First-year pro Patrick Wey hit Nashville Predators facepuncher extraordinairre Rich Clune along the benches on Sunday night. That was obviously unacceptable per the rules of gentlemanly conduct, so Clune challenged Wey to a fight and then knocked him out.
The Capitals sort of played a stinker against the Boston Bruins. There was precious little to enjoy about the game: a couple flashy saves by Braden Holtby, Jason Chimera crashing the net, maybe Ian rocking the spandex with the Brouwer Rangers. Thanks to the game’s final minute, we can add one more to that list: Evgeny Kuznetsov‘s stinger of a goal.
Seemingly defeated by Carl Soderberg’s insurance goal with seven minutes left, the Caps struggled to put together any kind of offensive push in the closing minutes of rego. Troy Brouwer made one such push, but the Bruins D tied him up. That play looked like it would fizzle like so many others against Boston.
Enter the New Guy.
Photo: Chris Gordon
Editor’s note: Hockey Prospectus projected Troy Brouwer to score 21 or 22 goals this season. Ian did not consult the book before betting the Brouwer Rangers that he would not even hit twenty. The stakes if he lost: Ian would have to dress up with the B.R. and attend a game in full regalia. Brouwer scored twice on March 16th, and Ian has been dreading this coming Saturday ever since. To get you wayyyyyy more ready than you need to be for the big day, we turn things over to the Brouwer Rangers.
As you should know by now, Ian is set to join the ranks of the Brouwer Rangers. On Saturday, March 29, 2014, during a #mustwin hockey game between your Washington Capitals and those bastardly bastards of Beantown, Ian will don spandex, fanny pack, and helmet as retribution for a momentary but utter lack of judgment. It will be glorious.
In the meantime, let’s recap how Ian arrived in this tight spot (spandex joke!).
Last week, we spoke to Washington Capitals forward Troy Brouwer about his world-famous Brouwer Bombs. “Timing,” Brouwer said, when I asked him what made for a good photo- or video-bomb. “It’s all about timing. You’ve got to make sure the [person] is unsuspecting when you’re coming in.”
Doesn’t get any more unsuspecting than this. While the Caps warmed-up before their game against the Los Angeles Kings Thursday, @Brittany_Bamr attempted to take a selfie along the boards, trying to get Mike Green in frame. Brouwer, noticing what was going on, then sprung into action, poking his head above hers and cheesing for the camera.
The Washington Capitals have gotten a little more silly this season, and that’s right up our alley. Sure, they’re still all business on the ice and they still give straight-laced interviews– sometimes, but there’s also been a strong undercurrent of zaniness. We love it.
Ovi did penalty push-ups, Ovi played soccer at Six Flags, Ovi entered a contest to win himself. (Lots of Ovi in this list…) Tom Wilson fought a child– which wasn’t as bad as it sounds, Nate Schmidt weirded out everyone with his word salad, and then the team’s backup goalie doing multitasking. It’s been a busy season for nonsense.
Whatever you think of the team’s on-ice product, at least we’ve been thoroughly entertained. And at the heart of all that fun has been Troy Brouwer. He made a mess of a goal celebration in the preseason, celebrated his 100th goal in style, and got a mustachioed bobblehead. But his main gag, if you ask me, has been Brouwerbombing.
Brouwerbomb (noun) — the act of sabotaging an interview by grinning like a goon in the background. Popularized by Capitals 20-goal scorer Troy d’Artagnan Brouwer.
On Saturday I had the chance to ask Brouwer– who had at that point not yet scored his 20th goal– about his antics. He had surprisingly deep thoughts about it all.
The last few weeks have been enough to turn even the most stalwart of Caps fans unhinged and overstressed monsters. It’d be really easy to become cynical and cop an attitude about the team, but that’s why it’s so important to keep everything in perspective.
Reader Taylor P. wrote us a story last week that was exactly what we needed. Taylor and her brother had an encounter with Eric Fehr and Troy Brouwer at last Tuesday’s game against the Penguins. It was a little moment, but maybe little moments are what this team and this community need to remind ourselves why we’re doing this in the first place.
With each game he plays, Evgeny Kuznetsov grows more comfortable on the ice. On Saturday morning, twelve hours after recording his first NHL point and first multi-point game with the Washington Capitals, Kuznetsov showed that he’s also growing more comfortable in the role of locker room prankster.
Here’s the story. As I filmed Ian’s interview with Jaroslav Halak, a figure walked towards the stall just to my right. He said “hello” in a Russian accent, came up behind me, and then put his hand in front of my camera for a few seconds. He totally ruined my shot.
Photo: Paul Frederiksen
Coming soon to warmups near you: Ian Oland in spandex. With an empty-net goal against Toronto Sunday, Troy Brouwer netted his 20th goal of the season. Ian had a bet with the Brouwer Rangers that if Troy scored 20 this year, he would go to a game with Nathan and Ryan dressed in a red unitard. Time to buy a fanny pack.
“I’m excited!” Brouwer told me of Ian’s future gear.
Brouwer’s goal was made possible by a kind turn from Nicklas Backstrom. After Brouwer banked the puck off the boards from the defensive zone, Nicky followed the puck towards the net. The Swedish center neglected to touch the puck, allowing Brouwer to hit the milestone.
“That’s the most unselfish thing I’ve ever seen in hockey,” Brouwer said.
Richmond-native Chelsea D. had been looking forward to this day for months. The 23-year-old sociology major from VCU has been a Washington Capitals fan for years. Her father Greg — a huge hockey fan himself– takes his daughter to five to ten Caps games a year. On New Year’s Eve, he asked Chelsea if she wanted to try something different this time. Something a little more fanatical.
“You interested in going to Casino Night? It’s in March. Mom doesn’t want to go.” Greg said. “I promise I won’t embarrass you much.”
In disbelief, Chelsea replied, “I’ll definitely go! But yes, please don’t embarrass me.”
Life threw the family a curve ball a few weeks later. Greg had to get knee replacement surgery at the end of January, then a few days before Casino Night, there was a death in the family. Greg, already hobbling as it was, had to go out to Las Vegas.
Chelsea wasn’t sure she’d still go without her dad. Unsure what to do, she asked her boyfriend Evan if he would come along. Evan, a Caps fan himself, obliged.
And then, despite all the trouble following them around lately, a special moment – that could have happened to anyone – found their family.
Yep. (Photos by Chris Gordon)
Wednesday night, the Washington Capitals held their fourth annual Casino Night at the Pentagon City Sheraton. Fans had the opportunity blow fake money gambling with their favorite players, as well as dishing out real money on a live auction featuring big-ticket experiences, a silent auction on equipment and memorabilia, and a raffle. The money made from Casino Night will benefit the Monumental Sports & Entertainment Foundation. The team has raised nearly $1 million on past Casino Nights, and the live auction this year took in over $40,000.
“We did a got of research on craps,” Karl Alzner, who was there with his wife Mandy as well as her mom and grandparents, told me. “The correct throw and the technique and all that.”
“Even though it’s play money it’s still a lot of fun,” Alzner added. “We get to dress up.”
When I talked to Tom Wilson about the night, he had one main takeaway.
“Ovi’s pretty risky,” Wilson said.
Below, take a look at some of my photos from the night.