In the wake of the Caps’ season end, I was curious how the Caps fan community felt. After six years of RMNB and a decade of Ovechkin, I wondered who you thought makes up the pantheon of most favorite Caps players.
I asked the good people of Twitter, who had not yet descended into heartrending reactions to a world that is becoming increasingly like The Purge and also PokeMon Go strategy tips, to rate their favorite Caps players of Ovechkin era from 1 to 5, with one being intense hatred and five being omg bff.
What I learned will shock you. Turns out people like Ovi.
We had almost 400 respondents. I limited the players in the survey to skaters who spent more than half a season with Washington, so some post-deadline acquisitions (like Jason Arnott) are not included.
I averaged and ranked the results. I’ve pored over the data a bunch, but I think the best way to review the results is in buckets. Here goes.
The players who will always be Caps royalty. Alex Ovechkin is without a doubt the best player we have or will ever see in Washington, and the only reason he’s not a solid 5.0 is because 14 survey respondents didn’t understand that 1 was a bad score.
I like that there are a bunch of ways to love these players. Sergei Fedorov is one of the game’s greats and deserves his spot, but so too do guys like Karl Alzner; who is winsome, reliable, and whatever the polar freaking opposite of flashy is; and Mike Knuble, who is the most meat-and-potatoes net-crasher ever to rock the red (and a surprisingly great scorer late in his career).
Youngsters Andre Burakovksy and Evgeny Kuznetsov are in the top tier too, representing the optimism Caps fans are known for — right before the guaranteed heartbreak that Caps fans are also known for.
I don’t have any arguments here. These guys are giants.
I got vertigo from the talent drop-off. There are bunch of players in this tier who I could totally see winning the Stanley Cup. . .if the year were 2008 (Brooks Laich, Mike Green, Troy Brouwer, former Brandon Wheat King Eric Fehr).
You’ve got my personal idolatrous fixation, Nate Schmidt, along with a player for whom I do not exactly share your adulation, Tom Wilson. I think that’s evidence enough that I did not fake this data. (*cough* SAP *cough*)
Now we fight.
How the hell you people ranked Alex Semin just 0.2 above Taylor freaking Chorney I will never understand. This is why I don’t hug people at parties; this right here.
The top of this tier is a love letter to my favorite depth players: Jeff Halpern, Michael Latta, and my personal all-time fave Matt Bradley — those are three stalwarts of the Washington bottom six who will always occupy a gritty spot in my sandpaper-y heart. And, if you ask me, they all outperformed their reputations — somewhat unlike Jay Beagle, whom I adore but is in no way deserving of a 4.0 score.
Chris Clark‘s on the list for captaining a team in transition, but his fame was mostly for welcoming Ovi to the league and sharing his line for a bit. Guys like Donald Brashear and John Erskine were masters of mauling, the last scions of the facepunch era. Our love for them is pure, but uneasy, like finding a Snorlax at a funeral.
You could write a book about the players in this group and I would not read it. It’d be an interesting book, and sure I’d buy it, but I’d just leave it on my bookshelf and read comic books instead.
Brendan Witt and Brooks Orpik are similar players, except Witt played in an era in which that style of play was more palatable. Best defensemen of the 2010 playoffs, Tom Poti, has sadly become a footnote after a recurring groin injury ended his career early. And speaking of injury, someone please send us a photo of Dennis Wideman‘s compartment syndrome injury from way back.
Quintin Laing, no joke — Ian wanted to name the blog after him. That was in the days that mocking the Michael Nylander saga was one of our favorite past times at RMNB.
Both Morrisons/Morrrissonnnes are in this group, and I’m starting to wonder if there’s a strong recency bias to these scores.
What a curious collection of Caps players– filled with disappointment, defeat, and disgrace. Many of them are also-rans of the earliest days of the Ovechkin era — guys who had to leave in order for the team to grow.
Roman Hamrlik is a sad story in particular. Screwed over by the most unreliable of percentages, Hamrlik looked a lot worse than he was, and you guys are meanies for ranking him so low.
And then there’s Jeff Schultz. You grumps. Guys, he won a Stanley Cup. Do you have a Stanley Cup? No, you do not, so shut up. (But if you do have a Stanley Cup, you probably also have a photo of Dennis Wideman’s compartment syndrome, so send us that please.)
And Mike Ribeiro only gets a 2.2? Actually, on that one, you’re all being a bit too charitable for my taste.
You guys are jerks, you know that, right? Sure, the trade was a disaster of using-a-Thunder-Stone-to-evolve-Pikachu-into-Raichu proportions, but Erat did damn fine with some miserable assignments under an even miserabler coach. And while Erat didn’t himself score, he sure did help others score. It’s unfortunate that he is painted with your crankypants brush.
Thanks for voting and reading, but really this article is just a forum for your to argue in the comments, so have at it.
p.s. Go #TeamRed
Russian Machine Never Breaks is not associated with the Washington Capitals; Monumental Sports, the NHL, or its properties. Not even a little bit.
All original content on russianmachineneverbreaks.com is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0)– unless otherwise stated or superseded by another license. You are free to share, copy, and remix this content so long as it is attributed, done for noncommercial purposes, and done so under a license similar to this one.