jakub-vrana

A return to Sweden looks like the likely option for Vrana (Photo: Andreas Froberg/SHL.se)

Capitals 2014 first-round pick Jakub Vrana is a talented player. The Czech forward put his skills on display at development camp this summer, where he lit up the opposition playing mostly next to another top prospect, Andre Burakovsky, and a free agent invitee, Slovene Olympian Jan Urbas.

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Milan Jurcina to Join Dinamo Riga on Tryout Basis

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Jurcina spent majority of the last season with TPS Turku of Finnish Liiga (Photo: Ilari Isotalo/Suomi Kiekko)

Ex-Caps defenseman Milan Jurcina has signed a tryout agreement with Dinamo Riga of the KHL, according to the club’s official site. The announcement states that Jurcina is on a tryout “for now,” so it’d come as no surprise if he soon signed a full contract.

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Update on a Replacement for ExtraSkater.com

RIP

I miss it already.

I’ve had a bunch of conversations with people since writing a proposal for a new stat site to fill the void left by ExtraSkater.com. There are a lot of exciting developments, so I’ll just use this space to fill you in and solicit more input from you.

First, to all the folks who have left comments and sent emails: thanks! We’ve got a big pool of talented and passionate geeks who are eager to help out. I’ve not responded to anyone yet as I’ve been taking your notes under advisement and speaking to some folks who are working on similar (but not identical) projects. To everyone who is waiting on a reply from me: I should be in getting in touch soon.

Second, there’s some serious competition out there. That’s a very good thing, and I’m using “competition” facetiously. I’ve been on a few email threads with stat geeks and developers who are well on their way to publishing new sites. These sites look primed to meet some of the core features of Extra Skater and even provide a surprising amount of novel stuff. It’s early, but I’d be surprised if at least one of these sites isn’t up by October. It’s exciting, and the people behind these projects should and will be congratulated.

One result of that good news is the appetite and pressing concern for the project I defined– a free, open-source solution for extensible hockey stats– will be much lower. But I don’t think it’s gone entirely.

I’m gonna reiterate my plan and explain why it’s a) still valid, b) novel, and c) kind of easy.

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joe-b-trotz

Photo: @monumentalntwrk

It never ends, and I’m sorta okay with that. Today in #ALSIceBucketChallenge news, Capitals coach Barry Trotz and fashion maven Joe Beninati took the plunge. Monumental Network video’d the whole thing. It’s quite a production.

The promotion so far has raised over $40 million to fight amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. Participants who get dumped on donate $10; those who fail to meet the challenge (e.g. me) donate $100.

I mention this because I consider what Joe and Barry did cheating. They dipped into the pool right after they got soaked, which means they were only chilly for like two seconds, tops. That’s not enough. So I think they should pony up another $90. Your thoughts?

Pretty pictures below.

UPDATE 4:45 PM: Caps Media Relations Manager Page Sagester says there was no cheating involved.

We are unable to confirm the report as we have not yet been invited to swim in the Caps’ hot cold tub.

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This Photo of the Holtby Family is Literally Perfect

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Photo via nhlhockeywags

On Wednesday, this photo of Braden, Benjamin, Brandi, and Belle Holtby made the rounds on Tumblr. It’s easy to understand why. This photo is straight out of a fashion magazine. These people look perfect. Even the tiny, grumpy one to the right giving the side-eye to someone.

Someday I will have children, and I have already accepted the fact that they’ll have lumpy heads and cry all the time, just like their father.

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orioles-hockey-jersey

Still without a venue to announce, there hasn’t been much affirmative news about the 2014 Winter Classic lately, which is kind of a bummer. But this morning, I was innocently surfing the internet when I happened upon — and this is a blatant lie — the Caps’ Winter Classic jerseys for this year.

It must be. It has to be.

Instead of sporting vintage red, white, and blue, the Capitals have clearly chosen to embrace the colors of the team’s former home state– including the logo of that state’s favorite baseball team, the Baltimore Orioles.

Bold. And appropriate. This jersey is the fashion equivalent of 20 games above .500.

Now imagine the Caps skating around an outdoor rink at Camden Yards, the most beautiful baseball stadium in this area (according to one Nats reporter), with a sprinkling of snow on the field. Despite Ted’s insistence that “the “Caps will play on New Year’s Day here in DC against the Chicago Blackhawks,” OPACY still feels like a mortal lock, right?

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RIP.

It’s the twilight of the nerds. Along with Cam Charron, Darryl Metcalf (creator of Extra Skater) has been hired to join the nascent analytics department in Toronto. That’s terrific news for them personally and for Leafs fans in general, but it means a massive brain drain for NHL fans.

I expect ExtraSkater.com to be gone for good. Metcalf likely won’t have time to devote to it, and it might represent a conflict of interest to work on it. With that hiring, the Maple Leafs have taken away the single best resource for hockey fans and geeks and writers and coaches. Plus the other 29 GMs.

We can’t allow that. We need to replace Extra Skater.

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Upper Deck Releases Evgeny Kuznetsov’s NHL Rookie Card

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For all you Evgeny Kuznetsov superfans, here’s some good news. Upper Deck has released the Russian’s first NHL trading card as part of the 2014-15 MVP set. They hit eBay last week.

In the photo, Kuzya wears a white Caps’ away jersey and is in mid-stride, mouth agape. There are like a million different versions of the rookie card produced. Some have gold borders, some have silver borders, some have a facsimile signature printed on the top in silver foil, while others are teal and die-cut.

Take a look.

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brooks-laich-guts-a-fish

Photo: @juleshough

Way back in April, Washington Capitals hunky forward Brooks Laich cut a video for TSN, explaining five things every man should know how to do. Well apparently he left one very important thing off that list: how to gut and filet a frigging fish.

Laich, who is vacationing with his girlfriend Julianne Hough whom he totally loves, gave tiny-men-in-training Bronson and Quaid a lesson they’ll never forget.

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Once we get past the Alex Ovechkins of the world, we’re left with another tier of Ice Bucket Challenges acceptance videos, where B-list athletes we’re not nearly as excited about post vertically oriented videos. But that’s okay because in this third round of Ice Bucket Challenges (see Post 1 and Post 2 here), we’ve got toilet water, a four-minute short-film, and Nate Schmidt shirtless.

Enjoy.

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