We have had a lot of questions lately about practice schedules and how to meet the Capitals’ players. With Spring Break starting for many of you parents we wanted to share what we have learned about getting photos and autographs–for free–of your favorite Caps player. Here’s what we have observed over the years:.
Please comment on the blog to let us know your experience. We’ve gotten some great comments and added them to this update. Personally, we think we have some of the most generous and giving guys in the league!!
Practices are held at Kettler Iceplex in Arlington, VA. The practices are open to everyone. Here’s what coming up:
Friday March 18: Game Day Morning Skate at 10:15
Saturday March 19: Practice is scheduled for 11:30 but don’t be surprised if Coach cancels practice since it is a travel day. We’ll update as soon as we know on Twitter.
Monday to Thursday: we don’t have the official schedule yet but we would guess there will be practice on at least Tuesday and Wednesday as the Caps are between road trips.
There are some challenges to getting autographs and each player is a little different. Basically, we tell our friends that the best place to stand is outside the revolving door in in front of the Caps Kettler offices. Do not try to go in the offices, even if you see a player inside. You can also stand to the right of the player benches near the media center; however, only an occasional player will stop there and the crowd is pretty dense so your chances may not be as good as if you stood outside.
- If you are waiting outside, wear comfortable shoes. You could be there for an hour or more waiting. If they are eating (you will see Robbie with the food carts through the glass) they will be even longer!
- We also ask friends not to chase them to their cars or to stand waiting by their cars. We have seen one-too-many close calls when fans get in the way of a player trying to rush off the roof!!
- If a player parks on the seventh floor, they will exit through the door at in the far left corner as you come off the main elevators. Again, please don’t stalk their cars. Most of them will sign or politely tell you that they have to go.
- If a player parks on any level lower than the seventh we take it as a sign that they would prefer not to be bothered that day. Or they just don’t want their cars dinged up! At any rate, we try to leave them alone below the seventh floor.
- On game days the players may be more rushed, especially if they are late leaving Kettler because of interviews or other commitments. If they are leaving for the airport, they are unlikely to stop for very long and most frequently you will see the trainers and assistants bring up their cars for a quick getaway. Duty first and all that!!
Let’s start with the Top Six:
Alex Ovechkin: Does not stop to sign autographs, except on VERY rare occasionally. There are many reasons for this but it is NOT because he is rude or feels he is too good for his fans. Usually he is running somewhere to another commitment. He may stop occasionally for a picture, especially if there is a child involved. When he does stop it will most likely be for one or two people.
- One of our followers shared this, “Ovi recently stopped and signed something for me at Kettler after practice and he had no problem personalizing the picture that I asked him to sign. We were chatting the whole time and he was laughing because he wanted to make sure he spelled the words correctly.”
Nicklas Backstrom: If he parks on the roof he will stop and sign autographs and take pictures. We have rarely seen him say no but he may not stand and talk. Other days we have seen him talk with fans for quite a few minutes.
TJ Oshie: He is more unpredictable. He frequently parks on the lower levels of the garage. If he parks on the roof he will stop for pictures and to sign things, but he usually does not stay too long.
Andre Burakovsky: We never know where he is going to park; however, if he is on the roof, he will stand there to take pictures and sign items until everyone is happy. And even then, he may just hang out for those that want to chat.
Evgeny Kuznetsov: Oh Kuzy. He loves to take pictures and sign for the fans. Unfortunately, he often is in a rush to get home to the family (or Family Feud) and won’t stay for long. He usually parks along the sidewalk and makes a sharp right coming out of the offices. You’ll just have to watch his body language to see if he would rather just get going.
Justin Williams: Ok, if you can find Stick, he will sign. He seldom parks on the roof or even the seventh floor. He will be polite and sign if you are as well. He is a heck of a nice guy just not easily accessible.
The Best of the Rest
Tom Wilson and Michael Latta are about the best when it comes to taking pictures and signing autographs. They almost always park on the roof. It usually is a mob scene when they come out so no promises on the quality of pictures you pictures—but they love quick selfies.
Karl Alzner is by far our favorite, followed by Braden Holtby. They are friendly and will joke around with people standing outside. They usually have something in their hands and may have to run to their trucks to drop off food before signing.
Marcus Johansson, Jay Beagle, Brooks Orpik, Philipp Grubauer, and Dmitry Orlov frequently park on the roof. They will stop but not stay for too long.
The Garage Parkers include Matt Niskanen, Taylor Chorney, John Carlson, Nate Schmidt, Stan Galiev, and Jason Chimera. If you can catch them on the seventh floor, they will stop. They are all very gracious. They surprise us from time to time by parking on the roof.
The Unknowns: We don’t know too much about the new guys. Daniel Winnik, Mike Richards, and Mike Weber may need some time to adjust to the fans outside. We hear that Richie may park in the garage and has been seen on the roof too. We don’t know how much access fans from other teams have so give them a few days to get used to us. We are sure they will soon understand the special rapport they players have with the team.
Hershey Bear Players: When a Bear player is called up to play in the NHL they usually stay in a hotel nearby. That may mean that they walk and don’t park on the roof or in the garage. But Hershey players are used to meeting with the fans after a game and will most likely greet you with excitement.
We hope this helps you out. We have a great time meeting the players and enjoy watching them interact with the Caps Family. And please tag us when you get that perfect picture. We want to hear and see your story!!