After finishing the regular season as the NHL’s best team, the Washington Capitals fell short of their ultimate goal, losing to the Pittsburgh Penguins in six games during the semi-finals. Captain Alex Ovechkin hasn’t made it past the second round of the playoffs during his entire 11-season career, but despite some national media reports, this season’s early exit was not Ovechkin’s fault.
Ovechkin, along with John Carlson, led the team in points (12) this postseason. Ovechkin finished second to TJ Oshie in goals with five. During breakdown day Thursday, Ovechkin admitted to struggling through the regular season with a nagging injury.
“It was my back, lower back,” Ovechkin said. “Right now it’s gone. The trainers did a great job to keep me safe and healthy.”
This weekend, we also learned of something else Ovechkin was dealing with privately. According to a Russian TV program, two days before the playoffs began Alex Ovechkin’s father Mikhail suffered a heart attack, which caused the family to call for an ambulance.
Ahead of Game Two, one bold Caps fan brought a fluorescent pink sign to Verizon Center. Written haphazardly in marker and in all-caps, the message read “SHUT UP PIERRE.” The fan held this sign near NBC commentator Pierre McGuire during warm-ups. It was a hit online.
And apparently it has started a revolution.
Covering practices and morning skates at Kettler Capitals Iceplex is always an adventure. You want to provide your readers with good coverage, but you also want to make it out of there within three hours so you only have to pay a dollar to park.
Today, I made it by just a few minutes. As I was entering the on ramp to Route 66 West, there was a discreet vehicle in front of me. It was a white Mercedes S65 AMG with vanity plates. Everyone knows that car belongs to Alex Ovechkin.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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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