Neil Greenberg on the Tony Kornheiser Show

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Washington Post and ESPN writer Neil Greenberg talked Caps hockey on the Tony Kornheiser Show on ESPN 980 this morning. The RMNB alum killed it. I considered putting a bombastic quote in the subject of this post like “Greenberg: This is not a good team” or “Neil Says [Ovechkin]‘s No Crosby”, but I really think you will be better served by reading or hearing the whole segment, which I freaking transcribed below instead of actually enjoying my lunch.

Tony and Neil cover a lot of topics in the 15-minute segment: Neil’s brush with the Cup in ’94, what has caused Alex Ovechkin’s decline and what we can expect from his future, Mike Milbury’s assessment of Ovi vs. reality, Adam Oates’ talent as a coach, and what the future holds for the Washington Capitals. I think this is essential reading/listening for Caps fans, so get to it.

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Happy Sasha. (Photo credit: @megab23)

Ahead of tonight’s reunion game against the Caps, Alex Semin sat down with Carolina Hurricanes color guy Tripp Tracy for a two-part English interview. It’s totally awkward.

For those worrying Tripp would nail Semin with incisive, hard-hitting questions like “Are your shoes comfortable?“, you may now relax. Instead, Tracy tossed up softballs like “What do you think of your teammates?” and “Do you enjoy Carolina?”

Hey, you guys don’t think there was any collusion between Tracy and Carolina PR following Troy Brouwer’s unkind words, do you? Naw! Tracy probably came up with “your teammates are clearly the most important relationship to you” all on his own.

With immense thanks to welshhockeyfan and Tom Kaz, videos and transcript are below.

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Maria Kirilenko and Ovi's father Mikhail celebrate Sasha's hat trick

Maria with her Slapshot stuffed animal. Dad gives thumbs up. (GIF by welshhockeyfan)

Attending Saturday’s Washington Capitals game, Alex Ovechkin’s fiancée Maria Kirilenko got a special treat. Ovi scored a hatty for the first time in over two years.

While CSN Washington didn’t pan to Kirilenko sitting in the lower bowl, the Devils broadcast on MSG drank from the Ovi-Kirilenko well a lot. They zoomed in on her celebrating with Ovi’s father Mikhail (giving the thumbs up) after Ovechkin’s third goal. MSG’s Deb Placey interviewed Kirilenko during the second period, after Ovi scored his first goal of the night.

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Last week, Ted Leonsis spread his wings by launching Monumental Network, a site  to aggregate all the Caps, Wizards, Mystics, and Verizon Center coverage his company produces. They’ve got original reporting and a network of blogs to cover the living heck out of each team.

Earlier this week, Casey Phillips, Monumental’s digital correspondent crowded in on RMNB’s beat with a story that we should have had. After Cosmopolitan Magazine named Mike Green the sexiest player in the NHL, the Monumental crew asked the team who they thought was truly the most handsome guy around.

The answers will amaze you. Or maybe they won’t. I mean, you know they’re gonna say Brooks, right?

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This is Bruce’s O-face.

While the lockout drags on, the Anaheim Ducks keep publishing episodes of their series, Bruce Boudreau: Uncensored (kind of). The premise is simple: sit Bruce in a chair, ask him open-ended questions about his illustrious coaching and playing career, and then wait for him to say something funny. That’s good content if you ask me, but then again I’m the guy who wrote a 1,500-word epic about the time Bruce wore John Walton’s pants during a game.

The Ducks recently published episode four, wherein Bruce goes into detail about the day he was hired as coach of the Washington Capitals. And we’re reminded once more that despite his age and experience, Boudreau is still just a big kid.

Buckle up.

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Barack Obama: Do NHL Fans Right, End The Lockout

BO: Don’t forget, you promised to come to a game!

As President Barack Obama tries to gain more public support for his plan to avoid the fiscal cliff, he did an interview Thursday with Minneapolis’s Frank Vascellaro of WCCO-TV. Vascellaro, who traveled to Washington DC to meet up with POTUS, was given permission to ask five questions. So Frank asked about the fiscal cliff negotiations, spending cuts, trust on Capitol Hill, the medical devices tax (?), and… hockey!

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During TSN’s “Free Agent Frenzy” special on July 1st, a panel including former NHL head coach Marc Crawford and sideline reporter Pierre McGuire lambasted Alex Semin in comparison to Zach Parise. The panel got their paddles out and verbally spanked Sasha thoroughly. Crawford called Semin a “complete loser,” and former player Ray Ferraro labeled any team that might want the former 40-goal scorer as “desperate.” Pierre McGuire capped the discussion by calling Semin a “bad teammate” and the “ultimate coach-killer.”

Crawford, who left for a coaching gig in Switzerland a day after the incident, offered a dubious explanation for his words last week to the German language newspaper Tages Anzeiger, saying that he was “misinterpreted.”

Now, thanks to a great find from reader @zuc0, we have more context on Pierre’s statements– right from the horse’s ass’s mouth. On July 2nd’s episode of XM home ice, McGuire explained why he thought Semin was such a bad teammate.

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“I have no idea what I’m talking about.”

The NHL Network was super awesome today. They aired TSN’s three-hour Free Agent Frenzy special, in which there was precious little frenzying. As a result, TSN’s panel of uh, experts– Pierre McGuire, Marc Crawford, Ray Ferraro, and host James Duthie–  had nothing to talk about. So they dumped on former Capital Alex Semin.

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There were a few common themes to the Capitals’ last postseason interviews, before they went their separate ways for summer. The first question posed was always about Dale Hunter, who has made the decision to return to the London Knights franchise in Ontario rather than stay on to coach the Caps. The team expressed universal admiration and gratitude for what he brought to the Capitals in his short tenure, often focusing less on his system than on the character and sense of accountability he was able to instill.

There was clear disappointment at the early ending to the season, but a different tone to the team’s assessment of their year than the year before — many of the Caps mentioned that they thought they were able to go out in a way that they feel better about this year, though of course they’d all still rather be playing hockey.

Read on for the details of Jay Beagle‘s injury, Brooks Laich standing outside Hunter’s window holding a boombox, and Hunter’s odd career model for Alexander Ovechkin.

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Early Thursday morning, a disappointed and exhausted Karl Alzner returned home with his fiancé Mandy. Alzner, who was on the ice when the Rangers’ Marian Gaborik ended Game Three in triple overtime, had just participated in the longest NHL game since 2008 and the third longest game in Washington Capitals history.

Unfortunately for Karl, the deflating loss was just the beginning of his problems. In a tweet at 2 AM, Alzner published a photo with the caption Dogs not happy about the loss either. In the picture, Alzner’s dogs can be seen posing — proudly — in front of his trashed living room.

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