At Home with the Ovechkins: Isolating Just Like Us

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!

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Some normalcy in an abnormal time: Capitals Blood Drive

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.

MedStar Capitals Iceplex donor day.

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???

Mel and her dad

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.

John Carlson Bobblehead

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!

Mel’s inspiration for giving.

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!

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!

Washington Capitals Respond to NHL Pause

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.