[Editor's note: After the Washington Capitals extended Troy Brouwer's contract for another three years on Wednesday, Nathan Burchfiel, fearless leader of Knuble Knight's, had his own announcement to make. The floor is all yours, Nathan.]
When the 2011-2012 NHL season ended, the questions about the future were only just beginning. The zeitgeist was buzzing about whether there would even be a 2012-2013 season, but moreso about what would become of Knuble’s Knights, that magnificent armor-clad duo who won the hearts of many a Caps fan with their often strange and occasionally ill-advised antics in support of their one true liege. Could the Knights continue on with their fearless leader in limbo? Would they carry their swords into battle for another worthy team member? Would they fade into the masses of normal Caps fans? Would they finally get upgraded to full season tickets? (YES!)
Well, the future is now, good people. And the news of the extension of Troy Brouwer’s contract by three years provides as good a news hook as any to announce that the armor has been polished and locked away in museum-quality display cases and shipped off to the NHL Hall of Fame, for the Knights have mightily morphed into something, dare we say, bigger, better, and more badass. Ladies and gentleman, the fans formerly known as Knuble’s Knights, in conjunction with the fine upstanding journalists at Russian Machine Never Breaks, proudly introduce … the Brouwer Rangers. (See what we did there with the mightily morphed thing?)
In his exit interview with Elliot Segal on DC101 in June, Knuble said of us, “they’ve got to take somebody else under their wing.” We knew we wanted to carry on the tradition we’d started, and Knuble’s parting words sealed the deal. After much soul-searching, and considering literally every combination of player name and character we could think of (Chimera’s Chimeras, Wolski’s Warriors, the King Crabbs, Neuvy’s Ninjas, Hendy’s Henchmen … the list goes on and on), we realized the first idea we had was, in fact, the best. And not just because the costumes are going to be fantastic (and trust us, they’re … awe-inspiring), but because Troy Brouwer is truly worthy of the recognition, no matter what Neil Greenberg says.* A solid on-ice contributor and locker-room leader whose name happens to adorn Lord Stanley’s Cup but isn’t considered one of the team’s “superstars,” Brouwer embodies the characteristics that make us respect and appreciate a player. Plus it’s really fun to pretend you’re Wes Johnson and growl-yell, “Goal scored by #20, Troooyyyyyyy BRRRRRRRROOOOOUUUUUUWEERRRRRRRR!”
As you may have already noticed (but let’s be honest, you probably haven’t noticed), the Twitter handle has been changed. The logo is set. The final touches are being put on the new costumes (including the new helmet previewed in the picture). The rest will come with time – hopefully sooner rather than later. Will there be a Big Head Brouwer? Probably, yes. The cheering and signs and (reasonably tempered) antics will continue from our new permanent perch atop section 402. We’ll be rocking the Red Ranger suits just as soon as Gary Bettman and Donald Fehr hug it out. (That’s assuming the season is delayed by at least one game. You see, someone planned his wedding and honeymoon before the schedule was announced, and happens to return the day after the scheduled home opener against the Devils. What a dinkus.) We’re excited for this new adventure, and hope you guys have some fun along the way as well!
Go Go Brouwer Rangers!
*To be fair to Neil, his pre-season prediction on Brouwer’s contributions last year was spot on. He said Brouwer would have to up his shooting percentage to 15 to hit 20 goals. His shooting percentage was 13.5, and he scored 18 goals.