RMNB had ten million hits last season, and we’re pretty proud of that.
Our sixth year was our biggest, but we think there are even brighter days ahead, and that’s what this redesign is all about.
Editor’s note: Oh snap, it’s the return of the Making RMNB Last essay series. RMNB Patrons give Peter a topic, he writes, you read. Enjoy!
From the end of 2010 until the end of 2014, Alex Ovechkin was the baby-smooth face of men’s razors and shaving products company Gillette. Except for special exceptions, Ovi kept his chin tidy for contractual reasons. In late 2010, HBO 24/7 captured the ritual in action:
Among RMNB readers, Ovi’s shaving habits were controversial. Andrew F., who originally wanted me to write about Filip Forbserg but eff that noise, asked me to conduct a serious statistical comparison of The Two Ovis: shaved and scruffy.
Hell yeah, Andrew. It’s on.
RMNB reader and patron Ray B. has proposed the best topic for an essay, so everyone else can take a seat and shut up now.
Ok, so I finally figured out what I want you to write about– Bailamos! I wanna know how this started, why it is important to the Caps, and the importance of Enrique to the Russian Machine.
Tonight we dance. The story of Bailamos is the story of the Capitals’ crisis of confidence, and if you’re wondering if I’m going to take this too seriously, yes, you’re right.
Mark M. wants me to talk about how great the Maryland flag is. Thank you, Mark M. I love the Maryland flag. Here’s a tweet from February as evidence.
I'm a huge fan of the Maryland flag. I had a 1 in 50 chance of being born in the state with the best flag and I got lucky.
— Good Tweet Pete 🌮 (@peterhassett) February 6, 2015
I’m inclined to say the Maryland flag is the best because it just looks cool, but I can’t. This story can be only half fun, because the flag, like the people and place it represents, is complicated.
But I’ll say this up front: Maryland is a lot more than crab cakes and football, neither of which are very good.
Say hi to Banana and Mike.
Leslie K. asked me to write a story about Mike Green‘s cat, Banana. This will be difficult because:
Whatever. I’m up to the challenge. Let’s go.
Today’s essay topic comes to us from John D., who writes:
What happens if the Caps don’t win a cup within 3-5 years with the current crop of players that will be 30-35 or older by then? When does the purge begin? Are there any thoughts of a purge if needed?
Ah yes, the perennial question of the Championship Window, the period during which a team is most likely to win a Cup, and whether it is currently open or closed– or opening or closing.
I guess I’ll start with this: The Washington Capitals’ window is open, but it won’t be for long. And when it closes, there may be a reckoning.
Welcome back to the Making RMNB Last essay series. This time our prompt comes from Joe K., who I think did a wonderful job articulating, so I’ll just hand it over to him.
“You all put together wonderful statistical analyses which tell us way more than the standard NHL-provided goals/assists/+/-, etc and really help us look at players more insightfully than ever before (tho without CapGeek, maybe we’re all back to square 2). The only issue I have is how the analyses are typically constrained by even strength/5v5 TOI, and more importantly, that this is a not insignificant portion of overall TOI for a lot of players, or in some cases a very significant portion. Seems it could also be presumed that the more non-5v5 TOI a player has a game, the less likely their even strength stats tell the story of what their value might be to the team.
I’d like to see something that assessed, what, if any, stats are out their which might enhance the lens thru which we look at these players’ advanced stats and help flag which players’ 5v5 SA%/G% #’s might be more/less meaningful.
Finally, I realize the above might be the subject of a Doctoral dissertation and know that can’t happen, but even weaving the issue into these discussions more is something I see as a potentially avenue to drive analyses in that direction and appropriately couch bigger picture judgment on players. Don’t worry about writing a specific article on this, just would find it interesting to see something alluding to this concept and informing the discussion at some point along the way. Thanks for the ear and opportunity to offer the thoughts. By all means if I just haven’t been reading you all enough and this path has been beaten, by all means accept my apologies and offer a link. Keep up the great work; you all do amazing content, and, whether or not anyone will ever recognize it, contribute so much to the Caps and NHL generally by offering anyone who follows the game so many different ways to look at/unpack what is the most exciting sport out there.”
Thank you, Joe. That’s a wonderful question, and you framed like a thousand times better than Ian, who tries to troll me with this topic every few months.
Why do so many statistics uses exclude everything but 5v5 even strength, and is that a flaw? Well, it is and it isn’t. A lot of our goof-ups regarding statistics occur when we ask them to do things they weren’t built for or when we fail to consider the context that informs objective measurements. To paraphrase Rob Vollman, stats should be the beginning of the conversation, not the end.
Tommy L. wants me to write about the culture of vikings. Tommy L. is awesome. Here goes.
There never was a viking culture and there never were any vikings. Vikings as we know them– villains wearing horned helmets who sacked dark-age Europe– were just a name and a story told by people who weren’t vikings. To the northmen, no one was a viking unless he or she was on a viking, which is what they called their raids. In general use, viking was an exonym: a named used by people outside the group. Among themselves, the vikings were known as the Northmen or the Norsemen– not to be confused with the Normans, whom we’ll discuss below.
Norsemen were the people of the Nordic countries. At some point in the 8th century of the Common Era, the Norsemen decided to go sailing and bust some heads. They were a bustling culture already, but advances in art, technology, and specifically seafaring were what spurred the Viking Era.
You are about to read an essay commissioned by RMNB Platinum Patron Michael Reschly as part of the Making RMNB Last campaign. Michael chose the topic, and now Peter must write about it. Game on.
Michael has asked me to draft a hockey team using only scifi and fantasy characters. My entire life was leading up to this moment and now we are here. Michael suggested Harry Potter as first-line center and Chewbacca as goalie, and that’s when I stopped paying attention to his ideas.
First, some self-imposed limitations: none. Anything goes. Let’s party.
On Friday night, we hosted a private party at a bowling alley in Frederick, Maryland, to say thank you to all the readers who donated to help make RMNB last. We raised nearly $26,000, which is going to go a long way towards helping us do some special projects and improve in general.
But let’s talk about the party. It was a frigging blast and that’s not just because I got gifts for my 30th birthday (thanks, Sarah!). Around 80 of you drove up to our hood and bowled while the Terrace Lanes’ crew blasted unspeakably bad 90s music over the loud speakers. There was lots of drinking (a tenet of a good party), a lot of bad dancing (another tenet of a good party), and some unintentionally synchronized outfits.
We originally planned to end the party at 11:30 PM, but reader Charles just was like eff that, and extended everyone’s lanes until 12:30 AM.
That’s just the type of readers we have.
Amanda Bowen did us a solid and photographed the first hour of the party. Check those out, and please if you have any photos of your own, share them in the comments below.
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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