The single biggest off-ice issue for the Washington Capitals has now been resolved. John Ourand of the Sports Business Journal reports that the Caps’ parent company, Monumental Sports and Entertainment, has a handshake deal in place with NBC Sports for 15 years of television rights. The deal would more than double Monumental’s take from their current deal, up from $13 million to $28 million. The deal also reportedly would give MSE 33-percent equity in CSN Mid-Atlantic, the regional sports network that airs nearly all Capitals and Wizards game.

The deal, in short, would be a windfall for Ted Leonsis and the Capitals.

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Photo credit: Capitals Outsider

During the penultimate game of the Capitals preseason, the team unveiled an elaborate new skycam suspended from the rafters. The fan reaction was swift and mostly negative, largely from fans in the upper deck whose views were impacted by the moving camera and its cables. On Sunday night, Capitals majority owner Ted Leonsis acknowledged the criticism in a blog post.

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Photo: Amanda Bowen

When the Washington Capitals selected Alex Ovechkin first overall in 2004, they received a generational player, one that was supposed to lift them out of depths of the league and win them the Stanley Cup that has eluded them throughout their 40-year history. Eleven years later, the Caps have still not won a Stanley Cup. Despite his nearly point per game pace in the postseason, much of the blame has been shouldered on Ovechkin, the captain and face of the team. Capitals owner Ted Leonsis, who stood on the draft stage with Ovechkin back at RBC Center, however, defended his star player.

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Photo: @katiejudd11

The Capitals mustered a strong comeback attempt in the third period, but they still lost to the New York Rangers. After a few solid shifts of Caps pressure, Martin St. Louis scored to put the Rags up 3-1 in the final minutes.

John Carlson had thrown a cross-ice pass to hit Nate Schimdt, but instead the puck was intercepted by Chris Kreider. A breakaway ensued.

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NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman was in Washington DC yesterday. While he was in town, he took in the Caps-Pens rivalry game from the owner’s box at Verizon Center. Bettman also held court with the local media.

When asked about the growth of hockey in the DC Area over the last decade, Bettman marveled at the job both Alex Ovechkin and Ted Leonsis have done. Seconded.

“It’s the Ovechkin era and there’s an era that’s a little bit longer than that one and I would call that the [Ted] Leonsis era,” Bettman said beaming. “I think Ted’s ownership of this franchise has been nothing short of phenomenal in terms of how the community has been engaged and in terms of how fans have connected with and interacted with this franchise; the stability of ownership and management has been very important.”

Then it got weird. Bettman credited (I think) definitely-not-Washington Capital Evgeni Malkin.

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Barack Obama Will Not Be at the Winter Classic


Back in 2010, we — okay, Ian & Peter — created a campaign to get Barack Obama to a Caps game. It seemed like the type of thing a newly-elected president and rising young team would want to get in on. The White House press secretary at the time, Robert Gibbs, responded to RMNB’s pleas. But as we enter 2015, Washington’s Stanley Cup hopes and Obama approval ratings are low. So are the chances we get to see a presidential hockey game. While Obama has attended Wizards, Nationals, Mystics, and college games, he has heretofore ignored hockey in office. RMNB registered these concerns to the highest levels of government.

“I don’t know what the deal is,” Secretary of State John Kerry told RMNB earlier this year.

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Nicklas Backstrom’s Beautiful Baby Boy


Visual approximation of metaphor

On Tuesday, the Washington Capitals hosted some kind of media luncheon thing and made available literally everyone in the Caps organization. That list included owner Ted Leonsis, who dropped what I initially thought was a bombshell during his press conference.

I heard him say something about Nicklas Backstrom having a new “beautiful baby boy.”

Upon closer inspection of District Sports Page’s Katie Brown tweets, however, I learned that Backstrom did not have a new child over the summer. Leonsis was just talking about how Nicklas Backstrom refers to a new addition to the Washington Capitals.

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Photos: Amanda Bowen

On a bright, sunny Tuesday at Nats Park, the Washington Capitals held their grand Winter Classic jersey reveal in front of a bunch of media and select Caps season ticket holders. Not only did Caps Alex Ovechkin, Nicklas Backstrom, and Braden Holtby model the new sweaters on stage (oh man, I love those ties), a bunch of other news and details about the event were released too. We learned that we will actually be able to see the all-access Winter Classic show produced by EPIX, the Russian machine’s fashion sense is still one of a kind, and the history behind the new Caps classic logo is pretty darn cool.

But the most interesting part of the day was having some of the biggest NHL personalities on the same podium modeling all this cool new stuff. Amanda Bowen, who’s had quite a busy first week with RMNB, has your photos from the event.

(Please someone get me one of those toques.)

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Caps Fanfest Scrimmage (7 of 8)

Photos by Chris Gordon.

Barry Trotz wants to turn Caps Development Camp into a more polished affair, with NHL players coming in as mentors and a focus on improving little aspects each player’s game. On Saturday, the team concluded the annual camp. In addition to the final scrimmage of week, the Caps also their annual fanfest in a packed Kettler Capitals Iceplex.

Though Team Red was stocked with first round picks Andre Burakovsky and Jakob Vrana, the White Team took hold of the game in the third period, scoring third goals on the route to a 7-4 win. After the game, Caps owner Ted Leonsis presented prospect Madison Bowey with the winner’s trophy, before the team held a bit of mock Stanley Cup celebration. Check out my photos below.

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Trotz MacLellan (6 of 13)

Photo: Chris Gordon

“I don’t know if I could give specifics,” Brian MacLellan said when asked how he differs from his former boss George McPhee. “He’s a good friend. He’s a character guy.”

Then MacLellan broke down. After 10 years in the NHL, MacLellan retired from league in 1992. He got an MBA, becoming an investment banker. In 2000, his old college teammate McPhee brought him back to the sport, asking him to join his young administration in Washington as a part-time scout. MacLellan accepted. Thirteen years later, MacLellan was standing up against a wall at Verizon Center having just filled McPhee job. The two talked during MacLellan’s interview process.

“You know, it’s a hard thing,” MacLellan said, gathering himself. “We’re different people. We have different personalities, different way to approach things. I think any two people are different.”

“We’re good friends,” he added. “We’re really good friends, and we’ve grown up together.”

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