stecks and brads

David Steckel and Matt Bradley, 2009

You guys ready for the playoffs to start? Same here. This week I got two folks on the line that you probably know of but might not have heard from.

First up is Sam “The Horn Guy” Wolk, the superfan behind the toots and veteran of many years at Verizon Center. Also in the lineup is Chris Cerullo, aka Chris From the Comments, one of RMNB’s newest contributors.

You can grab the RMNB Podcast from iTunes. It’d be rad if you’d review us and give us a rating.

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Art by epoole88 (wow)

The second season begins on Wednesday, and it’s time for predictions featuring everyone’s favorite prognosticator, Keith, a Coin! (Also, me and Ian.)

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These Are Your Presumptive Caps Playoff Lines

Photo: Geoff Burke

Tuesday morning’s practice debuted the line combinations and defensive pairings we’re likely to see on Thursday’s game one against the Philadephia Flyers.

You’re going to like ’em.

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Caps vs Ducks Pregame: The End of the Beginning

proud-papa

Proud parents of a superstar, rocking the Kris Kross look

Today marks the end of the regular season. Tonight’s game against the Ducks, a make-up game from the snowstorm, means precious little, but come tomorrow– that’s then the big show begins.

Let’s enjoy tonight for what it is– exhibition hockey against a good, fun team.

Puck drop at 7:30 PM. Coverage on CSN.

Team Record Possession PDO Power Play Penalty Kill
Washington Capitals 56-17-8 52.0% 101.2 22.2% (4th) 85.0% (4th)
Anaheim Ducks 45-25-11 52.9% 98.8 23.4% (1st) 87.1% (1st)

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Caps at Blues Pregame: #RMNB9 is Tonight!

schmidt

There are basically no stakes for tonight’s hockey game, the 81st in the Caps’ 82-game regular-season campaign. No stakes save one: Braden Holtby’s last chance at tying Martin Brodeur’s record for most wins in a single season.

Oh and also this: It’s #RMNB9! If you’re in the area, come to RFD and watch the game with us!

Puck drop for Caps at Blues is at 8 PM. Let’s dance.

Team Record Possession PDO Power Play Penalty Kill
Washington Capitals 55-17-8 51.8% 102.0 22.4% (4th) 84.8% (4th)
St. Louis Blues 49-23-9 52.7% 101.0 21.8% (6th) 85.0% (3rd)

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Isles beat Caps 4-3 (OT): Holtby’s Record Deferred

brobeans

Our final week of regular season hockey began with Metro foes, the New York Islanders. Backstopped by a person who I can only assume is familiar with goaltending, the Isles were disadvantaged but not helpless.

Like all good hockey games, this one began with a goal by Alex Ovechkin, a wide shot following a faceoff. John Tavares tied it in the second period with a weird goal that escaped Braden Holtby’s glove hand.

The top line struck twice in the third period with goals by Oshie and Ovi, but Kyle Okposo got a gritty goal shortly after to keep it tense. A frenetic forecheck led to Anders Lee’s game-tying goal from the paint.

After a bunch of Caps chances, Thomas Hickey got the win for the Isles in overtime.

Islanders beat Caps 4-3 in OT.

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Caps vs Islanders Pregame: Four Moar

lafontaine

Hear that sound? Sounds like the death rattle of the 2015-16 regular season. The Caps have four more games until the Next Thing begins. We can talk about that Next Thing later– for now we’ve got a date with the Islanders.

Hang out with us at 7 PM on CSN please.

Team Record Possession PDO Power Play Penalty Kill
Washington Capitals 55-17-6 51.9% 101.0 22.8% (2nd) 84.4% (4th)
New York Islanders 43-26-9 50.1% 100.5 18.7% (17th) 85.1% (2nd)

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Every Way In Which Tom Wilson Is or Is Not a Bust

CapsPupsCal_35

Photo: Amanda Bowen

On Monday, we published a smart and layered discussion by Myan Tran about Tom Wilson‘s development. That article comes after months of discussion among the RMNB staff on the same topic. That article and those discussions all seemed to revolve around the idea of a bust, a delightfully subjective and nebulous term that is also a function of expectations that vary based on whom you ask.

In a beautifully complex world of fractal mathematics and ASOIAF conspiracy theories, a yes/no debate about a divisive player is excessively stupid. The conversation quickly wanders off topic and into a battlefield. GIFs are deployed like explosive ordnance. Proxy wars are waged by strawmen.

But I come to you from above the fray to settle, once and for all, the Tom Wilson bust debate.

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Micah

Visualization: @IneffectiveMath

On Wednesday night, the Capitals lost to the Philadelphia Flyers in a shootout. That game carried extra weight as those teams are likely to face one another in the first round of the playoffs: Washington as the one seed, Philadelphia as the eight.

On Thursday afternoon, esteemed hockey data visualization person Micah McCurdy released the startlingly pretty graph you see excerpted above. It shows first-round match-ups and each team’s likelihood to advance past that round and beyond.

Micah’s model has the Capitals facing the Flyers — and losing — in the first round. Sorta.

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Days of Future Past: Flyers beat Caps 2-1 (SO)

chimera1

I had a vision of the Caps vs Flyers in round one, and it was ugly. The Caps and the Flyers are 60-something percent likely to match up in the first round of the playoffs, so Wednesday night’s rivalry night game was supposedly a preview of what we’ll see in a few weeks. If that’s the case, I feel mostly good about the Caps’ chances despite the gimmick loss, but I feel absolutely terrible about the stomach ulcer I’m already developing.

The game was agonizingly scoreless until early in the third period, when Evgeny Kuznetsov’s seam pass reached the Ovi spot. With five minutes left, the Flyers’ Brayden Schenn converted a power play, pushing us into overtime. The Flyers survived a Caps OTPP and pushed us all the way to the shootout, and you know what that means….

Shootout bullets!

  • Oshie did NOT put the biscuit in the basket.
  • Cousins put the biscuit in the basket. Five hole.
  • Kuznetsov did NOT put the biscuit in the basket.
  • Ganer put the biscuit in the basket.

Flyers beat Caps 2-1 in the shootout. Blech.

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