Way back in 2006 and before he became hockey’s version of Neil Degrasse Tyson on HBO 24/7, Russian goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov — then playing with the Anaheim Ducks — gave an interview to The Score in which he was asked a simple question: “What are your thoughts on Chris Pronger returning to Edmonton?”

A few months earlier, Pronger helped lead the Edmonton Oilers to their first Stanley Cup Final since the Gretzky era. After the Oilers lost in 7 games to the Carolina Hurricanes, Pronger requested a trade for personal reasons. Local media reported that his wife Lauren hated the city. So GM Kevin Lowe shipped Pronger off to the Ducks a month later for Joffrey Lupul and a whole bunch of spare parts.

So here we find Bryzgalov trying to defend his teammate and diffuse the situation ahead of his first game back at Rexall Place. In broken english, Bryzgalov takes the mic and spectacularly fails.

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Photo credit: Kyle Mace of Sweetest Hockey on Earth

Because I’m an optimist, let’s say there’s an NHL season this year. As soon as the new collective bargaining agreement is signed, sealed, and delivered, the Washington Capitals goaltenders will debut shiny new masks. Michal Neuvirth, who has been playing with Sparta Praha of the Czech Extraliga, has been wearing a new mask featuring former Capitals great/current goaltending coach, Olie Kolzig, on its side.

I spoke with Braden Holtby on Saturday about his thoughts on Neuvirth’s new bucket. After I showed him the mask on my iPad, Holtby chuckled and flashed a big smile in approval. “Olie’s done a ton for the organization,” Holtby said, “so that’s pretty cool.”

Not to be outdone, Holtby has been wearing his own new mask playing with Bears. Unlike last season, where his helmet featured a split Bears/Capitals theme (and oh yeah don’t forget that awesome bear on a rollercoaster), Holtby’s new headgear is ALL CAPS (get it?).

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As a reminder to all of you hooligans to vote today, we’ve unveiled a new t-shirt in our store. While we all may have wildly different opinions on who we think would be best in the White House for the next four years, let’s all agree on this: Barack Obama is an amazing singer Voting Yes For Number 8. This finely printed red shirt will be available in our Spreadshirt store for today only. Check out the shirt, buy one or two or ten, and be the envy of all your friends.

Before you start hassling us да means yes in Russian. Here’s a bigger version of the graphic.

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Coming Soon to RMNB…

But what does it mean?

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RMNB Readers Wish Alex Ovechkin a Happy 27th Birthday

We asked you, deranged and lovely readers of RMNB, to congratulate our hero Alex Ovechkin on his 27th year of life. You had to make a birthday card. The only rule was that you had to use a cheap graphic editor to make it.

What we didn’t tell you is that we don’t have to follow the same rules. Above is our card for Ovi, via RMNB resident artist Rachel Cohen. Meanwhile, you guys knocked this assignment out of the park. Like Josh Morgan, you threw a football into the face of your limitations and blazed new trails of Art with a capital A. Cruise on down past the jump to check out the gallery. And make sure to vote for your favorite on our Facebook fan page at 10am this morning.

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The Capsvengers: DC Mightiest Heroes

In a few short hours, the Capitals will face the Rangers in New York City to battle over who will advance to the Eastern Conference Finals. But we shouldn’t worry. Why? Because our team is made up of a bunch of super heroes.

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Game Six: This Means Ward!


Photo credit: John Tlumacki

The Capitals are back in Washington with a chance to keep their season alive. It didn’t have to be that way. With half a minute left to protect their lead in Game Five, Joel Ward high-sticked Carl Hagelin. The ensuing Rangers powerplay cost the Capitals the lead and the win– and what would have been a veritable chokehold on the series.

After he bested the Bruins in the quarterfinal round, Ward was the target of some vile and feckless trash from Boston fans. After his double-minor penalty led to Monday’s loss, that same pernicious evil erupted from Caps fans as well.

Here are Three True Things:

  1. Joel Ward is not at fault for the team’s loss.
  2. This hate is as rare as it is unacceptable.
  3. Joel Ward is a great hockey player and a great addition to the ’11-’12 Washington Capitals.

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As Caps fans, most of us were already aware that Matt Hendricks was awesome. Perhaps we were not aware until this season just how awesome he really was, but we’ve had our eyes opened one shootout stunner and monster playoffs shift at a time. As the games have gotten bigger, so has he. All-Star goaltenders everywhere have come to fear him, and superstars brace themselves when they see him about to finish a check.

In honor of the nickname Craig Laughlin coined for Hendy earlier in the season — “The Paralyzer” — we present our new Minnesota license plate inspired t-shirt, lovingly designed by Ian Oland. You can check the shirts out in our t-shirt store here. Also, shipping is free right now through May 8th when you place an order over $30. Just use the coupon code MOTHERSDAY12 at checkout.

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The weather is getting nice, and we at RMNB thought you might need some new t-shirts to wear. Well, that and the whole playoffs thing.

And since I didn’t have anything to do with the making of these shirts, I can tell you this without reservation: These shirts are totally freaking awesome. Let me show you them.

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