We set out a task, faithful users of the Russian Machine, to create birthday cards worthy of our gut-less (wait, did that sound bad?) leader. The only rules: use an inferior graphics program to make it.

What we avoided telling you again this year was that we didn’t have to follow the same rules. Above, is our Penguin-Pinata card for Ovi via RMNB illustrator, Rachel Cohen.

Meanwhile, you guys rocked this assignment harder than a Bruce Boudreau fitness test. Unfortunately, only one of you could win our grand prize: a RMNB t-shirt and a Mr. Big Bar. Cruise on past the jump to check out the gallery.

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RMNB’s Trade Deadline Challenge

RMNB's Trade Deadline Contest

This is what's up for grabs: a Braden Holtby signed puck

Up for grabs: a Braden Holtby signed puck

Update: Let’s announce the winners! (This gets complicated. Bare with us.)

At 11:44am on Twitter, Caps’ senior writer Mike Vogel reported that the Capitals made their first trade of the day at 11:15 am, trading prospect Jake Hauswirth and their 2011 third round draft pick in exchange for puck-moving defenseman Dennis Wideman of the Florida Panthers. Since Vogs is an official member of the Capitals and the @washcaps twitter handle did not announce the trade, we’re going to go with the times Vogel tweeted AND the official time of the deal. Therefore we have two winners to announce.

The first winner for the 11:15 time is Nichole U., who may or may not have her own Monte Carlo Machine. She guessed that GMGM’s first trade would come at 11:12 am. Only three minutes off! Fortunately — or unfortunately depending on how you look at it — she is the significant other of RMNB blogger Neil Greenberg. Therefore, she is disqualified from winning. The next closest time was long-time reader of the blog, Amanda H., who guessed 11:08 am. So Amanda, please email your address to thecrew@russianmachineneverbreaks.com so we can send you your puck.

The second winner – for when Vogel tweeted and announced the trade – is Betsy P., who guessed 11:43 am, only a minute off of his time. Betsy, please email us your address as well and you’ll get a signed puck too.

Thanks to everyone else who participated! That was fun. Let’s do it again next year.

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RMNB Contest: Make Your Own Birthday Card For Ovechkin!

Portrait of Alex Ovechkin as a Rookie.

Ovi’s all growned up!

Our hero and blog namesake, Alexander Ovechkin, will turn the ripe old age of 25 on Friday. To celebrate the occasion, Russian Machine Never Breaks is throwing one of those contest things we’re trying to become known for.

The contest: Using MS Paint or any other primitive graphic program (Photoshop is cheating), make a birthday card for Alex Ovechkin.  Let Ovie know that you love him and wish him the best for his silver year.  Draw him a pretty picture, write him a poem, demonstrate somehow that you are person of passion and culture.  Whatever it takes.  Send your submissions, either by attachment or in a link, to thecrew@russianmachineneverbreaks.com.  Use the subject line “Ovie’s birthday card”.   We will accept submissions until Friday at 5pm.  That night we will share the submissions, name a winner and present our own card.

The prize: The winner of the contest will win a high-quality RMNB t-shirt.  The winner of the contest will be selected by our arbitrary and completely capricious judges.

Remember: this is Ovie’s birthday.  Do what he’d do; kick some ass and do it with a big, goofy smile on your face.