Last Call for T-Shirts and Koozies!

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Friends, the RMNB fundraiser will end tonight at midnight. If you want to get an RMNB portrait shirt before it goes into the Disney vault for freaking ever, the time to act is now. If you want our hot new not-entirely-designed-yet koozy, maybe get on that.

The Making RMNB Last campaign has raised more than $22,000 so far– meaning we’re gonna be able to do some cool stuff next year and for years to come. We’ll have some announcements about the specifics, though for now I can tell you that we’ll be making the mobile-friendly website design a top priority in the new year.

We’re blown away by the fact that 590 people have donated already, but we also know that the RMNB family is way bigger than that. Whether you’re a longtime friend-of-the-blog or a brand-new reader, your contribution of any amount (even just $1), will go a long way toward making RMNB even better.

As an added bonus, today is also Ian’s birthday. (It’s not polite to ask how old. He’s old enough.) You can consider your last-minute gift as a sort of birthday present to him, without the shopping and the wrapping and the anxiety over “oh gosh, will he like what I got him?”

If you’ve contributed or are about to, thank you from the bottom of my cold black heart, which might grow three sizes some day soon. Knowing that RMNB (or at least the shirts) matters to you does more than make me feel good about the absurd expenditure of time that we have invested so far; it justifies a continuation and escalation of the sometimes-dumb, sometimes-important, usually-fun stuff that we do here. Get ready.

To celebrate the fundraiser and say thank you, we’re throwing a little party in Frederick on Friday night. If you contributed before Tuesday, you’ve already been notified about it. We’ll send a reminder again early Friday. If you haven’t been contacted but are interested in coming, shoot us an email. It’ll be fun and silly and thoroughly Frederick-y.

Now, I’m gonna answer some questions.

  • If you contributed at any perk level, we will contact you early next week to ask what size shirt you want. Please respond as quickly as possible so we can get those shirts made and sent to you ASAP. That’s important.
  • We intend to get every shirt to every US-based contributor before Christmas.We will support shirt sizes from XS up to 4XL. The bigger shirts won’t be the same brand as the others, but they’ll still be great.
  • If you contributed at the platinum level, I’m gonna have to write an RMNB story about any topic you want. I am absolutely dreading this. We will ask you for your topic next week, but it might take some time before your article makes it onto RMNB. Oh no. I’m scared.
  • If you shot us an email about a special request, please hit us up again before the end of next week.

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It’s Payday, Did You Get an RMNB Shirt Yet?

First: Thank you. We launched the Making RMNB Last campaign at 10 AM on Monday. By noon we had hit our fundraising goal, and by the end of the work day we had doubled it. As I type this, we’re on the verge of hitting $17,000. To everyone whose donation means that you’ve made RMNB part of your life, thank you for validating all the late hours and thanks for allowing us to do more crazy stuff in the future.

And to everyone who just wanted a t-shirt, that’s cool too.

If you haven’t donated yet, and you want to support RMNB or just get a cool shirt, now is the time. You just got paid, right?

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Introduce Yourselves: 2014-15 Edition!

RMNB People: we are just moments into a brand new season. 80 more games and hopefully a few extras lay ahead of us, and we hope to make this journey together. As we disembark, I think it’d be a good idea if we take a moment to get to know each other.

Just like last time, let’s all say hello in the comments. I want you off the wall if you’re playing the wall. This community thing works better when we know — and can see– who we’re talking to. Just leave a quick comment, including some or all of the following info:

  • Your name (real name preferred, but it’s your call)
  • Your face, just attach a photo, unless you don’t wanna, no pressure!
  • Where you’re from
  • What you do (e.g. student, engineer, Owner & CEO of Monumental Sports & Entertainment)
  • What you want to see in the 2014-15 season

When we think about RMNB, we think of you guys as the crucial ingredient. It’d be kind of weird if you weren’t here, so thanks for hanging out. The whole RMNB should will be down in the comments as well, so let’s party.

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Editor’s note: We don’t always get everything right here at RMNB, and we don’t always have the perspective to deal with the criticism we get. For that reason, we’ve asked Eric Fingerhut to act as an independent critic of our work and to keep us honest and accountable. Here comes the RMNB Ombudsman.

Hi, I’m Eric Fingerhut and you may know me from my incessant (some would even say tiresome) criticism of the Washington Post Sports section. I am the new ombudsman at Russian Machine Never Breaks, which means I’ll be providing a monthly critique of the site — as well as hopefully providing a voice for some of the complaints of readers. What are my qualifications for this new post? Well, I’ve been a fan of the Caps since the days of Guy Charron and Bernie Wolfe, I like to write criticism and, most importantly, Peter and Ian asked me if I’d be interested in the position and I said yes.

So let’s start with how RMNB handled the most controversial move of the Caps’ offseason, the signing of Brooks Orpik to what this website called an “insane” five-year, $27.5 million deal. I think the site’s initial response to the contract was similar to the first reactions of many Caps fans — even the biggest supporters of Brooks Orpik would have to acknowledge that signing a 34-year-old defensive defenseman to a five –year deal for more than $5 million each year in a salary-capped sport is a questionable move. And RMNB backed up their strong opinion with solid analysis — Peter had a great post on the day of the signing contrasting what Ted Leonsis and Brian MacLellan had said just a few weeks earlier about things such as the importance of puck possession and the danger in signing aging veterans to long-term contracts, and then noted how the Brooks Orpik signing seemed to undermines everything they had so recently professed to believe.  A later post speculating on how the defense might line up – and how someone is going to make lots of money to play third-pair minutes – was also quite interesting.

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UPDATE, 11:40 am: I spoke with a representative of Comcast SportsNet Mid-Atlantic who apologized for the oversight. This kind of stuff happens, and CSN is usually pretty good at attribution, so we consider the matter closed. The original post follows.

This isn’t a hockey story, so feel free to skip over this one.

On Monday morning we published a partial translation of an interview by the Russian news agency ITAR-TASS. In that interview, Alex Ovechkin discusses the departure of Mikhail Grabovski and his feelings about Adam Oates’ dismissal from the Capitals. Our own Igor Kleyner translated from the original Russian, and Ian Oland provided the introduction. I did a sloppy proofread on the piece, which will become relevant in a moment.

On Monday night, reader Alison let me know that CSN might have used our translation on their SportsTalk Live show. That would have been very exciting for us if only CSN had attributed us. They did not.

That’s not very nice. And then, to see for myself, I had to watch Brian Mitchell, which makes it even worse.

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Happy Wedding Day, Ashley and Ian!

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In just a few hours, your humble blogfather Ian Oland will marry his lady love Ashley. I and much of the stateside RMNB contingent will be there to help celebrate in person (while Fedor stands guard on the draft), but for now it seems appropriate for use this forum and opportunity to say a few words about Ian and Ashley.

Ian: This is the romantic equivalent of the Scott Hartnell-R.J. Umberger trade. Without sacrificing much value at all, you’re adding a ton of character and personality to your team. The experts watching this transaction are baffled at how you managed to pull it off.

Greenberg manually RT’d the news and added, “Oh.” So that’s how you know it’s a big deal.

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We Need to Hear From You: RMNB 2014 Survey

Hey, guys. We need your help!

We’re going through a lot of changes as a blog. For us to figure out what to do next, we need to learn what’s working and what’s not. We’ve put together a short survey– 10 minutes, tops– that’ll help us do exactly that. (Plus, we really wanna settle the Chipotle/Qdoba argument.) If you could, please take a couple minutes to answer some questions for us.  We’d really really really appreciate it.

Please check out the RMNB 2014 Survey

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Bet: Ian Thinks Adam Oates Will Be Back Next Year

Ian and I were doing some blog biznass this morning when I learned something stunning. Ian actually believes Adam Oates will be back as head coach of the Capitals next season. This is astonishing, so we made a bet.

The Bet: Ian bets Peter that Adam Oates will be head coach of the Washington Capitals in 2014-15.

The Stakes: 77 cents, in pennies, and a $10 gift card to the burrito restaurant of the winner’s choice.

You guys are witnesses. I also want to point out that Ian is running a very cold streak in bets lately. Also also: Chipotle > Qdoba, all day, every day.

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Making RMNB Last

Hey, can we talk?

We started RMNB in 2009 on a lark. Ian and I liked hockey a lot, and we liked making stuff and sharing it with the Internet, so we thought we could have some fun.

Mission accomplished. RMNB has been tons of fun. We’ve published about 3000 stories for about 3 million readers, and we are pleased beyond words about that. We never expected this level of success. We also also didn’t expect how much work it would be.

Among the whole team, we’ve spent somewhere around 15,000 hours (maybe more) working on RMNB. We’ve spent our own money on hosting and equipment and travel and giveaways and translations. We’ve made a little money off of t-shirts, but we’re deeply, deeply in the red.

To make RMNB sustainable, we need to generate enough revenue to offset our costs. To make RMNB rewarding for our contributors, we’ve got to compensate them. To make RMNB a disgustingly rich multinational multimedia conglomerate that can throw decadent parties and give away crazy swag, we’ve got to start selling advertisements.

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Regarding Voldemort

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We’ve recently got a bunch of comments about “bringing back Voldemort.” I want to address them real quick.

For those of you unfamiliar, in December of 2010, RMNB replaced the normal design of our site with a collage of sad images (seen above). It was part of our “panic protocol” during the Caps’ pivotal eight-game losing streak under the harsh lights of HBO’s 24/7. The Caps ended that slump by switching from a successful, offense-focused system (which we at the time called “scoar moar goals”) towards a meeker, less successful, and much less fun “trap” style (which I now call “Beat Dat Beat Up“). As we restored the site back to cheerful red and blue, we didn’t yet know the real dark stuff was yet to come.

No, we won’t be bringing back Voldemort now or any time soon. For all their losses, the Washington Capitals of December 2010 were still much, much better than the Washington Capitals of March 2014. “Going dark” was our way of joking through one of those occasional and inevitable valleys among a whole bunch of peaks and making light of fan freak-outs.

What’s happening now is different. I don’t want to laugh it off.

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