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The first episode of Epix Presents the Road to the Winter Classic is below.

Hit play and let’s chat in the comments. It’ll be a blast.

Go Caps.

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Photo: @CapitalsPR

Before the Caps and Panthers faced off in Sunrise, Alex Ovechkin, in those ridiculous yellow spandex shorts, met up with some joe schmo during warmu… OMG, that’s Bobby Orr!

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green-stick

Sometimes I hate writing about individual plays, because some people think it makes the man. It doesn’t. Even when John Scott blows by Brooks Orpik for a goal.

So when I show you this Mike Green turnover, I want you to remember that Green has been the Capitals best defender this season and I’m 90% writing about this because of what happened afterwards.

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The Road to the Winter Classic debuts tonight at 10 PM ET on a network called EPIX. You almost certainly don’t have EPIX, so you may have some anxiety about how to watch.

Let us help you.

Because the channel isn’t everywhere (read: anywhere), you can catch free online using a whole bunch of sources. We’re going to try to embed the episode right here on RMNB. But if you want to watch it time-shifted/on demand/whenevs, you’re gonna need a free trial subscription. You should probably do that now.

Now, here’s the skinny.

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The Swedish Machine doin' his thing

The Swedish Machine, doin’ his thing with the Florida Cats

You know that scene in the Star Wars movie? The first one…or, the fourth one which was actually the first? The one that was good?

Luke and Han are blasting away at all the awful spaceships that are swarming around outside, and Luke is missing and missing and just shooting impotently away, pew pew pew, until he actually gets one? The one that was headed directly toward him in a straight line at about 10 miles an hour? And he’s so happy and Han says “Don’t get cocky, kid”?

That.

Oh, I can hear you all now, sighing “There goes Doug who knows nothing about hockey and is just a huge wet blanket and shut up.” I mean, those very few of you who actually read these things. Hey, I’m super fantastic happy about how the Caps are playing these days, and I loved seeing Nick “Swedish Machine Never Smiles” Backstrom get a hattie in regular season. And we’re playing the Florida Panthers tonight, who aren’t 1/2 the team Tampa is, or us probably, so there’s no need to worry, right?

Call me Eeyore, but I just can’t get too comfortable with this team. As awesome as they are, I’ve just seen too many times great play slide suddenly into crap.

Speaking of, I’ll say this about Sunrise, Florida, home of the Cats: at least it’s not Fort Lauderdale. Since starting in the 90’s expansion, Panthers management have done just about everything they could to alienate their fans… sorta like another professional sports team that’s become a tire fire since being acquired by a certain weasel, which needs not be named. Even down to the location of BB&T arena where we play tonight, which is located literally ACROSS THE STREET from the marshy, anaconda-filled Everglades. Nice move, Panthers.

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Caps at Panthers Pregame: Ready for Their Close-Up

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GIF: We See Red

Tonight is the debut of whatever the name of the show is about the Winter Classic on EPIX. But before that, we’ve gotta watch the Capitals play visitor to the Florida Panthers, who somehow are a pretty good team this season!

The Caps haven’t lost in #rego since December 2nd, and they don’t play to start now. See you at 7:30 on CSN Plus.

Team Record Possession PDO Power Play Penalty Kill
Washington Capitals 14-10-5 50.9% 99.3 26.5% 77.0%
Florida Panthers 12-8-8 51.4% 99.0 13.8% 80.8%

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epix-poster

Tonight at 10 PM, the first episode of EPIX’s Road To The Winter Classic will air online featuring (hopefully) organic, not-at-all-contrived coverage of the team we love (also the Chicago Blackhawks). I admit I’m super excited for all the right reasons (pageviews!). Some old RMNB footage might even make a short cameo on the show.

EPIX has posted exclusive photos, featuring some fantastic portraits of Caps stars.

I have a feeling at least half of you are going to be very excited to continue scrolling. I even included a few GIFs and a video too.

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With Caps Convention being cancelled this year, a bunch of you have asked about the Capitals’ plans for a fan festival before the Winter Classic. Fifteen days out, we’ve finally learned the details: a fun day outside Nats Park (at the Fairgrounds), packed full of all the brands you’re been clamoring to engage with.

All your favorites will be there. Bridgestone, Geico, Reebok, Honda, MillerCoors, Upper Deck. And completely without irony: the freaking Oscar Mayer Weinermobile will be there!

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The Curious Case of Joel Ward

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Most NHL players make their NHL debut between ages 20-22. and hit their peak point production around age 25.

And then we have Joel Ward.

Ward played his first full NHL season at the ripe age of 28 and has been most productive during his age-33 and -34 seasons. I’ve written before that Ward’s rise in production isn’t sustainable. I’m still not convinced it is fully, but I’m less skeptical than I used to be. What Ward is doing now, namely crashing the net, might be behind the late bloom.

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bowey-morrissey

The WHL’s Kelowna Rockets have made a huge trade, acquiring the Winnipeg Jets’ 13th overall pick from 2013 draft, defenseman Josh Morrissey, from the Prince Albert Raiders. It is likely that Morrissey, will play on Kelowna’s top defensive pairing with the Caps’ Madison Bowey.

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