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Brash Talks, Rimando Watches

Last month the Donald Brashear news was five fights in five games. This month, he's a goal-scoring phenom. I mean, if my math is right, after last night he's averaging a goal every three games in 2007. Plus he was the second star last night. Plus, fans love him.

In fact, after the game, he was surrounded by the mega-horde of probably 20 media persons. Official Caps Beat Writer Tarik El-Bashir asked him about being a fan fave.

"I guess they like my style of play," he said. "I've always had physical play. I'm trying to show the people that are trying to take it away that it's still part of the game."

This is what makes his fists hurt. (Jim Young - Reuters)

The horde thinned out, and Bog friend Brian Straus got to asking some long-overdue questions, like about the whole five-in-five thing, and what that was like.

"Sometimes, you know, your hand hurts," Brash said of the frequent-fighting. "But that's our job. We're energy, we're role players, and at any given time we want to be out there trying to hit somebody, intimidate them, or be able to get a fight and get the guys going. So we use many ways to try to do it. A goal scorer will go out there and score goals, you know, that's basically what they do."

Eventually I piped up, telling him how Georges Laraque doesn't like fighting, and asking for his thoughts.

"Well yeah, to tell you the truth, if I didn't have to do it, yeah," Brash said. "If I could just go out there and give body checks and stuff like that....The fighting, me on my part, I always played it different than every other guy. That's what I'm saying, there are guys that will just go out there and try to fight. You know, they don't belong [in] the league, they just go out there and try to get into a fight. And it's a big man thing, they try to prove who's the toughest. That don't change anything at the end of the game, you know?

"But if I go after one of their good players at times and stuff like that, that makes a big difference. And if I can be out there playing, and go hit some of their good players, then their guys've got to come after me, they've got to come on the ice. I don't necessarily have to fight them."

It's about good shifts, Brian asked?

"Exactly," Brash agreed. "Like I said, I never use fighting just to fight. That was always my big thing about fighting. Sometimes it's not fun, you've got to take a few in the head, but you take some and you give some. When I was younger, it was different. I wanted to win all the time. You have your pride. But then you realize what it really is, and what it really can do."

And while, as I've posted before, Brash often looks a tad surly, he spoke almost glowingly about being with the Caps and said that he wants to stick around in the league.

"This year is probably the best year of my career," he said, "with my teammates enjoying the role that I'm playing, and me enjoying my role at the same time."

As for his goal last night....I was sitting with Nick Rimando at the time, learning the following things: that Jacqui (his wife) loves watching hockey officials skate before the periods start, that Nick is trying to trade for Gilbert on his NBA fantasy team, that Nick's first goalkeeping coach was a former hockey goalie with missing teeth, and that goalkeeping is all about angles, whether you're on ice or grass. Nicky liked Olie's work. Kept saying how he had "blinders" on last night, which I gather is a good thing.

"He's sick, dude, eh?" Nick said after one save. "Where's he from, Russia or something?"

Nick Rimando, doing his best Olie Kolzig. (By Will Shilling -- Columbus Dispatch Via Associated Press)

[Btw, after the second period Nicky and Jacqui went up to the 400 level to visit with the Euro-Style supporters, who were largely United people. They chanted "Nick Ri-man-do." They posed for photos. They threw popcorn. They shook hands. They told stories. "You don't have to go," someone told Nick.

"We have nothing but love for the guy," longtime DCU fan Banshee Jay told me. "He did us right."

As the third period started, Nicky and Jacqui departed. The supporters started a "Nick-y, Ri-man-do, clap clap, clap clap clap clap," chant, and Nicky raised his hands and clapped at the crowd, and then he and Jacqui walked away, holding hands. I wonder how often pro athletes say goodbye to their supporters like that, in the upper reaches of other arenas, amidst popcorn fights, watching another sport, between periods. Or, "between quarters," as Nicky would say. He's still learning hockey.]

Anyhow, Nicky was taken with Brashear. So when Brash's second-period shot trickled into the net, and we all waited to see whether it would count, and Nicky asked (jokingly) whether the Caps would be charged with a timeout if the goal were disallowed, I pointed to Brashear's unsmiling face on the 'Tron. Even after the goal counted, he didn't smile. Later, I asked Brash about this.

"I knew they were going to go on the replay and check it, so I didn't want to get too happy," he said.

But why no smile after it counted, I asked.

"Well, it was kind of boring," he said. "They kind of took the moment away, you know?"

[FS: Insert corrections here.]

By Dan Steinberg  |  January 10, 2007; 4:59 PM ET
Categories:  Caps  
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Next: You the Man: Someone Call the Academy


It was great seeing Rimando at the game. A true class act.

Posted by: Duffman | January 10, 2007 5:11 PM | Report abuse

The greatest thing about this bog is how the athletes become real people. It's hard not to be a fan of any DC team once you feel like you know more about them then the number on the back of a jersey/sweater.

Dan, from a non-DC resident, I now follow DC sports closer than my local teams. Thanks, man. Good stuff.

Posted by: cowtowner | January 10, 2007 5:21 PM | Report abuse

Nick Rimando will be missed. Thanx for '04. Vamos United/Go Caps P.S. Caps fans get off your assez.

Posted by: tileman | January 10, 2007 5:31 PM | Report abuse

Brashear has been awesome for the Caps this year. His, as well as Georges Laraque's, comments on the role of enforcers describe exactly their purpose in this game. Physicality is such a huge part of hockey.

Posted by: Teri | January 10, 2007 6:23 PM | Report abuse

Great stuff last night - especially the volume when the 5-on-3 was killed off.

It was nice to not hear anything from the Flyer fans for a change.

Posted by: Eddie C | January 10, 2007 6:29 PM | Report abuse


Would have to agree. Rimando, whom I have respect for becomes an individual after I read about him. Now, if his goalkeeping were like Troy's, then maybe his 100 K salary was justified. Then again, if he keeps his gig for awhile, great for him. I look forward to his return to RFK and will send Saludos his way.

Posted by: delantero | January 10, 2007 9:10 PM | Report abuse

I hope one of the first things we hear after the all-star break is the Caps signing Brash to a multi-year deal. At least 2 more years. He's exactly the kind of player the Caps have needed for ages.

Big props, or dap, or whatever, for Nicky R for coming out to say goodbye. It's a darn shame to lose him. I hope Salt Lake appreciates the kind of guy they're getting.

Posted by: EricS | January 11, 2007 12:49 AM | Report abuse

Man, i miss brash in Philly, stupid Hitchcock

Posted by: LeathalWeapon | January 11, 2007 8:23 AM | Report abuse

I think I'm the only one that's not a huge Brash fan. I guess in my book you can take the boy out of Philly, but you can't take the Philly out of the boy.

Although I do have a really awesome photo of the two of us together from Training Camp. If I did Christmas cards, that would have been the picture.

Posted by: FS | January 11, 2007 9:55 AM | Report abuse

I struggled with the Brashear signing originally. I've despised the Flyers for 22 years now and don't like any of THEM coming directly here - especially not a fighter-type.

But that all changed Opening Night, when Brashear delivered bodyguard duty for Ovechkin, and after the fight looked back at the Caps' bench, put his fists up and gestured at Ovechkin as if to say - I got your back, son, go do what you do.

I'll take 87 on my team anyday.

Posted by: Eddie C | January 11, 2007 10:03 AM | Report abuse

But Brashear did smile at one point. After the ref signaled that it was a good goal, the cameras showed Brashear on the bench smiling while Ovechkin and, I think, Eminger started beating him on his head in celebration. They looked like football players, who always seem to punch each other in the head to show that they're happy.

Posted by: norske | January 11, 2007 2:06 PM | Report abuse

Really? On the 'Tron? I missed that. I thought after the goal was good they showed him on the bench and he still was poker-faced. He didn't seem put off when I asked why he didn't smile.

Well, if he smiled, I missed it and I apologize.

Posted by: Dan Steinberg | January 11, 2007 2:11 PM | Report abuse

I don't know what was on the 'Tron. I was being a typical NARCF and watching the game on television, I'm afraid. But on television, they definitely showed a smile.

Posted by: norske | January 11, 2007 6:39 PM | Report abuse

OK, here it is. If you go to the Caps video highlight page for the game,, and click on the Brashear goal, you can see him grinning a bit at the end of the video, right after Fraser signaled that it was a goal.

Posted by: norske | January 11, 2007 7:32 PM | Report abuse

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