Latta

Photo credit: Patrick McDermott

The fourth line of the Washington Capitals is an interesting thing. It features a $4.5 million veteran playmaker on the left (Martin Erat), a 22-year-old up-and-down call-up at center (Michael Latta), and a 19-year-old wrecking ball on the right (Tom Wilson). We’ll focus on Latta for now. In his return to the lineup, the new guy drew two penalties and delivered some nice hits. That’s about all you can ask from a fourth liner, though the trio’s good game was muted by Carolina’s winning third period goal.

“Drawing two penalties is excellent,” head coach Adam Oates told reporters. “You want that from that line. You want them to create opportunities and get momentum: that’s what a forth line does.”

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Capitals vs Devils in Nine Beagles

beags1

Capitals vs Devils on Thursday did not go well. Chris Gordon did his best to delight you while holding the RMNB reins, but nothing could salvage a very bad night for the home team.

Except maybe this.

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Eric Fehr En Fuego: Caps beat Bolts 4-3

Scott Audette

Photo credit: Scott Audette

Happy Valentine’s Day, hockey lovers! I hate this stupid day, but I found a good way to pass the time. The Washington Capitals served the Tampa Bay Lightning to some offense-go-boom and peppered it with all the careless defense that makes Caps hockey both fun and infuriating.

Troy Brouwer executed a lovely passing sequence on the game’s opening power play, but Martin St. Louis evened the score with a series of swats at Holtby’s pads. Eric Fehr scored his second goal in as many games by going straight to the net, and then made it three with a rocket from outside in the third period. Jay Beagle reintroduced himself with the dirtiest goal ever scored by a half-human/half-hound. Teddy Purcell got one back with a zero-angle shot that probably went off a Caps skater’s boot, and Nate Thompson made it darn close with a breakaway that Holtby misread. The Caps survived a late-minute panic and earned the win.

Caps beat Lightning 4-3.

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Cow Sacrifice (9 of 9)

Photo credit: Chris Gordon

As you might have heard, the Caps have lost a few games recently. No one really has good answer for why that’s happened. George McPhee wants the team to take fewer penalties. Jay Beagle wants to sacrifice a cow. Well, Caps fans can only take action on the latter. And they did. In the parking lot of Kettler Capitals Iceplex following the club’s morning skate before Saturday’s game against the Panthers, rubber cows and goats had their noggins chopped off for a good cause. In the vein of a similar (and successful) plea to the heavens when the Nationals were in the dumps, Jenn Rubenstein of Arlington, Virginia led the ceremonial hacking while the Nats’ rubber chicken man Hugh Kaufman, who spearheaded the baseball version, joined in.

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Jay Beagle Wants to Sacrifice a Cow

Run cow, run!

The Caps are playing so bad, sacrificing a goat isn’t even a strong enough metaphor anymore.

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Last week, Ted Leonsis spread his wings by launching Monumental Network, a site  to aggregate all the Caps, Wizards, Mystics, and Verizon Center coverage his company produces. They’ve got original reporting and a network of blogs to cover the living heck out of each team.

Earlier this week, Casey Phillips, Monumental’s digital correspondent crowded in on RMNB’s beat with a story that we should have had. After Cosmopolitan Magazine named Mike Green the sexiest player in the NHL, the Monumental crew asked the team who they thought was truly the most handsome guy around.

The answers will amaze you. Or maybe they won’t. I mean, you know they’re gonna say Brooks, right?

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Alex Ovechkin (2 of 2)

Adam Oates talks to Ovi during practice on Saturday. (Photos by Chris Gordon)

Alex Ovechkin has become a one-dimensional player. Once the league’s most creative and premier scorer, Ovi has been stymied by his apparent unwillingness to change — at least so far. His struggles at right wing in the first three games this season demonstrated that much. After just eight periods, the exercise ended. Ovi was back at left wing.

Ovi’s switch has been the story of the season so far for the Caps. But not everybody thinks it should be.

“Are we talking about Ovi again? That’s bulls—t,” forward Troy Brouwer told me when asked about Ovechkin’s play this season.

“It shouldn’t be difficult,” Brouwer said. “He’s a right handed shot, he should be able to play right wing. It should be hard to play your off wing.”

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BestLineEver

Exclusive RMNB photo.

When the Capitals came out for warm-ups against New Jersey Friday, head coach Adam Oates had a surprise for us. Alex Ovechkin was skating on a line with Jay Beagle and Joey Crabb.

The Great Eight has struggled in the first three games this season, with no goals, 11 shots, and two checks on his own teammates. So Friday night he was back on left wing with Beagle (seven career NHL goals) as the pivot and Crabb (19 career NHL goals) on the right wing. I didn’t expect this trio to remain intact for very long, but despite taking some shifts with different teammates throughout the night, the line stayed together until the end.

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Ovechkin speaks to the media

Miss the media? “Not really,” says Ovechkin. (Photo credit: @SWhyno)

This morning, a bunch of Washington Capitals players jumped back on the ice for an informal practice. Those who skated include Alex Ovechkin, Braden Holtby, Mike Green, Mike Ribeiro, John Carlson, Michal Neuvirth, Matt Hendricks, Jason Chimera, Jay Beagle, Jack Hillen, and John Erskine.

At 11am, Caps general manager George McPhee then spoke to the press for the first time since dinosaurs roamed the earth. GMGM revealed that injured defenseman Dmitry Orlov is “improving” but questionable for opening night (but you already knew that), and side-stepped questions on Nicklas Backstrom’s health, acknowledging that the team can’t examine him until a new CBA is ratified. Hershey Bears defense prospect Cameron Schilling will also be given a shot to make the team out of training camp. McPhee’s full comments are below.

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On Saturday, several Washington Capitals players rented out Kettler Capitals IcePlex to scrimmage against local college kids. Two readers who attended, Lexi Martinez and Kate Hudson, share their experience below. Lexi did the write-up, and Kate snapped the photos. Enjoy!

Caps fans got a surprise Thursday night, when John Carlson took to Twitter to announce that he’d be joining a few teammates back on the ice at Kettler the following morning for something special. Along with Brooks Laich, Jason Chimera, Jay Beagle, Jeff Halpern, and former Capital Peter Bondra, John would be scrimmaging a team of college players from around the area. It was thrown together late and all for fun, but for me, it meant a little taste of the Caps hockey we’ve all been missing so much. Naturally, I was freaking out.

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