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Kanooblian, a Work of Art Inspired by Mike Knuble

Mark Burrier is an artist (and my friend and colleague) from Frederick, Maryland. One of his many projects is a website called Rare Words, where users submit words that become the starting point for drawings. To ring in the new season, I submitted a word to the blog. It’s a word I use a lot: kanooblian. It means As of or pertaining to Mike Knuble’s net-crashing ways.

Here’s a tiny version of the drawing:

"Kanooblian" by Mark Burrier

You’re gonna have to follow me past the jump to see the whole thing. You’ll be glad you did.

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No Defense, No Problem: Caps beat Jets 4-2

Mojo smear Alex Brandon

Photo: Alex Brandon

The Washington Capitals knew they needed points badly going into the Olympic break, and this game against the Winnipeg Jets seemed like a prime opportunity to get them. One problem: they didn’t really have the ingredients to make it happen. With Grabovski and Green out, Neuvirth sick, and a whole bunch of Hershey squirts filling out the blueline, the Caps had to get a little lucky to get two points out of this one.

Troy Brouwer put Marcus Johansson’s pass in the net about five minutes into the game, but a defensive-zone turnover tied it back up (Erat helped).

Dustin Byfuglien gave the Jets the lead in the second with a pretty goal allowed by some weak Capitals defense, but Tom Wilson evened it up in the third period by catching a rebound low in the slot. Alex Ovechkin recorded number 40 with a dirty one with 12 minutes left, and Troy Brouwer made it a two-goal game with a pretty sweet backhand move.

Caps beat Jets 4-2.

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Take Troy Brouwer to #TheBank

brouwer

Photo: @tbrouwer20

The struggles of Troy Brouwer have been a long-running subplot in our weekly stat snapshot series. With just two goals and one assist at 5-on-5, Brouwer’s production has been way below what had been expected for him, and his underlying stats have been among the lowest on the team. Indeed, the numbers have been quite unkind to Troy, and at times they have even endangered our friendship with the Brouwer Rangers.

But I think it’s all about to turn around.

As I discussed in Sunday’s snapshot, and as Y.B.J.P. mentioned on Thursday, Troy’s imminent rebound is thanks to his recent divorce from Brooks Laich.

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All Tomorrow’s Penalties: Canucks beat Caps 3-2

Jonathan Hayward

Photo: Jonathan Hayward

Man, it is late. Are you awake? Okay, just stick with me for a minute and then you can go to bed.

It’s been a long, tough road trip for the Capitals. Western Canada has been mostly forgiving to the team’s softer features (e.g. like everything that happens in their end of the ice), but the Caps needed a win over Vancouver in this final game to get  back to .500 on the season. The thing about wins, though, is they require your team to score more goals than the other team.

Zack Kassian beat the Caps 4th line to a loose puck and scored the game’s first goal. Jason Chimera knotted the score a bit later with a Kanooblian goal up in Luongo’s face. After a scoreless second period, Jason Chimera dived to feed Mikhail Grabovski on the go-ahead goal. Ryan Kesler nullified the lead soon after with a lay-up on a loose puck, and then Daniel Sedin put the Canucks up after a lengthy O-zone occupation against the Caps top line.

Canucks beat Caps 3-2.

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Caps Jets 5-4 (SO), the Second-Period Ovisplosion!

Jonathan Kozub

“In the shower I use a water-activated gel cleanser, then a honey almond body scrub, and on the face an exfoliating gel scrub. Then I apply an herb-mint facial mask, which I leave on for ten minutes while I prepare the rest of my routine.” (Photo: Jonathan Kozub)

The Capitals finally got the heck out of Dodge following a miserable homestand. The first game of their road trip found them in frosty Winnipeg, where the Capitals hoped to rid themselves of the gremlins in their defense and get an easy win from a soft opponent.

Haha. As if.

We were goalless until Mikhail Grabovski broke the tedium four minutes into the second period, sweeping a rebound home. The Caps swiftly surrendered that lead on a shorty by Bryan Little. To make junk worse, Andrew Ladd tipped in a Grant Clitsome shot just 70 seconds later. Luckily the Caps still have one guy who can deliver this season: Alex Ovechkin got two late in the second: a breakaway and a set play off the faceoff.  Call it the Ovisplosion. Of course, Blake Wheeler knotted it at 3 goals apiece before the buzzer.

Troy Brouwer put then Caps ahead again in the third period, taking a Jedi pass from Nicky Backstrom right up in the kanooblian paint. Little got his second of the night a bit later as the Caps were unable to escape their own zone.

Into overtime we came and went without a result.

Shootout bullets!

  • Wheeler had nothing for Holtby.
  • Grabo musta left the smooth moves elsewhere on his attempt.
  • Little’s attempt got kicked away.
  • Ovi couldn’t get a nibble from Pavelec.
  • Ladd beat Holtby stick-side to put the dirty Peg up.
  • Nicky B had a sneaky delay to tie it up and send us into extra rounds.
  • Jokinen wasn’t jokining with a sly five-holer. (Sorry.)
  • Brooks Laich roofed it, so kept on going.
  • Setoguchi got a low one on Holtby.
  • Troy Brouwer roofed it, so we kept on going.
  • Evander Kane got denied as the puck rolled on him.
  • Marty Erat, the man, WON IT!

Caps beat Jets 5-4 (shootout)!

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20 Days Out: Must Have Brouwer’s Power

brouwer

I’m not trying to make this series coincide with jersey numbers, but when the Rangers call upon you ya gotta step up.

Troy Brouwer had an excellent 2012-13 season. He improved his 2011-12 goal total by one despite playing 35 fewer games. But he did so by scoring on 7 of the 28 shots he took while on the brower play, a feat I don’t expect him to repeat in 13-14. That doesn’t mean we should sleep on Troy B though; in fact, he will be a crucial factor in the team’s success this season.

I expect Brouwer to be paired with Mikhail Grabovski and Martin Erat, two players known for being stout on tough defensive assignments and driving play in the offensive zone. Brouwer will be expected to be the line’s finisher, a pretty cozy job if you can find the work. His well-above-average 14% shooting percentage should serve him well on the second line, but the secret will be to shoot like a maniac.

We know he’s got the set-up men; we know he’s got the skill; now Brouwer has to become the kanooblian force at even-strength we’ve always hoped he’d be. If Brouwer crashes the net and takes — let’s say– 7+ shots for every 60 minutes he’s on the ice, the Capitals will have two deadly scoring lines. But if Brouwer won’t shoot or if his lofty shooting percentage drops, the second line will be inert, allowing opponents to focus on shutting down Ovechkin and the top line instead.

That’s a lot riding on Brou-Brou.

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Caps beat Canes 3-0, How Good is Braden Holtby?

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Awko taco (Photo credit: Patrick McDermott)

Everyone, including us, made a big deal about Alex Semin coming back to DC. But the star of Tuesday’s match-up between the Washington Capitals and Carolina Hurricanes wasn’t Sasha, it was the man, the legend, Joe Corvo.

Just kidding. That guy sucks.

The Caps put up a ton of offense from unlikely guys, including Erskine and Carlson — and also Backstrom, from whom goals have been scarce of late. The Caps took over possession in the second period and didn’t relent, firing a season-high 40 shots. On the other end of the ice, Braden Holtby was perfect. Great Caps hockey.

Caps beat Canes 3-0.

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“Kanooblian” illustration by Mark Burrier

Mike Knuble scored 65 goals in three seasons for the Washington Capitals. For a big chunk of that time, Knuble was an integral part of DC’s dynamic top line with Alex Ovechkin and Nick Backstrom. But in 2011-12 Knuble’s ice time was cut drastically and he was relegated to grinding on the fourth line. Knuble still excelled in the postseason, but some considered him over the hill (erroneously methinks). If Knuble had retired then, it would have been a disappointing end to a great career, but he persevered– moving to Michigan, training with the Red Wings, and finally signing with the Hartnell-down Philadelphia Flyers.

On Friday night, Knuble returns to Verizon Center, but he’ll be crashing the wrong net.

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Goodbye, Mike Knuble, from Knuble’s Knights

Photo credit: Paul Bereswill

[Editor's note: We asked Nathan and Ryan of Knuble's Knights to bid a fond farewell to Mike Knuble as he departs the Washington Capitals. Here's what they gave us.]

Sir Michael of the House Knuble, First of Your Name, Man of 1000 Games, Crasher of Nets, Breacher of Creases, Abuser of Goalies and Grandpa of Slippers:

Thank you.

When the RMNB guys invited us to write a farewell post, they suggested that we provide some highlights of your time in D.C., defend your performance this year, or re-tell some stories about the Knights’ antics. To be honest, the stories have already been told, and there are people much more qualified who will write the reviews and summaries and analyses. As fans, all we’re really qualified to do is say Thank You.

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Before leaving for the 2012 World Junior Championships, Evgeny Kuznetsov had been in a a slump, tallying only two assists in five KHL games. Since he returned from Calgary, the WJC Tournament MVP regained his lost form posting four goals and three assists in his last five contests for Traktor Chelyabinsk. His game-winning goal against SKA Saint Petersburg on Tuesday reclaimed for him the league lead (6) from teammate Petteri Kontiola. Kuzya also had a four-game point streak, snapped on Thursday in a 3-2 loss to Dinamo Riga. That streak fell one game short of tying his KHL career best.

Despite their first line winger’s late December slump, Traktor hasn’t missed a beat. The White Bears are 8-4-2 in their last 14 games and lead the KHL’s Eastern Conference with 84 points. Though the KHL trade deadline was a bit of disappointment for the Chelyabinsk team — the only notable acquisition was Avangard’s veteran defenseman Dmitry Ryabykin — Traktor looks poised to make a playoff run in the spring. Their young superstar will now travel to Riga to participate in his second straight KHL All-Star game with Team Fedorov.

Since his last two weeks in Russia have been particularly noteworthy, let’s take a look back at his goals, fancy assists, and bizarre celebrations.

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