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Sorry Penguin. (Photo credit: @ZackkShapp)

[Editor's Note: Two years ago, we debuted a t-shirt parodying the Pittsburgh Penguins. Rachel Cohen did the illustration and Ian Oland turned it into a shirt. It has become one of our top sellers and even appeared on an episode of CRL. At the Caps Convention on Saturday, reader Zack S. endeavored to get his shirt signed by the entire Washington Capitals team. Zack was kind enough to summarize the players' reactions for us. If you want your own shirt, you can buy it here in our t-shirt store.]

My dad and I were given VIP tickets the night before the convention by a friend who worked for Verizon. I was running around trying to find something to have the players sign and I thought how funny it would be if we got the players to sign a Deadguins shirt.

If you have never seen the VIP room at Caps Convention, it’s just a bunch of tables with some sandwiches and drinks put out, and most of the players come by to eat lunch or just hang out there between appearances downstairs. It’s a really cool setup because some of the guys will actually sit down and talk to you.

Most of the players were confused at first when I asked them to sign the shirt, thinking that I was asking them to sign actual Pittsburgh Penguins regalia, but most of them laughed once I told them what it was.

Reactions ranged from, “HELL YES!” by Jason Chimera to Peter Bondra shaking his head and saying, “Aw, come on.”

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Cooking with Paige, Kate, and Mike. (Photos by Chris Gordon)

[Ed note: At Capitals Convention on Saturday, friend-of-the-blog Kate Hudson was selected to participate in a cooking competition with Mike Green. The first thing they made was a brie and strawberry jam sandwich. I’ll let Kate take it from here.]

When the schedule for panels came out, my friends and I knew we had to see Mike Green cook. I didn’t know what that would entail, but there we were, waiting for Greenie to struggle to bake something.

I was sitting with my friends Roxy and Katie waiting for the thing to start. They were asking for volunteers to help the chef and Green compete in an epic grilled cheese cook-off. Katie kept saying that I needed to cook with Greenie because that would be hysterical. So I stood up and was like “PICK ME, PICK ME” and Elliot pointed to me and told me I was the helper. I actually was like “Wait, me?” and Elliot was said “Yeah, you!”

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Photo credit: @MSEFndn

On Saturday, Washington Capitals forwards Nicklas Backstrom and Troy Brouwer donated their time to DCPS Beautification Day. The event, established in 2005, is an annual citywide spruce-up of select D.C. Public Schools prior to the first day of school. A rad idea, one made even better by the athlete participation.

Backstrom and Brouwer didn’t just hang out and sign autographs for volunteers. They put in work too. The teammates helped paint a giant mural and did some landscaping outside (all the while trying to dodge their more emphatic fans).

Backstrom kept spirits high for one particular volunteer (and RMNB reader), Izzy Roscoe. Izzy, who volunteered at a Caps sponsored clean-up at Fort Dupont last April, got some special help from Nicky B while painting a mural near Neval Thomas Elementary School’s auditorium. Nick shows Izzy his gratitude in a photo they took together.

I’ll let her explain.

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Photo credit: Kyle Mace

We’ve learned a lot from 2012 first round pick Tom Wilson in the last year. There was that clutch hat trick for Plymouth in the playoffs, his first professional goal in Hershey when he beat Chris Bourque in a footrace, and a brief appearance in the NHL playoffs with the big club.

We’ve also learned that Wilson’s a surprisingly good skater, that he has a good shot, and he’s precisely as physical as advertised. One other thing we’ve noticed: he’s a bit of a yapper. Last year during development camp, Chris Gordon observed that Wilson chirped his teammates non-stop on the ice. During a Hershey playoff game I attended in May, Wilson stood with Michael Latta at the bench and verbally accosted opponents. Head Coach Mark French admitted after the game that the 19-year-old “likes to get involved in the discussion,” which is a nice way of saying that Wilson talks trash. To anyone.

Even playfully to little kids.

Sweetest Hockey On Earth’s Kyle Mace explains:

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Hendy signs his new four-year contract with Nashville. (Photo credit: @MattHendy26)

Matt “The Wagon” Hendricks has signed a four-year contract with the Nashville Predators for $1.85 million a year. That’s quite a payday for a grinder who three years ago had an uncertain future in the big league. Back in 2010 George McPhee invited Matt Hendricks to training camp on a hunch and signed him on the spot. Hendricks has been a solid fourth liner for the Capitals ever since, dropping the gloves in a few epic fights, and stunning goalies in shootout attempts. Those bona fides have made Hendricks a fan-favorite, so we invited our readers to share their favorite Hendricks stories.

This is a good one.

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[Editor's Note: Instead of rocking the red at Verizon Center for game two on Saturday, five-year Caps season ticket holder Ilan was at his brother Eyal's graduation at Indiana University. Enjoy.]

I am a long-time hockey fan, long-time Caps fan, and season-ticket holder. My brother and I grew up playing hockey and sweating the Caps hardcore. When I was in high school, we converted our basement into an indoor rink, and while pretending we were Olaf Kolzig, Craig Berube, and Peter Bondra, we wreaked havoc to the tune of drywall crumbling and light bulbs bursting. It was awesome.

Now for the not-so-awesome: I had to miss game two. My brother actually managed to graduate college this year, and his graduation ceremony was scheduled for that Saturday in Bloomington, Indiana. I thought about skipping his graduation but I am not a douche. Instead we tried to convince our mom to let us skip the festivities of the graduation at Indiana University and fly my brother home for game 2. No dice. Then I found out the worst part: we had to be at the ceremony at 2 pm. I wanted to die.

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[Editor's note: Renee, a long-time Caps season ticket-holder, won the ultimate prize in the Caps annual "Jerseys Off Our Backs" event on Fan Appreciation night. Here's her story.]

The "Jersey Off Our Backs" winners hang out at ice level and watch the Boston Bruins walk into the locker room.

The “Jersey Off Our Backs” winners hang out at ice level and watch the Boston Bruins walk into the locker room.

I started off my Friday like anyone else — scrambling to get work done before the week ended. But one phone call ended my productivity: I had been randomly selected for the “Jersey Off Our Backs” event on Fan Appreciation Day. As a longtime season-ticket holder, this is one event I’ve watched with awe – even back when the Caps would toss their signed jerseys haphazardly over the glass to waiting fans. Long story short, I didn’t get much done on Friday.

Fast-forward to game day. I watched periods one and two like anyone else — anxious to have the Caps produce on what looked to be good play despite the 0-2 score at the end of the 2nd. As the 3rd period started, I gathered with a crowd of lucky fans in the concourse. Count was taken and we were ultimately asked to pick a random manila envelope from our host — the envelope that held each of our future jersey’s numbers. We were escorted underground to wait for the end of the game. None of us saw Mike Green’s goals to tie it up, but we heard the crowd’s amazing cheers and we celebrated too. We followed tweets and text messages from friends and family in the arena, trying to harness the excitement of broken glass and overtime. The horn sounded a win and the crowd erupted in a frenzy. From the end of the hall, we watched the Bruins, heads down, trek to their locker room. And then it was our time.

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Steve Oleksy Meets Jessica, Loves Her Binky Shirt

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[Editor's Note: RMNB reader Jessica Martin met Steve "Binky" Oleksy at practice Wednesday. She shares her experience.]

I’ve been waiting for a chance to meet Steve Oleksy ever since he played for the Hershey Bears. It was only a matter a time before he was called up to the Capitals and began blowing everyone away with his hits, fights, and ability to put up points. The only thing I needed was a sweet shirt or a jersey for him to sign. Russian Machine came to the rescue with their exquisite Binky 61 shirt. I ordered it as soon as I could, and when I got it in the mail I made plans to come out to Kettler.

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The Brouwer Rangers Reveal Their Spandex Suits

Brouwer Power sign

[Editor's note: When Mike Knuble was let go by the Capitals over the offseason, Knuble's Knights were temporarily without a player to worship. After some careful thought, they re-formed as a fan club dedicated to power forward Troy Brouwer and dubbed themselves the Brouwer Rangers. Nathan Burchfiel, the group's fearless leader, is now here to reveal the group's new spandex'd uniform and signs for the Caps home opener. The floor is all yours, Nathan.]

After the Caps lost their season opener to the Tampa Bay Lighting on Saturday, many Caps fans were weeping and gnashing their teeth about this Schultz or that Ovechkin. We, on the other hand, were busy experiencing something of an existential crisis.

As we struggled to squeeze into lycra suits and freshly painted motorcycle helmets during our first and only Brouwer Rangers “dress rehearsal,” the existential question wasn’t, Who are we and what are we doing with our lives? It was more, How are we going to pull this off without being arrested for indecent exposure?

As you may know, for the past three years, we’ve attended Caps games decked in plastic armor, shields and swords, and armed with an array mildly controversial but mostly silly signs in support of fan-favorite Mike Knuble. With Knuble’s departure – and at his encouragement – we knew we had to continue the tradition with a new victim muse player to cheer for.

There’s plenty floating around about why we picked Brouwer (and why we do this at all in the first place) so we won’t rehash it here. With the lockout still fresh in our minds, who really wants to dwell in the past anyway? Instead, the fine folks at RMNB asked us to provide a preview of what’s in store for the Brouwer Rangers during this shortened season. Our existential crisis has become, Can this possibly live up to the antics and adventures of Knuble’s Knights?

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On Saturday, several Washington Capitals players rented out Kettler Capitals IcePlex to scrimmage against local college kids. Two readers who attended, Lexi Martinez and Kate Hudson, share their experience below. Lexi did the write-up, and Kate snapped the photos. Enjoy!

Caps fans got a surprise Thursday night, when John Carlson took to Twitter to announce that he’d be joining a few teammates back on the ice at Kettler the following morning for something special. Along with Brooks Laich, Jason Chimera, Jay Beagle, Jeff Halpern, and former Capital Peter Bondra, John would be scrimmaging a team of college players from around the area. It was thrown together late and all for fun, but for me, it meant a little taste of the Caps hockey we’ve all been missing so much. Naturally, I was freaking out.

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