Sometimes when it’s the summer and there’s no hockey to write about, our hockey blog covers things that are not about hockey. We’ve covered NASCAR, the cowboy monkey rodeo, and Rugrats inspired minor league baseball jerseys. Two Augusts ago, I even blacked out for a minute and wrote a long feature for the Washington Post on Orioles’ pitcher Dylan Bundy.

On Monday, my talented friend Susi, who plays in a volleyball league, was at Baltimore Beach for a game. Then for whatever reason reigning NFL MVP Cam Newton showed up in a white van ready to play with a dozen of his Carolina Panther teammates. That seemed… interesting. I also noticed it was uncovered by other news media, so I wrote about it with Susi’s help. The next night, Newton showed up to play volleyball again. My talented and infinitely more handsome coworker at Visual Data Systems, Brandon Serfass, took humorous video of Newton getting blocked while trying to spike the ball past a girl. I posted his video.

Wednesday at noon, RMNB ended up on SportsCenter for its football-player-playing-volleyball coverage.

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Every time I want to completely give up on ESPN and their dwindling hockey coverage, they do something that pulls be back in: like show an Alex Ovechkin goal as an actual top highlight or air a sick breakaway by Stan Galiev even though he’s in the minor leagues.

Over the weekend, SportsCenter straight up killed it again when they did the highlights of the Los Angeles Kings/Montreal Canadiens game with NHL ’94 graphics and sound. This is one of the coolest things I’ve ever seen the channel do.

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Photo: Michael Martin

ESPN is allergic to hockey, but on Thursday night Alex Ovechkin‘s big goal in Colorado was strong enough to justify keeping an EpiPen and some Benadryl at hand in Bristol.

John Buccigross narrated Ovechkin’s game-winner as SportsCenter’s top highlight of the night.

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For those of you who still watch SportsCenter, you’re already aware they have a Top Ten list plays that airs every day. It rarely includes hockey.  …Except on Wednesday, when a certain almost-Capital made the list. If they get ESPN down in Australia, I’m pretty sure the Walker family and friends are looking stunned mullet right now (that means they’re surprised, or something).

Nathan Walker, who Craig Laughlin said was the best player on the ice during last night’s Baltimore Hockey Classic, hit number eight on the the top ten. Walker’s sick unbelievable pass to Tom Wilson earned the honors, the same pass that resulted in Wilson’s first goal of the preseason. The Aussie split the wickets of Joseph Morrow’s legs to set up The Ten Train for a straightforward one-timer.

Walker unofficially has one goal and one assist in two games. He also earned a penalty shot against the Boston Bruins.

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When Washington Capitals prospect Stan Galiev was demoted to the Reading Royals earlier this season, the 20-year-old Russian took it in stride. Case in point: during Reading’s 4-2 win over the Florida Everblades, Stas scored such a boss breakaway goal that he ended up on SportsCenter’s Top Ten list on Thursday. Kind of an amazing feat considering ESPN spent more time on Thursday discussing a cut on Carmello Anthony’s non-shooting hand than the NHL lockout.

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Video: SportsCenter’s Feature on Alex Ovechkin

Former NBC Washington sportscaster Lindsay Czarniak moved on to Bristol, Conneticut nearly a year ago, to be an anchor on SportsCenter. This week she returned to her old stomping grounds to do a feature story on Capitals’ captain Alex Ovechkin. Among the things discussed are how Ovi and tennis star Maria Kirilenko first met, Ovi’s response to the Washington Post’s critical story on him published eight games ago, and what he needs to do to take the next step in his career.

The money quote? “I won Stanley Cups on computer games,” Ovi says of hockey’s greatest team award. “Of course I have dreams about it. The most important thing to me right now is to win the Stanley Cup. It’s not to score 60 goals. It’s not to score 100 points. The only thing is the Cup.”

Come on, Steve Levy. Ovi’s no Russian Spy!

Thanks to Kathryn H. for sharing!