Montreal Canadiens Pregame: The Puckies!

The Red Carpet: Oh Lorda Mercy. Sunday = Oscars. Monday = Trade deadline. We don’t know which town is more nervous, Hollywood or Washington.

Larfs, what a silly question! Of course we do. Exactly because we’ve served our time in both, and we know which town is more bloodless:

Phone call in DC: “Hello. Yeah, but what can you do for me tomorrow?”

Phone call in Hollyood: “What? You again?” *click.*

Check it out. Starshines like Julia Roberts or Harrison Ford disappear from the screen. A little too… seasoned. Anonymous tradesmen like James Cromwell or Melissa McCarthy: can’t book you enough. Proven winners… and we hate this more than you do… like Brad Pitt or Meryl Someoneorother. Well, they win. Because they’re winners. Until they don’t.

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Backstrom after taking an elbow from Rene Bourque. (Photo credit: Clydeorama)

Did you think we were over this? We’re not.

Nick Backstrom has missed 22 games since absorbing Rene Bourque‘s elbow to his head on January 3rd. He has not skated in practice, and there is no timetable for his return. The Capitals have gone 8-11-3 without Nick Backstrom and are no longer among the east’s top 8. We’ve talked about Bourque endlessly and we even made a Punch-out style video about him, but hell no we’re not over this yet.

Neither is the team. Earlier this month, Brooks Laich told the Washington Post, “I don’t think our guys are ever going to forget what happened.”

The Capitals return home on Friday after a floundering road trip. There’s no reason to believe that any recent trends will magically reverse, so we’re encouraging this sideshow. And that’s why we’re debuting our new campaign for Rene Bourque: PUNCH THIS FACE.

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Trade: Hal Gill to Nashville

Photo credit: Michael Miller

[Ed. note: In the run-up to the trade deadline, RMNB will be publishing trade stories– including non-Caps news.]

According to ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun, Hal Gill has been traded from the Montreal Canadiens to the Nashville Predators in exchange for Blake Geoffrion, Robert Slaney, and a 2012 2nd round pick.

Hal Gill has a cap hit of $2,250,000 and will be expected to provide veteran defense for a Nashville team that may be in danger of losing either one or both of their star defensive pairing of Shea Weber and Ryan Suter over the next few months. Blake Geoffrion has a cap hit of $1,062,500 and has yet to score in 22 games with the Predators this season, though he did contribute 6 goals in 20 games last season and will likely be expected to chip in some offense on a Montreal squad that often struggles with this. Slaney is a 23-year-old left wing with no pro experience thus far.

Hal Gill isn’t especially known for his speed or mobility — look for terms like “parking meter” and “pylon” on his bingo card — but he’s an excellent penalty killer and a very good defensive mentor. Nashville’s scary defense just got a little bit scarier.

Caps beat Habs 3-0 and IT IS SNOWING!

Photo credit: Francois Lacasse

On Saturday afternoon The Washington Capitals got to feed at the trough of the league’s sideshow, the Montreal Canadiens. That doesn’t mean this game was zany and fun or anything, just kind of sad.

Dennis Wideman scored off the faceoff, firing a weird knuckle puck that dropped behind Peter Budaj. The Caps held Montreal scoreless through a sloppy second period. Matt Hendricks swept in a goal on a yawning net to make it 2-0. Alex Semin drew a penalty shot and slapped home the three-spot goal. Caps beat Habs 3-0.

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Montreal Canadiens Pregame: “Wake Up And Live!”

By this point you know the drill: Doug. Puck Buddys. @PuckBuddys. Read their Zach story; it’s incredible.

The Pre-Game:

“If you get down and quarrel everyday, you’re saying prayers to the devil, I say.” –  Bob Marley, 1977.

The Caps, I sense (with my wee fey antennae) are quarreling with themselves. And it’s not good.

Last season we saw a command from on high to shift the squad to a different balance of offense/defense play on ice, and the turmoil that resulted. That was Bruce. This is Dale. And now one begins to sense a new struggle to shift the team’s fight/play ratio. A struggle I again – one of the PuckBuddys who anticipated this Friday’s FBI Freakout with Anonymous, but we’re not bringing that up – fear is not going to go well. (#AnonOps knows to kiss our ass; we dare you to mess with the Russian hockey mafia.) (haha Ian, good luck!)

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Peter overlooked one highlight in his recap of the Capitals 3-0 win over the Canadiens. RMNB tagline occupant Dmitry Orlov fired a shot with such inhuman velocity that it reduced to rubble the skate of Montreal’s Mathieu Darche.

Video via @bryancasto

A personal note to Dmitry Orlov: thank you for being a continued source of content for our hockey blog, which definitely hasn’t built a creepy shrine to you in a utility closet at the Greene Turtle in Frederick. No, certainly not.

Lil Mikey Neuvirth Comes Back Big: Caps beat Habs 3-0

Photo credit: Richard Wolowicz

The Washington Capitals invaded Montreal like pillaging barbarians, and they only needed 16 shots to do it.

Hometown boy Mathieu Perreault ripped a wrist-shot high on Carey Price’s far side to score in the first five minutes. Marcus Johansson had to fence with Andrei Kostitsyn, but he got a shot off to make it 2-0. Alex Ovechkin’s puck slipped through a few legs during a supersized power play. Caps beat Habs 3-0.

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Rene Bourque Guest Stars in Mike Tyson Punch-Out

On January 3rd, Rene Bourque — then of the Calgary Flames — elbowed Nicklas Backstrom in the jaw. The reckless play resulted in both a concussion for Backstrom and a Shanaban for Bourque. Capitals players thought the elbow was a cheap shot, but they failed to exact retribution. Sigh.

“It’s one of those things where it kind of sucks because we’re not able to play (the Calgary Flames) again this year,” Troy Brouwer told reporters after the game.

Troy is in luck. Bourque was traded Montreal last week. And look at that! The Caps play the Habs… tonight!


Inspired by my favorite NES video game of all-time — Mike Tyson’s Punch-Out — here’s how we think tonight will play out for Bourque.

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Montreal Canadiens Pregame: Habs Farce?

Doug Johnson of Puck Buddys offers this game preview. @PuckBuddys.

[Ed. note: for coverage of Rene Bourque, uhhh… check out RMNB on Wednesday morning.]

The Pregame: Fun game! Everyone from a malfunctioning family, raise your hand. Or, if you’re in a public place, just give a little squee inside. Yeah, we thought so. Show me the person who says their family is perfectly normal and I’ll show you a glue-sniffing, trick-turning, psychopathic cat hoarder. You know: like [fill in hated politician here] Oh, biting wit!

And speaking of glue-sniffing (bet you thought it’d be sociopathy), we come to Wednesday’s game against the Montreal Canadiens. Les Habitants. You know: the Baldwin family of contemporary hockey. Or should that be the Donner Party? Either way, they eat their own to the amusement of all.

Oh you bet, we’ve all had a hearty laugh – a long, hard laugh – at the goonish antics of our Quebecois neighbors of late. Like watching the Spuckler family argument spill out onto the un-mowed back lawn, hurling rotting plastic chairs at one another as they jockey for “superiority” amid the weeds and used Timmy Hos coffee cups. Too much back bacon, eh?

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Brooks Laich congratulates Braden Holtby on his shutout

Brooks Laich gives Braden Holtby the ol’ congratulatory helmet tap. (Photo credit: Francois Lacasse)

Marco Sturm seems, let's just say, pleased with his goal. (Photo credit: Graham Hughes)

Marco Sturm seems, let's just say, pleased with his goal. (Photo credit: Graham Hughes)

Less than 24 hours after being shutout at the hands of the Ottawa Senators, the Washington Capitals turned the tables against the Montreal Canadiens on Holtby — err — Hockey Night in Canada. The 21 year-old stonewalled the Habs on the way to his tenth victory this season.

The Capitals dominated the play during the first period of play, outshooting the Canadiens 12 to three and scoring the only tally of the frame. The goal came just 84 seconds into the contest when Marco Sturm knocked in a rebound off a Nicklas Backstrom wrist shot.

Washington continued their strong play in the second stanza, outshooting the Habs once again while Braden Holtby held the fort in net.

In the third both teams managed good opportunities, but it would be the Caps who would convert. After, guess who, Marco Sturm poke-checked the puck away at center-ice, Backstrom started a three-on-one break before Alexander Semin finished the play off by flicking the Swede’s pass past Montreal goalie Carey Price. SHUTOUT FOR BRADEN! Caps stonewall Habs, 2-0.

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