Looking_downtown_from_Riverfront_Ave_Calgary_Flood_2013

Photo credit: Hockey Players as Kids

Young Mike Green in Calgary. (Photo credit: Hockey Players as Kids)

Downtown Calgary on June 21 (Photo credit: Ryan Quan)

“We don’t have a flood, we have a disaster,” Emile Blokland, mayor of High River, told a scrum of reporters standing in the middle of a half-flooded street. His town of a little over 10,000 was left a hellish, muddy mess by the receding waters. So too was much of the Canadian province of Alberta. Four people were left dead.

About six months worth of rain fell in less than 36 hours in some parts– on land already saturated with water. It turned the relatively dry region into a soaked sponge within a couple days. The rivers that flow through the province were soon overwhelmed with flood waters coming down from the mountains, and they soon began flowing at five to ten times their normal rate.

In Calgary, 75,000 were forced to evacuate as the water swallowed streets. The city’s downtown is sandwiched between the Elbow and Bow Rivers. Office buildings, infrastructure, the local zoo, and the home of the Calgary Flames were left soaked as hippos escaped from their enclosures and the Saddledome was filled like a bathtub up to the 10th row.

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Brooks Laich First Pitch (23 of 24)

Photo credit: Chris “Effing” Gordon

Brooks Laich threw a strike.

That’s kind of his modus operandi. Ever reliable and always competent, Laich excels at pretty much everything he does. And before throwing out the ceremonial first pitch at the Baltimore Orioles game on Monday, Laich gave time to the media on a variety of issues. He nailed that too.

In the interview, Brooks speaks at length about his fan allegiance (split between the Orioles and Expos), how his struggles in the postseason extended to youth baseball, and his totally appropriate adulation of Cal Ripken.

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MAF

Photo credit: Marianne Helm

FREDERICK, MD – On the eve of a pivotal game between the Pittsburgh Penguins and Ottawa Senators in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, fans of the eliminated Washington Capitals finally chose their allegiance. “If Bylsma doesn’t play Marc-Andre Fleury, he’ll be squandering the Pens’ chance at the Cup,” said 24-year-old die-hard Caps fan Steve Neuschwander of Monrovia, MD. “I mean, I know his playoff save percentage has been under 90% for the last few years, but that just means he’s due.”

Neuschwander, wearing a custom-embroidered KOLZILLA Caps jersey and smelling vaguely of stale Keystone, continued, “You put your trust in Flower; he won’t let you down.” Holding one hand to his chest and the other to the sky, Neuschwander proclaimed, “I want the Penguins to win this as much as anyone, and they’re not gonna do it without MAF.”

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Brooks Laich First Pitch (20 of 24)

Photos by Chris Gordon

Now that the Washington Capitals have been eliminated, it’s time to move on to other things: country music concerts, junior hockey games, and, tonight, baseball!

Caps players seem to love America’s pastime. Some of them prefer a game of catch over the traditional pregame soccer kickaround. Some of them are filthy Blue Jays fansBrooks Laich is a fan as well, and on Monday he threw out the ceremonial first pitch before game between the New York Yankees and Baltimore Orioles at Camden Yards. Laich also got an extensive tour of the O’s clubhouse from All Star closer Jim Johnson, a noted New York Rangers fan.

Laich, a righty, managed to throw (sort of) a strike, just like Alex Ovechkin did a year ago. His pitch to outfielder Chris Dickerson was a little outside, but he gunned it in there.

“He said ‘Just don’t bounce it,’ which is what everybody said,” Laich recalled Dickerson as saying. “I said ‘I’m gonna bring it in there’ and he goes ‘YES! Finally somebody’s gonna throw it! Bring the heat!’”

“It was awesome!” added Laich. “A lot of people asked me ‘Are you gonna be nervous?’ You’re used to preforming in front of people — maybe not in this environment but it was more exciting.”

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Photo credit: AP

Adam Oates had lots to say during his breakdown-day interview at Ketler Capitals Iceplex on Wednesday, but the most interesting revelation was that he and star player Alex Ovechkin had an extended text-message chat after the team’s heartbreaking defeat in game seven of the quarterfinal round.

Upon hearing that, RMNB immediately sprung into action, contacting our sister publication across the pond, News of the World. Our brother-from-another-mother Jimmy Murdoch put us in touch with some folks, and voila!– we have recovered this conversation between Oates and Ovechkin.

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perreault

It was mid-March and Karl Alzner was on the Internet. Like most twentysomethings, he looked up silly videos on YouTube to kill time. He stumbled across one from early last year — it was of Peter Dill, a basketball player for Seton Hall. Dill scored a single basket in his two years playing for the school, but he did get very excited when his team scored. Alzner played the clip for Mathieu Perreault.

“The guy would just go crazy, pretend he had Thor’s Hammer and he’d be smashing the ground,” Alzner told me Saturday afternoon. “Perry, I could just see his eyes, like ‘this is awesome!’”

“We should do that after we win games,” Perreault responded.

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brooks-robinson

Photo credit: Kyle Mace

A group of superstar athletes, including Washington quarterback Robert Griffin III, signed for fans at an autograph show in Chantilly, Virginia last week. Also appearing at that show were two men, one named after the other. Washington Capitals forward Brooks Laich and Baltimore Orioles great Brooks Robinson signed autographs, and at the end of the event, they finally met.

A few days later, Laich posted a photo of the two on Twitter with the caption, “Special honor for me to meet the man I was named after, Orioles HOF 3rd baseman Brooks Robinson, absolute class act.” That made Capitals and Orioles crossover fans very happy.

Laich told Dan Steinberg of the Washington Post about the experience. “A lot of times we see fans who are sort of awestruck meeting us; for me, that was the reverse side of it.” Laich said he called his dad right after meeting the “Human Vacuum Cleaner” to tell him about the experience. Laich said meeting the baseball Hall of Famer was on his bucket list.

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Photo credit: Tom Wilson’s Instagram

There comes a time in a teenager’s life where the dream of becoming a star athlete dims and must be replaced. At the age of sixteen, that’s what happened to Toronto native Peter Wilson.

“I really fell in love with writing when I was in grade 11,” Wilson, who played hockey competitively as a kid, explained. “I had a really great literature teacher who took me under her wing and showed me some really cool books. I found writing to be really fun and therapeutic.”

In college, Wilson continued to explore literature and challenge himself, just like he did on the ice with hockey. When his passion shifted away from the ice, Wilson dropped gloves with a new opponent: the competitive field of writing.

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OleksyPunching

“What’d you call me?” (GIF by jaybeagles)

Hockey players are accustomed to terrible nicknames; they’ve got a lot. The current iteration of the Washington Capitals includes Patsy (Aaron Volpatti), Crabber (Joey Crabb), and Carly (John Carlson). Now we know Steve Oleksy‘s too, though he won’t be happy with RMNB once his teammates read this. See: Oleksy’s lifelong nickname isn’t Stevie O (as head Adam Oates called him); it’s Binky. And we’ve got the story behind that.

“When I was younger, I was sick and I was in the hospital quite a bit,” Oleksy told me recently. “I called my pacifier my binky, and every time I started crying the nurses would tell my mom to put my binky in. She started calling me that, and then the kids at school caught on, and it just kind of grew with me.”

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jeff-schultz-hows-the-wood-sid2

I saw this on eBay and I just had to have it. Capitals Sport & Decor, a memorabilia shop at Dulles Town Center, sometimes hosts signings with Washington Capitals players. They put up some of their extra signed merchandise up on eBay, and that’s where I unearthed this gem. It’s a signed 16 x 20 photo of Capitals defenseman Jeff Schultz checking Sidney Crosby down to the ice. Schultz’s signature is at bottom. To the left is an inscription that reads, “Hows the Wood Sid!”

I repeat: “Hows the Wood Sid!”

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