brooks-robinson-caps-game

Major League Baseball is in the throes of opening week and Orioles Hall of Famer Brooks Robinson was at a hockey game Thursday night. As a guest of CSN Mid-Atlantic and the Laughlin family, Robinson came to Verizon Center to see the latest iteration of the Capitals Penguins rivalry.

Nicknamed “The Human Vacuum Cleaner,” Robinson won 16 Gold Gloves and two world championships with the Baltimore Orioles. Robinson is considered one of the greatest third basemen in major league history. Former Capitals player Brooks Laich is named after the beloved Orioles infielder.

During the first intermission, I spoke with Robinson. Brooks explained his hockey fandom, what position he would play if he were a hockey player, and his thoughts on his historic Major League career.

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braden-alexander-gifts

In February, two RMNB readers, Daniel and Katie, told us that they had named their new child after two of their favorite Caps players, Braden Holtby and Alex Ovechkin. Naturally, we had to share the news of tiny Braden Alexander with all of you. The post was one of our most-read articles of February and NHL Live even showed a picture of tiny Braden on TV.

That reception was wonderful — Daniel and Katie thanked me approximately a million times through email — but that’s not the end of the story. A few days later, the Capitals reached out to me privately and asked if I could arrange for a package be sent to Daniel and Katie.

You’re never going to believe what they were sent.

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andy-tongren-caps-rmnb

Friday night, the Capitals lost to the Rangers 3-2. I mostly abandoned GIF’ing, but for good reason. Andy Tongren, the lead singer of the Young Rising Sons, came to my house to watch the game. Yes, a legit rock star came to my house to play with my ferrets, play fetch with my kitten, and watch the Caps.

The Young Rising Sons are signed to Interscope Records and currently recording their first full album. They’ve released two (very good) EP’s, which you can buy on iTunes here and here. You’ve likely even heard their monster single “High” before, which is catchy af.

Andy and drummer Steve Patrick play hockey (even with me outside the 9:30 Club) and are huge Caps fans. Steve is the nephew of Capitals president Dick Patrick.

I interviewed Andy in my basement during the game. We talked about touring, Justin Bieber, the Caps obviously, and the Man V.

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evgeny-kuznetsov-celebration

Photo: Rob Carr

During Monday night’s game against the Coyotes, Evgeny Kuznetsov pirouetted across the offensive zone (sound familiar?) and fired a rocket that trickled past Arizona netminder Louis Dominque. It was his 18th goal and 61st point of the year.

Kuznetsov then skated behind the net and twirled in his finger in the air, which has become his trademark celebration during his breakout season. Earlier today I asked him about it.

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A quick, yet flavorful take on the classic spaghetti with meat sauce. Recipe: http://norecipes.com/blog/spaghetti-recipe/

Last night we were all captivated by Spaghetti Guy, a man slurping up the Italian dish off a square plate behind the Islanders bench. He had a white linen towel resting on his knee, lest he sully his fine blue jeans. Some Caps fans were left wondering if the same level of luxury could be found at Verizon Center. I conducted extensive research Friday morning and found the answer.

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ellison-barber-ovechkin-story

Ellison and famous gas pump no. 3. (Photo: Ian Oland)

During the first day of Winter Storm Jonas, a WUSA9 news crew stumbled upon Capitals superstar Alex Ovechkin while conducting man-on-the-street interviews. It was the stuff of legend. The future hall of famer, whose game against the Anaheim Ducks had been postponed an hour earlier, was hurriedly getting gas right before the full brunt of the snow storm struck.

What resulted was internet gold. The reporter gasped when she saw who she had approached. Ovechkin, laughing, agreed to do the interview. The resulting video went viral, with national publications like Deadspin, Sports Illustrated, USA Today, Washington Post, Yahoo, and TSN all picking up the story.

The reporter who conducted the interview was WUSA9’s Prince George’s County Deputy Bureau Chief, Ellison Barber, a rising star in the industry. I spoke to her about her experience.

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Photo: Amanda Bowen

At last year’s All-Star draft in Columbus, Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin went on a passionate, and at times bizarre, quest to get picked last and win a new car. Ovechkin, who already has a fleet of sport and luxury vehicles at home, did not need another automobile. Viewers at home thought it was a long, elaborate joke.

In the end however, Ovechkin’s quest to win a free car was one of the most charitable and kind moments of the NHL season. Ovechkin was not picked last, but when Honda learned of his idea– to donate the car to Ann Schaab and the American Special Hockey Association’s Washington Ice Dogs — the car company happily agreed to do so, setting up an event a month later at a local dealership.

In interviews with ASHA officials and volunteers, I learned that Ovechkin’s gesture had a profound and long-lasting impact on the team and the organization that benefits special needs hockey players.

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nate-schmidt-snow

Photo: @nateschmidt88

When we last heard from Nate Schmidt, the Minnesota native was geeking out over the impending snow storm and naming his personal Caps snowball fight dream team.

On Monday, NHL.com’s Katie Brown caught up with Schmidt after the Capitals’ first practice since the blizzard and asked Schmidt about how he spent his days off. Apparently, the Caps defenseman took to the streets of Clarendon, Virginia with a close friend.

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alex-ovechkin-papa-johns

Last week Alex Ovechkin captivated the hockey world when he became the fifth fastest player in NHL history to score 500 goals. That excitement got the attention of pizza titan Papa John’s Pizza, who announced Thursday that they have signed the extremely marketable Ovechkin to a multi-year endorsement deal.

Like Ovechkin’s style, the partnership is creative, so all of humankind will benefit. Papa John’s will kick off the partnership with a promotion, The Ovechkin Wish Special. If you buy two medium, one-topping pizzas, $1 from the purchase will be donated to the Make-A-Wish Foundation’s Mid-Atlantic chapter. Of course it would.

“Ovi really enjoys kids and, as everyone has seen, he loves bringing smiles and laughter to their faces – and for some, making their dreams come true,” Ovechkin’s agent David Abrutyn said to me in a phone interview Wednesday evening. “This partnership with Papa John’s is a great way for him and fans throughout the DC region to help do more of those great things.”

But let me talk about the price for a minute. Each pizza (in the $16 promotion) costs you $8. If you’re a dedicated Ovechkin fan, you will celebrate your first order by taking the pizzas out of the box and laying them next to each other so that they form a #8 on your dinner table.

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nate-schmidt-pumpkin-pie

On Monday morning, Nate Schmidt sat down with a sigh in his stall in the locker room at Kettler Capitals Iceplex. After having an off day on Sunday, Washington had just concluded a hard, training camp-style practice. Schmidt, though, claimed he had other reasons for being zapped.

“I usually get my energy from being outside and it’s been raining,” he told Katie Brown of NHL.com.

Schmidt is a fun guy and a great hockey player. He’s also American, which means unlike most Capitals players he celebrates our annual feast. Last Thursday, he visited some extended family in Virginia. There, Schmidt had a “double dinner” at two and seven, taking “an absolutely comatose nap” in between.

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