Brooks Laich just accomplished a pretty impressive piece of trivia with the Toronto Maple Leafs. On April 5, 2009, Laich assisted on Michael Nylander’s final NHL goal in the Caps’ 6-4 win over the Atlanta Thrashers. Tonight, 2,497 days later, Laich assisted on William Nylander’s first NHL goal. William is Michael’s 19-year-old son.

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Michael and William Nylander. (Photo credit: Scanpix)

Michael Nylander appeared in only parts of four seasons with the Washington Capitals, but he’s remembered by fans both for his play and the way he left the organization. The talented Swedish center played on the early 2000’s Capitals teams with Peter Bondra, Olie Kolzig, and Jaromir Jagr. He also helped mentor Nicklas Backstrom in a second tour with the team from 2007-2009.

But after signing a four-year $19.5 million contract to be the top center of the Caps in 2007, Nyles tore his rotator cuff and was never the same. With the Capitals near the top of the salary cap and Nylander unhappy with his role, they loaned the Swede to the Detroit Red Wings organization in 2009-10 (who then assigned him to the Grand Rapids Griffins of the AHL) and then to the Florida Panthers during the last year of his contract in 2010-11 (who later assigned him to Rochester). Nylander, who broke his neck 7 games into his stint with the Americans, then continued his career in Europe the next season in the Swiss National League A.

Since then, the 40-year-old Nylander has returned to his native home of Sweden to finish his career in the second-tier HockeyAllsvenskan. And for a good reason.

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Winter is Coming in One Day

Alex Ovechkin

Photo credit: Toni L. Sandys of the Washington Post

Editor’s note: To get you properly revved up for the season, each member of the RMNB crew will take a longing look back at some of our favorite goals from days gone by. You can call it nostalgia or cheap summer content, but it’s really a reminder: WINTER IS COMING.

Seeing a Steve Konowalchuk hat trick live with my dad and brother made me fall in love with hockey. Joe Juneau’s jamshot past Dominik Hasek made me wildly jump up and down as a teenager. But Alex Ovechkin’s first career playoff tally is my all-time favorite NHL goal.

Here’s why.

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Why It’s Lombardi Or Bust


Sure, maybe it was stating the obvious when we said the second-line center the Caps should target is Matthew Lombardi, but it’s more than that. If we look at the numbers, I think he is the ONLY viable option in free agency.

Luckily our first line center is set in stone for the next decade. You may have heard of him; he’s kind of a big deal. But then there is quite a drop off:

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Wednesday Webhits: The Frost King’s Links Of The Week

This week we’ve got a the guys who take the most punishment on the ice (hits), a better save percentage using an adjustment for the penalty kill (which puts a certain Caps’ goalie in pretty good company), the snipers who score goals more than one would expect, and a look at which Conference is stronger and what that means for who could end up in the Stanley Cup Finals.

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Capitals Re-sign Alex Semin To One Year Extension

General Manager George McPhee just announced that the Washington Capitals agreed to a one year extension with superstar Left Winger Alex Semin. Terms of the deal have not been disclosed. Per Tarik El Bashir’s Blog:

Winger Alexander Semin has agreed to a one-year contract extension, GM George McPhee confirmed to me moments ago. Semin, who is in the final year of a two-year contract, would have become a restricted free agent July 1.

He will become an unrestricted free agent after the extension expires in 2011.

Does this setup an opportunity for the Capitals to actually resign Semin to a long-term deal next year? The Russian Machine thinks so. Remember, the Capitals still need to have the flexibility to handle Michael Nylander and his cap hit on the roster next year if something unforeseen happens, and this 1 year contract essentially buys them time.

Plus, it further allows the team to make sure this is an investment it wants to make. And with someone as enigmatic as Semin, this is smart. We applaud GMGM. Now let’s get Nicklas Backstrom signed to a 15 year deal!!

Update: It is a one year 6 million dollar deal and George McPhee said that Semin preferred the one year pact. McPhee also said that he’s trying to keep the team together and is interested in locking him up long term. Also, interesting perspectives: Puck Daddy Editor Greg Wyshynski and Capitals Beat Writer/Translator Dmitry Chesnokov say the Capitals have a two year window to win the Stanley Cup. Reading into their answers it makes me feel like a KHL Russian Team may make a serious run at Semin to get him to return to his native country once he’s a free agent next year.

Michael Nylander’s $4 Million Can Buy You…

  • 10 Major League Baseball players making the league minimum.
  • 66,796 copies of EA Sport’s NHL 2010 video game for XBox.
  • 666,666 copies of an autographed 8×10 photo of Nylander in a Hartford Whalers uniform (currently retailing for $6 on eBay).
  • 133,333 tickets to the Eagle Bank Bowl in Washington featuring UCLA vs. Temple (cheapest ticket is retailing for $30 on
  • 100 print sports reporters to cover the Washington Capitals (assuming the writers are making $40,000, a real stretch)

Per The Washington Post, Tarik El Bashir is reporting that Michael Nylander and his $4.875 Million Annual Cap Hit has finally been removed from the Caps roster. He was assigned on a standard loan to the Detroit Red Wings AHL Affiliate Grand Rapid Griffins where he can still finish the year with over 230 Assists if he tries. Can I have a Hallelujah?

Though the Russian Machine firmly believes that George McPhee and Bruce Boudreau are mostly to blame for this bad relationship – meaning they bought expensive goods they never really needed in the first place and then played “hardball” when it officially backfired – we’re happy to see the hard-headed Nyles still has some pride left in himself and wants to continue playing hockey while collecting a weekly paycheck most of us don’t make in a year.

Look we get it. The Caps proved they could play without Nylander in 2007-08 when he was out almost the entire season with a rotator cuff injury. And we also get that when Nylander was healthy, he had one of the worst plus minuses on the team. But George, why did you give him a no-trade clause? Can you or someone in the organization please explain that?

Now some of you may say, “Hey, we had to get arid of Nyles because he basically ignored what Bruce coached him to do.” Okay, maybe that’s fair. If you don’t get what I mean, check out the dry-erase board graphics below the jump:

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