Smile!.. It’s Nate Schmidt’s birthday!!

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This season Nate Schmidt played in twice as many Caps games than the past two seasons. We love watching Schmidty play. He gives all he has every game;  he hits with power, blocks blistering slap shots with his body, has speed in his skating, and a smile on his face during his interviews in between periods.  Not easy to do after playing 20 minutes of hockey, but we love when Schmidty is the special guest during period breaks at home or on the road.

The blond haired, blue eyed American born defenseman turns 25 on July 16th.. What?!  Yes he’s a quarter of a century old. Seems like yesterday he was just starting out with the Caps.

This season Nate scored two goals and 14 assists in 72 games with the Washington Capitals. He earned a permanent spot in the line up for most of the season. He was a solid player on the blue line providing the Caps with consistent checking, passing, and more importantly his infectious smile helped keep spirits high even in those low spots.

As the Caps team matures you can see Nate developing into one of the leaders on the team down the road. Not only through his play but the words of encouragement to other players. With the recent loss of Jason Chimera to free agency and the New York Islanders,  we can see Schmidty possibly taking Chimmers’s place in the locker room.

Nate has great role models to learn from: Brooks Orpik, John Carlson, Matt Niskanen, and Karl Alzner. And with teammates like Taylor Chorney,  Schmidty has a great team supporting his growth in the Caps system.

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Caps fans could expect Schmidt to really come into his own in the next few years. He’s had the taste of playoffs and now knows how fast the game can be during playoffs. With experience,  you learn and grow to develop your game that much better. Nate Schmidt has the tools and the teachers to improve his game to the next level. We are anxious to see what he brings in the 2016-17 season.

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Happy birthday Nate!  25 looks good on you and your smiling face!

Samsanov: A (goal)ie for the Future

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Goalie Training During Caps Dev Camp, June 2016

At 6’3″ ,200 pounds, and born in Magnitogorsk Russia, Ilya Samsonov came to Caps Development Camp with brand new white goalie pads. By the end of camp those pads had marks on them from pucks upon pucks being shot at the 19-year-old goaltender.

 

Drafted last year in the first round, Samsonov still has two years left with the KHL team Mettalura Magnitogorsk, the reining Gargarin cup champions (our Stanley Cup equivalent).  All media and fans were eager to see Samsonov’s work.. Impressive  indeed!

 

Ilya working with goalie coach Mitch Korn with  Sergey Koncharv (head of Caps PR) translate for Samsonov, was truly entertaining to watch. We saw all of Coach Korn’s different ways to train. such as the goalie holding a medicine ball without their stick and  making a save by dropping to their knees to strengthen their core. This was difficult for Samsonov to comprehend due to his language barrier; however, once Sergey translated, Samsonov started getting quicker and knowing what to do simply from Coach Korn’s hand movements.

As Caps Dev Camp went on, we started noticing Samsonov is very athletic and covers a large part of the net. With coaching from the likes of Mitch Korn and Olie Kolzig; (who was watching from the sidelines all week),  Samsonov has the ability to take his game  much further for the future.  Keep your eyes on this one Caps fans!

Samsonov already has a great support system here in DC with all the Russian players. We’re sure they can help him learn the NHL-style of playing hockey and transition into living in the USA.  Ilya is already getting a heads up on the English language as he recently purchased an Apple TV to learn how to speak English, according to Isabelle Khurshudyan (Washington Post, 7/1/16)Washington Post

Samsonov is locked into playing for Russia until 2018, but the future sure looks bright for this young goaltender and for Caps fans…Maybe another Vezina winner in the system!?!

Caps Players Getting in Some Family Time

One of the hardest things about being a hockey player (or any professional athlete) is the time one has to spend away from family. The few weeks between the end of the season and the start of training camp we see players cram in as much time together as they can.

Our Washington Capitals are no different! Here’s a look at how some have spent time with family and friends in the past few weeks. Check out our other Caps Vaca posts for more shots they have shared.

There is nothing more adorable than the T.J. Oshie family. With little Lyla they were already beyond cute but then you add in their new baby girl Leni Rose and they are off the adorable family chart!!

Meanwhile, Marcus Johansson and Evegny Kuznetsov are completely wrapped around the fingers of their beautiful girls Mila and Ecenia.

And some of the family time has been with the four-legged ones, especially for the Winnik’s and their pooches.

Alex Ovechkin and his future bride continue to share photos of their time with friends, which included some more charity work for Ovi with Russian basketball player, Vitaliy Fridzon.

But there is nothing that compares with the joining of two families together through marriage. Congratulations again to the newly formed Orlov family!

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Orlov Married!!

We have been waiting all summer for this news. Dmitry Orlov has finally tied the knot with the beautiful Varvara Amosova! 

The couple have been together for many years and a few months ago we spotted a stunning new ring on Varvara’s hand.


Best wishes for a long life together; one blessed with beautiful children and loving family and friends.

Next up? Ovi???

Only One N. Backstrom in the NHL Now

It has always confused me a little when the Caps played the Minnesota Wild (and last year the Calgary Flames) and there media reports debating if Nick Backstrom would play. Now we here in Washington all knew our guy was playing so who was this ‘other’ Nick?

Niklas BackstromNiklas Backstrom is a talented goalie who played backup goalie for most of his NHL career with the Minnesota Wild. He played with the Flames last year; however, it was a disappointing year for everyone.

It seems in June he announced that he was going home to play for the HIFK in Helsikinki, Finland. He got his start there and the 38-year-old has chosen to end his career there as well.

So no more confusing with our center Nicklas Backstrom.

We wish Niklas Backstrom all the best in he plays for the home crowd next year.

A Letter to LA Kings Fans about Michael Latta..

Dear Los Angeles,

You may not be aware of this but your team just acquired a true gem in Michael Latta. Latts, as we here in DC call him, is one of the hardest working players around and won’t ever stop fighting (literally and figuratively) for the team. Latta was a fan favorite here and we want to clue you in on some things you need to be aware of before day one of training camp in El Segundo…

1. Latts is the nicest guy you’ll ever meet and he is always willing to stop for a photo with fans. He is also very humble when it comes to meeting fans and talking about his game.

2. He’ll stick up for his teammates… (Click the link)

3. He makes a great friend..

4: He makes really excellent funny faces

5. He loves his family.

 

7. He has a really cool dog named Waltertumblr_nv1bzjlQR41qm6joao1_1280

6. For some reason he REALLY likes ketchup…latts ketchup

As sad as we are to see Michael go, we really do wish him ALL the best with the Kings and hope he will be given the chance to be the incredible player we know him to be.

All this being said, please please PLEASE take good care of our boy. Ask him to take photos, tell him how amazing he is, and know that there are so many fans in DC counting on you to make him feel at home.

We love you Michael LAtta and hope you go on to do GREAT things that we know you are capable of.

Love, FiCP

Photos by Brittney Marcum (BamitsBrittney93 on IG)

Caps at the Beach

While Caps Development Camp was on last week, many of the players were off enjoying the beach, be it at a lake or on the ocean. Here are some pictures they have shared so far this summer:

The Winnik’s could be found relaxing in the beauty of Lake Tahoe after spending several weeks traveling across the US for baseball and hockey. The Carlson’s spent some time with baby Lucca. Even Ovechkin and Nastya strolled the beach.

Nate Schmidt was busy winning bag toss/cornrow games while Philipp Grubauer was off taking pictures of bodies of water!

There is no denying though that Mr. & Mrs. Galiev had the best and most romantic beach time on their resort vaca.

So how is your summer going? Have you made it to the beach yet?

Next up: players enjoying some family time.

Thank you Chimmer!

Whatever you called Jason Chimera: Ice Cheetah, Chim Dawg, Chimmer or Jason, he will be greatly missed by Caps fans everywhere.

A player like Chimera wasn’t going to sit idle for long as a free agent.  So now we get to play against him when those boys from Brooklyn visit Verizon Center this season for our first home game.

Its a part of hockey no one likes, even the players stress out over it. But business will always come first to hockey; before friendships, locker room leadership, community ties and family.

I just want to say thank you Jason Chimera for your role on the Washington Capitals hockey team. I spend every game waiting anxiously for your warm-up routine of running your teammates into the boards for fun. Some nights it was a gently tap, a handshake or a puck tossed at them. But nine times out of 10, it was a great big ol’ hit against the boards, to where everyone around watching warm ups would laugh and take video or pictures of the team bonding going on before a game.

Your interviews are always entertaining; from you and Joel Ward imitating Mike Vogel and John Walton, throwing your socks or tape on a player being interviewed,or  being kissed by Kuzy on the head and saying it’s usually on the lips. Your yelling from across the room randomly during other players interviews. And your wonderful sense of humor.

During exit interviews at the end of the past season, Chimera broke down and cried at the fact he may be facing an uncertainty of coming back to DC to play after free agency. Well that uncertainty  came true today. I believe Chimmer will do well for the Islanders; it’s a new beginning for the Chim Dawg.

I’m so impressed with Chimera’s speed on the ice, his gritty style of play, standing up for his teammates and his milestone season of scoring 20 goals.  There’s a lot of fight left in this Chim Dawg!

We love you Chimmer and we thank you for giving us Caps fans your best each and every time you played.. We will miss your personality here in DC,  and we wish you the best of luck in New York…just not too much luck when you play the Caps…

I know we are all looking forward to Chimmer’s highlight video the first time he visits Verizon Center next season. I’m sure it will include a a grey Mike Vogel wig, socks being thrown, and a big kiss from Kuzy.. .On the head… Not the lips . And then we will see him do what he loves the most: play to win.

Thank you Jason Chimera!  You will be greatly missed by your fans in DC.   We will always root for you no matter where you go.. We love you Ice Cheetah!

 

Dev Camp 2016: Day Four in Pictures

This morning started much like every other morning… until we remembered that camp was still going on! So off we went.

Skaters arrivwatermarked photo 3 (2016-07-01-1107)ed on the ice around 10 and were split on to two separate rinks again; D-men on one side and forwards on the other.

All three goalies began with the forwards on the Arlington rink but Williams went to join the defensemen about halfway through.

DSC_0077During all of this, the Caps announced they had signed D-man Connor Hobbs to a three year entry-level contract. Welcome Connor!! (We are big fans of Hobbs here at FiCP)

Around 10:45 the two sides split in two and switched rinks so that both sides were working with all positions. Around 11:00 all members reconvened on the Caps ice for a group practice.

FULL SQUAD SCRIMMAGE IS 10:00 AM ON SATURDAY