Photo: Terry Wilson/OHL Images

Capitals first-round pick Andre Burakovsky has had an excellent run in his first season in North America. After scoring 41 goals in 57 games during the regular season, Burakovsky kicked off the OHL playoffs with six goals in four games before hitting a mini-slump of three scoreless contests (all of which were won by his Erie Otters).

That slump lasted through a tight, low-scoring game 3 of the series between Erie and the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds. With less than two minutes left game and up 1-0, Burakovsky– who doesn’t play with Erie’s stars of Dane Fox, Connor Brown, Brendan Gaunce and Connor McDavid– ensured the win.

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Photo: Alex Brandon

The Washington Capitals have less than a 5% chance of making the playoffs. Tonight, they take on the best team in the Western Conference, the St. Louis Blues, in what is practically an elimination game. They need everyone on board. Unfortunately, not everyone is on board.

Speaking with the press today in St. Louis, Adam Oates revealed Braden Holtby will be starting tonight. That wasn’t too surprising until Oates explained the reasoning behind the move. Jaroslav Halak had told the coaching staff he was uncomfortable playing against his former team.

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In I-can’t-believe-I’m-actually-writing-about-this news, Sunday night at the SILVERDOME — err, I’m sorry the Superdome — WWE held their own Superbowl of Superbowls: Wrestlemania. And because it was the 30th anniversary, it was extra super. Stone Cold came back and drank some beers with The Rock, The Undertaker got his ass unmercilessly kicked by Brock Lesnar, and Triple HHH did something narcissistic again. That last one’s not special.

And sorry Peter, no, CM Punk did not come back.

Arguably the most special moment was when a former independent wrestler, the very bearded Daniel Bryan, won the WWE World Heavyweight Championship over DC’s own Batista and Randy Orton. Bryan is tiny and shouts “yes!” a lot and everyone loves him.

From where did he summon this mighty power though? Obviously, from the video they showed before the championship match, in which a younger Bryan high-fives a guy in a white Capitals jersey.

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Photo: Bruce Bennett

Braden Holtby quietly achieved a milestone over the weekend. In Sunday’s shootout win over the New York Islanders, Holtby faced his 3000th shot. That’s a big deal. Young goalies are really hard to forecast. Half of the ones that play over ten games wash out before they hit 3000. When they finally get enough reps, we should bask in the increasing clarity.

.917 Holtby’s career save percentage
3023 Number of shots faced in career
45.5 Percentage of career shots faced under Adam Oates

He’s looking pretty good, and I think he can get better.

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Photo: @m0tar

On Sunday, the Colorado Avalanche held their fan appreciation night at Pepsi Center in Denver, Colorado. Just like the Capitals, each Avs player gave the jersey off his back to one adoring fan.

After making 30 saves in 65 minutes of work (plus a shootout), a very tired Semyon Varlamov was the first to give his jersey away.

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[Editor's note: We're not writing about this topic to invite a debate on Barack Obama's presidency or the politics of Crimea. This article is about hockey. Kind of. It's also about Miley Cyrus.]

In March, Vladimir Putin sent troops into the Crimea. His stated motive was to protect the mostly Russian population there from unrest. A few days later, the Crimean parliament declared independence from Ukraine and asked to join the Russian Federation. Putin then claimed Crimea as part of Russia on moral and material grounds, citing the principle of self-determination and Crimea’s strategic importance for Russia or some ish like that.

Lots of world leaders were pretty pissed about this, judging by the non-binding UN resolution (100 of 193 in favor) that declared Crimea’s Moscow-backed referendum invalid a few days later. Then the United States decided to show just how pissed they were by sanctioning Vladimir Putin and all his boyz.

Those of us who watch the news every night and consider ourselves informed knew all of this already. What we didn’t know is who exactly got sanctioned, why they got sanctioned, and why those sanctions matter to us. Thanks to Jennifer M. Smith (whom we had the pleasure of meeting at RMNB Party 6) and her co-workers at the Stewart & Stewart law firm, we have learned that some of the people sanctioned are deeply involved in the Russian hockey league, the KHL. Russian billionaire Arkady Rotenberg, president of Alex Ovechkin’s former KHL team Dynamo Moscow, has been sanctioned by the United States for being Putin’s former judo partner and a member of his inner circle.

You can’t make this stuff up.

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Photo: Kyle Mace

Newly-signed Capitals prospect Caleb Herbert had a fantastic debut with the Hershey Bears last Wednesday, picking up two points in a 3-2 win over the Portland Pirates. The 22-year-old forward recently finished his junior season at University of Minnesota-Duluth before opting to turn pro this spring.

“It was an exciting day when I found out I was going to be in the lineup,” Herbert told Patriot-News’ Tim Leone. “It was kind of a shock. Not really a shock, but my head was kind of spinning all day. I was thinking about the game all day. It was kind of tough to settle down.”

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Week 25 Snapshot: The Wonderful Future

Bruce Bennett

Photo: Bruce Bennett

This was the week the Capitals’ playoff hopes effectively died.

Sports Club Stats says the Caps have a 2.7% chance of making the postseason. To help you better understand the probability there, that’s the same as the chances I will NOT go to Chipotle today.

We should not be surprised by this. The Capitals were never good at even strength. In week one we said, “These numbers do not describe a good even-strength team at all.” Almost eighty games later, and that has not changed. The only teams who do worse than the Caps during 5v5 (which is how about 75% of their season has been played), are the following: the Avalanche, Oilers, Leafs, Sabres. That is poor company.

So while this season is a foregone conclusion, the Caps must now decide who they will become in the future: a bottom-five team or not.

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Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin has one of the hardest shots in the NHL. Usually the pucks Ovi shoots hit the back of the net. But sometimes they don’t — especially due the huge curve he has on his stick — and those wild pucks can do some serious damage.

That’s what happened on Saturday night against the Isles, when Ovi’s shot eluded Evgeni Nabokov, rang off the post, and hit defenseman Calvin de Haan square in the chest.

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The Caps Didn’t Win 16-3, But That Woulda Been Cool

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The Caps beat the Islanders 4-3 in the shootout, but if you were peeping at CSN Washington you might have got the wrong idea. An innocent mistake from the graphics department for sure, but imagine for a second how great that would’ve been.

It would’ve been the biggest blowout ever– tying with Montreal beating Quebec by the same score in 1920. Troy Brouwer and Nick Backstrom would have scored twin hat tricks. Jay Beagle would have scored two. Alex Ovechkin would, naturally, have done the Ovechtrick. All three goals against would have been scored while shorthanded.

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