CongressionalHockeyChallenge (24 of 24)

Reps. John Katko, Pat Meehan, Erik Paulsen and Tom Emmer pose with Lawmakers teammate Peter Bondra after defeating the Lobbyists in the annual Congressional Hockey Challenge. (Photos by Chris Gordon)

When you hear that someone famous is a hockey fan, it has novelty, something not reserved for fans of baseball, basketball, and football. While we may be absorbed in the community, hockey is the smallest of all major professional sports in the United States. Many Americans have never watched it. Fewer have tried it. On Wednesday, however, it was featured at American’s center of power. In the afternoon, NHL commissioner Gary Bettman went to the Hill to meet with members of Congressional Hockey Caucus and announce Thurgood Marshall scholarship recipients. In the evening, four of those congressmen played in the seventh annual Congressional Hockey Challenge. Representatives John Katko (R-NY), Tom Emmer (R-MN), Erik Paulsen (R-MN), and Pat Meehan (R-PA) competed for the Lawmakers. They were joined on their team by former Capitals player Peter Bondra (RW-Slovakia) as well as administration officials, congressional staffers and Canadian Parliament member Gord Brown.

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The Bensten Schone Hockey Card (Photo)

bensten-schone-hockey-card

We got tweeted this graphic by @StarrCards earlier this afternoon and it hit me square in the feels. It’s a hockey card of Bensten Schone. If there’s anyone who deserves a hockey card, it’s the B-Man.

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In this week’s snapshot, Peter offered his assessment of the Caps’ chances this Spring in the playoffs:

However they looked in October and whatever hot streaks we’ve seen this season, the Capitals are not a championship team. (Or, if they are, we haven’t seen evidence of it lately.) They’re not bad like under Adam Oates (and for that I am grateful) but they’re not great. They’re just good. They’re a good team with a good coach.

Unless the bounces go bad or they draw a tough team, these Capitals should make it into the second round of the playoffs. No further.

I tend to agree with Peter. The Caps are a solid team. And while anything can happen once you get into the playoffs, I wouldn’t put any kind of money on this being the Caps’ year. They are a good team, but they are not currently a Cup-caliber team.

But, like I said, anything can happen once you’re in the playoffs. So let’s look at three reasons the Caps could win the Cup, beyond the fact that hockey, much like life, is often more random and unpredictable than we can comprehend. And then to be end on a downer, we’ll look at three reasons the Caps won’t win the Cup.

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brooks-orpik-baby

Photo: Monumental Network

On Monday, Washington Capitals defenseman Brooks Orpik missed practice for a pretty darn good reason. His wife Erin was going into labor with the couple’s first child.

Even though they left in the morning, Erin didn’t deliver until later that day. John Carlson and Karl Alzner brought their teammate lunch and dinner. Then, finally, tiny Harlow Lilly Orpik was born.

Harlow’s hard-working 34-year-old father would eventually get some sleep, or at least a 30-minute nap, before he left to join his teammates on the ice for practice.

According to NBC Washington’s Dianna Russini, Orpik did so while wearing the hospital bracelet he was tagged with the day before.

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nikita-soshnikov

Photo: Atlant-MO.ru

A few days after the Toronto Maple Leafs announced the signing of one of the KHL’s top young players Nikita Soshnikov from the Atlant Moscow Region, some interesting details about the move have come up.

Via Maple Leafs Hot Stove, here’s what Leafs’ Director of player personnel Mark Hunter had to say about the move.

We got a lead from Evgeny Namestnikov, who we hired as a scout for us over in Russia. He said come over to watch this young man who he liked a lot, who he coached.

The Maple Leafs hired Namestnikov, a former NHL player and father of current Tampa Bay Lightning forward Vlad, to scout for them while working as an assistant coach for Soshnikov’s Atlant. This went mostly unnoticed in North America, but Russia’s top hockey reporter Alexei Shevchenko, after confirming Namestnikov’s double affiliation, referred to situation as “awkward.”

I think what the Leafs did was an unfair practice and requires an NHL investigation regarding its legality and possibly prohibiting it in the future.

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mike-green-caps

Photo: Monumental Network

Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman released his latest 30 Thoughts column on Tuesday. He had a blurb about defenseman Mike Green, who will be unrestricted free agent this summer.

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evgeny-kuznetsov-dmitry-orlov

Photo: @kuzy092

On Monday, Evgeny Kuznetsov did a Russian language interview with Sport FM radio host Vladimir Dekhtyarev. Kuznetsov gabbed about his season to date and explained what it has been like playing under Barry Trotz.

“His plan was easy to understand,” Kuznetsov said, as translated by Fedor Fedin. “It was hard though to do all the little things that he demands, everything, even what side to place the stick on. Nothing escapes his attention. He watches very carefully and it was tough to change early on.”

The interview even features a cameo by Dmitry Orlov who started talking while in the car. Check it out.

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alex-ovechkin-ft-dupont-skate

Photo: @beatsbydre

Monday afternoon, after surprising six-year-old Bensten Schone at his McLean, VA home, Alex Ovechkin decided– oh heck, let’s just make 35 more kids’ days too.

Ovechkin and Beats By Dre hosted youth hockey players from Fort Dupont’s Ice Hockey Club for a practice at Kettler Capitals Iceplex. Former Caps and current CSN Washington analysts Alan May and Brent Johnson joined in on the fun too.

While the event was sponsored by a multi-billion dollar company, Ovechkin did not spend his time shilling merchandise. Instead, he skated with the kids and was a big adorable goofball.

See exhibits a, b, and c.

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stephen-peat-caps

Photo via Langley Advance

This is some strange, sad news.

Monday, the Langley Advance reported that former Washington Capitals enforcer Stephen Peat was arrested in British Columbia after allegedly attempting to set his father Walter’s home on fire following an argument.

Peat spent parts of six seasons in the Washington Capitals organization. He was a veteran of 33 NHL fights, putting up some of the most brutal bouts in the team’s history. He had a bunch of heart and was a huge fan favorite.

Details of the incident are scant–much like Peat goals.

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Week 22 Snapshot: At Least We’ve Got Ovi

Lance Thomson

Photo: Lance Thomson

For me, the snapshot has been about opening up the analytic process on a micro level– adding transparency and immediacy to my journey to understanding of how the Caps play every week. In the interest of furthering that transparency and because I can’t stand being insincere here, lemme say this: my enthusiasm is waning.

Part of that is me not having enough time to do the in-depth research and number-crunching, and part of it is acknowledging that the Capitals merely are what they are: A marginal playoff team with good special teams and one very special player.

However they looked in October and whatever hot streaks we’ve seen this season, the Capitals are not a championship team. (Or, if they are, we haven’t seen evidence of it lately.) They’re not bad like under Adam Oates (and for that I am grateful) but they’re not great. They’re just goodThey’re a good team with a good coach.

Unless the bounces go bad or they draw a tough team, these Capitals should make it into the second round of the playoffs. No further.

In this week’s snapshot, which isn’t 36 hours late you’re just imagining it, it is what it is, but at least we’ve got Ovi.

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