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Photo: @JPughNBC

Hi, my name is Ian Oland. I’m driving this here Capitals bandwagon. Over the last month, we’ve traveled all over the continent, picking up many new friends. In fact, there are so many strangers here, we’ve had to put on name-tags and start force-feeding IVs to our exhausted oxen via beer guzzlers. But we must carry on.

Our first new member is someone we’ve known a while. Over the last five decades, he’s walked near the bandwagon and sometimes he’s even come up and whimsically touched the side. But this year he finally jumped on.

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With Kris Letang suspended and Bryan Rust injured, the Pittsburgh Penguins have reached into the farm to fill their defensive ranks. Up comes Tom Sestito, veteran of 141 NHL games over an eight-year career, and former Capitals prospect Steve Oleksy.

Oleksy played 62 regular-season swag-filled games for the Capitals between 2013 and 2015, scoring 3 goals and 16 assists. In 2013, he added playoff games, his only postseason experience. In the summer of 2015, Oleksy was signed by the Penguins but has yet to suit up for a game.

Oleksy is a surprisingly strong depth defenseman. Relative to the rest of the 2013 Capitals, Oleksy had a positive possession swing of 1.88 percent. Sestito, on the other hand, has been a garbage fire, depressing possession by more than 8 percent in 140 NHL games for 4 different teams.

As much as I love Oleksy, I’d rather see Sestito get the sweater.

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Sunday night, Caps owner Ted Leonsis was in the U Street Corridor and posted a landscape of the 9:30 Club. The concert hall’s iconic broadcast antenna (from its days as WUST-AM 1120) was lit up in red and white colors. “Red rocking around DC,” Leonsis captioned the photo.

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Monday morning, Barry Trotz put on a figurative tinfoil hat and said one of the most wacky things he’s ever said as Caps coach. Frustrated by the length of Brooks Orpik’s three-game suspension, Trotz suggested the NHL favors the Pittsburgh Penguins.

“I’m disappointed, but I’m not surprised based on who we’re playing and all that,” Trotz said.

Later when asked to clarify, Trotz replied, “Take it for whatever you want.”

I, a rational human being, do not believe the NHL favors one team over another. But the problem is the optics. And the main provider of said optics is NBC, the NHL’s American TV partner.

Over the years, NBC’s analysis during intermission can basically be summed up like this: yell first, think later. Whether it’s Jeremy Roenick calling Alex Ovechkin a bad defensive player due to plus-minus or Keith Jones pushing tired narratives, NBC’s hockey analysis can seem more about settling scores than communicating constructive information. (It’s basically the opposite of CSN Mid-Atlantic’s coverage of Caps games.)

Mike Milbury, whose personality wavers from patient to cranky night to night, is the kingpin. During the first intermission of Game Two, Grumpy Milbury launched into an angry screed about Brooks Orpik’s headshot on Olli Maatta. The Orpik hit was bad, don’t get me wrong, but Milbury’s analysis still somehow managed to be over-the-top.

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Alex Ovechkin Scores On Impossibly Fast Shot

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Coming into tonight’s game, Alex Ovechkin had been held goalless for the last five playoff games. According to CSN’s Rob Carlin, Ovechkin had not gone more than six games all season without scoring.

I can report that streak remains intact.

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Pierre McGuire Slaps Matt Cullen’s Butt

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Earlier on Monday, Barry Trotz, frustrated by the length of Brooks Orpik’s three-game suspension, suggested the NHL favors the Pittsburgh Penguins.

This GIF doesn’t help with that appearance.

Pierre McGuire, who works for the NHL’s TV partner NBC, gave a friendly butt slap to Matt Cullen after the pregame interview.

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Kris Letang’s Headshot on Marcus Johansson

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The first period of Game Three was bad, but worse than the scoreboard was the image of Marcus Johansson collapsed on the ice after suffering a late headshot by Kris Letang.

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Sunday afternoon, the NHL suspended Brooks Orpik three games for his head shot of Olli Maatta. Monday after the Capitals morning skate, Tom Wilson defended his teammate and also criticized NBC’s Mike Milbury.

During the first intermission of Game Two, Milbury, who has always been a lightning rod for controversy, called Orpik a “predator,” implying that the Caps defenseman was looking to injure Maatta. Orpik and Maatta are friends off the ice.

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Over the last few weeks, we’ve seen RMNB t-shirts literally everywhere as the Capitals try to march deep into the postseason. We’ve seen them in our Twitter mentions, in our Instagram tags, at Kettler, and at our local Frederick Wegmans. Basically, you guys are insane people and we love you for it.

We were thinking as a group on how to thank you. And this was what we came up with: MAKE MOAR SHIRTS.

Above, you’ll see our first new design, the Sorry, Penguin tee. It’s inspired by this wonderful Ovechkin commercial. If you like your Deadguins tee, then you’ll love wearing this ditty under your jersey too.

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The Capitals lost Game Two to the Penguins 2-1. Late in the second period, the Capitals tied the game… or so we thought. The Caps and Pens scrummed in front of the net, then the puck bounced out to Nate Schmidt, who roofed it. Washington’s players on the ice celebrated, Verizon Center lost its collective mind, and the official waved it off.

Instead of a goal, the Caps got a penalty: Evgeny Kuznetsov for goalie interference. Barry Trotz was furious, demanding an explanation as the Verizon Center crowd erupted in a “Ref, you suck!” chant.

Let’s take a closer look at this pivotal moment.

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