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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.

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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.

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gordie-howe

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.

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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.”

The internet demanded we make t-shirts, which we did. Then, a few days later, an RMNB reader had “shut up pierre” tattooed on his leg.

On Monday night, Matt and Todd, both studying for their master’s degrees, reached out to us and explain below.

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The Flyers are a Threat to the Capitals

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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.

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tom-wilson-selfie

Photo: @lo_web7

Tom Wilson is a cool dude, and we got another example of that from reader Lauren W. During the Caps recent road swing in Los Angeles, Lauren and her family went to Staples Center for the game.

I’ll let Lauren take it from here.

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Is Tom Wilson a Bust?

Tom Wilson at development camp

Photo: Chris Gordon

Myan Tran is a long-time RMNB reader. She writes from Northern Virginia to settle an argument we’ve been waging among ourselves for months.

A lot has been said about whether Tom Wilson has reached or will ever reach the potential expected of a first-round draft pick. When we start talking about whether Tom Wilson is a “bust” in comparison to his peers, the conversation always turns into “well, what is a bust and who are his peers?” We’ll talk about what a “bust” is later.

First, let’s talk about who Tom’s peers are.

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ovi-in-space

Photo: Jess Hall

Seemingly every NHL team gives away some type of postgame award to name their player of the night. Last year, the Caps gave away a ridiculous Abe Lincoln beard and top hat to the teammate they deemed played the most honest game. Other NHL teams give away ugly jackets, broadway hats, or WWE-style championships belts. Then there’s the weird ol’ Florida Panthers who this year have been giving away a Kevin Spacey-in-space hoodie.

Last week, Spacey came to an actual Panthers game wearing the hoodie honoring himself. That fun night inspired one creative couple to make a Caps version of the sweatshirt. I’ll let Jess Hall explain.

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Should Nicklas Backstrom Win the Selke?

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Photo: Bruce Bennett

Spenser Smallwood writes about the Caps for Along the Boards. We’re excited to have him to help out here on RMNB. Please give him a warm welcome and follow him on Twitter.

For the last two years, the Selke vote has been somewhat predictable. Patrice Bergeron has taken home the trophy, and Jonathan Toews, David Backes, and Anze Kopitar have finished as the other top four vote-getters. Last year, Nicklas Backstom finished 11th in voting, his first time in the top twenty. It may be unlikely that Backstrom amasses enough votes to take the trophy this season either, but that hasn’t stopped Capitals Head Coach Barry Trotz’s drum-banging regarding Backstrom’s defensive prowess.

He might be right.

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Eric Rigsby is a beer leaguer in the Old Fat Bald Guys Hockey League, a former college player, and a USA Hockey Level 4 certified coach who has worked with 8U mites for the last three years and coached skills development for over 15 years. He writes from Frederick.

On February 12, House Bill 1424 entitled “Regulation of Youth Sports – Ice Hockey Clubs – Noncontact League” was introduced and read in the Maryland House of Delegates. It was sponsored by delegates Angela Angel (Dem District 25), Joseline Pena-Melnyk (Dem District 21), Ben Barnes (Dem District 21), Barbara Frush, (Dem District 21), Carlos Sanchez (Dem District 47B), and James Tarlau (Dem District 47A); all delegates primarily representing Prince George’s County. The general idea is that any youth ice hockey club operating in Maryland must offer a “non-contact” option for all age groups and skill levels where there is “full contact.”

At first glance, this is outrageous and sounds like the Maryland government is trying to take hitting out of hockey. However, if you’re involved in youth hockey at any level, you will quickly realize why this legislation isn’t necessary and that these matters should continue to be addressed by USA Hockey and its sanctioned clubs.

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