ovechkin-crazy-hair

Ovechkin palmed a plasma globe during intermission. (Photo credit: @HockeyBroph)

The Capitals have been undefeated, 3-0-0, ever since fans sacrified a rubber cow and goat at Kettler Capitals Iceplex. That doesn’t mean the games have been pretty. Or graceful.

For example, take a look at Thursday’s game against division rival Tampa. The Capitals gained a 4-1 lead, only to surrender two third period goals and barely escape with a win. There were missed poke checks, goals scored from a seated position, and lots of enthusiastic coaching. You know: Caps hockey.

Presenting… the best pics from Caps at Lightning!

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Matt Hendricks Thinks He Has Broken His Nose Five Times

Matt Hendricks broken nose

Photo credit: @recordsANDradio

One day in 7th grade, I was playing basketball at recess with some friends. After I missed a layup, one of my female friends made fun of me and I called her a not-so-nice word. She responded by tapping me on the shoulder and then kicking me in the business. The next three hours were spent in the nurse’s room, wailing and applying an ice pack to my nether regions.

On Tuesday night, Washington Capitals forward Matt Hendricks did everything I couldn’t back in middle school. His grit on full display for the 168th game in a row, Hendricks broke his nose during a second period scrum and didn’t miss a shift. Instead of yelping in the corner like a normal human, Hendricks had a superb game in which he put two shots on goal, had five blocks, and won three of four face-offs.

Spotted by the media after a practice in Tampa Wednesday, Hendricks showed off his stitches and guessed at how many times his nose had been recalibrated.

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Slipstream: Jets Strafe Caps 4-2

This pretty much sums up the night

This pretty much sums up the night. (Photo credit: Greg Fiume)

So our dads Peter and Ian decided to give your humble PuckBuddys the keys to the RMNB-car for recaps over the next few games. Ha! We promised them not to drive at dangerously high speeds with the top down while stealing people’s mail and laughing wildly. We promise you we won’t keep that promise.

Speaking of a wild ride, Tuesday’s geshrey was whether Adam Oates would pull his Caps back together under his new system, or whether they would revert to old ways/panic. Would this be the first home opener loss since the turn of the century? Would we rally from the Bolts shellacking and figure out our PK? Would Ribiero perform? Would Lady Mary really marry cousin Matthew? We have our answers.

10:02 in the 1st, Matt Hendricks gets the pass from Nicky for the first home score in almost a year, with a big crash o’ the net. That’s answered at 12:34 into the first, on a power play when the nasty Evander Kane sunk one on Holtby, unassisted. Andrew Ladd sinks a direct bullet at 16:26 – right through a non-existent Caps defense and a tired-looking Holtby (there, I said it.)

Second frame brought out a little toughness from both sides, with hopes on a Dustin Byfuglian penalty, yielding nothing. Kane knocks to Blake Wheeler, who then taps in at 14:32 to take the Jets up 3-1. PuckBuddys start crying. And then oh-noes: with less than a minute left, Slater tips in a dribbler for a boo-bird 4-1. Everyone grab your junk as Hendy puts Slater down after the horn; Verizon hall yawns.

In the third, an early Capitals power play nets Troy (handsome) Brouwer in the bin and washes out our chances. Remember when we were up in this game?  haha. Caps swarm to save Braden Holtby half-way in, which almost raises our spirits. Hendy tries to rally the team; nothing juicy follows. A spit more than 1 minute left, Troy-Boy (off Ribiero) swags it in but gives the Jets a PP.

JETS BEAT CAPS 4-2.

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matt-hendricks-goal-winnipeg-jets

Photo credit: Alex Brandon

Last season, it took Matt Hendricks 30 games to score his first goal of the season. This year, it took The Paralyzer two.

In the first period of the Washington Capitals home opener, Hendricks — slow to leave the ice on a shift change — joined first-liners Nicklas Backstrom and Alex Ovechkin in the Jets offensive zone. As Ovechkin passed to Backstrom at the top of the circles, Nicky then immediately sent a pass to Hendy camped out in the crease. Hendricks, unable to get his stick on the puck, did the next best thing: he deflected the biscuit towards the net with his skate blade. The puck then careened into the air, went off of the shaft of Hendy’s stick, and into the net. Legal goal!

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McPheeInauguration

Karl Alzner and Jeff Schultz rid the Metro, look miserable because they are on the Metro.

Karl Alzner and Jeff Schultz ride the Metro, look miserable because they are on the Metro.

Caption contest! (Photo credit: @tombeline)

The Washington elite and tourists turned out in droves on Monday, filling the nation’s capital for the second inauguration of Barack Obama. Revelers packed the mall and filled (most) of the streets along the parade route. The crowd downtown reached around 800,000 by the time people finally got off their Metro trains, down from the estimated 1.5 million people four years ago. Members of the Washington Capitals were no exception. General Manager George McPhee — a dual citizen of the United States and Canada — scored a spot at the Canadian Embassy, a prime viewing area near the intersection of Constitution and Pennsylvania. From my view next door at the Newseum, the scene looked festive with our friends from the North putting up a large “Canada salutes Barack Obama” banner and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police patrolling their sovereign land.

McPhee wasn’t the only Cap in attendance. Matt Hendricks, an American, posted a picture of Canadians Karl Alzner and Jeff Schultz stuck on MetroRail with approximately 348,236 other people on their way downtown to view the celebrations.

The parade wasn’t much to write home about. Sadly, there were no massive inflatable Muppets. There were, however, a bunch of high school marching bands and a 40 minute delay. And then another couple thousand high school marching bands. But that’s neither here nor there. This was a day to come to together and freeze as one.

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Matt Hendricks shootout move

GIF by welshhockeyfan

The book on Matt Hendricksparalyzing shootout move is out. He skates up to the crease with speed, fakes a shot, and then goes to his backhand to deposit the puck into the net. Sometimes he would do the same thing, but stay on his forehand and shoot. Both moves are highly effective. So now everyone knows them.

On Monday, the second day of Caps training camp, Hendricks debuted a new wrinkle. As the wagon commits to a backhand shot, which many goaltenders would expect, Hendy dekes back to his forehand while in the crease.

Michal Neuvirth, who was prepared for the move, couldn’t stop it. He was so faked out he knocked the net off its moorings.

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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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Capitals Players React to NHL Lockout Ending on Twitter

John Carlson

John Carlson’s hair at the Redskins game. (Via @DCSportsBog)

At 5:45 on Sunday morning, we learned that the NHL and NHLPA had reached an agreement on a new collective-bargaining agreement. Washington Capitals players took to Twitter, and yes, they were happy.

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Paralyzed high-school hockey player Jack Jablonski drops the puck for a ceremonial faceoff between Parise and Hendricks. (Photo via Defending the Blueline)

When George McPhee traded for Mike Ribeiro and signed Wojek Wolski, he formed perhaps the greatest shootout line-up in the history of hockey. That duo is rounded out by Matt Hendricks, who went 5 for 6 and embarrassed some of the best goalies in the game last season. The Capitals don’t even need Alex Ovechkin or Nicklas Backstrom for the gimmick anymore.

But temper that confidence. On Sunday, NHL players including Zach Parise, new Caps defenseman Jack Hillen, and Hendricks, took the ice for a charity game benefiting Defending the Blue Line. The game brought 3,000 hockey-starved fans out to the University of Minnesota and raised an estimated $50,000 for the children of military parents. It was great, until Hendricks’ shootout attempt at the end of the game.

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2011-12 Year-End Review: Matt Hendricks

Photo credit: Bruce Bennett

This was the Matt Hendricks’ year. This was the year that he broke out of his small, specific role and became a real contributor. This was the year that he made NHL goalies and women everywhere swoon with his dazzling shootout moves. This was the year that the most significant story about him was not centered around a ghastly eye injury.

Heck, he’s even got an RMNB t-shirt now. If that’s not the big time, we don’t know what is.

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