This post is part of a series in which we enter an alternative universe where I get to call the shots during the Caps offseason.

Yesterday, I wrote about filling the Caps hole in the top six with Patrick Sharp. For the tl; dr crowd, this is what my Caps top-six looks like now:

Ovechkin Backstrom Burakovsky
Johansson Kuznetsov Sharp

I also touched on the Caps’ depth forwards who would find themselves in the top six if poor play or an injury left a void there.

Top-six depth
Tom Wilson
Troy Brouwer
Stanislav Galiev

The Caps could stand to acquire some more scoring depth, but that’s an issue for another day. Today, we’re shifting focus to the Caps bottom six, specifically the third-line center role. Eric Fehr, who apparently won’t be re-signed, has been the team’s primary third-line center over the past two seasons.

But this isn’t Brian MacLellan’s Cup-winning team, it’s mine.

Unlike a top-six winger, the Caps can likely find a third-line center either internally or via free agency. Here are some of the options.

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This is the first in a series of posts looking at moves I think the Caps need to make to have a legitimate shot at winning the Stanley Cup in 2015-16. Shout out to the Orioles blog Camden Depot, as their “Building a Champion” series was the inspiration for these posts. These are not what I think the Caps will do; these are what I think the Caps should do, within the realm of what’s realistic.

The Capitals’ lack of shot-generating, skill forwards is one of the primary reasons why they weren’t playing hockey in June, something we touched on here at RMNB back in March. Having Alex Ovechkin, whose shot-generating abilities are other-worldly, is really helpful. But hockey is too much of a team game for Ovechkin to carry this current group of Caps’ forwards through four rounds of playoff hockey.

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What to Watch Instead of the NHL Awards


Photo: Tom Szczerbowski/USA TODAY Sports

Let’s get real for a hot second. I don’t enjoy the NHL Awards. You don’t enjoy the NHL Awards. Why do we insist on pretending we do?

Every year the NHL trots out a mediocre host and a handful of celebrity (?) presenters, mashes them up with a band best known for being one people love to hate (2015: Daughtry, 2014: Phillip Phillips, 2012: Nickelback – you get it), and tries to pretend players would rather be there wearing shirts than at a pool party not wearing shirts. The best year of the NHL Awards was 2013, when there wasn’t an NHL Awards.

Here’s what’s going to happen tonight: Alex Ovechkin will take home the Rocket Richard trophy. That much is certain. He’s also contender for both the Hart Trophy as league MVP and the Ted Lindsay Award as the MVP as voted by the players. If he wins them, you knew he was going to win them, so what’s even the point of watching? If they go to Carey Price, then it was all a sham anyway so why bother?

Instead of suffering through Rob Riggle’s Gary Bettman-approved jokes and big-name celebrities – one half of 90s country duo Brooks & Dunn, Tom Hanks’ son, and Alex Ovechkin’s favorite DJ – awkwardly mispronounce the name Pavel Datsyuk, you should watch something else. Always here to serve, RMNB has put together some recommendations based on tonight’s TV listings.

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The New Hockey Emoji Kind Of Sucks


For years, hockey fans have been begging for a hockey emoji. And on Wednesday, we finally got our wish. Unicode Consortium released a version of Unicode 8.0, which includes 37 new icons. The taco, burrito, cheese, and unicorn are awesome.

The hockey emoji – how can I put this delicately – kind of sucks.

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Photo: Linnea Nyangen / Orebro Hockey

The Denver Post’s Mike Chambers reported yesterday that the Caps are believed to be in the mix for Derek Ryan, a 28-year-old American center who led the Swedish Hockey League in scoring last year, following a report by Elliotte Friedman about NHL clubs’ interest in Ryan in early May.

The Avalanche are the likely frontrunners for Ryan’s services and the Leafs are another team reported to be looking at the Spokane-born forward.

Like Chambers, I do not think Ryan will make the NHL out of the training camp, and whoever gets him can’t pencil him in as an NHL player. In fact, I think it’s quite unlikely that he’ll ever become a full-time NHL player. But even if he doesn’t, there are other benefits from signing him.

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It all comes down to this. The Stanley Cup Final begin tonight between the Blackhawks and Lightning. Meanwhile, your humble RMNB founders are locked in mortal combat with a 5.7-gram disc of copper and nickel. It’s time for our final predictions. And then you get to tell us where we’re wrong.

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The Caps are out, but the drama continues.

Here’s how we did last round:

  1. Peter: 3 for 4
  2. Keith, a Coin: 2 for 4
  3. Ian: 4 for 4 oh bravo you special little snowflake you picked against the Caps aren’t you so clever hold on let me put an applause gif in here

Now for the Conference Finals.

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Sixty Minutes of Hockey


Photo: Bruce Bennett

No one knows the agony of games seven like fans of the Washington Capitals. The Caps, we’ve been told, are a team uniquely terrible at playing Big Games, which are bigger than small games, which don’t even get uppercase letters. Washington, led– perhaps only nominally– by Alex Ovechkin, are choking dogs. Or maybe they’re cursed. Basically, they’re cursed, choking dogs who are also lazy and don’t care about team accomplishments and they’re probably all going to go to Russia soon anyw—

Shut. Up.

The past is not always prologue. Sometimes the past is just trivia. Maybe it’s just painful trivia that provides writers a convenient angle from which to cover hockey, but it’s still trivia.

Tonight is game seven, gay sev to us in the know. It’s not the culmination of a franchise or some grand denouement for a city that needs a winner. It’s just an hour of hockey with one winner and one loser, an hour of hockey to determine if this is the end or not. That’s all.

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I Guarantee That This Does Not Matter


There I was, getting Chipotle and listening to Bullseye, when I get the notification above. Apparently, Alex Ovechkin has guaranteed a win in game seven, and Barry Trotz loves it.

The second part is true. The first part is not.

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Photo credit: Bruce Bennett

Alex Ovechkin has never made it past the second round of the playoffs. It’s a trite fact, but unavoidable. He’s been in the NHL since 2005, with his window as a primary goal-scorer closing. In 10 years, he has yet to win a Stanley Cup. Some core players around him, like Mike Green, are likely to leave this summer or within the next few years. This may be Ovechkin’s best chance to win a Cup as the undisputed leader of the Washington Capitals. Ovechkin seems to know that. In this year’s Division Final against the Rangers, DC’s captain has put on an astonishing display of talent and dedication, nearly winning games for the Capitals off his play alone. On Saturday, he came up short, but it was another immortal individual performance.

“He’s a force,” coach Barry Trotz said. “No question.”

Midway through the third period, Washington was down 3-1, having just given up a crushing goal to Rangers forward Derick Brassard. Just 90 seconds before Rangers fans were to begin their eight-minute mark “Ovi Sucks! Ovi Sucks! Ovi Sucks!” onslaught, Ovechkin bumbled down the ice with three Rangers on him. He knifed straight through Dan Girardi and Ryan McDonagh, New York’s top defenders, as the two hopelessly whacked at Ovi. Falling to his knees, he let off a perfectly placed wrist shot that went top shelf on Henrik Lundqvist. It was a goal that was nearly impossible to imagine another player in the NHL scoring. It was utter brilliance, under immense pressure, on a huge stage. Save for the cheers of Capitals players, MSG fell silent.

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