I Got the Jersey Off Eric Fehr’s Back

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Every year I’ve enjoyed watching the Jerseys off Our Backs ceremony. It was always fun watching fans and players interacting in that fashion. And every year, afterwards I would turn to my mother and say, “Someday that’s gonna be me.”

Last Tuesday I came home from work to the surprise of a lifetime from my mother.

“So, I just got off the phone with our new ticket rep… She just called to say ‘hello’ and chat…. Oh, and by the way we’re doing Jerseys Off Our Back on Sunday.”

I almost cried when I heard those words. Our family had never won ANY prizes through the Season Ticket Holder contests, so this was a gigantic surprise.  For the next few days, it was all I had on my mind: Who would I get?? Someone I adore?? Will I be able to retain composure, or would I be overcome by teh feels and crumple to the ice in a teary ball?

Sunday came around, and two periods of hockey later, I was leaving 104 for the last time this season to check in for the event. I ended up being early, so I caught the first half of the third period from the top of the steps. But soon, we all had envelopes in our hands and were making our way downstairs to wait for the end of the game. Overtime and the shootout was spent in a hallway by the visiting locker room, so we had no TV to watch the end of the game on. Thankfully, the guy in front of me got CSN on his smartphone so we were able to see the (unfortunate) end of the game. Once the Lightning had made their way to the locker room, we all headed out onto the ice!

My hands were shaking. I was gonna be third to go, which was better than first, but I still had the jitters. Soon enough the spotlight was on me and I was told to open my envelope. I was overjoyed by the number inside: 16.

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John Carlson, drafted in 2008, is the most recent Caps defenseman selected in the first round. (Photo: Andre Ringuette/Getty)

Reading the comments in Ian’s post covering the draft lottery, most fans seem convinced that the Capitals must select Haydn Fleury with their 13th pick, if he’s available. It’s easy to see why: Fleury, who plays for the Red Deer Rebels of the WHL, is a responsible defenseman in a draft dominated by forwards. It is likely that 13 out of the 15 top picks will be forwards. And the Caps blue line struggled with injuries and inconsistency all year long. Defense hasn’t been Washington’s forte for the better part of the Ovechkin era, and those defensive shortcomings have often been pegged as the key to the Caps’ early playoff exits (or, this year, pre-playoff exits).

Despite all of this, I’ll disagree with the notion that the Caps should select Fleury, or any other defenseman, with their first-round pick.

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RMNB’s Really Bad Stanley Cup Playoff Predictions

Bracket

The Stanley Cup playoffs start today, and the Washington Capitals aren’t a part of it. While that sucks, life must go on. The good news is that the quarterfinal round is the best week or two of hockey all year, and there’s a bunch of good match-ups to watch. There’s also a couple of garbage match-ups too, but what are you gonna do?

I’ve asked the RMNB crew to share their brackets, and they did, and they’re all really bad. Even mine is bad. Not as bad as theirs, but still really, really bad. Making predictions is a sucker’s game.

Come read our stupid predictions and share your own in the comments!

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Head coach Adam Oates of the Washington Capitals is. That sentence is still correct in the present tense. I’m astonished.

This is not another article listing the problems with Adam Oates, or even the problems with George McPhee. This is an article, the last in a series, describing the Capitals on a week-to-week basis using quantified analysis. If at any point the following article reads like a hitpiece against Caps coaching or management, that’s only because the math totally hates them. It’s not me, I swear.

Also, I think Dmitry Orlov is gonna be real good someday. Let’s do the numbers one more time!

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The Capitals Will Select 13th in 2014 NHL Draft

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Lucky number 13?

This season, the NHL adopted a draft lottery system like the NBA. That means, unlike in years past, every team that does not make the playoffs has a chance to win the lottery and draft number one overall. The suspense! The television revenues. The bloggity blogs writing about this craziness. Gary, you are such a brilliant commissioner.

The Capitals had a 0.5% chance of getting the first overall pick entering the night and ended up getting dreaded pick number 13, which I guess is good unless you’re really, really superstitious. For those looking for a good omen, the last time the Capitals drafted 13th– back in 2002, they wound up with Alex Semin.

The Florida Panthers, who are awful, won the lottery and will draft first. The Sabres, who are even awfuler, will draft second. Here are the rest of the picks.

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[Editor's note: On Sunday, the Washington Capitals played their final game of the season, a 1-0 shootout loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning. After the game, select Caps fans were brought out onto the ice to receive jerseys off the players' backs. RMNB reader Kate Yost was one of those fortunate few. She describes her experience below.]

Kate wins Scarlett Caps competition.

Kate wins Scarlet Caps competition.

A few weeks ago, I noticed that the Scarlet Caps posted about their newest contest for Fan Appreciation Week- “Pin a Moment, Win a Moment.” They asked the contestants to post a picture on Pinterest of their favorite Capitals 2013-2014 moment. My family and friends have a running joke (that we’re actually not really joking about) that I’m “Caps lucky.” Basically, I have a pretty solid track record of winning Caps-related contests. So naturally, when I saw this contest, I entered.

My husband, Justin, and I are both huge Caps fans. We also just got married this past December. So when it came time to plan our bachelor/bachelorette parties, we both decided to have ours at a Caps game. Obviously, we picked different games on different nights to avoid running into each other… but that’s beside the point. For my favorite 2013-2014 season moment, I decided to choose the evening of my bachelorette party. It was a ton of fun celebrating my upcoming wedding with my family, bridesmaids and friends, who are a lovely mixture of seasoned hockey fans and girls who accidentally call the puck a “ball.”

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Photo: Igor Kleyner

Caps breakdown day is never a particularly festive affair, and yesterday was no exception, as the Washington Capitals brought down the curtain on their dismal 2013-14 season. Understandably, none of the players were in a particularly cheerful mood as they addressed the media for the last time before summer break. Not all of them, however, are putting away their skates for the season. Some, including defenseman Dmitry Orlov, are looking forward to joining their national teams in preparations for the World Championship, which opens early next month.

The 22-year-old Russian is joining the Sbornaya training camp in a few days, and hopes to put his country’s uniform on for the first time since he was a prominent member of the 2011 WJC gold-winning Russian team. A consolation prize, at best, as the dream of winning the Stanley Cup – or even playing for it – will remain just that at least for another year. But it made for a good conversation starter.

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Photo: Chris Gordon

On Monday, the Washington Capitals held Breakdown Day at Kettler Capitals Iceplex. For two hours, Caps players filed out of the locker room and conducted exit interviews with the media. Because of the whole no playoffs thing, there were a lot of long faces.

There’s about three hours of interview video to surf though on Monumental Network. Because I hate myself and care only about you, dear reader, I’ve transcribed all the key quotes. And because this is RMNB, I also pointed out the fashion choices. Sadly, there was no crazy hair this year.

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CherryBlossoms (11 of 21)

Photos by Chris Gordon

This post isn’t about hockey. Instead of writing depressing things about the Caps, I’m gonna post some pictures of pretty flowers. K?

With the Caps out of the playoffs, it’s time to find some new springtime passions. If you’re not watching hockey, going outside is always a good bet. Sunday, I decided to brave the tourists and take a look at the this year’s cherry blossoms. If you go 7 in the morning you can actually avoid most of the dreaded People From Other States.

After walking around the tidal basin for four hours, I came to a shocking conclusion: DC’s not so bad. Here are my photos.

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Off to the Golf Course: Caps Breakdown Day in Photos

Breakdown Day (6 of 12)

NHL plus-minus spokesman and hair model Alex Ovechkin speaks for the final time this year. (Photos by Chris Gordon)

Monday was an odd day at Kettler Capitals Iceplex. We entered the day expecting to Adam Oates and George McPhee shed some light of their respective fates — or at least try to defend their time here.

Instead, we got an awkward stand-off with reporters. Within minutes of a spokesman announcing that McPhee would not be meeting the media, the general manager walked out to an area clearly visible to reporters. He chose to hold court with Connor Carrick in front of the entire Capitals press corps before reiterating that he would not speak today.

McPhee’s job — if he doesn’t leave of his own volition — is now in the hands Caps owner Ted Leonsis, who has never fired a general manager.

There were, however, other things that happened at Kettler on Monday: Jay Beagle got asked what he thought of Jay Beagle centering Alex Ovechkin, Dustin Penner ignored reporters to play with his phone, and Brooks Laich said that he really, really, really believes he’s healthy again.

Below, take a look at some of my photos from the day.

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