NHL Pause: Can it please be over?

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!

Game Seven Too Much for the Caps

What a night in Washington DC. It was a long fight to see who would advance to round two of the playoffs. The Carolina Hurricanes led by former Caps and LA Kings Justin Williams or the Washington Capitals led by defending champ Alex Ovechkin. After 60 minutes of regular play, a tied game pushed the teams into not one, but two overtime periods. The dream for the Capitals to repeat their success ended in a seventh game 4-3 loss. Continue reading “Game Seven Too Much for the Caps”

2019 NOVA Game Worn Jersey Expo Wrap up

Credit for photo above to Francis Rady

Have you ever wondered what happens to the jerseys that your favorite players wear?  Especially those worn during iconic moments in your team’s history or games that you have attended at home or on the road. There’s a good chance that it is owned by and on display in a fellow hockey fan’s home somewhere around the world. Continue reading “2019 NOVA Game Worn Jersey Expo Wrap up”

Capitals Start Final Push for Playoffs

With ten games left in the regular season it’s time to get really excited or really nervous about the Capitals remaining games. As this goes to press, the Capitals are on top of the Eastern Conference and the Metropolitan Division. The challenge for them to hold that position is the New York Islanders, led by their former coach Barry Trotz. Their playoff rivals, the Pittsburgh Penguins, are nipping at their blades in the hope of upsetting the balance.

The schedule for the run up to the Playoffs is maybe one of the toughest the Caps have had in a long time. The Tampa Bay Lightning come to Capital One Arena on 20 March and after their match-up in Florida, it is clear the Bolts will be a challenge, now and in the playoffs. The Carolina Hurricanes want to jump above the wild card line and have to get through the Capitals to do that. That could mean two more tough games for the men in red. Although the Caps beat the Philadelphia Flyers the last two times they met, one should never underestimate the tenacity of them. Additionally the Devils, Panthers, and Canadiens always seem to have a surprise up their sleeve and can’t be discounted when it comes to playing the Capitals. Finally, the last regular season game is against the Caps newest rival- the Islanders. It’s almost like playing themselves because of the Trotz Touch.

Nervous is what we do in the DMV. That said, we have no doubt that the Capitals will clinch a playoff spot. Although the schedule ahead is a tight one, the players are really stepping it up. Alexander Ovechkin is on the brink of his eighth season of 50 goals or more. Nicklas Backstrom is on tap for his fourth season in a row of 20 plus goals and sixth season in a row of 50 assists or more. Tom Wilson is having his best season in six years of NHL play. Sprinkle in Evgeny Kuznetsov, TJ Oshie, Jakub Vrana and some great defensive play starting with goaltender Braden Holtby, and we still have faith that the Capitals will be making it to the final round.

The fun is now. The push is now. Let the excitement build and let’s go ALL CAPS as they finish up the regular season!!

Capitals, Canada, and Black Hockey History Museum

Fan FiCP writer Velvet Jackson shares with us about her visit to the Canadian Embassy for the National Hockey League’s Black Hockey History Mobile Museum. We are blessed in DC to have the opportunity to learn more and to celebrate the accomplishments of black hockey players.

Continue reading “Capitals, Canada, and Black Hockey History Museum”

Capitals: Helping Make New Friends

FiCP was thrilled to play a part in bringing some Caps fans together. We love helping hockey fans meet and to see how the community builds friendships that last a lifetime. Our story starts in Texas and skates forward to the Capital One Arena!

Back in January 2019, Caps Fan Rob Dombrowski brought his wife and their seven-year old son and ten-year old daughter to their first hockey game at the Dallas Stars home game. Rob had it all planned out, where to park, what time the gates open, which section to run down to and it all worked to perfection.

Here is how Rob described the fun-filled night:

We were able to get right up against the glass, my kids proudly holding their signs they made “Drove 4 Hours to see The Champs” and “Our FIRST Game, #ALL CAPS” complete with players numbers and Ovechkin spelled out in Russian.  They knew that sometimes the players flipped warm up pucks over the glass, but all in all they were just so excited to be that close to the players that until that day they only had seen on TV watching Daddy’s childhood team, the Caps.
Growing up in Virginia I had been to plenty of games at the old Caps Centre, and was excited to have a chance to drive from Houston to Dallas over the holiday break to see our Caps.  Long story short, the really nice guy I was talking to turns out to be Gene Wu (@TheWuWu), who at the time was just another great Caps fan from the DC area there with his wife and son. 
About five minutes into warm ups, Alex Ovechkin came sprinting over towards us, jumped up into the glass, gathered a puck, looked over his shoulder at my kids and flipped the puck up and over the glass.  I just so happened to be filming with my phone in my left hand, and reached up with my right and snatched that ice cold puck out of the air and promptly handed it to my wide-eyed son who was just in shock!  We screamed “Thank you Ovi!” and he tapped the glass two times with his stick in a manner I can only guess was to say “you’re welcome.” 
I turned to my wife and said, “we can honestly just go back to the hotel right now, I don’t know how this night can get any better, even with a win!?”  It truly was an amazing moment we’ll never forget.
We talked to Gene for a few more minutes, and eventually had to go to our seats as the game was about to start.  Later that night, scrolling through Twitter, I saw a photo of Gene and Marcus at the game, and soon realized that I didn’t just meet a really nice guy, I met a really huge Caps fan with quite the following to boot”  

Fast forward to January 22, 2019, as I’m watching Ovi score his 3rd goal of the night, the camera pans the audience and who do we see?  Gene Wu and Marcus with his trademark Slapshot Mascot hat…my kids had their jaws on the floor and could not believe it was “our friends” from the game.  
Rob had tried to reach out to Gene on Facebook but had not been successful. And then he read our story: “Meet FiCP Capitals Fan of the Month: Gene Wu, aka Marcus’ Daddy, and he reached out to us for help meeting Gene. Rob was planning a February 2nd trip to the DC area to attend a funeral service for his mom’s best friend and brother’s Godmother, who battled cancer for years. Rob told us that “although this past year was rough, we all knew it was a matter of time and feel blessed that she is no longer suffering.” To his surprise, his mom suggested that they try and spend one day celebrating life and spend some family time together after the service and celebration of life has concluded.  His father passed in 2016, and his mother has had her own battles with cancer, even losing a kidney because of it.  Her suggestion ? For the family to go to a Caps game, so on Sunday February 3rd! It seemed like the perfect time to reunite with his new friend, Gene Wu.
We got in touch with Gene, who actually had not planned to attend the game, and yet he was excited to meet up with Rob and his family. Because that’s what Caps family does!

Funny thing- it really is a small world as Rob came to discover that Gene’s wife Vicki Wu used to teach at Park View High School, which is where Rob graduated from in 1993! Rob said:  “My brother, mom and me were just all in shock thinking what are the chances that at a random Caps game on the road in Dallas, I would end up meeting another Caps fan who turns out to be a Super Caps Fan who just happens to be married to someone that taught at my alma mater back in Sterling.”

We chatted for a while about some of the legendary teachers that my brother and I had who also were there when Vicki was there.  It was just a really cool moment.  My dad taught in Fairfax for over 30 years, I taught for 16 years before switching careers, and I can imagine my dad was looking down smiling at the whole situation and thrilled that his boys took their mother to a hockey game. Teachers seem to always have a way of finding each other in a crowd…”

A friend of Rob, who has seats behind the penalty box took a cue from himAnd his daughter Lauren wrote “I love Jakub Vrana” in Czech on a sign she made.  (Similar to the one with writing Ovechkin in Russian on their sign).  Guess who got a puck from Vrana that night during pre-game? If you guessed Lauren, you win.  Just goes to show what a classy organization with classy fan friendly players we have in Washington.

Gene also met up with FiCP write Bryce Jurkovac in Dallas. The Caps family is everywhere!!!

Caps Hang On to Defeat Kings 3-2

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After a complete dud Sunday night in Anaheim, the Washington Capitals bounced back in Los Angeles Monday night at Staples Center with a 3-2 win over the Kings. Thanks in part to two Alex Ovechkin office goals as well as a deflection from Brett Connolly, the Caps defended and held off a late rally from the home team.  Continue reading “Caps Hang On to Defeat Kings 3-2”

The Pregame: A Rematch in Hollywood

michael banner 2The Washington Capitals continue their season-long six-game road trip with the second half of the stretch Monday night at Staples Center where they’ll take on the Los Angles Kings. These teams actually met one week ago at Capital One Arena with the Caps coming on top 6-4. Since the win, which ironically capped off a season long homestand of six games, the Caps have gone 1-2-0 thus far on the trip.  Continue reading “The Pregame: A Rematch in Hollywood”

Alex Ovechkin Scores 40th Goal but Caps Fall to Ducks in Anaheim

The Washington Capitals were looking to build off a big win Thursday night in San Jose but they fell to the Anaheim Ducks 5-2 at the Honda Center in Anaheim on Sunday night. Alex Ovechkin achieved another milestone, John Carlson added a goal too but in the end, the Caps couldn’t stay out of the box and the Ducks made them pay with three unanswered goals. The Ducks have swept the Capitals this season after they stunned them in December at Capital One Arena, overcoming a four-goal deficitContinue reading “Alex Ovechkin Scores 40th Goal but Caps Fall to Ducks in Anaheim”

T.J. Oshie Records 500th Career Point, Caps Tame Sharks 5-1

T.J. Oshie scored twice, earning a milestone 500th career point, to lead the Washington Capitals to a 5-1 win over the San Jose Sharks on Thursday night in the second game of their season-long six-game road trip. The Caps allowed a goal to begin the game but ripped off five unanswered to exact revenge on a Sharks team that stunned the Capitals’ in D.C. on January 22nd with a goal in the last second to tie it and then go on to win in overtime.  Continue reading “T.J. Oshie Records 500th Career Point, Caps Tame Sharks 5-1”