RMNB Week in Review; Playoffs in February!

Playoffs? Yes! I’m relevant! (Photo by Mitchell Layton)

This week, the Caps went 2-1-1 with a shutout win against the Habs, a loss against the Bruins, another shutout win against the Panthers, and a stupid, terrible, highway robbery of a loss against the Jets. They outscored (!!!) their opponents 10-6 and came away with 5 of 8 possible points. Brooks Laich went down in the middle of the Bruins game, only to return to the ice apparently unbothered by devastating knee injuries like a normal human would be. Vokoun pitched two shutouts, peaking with a 42-save shutout of his old team, the Florida Panthers and ending with a .953 SV% for the week. A few weird things happened, and most of them seemed to go against the Caps, but some of them worked out so much better than we expected. The Caps are in 9th place in the conference as of today, but they’re dead even in points with the Panthers with only more game played, and if the Caps keep trending upward in shots and chances, they’re probably going to be all right.

Elsewhere in the NHL, Scott Gomez finally scored a goalit’s a dangerous season to be an NHL coach, the Red Wings/Maple Leafs Winter Classic was officially announced, officially humangous big, Max Pacioretty reminded us that hockey players are generally pretty great guys, and Sharks great Owen Nolan retired.

If you’re wondering the most important question – how does everything in the world apply to the Washington Capitals? – we’ll break it down for you after the jump.

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Photo credit: Chris Gordon

Tonight the Caps are holding a casino night for charity. The sold-out event is sponsored by Hollywood Casino at Charles Town Races, whose blackjack tables are totally rigged I think. The event is very wholesome, and all proceeds will go to Caps charities. That’s a much better way to waste money than, say, benching Mike Knuble and his $2M contract so you can play Jay Beagle’s lanky ass instead.

There’s one problem: Nick Backstrom is going. NB19, as you know, hasn’t played hockey since suffering a concussion at the hands of Rene Bourque in early January.

You guys gotta promise me you’ll be cool hanging out with Nicky tonight. He’s had a rough go of it lately. For that reason, RMNB has compiled a list of things you should keep in mind as you rub elbows with Backstrom and fritter away cash at the event.

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Photo credit: Russian Hockey Federation

While the NHL announced next year’s Winter Classic between Detroit and Toronto, Caps prospect Evgeny Kuznetsov participated in his own Outdoor Game Thursdsay, as Team Russia took on the Finnish National Team. Kuznetsov finished with a goal and an assist, his tally coming on a jaw-dropping 1-on-4 semi-breakaway that not only looked good, but closed out the game 2-0.

Soviet Sport’s Pavel Lysenkov caught up with Kuznetsov after the game to talk about his goal, though characteristically Kuznetsov was more interested in talking about the team’s victory than his own “super” effort. Below the jump, RMNB’s Igor Kleyner translates their conversation.

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Capitals During Wartime: Bruce vs. Dale

[Ed. note: Capitals During Wartime is a series analyzing Washington’s struggles before the 2012 trade deadline. We’ve discussed weakness at center, a poor road record, and negativity among fans so far.] 

In the latest edition of Capitals During Wartime, I mused about how and why we discuss the negative stuff going on with Capitals right now. Concluding, in short, that our foremost responsibility is to the Truth, and not just Good Feelings, I promised not to shy away from D.C.’s ongoing hockey bummers– but also not to drench that analysis in hyperbole.

This article is a statistical rundown of the Washington Capitals through 54 games for the purpose comparing the tenures of Bruce Boudreau and Dale Hunter head to head. But I will not be offering any commentary. My voice is limited to the selection of statistics below. Any conclusions you make or narratives you perceive are your own. I have included traditional stats, some advanced stats, and some individual curiosities that we’ve discussed recently on the site.

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