It’s been almost a year since Alex Ovechkin signed a multi-year endorsement deal with Papa John’s, and fans are finally getting a glimpse of The Great Eight slinging pies in his first television commercial for the chain.
RMNB got an exclusive first look at the 30-second spot, which imagines Ovi’s hockey career was a plan B to his first dream: to become the gr8est pizza delivery boy in the whole wide world.
While napping Wednesday afternoon, 20-year-old Jakub Vrana received the call he always dreamed about. With TJ Oshie injured and the Caps wanting more speed, Vrana was promoted to Washington and will make his NHL debut Thursday night against the New York Islanders.
At the time of his call-up, Vrana was the AHL’s third best goal-scorer, tallying nine goals in 18 games. Despite Paul Carey’s long point-per-game streak, Vrana has been by far and away the Bears’ most dangerous player. The talented Czech winger began the season in October with five goals in six games. He followed that up with a four-goals-in-six-games outburst in November. In 57 career AHL games, Vrana already has four multi-goal games.
Vrana will be bringing a skillset to Washington that includes a big shot along with plus-skating and stick-handling. The 2014 first-round pick’s talent is evident in all nine of the goals he scored so far this season.
Earlier this month, Alex Ovechkin signed a new endorsement deal with Plarium to rep the free-to-play mobile game Throne: Kingdom at War. Ovechkin, who also has signed deals with Papa John’s and Russia’s Bank Otkrytie over the last year, joined a who’s who of world-famous athletes for Plarium’s digital campaign including future Hall of Fame basketball player Tony Parker, former MMA champion Anderson Silva, and Atletico Madrid’s Fernando Torres.
For the photoshoot, Ovechkin threw on body armor and a specially-made Throne hockey jersey. In one photo, he is shown letting out an intense roar as he goes into digi-battle. In another, he glares at the camera while his hockey stick is on fire and a small village burns to the ground.
“The purpose of this campaign is to highlight the spectrum of emotions that players can experience in the game through our ability to give them the best opportunity to cooperate with each other, and exercise their desire to compete and achieve victory whether alone or with a team,” Roman Zhdanov, VP of Marketing at Plarium, said. “We selected some of the best athletes across a variety of sports to convey this emotional lift that the game provides, because nearly everyone has seen the uplifting power of sports.”
The Washington Capitals hosted their 2016-17 regular season home opener in style Saturday with a special red carpet event. As cars provided by Lexus dropped players off on F Street, diehard Caps fans lined the entrance, hoping for a picture or an autograph with their favorite athlete.
The event started at 3:30 and was hosted by PA Announcer Wes Johnson, who served as the master of ceremonies. Johnson introduced players as they arrived while preselected fans walked the players down the red carpet. Many Caps, including Alex Ovechkin, Evgeny Kuznetsov, Tom Wilson, Nate Schmidt, and Andre Burakovsky, posed for selfies with fans before going inside Verizon Center.
That afternoon, RMNB had two photographers at the event, myself and the talented Katie Snyder (who you can follow on Instagram and Facebook). Snyder is one of the Redskins’ home-game photographers and graduated from the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City. Snyder also does a lot of freelance work, including family-based portraits.
Thursday night in Pittsburgh, Capitals forward Justin Williams face-tackled Evgeni Malkin to the ice after the Russian superstar whacked goaltender Braden Holtby.
“It was like a different sport,” Malkin said of the hit, comparing Williams’ takedown to a wrestling or MMA move. “I’m OK. It was nothing bad.”
Well judging from this (very unreal) play-by-play I just unearthed by former WWE announcer Jim Ross, Williams’ takedown had malice and the resulting melee was one hell of a slobberknocker. Think of Evgeni’s family, Justin.
Thanks to you, we raised $8,840 for Caps fan Ryan Ellis to participate in the Drive Sober 200 Xfinity race at Dover International Speedway this Saturday. That money went to pay for a pit crew, transporting the car, new tires, parts – you name it. It also paid for a half-wrap of Ryan’s black-and-blue painted #25 Chevy Camaro.
Over the last few days, I’ve frantically worked with Rick Ware Racing and Carnage Graphics to turn around a hood design, a bumper design, and several other lower quarter panel decals. While it’s been fun and a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, it’s also been quite stressful. We also had to figure out where to put everyone’s name who donated, how to best credit our secondary sponsors, and how to make all of those logos perfect vector illustrations.
After 48 hours, the car design was finished (minus the bumper). I really hope you smile at the final result.
The Young Rising Sons, an up-and-coming band signed to Interscope Records, just released the first single off their new album due out early next year. Titled Undefeatable, the tune — much like the band’s previous smash hit from 2015 — is catchy af. It also has special significance for Caps fans and hockey fans in general.
First, the pop rock trio consists of two gigantic Caps fans, lead singer Andy Tongren and drummer Steve Patrick, who have most notably played street hockey with me in front of the 9:30 Club and held my ferrets.
Delving even deeper, Steve Patrick is the nephew of Capitals President Dick Patrick. The Patrick family is one of the most historic and decorated families in hockey history, featuring five Stanley Cup champions and four Hockey Hall of Famers (Lester, Frank, Lynn, and Craig). Dick Patrick’s son Chris is also a scout for the Capitals.
Photo: Patrick McDermott
On Monday afternoon, checking-line forward Michael Latta was not tendered a qualifying offer, ending his tenure in Washington. Lats will become an unrestricted free agent July 1.
“We struggled with that one,” Barry Trotz said to Elliot in the Morning the next day. “He’s been a really good soldier for us. We felt with where the game is going, in terms of our team, with four centermen, Lats is best playing in the middle and right now we don’t really have a place for him. And plus we have a couple centerman, Travis Boyd and Chandler Stephenson, who have really stepped up from the minors. Their skill sets are a little different. They’re more about speed and skill. And Lats is more about the physicality and the grind.”
“We wanted to give him an opportunity somewhere else,” Trotz continued. “Lats has been exceptional as a teammate. A lot of his teammates are sorry to see him leave. But I’m hoping the best for Lats. He’s a terrific guy. He’s a guy’s guy and a great teammate.”
On Tuesday night, I spoke to Latta and he opened up about the team’s decision to not bring him back. He also discussed his time in Washington – a time he will remember fondly – and also spoke seriously about his close friendship with Tom Wilson.
He also had some very sweet words for Caps fans.
On Tuesday night, a day after news broke that Michael Latta would not receive a qualifying offer from the Washington Capitals, I had a lengthy interview with the forward, who is now set to become an unrestricted free agent on July 1. Latta told me that he was caught off guard by the team’s decision to non-tender him, but had nothing but good things to say about his teammates and his time in Washington.
“I was getting texts from everyone,” Latta said when the news dropped. “I wasn’t replying right away to [Tom], so he double, triple, quadruple texted me.”
“I think that’s one of the best things about hockey, the relationships you build,” Latta continued. “Tom and I obviously have become very close and will probably be one of my best friends forever. I’ll take a lot of good things from Washington, like the friendships I’ve built.”
Latta, who according to Hockey Fights has dropped the gloves 106 times in his professional career, will now look for a new team. He’s hoping to find a spot where he can bring energy every night and penalty kill. Depending on where he ends up, Latta could find himself playing against his former Caps teammates next year. It may get very awkward for fans.
Photo: Bruce Bennett
Washington Capitals goaltender and Vezina Trophy winner Braden Holtby rocked a stunning John Varvatos number to the 2016 NHL Awards on Wednesday, noting that he enjoyed the “rock and roll” motif of his new suit. Caps video coach Brett Leonhardt appeared wearing socks with Barry Trotz‘s face on them to go along with a fancy tuxedo. When Trotz, who won the Jack Adams, appeared on the red carpet, he was also wearing new attire, ditching his usual black for a fresh blue suit with narrow pinstripes.
Russian Machine Never Breaks is not associated with the Washington Capitals; Monumental Sports, the NHL, or its properties. Not even a little bit.
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