2011-12 Year-End Review: Evgeny Kuznetsov

Photo credit: Elena Rusko

So, we may have come on a bit strong.

We’re sorry if we made you feel uncomfortable or overwhelmed, Evgeny Kuznetsov. If you just need some space, that’s fine, we understand. We thought you were just playing hard to get, but we’ve been wrong before.

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Year-End Review: Mike Knuble


Photo credit: Clydeorama

This is unfortunate alphabetical timing, as we’ve just learned that Mike Knuble will not be returning to the Capitals next year. We’re not really over that yet, and the tear-jerking farewell post from Knuble’s Knights didn’t help. Go read it, take a minute to compose yourself, and then come back here again. We’ll wait.

Ready? Okay. Let’s review Knuble’s last year in a Caps uniform.

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2011-12 Year-End Review: Marcus Johansson

Photo credit: Christienne Muschi

What do we need to do to get Marcus Johansson‘s development to take that next step? Was this year’s tumult and instability too much for him? Do we need to encase Marcus Johansson in a hockey simulation where nothing ever goes wrong next year? Send him up a mountain on a quest for truth? Get him to meet DJ Tiesto? Because if we need to, we’ll do it.

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Photo credit: Elise Amendola

This morning, Mike Knuble announced that he would not be returning to the Caps next season. Though we expected that this would be the case, that didn’t stop us from going through all the stages of grief simultaneously on hearing the news.

Here are our thoughts on this, as expressed in musical form.

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2011-12 Year-End Review: Braden Holtby

Photo credit: Bruce Bennett

We’re going to try to be restrained and professional here.

But we love Braden HoltbySo much. In fact, the only person who wrote rationally about Holtby on our blog this season wasn’t any of us.

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2011-12 Year-End Review: Matt Hendricks

Photo credit: Bruce Bennett

This was the Matt Hendricks’ year. This was the year that he broke out of his small, specific role and became a real contributor. This was the year that he made NHL goalies and women everywhere swoon with his dazzling shootout moves. This was the year that the most significant story about him was not centered around a ghastly eye injury.

Heck, he’s even got an RMNB t-shirt now. If that’s not the big time, we don’t know what is.

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Bad Romance: The Saga of Tomas Vokoun


Photo credit: Patrick McDermott

Tomas Vokoun got all dressed up for 2011 summer free agency, put on his glittering career numbers and his solid veteran history and waited for a dancing partner. It didn’t go as planned.

He watched his old team hook up with a new French Canadian flame, watched the Philadelphia Flyers fall all over themselves for Ilya Bryzgalov and the Phoenix Coyotes chase a tall dark unknown. Somehow, at the end of all the frenzy, Vokoun was left without an offer.

Left with few options, Vokoun agreed to a mercenary marriage of convenience with the Caps, an embarrassingly cheap, $1.5 M one-year deal. The Czech veteran got to play on what should have been a contending team and get his name back out there; the Caps got an apparent upgrade in goal. Everyone wins, right?

Wrong. The loveless arranged marriage quickly went sour, and abruptly came to an end today as the Caps traded Vokoun’s rights to bitter rivals, the Pittsburgh Penguins, where he promptly signed a two-year deal. How could things have gone so wrong with a goaltender who could been the MVP? Let’s take a look.

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2011-12 Year-End Review: Roman Hamrlik


Photo credit: Chuck Meyers

Roman Hamrlik was good for two things this season: “Hamr”-related puns, and being used as a comparison point to demonstrate how young or old other people are, such as Dmitry Orlov (three years old when Hamrlik’s career began!) or Marc Bergevin (played hockey with Hamrlik!).

There’s one more year remaining on Hamrlik’s contract with the Caps, which means there’s one more year for the Caps game entertainment crew to make him an MC Hamr montage. They are officially on the clock.

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2011-12 Year-End Review: Jeff Halpern


Photo credit: ESRB

We have a soft spot for Jeff Halpern, a local boy who returned home this season after spending the last few years as an NHL journeyman. Even if he leaves the team this summer, we’ll always have the memories, and the nostalgic pictures of him in those terrible black uniforms.

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2011-12 Year-End Review: Mike Green

Photo credit: Greg Fiume

The Caps had to manage without some of their stars, who were sidelined with suspensions and injuries at times throughout the season. Among them, there is one star they’ve already learned to make do without. We have seen Mike Green at his best, we’ve seen him put together a dazzling 82-game season. But unfortunately, since he’s been playing in the NHL full-time, we’ve only seen that once.

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