TheSecondComing

Glorious human being. (Photo credit: Alex Brandon)

On January 1, 2011, Eric Fehr blasted into the offensive zone, along with the puck. He unleashed bullet of a wrist shot off the slushy Heinz Field ice. It was his second goal of the game, the 2011 Winter Classic, cementing him in Capitals history.

On Saturday, Fehr scored twice against the Pittsburgh Penguins, a redux of sorts of his 2011 outdoor game performance. Well, according to everyone but him.

“Not really,” Fehr said when asked by Alex Prewitt if that game brought back any memories. “Different kind of goals and obviously different building.”

Today, however, his goal was close as you could get to 2011: breakaway, unassisted, outdoors, and happy times at the end. Nevertheless, Fehr stuck to his talking points, giving nearly the same answer he provided the media Saturday.

“Not really,” Fehr said when asked, once again, if it brought back any memories. “It was a little bit different.”

Still, he was happy.

“It always feels good to score goals, I won’t lie to you,” Fehr, who attributed his play to “some good fresh air,” told me. “The ones in the Winter Classic feel extra special.”

Capitals owner Ted Leonsis saw it coming.

“I walked in today and saw Eric and said ‘You’re our x-factor,” Leonsis told me.

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On Barry Trotz, Lineup Decisions, and Big Mistakes

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Photo: Bruce Bennett

Nate Schmidt recently found himself watching from the press box for two games while Jack Hillen took his spot beside Mike Green. Hillen is an adequate player, but should be seventh on the Caps defensive depth chart among those healthy.

That isn’t to say that Hillen should never get a sweater. Over the course of a season, it’s fine and good to work in a guy like Hillen here and there so rust doesn’t build up, but Barry Trotz has made it clear that the reason Hillen was given a sweater recently is because, in his opinion, Schmidt had played his way out of the lineup. Schmidt’s recent benching is another questionable lineup decision by Barry Trotz, wherein he seems to focus on the “big mistake” as opposed to the underlying processes and actual patterns of play

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Karl Alzner’s Skill Goal (GIF)

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Hockey is a funny. Sometimes the offensively inept Brooks Orpik scores the prettiest goal of the season in a 20-round shootout. Sometimes shy-shooting Karl Alzner scores a skill goal on Vezina trophy winner Sergei Bobrovsky, which is what happened on Thursday night.

I don’t get it either, but look at this.

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TomWilsonPatrickMcDermott

Artsy. (Photo credit: Patrick McDermott)

Tom Wilson needs to play like Tom Wilson,” Capitals coach Barry Trotz said early this month. “If Tom Wilson starts to play like someone else, then he won’t be on the first line.”

It’s been over a month since the bellicose winger got promoted to top line duty. He was in full bloom on Thursday, agitating the Blue Jackets all night. His premiere moment of belligerence came midway through the second period when Wilson goaded James Wisniewski into taking four minutes of penalty time for attempting to disfigure Wilson’s face.

Wisniewski’s assault failed, his stick snapping upon contact with Wilson’s chin.

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Karl Alzner’s a Dad: Wife Gives Birth to Baby Girl

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You’d think he’d smile more.

Early Wednesday evening, Karl Alzner‘s wife, Mandy, gave birth to their first child, a baby girl named Stella. Born at 7:22PM, Stella Raay Alzner was announced to the world via The Washington Post’s Alex Prewitt.

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When we heard a superhero foundation was holding a fundraiser in D.C. featuring Caps players Karl Alzner, Troy Brouwer, and John Carlson, we put our best subject-matter expert on the case. Here’s a report from RMNB Senior Spandexed Superhero Correspondent Brouwer Ranger Nathan on “Heroes Rock the Red.”

Spirits seem to be rebounding among Caps fans following back-to-back victories against the Chicago Blackhawks and the Carolina Hurricanes this weekend. A handful of them came out to celebrate the nascent winning streak with Caps players and a bunch of superheroes while raising money for Foundation 4 Heroes (F4H).

Brouwer and Carlzner signed autographs, took photos with fans, and tended bar at City Tap House DC to raise money for the F4H, which takes a unique approach to supporting kids with life-threatening diseases. The non-profit sends superheroes like Captain America and Wonder Woman to visit kids and encourage them to find the superhero inside themselves.

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After Half a Season, Nate Schmidt Looks Real Good

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If I were to tell you that the Caps have a new young defensemen whose first half season compares very respectably relative to the first half a season of Mike Green, John Carlson and Karl Alzner, you’d probably be excited, right?

Okay, be excited.

Tuesday’s game against the Flames was Nate Schmidt‘s 41st in the NHL. Regular readers of the site know that Peter is a huge Nate Schmidt fan. While I haven’t written much about Schmidt here on RMNB, I’ve written about him elsewhere and think the Caps made a great decision in keeping him in Washington this season.

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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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Karl Alzner Messes With the Penalty-Box Cam (GIF)

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Karl Alzner was whistled for interference late in the second period, which was the exact moment the wheels fell off for the Caps. At least for a 1:47 of game action, during which the Canucks scored three times.

But first: watch Alzner mess with the penalty-box camera.

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RIP (Photo: @WashCaps)

Washington Capitals head coach Barry Trotz might have given his players the day off Thursday, but everyone ended up on the ice anyways. The Caps held what I can only describe as an “intense team building event” at the Calgary Curling Club and I’m sad to report there was one casualty: Alex Ovechkin‘s pants. Let us have a moment of silence for #OviPants.

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