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!

Capitals Finish Off Sharks in Dramatic OT: photos

The Caps surprised just about everyone with an incredible third period in which they tied the game. On a Sunday afternoon Lars Eller (with an assist by goaltender Braden Holtby) sealed the game with a 5-4 OT win!!

Continue reading “Capitals Finish Off Sharks in Dramatic OT: photos”

Player Season Recap: Alex Ovechkin

Ever since he was drafted by the Washington Capitals in 2004, Alex Ovechkin has ignited the hockey community in the DMV in so many ways. He has proven himself to be a world class, one of a kind hockey player. He has surprised us all with insane highlight reel goals and brought home the Stanley Cup. His game has grown tremendously since game one of his career and the franchise owes everything to our great captain.

Parade ovi stanley cup

Ovechkin has proven time and time again he can contribute in many ways other than scoring and hitting. This regular season he has totaled 38 assists for the Caps; 4th highest on the team behind Evgeny Kuznetsov (51), Nicklas Backstrom (52), and John Carlson (57). He’s been looking to pass the puck to make the play rather than go for the snipe as he usually does, disregarding the fact of earning his 8th Maurice “Rocket” Richard Trophy with 51 goals. He has been playing on different parts of the ice, like screening the goaltender in the offensive zone and playing the high-point man on the umbrella power play. This regular season he has accumulated 89 points (51g, 38a) in 81 game and in the playoffs he accumulated 9 points (4g, 5a) in all 7 games of the series with the Carolina Hurricanes.

 

Ovechkin had yet another great season and carried his stellar play through into the post-season, there’s nothing he should be ashamed about. He continues to shoot the puck and distribute checks to better his team through each in-game situation. Goalies continue to study and learn his shooting/scoring tendencies each season. Ovechkin also continues to evolve his own game, finding new/old creative ways to beat them. At the prime age of 33 and turning 34 in September, he isn’t getting younger and must stay up to par in this fast-paced league. He stated in his season exit interview he stated, “I have to be better” at everything. He mentioned his shooting, passing, even his fight with Andrei Svechnikov all has to better moving forward. He’ll train hard this off-season to seek another crack at reuniting with Lord Stanley’s Cup and don’t be surprised if we see another successful season from the Great Eight.

John Carlson: Still One of the NHL’s Best Defenseman

John Carlson is a key component to the Washington Capitals’ success. He has become an elite defensemen in the NHL with a history as a two-time AHL Calder Cup and one-time NHL Stanley Cup champion. The defenseman was invited to the All-Star Games twice (2010 and 2019) and in the 2017-18 season he held the League record for the most points by a defenseman in the regular and playoff season.  Carlson is one of the most experienced and capable players on the Capitals roster. Continue reading “John Carlson: Still One of the NHL’s Best Defenseman”

A Gloomy Goodbye to Capitals

Friday was clean-out and meet the press day at MedStar Capitals IcePlex for the Washington Capitals whose season ended earlier in the week. This is never a pleasant time as the players are asked a series of embarrassing questions about the loss and their performance. This year it was no different than any other year except maybe the summer of 2018. Continue reading “A Gloomy Goodbye to Capitals”

Michal Kempny Surgery: That Hurts

The Washington Capitals announced on Tuesday that defenseman Michal Kempny underwent surgery to repair his left hamstring. Kempny has been out of commission since he sustained an injury on March 20. He will now be out for up to six months- well into the next season. Not only is this a painful injury from which to recover; it is a painful blow for the Capitals right before the playoffs. Continue reading “Michal Kempny Surgery: That Hurts”

Caps Take the Wind Out of Hurricanes

So much good to say about the Capitals tonight! It was a tight match. The Capitals needed a win to hang onto that first place position in the Metropolitan. They did not clinch their playoff berth yet; however, they kept that first place spot for one more night. Final score 4-1.

First- it was Evgeny Kuznetsov Bird Man Bobble Head Night! He may not have scored but he did have three assist points.

Last game the Caps were in their whites- we confess, we kept getting confused. This time the Hurricanes and Caps were in white/red red/white Jerseys and it took a hot minute to figure out who was who. Until the Capitals scored! Continue reading “Caps Take the Wind Out of Hurricanes”

Capitals Game Day Watch for Caps-Wild On Friday (Update)

Even before the puck drops there is a chance for Caps fans to win some Alex Ovechkin memorabilia:

“The Capitals have partnered with NBC Sports Washington for Authentic Fan Friday! The first 500 fans to visit the NBC Sports Washington table at Section 423 will receive a limited amount of Ovi cheer cards.” (Caps Game info) Click here for a chance to win an original painting by Taylor Kampa Olson as a Caps Authentic Fan. Runs from 6 to 10 pm.

Check us out on Twitter and follow us to find out how you can skate at Capital One Arena on Sunday. Continue reading “Capitals Game Day Watch for Caps-Wild On Friday (Update)”

Caps Lose 5-4 in OT, End Up Thunderstruck by Bolts

TLDR: Despite goals by Lars Eller, Carl Hagelin, and T.J. Oshie, and the equalizer by Kuznetsov, as well as 50+ shots on goal, the Caps just couldn’t solve Vasilevskiy for the second time this season. Tampa Bay wins 5-4 in overtime. Capitals still maintain top spot in the Metro. 


For the second time in less than a week, the top two teams in the Eastern Conference played one another, but this time, it was in OUR house. Coming off of a 4-1 win over the New Jersey Devils last night, the Washington Capitals took back the Metro division, and headed home for the first of a four-game home stand. The Tampa Bay Lightning, however, have not only clinched their playoff spot, but have also claimed the Presidents’ Trophy as their own. Now just because a curse exists, that doesn’t mean a certain event will not occur. However, only 8 teams have won both the trophy and then gone on to also win the Stanley Cup. Sure, that’s a 1 in 4 chance, but I just keep thinking back to the Capitals in years past. Despite a valiant comeback effort, last Saturday, the Lightning beat the Capitals 6-3, after scoring two empty net goals. Tonight, the Capitals looked to match Tampa, with a win of their own. Unfortunately, that would not be the case.


Once again, the Capitals entrusted tonights’ game to Braden Holtby, and Andrei Vasilevskiy got the start for Tampa. Expected to be a Round 2 battle between the two powerhouses, we knew it would be a very fast and very physically demanding 60 minutes. As mentioned last week, it was imperative for the Caps to get on the board early. They simply could not afford to have another slow start like they did a few days ago. Not even two minutes past puck drop, and the Capitals already had a number of great scoring chances. An early stop by Holtby on an Anthony Cirelli breakaway kept the game at zero each. An unfortunate turnover by Tampa allowed Carl Hagelin to feed the puck up the center of the ice, and with that, Lars Eller scored his 12th goal of the season.

Shortly thereafter, the Capitals would earn their first power play of the night, as Steven Stamkos would go off for holding. The good guys would only register on shot with the man-advantage, and Tampa’s Number 1 penalty kill would keep the Caps from improving their lead. Braden Holtby would be hit up high through the mask by the stick of Brooks Orpik, drawing some blood, but would be good enough to finish the period. With three minutes left in the period, the Capitals would get a second power play, as John Rutta would go to the box for tripping. Tom Wilson would unfairly be called for holding, and Tampa would get their first power play with 30 seconds left in the period. While the Lightning would start the second with the remainder of that man-advantage, the Capitals lead 1-0 heading into the intermission.


The second period started with a power play goal by Nikita Kucherov with just eight seconds left on the man-advantage, tying the game 1-1. Now the Capitals need to play the remaining 40 minutes with just as much, if not more power and drive than the first 20. Unfortunately, Ovechkin would go off for elbowing and Tampa headed right back on the power play. Off the faceoff, Steven Stamkos would score, giving the Lightning their first lead of the game. What once seemed to be a manageable game, started to tilt. Another deflection off of John Carlson gives Tampa a 3-1 lead. Anthony Cirelli would ultimately be credited with the goal. A set up by Lars Eller would give Carl Hagelin a nearly-wide open net, and, in scoring his 5th of the season, 3rd with Washington, would bring the Caps within one.

The Capitals would get another power play opportunity as Mikhail Sergachev was sent off for slashing. T.J. Oshie would get second-chance bounce off his skate, and the puck would find the back of the net. The Caps power play goal would be the game-tying goal.

Dmitry Orlov would go off for slashing, and in a high-scoring second, the Caps would fight to keep Tampa from scoring again. Nikita Kucherov would score his second as the Caps’ defense couldn’t keep it together and Holtby was asked to make one too many stops. The Tampa’s #1 power play strikes again, and the Lightning would reclaim the lead, 4-3. Michal Kempny would need to be carried down the tunnel with a lower body injury, and a scrum involving players on both sides would ensue. Jakub Vrana and Yanni Gourde would both receive five-minute majors for fighting, Michal Kempny and Cedric Paquette would receive two minutes for roughing. Sergachev would also get two minutes for roughing. The Caps would end up with a power play, but would not score. Six goals were scored in the 2nd, and the Lightning lead 4-3.


Michal Kempny did not return to play the last period, and per the team, suffered a lower-body injury. The Capitals would receive an early third period power play, as Ovechkin was taken down by Ondrej Palat. The Caps would not tie it. It was encouraging to see Braden Holtby sharpen up as the period progressed. With under 10 left, the Caps would head back to the power play, and despite a number of great looks, again, they would not score. Head coach Todd Reirden would pull Holtby with under 2 to go, and somehow, Evgeny Kuznetsov would tie the game with under 60 seconds left. The Capitals would go to overtime.


3-on-3 Sudden Death Overtime: Victor Hedman would score the game-winning goal. Tampa wins 5-4.


FiCP’s Three Takeaways of the Game

  1. Stop. Drawing. Penalties. I don’t care how bad the referees are. They will always call bad penalties, so don’t give them a reason to call them
  2. Scratch Orlov. Or Carlson. But not Djoos.
  3. The power play needs work. Especially against top penalty-killing teams.

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”