Done

Patrick McDermott

Photo credit: Patrick McDermott

The 2012-2013 Washington Capitals are no more. Felled in seven games by Henrik Lundqvist and the New York Rangers, the Caps have done the thinkable: an early-round exit from the playoffs for the fifth straight year. Some will call that a pattern, some will call it a curse. Some will call it karmic justice or the inevitable victory of a superior team over a bunch of preening Eurotrash, but those guys are dicks. Screw them. This is our goodbye, and we’re doing it our way.

Goodnight, sweet Caps. I guess it just wasn’t meant to be.

Maybe this game could have gone differently. If Arron Asham didn’t get that end-to-end slapshot past Holtby’s short side, we might’ve been in for a fun one.  But he did, and we weren’t.

Some other goals followed, but my rage blackouts came in waves and I might have actually passed out for a short portion of the second period. I do have vague remembrances of John Erskine doing some amoebic version of defense at some point– perhaps deciding to solve a 2-on-1 rush by turning himself into a pylon or engaging the rare “here, you take the puck” technique against Zuccarello early in the third period. After overperforming for most the season, Erskine eventually did what I feared he’d do: crash back to earth. And then he opened up a freaking sinkhole in front of Braden Holtby, who after a number of lovely games this series looked significantly less studly in game seven.

Sad dad.

Sad dad.

Alex Ovechkin had a couple bad games in Madison Square Garden, but I reject the notion that he was the big problem in this series. Ovi generated a bunch of shots– even on the road in game six, and was clearly (at least, clearly to this writer) playing through an lower-body injury since game three. He’s the team’s all-time best playoff performer. Ovi rules, and I’m eager to see if he can keep it up next season. I don’t know if he can, but that’s hockey I want to see.

But sticking it to the Caps players isn’t what is called for here. The Rangers did some brilliant strategic stuff– choking the Caps in neutral (whose system under Oates should’ve been capable between the blues) and keeping shots far away of Lundqvist’s cage. Oates got out-coached. He’s new; he’ll improve.

Though it’s time to make an observation. For all of the manifest improvements to the Caps this year, particularly the phoenix-ish rise of Alex Ovechkin, they’re not much better than the Dale Hunter team. Is that roster, coaching, luck, or something else?

One excuse I don’t enjoy very much is personality-based. Starting with the fact that so few of the Caps players have been that first playoff disappointment in 2009, I have a hard time swallowing that there’s some kinda attitudinal cancer that waits until May to metastasize.

The New York Rangers win the privilege of playing the Boston Bruins in the second round. I don’t envy them that. The idea of the Capitals going another 4 (but probably 7) games with the Bruins is wearying. The last 21 Capitals playoff games have been buttoned-up affairs that have done much in the way of hypertension, but they’ve haven’t been fun in my opinion. The hockey the Caps were playing at the end of the season was fun, but it seems to me that the Caps let the Rangers dictate the pace of this series.

The last Joe B suit of the night

The last Joe B suit of the night

Whatever, I’m really proud of these Caps. Consider where we were in October: nowhere. Consider where we were in January: dead last. Then: .500 hockey. Then a division championship and a scoring title and bracing streak to finish the regular season.

And now here they are: going a full seven against a team that could make a Cup run. I didn’t even think they’d make the playoffs, but they kicked a fair bit of ass along the way.

The rollercoaster Caps are done. I don’t know what’s next, but it won’t be like this one again. Not sure if I’m grateful about that or not.

On a personal note, thanks for reading RMNB this year. It’s been our biggest year by a wide margin, and that’s due to you guys– a terrific and kind community of genuinely good people. We should probably party together sometime, right?

It’s been a privilege writing hockey for you. We’ll have a lot more coming soon, and the improvements and expansions we’ll be introducing next year will be. Uh. Huge.

Crash the net.

Peter Hassett
Frederick, MD

  • buck

    I feel like a 13 year old girl who just discovered beiber smoked weed

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

    Thanks for all the support this year, guys. You have no idea how much it means to us.

  • kolousek

    Holtby : the definition of overrated and unable.

  • EmilyC

    Managed to stream the game this morning in Burma (the country)… got up early after 4 hours of sleep and 30 hours of flying. Tuned in at beginning of the second. Crushed.

  • http://www.facebook.com/andywalker Andy Walker
  • Jimmy

    lol

  • http://www.facebook.com/andywalker Andy Walker

    (╯°□°)╯︵ ┻━┻

  • Karen

    You guys are awesome. So glad I’m part of this Caps community.

  • Team Defense?

    Forget that! He is the only reason there was a game seven. If the team had played any semblance of defense or even offense this series would have been MUCH different.

  • ray2k

    I dont think it’s just erskine that came down to earth, unfortunately.

  • hopeless

    Well that was a waste of time.

  • hopeless

    If only the team could produce like the RMNB team can, we wouldn’t be so glum tonight.

  • http://twitter.com/deniscarmo Denis Carmo

    I can’t bare watching Ovechkin playing for the #Caps anymore, waste of talent. This organization is bad, really bad. Worst trade ever, Ovi was the only guy that showed up in game 7 and they always crash and burn in the playoffs. Another season gone down the drain.

  • jimmytwiz

    “The rollercoaster Caps are done. I don’t know what’s next, but it won’t be like this one again.” – not sure you can say that. This feels VERY familiar.

  • http://www.facebook.com/derek.eklund Derek Eklund

    I love this site. After I am done throwing beer bottles at my TV and slitting my wrist, your write ups always bring me back to reality.

    Looking forward to next season; a new divison in a full season with plenty of RMNB coverage.

    Keep up the great work.

  • JenniferH

    I’m sad about the outcome, but I still love this team, I still support them and I have high hopes for next season because they’ll have time to fully work together, move through the system together, figure out kinks together and that stretch of greatness we got towards the end of the season will be compounded.

    Thanks to RMNB for being my Caps home and I will be sticking around hopefully for many years to come. :)

  • Anon

    No offense but can you guys improve your servers? I know it might be too much to ask considering you guys arent getting paid to do this, but this page takes forever to load.. otherwise, you guys have the best blog in the NHL! Can’t wait for next season!

  • Dan

    Guess it’s time to shave.

  • kolousek

    Yeah, his poor puck handling skills resulting in the most unforgivable goal of the season certainly got the Capitals to a game 7,

  • http://twitter.com/mi_Chael3 michael dietz

    Management is gona need to have a long hard think about if its time to blow up this core. I love backy but if we can get a high end pick for him i’d take the pick

  • kolousek

    My mistake, poor puck handling skills and cockiness.

  • http://twitter.com/priscillamay1 Priscilla Villanueva

    Party at my hotel during Caps Convention! Bad game at a bad time. BUT I really honestly believe in these guys, and I really believe in all of you. Thanks so much for allowing me to be part of your fun community. I raise mai tais to you from Waikiki on Thursday. LOVE TO ALL. <3

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

    That’s a goal for the offseason! Thanks for the comment, considering it’s like the first you’ve ever made not being mean to me.

  • http://www.facebook.com/derek.eklund Derek Eklund

    Oh HELL no.

    He had one bad game. The rest were great games that had no offense (and sometimes defense) to support him.

  • http://twitter.com/sohlmac Scott Olmaché

    Looking on the bright side, at least they didn’t burn a year of Wilson’s ELC and we don’t have to worry about the first Cup coming to Washington with the requisite “lockout-shortened season” asterisk.

    Also, there is still beer in the world, so that’s good too.

  • Hockeynightincanada

    There there guys. I’m really sorry. I hate that I predicted this series correctly, but you could see it coming after game 3. Ten years I’ve been hoping George McPhee would be shown the door, but if it’s been that long I don’t expect to wake up tomorrow and find him fired. I just don’t feel McPhee can construct Stanley Cup type teams nor has he shown me he can add the players necessary.

    As for RMNB, thanks for everything. Been looking for a blog that is informative and humorous as this! Really enjoyed posting here despite my opinions aren’t very popular to the majority. I look forward to whatever you guys bring in the future.

    As Bob Marley says, everything will be alright.

  • http://twitter.com/deniscarmo Denis Carmo

    He came through for us last year but this series he was just bad after game 2…

  • Anon

    It’s the second comment I’ve ever made… Mustve been someone else under the guise of anon…

  • http://www.calacirian.org sonja n a

    Thanks for this gracious and kind summation of the game. It’s heartbreaking …

  • http://www.calacirian.org sonja n a

    Shut up and root for another team, ya hoser.

  • http://twitter.com/mi_Chael3 michael dietz

    Holtby was fantastic all series, more than half the team didn’t show up tonight

  • http://www.facebook.com/ross.herman.31 Ross Herman

    Thanks for putting good light on another crazy heartbreak. Hopefully we will get to it one day

  • Akay15

    Thanks for this RMNB… thank sweet baby Jesus we don’t have to see Torts’ face anymore.

  • Kyle Schoembs

    Thanks Peter, Ian, et al. RMNBers. I’m sure there will be a lot of no heart, Ovi didn’t show up, maybe even a Neuvirth should’ve started game (fill in the blank). But not from this guy. What a hell of a ride all season. I was ready to be sellers at the deadline, and these guys on the Caps had other plans. Well it didn’t end how we would’ve liked, but i enjoyed watching these Caps battle and then coming here to read some funny/smart stuff. Keep up the great work fellas.

  • Ben Reed

    “I have a hard time swallowing that there’s some kinda attitudinal cancer that waits until May to metastasize.”

    I want to believe you’re right, but the evidence is pretty damning. How many other teams have blown THREE two-game series leads in the past four years, only to lose game 7 at home? At what point does it stop being coincidence, and start being a thing?

    We all thought Oates had cured the mental fragility, but as soon as that second Rags goal went in, the wheels fell off. Same old story.

    I hope the future proves me wrong.

  • Joben

    I guess this means they’re trading Ribeiro

  • KareeLyn

    So was the Erat trade a bad idea? Too soon???

    But seriously, thanks RMNB for being awesome throughout the year. Y’all make it fun for us.

  • http://twitter.com/priscillamay1 Priscilla Villanueva

    Would be very isolating as a fan out here without you guys. Really appreciate it.

  • AphoticAffinity

    As a fairly new Caps fan (3 Seasons), a big thanks for making watching/following Caps hockey some of the best times of my last year and half! The writing the gifs, all of it. Great stuff! and I look forward to next season even more! RMNB taught me many things this season: OVI FOR HART!, SCOAARRRR!, and #PerryCelly!

  • Lelo

    I love RMNB, but unfortunately you have become so popular that your site take a long time to load :////. Here’s to next season.

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

    Oh sorry!

  • Guest

    Rough finish, but still have to appreciate what we managed to accomplish this year. And thanks for this site; there’s no better hockey blog on the web!

  • http://twitter.com/MsIsobel Isobel Moody

    Thank you. Reading this made tonight much more bearable

  • Matt

    Tonight was not a good night. First my Leafs lose then my beloved capitals. Thanks for being there all year for the fans.

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

    That ish isn’t happening next year. I promise, Lelo. :D

  • http://www.facebook.com/pstobiassen Peter Tobiassen

    You guys are the best. Its been a pleasure following and reading your posts all seaosn. Catch you on the flip side.
    -(the other) Peter

  • OlietheGoalie

    Rinse, wash, repeat.

    We’ll be back. We all will be.

    Fire GMGM, murder Ted, trade away everyone, etc.

    Whatever the fix-of-the-day is, something needs to change. It’s more than just chance and luck now making the Caps suck in the playoffs. It’s the team.

  • http://twitter.com/eric_hobeck Eric Hobeck

    Knowing GMGM, though, that pick would get traded half a season in for the flavor of the month.

  • http://www.facebook.com/andywalker Andy Walker

    (╯ಠДಠ)╯︵ ʎǝʞɔoɥ
    ɯƃɯƃ ︵(ಠДಠ )
    ヾ(´Д` ) Forrrrrrsbeeeeeerg

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1374634677 Anna Roscigno

    You guys rock…thank you for all the hard work and keeping us informed and hopeful when things looked grim. There isn’t Caps hockey without RMNB!

    I’m proud of the Caps especially looking back when we were last place. Short season, new coach, numerous injuries…yet we won the SE, Ovi is up for MVP, league leader in goals and a playoff run. Super proud of the boys and ill be buying season tickets for next season. Can’t wait to see what comes next.

  • Karen

    I guess we should be used to this from the Caps (the whole building our hopes up and then crushing them with a bulldozer thing). Having this Caps community to lament with makes it at least somewhat better.

  • Michelle

    Agreed. I’m proud of this team. I had low expectations all season. Winning the Southeast division, let alone actually making it to the playoffs, was enough for me. Here’s to next season, and hopefully a few better signings…

  • http://twitter.com/priscillamay1 Priscilla Villanueva

    Coach REALLY visibly disappointed. Really believes in his guys, I think – love the guy. Can’t help it.

  • Cara

    I LOVE YOU GUYS SO MUCH

  • Kevin

    It’s a tough pill to swallow right now. They were the best team – by far – in games 1-4. Losing Game 3 was a bad, bad omen for them. Let’s not forget, they did not hold a lead in the series after the 12:50 mark in the first period of Game 3! And my quick math says they held a lead for ~40 minutes in the series total.
    Drawing the Rangers was tough, especially for a team that relied on the PP all year. I don’t know where they go from here, but they still need a number 2 center and a top 4 defender. If Erat is any good, he needs to prove it…
    This felt different than the past. Worst feeling since that Montreal debacle in 2010.

  • http://www.facebook.com/jongarcia36 Jonathan Garcia

    From the bottom of my heart, through all the rage and anger, I want to say thank you RMNB. Thank you for continuing to go above and beyond the call of duty for bloggers, and make a name for people that aren’t in the main stream media.

    I’m furious beyond belief of what happened, but I am eager to get to next season so I can see your snarky remarks on Twitter, read your fantastic recaps, and see the amazing work you all put forth in analysis and interviews.

    Don’t ever change. You guys rule. I love you. Until next season.

    All the best,
    Jon

  • KWag

    The highs and the lows of the Caps’ season this year….almost want to cry….Hoping for better things next year. I think Oatsie was a fantastic addition as the head coacj!

  • Hockeynightincanada

    Ouch! Sorry dude. I hate Canadian NHL teams, but was really pulling for Toronto this series. Look at the bright side, Montreal can’t say anything.

  • IntheDudeWeTrust

    Thank you RMNB for making Caps hockey as fun to read about as it is to watch!!!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=42211077 Owen Johnson

    The Caps season: 54 games of unbelievable fun. Worst to first, dramatic come from behind victories and division titles.
    1 horrific game that only served as a fitting end for a team that never ceases to disappoint in the playoffs.
    Whatevs, I’ll be back next season. Part masochism, part hope. Maybe next year…

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

    I cried. Seeing my heroes like that just broke my heart……. Thanks for sticking with us through all the tough times behind and ahead, you guys are awesome!!!

    GO SENS!

  • http://twitter.com/holidayblues7 Bhaavya

    Disqus ate my comment :(((( but the gist of it: You guys are awesome and you helped me keep up with the Caps during my first year in China. Your recaps and other features were awesome as always. This was a crazy year in every sense and well, hopefully next year will be better.

  • Sage Confucius

    Leftover space dust from the meteor. A thorough cleaning over the summer should clear that right up!

  • Fin.

    This is my new favorite blog. I read it, share it, and talk about it every chance I get. It has been a proud pleasure to share this season with you.

  • silentmachine

    Honestly I didn’t expect the team to make the playoffs so it’s…you know, it’s whatever. Losing always sucks, getting shut out in game seven is like getting stabbed in the throat, but that was a fun little run they went on there at the end of the regular season. And it wasn’t all bad…I like Oates. I’m excited to see what he’ll be able to do next season with some experience behind him. I’m excited to see Laich and Erat back regularly. I’m excited to see what Mike Green can do starting the season off healthy and I’m hopeful that Ovie will be lighting the league up too, since his failure to do so this series was certainly not for lack of trying.

    This season was weird and it sucked more often than it didn’t but frankly the lockout drama and late start made it feel like a surreal fever dream. Make some moves during the summer, fire GMGM, whatever, but I’m ready for the next season. Viva las Capitales.

  • Ruben

    Masterfully written

  • http://twitter.com/Freedoooom Chase

    Someone else that knows where to find this stuff out should figure out this… How much even strength time Ovechkin played with Green on the ice between the playoffs and regular season.

    Because same thing happened last year.

    Ovechkin stuck with Backstrom turning the puck over. MoJo turning over the puck. Erskine turning over the puck. Not easy to overcome that.

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

    Okay I’ve thought this through ALOT so just hear me out. Right now we have 5.8 million in cap space. We drop Schultz that adds 2.75 to bring us to 8.55 million. Okay now I know many may not like this but we trade Ward(3 million) and Chimera(1.75 million) for a proven second line winger worth 3-4 million. Chimera is one of my two favorite players on the Caps but he played terrible this season and he is a replaceable player. Ward had a good season however not a season I would pay three million for. That opens up another 1-2 million to bring us to about 10-11 million in cap space. We sign Ribeiro to a four year contract for around 5.5 million. Now where is the first line wing you ask? Im saying goodbye to Mojo and saying hello to our new guy. His name is Martin Erat. C’mon now people we gave the guy all of what like five games to prove to us he’s got God given talent. Erat-Backstrom-Ovi sounds scary you have to admit. Okay so moving on to our second line. Our new guy who we trade for is still up for plenty of debate. We would play him with Ribeiro and Brouwer. Now for our third line we would get the return of Laich and play him with Perreault and Fehr. Our fourth line Hendricks-Beagle-Volpatti. We could resign Hendricks and Alzner to decent deals and still fit comfortably under the cap space. Please feel free to analyze every word I just wrote. I love the feedback. I know the game ended a matter of hours ago but this is how I cope.

  • http://twitter.com/mattymatty2000 Matthew Kory

    Thanks, RMNB for a great season of Caps writing. I’d like to thank the Caps too but right now I just can’t (Really? 5-0? REALLY???). Maybe later I’ll start to cool down a bit and think about the season and the run, Ovie, etc. etc. etc. But right now I can’t. I’m too upset. But I do appreciate all the work you wonderful people put in around here. Well done this season. Well done.

  • http://www.facebook.com/mikhail.pakhorukov Mikhail Pakhorukov

    Anger-Denial-Acceptance.
    There is some fun in public disgrace. There is something nice in laying naked and drunk in the dirt, there must be something good about cute little hedgehogs dying violently on the highway.
    May be not. But i dont care. 7th game humiliation is a part of the Caps game. like sunrise and sunset is a part of every day.

  • Alex

    better numbers than King Henrik, one of the best goalies in the NHL, through 6 games. yeah, he’s overrated and unable.

  • RangersFan

    You may feel like throwing beer bottles at the TV and slitting your wrists because of the way this alarmist site portrays each Caps win and loss. Every loss is blamed on the refs, the coach, or the players. Every win portends great things to come. It’s absurd. The Caps played a great series. Holtby is one of the best goalies in the NHL, and he’s young. Ovechkin is insanely talented, and he has the Jordan-esque get-out-of-jail-free card from the league that two or three players get in any year/career. The Caps were undisciplined, and took way too many stupid penalties, including many that weren’t called. That’s on the coaches, mostly, but also on the team leaders. Anyway, see you in the playoffs next year, I’m sure.

  • http://twitter.com/eagles9412 Yusuf Khan

    Thank you for all the articles throughout the year! you guys definetly provide so much good information about the caps that we would other wise have no idea about such as the perry celly’s, brouwer rangers and so much information about the caps prospects.

  • Bekezhan Nurkhaidarov

    I was so mad after this game, I didn’t even watch the whole thing, but after reading RMNB I always somehow feel better, thanks for the awesome writing, lets hope for a better run next year. GO CAPS.

  • Alex

    Thank you guys for the incredible coverage all season. I’m a caps fan living in hostile territory, and having you to laugh and scream and cry with me year after year has been huge. Caps disappoint in the playoffs again, but who’s to say that next year they won’t break through and make a deep run? Hope springs eternal.

    Here’s to enjoying some good hockey in what’s left of the playoffs, and enjoying more solid RMNB coverage throughout the long summer and into next year. Cheers.

  • Bekezhan Nurkhaidarov

    What are you talking about, sure he made a couple mistakes, but he kept us in the series and gave the caps a great chance to win.

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

  • yv

    This game required a lot of medication. And completely reminiscent of the same severe beating in game 7 by Pens. Paraphrasing, Caps started well but finish as usual. Unfortunately, Holtby started downward spiral, giving goal to ‘supersniper’ Asham, and Caps never recovered from it. When team battling for every goal, giving the unearned ones (see game 3 also) can’t be excused.

    I couldn’t watch anymore after the fifth goal and left. And while going down on practically empty stairs from upper concourse, had encountered GMGM, who just stormed out of his floor. Obviously, he also couldn’t stand to see anymore this beating. You would rarely see person in such distress and so lost. Seeing in what conditions he was you just dont want to say something extra despite engulfing negativity inside, just hello and sorry what happened, while going doing the stairs.

    Good job guys! Keep it doing even now, after the start of official for Caps post-season(( (and a lot of other, not so good words). There are still some interesting topics to cover, like Kuzzya, now officially in National team roster playing well in the Worlds, even scored good-looking goal today, Ovi maybe will join also, or maybe not considering what happened now, and during the whole season, etc.,

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

    Goal for next season: exploit hockey-blogging success to get a girlfriend.

    Also possibly make money from this site. Mostly the first thing though.

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

    Way to bring the silver lining!

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

    Last year was the coin-toss Caps. Before that was the trap-Caps. Before that: the good Caps who could win.

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

    #PerryCelly: best thing of the year?

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

    Thank you, Priscilla. What you did last month for that family was my favorite thing about RMNB this year.

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

    I’m totally skipping the BOS-NYR series.

    ALL ABOARD THE KINGS BANDWAGON.

  • http://twitter.com/BigNed Ned Keitt-Pride

    I don’t know how many of the your readers were following the Caps during the early ’90′s, but the crap this franchise has gone through in the playoffs is ridiculous. QUADRUPLE OT LOSSES, PEOPLE. Nothing ever seems to be easy. GMGM has been trying almost everything for years to figure out the right formula of talent and coaching to win a Cup. Everything but one thing: consistency.

    The big knock I hear about the Caps every year after a playoff loss (by the way, the fact that the Caps keep getting into the playoffs almost every year is no small deal – ask Leafs fans) is that they lack consistency and discipline. I think those comments are fair, but they are aimed at the wrong level. The guy who needs to be more consistent isn’t Ovi, it’s McPhee.

    Adam Oates is going to be a great head coach in the NHL. GMGM and Uncle Ted need to let him tell them who he needs and to go get them. Period. Oates is by far the smartest hockey guy in pretty much every room he is in. Upper management needs to acknowledge that and let the team get some roots behind the bench. When leadership is inconsistent, expectations are inconsistent, routines are inconsistent, travel schedules are inconsistent, practices are inconsistent, lines are inconsistent, pairings are inconsistent, and performance is inconsistent. For f*** sake can we let the guys play the same system for two full seasons in a row before we get on their cases for being undisciplined?

    I have a three year old. She’s awesome. But she’s hella three. Which means that I have to steadily remind her of what my expectations are several times a day every day if I want her to take on the character that my wife and I are trying to teach her. I need to show her why the things we ask are important and maintain the boundaries we have set. She needs consistency from me in order to demonstrate any shred of self-discipline at her age.

    And every now and then something clicks and she “gets it” and we move on to the next challenge. Usually, these “clicks” happen after almost a year of consistency on our part. But they do happen and as she gets older they are happening more frequently. Trust works like that.

    Oates has started something really good with this team. His players trust him already, and that’s not easy to do. These guys are talented. Maybe not the most talented at every single position, but pretty damn good. And even better, they actually care about each other this season in a way I can’t remember seeing before. My best moment from this series was watching the video of the Caps response to Dorsett’s attempted slew foot of Greenie in game 6.

    First, Green sticks up for himself, literally. Then, while Douchesett is bleeding back to the bench Ribs trips him, just a little. After struggling back to his cheater-ass feet, F16 happens to be in front of the Rag’s bench door and accidentally on purpose pops him oh-so-gently with an elbow while spinning out of the way.

    This is the kind of stuff TEAM’s do for each other all the time in the NHL. They don’t let crap go unanswered when a teammate has been put at risk. This is also, I think, a sign of what a TEAM led by Oatsie for a few seasons, with a guy like Holtby between the pipes, will look like more and more. A little chippier, a little tougher, and a lot nastier. All in all, more like a playoff hockey team.

    What matters more than Wilson or Kuzya or Forsb—errrrr getting here and infusing the team with more talent is keeping the core intact, showing some faith in the coaching staff, and letting them put more TEAM in the talent.

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

    Thanks for reading all the way from China!

  • http://twitter.com/priscillamay1 Priscilla Villanueva

    my pleasure. thanks for helping me help.

  • http://twitter.com/BigNed Ned Keitt-Pride

    Also, next year in the playoffs, if a team starts diving in front of every puck in Game 1, can we just tell the boys to crank up the MPH and beat the crap out of them for 60 minutes of vulcanized rubber fury? If that’s the tactic everyone uses to beat us, why not make them pay for it?

  • http://twitter.com/priscillamay1 Priscilla Villanueva

    yes, please.

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

    No Godaddy just freakin sucks, if we’re going to be real about it. Haha.

  • fuckfuckfuckfuck

    There is no silver lining. They’ve proven that with this lineup they will never win a cup. McPhee should be repeatedly ass raped for selling our future out for a 31 year old bum (Erat). Holtby shit the bed tonight. I am fucking pissed! Every year it’s the same shit. I almost hope they blow up the team and start over…. but we all know that will never happen. We will keep signing no namers and watch all these teams (Pit, Nyr, Bos, etc) sign real players and get better and better while we fade into obscurity with bullshit signings like Crabb. Fuck this team! I’m gonna go slam my face into a wall now.

  • http://twitter.com/priscillamay1 Priscilla Villanueva

    lol

  • http://www.facebook.com/sph922 Sean Hunt

    When it comes down to it, I just wanted to see hockey this year. I remember excitedly watching the IIHF over Christmas just because it was a chance to see the game, thirsty for some NHL action. Well we ended up getting it, and as always it wasn’t anything that I could have expected. Overall, I’m glad that we had a season, but the NHL has made me a sad fan this year. Maybe it’s better this way, as I’m off to Italy for the summer and will be away from the Internet for the majority of my time. I can already feel that itch building up though, the excitement and rush that hockey gives me, like every time I turned on NHL 2000 growing up and that Garbage song came on. Anyways, thanks for a steady companion to be obnoxious with on Twitter, scraping for any and all stories to get us through the lockout, and perhaps one more hopeful “until next year.” After all, I still need to find you guys at Brewer’s and buy you those beers.

    Crash the net, always.

  • Young Guns, haha

    They should be embarrassed What a sad effort. Time to get rid of the “young guns”. They have proved oh so well that they can’t get it done. It’s been 5 years which is time enough. See ya.

  • http://www.facebook.com/carl.windhausen Carl Dubbsy Windhausen

    Sad Dubbsy is sad.

  • Fedor

    Thanks to everyone who read stuff we wrote here on RMNB this season.

    About the team… for some reason, I don’t feel nearly as bad as usual. Caps were trending up late in the year. Their progression was clear and at this point this loss doesn’t seem like the end of the world at all. First time I feel like it after a rather frustrating exit. Well, maybe after that loss to the Pens in ’09, there was a somewhat similar feeling.

  • Briana A

    RMNB is the BEST.

    I became a Caps fan after they kept me company while I was sick for a few months. I found RMNB about a year ago and have been reading it every day ever since. It is my Caps home.Thanks for teaching me so much about hockey and this team. AND for making me laugh so much!

    I agree that we should make party sometime! (Peter, that might help you with your first goal for next season as stated in the comments…)

    I’m not quite feeling it yet, but soon enough I will look forward to next year’s full season and with that reading more RMNB (complete with their improvements and expansions)! Yes.

  • http://twitter.com/JasonRoseEh Jason Rose

    Thanks for writing year after year. I’d love to go into an in depth look on the series, but it’s just wasted effort at this point.

  • http://www.facebook.com/sabrina.e.hicks Sabrina Hicks

    I agree with Ned: “GMGM has been trying almost everything for years to figure out the right formula of talent and coaching to win a Cup. Everything but one thing: consistency.” So, how about we try it? Love RMNB #PerryCelly

  • http://twitter.com/Dara_Laine Dara Goldberg

    Peter, great article, as always. Look forward to what you have over the off season and next year. I can’t believe we even made the playoffs this year. I’m disappointed and proud at the same time. Weird. Thanks to you and the whole RMNB team.

  • http://twitter.com/Dara_Laine Dara Goldberg

    It’s good to have goals.

  • http://twitter.com/Dara_Laine Dara Goldberg

    this. this. this. this whole season I felt like I never knew what was coming next.

  • lrhflute

    You guys are literally the best ever! I read and share each and every RMNB article and I love you guys! Will you be doing your off-season assessment of each player’s season again? I loved that! It was very therapeutic last year. I was there last night….and I stayed till the bitter end. It was painful, but knowing that I’d have you guys to grieve with, helps. Thanks for another fantastic season!!

  • Livia

    Echoing the sentiments of lots of others in these comments, I just want to say thanks for carrying your readers on your backs through this nutty season and post-season. We have the luxury of walking away from painful hockey moments, but you don’t, and you share your point of view generously and with wit, long-view wisdom, and brilliance. You’re a great team, artists all.

  • http://www.facebook.com/catherinemoran Catherine Moran

    Thank you RMNB! You guys are seriously the best, and are a bright spot in this otherwise dreary day. Can always count on you for actual insight and a good, fun laugh, regardless of the outcome being recapped. Well done.

    I’m intrigued by these upcoming changes. More mobile friendly? I can’t tell you how many nights I’ve spent my whole phone battery reading your recaps and comments (err, yes I can. 57, this season, at least :) ). Totally worth it, mind!

    Also….did I hear someone say “party”? I’m in. Heck, I’ll organize the thing :

    Please don’t hibernate for the summer!

  • jennrubenstein

    i haven’t read through the comments yet, but will momentarily. but i felt the need to post as soon as i finished reading.

    yes, i JUST read this. i don’t know why i couldn’t click the link last night. i actually wasn’t nearly as upset as could (should?) have been, but i couldn’t look at or listen to anything. i thought walking to the bar and getting tequila would help, but then bryce busted his face and sighhhh. so yeah, just read it now.

    which is extra idiotic, because peter’s recaps are always excellent, and always have a great perspective. a lot of people acting like the world was ending yesterday had all but written off the season a couple of months ago. i try to be the right mix of optimist and realist without the cynicism so many of my friends (and family) are saddled with. and like peter was saying, even as late as december it was looking like we wouldn’t have any season at all. the first few weeks of the season were a disaster. and then look what happened. i had so much fun going to regular season games this year (and, you know, lopping heads off of rubber animals and making myself look like a fool to appease the hockey gods) and i can honestly say that with so many people asking themselves which would be worse, being eilminated in the first round or not making the playoffs at all – who are we kidding? anyone who has been a fan of a team who has gone for stretches of time without any playoff successes to speak of – whether it’s the caps, or another dc team, or my friend jon who’s a huge cleveland sports fan but has adopted the caps since he’s lived in dc… we all know the answer. (speaking of regular season success, any bets on chicago finally breaking the prez trophy curse?! let’s go toews!)

    and for people who saw what happened in the B’s-leafs game and were asking which was worse, getting blown out or losing a lead at the last minute and losing the series – oh, the latter, EASY. there is no question. like i said, i was numb last night. by the middle of the 2nd i was numb, after the goal to start the 3rd i had crossed into the land of uncontrollable giggles.

    as for the losing the lead at the last minute, i’ve been on both sides of that. i went to BU for grad school, and the year after i’d moved back to dc, the frozen four was held here at the verizon center. i was the idiot who didn’t have tickets, but there were plenty of us watching at pqst. BU pulled the goalie with like 3:30 to play in the third. miami was up 3-1 as the clock ticked towards 1:00. BU scored with 59.5 seconds to go, then again with 17 seconds to go to tie it. MADNESS. COMPLETE MADNESS. then BU won in overtime. it was complete insanity. i will never forget it, and it is one of my prime examples for why i will never, EVER leave, no matter what.

    i was at the nats’ game 5 last october.

    the exhileration and ecstasy, changing over to devastation and disbelief so quickly… it was 3 and a half years after that 2009 frozen four finals, and i felt miami’s pain. i FELT it. and i’m both a buckeye and a terrier, and i have no reason to ever sympathize with miami hockey for anything.*

    yeah, a game 7 blowout beats that. it beats it by eleventy-billion.

    as for the emotional roller coaster – seriously. SERIOUSLY. i would love to talk to somebody whose baseball or hockey team has gone to the world series or stanley cup finals in the past handful of years. ultimately winning OR losing, either way it’s the same length. i feel like i legit lose not hours, not days, but straight up months off of my life from the stress and anxiety. how on earth do people survive for another 6 weeks of this?! i’d love to hear from somebody who has actually gone through it, or even non-sports fans who have experience with, like, sports-related stress disorders or something. but no bullshit suggestions like “remove the origin of the stress” because that’s crap and i won’t have it. I WON’T HAVE IT.

    *with one huge, gigantic exception, but that’s because life is bigger than sports. rip burkie

    sorry for the tl;dr. love you guys. see you at the party! there WILL be a party…

  • Anon
  • BD 45

    I had known about this blog before this year, but this year I started to read it more often and more often. I’m now probably on this site 2x as much as any other. It became my favorite by far, and although the loss really stung, I had to come back and read the recap about this game.

    On the caps, I agree that there will never be a ride quite like this one. I really wasn’t expecting to do much in the postseason, and felt like we just weren’t getting bounces of the puck. I think next year will be our best chance to win a cup, although that’s pretty much what people have been saying since 5 or 6 years ago. With Oates able to get his system completely in place, I expect that the whole season will be much more like the second half of this one than the first. Ovie is still Ovie, and looking forward to Wilson, and if we’re lucky, Kuzya.
    I know I sound like a crazy optimist, but that’s the way the DC sports world works, right?
    I can’t wait to spend another season on this site. Thanks.

  • johnnymorte

    Peter you rock. Thank you for the best site in America. Such compelling and poignant writing is hard to come by. You guys are the heartbeat of Caps nation. Nobody did anything wrong. Sometimes it’s just a goaltenders game. We are all just eskimos in an igloo waiting for the sunshine.

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

    HAHAHA

  • http://www.facebook.com/nikki.fischer Nikki Fischer

    I was at the game and the only good part about it was being able to lower a Rangers fan’s self-esteem by commenting on her weight while shouting “f**** the rangers” continuously.

    On a more pleasant note, this blog has helped me get through my last semester of college by giving me some much needed study breaks. Can’t wait for the 13-14 season to start!