The Holtby Shutout

Jason Arnott congratulates Braden Holtby after registering his first NHL shutout

Photo credit: Greg Fiume

I was in attendance the other night when Braden Holtby made NHL history. You see, the Washington Capitals are now the the only team to have three goalies — all 22-years old or younger — to pitch a shutout in the same season. It was electric. The Phone Booth was chanting “Holt-by! Holt-by! Holt-by!” Unfortunately, as the three stars were about to be announced, all I could think was: does he really deserve a star?

Before this gets off on the wrong foot, I realize that a NHL shutout is a great accomplishment. Since the lockout, there have been only 491 of them in regulation, and as I said before, no team has ever seen so many from such young tenders before. I also know Holtby is a talented goalie. After all, we here at RMNB have been referred to as the world’s foremost authority on the young netminder. But let’s put this in a little perspective.

Continue Reading

Alex Ovechkin scores against the Oilers

Apparently, Ovi wants you to have a new desktop wallpaper every other day now. (Photo credit: Greg Fiume)

Braden Holtby smiles while holding the puck commemorating his first career shutout. (Photo credit: Greg Fiume)

Braden Holtby smiles while holding the puck commemorating his first career shutout. (Photo credit: Greg Fiume)

Entering tonight’s game with the Edmonton Oilers, the big story on everyone’s mind was that Alex Ovechkin’s main running-mate for the past four seasons, Nicklas Backstrom, would be sidelined for the first time in his career due to a fractured left thumb he re-aggravated Monday against the Lightning. As Backstrom’s impressive consecutive games streak ended at 341, the big unknown was if it would have a negative effect on the Capitals suddenly surging offense.

Despite their impressive play of late, the Capitals’ last eight victories have been by only a one goal margin.

Uh, not anymore.

Continue Reading

A Sheldon Souray Fight in 100 Pictures

The knock-out blow

Mama, said knock you out!

All photos by Kyle M. of Sweetest Hockey On Earth.

In Hershey’s nail-biting 3-2 victory over the Norfolk Admirals Saturday, Sheldon Souray got in his second fight of the season, choosing Lightning defense prospect Vladimir Mihalik as his combatant. Mihalik, who stands in at a towering 6’8”, was still no match for the 6’4” Souray, a veteran of over 50 NHL fights.

SHOE’s Kyle M. has supplied us with the 100 pictures he took of the fight from the Giant Center’s photo-well. His pictures slow down the thirty-second altercation into a work of art, expertly capturing all the essential elements of a good fight: the grappling, the punches, the emotion, and the knock-out blow. Enjoy!

Several months ago, Sheldon Souray had a falling out with the Edmonton Oilers and General Manager Steve Tambellini. The conflict was so immense in fact that the Oilers spent the entire summer trying to dump the former three time All-Star and ordered him not to come to Training Camp. Unfortunately for Edmonton, there weren’t many teams who were interested in an aging 34 year old defenseman who is still owed $4.5 million over the next two years and has a cap hit of $5.4 mil.

To make matters worse, Souray also dealt with injury problems last year as he suited up for only 37 games. Um, go ahead and blame Jerome Iginla for that one.

Continue Reading

Alexandre Giroux Signs 1-Way Deal With The Edmonton Oilers.

Alexandre Giroux scores a deal with Edmonton.

Alexandre Giroux holds the Calder Cup. (Photos by Kyle M.)

Alexandre Giroux holds the Calder Cup. (Photos by Kyle M.)

One of the greatest Bears of all-time has finally left for a legitimate shot to stick in the NHL. Bears first line Left Wing Alexandre Giroux signed a one-way NHL contract with the Edmonton Oilers early Saturday morning.

Per Mitch Beck of Howlings, Giroux had several good offers on the table and chose Edmonton because he gets to play in front of an old mentor:

The Quebec City native will be reunited with ex-Rangers coach Tom Renney. The left handed shooting Center played for Renney in the one game he got in with the Rangers back in 2005. In that game he played just three shifts and drew a key penalty on the second shift that led to a power play goal.

Giroux told Howlings, that he had other NHL options, including an offer from the New York Islanders. He also had a much more substantial $1.3mm offer from the KHL that he leaves on the table in order to complete his dream of being a regular NHL player. He does it with no regrets. “It was a lot of money and it was a hard decision, but I’m really excited to have this chance to make an NHL roster,” the recently turned 29-year old said. “Coach Renney is a great coach and the organization has such a great history. I’m looking forward to going there and giving it everything I’ve got to help the team become a contender once again and prove I belong there.”

Continue Reading

Lost in Russia: Alexandre Volchkov

Alexandre Volchokov: We'll Never Forget. (RMNB Graphic)

Alexandre Volchokov. Hopefully the beard symbolizes maturity. (RMNB Graphic)

Widely regarded as one of the biggest busts in NHL history, Alexandre Volchkov was the Washington Capitals 4th Overall Selection in the 1996 NHL Entry Draft. Then he proceeded to play in only 3 games for the NHL Club, never registering a single point. For those whose memory of Volchkov is fuzzy, let’s let the wonderful Wikipedia fill in those blanks:

“Volchkov was a talented right-winger who put up impressive offensive numbers while playing junior hockey for the Barrie Colts. Washington management were well aware of Volchkov’s attitude issues, but decided that his talent overshadowed any potential problems. Offensively gifted, the enigmatic Volchkov never reached his potential as a pro due to his poor attitude. In one incident while playing with the Capitals’ minor league affiliate Portland Pirates, he walked out on the team during a playoff game.

Having had enough of his poor attitude and chronic underachieving, the Capitals traded Volchkov to the Edmonton Oilers on February 4, 2000, for a fourth round draft pick, but he never played with the parent club. Former Oilers’ GM Kevin Lowe, then the team’s coach, recalled his first training camp meeting with Volchkov in which the player insisted on being referred to as The Volch-inator. After just twenty-five games with the Oilers’ minor league affiliate Hamilton Bulldogs, team management soured on his poor attitude, and he returned to play in Russia.”

Where’s The Volch-inator now? Surprisingly he’s still playing hockey! We had Fedor search through a bunch of Russian and Belarus websites. And this is what he found.

Continue Reading

Epic Comeback! Caps trounce Oilers 4-2

This Caps fan has tonight lost his voice from shouting at the meh-definition signal from Comcast SportsNet Plus. You can’t blame me; the Washington Capitals had a lot to shout about last night. For forty minutes it seemed like the defensemen were not equal to the task and the offense were offensively inert. The Caps, leading the Southeast division, somehow trailed the Oilers, bottom of the Northwest, by two goals going into the 3rd period. Snowbound Caps fans across the east coast buttressed themselves for another pathetic loss to a Canadian team.

And then Alexander Ovechkin showed up. The world’s best hockey player and the man my girlfriend calls “Ovenchicken” performed a hero’s task in Edmonton last night, singlehandedly pulling the boys from F Street out of a two-goal deficit. After one determined stuff manuever and another sick Ovechkian angle goal off a rebound, the Caps had renewed life. Flash and Backstrom put the nail in the coffin, and all was right in the world again:  Caps beat Oilers 4-2.

  • CSN+ has a terrible signal. The first five minutes of ice time were tinged Viagra blue, and this Caps fan couldn’t discern Laing’s 53 from Green’s 52 for most of the game. Over the airwaves, Joe Beninati‘s exotic tie patterns read like some kind of vomitous fever dream.
  • Karl Alzner‘s masterful deflection into his own goal may be the punctuation at the end of his time in the NHL. His D pairing with Tyler Sloan (-1 plus/minus for the season) was particularly incompetent last night, but his kick into our own net was unforgivable. Hershey may be a better fit for his hijinx. Am I being unfair? Let me know in the comments below.
  • I can’t single out Alzner, as the whole defensive effort was pathetic last night. The Oilers’ offensive tactics were eerily similar to Boudreau’s Caps, what with the dumping and chasing and moving behind the goal line. Our defense was unable to chase down loose pucks behind the blue and clear it out, and that made those two soft goals against Neuvirth possible.
  • Jeff Schultz is on my list, too. His careless pass at center ice led to a breakaway goal for the Oilers – one night after this terrible miscue. At least when Mike Green pulled that same nonsense a few weeks ago, he had the good sense to follow it up with a make-up goal.
  • Alexander Ovechkin‘s 3rd period illustrated everything we love about the caveman.  I don’t know what Bruce Boudreau said in the locker room at the 2nd intermission, but Alex definitely heard it.  His goals owed as much to grit as they did talent, and he pulled the rest of the team up with him.  Last night demonstrated once again why Capitals hockey is the most exciting hockey in the league.
  • But Steve Staios is paste-eating crazy.  Several times the Oiler’s PK man jumped in front of Ovie’s lightning-fast slappers like he was the Edmontonian Quentin Laing or something. This guy deserves a lot of credit for neutering the Caps’ powerplay last night.
  • Was the Caps top line (“The Tiger Beat line”) -2 in the first 40 minutes of the game? Yikes.
  • Tomas Fleischmann‘s go-ahead goal was exemplary, but he followed it immediately with a lazy penalty. If that’s not a microcosm of the Caps fatal flaw, I don’t know what is.
  • If your hockey team cannot convert 1:51 of 5-on-3 into a goal, you’re not worthy of Lord Stanley’s Cup. I attribute this failure to Edmonton’s fantastic PK unit as much as our own incompetence. Either way, this is the second time this season our boys have struggled with completion anxiety across multiple games. Let’s hope we get our groove back against Buffalo.
  • Spongebob Squarepants Hilary Duff was at the game last night. For the record, Russian Machine prefers Miley Cyrus.

So I imagine by now the boys have landed in D.C. and are finding their respective homes buried under two feet of snow. If I hear about Mike Green or Alexander Semin spraining their backs while shoveling snow, I’m going to flip out. Stay mellow, watch The Jersey Shore, and drink a gingerbread latte. Three day’s rest is a fair reward for a successful trip to the tundra.

Chris Clark vs. Steve Staios Fight

If some of you missed it, since nothing happened here except bear hugs and helmet punching, here is the fight between Washington Capitals captain Chris Clark and Edmonton Oilers Defenseman Steve Staios. Who won – minus the PA Annoucer who put on that country song in the middle of the scrap? Well, neither got in a good shot, and when the takedown happened, both players seemingly fell to the ice on their sides at the same time. So we’re going to rule this one a draw, and a total yawn.

Thanks to for the video.