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!

NHL Season Hits Pause Over COVID-19 Concerns

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.

Ovi holds at 48 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.

What to Expect at Capitals-Hurricanes Home Opener.

Saturday October 5, hockey officially returns to Washington DC when the Capitals take on the Carolina Hurricanes. The home opener is the third game of the new season for the Caps. If it is anything like the preseason games against the Canes, it is guaranteed to be exciting and dare we say a little physical? Continue reading “What to Expect at Capitals-Hurricanes Home Opener.”

Caps acquire Radko Gudas from Philly

This morning, the Washington Capitals have announced that they have done a one-for-one defenseman swap with the Philadelphia Flyers; Radko Gudas in exchange for Matt Niskanen, Philadelphia will retain 30% of Gudas’ remaining salary.

We here at FiCP are sad to hear this news about Niskanen leaving the organization, but understand the business move by Brian MacLellan. This is most certainly a move to clear up salary cap space to re-sign certain players or shop the free agent market. Trading Niskanen has opened up $3,405,000 in cap space for the Caps to work with, making it possible to re-sign guys like Nicklas Backstrom and/or Braden Holtby.

Gudas plays a physical game from the blue line and has been a beating pulse on Philadelphia’s penalty kill for years. Him being a right-handed defenseman certainly puts him on the 3rd pair with either Christian Djoos or Jonas Siegenthaler.

A plus side in this trade is that Gudas only has one more year on his contract until he’s a UFA compared to Niskanen, who has two more years. Gudas’ contract will expire around the time Backstrom and Holtby’s contracts expire, so there’s that. Who knows, GMBM could flip real quick and dish out Gudas to a struggling defensive team for forward depth or picks. Until then, welcome to the Caps Radko!

A June Caps Fans will Never Forget

Remember back in May 2018 when the Capitals surpassed previous expectations and entered the final round of the NHL Playoffs? Remember when Caps fans went crazy as their team returned from Las Vegas tied in the series 1-1 to play their first home ice game on June 2nd? Continue reading “A June Caps Fans will Never Forget”

Capitals Player Season Recap: Braden Holtby

Braden Holtby has been a rock for the Washington Capitals in net throughout the years he’s played for them. He won the Vezina Trophy in 2016 and helped bring home the Stanley Cup to Washington D.C. last year. With contract extension talks looming social media, some questions arise whether the Caps should retain his services or move on to one of the young guns down in Hershey.

One of Holtby’s most memorable NHL moments was hands down “The Save” during the 2018 Stanley Cup Finals when he robbed Vegas Golden Knights’ forward Alex Tuch with the stick on an open net chance. He has flashed greatness for many years for the Caps, but he has also let in some softies. In perspective, what goalie hasn’t let in goals that should’ve been saved? Some fans believe he has let in too many and is not worth the pay he’s expected to ask for when it comes to contractual talk.

Hershey Bears’ net-minding duo, Vitek Vanacek and Sergei Samsonov, have been brought into the discussion quite a bit on whether or not they should be given a look next season. With the three-year extension given to Pheonix Copley, I doubt they would be forced into an NHL role, but you never know.

Holtby this season posted 32-19-5 (W-L-OTL) record this regular season with a .911 save percentage. Not too bad and enough for the Caps to win the Metro division. We can all make our own opinion and judgement on the Canadian goaltender, but at the end of the day, it’s all a scheme in General Manager Brian MacLellan‘s eyes. We’ll just have to wait and see if he believes in Holtby enough to bring him back, or decide to let him go.

Capitals Excerpts from 31 Thoughts

Each week during the regular season and about once per round during the playoffs, Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman writes his popular 31 Thoughts column.  In the current column, two of the thoughts (numbers 20 and 21) were about the Capitals. Continue reading “Capitals Excerpts from 31 Thoughts”

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”

Capitals Head Home for a Game Seven

We’ll keep this short: The Capitals went to Raleigh hoping to finish the series and advance to round two. That did not happen as the Hurricanes outplayed them at home again securing a 5-2 win over the Caps. Braden Holtby did what he could but without the help of his teammates he was left stranded to defend the title. Continue reading “Capitals Head Home for a Game Seven”

Caps Get Blown Out in Raleigh 5-0, What Now?

Monday’s game was hot garbage, plain and simple. The Caps were dominated in every aspect of the game and Carolina fed off of a capacity crowd that has waited 10 years for the Hurricanes to be back in the playoffs. So the question the Caps have to answer is: what now? Continue reading “Caps Get Blown Out in Raleigh 5-0, What Now?”