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Photo: Kathy Kmonicek

Sometimes Washington Capitals forward Marcus Johansson struggles to finish in front of the net. Example: last night in the third period against the New Jersey Devils where Mojo , wide open in the crease, hit Cory Schneider right in the pads instead of lifting the puck up and over. The Capitals would lose 2-1.

The next day, Mojo flubbed another easy goal, but this time against the New York Islanders. No worries. Evgeny Kuznetsov cleaned up his mess.

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so-caps

This is so Capitals.

All season long, the Washington Capitals have had recurring momentary lapses in judgement in which they forget how to hockey. That’s why the Caps won’t be making the playoffs for the first time in six years, and now I’ve got a drinking problem.

On Saturday at Nassau Coliseum, Mike Green and Jason Chimera illustrated how to do the worst breakout ever. Instead of establishing possession and exiting the defensive zone, they crashed into each other full speed right in front of their own goal.

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brooks

This could not come at a better time. Once and future Caps forward Brooks Laich starred in a segment with Cabbie Richards of TSN called “Five Things Every Man Should Know.” Guest-starring Dustin Penner and Evgeny Kuznetsov– as girls, the video teaches you (not me) everything you (not me) need to know about how to be a manly man.

Brooks guides us (you mostly) through the vagaries of manly tasks we (you) so often get wrong. It’s indispensable viewing: instructive, entertaining, has nothing to do with the Caps’ season, and features D.P. and Kuzya as girls.

Enjoy.

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The Nail: Devils Beat Caps 2-1

BruceBennett

Photo: Bruce Bennett

Tuesday’s Caps game was ugly. The days that followed didn’t get much better. Adam Oates kinda sorta maybe called out Alex Ovechkin on Wednesday for being Alex Ovechkin. The national hockey media devoured it like it was some delicious Chipotle guac. Ovi wasn’t made available to reporters on Thursday to respond.

With six games left, everyone started to realize it would take divine intervention for the Capitals to make the playoffs. If they did make it, they didn’t deserve to be there — and the Capitals knew that.

The scoring got started tonight with an even-strength Alex Ovechkin tally, the first since we still cared about the Winter Olympics. Playing on a line with Mikhail Grabovski and Nicklas Backstrom, Ovi took a feed from Grabo in the near circle before flipping the puck past Cory Schneider.

During a second period in which the Devs dominated play, New Jersey tied the game up. Twelve minutes into the frame, Tuomo Ruutu tipped home a shot from D-man Eric Gelinas to make it one-one.

The Caps headed into the third with a man-advantage, needing their power play to once again save them from disaster. It didn’t happen.

Ryan Carter scored a late goal for New Jersey. Devils beat Caps 2-1.

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Alex Ovechkin Scores 49th Goal of the Year (GIF)

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Photo: Julio Cortez

Over the last two days, Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin has become hockey’s version of a human piñata. The reason why the mainstream media has figuratively flogged Ovechkin with its bat full of angry pixels: Ovi gave up on a play that led to a Dallas Stars goal. It was already 3-0 and there were three defenders in the D-zone. Deal with it. Head coach Adam Oates didn’t help matters much on Wednesday when he said that Ovechkin “quit” on the play.

Since then, life as a Caps fan has been nothing short of depressing. On Friday, however, things got a bit back to normal in the first period.

After being reunited with Nicklas Backstrom for the first time since the mid-80′s, Ovechkin scored his first even strength goal… also since the mid-80′s.

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RMNB Meetup: Hockey Night at the Frederick Keys!

keys

Ian and I were born and raised in Frederick, Maryland, which is the greatest city on the face of the Earth. This is relevant information, because now we’re inviting you to town.

Our hometown baseball team, the Frederick Keys, are having their hockey night on Saturday, April 12. We’ve missed the event two years in a row, but we’re definitely going this time– because Craig Laughlin and Alan May will be there! And we want you to come too.

We’ll eat peanuts, drink beers, talk hockey, watch baseball, and generally have a blast.

Who: You! Us! Craig and Alan! Glynn Davis!

What: Hockey night! Keys vs Lynchburg Hillcats! (Boo Hillcats! We don’t like them!)

Where: Harry Grove Stadium, 21 Stadium Dr, Frederick, MD 21703

When: Saturday, April 12, 2:00 PM

Why: Because the weather is nice, the people are good, and the hockey makes us sad.

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oates-points

Photo: Geoff Burke

After one of the most successful West Coast road trips in franchise history, the Washington Capitals lost four straight games — three of which at home.  They’ve been outscored 16-9 during the losing streak. On April fools day, the Capitals, still in the thick of the Eastern Conference wildcard chase, played one of their most pathetic games of the year, a 5-0 blowout loss to the Dallas Stars.

It wasn’t so much that the Capitals lost, it was how listless they played considering the stakes.

When looking back at that game, it’s obvious this team is not focused. When the players hit the ice, they wilted under the adversity.

Consider warm-ups. Normally the starting goaltender leads the Caps out onto the ice. On that night, Russian rookie Evgeny Kuznetsov came out first with Ovi right behind him. A few seconds later, the rest of the team followed. According to 106.7 The Fan’s Sky Kerstein, “it looked like Ovi pranked Kuzya.”

I’ve got no idea if something silly like that has any effect on a team, but it doesn’t look good in hindsight. Even worse because it comes from the captain of the team.

During the actual game, the Capitals were a mess. They gave up two consecutive breakaways on a power play. They let the Stars score twice within 34 seconds, including a 2-on-0 breakaway by a 41-year-old. On Dallas’s fourth salvo of the night, Ovechkin quit on the play.

Head coach Adam Oates has faced difficult questions about his coaching style recently. Is that style still working? How does he motivates his players behind closed doors?

While the mainstream media has focused its attention on Oates’ honest comments about Ovechkin, there was much, much more to those interviews. Below is a summary of what I found most interesting.

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kuznetsov-shops2

In Narrative Land, the biggest story in the hockey world today was Adam Oates calling out Alex Ovechkin for quitting on the play that resulted in a third period goal for the Dallas Stars. But c’mon, it was already 3-0 at that point. How much would one more goal hurt? Other than, ya know, emotionally.

The hockey media went all out covering the living ish out of this quote. How would Ovechkin react to being literally thrown under a literal bus by his head coach? By driving his six-figure price-tag car to Georgetown and shopping at the Nike Store with his two Russian bros.

So I guess Ovi’s not exactly devastated by his coach’s heel turn.

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Photo: Marissa Baecker/Getty Images North America

The Washington Capitals have announced the signing of Madison Bowey, the 18-year-old defenseman selected 53rd overall in the 2013 Draft, to an entry-level contract beginning in the 2014-15 season.

He seems excited about it.

For the past three years, Bowey has played for the Kelowna Rockets of the Western Hockey League. This season, serving as team captain, he scored 21 goals and 60 points, breaking the club records for goals by a defenseman earlier held by the Colorado Avalanche’s Tyson Barrie and recording the third-best season in points by a blueliner. What makes Bowey’s achievement more impressive is the list of the Rockets defensemen he has surpassed (in single season goals and points): Tyler Myers, Alex Edler, Shea Weber, and Duncan Keith, among others.

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why3

Photo: Patrick Smith

When the Washington Capitals gave up two straight breakaways to the Dallas Stars while on their own power play last night, I thought that was rock bottom.

Nope.

Rock bottom was Dustin Jeffrey‘s second period goal. The tally, which came 34 seconds after Ryan Whitney’s 2-on-0 goal on a botched Capitals line change, gave the Dallas Stars a 3-0 lead. It essentially ended the game.

The defense on the goal was atrocious. I’d waste my time or yours with a description. The screenshots and video say everything.

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