Now Entering: Hockey’s Dead Zone

Does this photo bum anyone else out?

Hey everybody, it’s that time again. The season is long over. So too are the playoffs and the finals, free agency season and development camp. Stretching out before us is the red waste we call August, the month where so hockey is unimportant you’d think you’re on Long Island.

Our Caps have signed their free agents. They’ve said goodbye to one coach and hired another coach– along with two assistants that make it feel like we time-warped back to ’98. A couple prospects have signed their entry-level contracts, and the Caps have renewed their vows with Hershey (a huge relief to us and SHoE). Elsewhere in the league, that drama with Parise, Nash, Weber, and Staal has played itself out. Almost all of our questions have been answered.

Almost.

It’s okay to post this picture anytime between Memorial Day and Labor Day.

We still don’t know what will become of free agents Alex Semin and Mike Knuble. John Carlson has yet to sign a new contract as a restricted free agent (we’re confident that’ll happen soon). Shane Doan‘s uncertain status in Phoenix is unnerving GMs across the league, and who knows what moves will shake out after that decision. Trades are always possible.

And above all else there is collective bargaining. The NHL’s owners and labor have until the middle of September to agree to a deal or risk a lockout. No hockey this fall would mean no stupid jokes from us and no Joe Beninati JPEGs for you. That’s unacceptable.

We’ll cover those stories — and whatever mischief A.O. gets up to– as they develop, but basically we at RMNB will be spooling down for a month. Yeah, we’re hitting up the beach and grouting our bathrooms– but we are not abandoning you or this site. Just the opposite.  We’ve got a TON of stuff coming up. Here’s a taste:

  • Site redesign. You can pretty much say goodbye to the Big Gray Thing, ’cause that’s going away. We’re giving the site a big makeover, including nifty new navigation and lots of pretty gadgets for you to click on while you’re supposed to be working.
  • Creative Commons. Starting this Fall we will be releasing all our original content under a Creative Commons non-commercial, shake-alike license, which means you can remix it and repurpose it however you want. We’ll have more info on that later.
  • Comments. We quietly upgraded our comments system to DISQUS this year, and it’s totally awesome; you don’t have to refresh the page to see new comments anymore. Plus we support images again, so go crazy with your photoshop. Best part is we can now nuke abusive comments from space. Take heed, entire Internet-connected population of Boston.
  • Tons of new pages. Most of which I can’t tell you about now, but we’ll have some housekeeping stuff like real About Us and Authors pages, plus some convenient links to the best of RMNB through the years.
  • Top Secret Project #1. Ian will not allow me to tell you about his baby, but it’s adorable and it’s funny and it’s a good resource that you will want to bookmark for future reference.
  • Top Secret Project #2. Rachel and I have been working on a labor of love, something sort of novel in the hockey world that should make a few waves and even more laughs.

Sorry to be vague, but that’s just a taste of our Master Plan. We’ve got a lot of other cool ideas for next season, provided that there is a next season to have.  We’ve got some big ideas for our Twitter, we’re gonna put some exclusive stuff on Facebook, and maybe we’ll post some non-panda pictures on our Pinterest as soon as we figure out how Pinterest works.

I know this is all one big tease, but the point is this: COOL STUFF IS A-COMIN’.

For now, we’ll keep you posted on the big stories. This is indeed the hockey dead zone, but we’re not going anywhere– just the opposite. So while we’re doing work under the hood, I’d like to invite you to take over RMNB.

What do you want to read about over the next month?

What do you want to take a look back at?

What are you looking forward to?

And what do you want out of the next version of RMNB?

On behalf of everybody here, we appreciate your feedback. Thanks. Crash the net.

 
  • http://www.facebook.com/Andy.Wallace.839 Andy Wallace

    I’d like to read about how we will resign Semin :D

  • http://www.russianmachineneverbreaks.com/ Peter Hassett

    Hahaha. I can’t guarantee we’ll have that story exactly, but I can promise that we have at least one great Semin feature coming up.

  • Tim

    I would love
    -a “Sasha Summer Travel Log” next month-a look back at Sasha’s cares and perhaps see if they have been readjusted
    I’m looking forward to
    -Coverage of the enigma that is Wojtek Wolski
    -A class on how to pronounce Riber.. Ribier… M.C. Rib
    -And a line of dog treats hand crafted by Jay Beagle
    On the next version of RMNB I would love a different meaningless poll everyday.
    Such as,
    Which of Karl Alzner’s Dogs Do You Think Will Escape the Fastest Today?

  • http://www.russianmachineneverbreaks.com/ Peter Hassett

    I’d love to provide coverage of Semin, but who knows what the heck that kid is doing.

    You’re gonna get a ton of Wolski next year– he seems like a fascinating dude, and he might have the highest points-to-salary ratio in the league.
    No idea on RIbeiierio. I mistype that everyday. Help.
    Okay more Jay Beagle dog puns. Consider it done.
    But hell no to polls. I haaaaaaate polls. Polls are the wood-paneled cars of the internet.

  • http://twitter.com/PdelP Patti del Pielago

    I second the motion for coverage of our newest enigma (or enigman, as I liked to refer to Alex Semin) Woltek Wolski. The Wolski Files ;) Maybe some “random facts” about our other newest fellas too??

  • http://twitter.com/PNGNLDY Tisha M. Harris

    why hasn’t John Carlson signed a contract already?? are the Caps planning on bringing in Orlov and Holtby next season?? ( and from my 6 year old daughter….where is Knuble going???)

  • LetErRun

    I really like the idea of a poll every day too!

  • http://www.facebook.com/stacey.janes Stacey Janes

    I don’t think it’s ever a good time to post that picture of Ovi! Good gracious! If Ian’s ‘baby’ project is ‘adorable’ my guess is he’s somehow trained Nessie and/or Tricky to be writers for the blog next season :-)

  • http://www.russianmachineneverbreaks.com Ian Oland

    Oh no. Does this mean I actually finish designing everything next month? Goodbye weekends!

  • http://www.russianmachineneverbreaks.com/ Peter Hassett

    a) you’ve got TWO months
    b) these people don’t know what you have designed, so you can just half ass it and they’ll all think you did great.

  • http://www.russianmachineneverbreaks.com/ Peter Hassett

    Who knows what’s up with Carly. Could be CBA uncertainty, negotiating the term of the contract, disputes over his rough last season. It’ll happen though.

    You should expect Holtby and Orlov to start in DC next season.

    And sweety, we don’t know where Mike Knuble is going yet. Any team could pick him up– including Boston, Philly, and Detroit.

    Thanks for writing!

  • http://www.russianmachineneverbreaks.com/ Peter Hassett

    We’ll definitely track down some nuggets on the new guys right before the season starts.

  • Priscilla

    I would like an area to share fun recipes for delicious game day snacks/drinks. I would like a section that explains Caps gameday traditions/history. perhaps a “this day in caps history” type thing but with an RMNB spin. I’ll think of more later. I’m hungry.

  • Mags74

    I would love to know more about our young Russians…their past, coming to America, and where they end up once signed. And Ovi’s budding romance and if this might just be “the one.”

  • Greg

    No the photo doesn’t bum me out, I’m happy we have filled his roster spot for a cheaper Wolski, used the salary to pay Ribeiro. And the fact he still sits without an offer shows he isn’t as full of “intangibles” that are worth as much as people thought. He is old,slow and not a top 6 player anymore

  • http://www.russianmachineneverbreaks.com/ Peter Hassett

    haaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaate

  • Gerry

    I think some sort of chat room would be fun to use during the games next season.

  • staz

    Orlov’s 21st was this week. No birthday cards?

  • RoadWarrior

    In Portuguese, anyway, Ribeiro is pronounced kinda like Rih-BAY-Roo.

  • RoadWarrior

    Why do I have this sinking feeling that he’d be a great fit under Oates? Oh well… Looking forward to that great Semin feature :)

  • Guestz

    any chance on a limited discussion board type thing moderated by, if not you, others appointed by you to maintain RMNB’s integri… purpose? instead of just threads at the ends of posts where we have to scroll down…

  • Guestz

    cuz he probably would be, except we (no one?) wants to pay him what he (*his dbag agent) is/are asking.

  • http://www.russianmachineneverbreaks.com/ Peter Hassett

    If there’s an appetite for a forum, that’s definitely something we can look into. There’s a lot of competition out there with nhl and hfboards and such.

    I’m just worried we’ll build it and no one will come!

  • http://www.russianmachineneverbreaks.com/ Peter Hassett

    Yeah? I know we’ve got readers who don’t like or don’t use twitter, so that’s probably something we can look at — maybe for big games?

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1005713165 Pat Magee

    More amazing articles in the theme of the: “Things Alex Semin cares about.” Bar graph. That thing still makes me laugh!

  • Rhino40

    Love your site…I’m actually sorry to learn that the Big Gray Thingy is on its way out; it has a sort of Socialist Realism look and feel to it (like one of those Soviet-era propaganda posters “All Glory To The
    Heroic Workers’ Achievement In Defeating The Running Dog Capitalists
    “) that I found strangely appropriate. Anyhoo, there’s a couple of things I’d like to see:

    T-SHIRTS:
    Jason Chimera had a breakout year this past season, scoring a
    career-best 20 goals/39 points as he found his “finish”. Thus he
    completed the metamorphosis from “Old Concrete Hands” to…The Ice Cheetah™.
    How about a shirt to honor the contributions his blazing speed and
    new-found scoring touch make to this roster? Also, I believe it is time
    for a third sweater that looks something like this:

    http://www.icethetics.info/concepts/tag/washington-capitals

    …so
    how about a long-sleeved red T-shirt with a big-azz Weagle on the
    front, and the name “Newthirdplease” and the number “12-13″ on the back.

    FEATURE ARTICLE: From 1995 to 2007, the Caps changed their team
    colors from red/white/blue to blue/bronze/black–resulting in arguably
    some of the busiest, ugliest sweaters in the NHL at that time. Those
    years included some dark days: Esa Tikannen missing an open net in the
    SCF; the Jagr Debacle, the Great Fire Sale of 2004, the Lockout. But
    there was also the return of winning, the coming of the Sashas, and a
    move–for good or ill, depending upon whom you ask) to more modern,
    centrally located digs downtown. During those 12 years a number of
    quality players made DC their home, only to depart before the red
    sweaters (and better times) returned. The proposed title of this
    feature would be :”Good Guys Wear Black: Notable Capitals Players Who Never
    Rocked The Red”. It would examine where they came from, what they did
    during their time in Washington, and where they ended up. The list
    might include:

    Trevor Linden
    Jeff Friesen
    Robert Lang–Always smiling, always working hard, he was the Anti-Jagr.
    Dainius Zubrus–with his matinee-idol looks, he was the ur-Brooksie.
    Anson Carter
    Mike Grier

    Phil Housley
    Andrei Nikolishin
    Ulf Dahlen
    Chris Simon
    Dmitri Khristich
    Stephen Peat
    Brian Sutherby
    Steve Eminger
    Brendan Witt

    And–last but not least–Our new coach, Adam Oates

    (Jagr would be conspicuously absent from this list).

    In fact, if you’ll run it, I’ll even be willing to research and write it.

    Please let me know what you think.

  • Hannah

    Please don’t even joke about a lockout… I can’t stand the thought.

  • Guestz

    it’d be a respectable version of PHT. a discussion forum run by you, where you can ban access for ISP’s in Pennsylvania and Jersey! :)

    i’m just thinking of the community you guys seem to be trying to build (including the parties and such throughout the season). would help give a place for everyone to talk/come together instead of through these threads. DISQUS does the FB sign-in thing anyway, maybe it could do that for a forum run by/ruled by/moderated by RMNB. it might not be wildly popular (that just means less work for you), but i think it’d be totes awesome for those of us that want to discuss what’s happen’n.

  • KareeLyn

    That’s true. We are very supportive….

  • Gerry

    I would love to see something like this as well.