RMNB Week in Review; Alzner Fights, Ovechkin Raps

Photo credit: paparazzi.ru

This week, the Caps went 3-1-0 against the Lightning, Hurricanes, Islanders, and Habs, and if you asked someone who they thought was the only team to beat us, they would probably be surprised by the answer. Despite being outshot 77-136, the Caps still managed to outscore opponents 9-7 and take 6 of 8 points. Especially if you blindly ignore that Tuesday ever happened, it was a pretty good week.

Elsewhere in the NHL, a compelling case was made for wearing helmets in warmups, Mrs. Pronger made us sad about Chris Pronger again, Brian Elliott was re-signed in St. Louis, Chara and Alfredsson were named captains of the All-Star Game, Rangers owner James Dolan apparently has no idea the Stanley Cup is not awarded in January, and Ryan Kesler and Alain Vigneault had a lovers’ quarrel.

In case you were wondering the most important question–how does everything in the world apply to the Washington Capitals?–here’s a helpful guide to what’s terrible this week.

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Carolina Hurricanes Preview: Point Break

Doug Johnson: Puck Buddy, dog owner, hockey fan, public intellectual. Follow @PuckBuddys.  

The Pregame: So you gotta give credit where it’s due. Whatever your political leanings (ours is usually doubled over, holding our stomachs, in the loo) that ol’ Newton Leroy Gingrich gets points for some sassy thinking. Seems then-Speaker Stay-Puft, some six years into an affair with a young House staffer (and Tiffany connoisseur) named Calista, basically told his wife Marianne that she would need to “share” him with his mistress. (There we are in the loo again.) At least, this according to ex-wife Marianne – no, not the one he divorced while she was in the hospital, that was a totes different wife! – who basically told Newt to get stuffed. He dumps her, marries the mistress who promptly begins a powerful benziodiazepine regimen (we’re making that part up) and now all is lollipops, the end.

We bring this up, in part because it’s still a larf-riot, but also because we’re doing some sassy thinkin’ of our own. Let’s just say, completely hypothetical here, that you’re the GM of a professional sports team with loads of potential but some underperforming talent. What to do? You want to keep him; sure, who doesn’t? But maybe you could also find a comely, pliable team somewhere else that may just want to share a little of his upkeep and tending while making you look genius. Everyone wins, right?

And thus American civic life dies a muffled death.

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Before leaving for the 2012 World Junior Championships, Evgeny Kuznetsov had been in a a slump, tallying only two assists in five KHL games. Since he returned from Calgary, the WJC Tournament MVP regained his lost form posting four goals and three assists in his last five contests for Traktor Chelyabinsk. His game-winning goal against SKA Saint Petersburg on Tuesday reclaimed for him the league lead (6) from teammate Petteri Kontiola. Kuzya also had a four-game point streak, snapped on Thursday in a 3-2 loss to Dinamo Riga. That streak fell one game short of tying his KHL career best.

Despite their first line winger’s late December slump, Traktor hasn’t missed a beat. The White Bears are 8-4-2 in their last 14 games and lead the KHL’s Eastern Conference with 84 points. Though the KHL trade deadline was a bit of disappointment for the Chelyabinsk team — the only notable acquisition was Avangard’s veteran defenseman Dmitry Ryabykin — Traktor looks poised to make a playoff run in the spring. Their young superstar will now travel to Riga to participate in his second straight KHL All-Star game with Team Fedorov.

Since his last two weeks in Russia have been particularly noteworthy, let’s take a look back at his goals, fancy assists, and bizarre celebrations.

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Peter overlooked one highlight in his recap of the Capitals 3-0 win over the Canadiens. RMNB tagline occupant Dmitry Orlov fired a shot with such inhuman velocity that it reduced to rubble the skate of Montreal’s Mathieu Darche.

Video via @bryancasto

A personal note to Dmitry Orlov: thank you for being a continued source of content for our hockey blog, which definitely hasn’t built a creepy shrine to you in a utility closet at the Greene Turtle in Frederick. No, certainly not.

Lil Mikey Neuvirth Comes Back Big: Caps beat Habs 3-0

Photo credit: Richard Wolowicz

The Washington Capitals invaded Montreal like pillaging barbarians, and they only needed 16 shots to do it.

Hometown boy Mathieu Perreault ripped a wrist-shot high on Carey Price’s far side to score in the first five minutes. Marcus Johansson had to fence with Andrei Kostitsyn, but he got a shot off to make it 2-0. Alex Ovechkin’s puck slipped through a few legs during a supersized power play. Caps beat Habs 3-0.

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Rene Bourque Guest Stars in Mike Tyson Punch-Out

On January 3rd, Rene Bourque — then of the Calgary Flames — elbowed Nicklas Backstrom in the jaw. The reckless play resulted in both a concussion for Backstrom and a Shanaban for Bourque. Capitals players thought the elbow was a cheap shot, but they failed to exact retribution. Sigh.

“It’s one of those things where it kind of sucks because we’re not able to play (the Calgary Flames) again this year,” Troy Brouwer told reporters after the game.

Troy is in luck. Bourque was traded Montreal last week. And look at that! The Caps play the Habs… tonight!

DING! DING! DING!

Inspired by my favorite NES video game of all-time — Mike Tyson’s Punch-Out — here’s how we think tonight will play out for Bourque.

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Montreal Canadiens Pregame: Habs Farce?

Doug Johnson of Puck Buddys offers this game preview. @PuckBuddys.

[Ed. note: for coverage of Rene Bourque, uhhh… check out RMNB on Wednesday morning.]

The Pregame: Fun game! Everyone from a malfunctioning family, raise your hand. Or, if you’re in a public place, just give a little squee inside. Yeah, we thought so. Show me the person who says their family is perfectly normal and I’ll show you a glue-sniffing, trick-turning, psychopathic cat hoarder. You know: like [fill in hated politician here] Oh, biting wit!

And speaking of glue-sniffing (bet you thought it’d be sociopathy), we come to Wednesday’s game against the Montreal Canadiens. Les Habitants. You know: the Baldwin family of contemporary hockey. Or should that be the Donner Party? Either way, they eat their own to the amusement of all.

Oh you bet, we’ve all had a hearty laugh – a long, hard laugh – at the goonish antics of our Quebecois neighbors of late. Like watching the Spuckler family argument spill out onto the un-mowed back lawn, hurling rotting plastic chairs at one another as they jockey for “superiority” amid the weeds and used Timmy Hos coffee cups. Too much back bacon, eh?

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Video: Troy Brouwer’s Big Hit on Mark Streit

Troy Brouwer’s hit on Mark Streit was the only good thing from the Caps 3-0 loss to the Islanders.

Thanks to Peter Robbio, a scholar and a gentleman, for the video. Go read Chirps from the Ledge.

Flatlining Caps Get Shutout By Islanders, 3-0

Stop showing off, Nabokov. (Photo credit: Nick Wass)

Ed. Note: In our continuing quest to bring you the least crappy product possible, we’d like to welcome Ana Hansen of the blog Hockey Yelling to the RMNB team. Ana, a 22-year-old English major at William & Mary, is witty, creative, and mentally unstable. So uhh you better give her a warm welcome in the comments below or else. You can follow her on Twitter here.

Hello Caps world! In the place of your regularly scheduled coverage you’ve got me tonight. My condolences, but not too many of them, because a hockey game happened, and that’s more important than anything else.

We lost this game, which I hope does not mean that I’m bad luck. I will be carefully monitoring this issue from here on out.

To the game, somewhat reluctantly I guess. We were supposed to win this one. The Islanders are not a particularly lethal team, but when they’re given this much space, even they can stumble into a few goals.

Tavares opened the scoring with a redirection on the PP, and the first person to mention his scoring streak gets a punch in the kisser. Parenteau made it 2-0 on a joint effort from Carlzner, Alzner with the giveaway and Carlson screening his own goalie. You’re welcome, Pareteau. Parenteau converted on the PP for his second of the night but luckily by that point, you were probably too numb to feel it. Caps lose, 3-0. Gross.

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Tuomo Ruutu is a pest. From picking on Nicklas Backstrom to giving Dennis Wideman world’s grossest injury, the dude is flat out annoying. So in the third period of the Caps’ 2-1 win over Carolina, Alex Ovechkin — after losing an edge — decided to take his anger out on the 28-year-old Finn. As Ruutu dumped the puck in the Capitals’ zone, Ovi leveled him into the boards with his titanium left shoulder. The hit was so powerful, in fact, that it took out both Ruutu and the linesman beside him. After the officials disallowed Laich’s second period goal, this is the kind of accident that’s nice to watch over and over on replay.

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