Weather warming, birds singing, Marc-Andre Fleury spazzing out. These are the rites of Spring. When Nick Foligno chipped an innocent shot from the blue line on Wednesday night, the Pittsburgh goalie’s programming kicked in: Must. Allow. Weak-ass goal.

That softie won the game for Lumbus in overtime, tying the series 2-2, and sending Penguins fans into conniption fits. All for good reason: a shot from the blue line has like a 1-in-50 chance of going in– maybe less. It should have been a routine save for Fleury. His gaffe on the tying goal in the third period shouldn’t have happened either.

So Fleury is the Escape Goat, again, but I fear that reputation might obscure how truly bad the entire Penguins team was in this game. Really, it’s the whole team’s fault.

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Here’s John Walton Calling the Playoffs for NBC Sports

Before he became the Caps’ radio play-by-play guy, John Walton did public announcements for the Cincinnati Reds and called three Hershey Bears Calder Cup championships. He’s already had a great career, but tonight he’s be calling the NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs for NBC Sports. That’s a whole ‘nother level.

If you tuned into NBCSN, you heard the dulcet tones of @WaltonCaps telling the story of the Anaheim Ducks vs the Dallas Stars.

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Can You Pick Alex Ovechkin Out in this School Photo?


Hint: he’s the one making the Zoolander pose and looking exactly like Alexander Ovechkin.

Photo credit: @Ovi8

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RMNB Stanley Cup Finals Predictions: Peter vs Ian


Oh, is this still happening? Is hockey still a thing? I was too busy having barbecues and drinking Flying Dog Barrel-Aged Imperial Porter and wearing flip-flops and liberally smearing SPF 250 all over myself to notice. Who even made the finals? It was the Pens and the Kings, right?

Ahh, the Chicago Blackhawks and the Boston Bruins. The #2 and #4 best possession teams in the league. The regular-season dominating Hawks and some jackholes from a city we’d normally be allowed to call a cesspit but some ultra-jackholes spoiled that, so now we have to pretend to be nice. Yay for Boston. Their accents are endearing, and Ben Affleck totally didn’t ham up Daredevil.

Now we dance. One last time, Ian and I will offer our predictions for the winner of the Stanley Cup. The winner will bask in infinite glory until the dawn of the Second Age. The loser will have to eat 100 pennies.

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RMNB Conference Final Predictions: Peter vs Ian

final four

Source: Lord Stanley’s Cup

Each of the four remaining playoff teams has won a championship in the last four years. We’re just recycling winners at this point. There’s no point in watching anymore. There’s no point in anything. Our Capitals have been eliminated, and I can’ t think of any good reason to get out of bed in the morning except for summer weather, two good regional baseball teams, bathing suits, watermelons, Joss Whedon’s commentary track for Avengers, and a new Janelle Monae album.

Other than that, life is a wasteland.

Nonetheless, Ian and I made a promise to publish our awful, hastily assembled predictions on who would win each round of the playoffs. As you remember, I got smacked down in the quarterfinal round, but I’m feeling a little better about the enterprise right now….

…cause last round I went 4 for 4, baby!

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Why the Washington Capitals Lost

Jared Wickerham

Photo credit: Jared Wickerham

Looking back over the last few years, I feel like I could articulate reasons for each year the Capitals got bounced from the playoffs. Last year’s Hunter Caps didn’t generate enough shots to win more than 50% of their games. Boudreau’s 2011 trap-Caps got beat by the Bolts’ suffocating two-man forecheck. The 2010 Caps were a solid team that ran into a white-hot goalie, i.e. they got Halak’d. And in ’09, an injured but explosive Caps crew couldn’t withstand the Cup-bound Penguins.

This year is a bit tougher. Certainly New York’s excellent goaltending deserves a bunch of credit for vanquishing the Capitals, but I’m hard-pressed to characterize this iteration of the team and how they fell short. I think that’s due to the abbreviated season, one bereft of a real training camp for rookie coach Adam Oates to implement his system. And that system itself is harder to peg down– I suppose it relies on a quick transition game (but not as wide-open as the 08-09 version) and using an overload defense (but nothing we’d describe as a trap, thank goodness).

So my goal is to find out — objectively– who these 2013 Caps were and how they got beat by the Rangers. (Plus: kitten GIFs.)

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RMNB Semifinal Playoff Predictions: Peter vs Ian


Image by Cook the Chef

Welp, this is less than fun now, but we’re freaking obligated. The thing about making public predictions is that when you (and by you, I mean me) get ‘em wrong, it’s really embarrassing. I picked just 3 winners out of 8, so basically I’m worse than a coin-toss. I’m having self-worth issues right now. Meanwhile, Ian, used some blind freaking luck to get 5 out of 8. And we’re both emotionally unstable right now.

Let’s do it!

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Patrick McDermott

Photo credit: Patrick McDermott

The 2012-2013 Washington Capitals are no more. Felled in seven games by Henrik Lundqvist and the New York Rangers, the Caps have done the thinkable: an early-round exit from the playoffs for the fifth straight year. Some will call that a pattern, some will call it a curse. Some will call it karmic justice or the inevitable victory of a superior team over a bunch of preening Eurotrash, but those guys are dicks. Screw them. This is our goodbye, and we’re doing it our way.

Goodnight, sweet Caps. I guess it just wasn’t meant to be.

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Scott Levy

Photo credit: Scott Levy

We should have known better. We should have been more cynical. We should just have assumed this series was going to seven and enjoy Mother’s Day.

But nooooooo. We watched the Caps play an undisciplined-yet-solid game on enemy ice, giving up five power plays. No one’s saying the Caps are angels, but this is silly. The Rangers did nothing with their big chunk of man-advantage time, but one lucky bounce off Steve Oleksy’s arm made this a perfect afternoon for New York: a shutout without any penalties committed*.

Rangers beat Caps 1-0.  Game seven tomorrow night.

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Caps beat Ranger 2-1 (OT): Ribeiro Rules!

Patrick McDermott

Photo credit: Patrick McDermott

Ack. I’m all jammed up like a Phish live record over here. This series is not good for people, plants, or other living things. The corrupted bastardization of hockey the Rangers have foisted upon the Capitals is some perverse thing not spoken of in polite circles. Where’s all the end-to-end action? The shot totals in excess of 40? The goalies giving up goals like Galileo dropped the orange? The Rangers forced the Caps into a constipated brand of hockey that is actually making my back seize up as if I were eating pancakes. Everything is all tensed up, and it goes on way too long. We’re supposed to enjoy it, but it’s really just survival.

The Rangers grabbed a lead in the game’s first minute, putting the entire DMV area’s bowels on red alert, but playoff hero Joel Ward tied it up in the second. The Caps leaned in during the third period, but we headed to overtime anyway– where Mike Ribeiro became a Capitals legend.

Caps beat Rangers 2-1 (Overtime). Caps lead the series 3-2. Sunday is an elimination game for New York.

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