Three D’s of John Carlson

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John Carlson: defenseman, dad, and devoted husband. The NHL includes him in their ranking of the Best 20 Defense Players Today. He has long been a favorite of FiCP – we even have his number on our license plate and for one of us he was the first jersey we ever bought.

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Carly had his own experience with injury this past season. He was on his way to claiming the Iron Man title for the team when he was injured in December and missed 12 games. He then missed another 13 games following corrective surgery. He returned with a BANG in March, scoring the overtime game winning goal against the New Jersey Devils. It was obvious when he came back the first time that he wasn’t quite himself.  Carlson is a huge part of the Caps power play and plays a critical role in creating scoring chances. Post-season the Caps acknowledged that John had broken his ankle and had undergone surgery.

Despite missing games in the regular season;  he leads the D-men in points, goals, and assists. Washington Post reporter Isabelle Khurshudyan wrote that Carly spent his down time with Coach Todd Reirden watching video and  taking notes for the team to help keep his head in the game and his connectivity to the team while out of the locker room.

John Carlson-often called “the most under-rated” defensemen in the NHL; until the playoffs. He averaged 15 minutes of ice time and racked up five goals. He remained a key component to the Caps power play—scoring four of his playoff goals on the PP. Carly blocks an average of two shots a game and 6’3”, 210 pounds, he is a brick wall that his opponents don’t want to run into.

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You can’t talk about John without also talking about his charming wife, Gina. This past year we had the privilege of getting to know her a bit and her passion for St. Jude Children’s Hospital. Over the past season she has held auctions via her Instagram page for a variety of causes she supports. If you would like to donate to help the kids at St.Judes Click Here. and follow her on Instagram to see how you can support all her charitable activities.  And lets not forget their sweet boy, Lucca, and her blog Lucca’s Blessing, about life as a young mother. Unfortunately, the blog is now private.

So there you have it. John Carlson is one of the linchpins to the Caps potential to winning the ever elusive Stanley Cup.

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2016: A Season of Injuries for Beagle

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Even though Jay Beagle missed games this season due to a hand injury sustained in a game against the Buffalo Sabres on December 30th, he played 57 games scoring 8 goals and 9 assists.  Those statistics don’t do justice for the role Jay Beagle plays on this team.

When training camp started last September, Jay Beagle had a newly signed three-year contract with the Caps and seemed ready to have one of his best seasons with the team. Continue reading “2016: A Season of Injuries for Beagle”

Andre Burakovsky: The Third Sweet Swede

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Andre Burakovsky had what many consider a break-out year in the 2015-16 season. It wasn’t clear at the beginning exactly where he would fit in the lineup but Coach Trotz made it clear that he believed in the Caps youngest player and his ability to fit in where ever needed. He played 79 games and ended the season with 38 points (17 goals and 21 assists).

Andre had a bit of a scoring streak starting in late January 2016, recording a goal or more a night for five consecutive games. In 10 games, he notched a point for all but one of those games. Most often he was assisted by Evgeny Kuznetsov. He closed out the season in the ninth spot for overall points- not too shabby for his second year in the NHL.

Personally, we think Burkie’s success began when we first captured this little image of Andre and Tom Wilson on January 17th. It quickly became a ‘thing’ as they posed for us  at home games and fans began to take notice. We think it may have evolved into a pre-game superstition for Burakovsky as he patiently  waited for Tom to skate over for some  hand-holding  because this is when the streak started.

And who could forget the hilarity of a certain broadcasters pronunciation of his last name? It led to lots of friendly tweets for Bear-akovsky fans.

As the youngest player on the team, Burky became one of the favorite players for our lady friends! We saw signs proposing to him. We saw signs asking for pucks. We saw people waiting in the rain outside of Kettler to get his autograph. And always we saw how gracious and friendly his is. He never hesitated to stop for a fan. Even as other players were dodging fans during the playoffs, Andre was out there smiling and posing–even if it meant some ‘interesting’ poses!

We wish Andre the best in the coming season. He has an opportunity to grow more and increase his scoring ability. He is spending the summer in Sweden with friends and family, but also conditioning for the coming year. Another year older – another year wiser!!

“B” is for Backstrom (2016 in photos)

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Nicklas Backstrom had a rough start to the 2015-16 season and a few health issues throughout the year. Following the end of the 2014/15 season, Nicky had arthroscopic surgery on  his hip, according to the Washington Capitals. Although the Caps predicted that he would be back at the start of the season, he did not play until 17 October 2015. Backstrom suffered an “upper-body” injury December 31st. Then in April he was again sidelined him for an “upper-body” injury for three games. There was some fear that he might miss the playoffs; however, he rallied enough to come back scoring 11 points before the Caps Cup run would end.

Nicky made it to the All Star Game for the first time. He, Kuzy, and Hotby looked like they had a blast. According to the Washington Post, Coach Barry Trotz lobbied for his invite.

The 28-year old Swede lives in Arlington with his girlfriend Liza and their beautiful daughter Haley. He signed a 10-year contract of which he has four years left. We can expect to continue to see more great stuff from Backy – the humble star center of the Caps. That said, there is some concern with the number of injuries he endured last season. He has been conditioning all summer with his trainer in Sweden.

He is dedicated to winning the Stanley Cup for Washington. As CSN reported following the Caps loss to Pittsburgh, he had this to say about Caps Fans and winning: “I love them,” Backstrom said. “I love Washington fans. They’re absolutely the best fans in the world. Even if we disappoint them, hopefully they have faith in us. I know we’re gonna do it. We’re gonna do it one day. I promise them.”

We know that Backstrom will give it his all in the 2016/17 season. His dedication and work ethic are one of the things his teammates admire and respect about him. As the center for Ovi and Oshie, he is a powerful asset to team. The quiet Swede will also participate in the World Cup of Hockey in September/October 2016.

The future looks good for next year, if he can put these injuries behind him!

 

Karl Alzner: The Iron Man in Pictures

For a sixth season, Karl Alzner played every game – even in the final game of the playoffs when he played through an injury. In January 2016 he earned the “Iron Man” title when he passed former Captial’s player Bobby Carpenter’s 1986 record of consecutive games played. The Iron Man title is given to a player with incredible resilience and consecutive games played. Doug Jarvis holds the NHL title with 964 games. With  458 consecutive games, he has a ways to go before taking the NHL lead.  Continue reading “Karl Alzner: The Iron Man in Pictures”

Give blood … Play hockey!

imageI used to see that saying all the time: give blood play hockey! And I would think, I’m too scared to give blood where they put a needle in your arm for what seems a long period of time!

I decided to finally volunteer to give blood last summer after my dad passed away. The Caps were sponsoring one of the blood drives at Kettler Caps Iceplex.  I scheduled an early morning spot so I wouldn’t stress over giving blood all day.

I had some incentive to go.

1.  When you give blood you receive a bobblehead and a Caps t-shirt..

2. I got to go to the same ice rink the Caps practice. Since I live in Annapolis, MD I don’t get to Kettler quite as much as I would like. And even though it was July and Caps practice was a month plus away;  I knew it would be good to go there to feel near my Dad, and

3.  It’s always good to volunteer and give to others!

I checked in at my time slot and was called back to the testing area to see if my blood pressure and iron levels were healthy enough to give. I met so many nice people throughout the testing process, which took only 20 minutes.

I was still in shock over my dad passing away and told my testing nurse about him. She was so kind and let me cry to her as I talked about my dad.  She shared my story with the nurse drawing my blood.  My story even made it to the blood donor coordinator. They all came over to me and let me share my memories with them.  I told them I was so nervous, but I knew my dad was with me as my strength to be there!

In a matter of 15 minutes, I was done. I hardly felt a thing. All I felt was a sting in my arm where the needle went in to start drawing the blood.  As I was giving blood, my view was the ice rink with Caps logos everywhere and Saturday morning ice skaters learning how to skate. It was such a nice backdrop to focus on while being so afraid.

After giving blood, I rested for 15 minutes to make sure I wasn’t lightheaded. Then I was able to have some water, juice, and snacks while I filled out a questionnaire about my experience.  I sat at a table above the ice rink  where the Caps practice most days. With banners in the background of Yvon Labre, Rod Langway, Mike Gartner & Dale Hunter;  I knew my dad was with me. Those were the same players my dad taught me about and we both rooted for. What an experience to have. Truly special!

Now I go every time the Caps have a blood drive. This Saturday’s blood drive will be just as special . I hope too that if you may have been fearful of needles and giving blood  that maybe I helped change your mind .

When you come down to it, you are helping save a life!

We would love to hear about your experiences and see pictures with your Dmitry Orlov bobblehead!  Tag us in them and we will add them to our story on Sunday!

 

 

 

Own a Piece of NHL & Caps History

Local auctioneer Huggins and Scott have announced the auction of: “Alexander Ovechkin October 5, 2005 First NHL Contest Game-Used Capitals Jersey with NHL LOA.”


Bidding starts at $5,000 and we expect to see the price shoot up just like an Ovi puck–faster than one can comprehend!! 

Bidding ends at midnight 11 August. Click here if to cast your bid: Huggins and Scott

Lead photo by russkiyhockey.com