Caps beat Blue Jackets 4-2, Here Comes 2012!

Jamie Sabau

Photo credit: Jamie Sabau

Everyone always has such lofty expectations for New Years Eve. It’s supposed to be a climax, the culmination of the year,whatever. But it’s usually such a letdown, like most of tonight’s battle between the Washington Capitals and league-worst Columbus Blue Jackets. The Caps were disinterested and the Jackets were frustrating until the third act, when Washington injected some drama into the proceedings.

Despite a late flurry from Columbus, the Caps ended the first period unscathed. They weren’t so lucky in the second, as John Moore and Sammy Pahlsson both struck for goals. Alex Ovechkin got one back in the third, finishing off a long sequence in the Columbus zone. Alex Semin tied it up with a lovely lob under the bar. Dennis Wideman got the go-ahead just a few seconds later. Ovechkin converted on a power play.

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Photo credit: Mitchell Layton

After the Capitals’ somewhat easy 4-1 victory over the Eastern Conference’s best team Wednesday, Nicklas Backstrom spoke to Versus’ Pierre McGuire. In explaining the team’s troubles this year, Backstrom said, “I think we haven’t been working hard enough. Everybody has to commit and do their job, and that’s what we haven’t been doing.”

It’s hard to express optimism that the Caps have finally turned the corner, if they can’t string a couple of solid victories together, and — you know — actually turn the corner. Would they bring the energy again in their second match-up in three games against the Buffalo Sabres, a team who has given the Caps fits all year?

You tell me. Photo recap time!

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Russian Machine Never Breaks: We Suck, 2011 Edition

We just finished basking in the glow of our successes in the past year. Ahhhh… Yes, that was nice.

But now it’s over, and we must look ourselves in the mirror to see the billion things we have screwed up over the past year. We’ve got a huge collection of embarrassments and goof-ups that should have shamed us out of blogging altogether. But we’re shameless. You already knew that.

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Photo credit: Francois Laplante

Evgeny Kuznetsov has done a lot of spectacular things in his young career: he was the youngest player ever to be named to a KHL all-star game; he’s starred in a movie; he scored the game-winning goal to win Russian the Karjala Cup; and he got married at 19. Late Thursday night in Calgary, Kuzya had the game of his life notching an incredible three goals, six assists, and nine points in a 14-0 thrashing of Latvia. It was the second most points ever scored in a World Junior Championship game.

After the game, Allhockey.ru’s Andrey Osadchenko spoke to Kuznetsov and filmed his entire Q/A with reporters. Below the jump, I offer a translation.

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Kuznetsov and his teammates celebrate his hat-trick. (Photo credit: Mike Sturk)

19-year-old Caps prospect Evgeny Kuznetsov had 0 points heading into Russia’s third World Junior Championship game. On Monday, he was shutdown in Russia’s 3-0 victory over Switzerland. On Wednesday, a frustrated Kuznetsov still could not land on the scoresheet despite rifling nine shots on goal against the Slovaks.

Enter Latvia. After not registering a point in the game’s first 27 minutes, Kuznetsov exploded, tallying an insane nine points over the next 33 minutes pushing Russia to a 14-0 victory.

You can check out video of his big night below the jump.

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RMNB

Grab a chair, pour a ginger ale, and put some soft jazz on the hifi. We’re about to take a leisurely ride through the world of RMNB 2011. Today we’ll be looking at the good stuff today, and the really awful stuff we’ll see on Friday.

In 2011 we published more than 470 articles that more than doubled (206%) our traffic from 2010. Our readers (i.e. you) stay longer on our site, view more articles (102.5%), leave more comments (119%), and correct our grammar more than ever before. We climbed above 5k followers on Twitter (mostly spam bots), and we are now flirting with 6k. We’ve got around 3600 people liking us on Facebook, most of whom are just trying to win the swag Ian gives away every game. We started a tumblelog, where almost 500 people follow our silly pictures and quotes and other stuff that doesn’t fit on the main site. We’re working on a pinterest page, as soon as we figure out what that is.

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Caps beat Rangers 4-1, Looking Good for the Cameras

Brouwer hour. (Photo credit: Mitchell Layton)

Just a few days before the Winter Classic, the New York Rangers visited the Washington Capitals ready for their close-up. The Caps showed up to play though, and we got to see one of the better overall games of the season.

Marcus Johansson scored the first of the game by cleaning up a rebound off a Jeff Halpern shot that he set up. Brandon Dubinsky converted on a breakaway to tie it after one period. Troy Brouwer snapped a streak of bad luck by tipping in a Jeff Halpern/John Carlson collaboration. Alex Ovechkin leveled a hit to open up a turnover, which Nick Backstrom turned into a breakaway by passing it to Alex Semin, who made the game’s fourth tally look easy. Late in the game, Alex Semin scored again, sailing one past Biron. Caps beat Rangers 4-1.

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Download and Print the FOUND: BEAGLE Sign

Based on reports from this morning’s practice, Jay Beagle is back in action. After missing 31 games following a fight with Pittsburgh’s Arron Asham, Beagle is suiting up to play tonight versus the New York Rangers. It’ll be his first game since October 13th, just in time for HBO 24/7 too.

To celebrate Beagle’s return to active duty, here are some printable posters!

The mondo link below will download a PDF, which fits an 8.5″ x 11″ page perfectly. Download the file and print a few billion of these to pass out to everyone you see at Verizon Center. Let Jay know you’re glad he’s healthy and ready to play like the scrappy little pup he is!

DOWNLOAD THE FOUND: BEAGLE SIGN

Mike Green Finally Returns to Practice

Mike Green Washington Capitals

Mike Green looks on during Caps practice Tuesday at Kettler. (Photo credit: Margaret McGuire)

Green practicing with his teammates. (Photo credit: @melly2508)

As the Washington Capitals continue to struggle under new coach Dale HunterMike Green has become a beacon of hope for a Caps turnaround. For good reason. As you probably already know, the Capitals are 8-0 — un-frickin’-defeated — when Green has suited up this season.

On February 6, Green took a puck to the face in a game against the Penguins. 19 days later, in his first game back, the Rangers’ Derek Stepan elbowed Green in the head. This season, after notching four points against Detroit (tying his career high), Green missed the next six games due to a twisted ankle. In his first game back (detecting a pattern?), Green suffered his latest injury, a strained groin after taking a rough run from the Devils’ Ryan Carter. Since then, Green has missed 20 games and has not practiced with the team. Until now.

Tuesday, Green made his first steps towards a(nother) comeback, taking the ice for a full Caps-practice for the first time since November 11th.

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Charmin Soft, Sabres beat Caps 4-2

Alex Ovechkin appeals to the ref. (Photo credit: Bill Wippert)

The Washington Capitals might have had too much figgy pudding, as their post-Christmas match-up with the Buffalo Sabres was one of their ugliest of the season. Maybe the worst.

Exactly how bad was it? So bad that we’re exercising The Option. The option is an obscure RMNB bylaw that allows us to not really write about a game because it was so wretched our primitive language cannot adequately describe it.

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