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Sometimes when it’s the summer and there’s no hockey to write about, our hockey blog covers things that are not about hockey. We’ve covered NASCAR, the cowboy monkey rodeo, and Rugrats inspired minor league baseball jerseys. Two Augusts ago, I even blacked out for a minute and wrote a long feature for the Washington Post on Orioles’ pitcher Dylan Bundy.

On Monday, my talented friend Susi, who plays in a volleyball league, was at Baltimore Beach for a game. Then for whatever reason reigning NFL MVP Cam Newton showed up in a white van ready to play with a dozen of his Carolina Panther teammates. That seemed… interesting. I also noticed it was uncovered by other news media, so I wrote about it with Susi’s help. The next night, Newton showed up to play volleyball again. My talented and infinitely more handsome coworker at Visual Data Systems, Brandon Serfass, took humorous video of Newton getting blocked while trying to spike the ball past a girl. I posted his video.

Wednesday at noon, RMNB ended up on SportsCenter for its football-player-playing-volleyball coverage.

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nate-schmidt-summer-league

Across the continent, there are several organized summer leagues that NHL players participate in, including Eastside Elite Hockey which is run in Michigan by former Caps defenseman Steve Oleksy. There’s also a popular organization in Minnesota that recently formed called Da Beauty League. Founded in 2015, the league boasts six teams sporting many NHL players and prospects including Dustin Byfuglien, David Backes, and Ryan McDonagh. See the full rosters here.

The Capitals also have several meat and potato players participating including Taylor Chorney, Aaron Ness, Travis Boyd, and Shane Gersich. And oh yeah, standout defenseman and former University of Minnesota Golden Gopher, Nate Schmidt!

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After going on a long vacation, Alex Ovechkin is back on vacation. Today, Ovechkin arrived in Port de Saint-Tropez, France, and his first itinerary item was to continue perfecting his water-related acrobats.

For instance, check out Ovechkin — along with rapper T-Killah and Russian basketball player Vitaliy Fridzon — perform this sick synchronized 360 flip into a pool.

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thankyouchimmer

Last Friday, Jason Chimera was one of the most coveted players on the free agent market, receiving interest from reportedly 17 different teams. At age 37, Chimera was coming off his best season as a pro. Riding a 12.1% shooting percentage, the Ice Cheetah tallied 20 goals and 20 assists while playing in all 82 regular season games. It’s a success story no one would have predicted after Chimera’s struggles — some of which seemed driven by a philosophy clash with Barry Trotz — during the 2014-15 season.

Riding his big year into the sunset, Chimera got a $250k raise from the New York Islanders, signing a two-year, $4.5 million contract on July 1. It ended Chimera’s seven-year tenure in Washington.

With the help of Sean Morrow, we say goodbye to the Ice Cheetah.

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Revisiting Caps Development Camp 2016 (Video)

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Photo: Amanda Bowen

The Washington Capitals closed out their 2016 Development Camp on Saturday with a morning scrimmage in which Team White prevailed. After covering the entire week, I came home not only with RMNB’s biggest gallery of photos to date, but also a short film in the works.

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Photo: Amanda Bowen

Capitals 2015 first-round pick Ilya Samsonov made his Development Camp debut Tuesday after staying in Russia last summer to train for the upcoming KHL season. The 19-year-old goalie prospect is coming off his best season as a pro. Samsonov officially graduated from the MHL (the KHL’s developmental league) and played in 19 regular season games for Metallurg Magnitogorsk, registering a 2.04 GAA and a .925 save percentage. Metallurg would go on to win the Gargarin Cup as league champions. Samsonov played in six playoff games.

Despite being ranked the third best goaltending prospect by InGoal Magazine, Caps goaltending coach Mitch Korn believes the Russian netminder still has much to learn.

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Photo: Ethan Miller

Wednesday night in Las Vegas, Washington Capitals goaltender Braden Holtby won the 2016 Vezina Trophy as the league’s best goaltender. Holtby became the third Capital all-time to earn the accolade joining Jim Carey and Olie Kolzig in the history books.

Holtby kissed his wife Brandi and was kissed on the cheek by his mother Tami when he was announced as winner.

Six-time Vezina winner and 2014 Hall of Fame inductee Dominik Hasek presented Holtby the trophy on stage along with Kevin Weekes.

At the very beginning of his acceptance speech, a noticeably nervous Holtby admitted that he ignored his wife’s recommendation to write his thoughts down on a piece of paper.

But that didn’t matter. Holtby dominated the speech just like he did to every NHL team this season.

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Before Braden was given the award (and before X-Ambassadors butt rocked your butt face off), Holtby was subjected to a grilling by host Will Arnett.

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Photo: Capitals

Washington Capitals goalie Braden Holtby arrived in Las Vegas today to prepare for the NHL Awards where he is the odds-on favorite to win the Vezina Trophy. Holtby spent the afternoon doing a marketing event red carpet prep, visiting John Vavartos to pick out the suit he will wear during one of the biggest moments of his career.

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alex-ovechkin-tuba

This summer, Alex Ovechkin signed an expensive, one-year endorsement deal with Bank Otkrytie. Four new soccer-focused commercials starring Ovechkin were released on Friday during the UEFA Euro 2016 tournament.

Three more commercials dropped yesterday and, good lord, THE TUBA ONE. DROP WHAT YOU’RE DOING AND WATCH THIS NOW.

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