The 2019 Armed Forces Hockey Classic

Don’t have much going on over Memorial Weekend? Feel like watching hockey being played for a good cause for FREE?

“The Armed Forces Hockey Classic (AFHC) is a tournament where military veterans the Army, Air Force, Marines and Navy come together to compete against one another while raising money for the United Heroes League (UHL). The UHL wants to ensure that all 5 million military kids are able to develop critical life skills through sports. This intense focus on youth development and serving the families of our military service members motivates the UHL to keep programs focused. This focus has inspired 115 professional athletes and over 30 professional sports franchises to lend their name and support to the UHL.”

The Washington Capitals have supported the UHL since their start in 2009 along with many other franchises, like the Minnesota Vikings and the Los Angeles Kings. Players/coaches who have contributed to this cause have been Nicklas Backstrom, Karl Alzner, Bruce Boudreau, Taylor Chorney, Matt Hendricks, Nate Schmidt, and many others!

This event is being held just outside of Dallas, Texas in North Richland Hills. Veterans, local and country-wide, are gathering there to play the greatest sport for an excellent cause. Coordinators have stated that they have received donations and incoming participants from places like Alaska, Colorado and even the DMV! The winning team of the tournament will get to hoist the James “Maggie” Megellas Championship Trophy. Who knows, you may see someone you’ll recognize!

2010 AFHC Champions – Team Navy/Marine Corp.

The tournament will begin May 25 @ 10:00 am EDT, first puck drop @ 10:15 am. All games will be live-streamed via Facebook here. For more information on the AFHC and the UHL, click here. Have a wonderful weekend!

The LONG Wait for the Washington Capitals is OVER

We like winning!

WE LOVE THIS KIND OF WINNING!!!

cap-centre-landover WTOPMany of you have followed the Washington Capitals since they first set up home in the DMV as an expansion team in 1974 — way out in Landover, Maryland.

THIS IS YOUR DAY!!!

George McPhee came to manage in 1997 and seemed to have a strategy for the boys.

You followed the Caps to Chinatown and the MCI Center in 1998.

You suffered the heartbreaking loss of its first NHL Stanley Cup playoff series in 1998.

There was Craig Laughlin, Mike Gartner, Rod Langway, and Dino Ciccarelli, just to name a few

Stanley Cup Practice762You were there when Ted Leonsis bought the team in 1999.

You watched as other teams went all the way and you waited…

We had Jaomir Jagr and Peter Bondra but still no CUP.

And then came the Alexander Ovechkin Era and the lights came up again. There was a sense that something big changed with the addition of  Young Guns of Nicklas Backstrom, Mike Green, and Alex Semin. That was the 2004 draft, and still you waited.

We relished players like Olaf Kolzig, Matt Cooke, and Sergei Fedorov.

April 2014 the Caps and McPhee parted ways, starting a chain of events that would later challenge the Capitals. Enter Brian MacLellan.

watermarked62(2018-06-04-1347)There were a sea of coaches, some talented and well loved like Bruce Broudreau and the newest coach of the era- Barry Trotz. Players came and went – including Green and Semin. John Carlson and Karl Alzner had a special magic. Swedish player Marcus Johansson heated up the ice.

Then came the Summer of Trades, 2017. Alzner, Johansson, Nate Schmidt, and Justin Williams. And a new name for the Caps to play in: Capital One Arena.

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Investment was made in a new look for the team with new contracts for TJ Oshie, Evgeny Kuznetsov, Dmitry Orlov, Philipp Grubauer, Brett Connolly, and Andre Burakovsky. New players joined the lines in the 2017/18 season: Devante Smith-Pelly, Chandler Stephenson, Jakub Vrana, Travis Boyd, Madison Bowey, and Christian Djoss. The team had some major growing pains to endure and the expectations were low that they would even make it to the NHL Playoffs, let alone to the Stanley Cup Finals.

And then something happened. It all clicked. All the years of investment. All the tears fans had shed. All the dollars invested as season ticket holders. All the shirts and jerseys and red cowbells. It all just clicked!!

In the first round the Caps defeated the Columbus Blue Jackets 4-2. Still we waited in anticipation because the next round was where we were used to seeing them fail.

And then the magic really kicked into high gear as the Caps defeated their primary rivals the Pittsburgh Penguins 4-2!! Still we heard, don’t get your hopes up.

The thunder struck on our side in late May 2018 at the Capitals defeated the Tampa Bay Lightning in a seven game series, 4-3.

The clouds parted and the DMV became awash in a sea of RED.

They REALLY were in the FINAL ROUND for the STANLEY CUP against the new team that old friend George McPhee built. We like the Vegas Golden Knights up until this point.

The Knights took game one 6-4

and the Caps returned with a determination we have never seen led by the man on whose shoulders this era rests – Alex Ovechkin.

Game Two they won 3-2, in the desert.

watermarked15(2018-06-05-0950)They returned home to win Game Three and Four.

And they returned to the desert to slay the Knight. And slay they did in one of the best finals ever. The Knights gave it their all but victory was not to be theirs.

Caps WIN the STANLEY CUP in a 4-3 Win over the Knights.

Hats off to all of you have been there all these long years. You have gone on the road with the Caps. You have given many hours watching practice and cheering them onto the ice. You have UNLEASHED THE FURY and today is YOUR DAY!

CELEBRATE BIG FANS!!! ROCK THE RED! RAISE THE CUP!

Happy Oshie Day!! Capitals Declare #OshieDay77

The Capitals had a great announcement this morning:

In honor of his day, we give you some of our favorite photos!!!

Beer League Beat-Down: Ringers

Beer league is full of characters. You’ve got the hot head, the shy guy, the girl with the wicked edges, the goalie who only plays well halfway to hammered, the guy who plays three levels down, puts up all the goals and two-thirds of the assists.

It is this guy, the ringer, who is our subject today, and in reference to him, I pose this question:

Is dealing with sandbaggers a rite of passage for developmental players? A burden? A wonderful challenge? Something else?

There’s nothing quite like working hard, taking lessons, going to clinics, renting ice with your teammates to practice and then having some guy with no shoulder pads deke around the entire team, pass to himself off of his skate and drill an impossible angle shot off the turnbuckle and down for the score. Oh yeah, and then celebrates like it’s the playoffs after every single. goal.

I’m always left asking “Who even does that? They must know it’s not a huge achievement!” It’s like an English professor showing up to an elementary spelling bee and then being proud they can spell “scissors” correctly, or maybe if I decided to challenge an amateur cellist for their chair in community orchestra. Just the thought is laughable- but is that all there is to it?

I started the conversation by talking with some friends who also play D and C League hockey, and I hope you’ll join us in the comments!

CompSci maven Jen: “All of us in beer league are objectively terrible at hockey […] way to take the fun out of a thing that exists for no reason other than to be fun.”

West Point grad Jason: “We had this unbelievably good ringer in our league. He never lost the puck, could make crazy passes and score at will. So we asked around and it turns out he was a recent college grad that had spent 10-plus years playing high-level youth hockey around the country. You would think we would be mad, but when we realized his parents must have spent tens of thousands of dollars on ice time, equipment, travel, hotels and so on, only to have him be able to dangle around 40+ year old fat guys after midnight on a weeknight, we kinda felt sorry for him.”

Realtor David: “I actually don’t mind playing against a team who has a ringer or two so long as the ringers generally respect the level of play. I enjoy a challenge and playing against people who are better than you is an amazing learning experience. […] People who skate circles around everyone [who are] the deciding factor between winning or losing is wrong, and I have little respect for the ringer or the team itself. I feel bad that their team isn’t confident enough in their bond to skate hard together and win lose or draw be happy with the outcome and that everyone was out there doing their best and having fun.”

Content dev Tabitha: “In the end, it’s an issue of respect for the game. You can be a ringer, play down, and play respectfully of other players on the ice. Whether that means playing to the level at hand, balancing the skill level using smarter passes and perception up ice, or simply avoiding the heads-down, no-pass drop-in style of play we all know them for, it all comes back to respect. This includes respect for the other players (including abilities, weaknesses and well being), the officials, visiting families, and for the sacrifices we all make to be here each week.”

Well said. What do you think?

Amazing Hockey Hello Kitty from a Chicago Now piece on the same subject!

Dev Camp 2016: Day Four in Pictures

This morning started much like every other morning… until we remembered that camp was still going on! So off we went.

Skaters arrivwatermarked photo 3 (2016-07-01-1107)ed on the ice around 10 and were split on to two separate rinks again; D-men on one side and forwards on the other.

All three goalies began with the forwards on the Arlington rink but Williams went to join the defensemen about halfway through.

DSC_0077During all of this, the Caps announced they had signed D-man Connor Hobbs to a three year entry-level contract. Welcome Connor!! (We are big fans of Hobbs here at FiCP)

Around 10:45 the two sides split in two and switched rinks so that both sides were working with all positions. Around 11:00 all members reconvened on the Caps ice for a group practice.

FULL SQUAD SCRIMMAGE IS 10:00 AM ON SATURDAY

 

Caps Roomies Comes to an End…

By now you all know that only one of the duo that makes up the Caps Roomies received  a qualifying offer by today’s deadline. That person was Tom Wilson. 

We here at FiCP are having an especially hard time coming to terms with the loss of Michael Latta so we thought we’d share some of our favorite moments from this past season with Latts.

So many memories with Latts from this season but our favorites came after practices when Michael would take a few moments out of his day to talk to fans. He will be greatly missed by us and we are sure by you as well. We wish him all the best in his future career and hope to see him back on the ice even with another team.

 

The Best Season Through the Lens

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:

OSHHHBABBBEEEE:

Jersey’s off our backs (Karl sporting a particularly awesome outfit):

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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:

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We wil never forget Ovi’s 500th career goal:

By far our favorite moment:

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Explaining the Calder Cup

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)DSC_0124

Jay Beagle (2x)DSC_0106

John Carlson (2x)DSC_0438

Braden Holtby4-27-16-26

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.

Caps Look to Keep Pressure on the Pens in Game 2

What a first game of the series! T.J. Oshie arrived and showed the D.C. area fans why trading for him was a great choice this past offseason by scoring a hat-trick and overtime winner 4-3. Caps fans were celebrating and had many reasons to be overjoyed with the start of this series.

But in reality, this is nothing new. The Caps are now 8-1 overall in game ones against the Penguins. The Pens have also lost seven straight road game ones since 2001. The play of the Caps was also not their best, especially in periods two and three.

Moving On

The Penguins mindset after game one is simple: move on. The Pens played a fairly decent game even though they lost. Trailing 1-0 in the second, Caps defender Dmitry Orlov clipped fellow defender Nate Schmidt to where Ben Lovejoy took advantage and tied the game. A few minutes later, Evgeni Malkin gave the Pens their first lead 2-1. Nick Bonino tied the game up 3-3 in the third to force overtime.

  • Rookie goaltender Matt Murray saved 31 shots (.886 save percentage) but allowed four in his first NHL playoff loss. You have got to think this is in his head after playing so well in that first round series.
  • Sidney Crosby was held off the scoring sheet and was on the ice for three of the four  Caps goals, giving him a -3 on the night.
  • Evgeny Malkin had one goal on the night and was even.


Consistent Gameplay

The Caps started off a little slow but ramped it up quickly in the first, outshooting the Pens 15-9 and leading 1-0. For the second and third however, the Caps were outshot 30-12 and somehow got two more goals to keep things even. In the extra frame, it was all Washington as the Caps got the extra push they needed and Oshie delivered with the game-winning wrap around. They need more consistent play throughout the entire game.

  • T.J. Oshie registered a hat trick Thursday night and has six goals against the Penguins this season. This was also the first time Oshie had scored and his team won in a playoff game (0-5 previously).
  • Defenseman Orlov was the main reason for the tying goal in the second. After more miscues on his end, Trotz benched him in favor of defense by committee. I for one hope Orlov learned from this and vows to be better from here on out.
  • Alex Ovechkin had an assist and seven hits in a physical game by the Caps.
  • Braden Holtby allowed three goals with 42 saves (.933 save percentage). This was also the Caps first win in 14 games when Holtby has allowed two or more goals in a playoff start.
  • Defenseman Tom Wilson was fined $2,400 for his knee-on-knee hit to Conor Sheary with no penalty being called.

Power Outage: Both teams failed to score on the Power Play after using it so well in their last series. The Cap were 0-4 while the Pens were 0-2.

Your game two goaltenders will be Braden Holtby for the Caps, Matt Murray for the Pens. Puck drop is at 8 p.m. on NBC. ROCK THE RED and GO CAPS!

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Get Hyped!!

It’s almost time Caps Fans!!! We thought it necessary to get the fanbase even more hyped so we put together a short video of some of our favorite photos from the season:

In case you missed the announcement, The Washington Capitals will be facing The Philadelphia Flyers in the first round. Because the Caps are Number One in the league and won the President’s Trophy, they also secured home ice advantage for the duration of the playoffs, which means the first two games of each round will all be played at Verizon Center.

LETS GO CAPS!!!