Paralyzed high-school hockey player Jack Jablonski drops the puck for a ceremonial faceoff between Parise and Hendricks. (Photo via Defending the Blueline)

When George McPhee traded for Mike Ribeiro and signed Wojek Wolski, he formed perhaps the greatest shootout line-up in the history of hockey. That duo is rounded out by Matt Hendricks, who went 5 for 6 and embarrassed some of the best goalies in the game last season. The Capitals don’t even need Alex Ovechkin or Nicklas Backstrom for the gimmick anymore.

But temper that confidence. On Sunday, NHL players including Zach Parise, new Caps defenseman Jack Hillen, and Hendricks, took the ice for a charity game benefiting Defending the Blue Line. The game brought 3,000 hockey-starved fans out to the University of Minnesota and raised an estimated $50,000 for the children of military parents. It was great, until Hendricks’ shootout attempt at the end of the game.

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It’s summertime: lean days for hockey fans. But I’ve got some good news though: here’s an opportunity to play (or watch) hockey– and do it for a good cause.

On August 3-5, the Gardens Ice House in Laurel, MD is hosting the Leap Towards a Cure Presented by Outback Steakhouse, Laurel, MD, hockey tournament. 26 teams will compete in the tourney to raise money for the Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center at Johns Hopkins.

Leap Towards a Cure is looking for players for the tournament right now, so if your rec league is winding down, please get the word out. There are a bunch of divisions for different talent levels, so please don’t worry about your skills.  They particularly need free agent skaters for the women’s division.

Plus, you might see some hockey guys you might know.

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Sunday: Maryland vs Navy Charity Game for USA Warriors

What are you doing on Sunday? Ain’t no Caps game, so you have no excuse not to get down to The Gardens Ice House in Laurel for an epic match-up for a good cause.

University of Maryland Hockey will face off with its in-state rival, the Naval Academy, for a charity game to raise money for the USA Warriors. There is no charge at the door, so spectators are asked to make a donation to the Warriors. Here’s the Facebook event page.

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Caps Fight Cancer

Alex Ovechkin

Alex Ovechkin stands next to 12-year-old cancer survivor Anthony Holley during the national anthem. (Photo credit: Ned Dishman)

Cancer affects millions of people every year and is truly an awful disease. So on Saturday night, while the boys in red battled the Detroit Red Wings, the Caps held Hockey Fights Cancer Night, joining in a league-wide program to raise money for cancer research and treatment. During warm-ups, the team wore special jerseys with Hockey Fights Cancer patches and lavender outlining around the names and numbers, representing the official color of the initiative. The sweaters, which were signed by their respective player, were then auctioned off to fans at the community relations booth.

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Alex Reut's painting for Winter Classic and Lokomotiv tragedy

He’s baaaaaaaack!

Alex Reut, the man behind the not-at-all-cursed Capitals/Stanley Cup painting, is here to do some good. Reut is auctioning off the work above, and he will donate the proceeds to Love for Lokomotiv.

This is a gigantic link to the auction page.

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Lawmakers Defeat Warriors 6-3 in Charity Hockey Game

Craig Brownstein of PuckBuddys writes for Russian Machine Never Breaks.

Just before hitting the ice, Joe Bowser of the Warrior team was asked what their strategy was to beat the Congressional squad, “Just show up,” he joked. He later added, “And we promise to pay our taxes on time.”

Mike Quigley

Rep. Quigley of the Congressional Team waits for another shift. (Photo credit: Craig Brownstein)

The big man for the Warriors talked a big game, but at the end of the night, the Lawmakers came out on top, 6-3. Taking an early lead in the first period, the Hill team held off the Warriors, a squad comprised of active duty members, reservists and vets, many of them skating with artificial limbs. “We’ll put our best foot forward,” Bowser said before the game, aware of the obvious pun.

The rain didn’t do much to dampen attendance at Kettler last night and the stands held a raucous crowd, primarily Warriors boosters. But it was the Obama address to the Joint Session of Congress that kept a number of elected officials away. But as per usual in this town, the hard work (and scoring) was done by the staff. Rep. Mike Quigley was the sole elected official to play last night. We thanked him for the time he gave us earlier this week when we previewed the game. Just before taking the ice, and maybe a bit torqued on how we characterized him, Quigley looked at us and said, “Pugnacious?” Mustering every bit of confidence that 15 years at C-SPAN will give a guy, we looked him square in the eye and replied, “What – did we spell it wrong?”

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Will Politics Force USA Warriors Charity Game to Reschedule?

Craig Brownstein of PuckBuddys writes for Russian Machine Never Breaks.

Next Thursday evening, September 8, was going to find the PuckBuddys at Kettler (on assignment for RMNB!) covering the game between the USA Warriors Ice Hockey Team and the Lawmakers, made up of members of Congress and their staff.

We’ve been doing interviews this week with the Warriors’ coach and players, only to find out this morning that there may be a scheduling complication.

It seems nothing is easy in Washington anymore. The tiff between President Obama and Speaker of the House John Boehner that pushed the President’s Joint Session address on jobs to Thursday evening may affect the charity game. We’ll stay in contact with the Warrior front office and share developments as soon as we learn more.

The Warriors are an amazing group of guys, and we look forward to sharing their remarkable stories. The congressional team? Meh. You know who we’re rooting for.

Alex Semin

Alex Semin signs autographs for the kids in attendance.

This past Wednesday, Alexander Semin held a workshop for kids of the Sokol Hockey School in Podgorny, a southern Siberian town about 25 miles from his birthplace of Krasnoyarsk. The winger spent the day showing the young players everything from the basics — improving their shooting, skating, and passing — to how to warm-up like an NHL player.

“To become a star,” Semin told the kids, “you need to work hard in training sessions and always give your all in games.” No word on whether Matt Bradley was in attendance.

Later, the 27-year-old held a Q&A with the children and signed autographs for the participants.

During his summers off, Sasha Minor often quietly volunteers his time near Krasnoyarsk – Semin gave away a signed stick the winner of a contest to name the new local ice rink last week, participated in a charity hockey tournament at the beginning of the summer, and even visited a group of orphans during his time off last year.

Below the jump, RMNB’s own Fedor Fedin transcribes Vesti-Krasnoyarsk’s video of the event.

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The Lakers’ Kobe Bryant greets John Carlson before the match. (Photo credit: Chris Gordon)

As a member of the Washington Capitals, John Carlson is no stranger to lighthearted games of soccer, often playing along with his teammates to warmup before taking the ice.

But on Sunday, he joined in a pick-up match with meaning, participating in the Mia Hamm Foundation‘s annual Celebrity Soccer Challenge, held this year at Kastles Stadium in Southwest D.C.

The game, put on by Hamm and her husband, former MLB star Nomar Garciaparra, encourages people to join the bone marrow donor registry while raising money for Children’s National Medical Center. It was started in honor of Hamm’s late brother, Garrett, who passed away from aplastic anemia, a bone marrow condition, in 1997.

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Team Maryland and Team Virginia pose after the game (Download the high-res version)

Despite Washington, D.C. setting a record high temperature of 102 degrees Saturday, it was a perfect day for hockey as over 40 players and over a hundred visitors gathered at Kettler Capitals Iceplex for the 4th Annual Dave Fay Memorial Game benefitting Hockey Fights Cancer. Former Caps Yvon Labre, Gord Lane, Paul Mulvey, Gary Rissling, and Alan Hangsleben joined players from across Maryland and Virginia to honor the long-time Washington Times hockey writer who passed away in 2007 after 12-year battle with cancer.

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