Appreciating Brooks Orpik

brooks-orpik-shoots

Photo: Christian Petersen

Reading a recent Adam Vingan piece on Brooks Orpik made me reflect on how hard I’ve been on the Caps defender. Maybe I haven’t been completely fair. Don’t get me wrong: I stand by what I’ve written on Orpik. But there are also positive things I can and should say about him.

I want Orpik to succeed. I’m a Caps fan, and I root for Caps players to do well. On top of that, I also try to be a decent person, so I avoid wishing failure upon fellow persons.

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Blind Item: A Tale of Two Teams

Totonto Maple Leafs v Florida Panthers

Pic not related

Here’s a little experiment that might shed light on our current situation. I’m gonna share a couple key, even-strength stats from two teams, but I’m not going to tell you which is which.

Team A Team B
Possession 54.38% 50.18%
Goals 56.24% 42.11%
Shooting 9.14% 7.51%
Goaltending 91.67% 89.37%
Attempts / 60 38.78 38.15
Opponent Attempts / 60 32.53 37.87

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Last Call for T-Shirts and Koozies!

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Friends, the RMNB fundraiser will end tonight at midnight. If you want to get an RMNB portrait shirt before it goes into the Disney vault for freaking ever, the time to act is now. If you want our hot new not-entirely-designed-yet koozy, maybe get on that.

The Making RMNB Last campaign has raised more than $22,000 so far– meaning we’re gonna be able to do some cool stuff next year and for years to come. We’ll have some announcements about the specifics, though for now I can tell you that we’ll be making the mobile-friendly website design a top priority in the new year.

We’re blown away by the fact that 590 people have donated already, but we also know that the RMNB family is way bigger than that. Whether you’re a longtime friend-of-the-blog or a brand-new reader, your contribution of any amount (even just $1), will go a long way toward making RMNB even better.

As an added bonus, today is also Ian’s birthday. (It’s not polite to ask how old. He’s old enough.) You can consider your last-minute gift as a sort of birthday present to him, without the shopping and the wrapping and the anxiety over “oh gosh, will he like what I got him?”

If you’ve contributed or are about to, thank you from the bottom of my cold black heart, which might grow three sizes some day soon. Knowing that RMNB (or at least the shirts) matters to you does more than make me feel good about the absurd expenditure of time that we have invested so far; it justifies a continuation and escalation of the sometimes-dumb, sometimes-important, usually-fun stuff that we do here. Get ready.

To celebrate the fundraiser and say thank you, we’re throwing a little party in Frederick on Friday night. If you contributed before Tuesday, you’ve already been notified about it. We’ll send a reminder again early Friday. If you haven’t been contacted but are interested in coming, shoot us an email. It’ll be fun and silly and thoroughly Frederick-y.

Now, I’m gonna answer some questions.

  • If you contributed at any perk level, we will contact you early next week to ask what size shirt you want. Please respond as quickly as possible so we can get those shirts made and sent to you ASAP. That’s important.
  • We intend to get every shirt to every US-based contributor before Christmas.We will support shirt sizes from XS up to 4XL. The bigger shirts won’t be the same brand as the others, but they’ll still be great.
  • If you contributed at the platinum level, I’m gonna have to write an RMNB story about any topic you want. I am absolutely dreading this. We will ask you for your topic next week, but it might take some time before your article makes it onto RMNB. Oh no. I’m scared.
  • If you shot us an email about a special request, please hit us up again before the end of next week.

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ovi-varly-kuzya-orly

Photo: @a0gr8

Wednesday night ahead of Washington’s game against the Avalanche, Caps Russians Alex Ovechkin, Evgeny Kuznetsov, and Dmitry Orlov reunited with Semyon Varlamov and hung out in downtown Denver. If Ovi and Kuzya had put on those cowboy get-ups again, we might have hit the RMNB pageview jackpot.

Unfortunately, The Varlamonster won’t play tomorrow night because of #brittlegroin so, no, three years later, nothing has really changed.

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The Awesome Index: We Needed That

Friends, I am having a bit of a day: Flat tire, bad weather, nasty cold, traffic jams, wah wah wah. In short: everything sucks.

But then I remember overtime, and Eric Fehr seizing victory from the jaws of mediocrity, and I can’t help but think: Man, that was awesome.

Maybe being badly-needed is an essential property of Awesome. Maybe, when things suck, awesome things become even more precious. In this week’s awesome index, only the most indispensable awesome things shall be indexed. And you’re damn skippy I am starting with Fehr.

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ovechkin-shattenkirk

Photo via @otterN9NE

On Wednesday, St. Louis Blues center Steve Ott tweeted a photo to teammate Kevin Shattenkirk from Saturday’s game against the Capitals. It’s like some kind of weird optical illusion. Or maybe not. When cameras aren’t on certain guys, I have no idea what they’re doing at center ice.

The photo shows Shattenkirk, near the boards, leaning his helmet against Alex Ovechkin‘s. Both players’ eyes are closed. Ovechkin’s arm is around Shattenkirk’s, appearing to hug on him and bring him closer.

It totally looks like they’re smooching, with three old guys in the time keeper’s box looking on intrigued. Total Kodak moment. (Does anyone say “Kodak moment” anymore?)

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Craig Laughlin Plays the Xylophone, Visits Sedona

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Last night CSN Washington shared another episode of On The Road With Locker. It was again a slam dunk of comedy– unintentional or not.

The segment begins with Laughlin declaring he would drive into the desert to find Wile E. Coyote and The Road Runner. Sure. Instead he arrived in Sedona with the television crew, and he started playing a xylophone.

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Tom Wilson is Your Honest Abe Player of the Game

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Photo: @WashCaps

Washington Capitals forward Tom Wilson had a bunch of big hits on Tuesday night, six to be exact, but he didn’t exactly have a good game. The Caps were outshot 13 to 6 while Wilson was on the ice during 5v5, the worst shot-attempt differential on the team, though to be fair he started more than 80 percent of his non-neutral shifts in the defensive zone.

But the team got a very big win, and Tom was deservedly happy about it.

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Eric Fehr Scores OTGWG, Ends Suffering (GIF)

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Yey! (Photo: Mark J. Rebilas)

The Capitals have been a chore to watch lately. They lost both games of a back-to-back over the weekend, managing to score just one goal in the efforts. Through 180 minutes (through the end of rego on Tuesday), the Caps had scored just two goals in three games. Boring.

Three minutes into overtime agains the Coyotes, Brooks Orpik and Eric Fehr combined to end our suffering. That two-game losing streak is over and, yay, three goals in three games. I can smile again.

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Fehr Redeems in the Desert: Caps beat Coyotes 2-1 (OT)

Christian Petersen

Photo: Christian Petersen

I don’t get it. Twenty minutes in, the Washington Capitals looked like they almost had it figured out. Despite some sub-optimal lines, they held a lead over an inferior team. Then they stopped skating, surrendered the lead to the Arizona Coyotes, and then looked not much better than the Oates Caps. I don’t get it, but at least they had Eric Fehr to seal the deal.

The two players we expected the least from, Jason Chimera and Jay Beagle, combined for a skill goal in the first period when Chimera burst into the o-zone then dropped to the late-guy Beagle, who put it in the back of the net. The Caps had control for the rest of the period, but surrendered all momentum in the second, culminating in Oliver Ekman-Larsson’s goal into a practically empty net.

Nobody could score in the third, so we got to see the dry scrape– maybe for the last time. Then, in overtime, Eric Fehr crashed the goddamn net and won it.

Caps beat Yotes 2-1 in overtime!

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