Trade: Pavel Kubina to Philadelphia

Photo credit: Elsa Allen

According to TSN, Pavel Kubina has been traded from the Tampa Bay Lightning to the Philadelpha Flyers for a second and a fourth-round draft pick. The club has made it no secret that he was on the block, keeping veteran defenseman Kubina off the ice this week for multiple games, including the game played against the Capitals tonight while they looked for a buyer.

Kubina has a cap hit of $3,850,000 and was likely acquired to shore up Philadelphia’s defense with key player Chris Pronger out of the lineup long-term with a concussion. Philadelphia has already acquired defenseman Nicklas Grossman from the Dallas Stars this week but that didn’t seem to stop them from making a bid for Kubina; we assume this is because your average defenseman is worth about one half of a Chris Pronger.

Bolts beat Caps 2-1, Mike Green Returns

Photo credit: Mike Carlson

The Washington Capitals ended their vacation in America’s unit by mixing it up with the Tampa Bay Lightning. The game featured the return of Mike Green to active duty and Mike Knuble to the top line, but precious little else.

Just 130 seconds in, a neutral-ice turnover by Dmitry Orlov led to Tom Pyatt’s puck dribbling past Vokoun. Just 110 seconds into the second period, a turnover by Matt Hendricks led to Steven Stamkos’s breakaway and the 40th goal of his season. Brooks Laich redirected a Matthieu Perreault pass into the weak side of the Tampa net to make it 2-1. A Marcus Johansson penalty nixed the team’s chances at a comeback.

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At the end of the second period, Mike Knuble shocked absolutely no one by doing what Mike Knuble does best — crashing the net, standing in the paint, and scoring a dirty goal, his first since December 5th.

Except, apparently, referee Eric Furlatt, who promptly waved it off. Injustice. We demand a goal review. We demand this be taken all the way to the Supreme Court. It wasn’t quite Game 7 of the Montreal series, but it must have stung for Knuble, who is on a 27-game scoreless streak and seemed hell-bent on making a difference in his first game back after three consecutive scratches.

Knuble ended the night with 3 hits, 2 shots on goal, and one assist in 17:07 of ice time, and he also briefly returned to the first line during the third period. A pretty good game overall, but this one is still going to haunt him.

Good goal, no? Perhaps the most good goal to ever be scored? You guys tell us:

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Recap: Caps’ Russian Rockstars Beat Panthers, 2-1

Photo credit: Eliot J. Schechter

Two sweet, sweet regulation points.

By winning this game, the Caps pulled within two points of division-leading Florida, and shockingly we were even able to keep them from getting a loser point! We gather this is basically their whole strategy this year, but the Caps are finally starting to crowd their space again. Watch your backs, Florida.

The Caps left Tomas Fleischmann completely open in front of the net to score the game’s first goal. Mike Knuble created some great crease havoc on the power play for Alex Ovechkin to bat it in. Alex Semin fired one of those comets over Theodore to make it a two-Sasha game. Caps win, 2-1. 

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Trade: Hal Gill to Nashville

Photo credit: Michael Miller

[Ed. note: In the run-up to the trade deadline, RMNB will be publishing trade stories– including non-Caps news.]

According to ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun, Hal Gill has been traded from the Montreal Canadiens to the Nashville Predators in exchange for Blake Geoffrion, Robert Slaney, and a 2012 2nd round pick.

Hal Gill has a cap hit of $2,250,000 and will be expected to provide veteran defense for a Nashville team that may be in danger of losing either one or both of their star defensive pairing of Shea Weber and Ryan Suter over the next few months. Blake Geoffrion has a cap hit of $1,062,500 and has yet to score in 22 games with the Predators this season, though he did contribute 6 goals in 20 games last season and will likely be expected to chip in some offense on a Montreal squad that often struggles with this. Slaney is a 23-year-old left wing with no pro experience thus far.

Hal Gill isn’t especially known for his speed or mobility — look for terms like “parking meter” and “pylon” on his bingo card — but he’s an excellent penalty killer and a very good defensive mentor. Nashville’s scary defense just got a little bit scarier.

RMNB Week in Review: Ovi is a Rock Star

John Carlson “Zaching.” (Via Captain America’s Twitter)

This week, the Caps went 0-2-0 against the New York Rangers and the San Jose Sharks. They were outscored 7-6 and used two different goalies while Tomas Vokoun was sick with the flu, recalling Braden Holtby on Monday for his first NHL appearance this season. Sadly, that was all the hockey for the week, and the Caps had three days off so that they could talk about their feelings, bowl with season ticket holders, and get into the “Zaching” trend. Unfortunately, the week ended with Alex Ovechkin and Dennis Wideman getting into it at practice, but nothing heals like winning, so it’s time for the Caps to start doing some of that.

Elsewhere in the NHL, the Flyers acquired Nicklas Grossman and the Sharks acquired Dominic Moore, the Anaheim Ducks are making a serious run for the playoffs, the Preds were confused about whether or not they’ve won the Stanley Cup, Caps ECHL affiliate Stingrays got some attention for a really weird goal, the Red Wings broke the all-time record with 21 straight home wins, and Jaromir Jagr turned 40.

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

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Florida Panthers Pregame: Deal The Card

Doug Johnson is a Puck Buddy. Read Puck Buddys. Follow @PuckBuddys. Obey.

The Pregame: True story. Florida’s Everglades have become so overrun with non-native Burmese Pythons, imported by one simpleton New Jersey retiree couple on Hoverounds, that they’ve eaten just about everything good and natural to the region, leaving the entire ecosystem on the edge of collapse. Really.

And yet, we are so overcome with issues of real import (Caps fail) that we cannot even fill in the punchline here. The easy, made-to-order, South Florida punchline. The joke that Dave Barry has penned a hundred times (and Gene Weingarten a thousand.)

THAT is precisely how dire our current situation is. To make it clear: if two well-educated, middle-aged gay men can’t make wry comments about South Florida, you know it’s fer realz.

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Alex Ovechkin and Dennis Wideman’s Tempestuous Practice

Photo credit: Nick Wass

At about 11:30 Thursday morning, during a mandatory practice at Kettler, Alex Ovechkin and Dennis Wideman got into a bit of a scuffle. According to WaPo’s Katie Carrera, Wideman slashed Ovechkin during a drill, and the Caps captain wasn’t too happy about it, responding with a slash of his own. There was a brief, heated shoving match between the two players.

Cue internet panic. It’s been a tough week for the Capitals, having three days without games probably wasn’t ideal for them following three straight losses, and all that downtime has turned into an ugly self-feeding cycle of discontent, rumors, and worrying soundbites. It’s clear that winning games would be the badly needed antidote, but they haven’t had a chance to do that, and frustrations have seemingly started to boil over.

Reactions to Ovechkin and Wideman’s tiff were all pretty much along the lines of oh no, not this too, but luckily, the players involved were on hand to explain it.

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Capitals During Wartime: Our Misery is Their Trending Topic

[Ed. note: This is fifth installment of Capitals During Wartime, a series about Washington’s struggles before the 2012 trade deadline. Read previous entries about coaching, negativity, road performance, and centers.]

Everyone has the moment when you realize that the Caps are in serious trouble. You know when mine was, because that’s when I started this Capitals During Wartime series. For Ian, it was Monday night, when he finally admitted to me how worried he was. For the rest of the Internet and the broader hockey community, that moment is right now.

This article documents The Week from Hell, a litany of depressing and infuriating stories about your Washington Capitals. Because we need a single, coherent record of what exactly it was like when things couldn’t possibly get any worse.

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Photo edit: Ian Oland

Everybody has skeletons in their closet. For instance, when I was six years old, my dad showed up to one of my school assemblies dressed up as a globe for Earth Day. He wore blue tights, a big giant globe costume, and I just realized that no power in the world is going to make me finish this story here.

One of our Swedish commenters, Dodagarenik, forwarded us a video of Evgeny Kuznetsov that might come back to haunt him.

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