For many of us, 2018 was the year, at least in sports, where our figurative prayers were literally answered. The Washington Capitals won their first Stanley Cup on June 7, vanquishing the Pittsburgh Penguins and their second-round demons in the process. We watched, many of us cried (though, um, excuse me, I would never do such a thing, that was just dust in my eyes), as the Capitals celebrated on the ice at T-Mobile Arena. In the days that followed there was a Stanley Cup parade, Ovi told us how much the team didn’t, uh, fooking suck, and over the summer, we got to smile every day as we watched each player, coach, and trainer have their day with the championship trophy.
For RMNB as a website, 2018 was a huge year too. We won our own blogging championship, being named Best Blog in our local paper. We also had our biggest year as a site to date (again). We saw 3.3 million readers come to our site in 2018, generating 21.5 million pageviews. We had our biggest month ever as a site, June 2018, and our biggest day ever on June 8. We did this all while having a backend infrastructure that was nine-years-old and being swallowed whole by this batsh*t insane traffic. During the 2018 playoffs, we updated and moved the site, forever ending our database connection issues that so many of you had to live through.
To highlight the remarkable year, we wanted to throw it back to the top 18 most read posts of the year. We can’t thank you all enough for giving us the opportunity to write about hockey for you.
18. Capitals announce Game Five Stanley Cup Final viewing party will require free tickets, outdoor viewing returns (Link)
The Washington DC area was captivated by the Capitals’ Stanley Cup run. Look no further than our 18th most read post of the year, a June 5 news article detailing how fans could get free tickets and watch Game Five inside Capital One Arena. Two nights later, the Caps won the Stanley Cup in Las Vegas while a raucous sold-out crowd roared back home. I took photos that night.
17. Capitals trying to keep Penguins fans out of Capital One Arena with tickets that can’t be resold (Link)
Ted Leonsis went to great lengths to keep Capital One Arena red during the postseason. Before the Caps’ second-round matchup against the Pittsburgh Penguins, the Capitals made special ticket restrictions during a presale so Pens fans could not get their hands on tickets. That’s a CEO of the Year move, if you ask us. The Capitals would beat the Penguins for only the second time in 11 tries during the playoffs.
16. OBX homeowner spray-paints ‘CAPS’ on boarded-up windows ‘just in case Hurricane Florence didn’t know who won the Stanley Cup’ (Link)
To have a championship team, you must have championship fans — such as Jay Fohs. The longtime season-ticket holder, who owned this OBX beach home in South Nags Head, decided to spraypaint his boarded up windows “CAPS.” The reason? To intimidate Hurricane Florence, and remind her “who won the Stanley Cup.” The ploy actually worked. Florence made landfall on Wrightsville Beach, near Wilmington, North Carolina, sparing the Outer Banks a direct hit.
15. It appears Alex Ovechkin bought Caps championship merch for every person in Russia (Link)
Alex Ovechkin waited 13 years to win the Stanley Cup, so when he did, you knew he was going to celebrate hard. So did Capitals fans! Fanatics reported that Caps supporters broke records with the amount of championship merch bought, but it appears the NHL Shop also got a big boost from Alex Ovechkin himself. After flying back to Russia with a ton of luggage, Ovechkin’s wife Nastya revealed her husband’s championship haul at his dacha. And you gotta see this. The Russian machine practically had enough championship hats, jerseys, and shirts for every person in his homeland.
14. Former NHL goalie Ray Emery drowns during outing with friends at Hamilton Harbor, Ontario (Link)
The NHL world was saddened in July when news that former goaltender Ray Emery drowned in an Ontario Harbor. The former Stanley Cup champ last played in the NHL during the 2014-15 season. RIP.
13. Jakub Vrana documented the Capitals party in a series of amazing videos(Link)
The Capitals partied their way through Washington DC after winning the Stanley Cup in June, but the best part might have been Jakub Vrana’s lack-of-restraint on his Instagram Story. Before being guided by his elders to shut it down, Vrana posted a series of very drunk videos calling literally everyone on the team “legends.” Our favorite part was when, in selfie mode, Michal Kempny cupped Vrana’s man pecs from behind.
12. Alex Ovechkin and Nastya Ovechkina welcome their first child, Sergei Aleksandrovich Ovechkin (Link)
After announcing their pregnancy on the night after Ovechkin won his first Stanley Cup, the Russian machine and his wife Nastya welcomed a baby boy on the gr8 date of August 18. Named after Ovechkin’s late brother, Sergei Aleksandrovich was born in a hospital in Miami.
11. Evgeni Malkin got in a yelling match with Evgeny Kuznetsov because ‘Kuzy spoke Russian’ to him (Link)
No one would have ever guessed the reason two Russian natives began fighting was because one spoke Russian to the other, but it’s stupidly true and it happened during a Capitals-Penguins game in April. With a minute left in the game, Evgeni Malkin tried to fight TJ Oshie and then got into a screaming match with Evgeny Kuznetsov. After the game, Malkin explained to the media it was because “Kuzy spoke Russian. I don’t know why he started speaking to me in Russian. I don’t like that.” All right then.
10. Alex Ovechkin, Capitals players take photo with Ivanka Trump after interrupting her Cafe Milano dinner date with Jared Kushner (Link)
Our tenth most-viewed article is some Russian collusion that will definitely not get anyone worked up or feel #passions. Alex Ovechkin and his drunk Capitals buddies ran into Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner while celebrating with the Stanley Cup in DC. Yes, this was definitely worth a photo so it can live on the internet forever. Fast forward six months later, Ivanka and Kushner are being investigated by the special counsel for a wide breadth of crimes. Good times!
9. TJ Oshie trades fan for his RMNB ‘The Djoos is Loose’ t-shirt (Link)
This story is extra special to me. Let me explain. While waiting for a bus to go to Nationals Park, TJ Oshie spotted a fan wearing RMNB’s ��The Djoos is Loose’ t-shirt, which I designed. After a deal was completed, Oshie made Djoos put the shirt on. The photo made its way onto the Capitals’ Twitter account. Life = made.
8. Show this video to Penguins fans who are still complaining about Patric Hornqvist’s no-goal (Link)
Science reared its ugly head during the Capitals-Pens playoff series, but for once, a freakishly unlucky thing benefited the Capitals in the playoffs. Thank you, Hockey Gods! In our eighth most read post of the year, our readers learned what the parallax effect is: a phenomenon which causes an object, in this case, a puck, to appear further than it actually is because the goal line is painted an inch or so below the surface of the ice. Penguins fans are probably still upset with this no-goal call, but the league could not find conclusive evidence the puck crossed the goal line.
7. Alex Ovechkin sleeps with the Stanley Cup (Link)
After winning the Stanley Cup, Alex Ovechkin brought the championship trophy home to celebrate with his family and friends. And, you guys, there was a nightcap. Ovechkin brought Stanley into bed and they cuddled all night long.
6. Alex Ovechkin and Nastya Ovechkina are expecting their first child (Link)
Ovechkin’s interview with Hockey Night in Canada’s Scott Oake after winning the Stanley Cup was a treasure. Ovi broke the news that his first child was on the way — a secret we kinda sorta had been holding for the family for several weeks. Ovechkin stated he was just “happy” about everything. Us too.
5. Capitals party at Georgetown Waterfront, Alex Ovechkin does a keg stand with Stanley Cup and jumps in fountain shirtless (Link)
The day that will live on in Stanley Cup history forever: the Washington Capitals’ fountain celebration. Relive Ovi swimming the shallow waters of the Georgetown Waterfront to the now-banned Cup Stand.
4. For Game Three, TJ Oshie and Matt Niskanen took a metro to Capital One Arena and rode with Caps fans (Link)
To avoid downtown traffic, TJ Oshie and Matt Niskanen became one of us and rode the metro to Capital One Arena for the team’s home games during the Stanley Cup Final. The two took photos with fans along the way and learned that responsible, mature adults bring enough money for exit fare. The down-to-earth travel arrangements went viral and even spawned a bobblehead. Metro even asked RMNB to help design a commemorative Stanley Cup SmartCard. Man, we had a good year too!
3. Ryan Reaves signed photos for Las Vegas memorabilia company taunting Tom Wilson’s injury (Link)
Ryan Reaves gave Tom Wilson a concussion on an awful hit. But a day later, Reaves managed to make the situation worse, after the NHL’s Department of Player Safety ruled that his blindside decking of Wilson was not suspension worthy. The Golden Knights enforcer signed photos of Wilson laying on the ice injured, with the inscription “He ran into a lion in the jungle.” This created outrage. So much so, Reaves had the company take the photos down off their website.
2. Blackhawks fans ejected for racially charged taunts against Devante Smith-Pelly (Link)
You thought the Reaves’ signed photos were bad? Meet our second most-read post of the year: Devante Smith-Pelly being subjected to racially-charged taunts in the penalty box. These fans were eventually banned from the United Center. It also helped a city fall in love with one of its soft-spoken stars. DSP confronted the fans and handled the situation with as much class as one could in this situation. He also did his best to entice change in society. “It’s disgusting. I don’t even really know,” Smith-Pelly said. “It’s sad that [it’s] 2018 we’re still talking about the same thing over and over. It’s sad that athletes like myself 30, 40 years ago, were standing in the same spot, saying the same thing. You’d think that there’d be some sort of change or progression, but we’re still working towards it I guess. We’re going to keep working towards it.”
1. Caps players distracted from Alex Ovechkin’s Cup celebration by boobs (Link)
The Capitals’ first lap around the T-Mobile Arena with the Stanley Cup was a beautiful and powerful moment. Peter Hassett set the scene as several Capitals giggled, clapped, and pointed behind Ovechkin as he raised the championship trophy to the sky. “His teammates were in awe — no, wait, nevermind. They’re looking at boobs.”
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.