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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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Mike Green, Bottom-Pairing Defenseman: Part Two

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Photo: Amanda Bowen

Last week, Peter offered up some thoughts on Mike Green and his deployment as a “third-pair” defenseman.

Some commenters believe that, and I’m paraphrasing here, Green is a dominant possession player primarily because he plays against weaker competition. But is quality of competition that much of a driving force behind why Green is doing so well at shot-attempt differential? Does Brooks Orpik suffer at the same because of the tougher opponents he faces? If they swapped assignments, would Green would become Orpik in possession and vice versa?

I have doubts.

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Capitals defender Brooks Orpik was on the ice for seven opponent goals last week, but his underlying play has actually been improving. His usage is suspect, but he hasn’t been any better or worse than expected. On DC101’s Elliot in the Morning today, Elliot Segal said Brooks Orpik has been just “as advertised,” which I think is exactly right.

Coming off a brutal loss to the Maple Leafs on Saturday, Orpik spoke with Elliot on Monday morning on a variety of topics– though one recurring theme was how awesome Pittsburgh is. Yeesh.

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All This Happened, More or Less: Isles Beat Caps 3-2 (OT)

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Photo credit: Al Bello

“That is my principal objection to life, I think: It’s too easy, when alive, to make perfectly horrible mistakes.” – Kurt Vonnegut

For years, the Islanders have made that quote ring true. Confused ownership, terrible hockey and of course Nassau Colosseum. The old place will soon be gone from our TV screens. The smell, the lighting, the architecture, the scoreboard stolen from the local high school. So it goes.

Now, though, the Islanders are moving on. Pretty soon they’ll playing their games in a decedent building in Brooklyn. They’re also now good at hockey. The Caps had trouble with that tonight.

The first period was mostly dominated by the Isles. Anders Lee put them up top after John Carlson failed to cling to his man. Washington then released a small furry of shots before Alex Ovechkin got the Caps back in it with another one of them goals from the circle place when his team has more people on the ice. Travis Hamonic then gave New York the lead again when his high flying wrist shot made it past an effectively blindfolded Braden Holtby.

The second was mostly Isles, but the Caps came on towards the end. The Isles took another unnecessary penalty and Ovi did The Thing. 2-2.

Isles pressed in the third but there was nothing doing.

In the extra, scrapeless frame, Nicky grabbed someone’s stick. John Tavares threw his hands in the air. That’s all. Isles beat Caps 3-2 (OT).

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Appreciating Brooks Orpik

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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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Photo: Sergei Belski

Last week, Brian MacLellan spent time answering questions from the media. During the session, MacLellan spoke about his two big off-season acquisitions, Brooks Orpik and Matt Niskanen. “I think they’ve added a lot of stability to [John] Carlson and [Karl] Alzner,” MacLellan said of Orpik and Niskanen. When it comes to Orpik, MacLellan is wrong. Very, very wrong.

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Early in the first period, Washington Capitals defenseman Brooks Orpik hit Vladislav Namestnikov hard into the side boards. As Namestnikov received a pass, he turned towards the Caps bench and was railed head-first into the boards.

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Photo: Amanda Bowen

Last week we looked at the Caps forward deployment thus far under Barry Trotz. This week, I’m going to take a look at the defense. In doing so, we’ll find the Caps have a shutdown pair fairing questionably, a steadying pair that may be better suited to shutdown than our current shutdown pair, and then a pair of possession monsters who are owning the minutes they are being given.

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“Killer” Turnovers Cost Caps Victory Over Red Wings

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Photo credit: Patrick McDermott

For the last few games, Washington’s offense has been lacking. Alex Ovechkin has struggled to score — going five games without a goal — while the rest of the lines have struggled to click as Barry Trotz’s looks for line combinations that will gel. On Wednesday, they got the offense. Washington clearly outclassed the Red Wings but made a few inexplicable mistakes. They hurt.

“They’re not playing overly poor,” Trotz said after the game. “You’ve just got to put your nose to the grindstone and plow through it.”

“Every turnover we did have ended up in the back of the net a little bit,” he added.

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Tonight, the Washington Capitals are on national TV and you know what that means: everybody’s favorite bald commentator is inside the glass! At the beginning of the telecast, Pierre McGuire, the Emmy award winning analyst, talked about the Caps new defensive additions during the offseason: Brooks Orpik and Matt Niskanen.

Except, that’s not exactly what he said.

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