Thursday afternoon, CSN Washington’s Chuck Gormley reported that Mike Green will be leaving the Washington Capitals as a free agent this summer. Most of us were wrecked by the news even though it’s been expected for weeks. Green, one of the franchise’s best defensemen, leaves behind a legacy of Awesome that may never be repeated in Washington.
Let’s revisit that legacy now in this video created by our very own Amanda Bowen.
So, um, this is amazing.
First: some context! The Patrick family is one of the most famous families in hockey history. Lynn, Lester, Frank, and Craig Patrick are all in the Hall of Fame. Dick Patrick is the Capitals’ President of Operations.
One little known fact is that Dick’s nephew Steve is making a huge name for himself outside of hockey. Steve Patrick drums for the rock band Young Rising Sons, who had maybe one of the bigger rock singles of 2014 with “High.” You’ve likely heard it before in commercials or on the radio. It’s catchy as hell. They are releasing their first full length album in the fall with Interscope Records.
On Monday morning, after reading our story about Paige Hockman and her best friend Reagan Flemming (who tragically died of cancer this past March), Steve and lead singer Andy Tongren reached out to us. Inspired by the whole story, they graciously recorded an acoustic version of “How Do I Live” in their Caps jerseys. The song was first made famous by country singers LeAnn Rimes, Trisha Yearwood, and me on Twitter whenever I over-dramatically tweet about missing Filip Forsberg.
Photo: Sydney Madison Photography
Friday in Culpeper, Virginia, a few hundred Eastern View High seniors gathered at Cyclone Stadium, the school’s football field, for graduation. Like the thousands of other students across the area, graduation is a huge celebration– the culmination of many, many years of hard work (or just enough expert coasting to get by).
But there was one Eastern View senior who was walking with a heavy heart: 18-year-old Paige Hockman, who was graduating with honors. As she walked on stage and accepted her diploma, she blew a kiss into the sky. Most in the audience understood exactly what the gesture meant.
The top of her powder blue graduation cap had a message written in glitter glue: “Guys, I did it!!!” The names Reagan, mom, and dad accompanied the note with blue hearts. Blue was her father’s favorite color.
Last week, Eric Fehr met the media to update them on the injury that has keep him out of the lineup for most of the playoffs. After two minutes of optimism and indirect answers, the scrum was finished. The day’s routine necessity had been completed. As the rest of the media shuffled away from Fehr’s locker, I made an offhand comment that the F-16 was getting ready for flight.
“There are some bad nicknames out there,” he told me. “Of all the nicknames to have, that’s a pretty cool one.”
I asked what he thought of his other nickname, Fehrsie.
“See, that’s the thing: I hate those nicknames,” he said. “Anybody with a last name with a –y on the end would probably be the worst one. Spelling it –ie doesn’t change anything. You need to be creative. As a group we’ve tried to be more creative with guys. We tried to change it up a little bit.”
Inadvertently, I had just stumbled on a massive scoop. Over the next 10 minutes, Fehr revealed the other hidden nicknames of the Capitals locker room. Some you might know– others you don’t.
Swedish bruisers. (Photo credit: Len Redkoles)
Over the past season, we’ve seen Marcus Johansson go from a talented set-up man into the Caps third leading goal scorer. Andre Burakovsky has gone from an 19-year-old babyfaced rookie into, for a while, the team’s top-line right wing. In the past two weeks, those two have added more facets to their game. In the 2015 playoffs, Johansson and Burakovsky have become physical forces on the ice. But instead of going for needless checks that only put them out of position as so many players do, Marcus and Andre pick their spots, using their bodies to bump opponents off the puck or maintain possession.
“You never want to approach a game looking for hits,” Brooks Orpik, who was third in the league in that stat during the regular season, told me Wednesday. “If you do that you’re gonna be out of position.”
“We can’t try to be a skill team all the time,” he added. “If you are a big team, you have to use that to your advantage.”
Photo: Ian Oland
When it comes to handing out cool nicknames to their teammates, we think hockey players are second to none. The current crop of Capitals are certainly doing their fair share of creative nicknaming. When the NHL mic’d up Tom Wilson for a first round game against the Islanders, we learned that Alex Ovechkin’s moniker is Destroyer – or at least that’s what Willy Baby calls him. And who can forget the “Big Cheese” Joel Ward; I mean, how can it possibly get any cooler than Big Cheese!?
In my opinion, it just did, courtesy of the two Caps players, who, as The Washington Post recently discovered, developed a strong and somewhat surprising friendship during the course of this season: Russian rookie Evgeny Kuznetsov and grizzled American veteran Brooks Orpik.
Photo credit: Frank Franklin II
Down two goals to the New York Rangers at the tail end of the second period on Saturday, the Capitals were on a desperate search for points on the scoreboard. With 6:01 left in the frame, Evgeny Kuznetsov pulled a goal out of thin air, as he has so many times during these playoffs. Kuznetsov’s surprising and alert goal put the Caps within one, almost leading to a stunning comeback. Despite a late-game flourish, Washington lost. Tied for the Capitals team lead in playoff goals with Alex Ovechkin, Kuznetsov was once again superb. Nevertheless, the result was not good enough for him.
“Today I score, but next game another guy score,” Kuznetsov told me. “Who cares right now who score today? We lose the game.”
For one week only you can buy RMNB’s Emoji poster for $15.
Late last week, Apple released the latest version of iOS. It was cool and all, but there was still one major problem.
Still no hockey emoji pic.twitter.com/TVZhAH8Agl
— Hockey Culture (@HockeyCuIture) April 8, 2015
Apple refuses to create emoji for the greatest sport in the world!
RMNB is here to fix all of that– at least for the Capitals. You can thank illustrator Rachel Cohen (and my crazy mind too).
Photo: Scott Cannon
A few weeks ago, Mike Green started playing with an old Easton Stealth CNT from his 30-goal season. Discontinued almost 10 years ago, Green found one of those sticks in his garage. Green started breaking out the stick in special situations, hoping to regain some of the offensive magic he had in the last decade. The CNT, he said, is the best stick he’s ever used. At the time, he had just one.
After I wrote about it, readers starting emailing RMNB to offer their old game-used Stealths that they had purchased or had been given by Green. Some are even signed. Since then, readers have slowly been resupplying Green with those old CNTs.
On Saturday, Green scored with one of those reader-provided sticks, his second goal since he started using the CNT again.
For the last ten years, Max and Zach Wolpoff,The Crazy 8’s, have been a familiar site at Washington Capitals game, sitting on the glass right beside the Caps bench. Yesterday, we wrote about how the Caps/Devils game would be the Ovechkin superfans’ last together due to higher learning.
During warm-ups, Alex Ovechkin gave them a parting gift. In yet another gesture in a season full of them, Ovechkin gave the brothers two game-used sticks. It was a complete surprise to them.
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