Connor Carrick’s Favorite Tom Wilson Moment

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Photo credit: Chris Gordon

Last week, RMNB’s Chris Gordon wrote an article about Washington Capitals prospect Connor Carrick, explaining why the 19-year-old defenseman deserves your attention. Read it read it read it read it read it read it read it read it read it.

While 2012 first-round pick Tom Wilson received all the glory last year after appearing in Hershey’s and Washington’s playoff series, Carrick — Wilson’s teammate on the Plymouth Whalers — led all OHL defenseman in playoff scoring and earned himself a post-season invite to the Bears as well. Caps assistant coach Calle Johansson believes that Carrick, with the right coaching, has the potential to be a top-four defenseman in the NHL, which would be a huge return on investment on a fifth-round pick.

A lot of good material from my interview with Carrick ended up on the cutting room floor. He’s a thoughtful, charming dude, motivated to make the most of his opportunity in hockey. My favorite part of the conversation was a story he shared about playing playoff hockey against the London Knights with Tom Wilson.

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A First Look at Tom Wilson’s Chipped Tooth (Photos)

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Tom Wilson got into two fights during Monday’s rookie game, prompting some unscheduled dental work. The Washington Capitals’ first-round pick in 2012 got clipped up high by a Flyers prospect in the second period, bleeding from the mouth as he made his way back to the bench. No call was made, natch. Wilson said later one of his bottom teeth got chipped in two.

“That’s an expensive non-call,” Wilson told reporters after the game. “They just numbed me up and then I got back out there.”

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Carrick peeks out from behind Wilson at Kettler Capitals Iceplex in July. (Photo credit: Chris Gordon)

Two thousand twelve first-round draft pick Tom Wilson is fawned over, with good reason. At 6′ 4″, he’s a mammoth dude who scores goals, hits hard, and unleashes a myriad of expletives — the personification of a hockey player. When Caps fans think of the Plymouth Whalers, Wilson is usually the only one who comes to mind. There is, however, another Washington prospect playing in eastern Michigan: fifth-round pick Connor Carrick.

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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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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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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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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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