Rock the Red!

[11-MAR-2010] Lots of updates tonight...!

Wow, it's been a while.

Holtby in Washington Such a long while that my photo gallery from the January 31st game where Braden Holtby acted as backup goaltender hasn't even been shown off!

Jay Beagle My photos from Hershey's 9-2 drubbing of Bridgeport Sound on February 27th haven't been shown off!

Nicklas Backstrom And then, there are the photos from the March 4th Caps game, where the guys wore special jerseys in warmups for military night.

Eric Belanger ...and March 6th, when the Caps blanked the Rangers, 2-0...

Jeff Schultz March 8th, when they dropped one in the shootout...

Jose Theodore and finally, last night, March 10th - only a handful of goalie pix from last night... got to sit in a suite for the game. Much funness!
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[16-JAN-2010] Bears 7, Baby Penguins 2

Last night was another hockey travel night. We headed up to Hershey to watch John Carlson's triumphant homecoming...

... Except he's up with the Caps right now.

C'est la vie; we still saw a fantastic game!

The Bears kept their foot on the Penguins' throat until the last minute. There were several fights, including one involving Jay Beagle as the final buzzer sounded. He left the ice with arms raised triumphantly, and who could blame him? He won!

In their last two games, the Bears have scored 17 goals.



Yeah. Thassalotta goals!

Pictures are here!
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[15-JAN-2010] Caps 6, Maple Leafs 1

I was late to the game tonight, so I missed Alex Ovechkin's 48-seconds-in goal. I arrived just about the time the team was finishing killing off the boarding call on Nicklas Backstrom.

What is up with that, anyway? Did he *do it?* Or are the referees being idiots again?

Anyway, I was there for the rest of the game.


Whatever you want to call it, the Maple Leafs were outplayed. Towards the end of the game, things got a little chippy (to say the least), and fighting majors were handed out liberally. Shaone Morrisonn took on Colton Orr, and Jason Chimera took on Jay Rosehill; both ShaMo and Chimmer were kicked from the game, and took instigator penalties, but they stuck up for our guys, and no suspensions were forthcoming.

I was pleased to see that John Carlson was up from Hershey, but a bit disappointed as well, since I had seats seven rows back from the Bears' goal for last night's game against the Wilkes Barre/Scranton Penguins (another slaughter), and had been looking forward to his triumphant homecoming.

It would have been nice to see him score on Vesa Toskala, if only to give the Leafs fans one more reason to hate the Hero of Team USA, but he didn't.

Ovechkin had a five-point night (1G, 4A); Knuble tallied a pair of very nice goals, from a total distance of 16' out - though how you can be standing in the paint and be 7' from the goal mouth is beyond me... someone was measuring like a guy again, I think... (Ooops, was that my out-loud voice?), and Flash, Fehr and Poti finished out the scoring.

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Rock the Red!

[17-JAN-2010] Diary of a Pilgrimage (12-13-14-JAN-2010)

12-JAN-2010 - Flew in to Tampa Bay; flight was mostly uneventful, and although having "teh Interwebs" on the airplane was cool (one cool point for AirTran), paying $15 per bag was not (and AirTran loses their cool point). At Tampa Bay International, picked up the World's Ugliest Rental Car (AKA: The Car You Can't Lose Track Of) from the rental folks, and headed to the hotel. Got checked in, went a'wandering in downtown Tampa. Came back, went to dinner at Roaring 20's Pizza and Pipes (about 45 minutes south of Tampa), then went to the game.

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Lightning 7, Capitals... not as many

I gotta be honest: we walked out after the first frame. The guys came out flat, and we were exhausted anyway - I'd been working 10-hour shifts all week, and we'd had an early flight in. Did not even look at the score until the next morning... was utterly unsurprised. The Caps looked absolutely wretched during warmups and the first frame. Not gonna say anything else.

13-JAN-2010 - Got up, headed for Miami, via Big Cat Rescue, where we did a 1.5 hour walking tour of the facility, and found out that panthers don't roar; they meow like the "lesser cats."

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From Big Cat Rescue, we headed down to Miami, where it took us the better part of an hour to find the $LOCATION (sorry, geek stepping in here) where my friend had to install a new switch. She got that done while I wandered around taking pictures (what else would I be doing???), then we headed for the arena.

Capitals 5, Panthers 4 (SO)

What a game we saw! By the end of the 1st, the Caps were down 2-0. By the end of the 2nd, we were down 4-2. And by the end of the 3rd, we were tied 4-4. Theodore was *outstanding* in the shootout, stopping everything he had to stop, and the shootout win went to Tomas Fleischmann, which made me very happy. We got to see a Gordie Howe Hat Trick (a goal, an assist, and a fight) thanks to relative newcomer Jason Chimera, too.

Got back to the hotel after the game, bouncing off the walls, and called it a relatively early night again.

14-JAN-2010 - Got up, headed for Ft. Lauderdale International, and then back to BWI. Slept the entire flight - I don't remember takeoff; I was out before we left the gate. Landed, had lunch, then went and put in an 11-hour workday. Got home, crawled into bed, and did the same on Friday, which made me late for the game, but oh well! I was pleased to see what I saw of it.

All in all, apart from the Lightning disaster of a game, the trip was great fun! :-)

Pictures here!
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[10-JAN-2010] Preparing for a Pilgrimage

For the past week at my office, I've been putting in 10-hour days almost every day in preparation for Tuesday-Wednesday-Thursday of this coming week.

Tuesday morning, my hockey buddy and I will fly out of BWI Airport for points south - namely Tampa Bay, Florida, for the Caps-Lightning game. The next day, we'll be driving down to Sunrise for the Caps-Panthers game, and then on Thursday morning, we'll fly back home.

This is the Second Annual January Hockey Pilgrimage.

Last year, we went to Long Island, followed by Ottawa, and it was EFFING cold up there! The washer fluid in my car froze solid, and it snowed. It was really, really yucky. So this year, we decided it would be a run to Sunny Florida...


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Went to a fight...

[10-JAN-2010] Oh. My. GOD, LOL!

Today - OK, yesterday now - people in Omsk went to a fight, and a hockey game broke out...

No, really.

There wasn't a hockey game.

Because when the dust had settled from the fight that started up between Brandon Sugden of Vityaz - yes, that Brandon Sugden, formerly of the Washington Capitals' organization - and Alexander Svitov of Avangard Omsk, a whopping 691 penalty minutes had been issued.

691! All in under four minutes of "hockey".

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Captain Caveman

[10-JAN-2010] Transition...

In the last two weeks, I have witnessed a transition.

With the trade of Captain Chris Clark and defenseman Milan Jurcina to the Columbus Blue Jackets for left wing Jason Chimera came a day of shock: the Capitals had traded their Captain.

Their first game without Captain Clark was a disaster, when the Carolina Hurricanes - bottom feeders of both the Southeast Division and the entire NHL - handed them a 6-3 loss at the Verizon Center. The Caps would lose their next two games as well, both in California, the first to the San Jose Sharks (5-2), and the second to the Los Angeles Kings (2-1). Then they came home.

The Capitals' first game with Captain Ovechkin - who will now and forever be "Captain Caveman" to me, thanks to an amusing post title over on Japers' Rink - brought a team hungry for the win to tear up the ice of the Verizon Center and win a resounding 4-2 victory over the Montreal Canadiens; their second game was a 5-2 victory over the Ottawa Senators.

And then came tonight. With an 8-1 victory over the Atlanta Thrashers, the Capitals pushed their lead in the Southeast Division to 16 points, and they are poised for the Tuesday-Wednesday matchups with the Tampa Bay Lightning and the Florida Panthers, both of which I will be privileged to attend in person.

The Caps under Ovechkin's leadership have one major thing that they did not under Clark's: snarl. There is a growling beastlike undertone to the team now, one that is as gung ho as its on-the-ice leader. The Capitals, entering the third frame with a 4-1 lead over the Thrashers tonight, poured on the steam and kept pouring, finally humiliating the Thrashers 8-1. They kept their foot firmly on the Thrashers' throat. They are wolves. On both Tuesday night and Thursday night, everyone on the ice jumped to defend his teammate. They were undaunted by fists, unafraid to rough someone up for taking liberties. And they made both the teams from Canada pay for their trouble.

I am proud to witness this transformation. The Caps, to a man, want Lord Stanley's Cup, and they want it now. And I do not believe they will take "not this time" for an answer again.

NHL, beware: the Caps are coming. They are wolves. And they are hungry.
Cappy Birthday

[10-JAN-2010] Cappy Birthday, Coach Boudreau!!!

Coach Bruce Boudreau celebrated his 55th birthday tonight with an 8-1 victory over the Atlanta Thrashers. Congratulations, Coach! The victory increases the Caps' lead in the Southeast Division to 16 points, and gives them 60 points in 44 games played, which, I believe, is another Caps record.

At just past the halfway point through the season, the Caps remain a solid 3rd place in the Eastern Conference, behind the New Jersey Devils (63) and the Buffalo Sabres (61), with a 3-point lead over Pittsburgh (57). They lead the league in goals per game, at 3.61, and are second in power play percentage at 23.8% (behind Montreal's 24.6%).

Nine players on the Capitals' roster have scored ten or more goals this season:

Alex Ovechkin (27)
Nicklas Backstrom, Alexander Semin (18)
Tomas Fleischmann (15)
Brooks Laich (11)
Mike Green, Brendan Morrison, Mike Knuble, Eric Fehr (10)

Tomas Fleischmann leads the league with a 22.7 shot percentage.

Alex Ovechkin and Sidney Crosby (PIT) are tied with 27 goals, and the league leaders (Marian Gaborik (NYR) and Patrick Marleau (SJS)) each have 28.

Mike Green, Stephane Robidas (DAL), and Marc-Andre Bergeron (MTL) are tied for first in goals among defenseman, with 10 each, and Green, with 33 assists to his name, leads all defensemen with 43 points; the next-closest defenseman is Duncan Keith (CHI) with 41 points.

As a team, the Capitals have the 4th fewest PIMs per game, at 10.3 average. They also have the 4th fewest PIMs at 442. They have the fewest major penalties in the league, with 12.

Offhand, I'd say Coach Boudreau's Caps are doing very well for themselves this season. It's something he can be proud of. I know I am!
Rock the Red!

[09-JAN-2010] Caps 8, Thrashers 1

What a trouncing the Caps gave to the hapless Atlanta Thrashers tonight!

The Capitals, with new Captain Alex Ovechkin (AKA "Captain Caveman!") are now 3-0, and the team has gelled into a well-oiled machine.

Goals tonight came from:

1) Mike Knuble (9) (Tom Poti, Jeff Schultz)
2) Alexander Semin (17) (Brooks Laich, Mike Green)
3) Nicklas Backstrom (18) (Mike Green)
4) Mike Knuble (10) (Alex Ovechkin, Jeff Schultz)
5) Alexander Semin (18) (Tomas Fleischmann, Tom Poti)
6) David Steckel (3) (Matt Bradley, Boyd Gordon)
7) Tom Poti (1) (Alexander Semin, Brian Pothier)
8) Jason Chimera (9/1) (Brendan Morrison, Eric Fehr)


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Rock the Red!

[23-DEC-2009] Caps 5, Sabres 2

Tonight's game was very well-played all around (except for the 2nd frame, where the Caps let up on the gas pedal). A very good game, and a convincing win!

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