After the Washington Capitals played the Detroit Red Wings on Thursday night, Nicklas Backstrom took time to meet with a family who has been through a tragedy. The father, Bryan K., explains.
In late December, tragedy struck my family suddenly, and unexpectedly when my beloved 15-year-old son Jake took his own life. He had been struggling with anxiety and depression for the previous three months since entering high school and we were actively working with doctors, therapists, and the Loudoun County Public School system to try and help him. But sadly, we lost him.
Jake loved playing and watching hockey. On December 7, 2016, Jake and I went to our last hockey game together. The Capitals played the Bruins. Here’s a photo of Jake from the game.
RMNB reader Josh Robinson traveled from Ohio to see both Caps games this past weekend. Proudly holding up a handmade Believe In Beagle sign, Josh watched Jay Beagle score two goals and the Caps shutout their opponents 11-0. He also met Beags at Kettler. Josh describes his trip below.
It all started out as a joke. At the beginning of this season, I started howling at the television to make my roommate laugh whenever Jay Beagle would win a face off or do something spectacular. I noticed that I was howling at my TV more and more as the season went on. I quickly realized that Jay Beagle is a big deal.
Lifelong Caps fan and loyal RMNB reader Kit Troyer noticed something the NHL needs to address from Wednesday’s game. He explains below.
Caps coach Barry Trotz tried a new combination against the Bruins: Evgeny Kuznetsov between wingers Alex Ovechkin and Justin Williams. The new line paid quick dividends, with Williams scoring twice in the game’s first eight minutes.
Just like that, Williams doubled his season goal total, and a slumping Kuznetsov added two assists to his own ledger, as did Alex Ov… wait. What the hell?
Ovechkin received only one assist. It’s mystifying if you watch the replay.
Wednesday night at Rogers Place, Alex Ovechkin made national headlines for something other than scoring goals. During pregame warmups of the Oilers-Caps game, the Russian machine tossed his stick over the glass to a tiny Caps fan wearing an Ovechkin jersey.
We’ve since learned that the young boy’s name is Cash N., a youth hockey player who lives in Stony Plain, Alberta. Cash’s nickname from his teammates is Niebvechkin, a nod to his favorite player. According to an email from his mother Miranda, Ovi’s gesture to her son was one of the greatest moments of his life.
“The look on Cash’s face truly says it all,” she wrote.
Photo: Drew Hallowell
Editor’s note: Ned Belliveau, who made this awesome “Too Many Caps” video and this absurd season preview video, was wondering if he could try his hand at statistical analysis. While he’s no Pat Holden, he had some interesting thoughts on the Capitals’ forward depth for the upcoming season. After pulling dozens of numbers and wrestling with spreadsheet formulas Ned came to us with a complete piece that sheds some light on the contributions that the new forward acquisitions might bring to the team.
The Pittsburgh Penguins’ Stanley Cup Championship, painful as it was, may have been the best possible thing for the Washington Capitals. The old saying is that the NHL is a copycat league and Pittsburgh’s win showed that having three deep and skilled scoring lines and forward depth in general is an important factor to a successful Cup run. The Capitals were not good enough in that six-game series, and they need to address their forward depth issues to make a deep playoff run in 2016-17.
Photo: Susi K.
Monday night in Baltimore, players of a co-ed beach volleyball league got the surprise of their lifetimes when reigning NFL MVP Cam Newton showed up and asked if he could play.
Newton, who is in the area this week doing workouts for Under Armour, was joined at the Baltimore Beach courts by many of his Panthers teammates including fellow quarterback Joe Webb; wide receivers Damiere Byrd, Avius Capers, Tedd Ginn Jr., Stephen Hill, Tobais Palmer, and Miles Shuler; and tight ends Braxton Deaver, Scott Simonson, and Beau Sandland.
According to Kevin Lynch of southbmore.com, Newton and his teammates participated in a couple games of four-on-four with players from Baltimore Beach’s Men’s 2A League for about an hour.
My friend Susi K., who I graduated with at UMBC, had a chance to play with Cam last night. She was kind enough to share her experience below.
Friday morning, I woke up to a text from my friend telling me that hockey legend Gordie Howe had passed away. When I loaded Twitter and Instagram, several accounts confirmed the sad news. My dad, Lee Dravis, has been following hockey his whole life, but he’s not on social media so, of course, I was the one to break the news to him. I don’t think I had ever seen him look so shocked before, which confused me, because I had never heard him talk about Howe.
But then he told me a story about one time sharing the ice with Howe, and it was too good not to share. Take it away, Dad.
During Game Two of the Caps-Pens series, two bold fans brought a sign and held it behind the glass for Pierre McGuire. The fans, Matt and Todd, started a revolution. Their sign, written in sloppy but emphatic marker, read “Shut up, Pierre.”
On Monday night, Matt and Todd, both studying for their master’s degrees, reached out to us and explain below.
Rob Vollman is a leading voice in hockey analysis. He invented players usage charts and has written for NHL.com and ESPN Insider. His new book, Stat Shot, is available for pre-order and you can get Hockey Abstract (and the 2015 update) now.
After a dominant season, expectations are that the Washington Capitals will defeat the Philadelphia Flyers in their Eastern Conference First Round series in short order, but this may prove to be the tightest series in the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
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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