So many incredible moments in this whirlwind of a season, and sometimes there are no words. As the saying goes “a picture is worth a thousand words.” And well, we have plenty so without further ado we have thousands of words to share.
We had happy boys:
And of course, we have those lovely goalies:
Jersey’s off our backs (Karl sporting a particularly awesome outfit):
The boys had loads of fun in practice too:
The Caps roomies never disappoint:
The special jerseys are always a pleasure to photograph.
Mini Chimmer makes his presence known as Tom Wilson and Dad fail to protect the net after practice:
The Hershey Bears hold the record for most American Hockey League (AHL) wins of the Calder Cup (11) as well as the first and second place team to win the Cup. So what does it mean? What is the story behind the Calder Cup?
As the AHL explains it, the Calder Cup gets its name from Frank Calder, the first president of the AHL. Mr. Calder played a pivotal role in making a name for the AHL. The trophy was first awarded in 1938.
The Bears have been in the final run for the Cup more times (22) than any other team; and they have lost (11) more times than any other AHL team. Many current Capitals and notable past players have their name etched on the trophy. Some coaches including Barry Trotz (1994), Bruce Boudreau (2006) can be found on the Cup.
Among the current Caps players whose names can be found on the Cup are:
Karl Alzner (2x)
Jay Beagle (2x)
John Carlson (2x)
There have only been three times in which the NHL and AHL affiliate have won the Stanley Cup and the Calder Cup: Montreal Canadiens (1976 and 1977) and the New Jersey Devil (1995), and Pittsburg Penguins (2015). Thankfully, that won’t happen again this year!
As all eyes in Washington shift to watch the Hershey Bears, we will be taking a closer look at prospects for the third and fourth line, and maybe even a couple defensemen who the Caps management might consider bringing up for permanent spots on the 2016/17 roster. Stay tuned for a deeper dive into the top prospects for the Caps.
Happy 25th birthday to our favorite Cap! (Oh who are we kidding, he is our favorite everything.)
This one goes out to our dedicated Michael Latta Fans!
We have had the privilege of getting to know Michael a little bit this season and have had a lot of fun taking pictures of him for you.
There is serious Latts.
There is roomie Latts.
There is shooting Latts.
There is silly Latts.
And last but certainly not least, there is son Latts.All we can hope for is that we will see Michael back on the ice come October. He is a restricted free agent which means it is time to negotiate a new contract. We think Michael has what it takes as a solid fourth liner. Trotz has said he brings a spark to the game (which is why we have nicknamed him Sparky)and you see that every time he is on the ice. He even took to fighting a bit more at the end of the regular season — much to our surprise.
Latta is good on the face off. Sparky has the right juice for a fourth liner. He isn’t overly expensive at this stage of his career. We need to see more ice time for him so that he can become the solid player the Caps need in their next run for the Cup. We recommend the Caps sign him up for another two years. And yes, we would take him over Mike Richards or Stan Galiev.
Happy Birthday Michael, and we really enjoyed getting to know you this season!
Taylor Chorney has been the go-to guy for wounded defensemen all season. He played 55 games in his first season on the Capitals roster. During that time he earned the respect of his teammates and of his coach. They liked him enough to give him a two-year contact. Chorney plays hard whenever he is on the ice. He spent 21 minutes in the penalty box and started his first playoff game in the same place. We’ll see how long he is in the lineup–we kind of hope that Orpik will be back sooner than later but we’re glad the Caps have a guy like Taylor who is ready to jump in.
We have had a lot of questions lately about practice schedules and how to meet the Capitals’ players. With Spring Break starting for many of you parents we wanted to share what we have learned about getting photos and autographs–for free–of your favorite Caps player. Here’s what we have observed over the years:.
Please comment on the blog to let us know your experience. We’ve gotten some great comments and added them to this update. Personally, we think we have some of the most generous and giving guys in the league!!
Practices are held at Kettler Iceplex in Arlington, VA. The practices are open to everyone. Here’s what coming up:
Friday March 18: Game Day Morning Skate at 10:15
Saturday March 19: Practice is scheduled for 11:30 but don’t be surprised if Coach cancels practice since it is a travel day. We’ll update as soon as we know on Twitter.
Monday to Thursday: we don’t have the official schedule yet but we would guess there will be practice on at least Tuesday and Wednesday as the Caps are between road trips.
There are some challenges to getting autographs and each player is a little different. Basically, we tell our friends that the best place to stand is outside the revolving door in in front of the Caps Kettler offices. Do not try to go in the offices, even if you see a player inside. You can also stand to the right of the player benches near the media center; however, only an occasional player will stop there and the crowd is pretty dense so your chances may not be as good as if you stood outside.
If you are waiting outside, wear comfortable shoes. You could be there for an hour or more waiting. If they are eating (you will see Robbie with the food carts through the glass) they will be even longer!
We also ask friends not to chase them to their cars or to stand waiting by their cars. We have seen one-too-many close calls when fans get in the way of a player trying to rush off the roof!!
If a player parks on the seventh floor, they will exit through the door at in the far left corner as you come off the main elevators. Again, please don’t stalk their cars. Most of them will sign or politely tell you that they have to go.
If a player parks on any level lower than the seventh we take it as a sign that they would prefer not to be bothered that day. Or they just don’t want their cars dinged up! At any rate, we try to leave them alone below the seventh floor.
On game days the players may be more rushed, especially if they are late leaving Kettler because of interviews or other commitments. If they are leaving for the airport, they are unlikely to stop for very long and most frequently you will see the trainers and assistants bring up their cars for a quick getaway. Duty first and all that!!
Let’s start with the Top Six:
Alex Ovechkin: Does not stop to sign autographs, except on VERY rare occasionally. There are many reasons for this but it is NOT because he is rude or feels he is too good for his fans. Usually he is running somewhere to another commitment. He may stop occasionally for a picture, especially if there is a child involved. When he does stop it will most likely be for one or two people.
One of our followers shared this, “Ovi recently stopped and signed something for me at Kettler after practice and he had no problem personalizing the picture that I asked him to sign. We were chatting the whole time and he was laughing because he wanted to make sure he spelled the words correctly.”
Nicklas Backstrom: If he parks on the roof he will stop and sign autographs and take pictures. We have rarely seen him say no but he may not stand and talk. Other days we have seen him talk with fans for quite a few minutes.
TJ Oshie: He is more unpredictable. He frequently parks on the lower levels of the garage. If he parks on the roof he will stop for pictures and to sign things, but he usually does not stay too long.
Andre Burakovsky: We never know where he is going to park; however, if he is on the roof, he will stand there to take pictures and sign items until everyone is happy. And even then, he may just hang out for those that want to chat.
Evgeny Kuznetsov: Oh Kuzy. He loves to take pictures and sign for the fans. Unfortunately, he often is in a rush to get home to the family (or Family Feud) and won’t stay for long. He usually parks along the sidewalk and makes a sharp right coming out of the offices. You’ll just have to watch his body language to see if he would rather just get going.
Justin Williams: Ok, if you can find Stick, he will sign. He seldom parks on the roof or even the seventh floor. He will be polite and sign if you are as well. He is a heck of a nice guy just not easily accessible.
The Best of the Rest
Tom Wilson and Michael Latta are about the best when it comes to taking pictures and signing autographs. They almost always park on the roof. It usually is a mob scene when they come out so no promises on the quality of pictures you pictures—but they love quick selfies.
Karl Alzner is by far our favorite, followed by Braden Holtby. They are friendly and will joke around with people standing outside. They usually have something in their hands and may have to run to their trucks to drop off food before signing.
Marcus Johansson, Jay Beagle, Brooks Orpik, Philipp Grubauer, and Dmitry Orlov frequently park on the roof. They will stop but not stay for too long.
The Garage Parkers include Matt Niskanen, Taylor Chorney, John Carlson, Nate Schmidt, Stan Galiev, and Jason Chimera. If you can catch them on the seventh floor, they will stop. They are all very gracious. They surprise us from time to time by parking on the roof.
The Unknowns: We don’t know too much about the new guys. Daniel Winnik, Mike Richards, and Mike Weber may need some time to adjust to the fans outside. We hear that Richie may park in the garage and has been seen on the roof too. We don’t know how much access fans from other teams have so give them a few days to get used to us. We are sure they will soon understand the special rapport they players have with the team.
Hershey Bear Players: When a Bear player is called up to play in the NHL they usually stay in a hotel nearby. That may mean that they walk and don’t park on the roof or in the garage. But Hershey players are used to meeting with the fans after a game and will most likely greet you with excitement.
We hope this helps you out. We have a great time meeting the players and enjoy watching them interact with the Caps Family. And please tag us when you get that perfect picture. We want to hear and see your story!!
The New York Islanders made their first regular season trip to Verizon Center since being eliminated by the Capitals in round 1 of the playoffs last season. It was Military Night and Lance Corporal Josh Misiewicz, USMC, of the USA National sled hockey team, participated in the ceremonial puck drop. Also, the Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin returned to the lineup, as did Taylor Chorney after battling the flu.
First Period: Gritty Start
The Caps had a slower start and had trouble clearing the zone. The Islanders scored in the opening minutes of the game. The Capitals have now surrendered the first goal in the last six games, going 2-2-1 in the previous five. Nice passing from Nicklas Backstrom and T.J. Oshie blasted one past Halak. Thomas Hickey showed that the Islanders still have some ill will against Tom Wilson when he made a dirty hit on the Capital winger.
· Mikhail Grabovski scored his ninth of the season, assisted by Josh Bailey and Travis Hamonic.
· T.J. Oshie scored his 16th of the season assisted by Nicklas Backstrom.
· Thomas Hickey for elbowing Tom Wilson.
SCORE: Game tied 1-1.
Second Period: Swede Scoring Streak
The second period started with a bunch of missed and blocked shots. Halfway through the period, both teams combined for one shot on goal. Then, Michael Latta got a breakaway but Islander goaltender Jaroslav Halak denied him. Halak also denied Latta on two following quality-scoring chances. The teams exchanged hard hits and chances at both ends.
· Andre Burakovsky scored his ninth of the season, assisted by Jason Chimera and Dmitry Orlov. Burakovsky now has a four-game scoring streak.
· Ryan Strome for hooking and Alex Ovechkin for Slashing.
SCORE: Caps lead Islanders 2-1.
Third Period: Ovi Time!
The third period was more of the second. There was big hits and quality scoring chances. The Capitals also blocked 33 shots and the Islanders 15. It is known that the goaltender is the best penalty killer. This was true in the final minutes when Braden Holtby denied the Islander game-tying goal in the final minutes of regulation.
· Josh Bailey scored his eighth of the season, assisted by Marek Zidlicky and Brock Nelson
· Alex Ovechkin scored his 29th of the season, Nicklas Backstrom and T.J. Oshie.
· John Carlson for delay of game.
FINAL: Caps win 3-2.
Good hard battle for two divisional points. Maintaining the lead of the bunched up Metropolitan teams (At the time this is being written, teams 2-5 are separated by 4 points) The Capitals return to a normal-ish schedule. No more extended breaks.
Practice: 11:30am on Friday at Kettler Capitals Iceplex
Game: 1pm on Saturday at Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey. Written by: Renee Garces