kevin-dineen-needs-a-timeout

Kevin Dineen needed more than a timeout tonight. (GIF by welshhockeyfan)

The Florida Panthers opened tonight’s game against the Washington Capitals with four straight shots on Braden Holtby in the first 1:44 of game action. They looked sharp. They looked ready to get out of the Southeast division cellar. The wheels fell off 24 seconds later.

As John Erskine wound up from the Panthers’ blue line — in what he would later admit was just a dump-and-change — Florida’s starting goaltender Jacob Markstrom mis-judged Erskine’s blast and allowed the puck to squeak through his seven-hole. 1-0 Caps.

2:36 later, the Capitals would score on their very next shot, as Markstrom was caught off guard by Wojtek Wolski‘s strong net crash. Enter Scott Clemmensen.

Clemmensen gave up two more goals — one to John Carlson and another to Mike Ribeiro — in the next six shots. The Capitals received a standing ovation and headed into intermission with a 4-0 lead, their biggest goal explosion this season.

“I don’t know what to say,” Markstrom told reporters after the game. “It was terrible. I feel like I let the team down. I am there to stop pucks, and I didn’t do that tonight.”

The Capitals beat the Panthers 7-1.

Now enjoy fun facts from the first period –plus video of all  four goals.

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mojo

Photo credit: Patrick McDermott

A few weeks ago I published a piece explaining why I wasn’t freaking out the Capitals. My point was that bad luck had been quashing good possession numbers, a trend that I predicted would soon reverse. That did not happen.

The Caps have just two wins through eleven games, making them the worst team in the league. During media time on Friday, General Manager George McPhee primarily blamed that record on bad goaltending and undisciplined, “selfish” penalties. CSN’s Alan May agrees.

I admitted on Thursday night that I was baffled by why the Caps were losing, so I thought we could use this time to figure out what exactly isn’t working. Because I’m pretty sure it’s not the penalties.

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Please, Gnome More: Leafs beat Caps 3-2

patrick mcdermott

Photo credit: Patrick McDermott

I wrote on our mission statement that hockey should be as fun to read about as it is to watch. So what happens when hockey– Caps hockey at least– becomes a chore? Tuesday’s game between the Toronto Maple Leafs and Washington Capitals was another messy loss, and gnome amount of puns will cheer us up right now.

The Leafs scored first, JVR seizing upon a communication breakdown between Neuvirth and Poti behind the Caps net. JVR struck again after Washington’s defense temporarily lost motor function. Marcus Johansson got his first of the year late in the first after Tomas Kundratek gave him a nice feed at the back door. Korbinan Holzer got his first NHL goal with a tricky long bomb. Mike Ribeiro executed a nice zone entry and passing sequence by sinking a powerplay goal, but the Leafs emerged victorious.

Leafs beat Caps 3-2.

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A Less Than Superb Owl: Penguins beat Caps 6-3

Greg Fiume

Photo credit: Greg Fiume

The Washington Capitals and the Pittsburgh Penguins have a storied history– especially on Superb Owl Sunday. Snowmageddon, anyone? This Sunday’s game belongs in history as well. But, like, next to the bombing of Guernica or childbirth before Ignaz Semmelweis.

Right after a faceoff, Chris Kunitz (may have) deflected a shot by Paul Martin into the Washington net. Mike Green responded by finishing off a great sequence and scoring a pretty one-timer goal– more on that one later. Deryk Engelland re-established the Penguins’ lead with a thoroughly screened blueline slapper, redirected by Matt Cooke. John Carlson tied it up with the Weirdest Goal of the Year: a center-ice dump-in off the boards that tricked Vokoun into leaving the net before the puck bounced in.

Then it got weird. Kris Letang took the lead back with a golden opportunity up close on Holtby. Chris Kunitz made it 4-2 shortly after that. A phantom trip call on Wojtek Wolski and Karl Alzner’s broken stick afforded Chris Kunitz either his second or third goal.

Mike Ribeiro gave life to the Caps with a powerplay goal made possible by some great hustle by Ovechkin, but despite some late-game heroics, that’s all they could muster. Chris Kunitz got either his hat-trick goal or his FOURTH of the day on a last minute power play goal. Yikes.

Penguins beat Caps 6-3.

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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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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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Mike Ribeiro Shows Up To Scrimmage As Goalie; Kids Fight

Ladies and Gentlemen, your new Capitals goaltender, Mike Ribeiro. (Photo credit: Lisa Gasparott)

Unbeknownst to most Capitals fans, a handful of players have been participating in informal workouts at Kettler Capitals IcePlex these last few weeks, skating and preparing themselves for the upcoming season (whenever that might be). Russians Stanislav Galiev and Dmitry Orlov (who we last saw playing shirtless soccer with Ovechkin) have been the most dedicated, skating at Kettler nearly every day for a few weeks. Michal Neuvirth, John Carlson, Mike Green, and goalie prospect Sergey Kostenko have also made appearances.

On Friday, an estimated fifty onlookers at Kettler were given a special treat when the Capitals’ new second line center, Mike Ribeiro, made an appearance and participated in a 3-on-3 scrimmage, though — uh — not in his normal gear. He also brought two smallish guests, who we’re told showed the most fire of any players on the ice that day.

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The teams shake hands following the game. (Photo credit: Chris Gordon)

As has become tradition, Kettler Capitals Iceplex was packed to capacity Saturday for the final scrimmage of the team’s Development Camp and annual Fanfest. On a mid-July morning, hundreds were jammed into the team’s practice facility to watch prospects and college and free-agent invitees duke it out for the last time. Fans also took advantage of autograph sessions with Caps prospects and new Capitals center/rapper Mike Ribeiro, who met the media for the first time yesterday.

As for the game itself, Team Red won in thrilling fashion, pulling out a 4-3 victory in overtime. After red pulled their goaltender, T.J. Syner scored in the final minute of the third period. In overtime, Max Iafrate set-up free-agent invitee Greg Miller for a slam-dunk one-timer in the slot. Stan Galiev and Riley Barber also scored for the red team. Daniel O’Donoghue, Taylor Stefishen, and David Vallorani tallied white’s three goals.

Below, check out my shots from the final day of camp.

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Adam Oates Thinks Mike Ribeiro Looks Like a Rapper

Photo credit: Chris Gordon

Three weeks after George McPhee traded Cody Eakin and a 2012 second round pick for Mike Ribeiro, the Capitals new second-line center finally met with reporters. And he brought out the bling.

Ribeiro, wearing a diamond stud, gold chain, bright white slacks, and what appeared to be black leather shower sandals, spoke excitedly about his new club.

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Here comes one of the best parts of the offseason. The Caps have announced details for the 2012 Development Camp. All the on-ice stuff is open to the public, and it’s your chance to get to know some future stars before the cold hard world corrupts them. Plus, Mike Ribeiro will be there.

Here’s the schedule. The roster is past the jump. There’s even more on the Caps site.

Monday, July 9
Group A on ice at 9 a.m.;
Group B on ice at 10:45 a.m.;
Scrimmage at 3 p.m.

Tuesday, July 10
Group A on ice at 9 a.m.;
Group B on ice at 10:45 a.m.;
Scrimmage at 2:45 p.m.

Wednesday, July 11
Group A on ice at 8:50 a.m.;
Group B on ice at 10:50 a.m.

Thursday, July 12
Group B on ice at 9:15 a.m.;
Group A on ice at 10:45 a.m.;
Scrimmage at 3 p.m.

Friday, July 13
Scrimmage at 9:45 a.m.

Saturday, July 14
Scrimmage at 10 a.m.

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