Monday night, the Capitals survived a last-minute onslaught by the Carolina Hurricanes. With seven seconds left, defenseman Matt Niskanen blocked three straight shots after Jay Beagle lost a crucial defensive zone face-off, one of just four he lost all game. Niskanen’s sacrifice, Beagle’s faceoffs, and Philipp Grubauer’s staunch defense helped secure a 2-1 win at RBC Center.
If it seems like this this team can’t lose right now, it’s not because of excellent shot suppression or smart systems, it’s due to extraordinary efforts like Niskanen’s and Beagle’s and Grubauer’s becoming commonplace lately.
The standard on-ice celebration after a win would be the skaters congratulating the victorious goalie one by one. Instead, tonight, quite appropriately, the Caps held a big group hug in the defensive zone.
With the Capitals thrilling comeback win against the Lightning on Friday, their record improved to 23-6-2. They now have 48 points and are tied with the Dallas Stars for first place in the league. But wait a second, Dallas has played one more game than Washington. So guess what:
Photo: Tom Szczerbowski
In disturbing jinx news, the Washington Capitals are now Bovada’s odds on favorite (13/2) to win the Stanley Cup. This comes on the heels of several NHL.com analysts picking the Caps to win it all during the preseason.
Meanwhile, the Dallas Stars (7/1), New York Rangers (15/2), Chicago Blackhawks (9/1), and Montreal Canadians (12/1) round out Bovada’s top five.
Photo: Gerry Thomas
We’re bringing the magic of Tumblr to RMNB, and it’s all for you. Hana Imiolczyk will be GIFing every Caps goal for us this season. Her first post documents the Capitals’ 6-2 defeat of the Calgary Flames, a game in which Karri Ramo was dominated so thoroughly that he was put on waivers today.
While the Caps won a hockey game tonight, something else more important happened: Bensten Schone returned to Verizon Center after his tragic accident last January.
While sledding, the six-year-old Bensten accidentally went into the road and was struck by a car. He was taken to the hospital where he stayed in a coma for nearly two weeks. The RMNB community and, later, the entire Caps community, responded, getting behind the hashtag #pray4bman, where individuals posted selfies with hand-written well wishes. Eventually, Bensten pulled through and even sent the team motivational videos during the playoffs.
“He’s working really hard, really really hard and doing really really well,” his mother Heather told RMNB’s Chris Gordon. Bensten goes to Churchill Road Elementary School in Fairfax County, where he receives individualized teaching to help get him back to where he was before the accident.
Barry Trotz loves slogans and inspirational phrases. The locker room at Verizon Center is filled with them, including some that take up five lines. Last year’s team motto of “Feed the Right Wolf” didn’t quite get the Capitals pumped up enough to win a Stanley Cup. Refreshingly, though, Trotz didn’t seek massive changes after that loss. He knows the Capitals are a good team that could win a championship. That’s why this year’s slogan is “Stick to the Script,” a brainchild of Caps video coach Brett Leonhardt.
“For us to come in this year and say, ‘Okay, it didn’t work last year, we didn’t win the Stanley Cup, so let’s go in a different path,’ that’s absolutely the wrong thing,” Trotz told The Washington Post’s Dan Steinberg. “I can see the horizon. I know where I’m going. And because I see the horizon and I didn’t get there last year, I’m going to turn left?”
To drill the idea into the players, Trotz had them watch a short video written by Leonhardt and narrated by former Capital Mike Knuble. On Saturday night before the season opener at Verizon Center, that video was revealed to roaring fans.
Like some other NHL teams, the Washington Capitals had their very own red carpet event today ahead of their home opener against the New Jersey Devils. I’m not sure I love the idea of treating hockey players like movie stars, as the sport’s most marketable quality is just how down-to-earth and approachable these athletes are, but, hey, it’s a limited-time deal. So I can deal.
The first person to make his way down the carpet this afternoon was The Ice Cheetah himself, Jason Chimera. After him came a lot of new suits and a lot of new looks. For instance, John Carlson debuted a man bun, as captured by our own Chris Gordon. The sweetest moment of the ceremony was when Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin was walked down the carpet by perfect human being Ann Schaab and RMNB reader Priscilla.
But, Ian, who was the best and worst dressed? Who had the most ridiculous hair? I’m glad you asked.
Russian Machine Never Breaks is not associated with the Washington Capitals; Monumental Sports, the NHL, or its properties. Not even a little bit.
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