Atlanta Thrashers Pregame: Wait, What? Winnipeg Who?

Photo credit: Jonathan Kozub

Puck Buddy Doug Johnson writes for RMNB. Follow @PuckBuddys unless you’re Sean Avery.

The Pre Game: I’m going to let you in on a secret. We people of the prairie have known it for decades, but as a group we tend to be Scandinavian, and so tight-lipped. We only pass it down– whispered– when there’s no other choice; as on those nights the wind shakes the windows and hope seems to extinguish in the pit of a cold, dead emptiness. And here it is: there is no darker, stranger place on this Earth than Winnipeg. It’s Canada’s sooty heart of darkness… and now, thanks to the NHL, we have to spend a night there.

You can spend a lifetime overnight in Winnipeg.

The Puck Drop

Oh, I know what you’re thinking. “But it’s Canada! How scary can that be?” Here’s how creepy: David Lynch won’t even go there. That’s how creepy Winnipeg is. Built at the base of a floodplain that sinks in summer and concentrates the winds into an arctic vortex each winter, Winnipeg is a place that sensible cultures would just abandon. Admit their mistake, move on, and leave it to future anthropologists to try and make sense of the debris: curling, BTO, and Guy Maddin.

Sure, some have escaped. Cody Eakin and Eric the Fehr among the more adorables. But let me ask you this: do you know anyone who’s been to Winnipeg? Didn’t they come back…changed?

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Braden Holtby New Mask

A few weeks ago, word leaked out on Twitter that Braden Holtby was sporting a new goalie mask during practice up in Hershey. We sent photographer Kyle Mace — of our sister blog Sweetest Hockey on Earth — to the Bears’ next home game and had him capture every angle imaginable of Braden’s new roller-coaster themed mask.

Well now, David Gunnarsson — the Swedish artist who custom-painted Holtby’s new headgear — explains the backstory to the project.

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Sad Like a Country Song, Preds beat Caps 3-1

 John Russell

(Photo credit: John Russell)

The Washington Capitals began their circuit of North America with a stop in Nashville with their Predators. With Mike Green still ailing and a shooting drought in their immediate past, the Caps had something to prove.

After more than 55 minutes of play, Troy Brouwer finally beat Pekka Rinne using a defender for a screen. Like 0.874325 seconds later, Shea Weber fed Martin Erat east-west to tie it back up. With 24 seconds left, Colin Wilson beat a stickless John Erskine and a sucked-out Vokoun to make it 2-1. Backstrom lost a faceoff to give Weber an empty netter 5 seconds later. Preds beat Caps 3-1.

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Win Seats to Capitals vs. Penguins on December 1st

Esteemed pest control company, American Pest, protects your home from all kind of varmint. Let’s — hypothetically– say you cooked up two trays of red Jello shots for the playoffs and then accidentally left them out on your counter with a nearby window open, and then ants roughly equal in number to the cast of Ben-Hur began an occupation of your kitchen. American Pest can help.

American Pest is also a Washington Capitals sponsor, and they’re running  a contest whereby you can win tickets to the Capitals-Penguins game on December 1st. The contest, in all its byzantine logic, is described below:

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Photo credit: John Russell

Doug Johnson of Puck Buddys sells his sword to Russian Machine. @PuckBuddys wants your tweet.

The Pre Game: “And here’s my theory of punctuation. At the end of every sentence there should be a tiny clock that shows you how long it took you to write that sentence.” – Laurie Anderson.

Watching Capitals games is becoming an existential exercise, based on the obscene, neutered device we call the clock. As in: Caps score first by the clock: we lose. Caps trail in the second by the clock: we win. Watch the game, watch the clock; we score first, we lose last.

Call me crazy. Call me late for dinner, but consarnit, the Caps are just not behaving by the clock. Headline from Saturday: Caps Lose, Broadside of Barn Safe! What went wrong? Coach Juggles’ shoot-out changes? The Caps total lacking D?  #BadSasha? #EvilSasha? #HailSatanSasha?

Here’s the thing: Caps, every time you take a lead and blow it, you smoke a tiny bit of our time. Think about that: every game you go forward at the first, only to surrender… you surrender a few minutes of our lives.  The clock is ticking. What will you do with it?

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Video: John Carlson’s New Hadeed Carpet Commercials

John Carlson Commercial

John Carlson ponders the next call-up for the Caps.

With Brooks Laich cornering local advertisements for windows and Alex Ovechkin being a spokesman for nearly everything else, rarely does another player on the Capitals get a chance to show off his acting chops.

Lucky for us, John Carlson — clearly a hot commodity after his incredible acting debut with Force 3 — recently inked a deal with Hadeed Carpet. Their two new spots debuted over the weekend on both Hadeed Carpet’s Facebook page and Comcast SportsNet.

Follow me past the jump as Captain America sells us on the finest wall-to-wall carpet cleaners in the area. SPOILER ALERT: Carlson doesn’t give anyone a pound this time. Sigh.

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Evgeny Kuznetsov Karjala Cup

Russia’s Captain, Ilya Nikulin, holds the Karjala Cup; Kuznetsov gets mugged in front of the net.

Evgeny Kuznetsov, the Russian National Team’s youngest player at 19, once again proved his mettle and how lucky-a**ed (Kuzya called himself that during last year’s WJC) he can be in clutch situations. With ten seconds left and Russia stuck in a 1-1 tie with the Czech Republic, Kuznetsov — currently leading the KHL in game-winners this season — potted his only goal of the tournament. Not only did the tally give Russia the win in their final tournament game, it also clinched them the 2011 Karjala Cup.

Video of his goal can be seen below the jump.

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Devils beat Caps 3-2 (SO), And It Sucked

(Photo credit: Mitchell Layton from like 3 years ago)

Live from Verizon Center… it’s Saturday night! The Washington Capitals bested the New Jersey Devils in hostile territory on Friday, so they invited the conquered down to Chinatown for another round. Mike Green, injured in the first duel, did not dress, replaced by the Giraffe Jeff Schultz. Brooks Laich played defense, and Alex Semin returned to action, where he immediately took an offensive zone penalty.

Troy Brouwer stole the puck and beat Hedberg for the night’s first goal. Carlson did his 70-footer thing, and a screening Chimera tipped it in to make it 2-0. Petr Sykora scored on a set play off the face off to end the shutout. Ryan Carter got a deflection to tie it up. From there we entered the shoot out, where way more stuff happened than I can record here. Suffice it to say: Devils beat Caps 3-2 via shoot out.

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Caps beat Devils 3-1, Mike Green Hurt, Alex Semin Benched

(Photo credit: Nick Laham)

After a two-game skid, the Washington Capitals started their home-and-home series with the New Jersey Devils by playing some crummy hockey. Inexplicably, they won anyway.

12-year-old Adam Larsson scored the first goal of the game, which was also his first-ever NHL goal. Captain Alex Ovechkin found the perfect spot up front to rouse the Caps’ offense and make it 1-1. Jason Chimera exploited the Devils’ power play line change to score the Caps’ first shorthanded goal of the season. Marcus Johansson casually backhanded to give the Caps a two-goal lead. Caps beat Devils 3-1.

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Caps P.A. Announcer Wes Johnson Conquers Skyrim

If any of your friends disappear for the next few weeks, go ahead and blame Skyrim. Created by Bethesda Softworks and released today (11/11/11!), Skyrim is the latest installment in The Elder Scrolls, a series of beloved role-playing video games dating back to 1994. This new game already has earned rave reviews– including a few perfect scores– for its lavish landscapes, sprawling story, and tense action sequences. For the next 30 to 300 hours of game time, you can probably find your vanished friend questing in Tamriel, a magical and medieval continent populated with monsters, dragons,  …and Capitals P.A. Announcer, Wes Johnson.

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