Knuble’s Knights Are Now The Brouwer Rangers

[Editor's note: After the Washington Capitals extended Troy Brouwer's contract for another three years on Wednesday, Nathan Burchfiel, fearless leader of Knuble Knight's, had his own announcement to make. The floor is all yours, Nathan.]

When the 2011-2012 NHL season ended, the questions about the future were only just beginning. The zeitgeist was buzzing about whether there would even be a 2012-2013 season, but moreso about what would become of Knuble’s Knights, that magnificent armor-clad duo who won the hearts of many a Caps fan with their often strange and occasionally ill-advised antics in support of their one true liege. Could the Knights continue on with their fearless leader in limbo? Would they carry their swords into battle for another worthy team member? Would they fade into the masses of normal Caps fans? Would they finally get upgraded to full season tickets? (YES!)

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Not All Fighters Carry Hockey Sticks

Editor’s note: RMNB reader Tharen Koelsch shares this story about a very special Caps fan.

Less than two pounds. That’s what the machine read when Skylar Elizabeth made her life debut. She was just a little bit longer than a ruler. Among the many wires, machines and blue lights, there was a little baby who had a lot of fight in her.

Baby Skylar

Skylar was born without the typical fanfare of a baby’s entrance to the world. There were no bottles of champagne waiting to be opened. No outfit ready to make her look cute for the first car ride home. The hospital bag wasn’t packed and waiting by the door. Instead, frantic nurses, anesthesiologists, and doctors tried to hide their own fears. Her father didn’t see her being born, and her own mother was not conscious. Within minutes, she was airlifted in a helicopter to Children’s National Medical Center, without any of her family.

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Goodbye, Mike Knuble, from Knuble’s Knights

Photo credit: Paul Bereswill

[Editor's note: We asked Nathan and Ryan of Knuble's Knights to bid a fond farewell to Mike Knuble as he departs the Washington Capitals. Here's what they gave us.]

Sir Michael of the House Knuble, First of Your Name, Man of 1000 Games, Crasher of Nets, Breacher of Creases, Abuser of Goalies and Grandpa of Slippers:

Thank you.

When the RMNB guys invited us to write a farewell post, they suggested that we provide some highlights of your time in D.C., defend your performance this year, or re-tell some stories about the Knights’ antics. To be honest, the stories have already been told, and there are people much more qualified who will write the reviews and summaries and analyses. As fans, all we’re really qualified to do is say Thank You.

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Ed. Note: Justin Goldman is the founder of The Goalie Guild, an independent goalie scouting service and overall resource for all things professional goaltending. He’s written for, been interviewed by Stephen Whyno, and knows more about goaltending than everyone in this blog put together. Check out his story below and make sure to check out his site. Padtracker is the best.

Caps Fans:

I’m writing this note during Game 6, because regardless of whether he wins or loses, my message remains the same.

You have a very special young goaltender in Braden Holtby.

For his age, he is very polished, composed, and adaptable. In fact, when I break down his game at the elemental level, I come to find that he has many positives, and very few negatives.

Most of you are keen enough to see this with your own two eyes. It’s just the way he moves in the crease, the body language he displays. The statistical results act as the perfect “visual proof” most of us need to argue that he has a very bright future.

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Fans in F Street Building Unveil New Caps Sign for the Playoffs

Photo by Clyde Caplan,

Editor’s Note: Amidst the excitement of tonight’s first playoff game, Caps fan Ashley Christoff decided to gather her co-workers and work on a special project today. We’ll let her explain below.

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William Make-A-Wish (33 of 34)

Alexander Semin picks up William after giving him his game jersey. (Photo credit: Shannon family)

Editor’s Note: By now, you’ve probably heard of William Shannon. He is five years old, has acute lymphoblastic leukemia and is everyone’s favorite little Capital. Thanks to the make a Wish-A-Wish foundation and the Caps, William had his dream realized and took the ice with Mike Green, Jason Chimera, D.J. King and Semyon Varlamov on Friday.

“This weekend was an incredible event!,” William’s father Devin Shannon said in an email. “William’s wish was to practice with the Capitals and he did! I can’t tell you how much everyone has done for us and what this weekend has meant for us.”

After practicing with the Caps, William’s journey continued on Saturday when he and his family took in Washington’s matchup with the Buffalo Sabres before riding the on the Zamboni and receiving the jersey off the back of Alexander Semin after the game. I’ll let Devin take it from here:

Day two was just as amazing as day one! Allyson Butler from Make-A-Wish met us in the hotel lobby and took us out to wait for our “ride” to the game! Within minutes a very long black stretch limo appeared before us! Bill, our driver, was very nice. William and Emily quickly climbed in and all we heard for a few minutes was: “Cool!” “This is so sweet!” Then we had chatty little ones for the short ride over to the Verizon Center! It is amazing how just the little things make such a huge impression! How neat it was for the kids to get out of the limo right in front of the Verizon Center with so many fans around wondering who the V.I.P. was!

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Dennis Wideman’s Leg Injury: So It’s Not ‘Just a Bruise’

Dennis Wideman gets helped off the ice after being crushed by Tuomo Ruutu

Wideman gets helped off the ice after being crushed by Tuomo Ruutu. (Photo credit: Chris Gordon)

Editor’s Note: On Thursday, TSN’s Bob McKenzie reported that Dennis Wideman was in a Washington hospital with a significant leg hematoma as a result of a hit by Carolina’s Tuomo Ruutu. Later that night, Capitals officials confirmed that Wideman suffered a hematoma, likely compartment syndrome, but that muscle damage appeared limited. We had no idea what that was or the potential ramifications, so we thought, why don’t we ask two experts who actually know what’s going on.

Those experts are friends of the blog Catherine Gardner and Chris Gardner. Cat’s background includes having a bachelor’s degree in biology from UVa, 11 years EMS experience as a Nationally Registered Paramedic, six years as an EMT instructor, seven years of HS teaching experience and a NCEE (Nationally Certified EMS Educator) certification.

Chris has a degree in Astrophysics from UVa and a Masters in Systems Engineering from GWU. He also has 11 years of EMS experience as a volunteer in Prince William county in roles from Street Medic through Rescue Chief. Plus, these two went on dates to the Capital Centre to watch hockey and came back from their honeymoon in time to watch Game Four of the Stanley Cup finals against the Red Wings. So there really is no one better to ask. Take it away, guys.

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Capitals Players Coach a Hockey Clinic: One Mother’s Experience

Brooks Laich with Josh

Joshua poses with Brooks Laich (Photo credit: Cheryl Nichols of Caps News Network)

Editor’s note: After two friends won an auction at Caps Care Casino Night, RMNB reader Julie Roemele was presented with the opportunity of a life-time: to learn hockey from some of her favorite NHL pros. This past Sunday, Kettler Capitals Iceplex hosted a Capitals hockey clinic featuring workshops from Brooks Laich, Matt Hendricks, Semyon Varlamov, Mike Green and Assistant Coach Bob Woods. Below, Julie describes her and her son Joshua’s experience.

Julie's all smiles as she skates at on the fresh sheet of ice at Kettler Capitals Iceplex. (Photo credit: Cheryl Nichols)

Julie's all smiles as she skates at on the fresh sheet of ice at Kettler Capitals Iceplex. (Photo credit: Cheryl Nichols)

When someone gives you the chance to learn from the best, you don’t pass it up. So when my friends Mark and John called to invite me to a hockey clinic with the Capitals that they’d won at the Caps Care Casino Night, I couldn’t feign disinterest because I was a little afraid I’d be unsteady on the ice. Admittedly I’m more hockey mom than hockey player, even though I’ve been taking lessons for a year now.

Once at Kettler, the participants (there were about 20 of us) were split into five groups of four to work at five different drill stations. First up, defense with Caps Assistant Coach, Bob Woods. He’d pass each of us the puck and instruct us to circle as if trying to lose an opposing player. He would then dump a puck into the end boards while we skated after. To be honest, I suck at this and I was glad when the ten minutes were up, but it’s a skill I need to improve if I’m going to be a better player. I’ll definitely keep practicing it.

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A Special Birthday Cake For John Carlson’s 21st

Nour poses with John Carlson after she presents him with the cake

Editor’s note: Nour H. is a reader with a talent for sweets. It’s good that she chose to user her powers for good, treating rookie John Carlson to a tasty cake for his 21st birthday. Here is Nour’s story.

There’s something cool about meeting someone you admire. Getting an autograph is nice, but sometimes you have to give back. A while ago I had a silly idea while watching the Caps practice with my friend Lindsey. John Carlson‘s birthday was coming up, his 21st, and I thought to make him a birthday cake. I was half joking. I mean, how could I even get it to him? I thought I would give it a shot anyway and asked an acquaintance if he could make it happen. The worst he could say was “no”.

It made my night when I got the official “OK.” He told me that he couldn’t promise a meeting, but that he could definitely give it to him. Didn’t matter to me. I just thought it would be cool to give him a cake. I had about a week to plan it out, and I didn’t want to waste any time. I wanted this to be one of the best cakes ever.

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Caps Care Casino Night, Year Two

Karl Alzner poses with Emily

Editor’s note: One year ago, Emily Karol gave a newborn RMNB a kick in the pants with her report on the first Casino Night. This year she does the same with the added bonus of Chris Gordon’s photos.

By the way, Emily is looking for a roommate. Available February 1st, she’s got a single bedroom with a private bathroom and a walk-in closet located just 3 miles from Kettler Capitals Iceplex. Email her if you’re interested. Awesome people only, please. Take it away, Emily.

When I learned that the 2nd annual CapsCare Casino Night and Auction would take place on January 9th, I couldn’t be more excited. I attended the first Casino Night and had a blast, but this year’s festivities hit on the birthdays of both Bruce Boudreau and me. Who could pass up the chance to wear a pretty dress, drink some cocktails, and schmooze with fabulous people on your birthday? Not me.

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