Rachel Cohen's Valentine's Day Card for Matt Bradley

RMNB’s own Rachel Cohen created this Valentine for Matt Bradley

In honor of Valentine’s Day and to drown your sorrows after the latest Caps loss, we asked our readers to submit their very own cards addressed to a Capitals player. And oh, boy, did you listen. We’ve included many of your submissions but have narrowed it down to five finalists. From there, you guys will vote to pick the winner, who will receive one of our lovely — no pun intended — t-shirts. Voting will last until Wednesday night at midnight. And FYI, some of these cards may be NSFW. Proceed with caution!

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Caps Fall to Coyotes, 3-2, on Valentine’s Day

Coyotes beat Caps, 3-2

Photo credit: Norm Hall

We’re reaching a key point in the season, as Capitals veteran winger Mike Knuble said after the loss to the Kings, “This road-trip could be great or it could be an absolute embarrassment.”

It seems like all year we’ve been waiting for Washington to just snap out of it and return to last season’s form. But at the start of their matchup with Phoenix, the Caps were fewer points away from being out of playoff position then they were of taking the number one spot in the east.

“If they’re waiting for some switch to magically appear, it’s not going to happen,” head coach Bruce Boudreau said after Saturday’s flop.

It’s time to wake up. And the Capitals certainly didn’t do that Monday night.

The first period was rather uneventful. Aside from an early power play, the Caps had limited scoring opportunities, registering just one even strength shot in the frame. But then in the second, the Caps decided to #CRASHTHENET, as Marcus Johansson used the patented bank it off Martin Hanzal’s foot move, putting Washington on top. However, Hanzal quickly redeemed himself, scoring just 49 seconds later, going five-hole on Capitals goaltender Michal Neuvirth. With less than two and a half minutes left in the period, Ray Whitney gave the ‘Yotes a 2-1 lead when his wrist-shot hit the back of the net. In the third period, Vernon Fiddler would push the Coyotes advantage to two when converted on a 2-on-1. Matt Bradley, however, would answer right back, cutting the lead to one under a minute later, getting a shot past Phoenix ‘keeper Ilya Bryzgalov. But that would be it for Washington. Coyotes beat Caps, 3-2.

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Matt Bradley cutely pushes a kid around on a sled.

Matt Bradley does his part by pushing a kid around on a sled.

Today, the Capitals teamed up with Dreams for Kids for Extreme Recess Hockey. Caps Matt Bradley, Tom Poti, Dave Steckel and coaches Bruce Boudreau and Bob Woods took to the ice after practice and skated with children with physical and developmental disabilities. For some of the kids, today’s skate was the first time they had ever played hockey or even shot a puck. Britt McHenry of ABC7 was on the scene at Kettler and had a chance to speak with some of the participants including Connor, who had the chance to skate with some of his heroes.

The Caps Go Bowling For Charity

Caps Bowling (12 of 31)

The Caps may have had trouble scoring lately, but on Saturday afternoon players were racking up scores by the hundreds. Then again, the game was bowling. Karl Alzner, Matt Bradley, Jason Chimera, Eric Fehr, Boyd Gordon, Matt Hendricks, DJ King, Mike Knuble, Jeff Schultz, David Steckel, Brooks Laich–plus their wives, girlfriends, and children–took part in “Bowling with the Caps” at Lucky Strike Lanes in downtown DC. The event was all for charity, raising over $60,000 for the Chris Walsh Cancer Survivorship Fund at Virginia Hospital Center.

It was a great time,” Hendricks said. “It’s a lot of fun to get out there and mingle with the fans for a good cause.”

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Like Old Times: Caps beat Bolts 5-2

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SCOAR! (Photo credit: Chris O’Meara)

There was a zeitgeist surrounding the Washington Capitals’ visit to the Tampa Bay Lightning’s playground. The words we kept hearing were “must win,” which is great motivator even if it’s not objectively true. Still, the Caps seemed to take it to heart, bringing an effort to the game that reminds us– above all else–  of the ’09-’10 version of the team. Not bad.

Red-hot Teddy Purcell scored on Tampa Bay’s first shot of the night, a 40-foot slapper to Varlamov’s weak side. On a 4v4 sequence that we’ll discuss later, Nicky Backstrom used some stick-to-it-iveness to even the score from the crease. Brooks Laich (!) piled on with a wizardly backhand top-shelfer set up by Mathieu Perreault. Alex Ovechkin put the visitors up 3-1 with his long-delayed return to the PPG stat column. Tampa’s Brett Clark kept the second period busy with a retaliatory powerplay tally. The third period found Nick Backstrom cleaning up an Ovechkin crash for his second of the night, and Jason Chimera  recording an empty-netter. Caps beat Bolts 5-2. Wings, MFers.

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Thrashers beat Caps 1-0, Shutout Number Seven

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Here’s a picture of Ovechkin eating snow for the billionth time. (Photo credit: Scott Cunningham)

To all our friends stuck on the roads during this crazy #thundersnow storm, safe travels. Don’t do anything I wouldn’t do.

So the final game for the Washington Capitals before the All-Star break found them meeting the Atlanta Thrashers in the not-so-balmy temperatures of Georgia. It did not go well.

Nik Antropov settled a lucky bounce in the Caps zone, leading to an easy goal against Semyon Varlamov. That was it. No other goals. Shutout for Ondrej Pavelec. Thrashers beat Caps 1-0.

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Caps beat Devils 5-1, Andrew Gordon Scores First NHL Goal

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First of many for Andrew Gordon. (Photo credit: Mitchell Layton)

That is how you do it! The Washington Capitals have done the unthinkable: playing two smart games back to back.

Who better to get us started that Andrew Gordon? His goal-crashing shot off a speedy Marcus Johansson pass was the night’s first goal and the first of Andrew’s NHL career. (We knew you could do it!) The Devils responded with a Patrik Elias whizzer from above the circles, expertly screened by former Cap Danius Zubrus. Hershey’s own Jay Beagle returned fire with a chip-in up close. On a breakaway. Jason Chimera brushed off a hook and converted. Alex Ovechkin pulled an honest-to-goodness statue-of-liberty play with John Carlson, who launched a neutrino puck into Marty Brodeur’s net. Finally, Mike Knuble gingerly diverted a Tom Poti shot for the free wings. Caps beat Devils 5-1.

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Anatomy of a Losing Streak

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Photo credit: Else/Getty Images

On December 1st, 2010, the Washington Capitals stomped out the Blues 4-1 in St. Louis. It was a perfectly serviceable win, and insignificant by most accounts, except that it would be the Caps’ final W for the next two-and-a-half weeks. For the next eighteen days, our beloved team would suit up in their gear for the sole purpose of discovering new and exciting ways to break our hearts.

On December 19th, the Capitals finally snapped their eight-game slump with a rousing victory over the Ottawa Senators. We thought it appropriate to mark the passing of the wicked streak in the same post-mortem fashion that we gave last year’s 14-game winning streak. So this will be just like that, except miserable and with fewer free buffalo wings.

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Eight is Enough: Bruins beat Caps 3-2

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Matt Bradley is about to bleed. (Photo credit: Michael Dwyer)

The Washington Capitals mounted one of their largest offensive pushes ever to try and stop the Boston Bruins from extending  their losing streak to eight. Nope.

The Bruins scored the first three goals of the night all in the first period: a screened shot by Patrice Bergeron, a deflection off Scott Hannan by Andrew Ference (his first in 99 games), and a five-holer by Blake Wheeler. Matt Bradley responded early in the second with a dangle-and-wrist from a tight angle. Karl Alzner turned on hero mode, slapping one in off Tim Thomas’ shoulder to keep the Caps within striking distance. Despite a furious effort in the waning moments,  the Bruins felled the Caps 3-2.

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Happy Hanukkah! Caps beat Blues 4-1

Semyon Varlamov: intense.

Varlamov takes on all comers. (Photo credit: Tom Gannam)

[Ed. note: Peter has a fever and is kind of loopy. Go easy on him.]

Jaroslav Halak gets scored on (Photo credit: Tom Gannam)

Halak defeated thanks to Brooks Laich. (Photo credit: Tom Gannam)

Tonight the Washington Capitals had their first chance to exact vengeance on Jaroslav Halak since he shut the Caps down in the playoffs. Now suiting up with the St. Louis Blues, Halak is the most foreboding embodiment of the Capitals’ postseason woes besides perhaps the Caps themselves. In an uneven effort, the Caps managed to exorcise- at least partially- those Halak-faced demons. But the big story was Semyon Varlamov, who padded his highlight reel with some improbable, firecracker saves.

Brooks Laich scored a PPG on the Caps second shot of the night, a high puck right up in Halak’s face. Boyd Gordon recorded his first tally of the year by Jedi-mind-tricking Halak to bobble the puck in himself for the second time this year. The Blues woke up with a screened spin-shot from Alexander Steen that Varly never saw coming. In the third period, Knuble and Backstrom swapped roles: near the paint, 19 converted the rebound off 22’s high-slot slapshot. In the final minute, with the Blues net abdicated, Alex Ovechkin gave Nick Backstrom the empty-net goal layup. Caps beat Blues 4-1.

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