he had a very good night.”

Six and half in to the final frame, the aforementioned Laich put home Matt Hendricks’ (or more accurately Eric Fehr’s) feed from the corner to put the Caps on top. Washington appeared to be in control until Marcus Johansson was called for hooking at 18:10. “I thought it was a pretty chintzy call,” said Boudreau. On the ensuing Blackhawks power play, Jonathan Toews converted on a mad scrum in front of the net, as the puck bounced in off Holtby’s skate.

In overtime, the Capitals missed numerous chances until, finally, Mike Knuble — with a little help from Johansson — came to the rescue. Ballgame over. Caps top ‘Hawks, 4-3.

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