Ian and I have made a new bet. We’re gonna share the details with you because a) it’s timely considering Knuble is a scratch again, and b) last time I didn’t pay up so this is like leverage.

The Bet: Peter bets Ian that Mike Knuble will last longer with the Caps than Dale Hunter.

The Stakes: $22 (USD) and one (1) lunch at Chick-fil-A.

The actual text of the bet is after the jump. I really think Ian is going down this time.

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Happy Valentine’s Day from RMNB

It’s February 14. It’s not just some random day that the Hallmark corporation picked out of hat so they could sell greeting cards. It’s actually the Christian co-opting of a pagan festival all about horny werewolves and blood and copulation and cool stuff like that. Now, instead of lycanthropes and sex, you spend 30 dollars on roses that will wither tomorrow.

If you’re in a relationship, prepare to disappoint your significant other. If you’re not in a relationship, revel in your solitary despair.

(I’m single, by the way.)

Behind the jump is a lovely and full-sized picture by Rachel Cohen, featuring Dmitry Orlov, who scored last night and is handsome enough to probably do the same today. Also a video.

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Capitals During Wartime: On Negativity

[Ed. note: This is our third article about the Washington Capitals before the trade deadline. Part I discussed the center position, and Part II compared the Caps home and away.]

Way back when Ian first blackmailed me into writing about the Capitals everyday, it was easy. The Caps were on the way to their best ever season, a copious and capacious 121-point campaign that was chock-full of nutritious, whole-grain scoarmoargoals. My job was basically to regurgitate some boxcar stats, writing something defamatory about the other team, and think of escalatingly ridiculous metaphors for the Caps’ awesomesauce.

It was terrific, but that’s over now.

I’m not gonna get into it, but I think we can agree that Capitals are having trouble this season– even if we differ about the precise degree of that trouble. And while there are many varied and valid ways to express our disappointment with the team, my endeavor is to be as sober and honest about the Capitals’ struggles as I had been drunken and boastful about their victories. Is that bumming you out?

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Russian Machine Never Breaks: We Suck, 2011 Edition

We just finished basking in the glow of our successes in the past year. Ahhhh… Yes, that was nice.

But now it’s over, and we must look ourselves in the mirror to see the billion things we have screwed up over the past year. We’ve got a huge collection of embarrassments and goof-ups that should have shamed us out of blogging altogether. But we’re shameless. You already knew that.

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RMNB

Grab a chair, pour a ginger ale, and put some soft jazz on the hifi. We’re about to take a leisurely ride through the world of RMNB 2011. Today we’ll be looking at the good stuff today, and the really awful stuff we’ll see on Friday.

In 2011 we published more than 470 articles that more than doubled (206%) our traffic from 2010. Our readers (i.e. you) stay longer on our site, view more articles (102.5%), leave more comments (119%), and correct our grammar more than ever before. We climbed above 5k followers on Twitter (mostly spam bots), and we are now flirting with 6k. We’ve got around 3600 people liking us on Facebook, most of whom are just trying to win the swag Ian gives away every game. We started a tumblelog, where almost 500 people follow our silly pictures and quotes and other stuff that doesn’t fit on the main site. We’re working on a pinterest page, as soon as we figure out what that is.

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shoe-graphic

Up for grabs today.

This photo is up for grabs today.

Our humble little blog, Russian Machine Never Breaks, spent the last year cutting our teeth writing about the Washington Capitals. Through our labors we learned about the team’s secret weapon: the Hershey Bears. This Pennsylvanian cache of dynamic, young talent kept us entertained long after the Caps took their early curtain call at the playoffs. The Hershey Bears marched dutifully to their 11th Calder Cup championship led by guys like Andrew Gordon, a right winger with bright prospects whose only mistake in his young career was to blog with our lowly ilk.

The HBH-ers inspired us, and we decided they deserve more than a measly category on this site. So all of the Russian Machinists got together one night, drank a couple root beers, one thing led to another, and now we have a bouncing baby blog in the family.

Ladies and gentlemen, we are proud to present to you

Sweetest Hockey on Earth

Piloting the new site will be Kathryn Hedrick, intrepid reporter and author of Flashy Glove Save, and Kyle M., photographer with a sports-coverage pedigree. Together they will relay to you the promise and excitement of the Hershey Bears Hockey with the same gusto, pizazz, and thesaurus-ness you find here on RMNB proper.

So join us in bookmarking www.sweetesthockeyonearth.com on your laptop (and iPad), following @SweetestHockey on the Twitters, liking us on the facebook, and plugging this RSS feed into your feed reader. We’ll make it worth your while.

To celebrate SHOE (oh dear, is that really the acronym?), we’re holding a little contest. Among those of you who network up with us and help spread the word on Friday, we’ll select the most enthusiastic to receive some free RMNB merch and the signed photo above. We’ll announce our winners before Hershey’s home opener on Saturday Night.

Go! Bears! Go!

RMNB in a NYT Blog Post about NHL Media Policy

rmnb-in-ny-times

Friend-of-the-blog Chris Gordon (nom de guerreCaps Snaps) put together a dazzling piece for the NYT hockey blog, Slap Shot, about the NHL’s media policy.  We discussed the issue at length here already.  The piece features quotes from Japers’ Rink, On the Forecheck, Caps media wizard Nate Ewell, and even us schlubs.  It’s a savvy piece, comparing at the motivations of blog-friendly clubs like the Caps to media-saturated and besieged teams like the Rangers (and pretty much everyone in Canada).

No excuse not to read it when the link is this big!

For the sake of laughs and posterity, here’s the full quote we supplied, unabridged and with a few more jokes:

All I’ve heard so far of the new NHL media policy is rumor. Until some enterprising PR guy leaks the thing, it’ll remain a straw man for bloggers like us to sneer at. From what I can tell, the policy codifies travelling teams’ ability to restrict access from new media folks.

I don’t think access to players – especially visiting teams – is what bloggers are good at or even interested in, so I doubt there will be much practical difference under this new policy. All the NHL has done, therefore, is antagonize and belittle bloggers for no apparent reason. We’re already a cantankerous and unstable breed of people, and although anarchic and headless, we generate a big chunk of buzz for National Hockey League.

Were I a decision-maker in Toronto, I’d begin a Blogger Appeasement Tour. It would start with granting unmitigated access to players in locker rooms and hotel rooms alike and end with perhaps some complimentary Knoll Life office chairs. Ahh, yes. That would be nice.

Knoll LifeCongratulations, Chris, on your hard work.

Read Neil Greenberg’s Debut with WaPo

Neil Greenberg's debut with WaPo

A year ago, you might have known Neil Greenberg only for his razor-sharp analysis on 5ive Hole, but the most controversial acquisition during the season last year might have been Neil’s signing with RMNB.  Since then, he’s become the Examiner’s hockey photographer of record, the Washington Post’s hockey statistics nerd, and Samantha Casey’s new BFF.

Capitals Insider posted Neil’s first file today, an incisive piece comparing Karl Alzner and John Carlson to their predecessors.  With the exception of the Carlzner portmanteau, it’s a huge success.  Please, go read the piece and leave him some love in the comments.

No excuse not to read the article when there’s a link this big.

Congratulations, Neil.  Please don’t forget the little people.

Russian Machine Never Breaks: We Suck

We spent a bunch of pixels bragging about all the cool stuff we did in the last year.  That’s cool, ’cause we really are proud.  But we’re totally rank amateurs.  False rumors, worse typing, and bad luck charms; that’s just us.  We’ve surpassed our peers by a long stretch of internet miles when it comes to screwing up.

  • The giant gray thing at the top of the page
    Ian assures that one day we will put a feature widget for good posts there.  I think he might just be waiting for us to write some.
    Russian Machine Never Breaks_1280326894548
  • Spelling names incorrectly
    We’re supposed to be fans of this team, so we should probably start spelling their names right.  I’ll go ahead and take the blame  for this one.  I’ve goofed up Matthieu Perrault, Michael Nuevirth, and both Morrrisssonnns.  I did it in my very first post, and I’ll eventually get around to correcting it.
  • Varlamov will miss the Olympics
    In our defense, Lisa Hillary was trying to trick us.
    After re-injuring his groinular area, Lisa gave a pessimistic prognosis that we might have accidentally blown completely out of proportion.  Real-live PR people and respectable writers had to bail us out.
  • Nick Backstrom to sign a huge contract… in February
    Maybe we were just waaaaay ahead of everyone else.  We found an article on a Swedish site that said Backy was this close to signing a massive deal.  It was a few weeks later before someone bothered explaining fact-checking to us.
  • Neil Greenberg
    Just in general.
  • Peter shaves his beard, dooms the Caps
    Peter loved #beardpact.  It was his baby, and he protected it.  But he couldn’t look like a pirate at his buddy’s wedding, so he shaved.  And the Caps lost three in a row.  JINX!
  • The Washington Capitals… Napoleon Dynamite style
    Sara Bae created these monstrosities, and we…. oh screw it.  This post was awesome, and we are unashamed. Please send us more fan art!
  • The Joe Corvo Bandwagon
    We trust Neil implicitly, and that’s a character flaw we will address soon.  He said that Corvo was the missing link and a hands-down improvement on Pothier.  Suckers we are.
  • Our logo scares children
    Ian’s girlfriend reports that this t-shirt has driven her students to tears.  That’s because it’s freaking terrifying.  Contrast/compare with one of the most twisted films of all time:
    Ovie vs Clockwork Orange
  • Taunting the Hockey Gods
    We had a post actually titled We Got it Made, in which we document all the reasons why the Caps will beat the Canadiens in five games.  Our reasons included secondary scoring and Jose Theodore.  Ugg.
  • In-SEMIN-nation
    Least tasteful t-shirt ever?  Be honest; someone was going to do this sooner or later.  Just be glad it was us.
  • Justin Bieber in the Bears’ locker room
    There’s a fine line between cute human-interest stories and oversharing.  This post demarcates the two.
  • Various crimes against the English language
    Our relationship with the written word is abusive and codependent.  The difference between resign and re-sign (post date: Yesterday) springs to mind.  We’re language recidivists, well beyond any hope of rehabilitation.

After looking at all this, I can’t blame Mike Green for blocking us on Twitter.   We’re a wandering band of fools and idiots, sauntering into town, breaking everything we touch and offending the locals.  At this point, that you’re still reading this post speaks more to your failings than ours.  You really should know better.

If you have any other screw-ups we should know about, use the comments to have your voice heard.  Tomorrow, we’ll list our resolutions for next year.   We promise to do better, people.

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