The Coronavirus is keeping everyone home, including our favorite Washington Capitals player, Alex Ovechkin and his family. They may have a bigger house than most of us; however, they still have to stock up on groceries, deal with empty shelves, and find a way to exercise and keep healthy. Nastya Ovechkina, who is pregnant with their second child, does a great job of posting about Ovi and infant Sergei on Instagram so we don’t miss a thing!Continue reading “At Home with the Ovechkins: Isolating Just Like Us”
By Mel Abernethy
Our photographer Mel did what she always does and donated blood through the Caps blood drive. We were moved to tears and gratitude by her selfless action today.
I have done the Capitals blood drives since July 2015, that’s when my Dad passed away. Two days after he had passed, I did my first blood drive. I was so afraid of what came with donating blood: needles. But I got through it no problem and since then have gone to every blood drive the Caps and Inova sponsor.
Fast forward to today, March 28th, 2020 and we are smack dab in the middle of the COVID-19 crisis, which asks us as responsible people to stay home. I had made this appointment back in February at the last blood drive so when notifications started coming in that Medstar Capitals IcePlex was closed, and would be closed through the donation date I started to worry. That’s where all the blood drives have been and it helps me to go there because I know it so well and there are reminders of Caps hockey everywhere which reminds me of my Dad too! Will I be able to donate?! And will they let us donate with COVID-19 health measures asking all to stay home???
Sure enough Inova moved the donation centers to three places, one being Annandale VA. I was even more excited to go. Why? I used to live in Annandale when I was in 4th-6th grades. The Woodburn donation center was less than a mile from my elementary school and less than six miles from the old house I used to live in!!
Inova Blood Donor Services assured all donators that extra health measures would be in place when you come to donate. Well, that’s all it took to convince me I needed to keep my appointment and go donate!!
I arrived right at 8am to the Woodburn donation center. The Inova staff was much smaller than the usual Medstar Capitals IcePlex staff and they were only seeing 10 people at a time. It was awesome to see the care Inova put into this to accommodate all us Caps fans who usually fill Medstar all day to donate! Inova has also offered more donation days ahead to help!
Inova donation T-shirt and John Carlson bobble head in hand, I headed out to visit my old elementary school and house, from afar of course! I’ve always gone to donate blood to connect with my Dad, give back and hang out at Medstar while leaving some positive vibes for the Caps. Today was a little different but at the same time equally therapeutic.
I was able to give back in an uncertain time that when some people may feel donating blood could compromise their health. And I got to visit a place where I knew I was safe and happy from my childhood, which helped me to grow stronger as a person. I left some positive thoughts in my old neighborhood and school to help those living there to remember to be strong and brave through these abnormal times!
Friends, be like Mel. There is great joy to be found in giving of ourselves for others. We need each other today and we wil need each other tomorrow. Be safe and keep social distancing!
We are hearing more and more stories about the way the national and local hockey communities are stepping up in this era of crisis. Players are posting encouraging messages. Team owners are paying arena personnel. Companies are shifting priorities.
What personal stories about hockey family can you share with us!!
Monumental Sports and Entertainment (owners of the Washington Capitals) has extended payment to Capital One Arena part-time workers who were scheduled to work postponed games and events through April 2020. This will include all Capitals, Wizards, and concerts set for April and they will also be paid when, and if, those events occur later in the summer. Not all teams have been as generous as Ted Leonsis and we appreciate that he is stepping up to take care of those friends we see at every game. You know the ones who stop people from walking down in the middle of a play or that remove unruly visiting fans.
Fanatics, the producers of most of the Capitals and NHL merchandise that we spend $100s to $1,000 on has shifted their MLB production line priorities. They announced this week that they will be using the polyester mesh fabric from MLB jerseys to make masks and gowns for hospitals. Fanatics owner, Michael Rubin, said: “We’re fortunate to have this giant factory in Pennsylvania that makes all these baseball jerseys, and to have the commissioner of baseball behind us, and to have the governor and attorney general saying, ‘How do we make a difference?’ Time will tell if that will include suspension of NHL merchandise too.
Bauer Hockey is also making changes to provide medical face shields to those working on the front lines fighting this virus:
Protection that allows athletes to give everything for their team is our heritage.— BAUER Hockey (@BauerHockey) March 25, 2020
Right now, we're all on the same team. We're repurposing our facilities to make face shields so that medical professionals battling COVID-19 can safely continue to help those most vulnerable. pic.twitter.com/pBiZuUWdVl
Fort DuPont Ice Arena is still helping local families. They are an organization supported by the Washington Capitals and the Caps Fan Club. They do good things and if you are looking for a place to make a donation, we would suggest you consider them:
FDIA is here to help. Please read this important message from our Executive Director, Ty Newberry. pic.twitter.com/w0bh3yaJzP— Friends of Fort Dupont Ice Arena (@FriendsofFDIA) March 23, 2020
The Capitals shared a bit of inspiration from their captain, Alex Ovechkin. Players, their wives, and kids are keeping us entertained with Instagram stories. Be sure to check them out.
Alex participated in a rather hilarious interview and in the end he said what really matters for all of us:
"The most important thing is take care of yourself, take care of your family, friends. Help each other just to be safe because right now is hard time. Try to help if somebody needs the help. Right now we are together and we have to fight through it together." – @ovi8 pic.twitter.com/U6H92k4dLR— Washington Capitals (@Capitals) March 27, 2020
Nick Backstrom shared some sweet moments at home:
Tom Wilson brought new pup Halle to his video message:
Be sure to follow Caps Pup on Twitter and Instagram. What can be better than this cute guy??
You may be familiar with Homeward Trails as sponsors of the Caps calendar each year. They are still helping pups and could use your help too:
We’re in urgent need of wire crates (used ok), dry food and martingale collars for foster dogs. Drop off donations at our adoption center in Fairfax Station, VA, make a financial contribution at: https://t.co/U5NAY0ie5m or shop our Amazon Wishlist: https://t.co/CNXfTUVXIl thanks! pic.twitter.com/zsMrpxOD0h— Homeward Trails (@HomewardTrails) March 26, 2020
We have long loved the work of Ellie’s Hats who provide a bit of joy for kids in the midst of medical treatments. Please consider helping them to help vulnerable children in our community.
Every month we donate 5 $1,000 checks to the PSV Clinic in Falls Church. This month along with the checks we would like to give the social workers gift cards. Our goal is to get $500 worth of gift cards. Use this link if you would like to donate. https://t.co/JhTr6LXgGK pic.twitter.com/0rl8a0yQdc— Ellie's Hats (@ElliesHats) March 24, 2020
Our friends at Compass Coffee have fallen on tough times during the crisis and had to let go of a number of employees. And yet they continue to help the community as part of the effort in DC to provide hand sanitizers. Visit them in Ballston while they remain open for grab and go.
The stories will keep coming. The outreach from those who can help will hopefully also continue. We would love to share your “feel good” story too. And as we said in our article yesterday- let’s pull together as the Caps and hockey community to carry each other through. We can do this!!
March 12, 2020: the day hockey came to an abrupt end with the announcement from the commissioner that he would take a pause as the United States and Canada began to see the spread of the Coronavirus. It was maybe when many of us realized that this was serious and possibly life changing. It was only two weeks ago and yet it seems like forever.
We have seen hockey go on hiatus before with the lockouts. That was about grown men who couldn’t come to agreement (where have we seen that lately). There was uncertainty then too: when would they start, how long would it take, would the game look different, and could the teams (for us the Washington Capitals) be able to quickly rebound. Those are the same questions we are asking today and we have the same, if not greater degree of uncertainty.
What we do know is that we need hockey. There is something healing about hockey and sports in general. It was there after 9/11 to help us cry with New York and give us something to look forward to. It was there in Las Vegas after an unthinkable shooting when the newly minted Vegas Knights stepped in the limelight. Their opening was unlike anything ever seen and a powerful statement about resilience and recovery. And it was there in Florida when Roberto Luango stood as part of the local community, as a parent and said what needed to be said about the tragic shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. So yes, we need hockey to help make us feel whole again.
In the meantime, we watch reruns of the Capitals winning the Stanley Cup and that incredible parade after. We cheer again as Alexander Ovechkin scores 700 and 701 points, over and over again. Now we watch simulated games with our own guys announcing the short video game. But it’s getting a little old.
Caps Stanley Cup Parade
What we are really missing is community. Work and schools and religious communities are banding people together over various video chat platforms. It makes us feel connected when we actually see faces. Can we do that in Caps country? Can we virtually connect in a way that will help us all get through? Call some friends- get online and talk Hockey and when you do—be sure to check and see how everything is going. Give them space to talk about their fears and maybe cry about kids being home and unemployment. And bring some laughs in as you talk about hat tricks and amazing saves.
Let’s do community Caps fans. We need it more than ever!
Thursday afternoon the NHL hit pause on the season. The Capitals, in line with the league, cancelled morning skate at MedStar Capitals Iceplex, a foreshadowing for what was to come. Here is what they had to say, including working on plans for season ticket holders.
Today, the National Hockey League (NHL) issued a directive that all games are suspended until further notice. Accordingly, the Washington Capitals will not be playing games until the NHL determines next steps for moving forward in regard to the coronavirus pandemic.
The Capitals will continue to closely monitor the health of players, coaches and hockey operations staff. Those who exhibit illness symptoms will be evaluated by medical personnel and tested when necessary, per CDC guidelines.In addition, the Capitals and Monumental Sports & Entertainment will continue to monitor the situation with an emphasis on the health and safety of our fans, employees and players.
The Capitals will communicate additional information to season ticket holders, partners and other affected parties within the next few days.
The NHL and Monumental Sports announced on Friday they were pulling the plug on the season over growing concerns about Coronavirus. Emotions are mixed: it’s the right call for the health of players, staff and fans while disappointing at the same time as things are left unfinished.
It’s been a great season for the Washington Capitals, except that little stretch of losses. It’s possible the season will resume at some point but the break could change the current trajectory for teams and individual players.
We may never know if they were poised for a rebound as they entered the playoffs.
We may never know if Alexander Ovechkin would hit 50 or more goals.
We may never know if the Caps would go with Braden Holtby or Ilya Samsonov in the playoffs.
We’ll miss seeing John Carlson finish a career high in goals, assists, and points. Would this be his year for the NHL to award the Norris Trophy?
Basically, we will miss hockey. We hope that all of you, and all our Capitals staff and players, remain healthy through this crisis. Hockey is resilient. We bounce back from things like lockouts and we will come back from this. In the meantime- enjoy some family time and we’ll keep watching the boys on IG for a little dose of hockey.