Captain, Meet Captain….

Saturday afternoon the Washington Capitals Captain Alex Ovechkin arrived via SUVs to walk the red carpet into Capital One Arena. The crowd roared with delight when his name was announced….and then it the crowd let out a collective “awwwww’ as Ovi stepped out with the cutest Labrador in his arms!

The Caps announced that they partnered with a New York-based firm “America’s VetDogs” to host “Captain, a 10-week-old male yellow Labrador. He will undergo basic training and socialization with the Capitals staff, players and public for the next 14-16 months. Captain wi be around “the front office, at community events, practices and select home games to assist in raising Captain to be a confident and calm future service dog. “

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He was getting the full Caps family treatment around Capital One Saturday and we can wait to see more of him.

Follow Captain on Twitter and Instagram @CapsPup to stay up to date on his training and local appearances.

All I Want for Christmas is…

Well Everyone, it’s official. I can now buy my Nate Schmidt Golden Knights jersey. Yes, you read that correctly. Nate is going to be in Vegas for a very long time, as the team signed him to a six-year contract extension totally 35.7 Million. Obviously we are SUPER excited for Nate here at FiCP and can’t wait to spend many more holidays in Vegas to watch him play.

Nate is available to play following his 20 game suspension November 18th when the Knights take on the Oilers, and you better believe we’ll be watching…

Ps- Santa I wear a size L in jersey…. 😉

Capitals Training Camp Competition Continues on Sunday

The Capitals held training camp on Sunday morning after a day off and following the loss of their fourth preseason game on Friday. Todd Reirden spoke after camp and repeatedly said he is happy with the performance of veteran players.  He said we can expect to see more of them begin to play in the next few preseason games.  Continue reading “Capitals Training Camp Competition Continues on Sunday”

An Upgraded MedStar Capitals Iceplex – Welcomes Players and Fans

As we first reported in August 2018, the former Kettler Capitals Iceplex was undergoing a transformation into the new MedStar Captials Iceplex (MCI) . Mounmental Sports entered a new agreement with MedStar which included new naming rights for the ice rink that sits on top of Ballston Quarter mall.

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Because we are always at the rink – we were able to watch part of the transformation. Our home-away-from home is all pretty again!

One of the most notable changes to the ice rink is the switch from red to blue in honor of MedStar’s color scheme. We began to see the change last week as the Capitals logo was peeled from the wall behind the bleachers in the Caps rink. Then came the patching and painting and a huge new logo. It is flashy and just what a Stanley Cup Championship team deserves!

No matter where you look, the MedStar stamp is everywhere – from doors to posters.

All the signs have now been changed to a blue background with the signature logo applied – even the daily schedule for the ice rinks includes the logo.

You will also be seeing a new backdrop for the media sessions:

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Be sure to give Medstar Iceplex a follow to find out about upcoming open skates and other activities.

Mci

The Trickle Begins

The season may not be underway just yet- but the boys are sure ready to get going and a few of our faves have even begun skating at MedStar Iceplex already! And we were more than ready to see them again!

Guys like Backstrom, Copley, Carlson, Gersich, and Eller are just a few that have returned to DC post-cup celly!

Even Nemo got in on the action today- suiting up for mini scrimmages and even taking sprints at the end of the skate with the guys- this is how you build a team friends!

BE SURE TO FOLLOW US FOR MORE EXCLUSIVE PRE-CAMP PHOTOS

Wayne Gretzky: Was he Really THAT good?

Brittney Marcum and Michael Marzzacco

We know the title to this article might throw you off a bit but let’s look at the numbers and let them speak for themselves.

First up is the number of trophies won during his playing career: four Stanley Cups, five Lady Byng Memorial Trophies (sportsmanship), nine Hart Trophies (MVP), five Leter B. Pearson trophies (most outstanding player in regular season, voted by members of the NHLPA) , 10 Art Ross Trophies (leader in points), and two Conn Smythe Trophies (playoff MVP). Doing the math, that’s a total of 36 trophies!

The stats truly tell the story as well. In his impressive NHL career, Gretzky scored 894 goals and 1,963 assists for 2,857 points. His best scoring season came in 1981-82 with the Edmonton Oilers when he was 21-years old. Gretzky scored 92 goals and registered 120 helpers for 212 points. In 1985-86, Gretzky led the league with 163 assists. Numbers like that in the NHL today are unheard of!

Gretzky led the league in goals in five of six years, including four straight seasons. He was an assist machine, leading the league in helpers for 16 seasons and in points for 11 seasons, including eight straight.

Now let’s take a look at some video of some of Gretzky’s goals.

This video comes from a playoff game between Gretzky’s Edmonton Oilers and the Calgary Flames. After some passing of the puck around a few shots traded from both sides, Gretzky was found all alone on a breakaway. Rather than going all the way to the net to beat the goaltender, Gretzky shot the puck in a familar place that we see from Alex Ovechkin from time to time. What was even more amazing was that this goal came in overtime while the Oilers were shorthanded!

This next goal comes from when Gretzky was with the Los Angeles Kings on March 23, 1994. While the Kings were on the power play attack, Gretzky created a tic-tac-toe like goal from start to finish. This was a historic goal, the 802nd of his amazing NHL career. The tally made Gretzky’s the NHL’s scoring king as he became the all-time leading goal scorer.

If you go to the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto there’s a great display of pucks, 802 to be exact from each of those 802 goals.

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Photo credit: Henry Lee via Pinterest

To answer the question from the headline, yes he really was THAT good. They don’t call him “The Great One” for nothing. There may not be a player like Gretzky but thankfully here in Washington we’ve got someone pretty close. The one we like to call “The Great Eight”, Alex Ovechkin. Gretzky himself has been impressed by the prolific scoring that Ovechkin has provided to the Capitals. While Gretzky was coaching the Phoenix Coyotes during Ovechkin’s rookie year, Ovechkin scored this awesome goal. He got the puck, went around the defender on his back and still managed to get the puck past Coyotes goaltender Brian Boucher.

Now that Ovechkin has won a Stanley Cup and scored over 600 goals, there may be a possibilty he can catch Gretzky, or at least come close. Every goal from here on out brings him closer but it was Gretzky who laid the foundation and made the sport of hockey what it is today.

Nicklas Backstrom and Alex Ovechkin, Linked for Life

Nick Backstom is the Washington Capitals extraordinary center that is most known for his slick feeds to the Alex Ovechkin “Office.” He is the guy with the smoothest puck delivery that sets up teammates to score. This past season he notched his 200th goal, assisted by his buddy Ovechkin. In January 2017 he hit a major milestone in his career becoming the first Cap player to record 500 assists, the second fastest Swedish player to record 500 assists, as well as the third fastest NHL player with 500 assists. He is one of the most consistent players in the Capitals roster:

Nicky is the ultimate hockey professional. After winning the Cup he revealed that he played through the finals with a fractured hand. He missed four games during the playoffs but returned strong for the great finish. After returning, he managed to tally two goals and eight assists despite the hidden injury.

His fractured finger didn’t keep from holding his sons hand as he headed to the first game in Vegas.

Backstrom has played with the Capitals for 11 seasons. He was a first round number four pick for the Capitals in 2006. Alex Ovechkin announced the Caps selection and from that point on, the two became close allies in the quest for the Stanley Cup. According to ABC Sports, since the 2006 season when the pair began playing together, Backstrom has assisted Ovi on 220 of his 509 goals. Hard to imagine them ever being apart; however, for a brief period last season Barry Trotz experimented with splitting them up only to later realize his error and reunite the duo.

When it comes to the playoffs the Capitals rely on Backstrom’s consistency to create opportunities for players to score. That said, he isn’t afraid to score himself! In 116 playoff games he has recorded 67 assists and delivered 31 goals.

For now Backy is going to celebrate the Stanley Cup Championship on his own in his hometown of Gavle, Sweden on 12 August 2018. Among the stops will be to the arena named after him because of his sponsorship. He will have his girlfriend Liza Berg and their two children with him, as well as his family is Sweden. No doubt that his dad, Anders, will have a chance too to lift the big guy too!

Nicky will be 31 in November of the 2018/19 season. He has two more seasons on his $67 million ten-year contract, at which point he becomes an unrestricted free agent. The Capitals, and Backstrom, will have to decide if at 33 he should stay with the Capitals or think about other opportunities. At 33 it is doubtful the Caps would offer him a long-term contract; however, the NHL also recognizes that older players are capable of continuing a higher level of performance longer then in previous generations. This is especially true given the healthier lifestyles and diets that are designed to protect their bodies from the rigors of playing hockey.

Hershey Bears Spotlight: Aaron Ness

Aaron Ness recently signed a brand new one-year two-way contract with the Caps/Bears worth $425,000 in the AHL and $625,000 should he be brought up to the Caps.

Aaron started his hockey career playing at USHS-MN system from 2005 through 2008. He joined the US National U18 team in 2008, alongside Cam Fowler, Nick Leddy, and Ryan Bourque. Aaron was also drafted in 2008 by the New York Islanders in the second round #40.

After being drafted, Aaron Ness went on to play for the University of Minnesota for three seasons.  His teammates in his final season included the likes of Nate Schmidt and Erik Haula (both who have now signed with the new kids on the block, the Vegas Golden Knights).

Once Ness completed his seasons in the NCAA league it came time to visit the AHL; the Bridgeport Sound Tigers where he donned both the “A” and the “C” for a time. During his five seasons with the Sound Tigers his cumulative 23 goals were that of a beginning defenseman. Bears 2016 ness peters Ellis goalie

As a free agent, Ness signed with the Hershey Bears in 2015. Since joining the Bears his numbers have remained on the same level as in previous seasons. We have not seen a huge improvement in his scoring but he has been a consistent player for the Bears. We see Ness as a good backup when needed for the Caps but he lacks that extra skill that the John Carlsons of the world posses. We need to see more fiNESSe in his offensive play and the ability to put it in the back of the net.

Read our Hershey Bear reports to meet the players.

Djoos

Bourque

Barber

Johansen

Boyd

Hobbs

Vrana

Copley

O’Brien

Madison Bowey’s New Capitals Contract

Defenseman Madison Bowey signed a new contract with the Washington Capitals Thursday for an average $1 million for two-years, according to the Capitals. The 23-year old Bowey was provided with a qualifying offer June 25. He became a restricted free agent with the expiration of his previous three-year entry level contract signed in April 2014.

Madison was back and forth this past season, playing for the Capitals and the Hershey Bears. He moved so much it was hard to keep track of which team he was playing with in the franchise. He played his first NHL game on October 14 to fill in for an injured Matt Niskanen. The management took a liking to Bowey during training camp; however, the blue line was pretty full and the Caps did not have a spot for him.

The Capitals played Madison in 51 games during the 2017/18 season, playing his first game October 14, 2017.  He recorded 12 points – all assists. Madison only played nine games for the Hershey Bears this past season because of his time in Washington. When home in Hershey he logged two goals and six assists. In the previous season (2016/17) he played 34 games with three goals and 11 assists. He had a very successful season in 2015/16 playing 70 games with four goals and 25 assists. He is the kind of offensive defenseman that the Capitals like and if he has an opportunity to develop consistency in his game, he could become the next John Carlson.

There is little doubt that Madison Bowey will be looking to secure one of the blue line spots this summer during training camp. He will have team mate Christian Djoos as close competition.

Read our Hershey Bear reports to meet other players.

Djoos

Bourque

Barber

Johansen

Boyd

Hobbs

Vrana

Copley

O’Brien