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Photo via Gizmodo

The NHL agreed last week to allow its players participate in the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia. Up to eleven Washington Capitals could represent their countries in the two-week tournament, but the ultimate goal of Olympic gold just got a bit less awesome.

Chelyabinsk Region Culture Minister Alexei Betekhtin announced on Wednesday that gold medal winners on February 15th will receive a little something extra in their award: part of the meteor that crashed over the city a year before. According to R-Sport, only seven events will be awarding medals that day: the men’s 1,500 meter speedskating, the women’s 1,000m and men’s 1,500 short track, the women’s cross-country skiing relay, the men’s K-125 ski jump, the women’s super giant slalom, and the men’s skeleton events.

So no space rocks for hockey players.

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Photo credit: @magaman

Since the Chelyabinsk meteor was so fun to cover, let’s do it again!

Shortly before 8PM local time (or during the first intermission of the Caps/Jets game), Twitter blew up with first-hand reports of a green-colored meteor falling from the sky. Fox 5 in Washington D.C. reported that their helicopter crew saw the burning rock from the air and it was visible for five to six seconds.

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Photo credit: Vitaly Gubin / HC Traktor

Two days after a meteorite struck his hometown of Chelyabinsk, the normally-talkative Evgeny Kuznetsov was quiet. The Washington Capitals prospect and 20-year-old forward made no statement on Twitter. On Sunday, Kuznetsov let us know he was okay with a big breakaway goal in Traktor Chelyabinsk’s final game of the regular season, a 4-1 win over their biggest KHL rival, Metallurg Magnitogorsk.

Video below the jump.

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Traktor Arena Damaged by Meteor

traktor-arena

Photo credit: KHL.ru

Last night’s meteor that struck Chelyabinsk, Russia, has damaged the Traktor Chelyabinsk’s arena. The KHL is doing an inpection now before a decision can be made whether Traktor can host the first round of the playoffs.

Press release via KHL’s Facebook page below.

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Explosions in Chelyabinsk; Meteor Suspected (UPDATED)

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LATE UPDATE: No immediate confirmed reports of casualties. See the AP for more information.

We’re getting all kinds of information about explosions in Chelyabinsk, the city in the Ural region of Russia that hosts Evgeny Kuznetsov’s KHL team. Information is sparse right now, and we do not want to speculate.

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For hockey players who first learned the game on frozen ponds, the Winter Classic is a throwback to their youth. On January 1st, the NHL’s signature game will invade Nationals Park to pay homage to that tradition. But one of the major story lines heading into New Year’s day won’t be hockey; it’ll be about weather.

“It maybe snow, maybe it’s gonna be rain,” Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin recently said of Washington D.C.’s unpredictable climate. “You never know what the weather’s going to be.”

If you’ve seen NBC’s most recent Winter Classic commercial, there’s no doubt what kind of forecast they’re hoping for. As CGI’d snow falls around Washington’s historic landmarks, the clip announces, “hockey returns outdoors.” Barack Obama crows in the background, “let us brave once more the icy currents and endure what storms may come.”

The mere chance of snow excites fans. If the sky spits just a little that day, it could provide bigger ratings and better visuals both for NBC and a league eager to reach new fans. The weather will have a major impact on the playing surface as well. A long stretch pass from the defensive zone just won’t make it if the ice sheet is blanketed with snow… or puddles.

With all that on the line, one of the most interested bystanders will be emerging-star weekend meteorologist for NBC Washington, Amelia Segal. And for good reason. Not only does she love weather, she’s also from this area and loves the sport.

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CSN Washington Thinks You’re a World-Traveling Sex Fiend

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The Capitals page of CSN Washington’s site has some funny ideas about what’s trending among fans on social media. The “Capitals Pulse” widget scans for popular tags and topics on Twitter. You can see dev camp stud Jakub Vrana getting a lot of mentions because of his new contract. Alex Ovechkin’s up there too because he’s freaking Ovi.

And then, at right, the widget has picked out YOUR active hashtags.

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Welp.

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The Most Popular RMNB Stuff of 2013

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You’re not gonna be surprised which was RMNB’s most popular story of 2013. Out of almost 1200 posts this year, the one that garnered the most attention was our blow-by-blow recap of the meteor strike in Evgeny Kuznetsov’s hometown of Chelyabinsk, Russia, on Valentine’s Day. It was a weird story, one that we had a peculiar perspective on, and as a result it went viral to a degree I doubt we’ll ever see again.

But we wrote about a lot more than astrophysics this year, so let’s take a real quick stroll in the wayback machine to check out the stories you guys loved the most. This should be fun. See if you can guess what’s in the top five.

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Look like me! Oh wait, you’ll never get a date then.

I’m gonna take a wild guess here, and you let me know if I’m wrong: I bet you’ve a) got friends and/or family who b) like hockey and c) have torsos. Good news for both of us, because I’m right and here are bunch of new RMNB t-shirts for you to give as gifts to your loved ones just in time for the holidays! Except Hanukkah. You already missed that one– way to go, dude.

Follow us past the jump for the sweet 8-bit hot stick shirt, Willy Baby, Free Wardo, and a new classic RMNB logo shirt.

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Way back in early July, Traktor Chelyabinsk published a press release stating that Evgeny Kuznetsov was changing his jersey number to 84 for the upcoming 2013-14 season. Traktor did not say why, and in interviews since the news broke, Kuznetsov has not been asked about it. Russian media, we care about these things!

Meanwhile, Traktor continues to sell Kuznetsov 92 gear in its online store. Without a discount.

On Wednesday we finally got our first look at Kuznetsov wearing his new number (honoring, I assume, me and my birth year) during Traktor’s media day.

A few more photos by the redundantly named Ivan Ivanov are below the jump.

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