Photo credit: Nick Wass

With fewer than 20 games left, the Washington Capitals badly needed a win from the Philadelphia Flyers to stay competitive. This Sunday night rendezvous held pretty high stakes for the Caps, and the team responded with a distinguished effort. But effort ain’t goals.

After a scoreless first period, Eric Wellwood redirected an outside shot from Pavel Kubina to make it 1-0. That’s the whole story. Flyers beat Caps 1-0.

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Download and Print the JAGR Signs

Jaromir Jagr Sign

After years of knowing he was on the far side of the world, Verizon Center is about to have another unpleasant outbreak of Jaromir Jagr. Tuesday’s game with the Philadelphia Flyers marks Jagr’s return to to his old team, reminding us all of a dark time in Caps history.

In deference to JJ, I have created two posters, ready to print and download.

The mondo links below will download PDFs, which fit an 8.5 x 11 page perfectly. Download the files and print a million of these little dudes out (on post-consumer paper, duh) to pass out to everyone you see at Verizon Center. Make some noise for 68 and let ‘em know you remember him fondly. Hahaha.

DOWNLOAD THE NO-JAGR SIGN
DOWNLOAD THE $40 MILLION SIGN

Also, check out our DALE posters (recently seen on NHL Live!)

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Warm Tidings to the Honourable Gentleman, Jaromir Jagr

Tuesday night is a big deal. For the first time since February 10, 2008, Jaromir Jagr will play hockey at Verizon Center. Since he is perhaps the most reviled person in Washington Capitals history, there’s no way this doesn’t get ugly.

As a Pittsburgh Penguin, Jaromir Jagr finished eight seasons with more than 90 points, ran flak for Mario Lemieux, and beat the hell out of the Caps in five of six playoff series. Then something even worse happened: he became a Washington Capital.

Fans can have honest disagreement about what the dark days of the Washington Capitals actually were. No wait; they can’t. That first season going a pathetic 8-67-5 doesn’t come close to unbridled misery of the Jaromir Jagr era (October 6, 2001 – January 21, 2004). It began like this: Acquired from a broke Pittsburgh team, Jagr would earn eleven million dollars a  year as a Capital.

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Evgeny Kuznetsov speeds down the middle during Traktor’s game against Yugra Khanty-Mansiysk (Photo credit: Vitaly Gubin, Traktor PR Service)

Caps prospect Evgeny Kuznetsov, currently sitting in the top 15 in both goals and points (12g, 12a), was named a KHL All-Star for the second time on Monday. Unlike last season, Kuznetsov was overwhelmingly voted in as a starter this year by fans and will represent “Team Fedorov” of the Eastern conference. The 19-year-old Traktor Chelyabinsk forward finished second overall in total votes (33,800), trailing only Mikelis Redlihs of the Western Conference’s “Team Ozolins.”

To put Kuznetsov’s immense popularity in perspective, consider that he garnered more votes than reigning MVP Alexander Radulov, Roman Cervenka (the KHL’s leading scorer), Vladimir Tarasenko, and Russian National Team Captain Alexei Morozov.

Recently, Sovetsky Sport’s Pavel Lysenkov did a lengthy feature story on Kuznetsov, who some have called the new face of the KHL. Like most interviews with Russian players, the story starts off with questions about Vityaz Chekhov, who was recently beaten by Traktor on the scoreboard and tried to beat them back with their fists.

Most importantly to Caps fans, Kuznetsov discussed his possible NHL future, his contract situation, and who he idolized as a kid. Below the jump, I have the translation.

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On Bruce Boudreau’s Future

Photo credit: Marianne Helm

Bruce Boudreau became head coach of the Washington Capitals around Thanksgiving 2007. He turned around a losing season, made the playoffs, and sported a winning record ever since. From then on, the Capitals have consistently won the Southeast Division– if not the Eastern Conference or Presidents’ Trophy.

But the Capitals have not lasted long in the playoffs, and their last two seasons have been plagued by dramatic losing streaks. After last night’s rout at the petioles of the Maple Leafs, General Manager George McPhee declined to comment when asked for a vote of confidence for his head coach. And now, on Sunday afternoon– when we’re all surely glued to the Redskins game– the Internet is atwitter with talk of Bruce Boudreau’s future.

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Photo credit: Bruce Bennett

The Washington Capitals game with the Philadelphia Flyers should’ve been the clash of the titans: Alex Ovechkin and Jaromir Jagr. Only one of ‘em showed up.

Claude Giroux deked wide to score on a breakaway made possible by Alex Semin’s giveaway. Mathieu Perreault required the rest of the fourth line to screen in his tying marker. Late in the first, someone told Alex Ovechkin that he was tied in goals with ex-Cap Dave Steckel, so Ovi promptly scored on a rebound.

Nothing happened in the second period, but get ready for this. Roman Hamrlik ripped one from way out that deflected in, then Alex Ovechkin found an open spot on open ice and chipped it in, then Joel Ward got a flukey deflection to make it 5-1. All that happened in 150 seconds. Late goal by someone and who cares. Caps beat Flyers 5-2.

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(Photo credit: Andre Ringuette)

True story. Guy walks into a bar. He immediately pulls down his pants, starts cursing a blue streak, and vomits on the floor before stumbling out the door. Bartender says: “Hey, I didn’t know there was a Flyers game today!”

The Low Down: There’s no question Philadelphia is cursed with the worst sports fans in the history of everdom, and that includes the Flyers. Their arena smells, their colors look like butt, and those are the nice things we have to say.

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Welcome Home, Jaromir Jagr

Jaromir Jagr

Doesn’t this picture just make you sick? (Photo credit: Jonathan Newton)

A long, long time ago, in a frightening world before iPads and Windows Vista, there was this belief that the Capitals needed only one guy to get over the hump to become a stone-cold Stanley Cup contender. It was 2001-02. They already had fifty-goal scorer Peter Bondra, Vezina winner Olie Kolzig, and what many thought to be among the most solid defenses in the NHL.

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Free Agency Flustercluck Open Thread

Here’s where all the action happens. Lots of things cooking today.

Japers’ has a great primer on who in the Caps system is up for grabs: Arnott, Sturm, Hannan, Gordon, Brouwer, Bradley, Alzner, Varlamov.

We’ll update this post with each development relevant to the Caps, and you can share your panic-struck ravings in the comments.

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Evgeny Kuznetsov: On The Ice With A Parachute

Evgeny Kuznetsov Traktor

Today, the World Junior Championships are set to begin in Buffalo, New York, and RMNB’s Igor Kleyner has translated a fantastic one-on-one interview between Sport Express’s Yuriy Golyshak and Capitals 2010 First Round Pick Evgeny Kuznetsov. Warning: it’s another long one.

In the article translated below, we learn even more crucial information about Kuz including his nagging shoulder injury, his thoughts on the slash Braden Holtby delivered to him during Caps Development Camp, and his experience being drafted by Washington. On top of that, we also learn about Kuznetsov’s half a year of driving without a license, his love for McDonald’s food, and his embarrassment on never seeing Alex Ovechkin play live. Check out all of that and more below the jump.

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