Joe Beninati: The Year in Suits

Whether we like it or not, we carry profound memories of last season. We’ll be taking a few opportunities to revisit the Capitals’ 2010-2011 campaign soon, but we thought we’d start with the most important matter of all: Joe Beninati’s suits.

We at Russian Machine Never Breaks are the Ken Burnses of Joe B. fashion. We’ve been documenting every green blazer, every ostentatious houndstooth and argyle combo, and every– let’s be honest– pimp suit. The esteemed Beninati was your guide through a spastic season, and now we return the favor. Here are (awful cell phone) photos of Joe’s suits from every telecast this season– with links to our gamers.

So let’s take a stroll down memory lane with the sharply dressed, silver-tongued man himself.

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With a thrilling third period comeback against Canada, Team Russia and Alex Ovechkin are off to the semi-finals of the World Championships in Slovakia. Down, 1-0, midway through the final frame, Alexei Kaigorodov converted on a shorthanded breakaway to knot the score. Then, just over three minutes later, the Devils’ 100 million dollar man Ilya Kovalchuk rifled home a one-timer from the slot to give the Russians the lead and send their arch-rival home empty handed. Russia will face Finland, with the winner going to the gold metal game, on Sunday.

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Ovi to soccer ball: “I must stop you.” (All photos taken by Pavel Lysenkov of Sovietsky Sport)

Ahead of its quarter-final matchup Thursday with Canada, Team Russia assistant coach Igor Zakharkin ordered his players to abandon the team’s scheduled morning practice and instead play soccer at Rapid Stadium in Bratislava. Much like former Capitals head coach Ron Wilson, who would arrange team-building bowling outings when the Caps were struggling, Zakharkin is looking to take pressure off of his team.

Russia, who has lost two straight games and is 3-3 overall in the tournament, has not gelled at any point during their time in Slovakia and has played in five straight one-goal games. The dominant team that had won 27 straight World Championship games last year has not appeared. If they lose against Canada, Russia will be eliminated.

Zakharkin spoke with Sovietsky Sport’s Dmitri Ponomarenko and Vitaly Slavin about his decision to avoid the rink today and also discussed the shirtless soccer goalie above, Alex Ovechkin. Fedor Fedin has your translation.

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Dmitry Orlov during warm-ups with the Hershey Bears

Orlov in action with the Hershey Bears (Photo credit: Ian Oland).

The 2010-11 season was a whirlwind for young defenseman Dmitry Orlov. The Novokuznetsk, Russia native started the season at Capitals Development Camp in July before going on to play for the Kontinental Hockey League’s Metallurg Novokuznetsk, tallying two goals and 10 assists in the regular season. In December, Orlov joined Team Russia at the World Junior Championships. The Caps’ 2009 second-round pick was a standout, playing on Russia’s top defensive pairing and being named first-team all WJC as the Ruskies went on to win the gold medal.

Metallurg, however, had an awful season, finishing with the worst record in the KHL. Instead of joining Metallurg’s minor league club, the Novokuznetsk Bears, at the end of the season, Orlov reached an agreement to play for the Capitals’ AHL affiliate, the Hershey Bears. Orlov played in 25 games for the Bears, including six in the postseason, tallying two goals and eight assists.

Below, Igor translates Orlov’s interview with Metallurg’s official site, where the 19 year-old discusses his first season in North America and what next year holds.

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Finland Beats Russia, 3-2; Ovechkin Speaks

Photo credit: Matthew Manor

After being mostly a non-factor in Team Russia’s loss Sunday, Alex Ovechkin was back in action Monday afternoon against Finland as he looked to regain his form. Ovi was certainly more noticeable against the Finns, registering an impressive nine shots on goal in 18:29 of ice time while failing to convert on a breakaway. Despite his efforts, Russia was defeated for the second day in a row, this time narrowly, 3-2, in the shootout. With Canada beating Sweden, 3-2, later in the day, a sure to be intense match-up of arch-rivals is set for the quarter-finals on Thursday between Russian and the Great White North.

Below, friend of the blog Aleksey Imaev translates the Great Eight’s video interview on Saturday with Russian website Sportbox.ru (Igor was unavailable and is listed as day-to-day with an upper body injury). The clip was only viewable in Russia until RMNB’s Fedor Fedin stepped in, so props to him.

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Alex Ovechkin: still visibly shaken after the Capitals’ stunning playoff defeat (photo via Sashastolemyheart on Tumblr).

After arriving in Bratislava, Slovakia just hours earlier, Alex Ovechkin took to the ice for his first practice with Team Russia on Saturday. Despite the Capitals’ crushing and humiliating elimination from the playoffs less no more than three days old, he was all smiles on the ice. Though Ovechkin played through numerous injuries this season, Capitals General Manager George McPhee told reporters at Kettler Capitals Iceplex Thursday he had no problems with the Great Eight suiting up for his motherland at the Worlds rather than taking the time to rest up.

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Photo credit: Championat.ru

After getting the green light from the Capitals organization on breakdown day, Alex Ovechkin left the United States Friday for the 2011 IIHF World Championships in Slovakia. Ovechkin, who had to endure an eight hour flight from DC to Vienna, was then driven by IIHF representatives to Bratislava, the capital of Slovakia, just in time for a noon practice at Orange Stadium. He had almost no break.

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The End

Defeated. (Photo credit: Bruce Bennett)

Tampa Bay Lightning. Washington Capitals. Season on the line.

Malone from the backdoor on the PP.  Marco Sturm up front on the PP.  Bergenheim puts it high. Bergenheim on the rebound. Erskine from an impossible angle. Martin St. Louis all alone up front. John Carlson off the faceoff. Bolts beat Caps 5-3.

The Tampa Bay Lightning have swept the Washington Capitals.

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Fire Bruce Boudreau

Decisions, decisions (Screen-grab via @eahoff)

Photo credit: Mitchell Layton

Is that title too much?

The Capitals are likely to fall short in yet another run for the Stanley Cup. Almost forty years into the team’s history and in a city starved of championships, the stakes are as high as the desperation. The Capitals have started the last few seasons not with aspirations for the Cup– so much as expectations. And now that those expectations are (probably) going to be snuffed out, the fans are out for blood.

Bruce Boudreau’s blood.

The topic on the table is the continued employment of Bruce Boudreau as head coach of the Washington Capitals. Do you want to fire him? Well first, let’s be clear: who exactly are you talking about?

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Crankypants. (Photo credit: Bruce Bennett)

On a warm Tuesday night, the Tampa Bay Lightning were kind enough to host the Washington Capitals for an hour of playoff hockey. It’s not going to end well.

Sean Bergenheim opened up with an easy one– a five-holer made possible by Mike Green’s absentee defense. Early in the second, Mike Knuble pierced Roloson thanks to Ovechkin’s set up. A bomb from John Carlson and screened by Eric Fehr gave the Caps a 2-1 lead, but Vincent Lecavalier returned fire from the goal mouth to tie it up. After a powerplay pile-up in the paint, Alex Ovechkin found the open puck and inserted it in the twine. A turnover gave Steven Stamkos a beautiful netter from the slot. 24 seconds later, Ryan Malone kicked in the game winner. Bolts beat Caps 4-3.

The Caps are in a three-game hole. Dire.

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