It is always hard when your team exits the Playoffs before you are ready. This year it is a strange sensation to have the Caps out in the first round. Gone are the cries of: “It always happens.” No more can we blame the “DC Sports Curse.” We have tasted what championship winning feels like. We wanted to go back-to-back, partly because it sounded cool to do and partly because we wanted to shake up the NHL and their constant bragging about the Pittsburgh Penguins. Continue reading “Capitals, Hurricanes, and Islanders: Linked in Playoffs”
We have never been here before.
Round One as the NHL Stanley Cup Defending Champions, not just the Washington Capitals.
It feels different. We want to win like we did last summer. We have the taste of victory. Continue reading “We’ve Never Been Here Before: Capitals Game One Round One Playoffs”
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”
The Washington Capitals and their were frustrated. It was a stinker start of the game and it saw the Caps trail 4-1 to the Carolina Hurricanes before they mounted a furious comeback in the third period to win the game 6-5 in a shootout. The win was the Caps fourth in a row and 11th win in their last 13 games. The comeback was led by Alex Ovechkin’s hat trick, the second straight game he accomplished the feat. The difference in the shootout was Jakub Vrana, who scored his first career shootout goal on his first-ever attempt. The Caps improve their record to 19-9-3 for 41 points and lead the Blue Jackets by five-points for first place in the Metropolitan Division. Continue reading “Alex Ovechkin’s Hat Trick in Second Straight Game Leads Caps to Comeback Win over Hurricanes”
First off we have Mr. Jay Beagle who has more facial expression than anyone I have ever seen.
Then of course there are our FAVE Russians…
There are just too many to post them all but here are some of my favorites…
And we couldn’t have a post from this game without plenty of photos of the great J-Will…
Once upon a time, the Carolina Hurricanes hoisted the Stanley Cup in victory. The year was 2006 and Justin Williams (former Capitals and LA Kings forward) was an integral part of the winning strategy for the team. It would be his first Game Seven win, with a shot into the empty net of the Edmonton Oilers.
Only one other player from the winning team remains on the current roster. Cam Ward was a rookie goalie at the time, having only played 28 games in the NHL. He was later awarded the Conn Smythe Trophy as the league’s most valuable player in the playoffs. Unfortunately, his stats have decreased over time and newly acquired Scott Darling is likely to be in the number one spot this season.
So what does Williams bring? The Washington Capitals have nothing but good things to say about his locker room presence as well as his tenacity on the ice. When he entered free agency he is reported to have said: “I want to go to a team that has a chance to win.” The Hurricanes need someone with the kind of determination J-Will has to bring his leadership from the locker room to the ice. At 35, he has a world of experience to share with his teammates – including what it is like to win three Stanley Cups and to play on a team that couldn’t get past themselves in the second round.
Returning to his former home “Stick” has said, “I want to be an impact player for a long time and I plan on being one the next couple years as well.” The veteran player has that potential with a relatively young group of players on the Hurricanes. He really is looking forward to his time (two years) in Raleigh saying: “You just want to help guide as best you can, because you know what it takes, and you know what works and what doesn’t, a lot of the time.” Williams, who had one of his best goal-scoring years since leaving Carolina, recorded 24 goals and 24 assists last season. He continued to be a force in the playoffs for the Caps, with one game-winning goal.
On a personal note, Justin will be joined by his wife Kelly and two children Jade and Jaxon. They are his pride and joy! Jaxon has been seen skating at Kettler Ice Rink in Virginia and will likely continue his training with dad in Raleigh. Born in Cobourg, Ontario, Williams in June 2017 became a naturalized US citizen having lived in the US since he was 16. He hosts an annual camp back in Cobourg and is active in raising funds for disadvantaged children to play hockey. The Williams family will be a great asset for Raleigh and The Research Triangle.
Every year we the fans become part of the Washington Capitals giving community. We participate in raffles, auctions, and donation opportunities. The Capitals help make us aware of some of the great outreach organizations in our area. Many of the players extend their personal giving of time beyond the Capitals events, especially during the off season.
This past season, Monumental Sports sponsored several events at Verizon Center during game time. They raised a good bit of money (over $900,000) for the charities they support. Here are some highlights of those efforts and some special activities that the players are personally involved in during their own time.
The Caps and Inova host a blood drive about four times a year at Kettler Ice Plex. This summer participants received a Burakovsky bobblehead and had the joy of sharing the gift of life. Check here for the next date and to sign up to give. (The next donor date has not be set yet)
One of the strongest connections the MSE Foundation has in the area is with Fort DuPont Ice Arena. The Caps announced this summer that they have provided a “$20,000 grant for the second consecutive season in 2016-17 to continue to give children an opportunity to learn through sports” through the Up2Us Sports program. In June, MSE announced a donation of $12,000 to the hockey club to support youngsters who are interested in hockey. They also hosted the annual summer cleanup, donating another $5,000. The Caps frequently skate at Fort DuPont and this year hosted the youth and family at Kettler for a skate with Alex Ovechkin. You too can volunteer there to ensure hockey is really for everyone. Click here to become a friend of FDIA.
The Caps have a special affinity for the military, especially families of fallen soldiers. As part of the Salute to our Military, fans helped raise $56,000 through the auction of Caps memorabilia. Some of the players joined families of an evening of skating and story-sharing as part of TAPS.
Hockey Fights Cancer often links with Make a Wish to raise funds to fight cancer and to support young people by making their wish to meet and skate with Caps players come true. This umbrella program brings together some of the local organizations that are there for families. MSE announced: “$63,955 for Flashes of Hope, Hope for Henry, Make-A-Wish Mid-Atlantic and Pancreatic Cancer Action Network. Leidos donated an additional $40,000 – $10,000 to each organization. Combined with proceeds from the evening’s 50/50 raffle, warm-up puck sales, Ellie’s Hats donations and the sale of Hockey Fights Cancer pins, nearly $140,000 was raised for the charities.”
We got to know Jay Coakley with Ellie’s Hats this year. This once one-man show has grown, in large part because of the exposure the Caps and Taylor Winnik gave them. This is a year-round group that now provides more then just hats for sick children but gift cards, backpacks, and other financial support all year. Please consider helping Jay bring smiles to the little ones in our community by donating here.
The Washington Capitals Fan Club is more than just a group of fans who meet up before games. They too are a generous giving organization. Every year they sell and auction off Christmas balls signed by the players. This past year they raised $10,000 for the Fort DuPont Kids. We’ll share more about their outreach and events soon.
T.J. Oshie has a personal connection to the struggles of family’s who struggle with the far reaching effect of Alzheimer’s. He revealed that his father Coach Oshie is in the early stages of the disease. This summer TJ asked fans to help support the search for a cure by donating to the Alzheimer’s Association Longest Day campaign. You can still give $77, or more, through the link.
Players have a way of giving back to the community by sharing their skills and time with others, usually in their hometowns. Many players find a way to give and to keep it under the radar for the most part. Just because we don’t hear about doesn’t mean it isn’t happening.
Every year, now former Cap, Justin Williams hosts JW Hockey Camp in his hometown of Cobourg, Ontario. All proceeds go to his charity, the Justin Williams Foundation.
— Justin Williams (@JustinWilliams) July 27, 2017
— JW Hockey Camp (@JWHockeyCamp) July 27, 2017
Tom Wilson returned to his roots in May to support his former elementary school in Toronto. During a Fun Fair, he signed autographs and
— John Ross Robertson (@TDSB_JRR) May 27, 2017
— Justin G Landry (@Justinglandry) May 27, 2017
Tom’s former roommate, Michael Latta, takes time out every offseason to work with youth on their skating skills. He is a great coach, encouraging the special needs kids at camp Kid’s Abilty to go the extra distance.
— KidsAbility (@KidsAbility) July 12, 2017
Coach Trotz is an avid supporter of Best Buddies. Last October the Capitals wives and girlfriends put together a team, with the Trotz Strolling with Nolan Team, walked to raise awareness during the Best Buddies Friendship Walk on the Mall. Sign up here to walk this year on 21 October.
Speaking of wives and girlfriends, they have always been champions for fund raising and bringing awareness to special interests. In addition to supporting Best Buddies, they (especially Taylor Winnik) supported events with baskets to raffle, highlighting Ellie’s Hats, and of course the annual calendar that Taylor shot for Homeward Trails. Sales garnered $67,000 for the pups in need. We really will miss Dan and Taylor and the impact they made on our community.
— Taylor Winnik (@TaylorWinnik) November 18, 2016
We learned this summer that Evgeny Kuznetsov was part of a group of Russian skaters who donated donated “new uniforms to a sled-hockey team [in Chelyabinsk,” according to CSN. He, like Ovechkin, supports an orphanage in Russia. He hopes to one day open a hockey school there too.
Dmitry Orlov frequently spends the offseason supporting local charities in Russia. This year we have seen him throwing his support behind a local hockey training center.
We’re sure there is much more going on that with the players and coaches that we don’t always know about. Many prefer to do what they do quietly and privately. At the end of the day we know that hockey players have a reputation for giving and so do their fans. We encourage you to keep the giving and community outreach going over the summer and to stash a little away to supoort MSE, the Fan Club, and other great organizations during the season.
Keep Rocking the Red friends!!!
An Opinion Piece by Lily Rosenberg
This off season the Capitals have re-signed Dmitry Orlov, TJ Oshie, Brett Connolly, and Evgeny Kuznetsov. However, we have also lost many talented players in Nate Schmidt, Karl Alzner, Justin Williams, Kevin Shattenkirk, and most recently Marcus Johansson. They all deserve to be appreciated.
Schmidt was a ball of sunshine. He was just always smiling and he just had this charm. He was also just a very quick defenseman. He was such a good player and clearly the Vegas Golden Knights saw that too. He was snatched up by VGK last Wednesday and will work under General Manager George McPhee, as he did when he first played with the Caps. He will be missed and I hope he gets one of the top spots in Vegas.
Alzner was a good defenseman. He has helped the Caps so much through the years he played with them. I have met him before and he was just a genuinely nice guy. Although he wasn’t too nice about one of the reasons he left saying: the Caps “always get stumped in the second round.” I won’t hold a grudge. He signed a five-year 23 million dollar deal with the Montreal Canadiens on Saturday.
We only had two years with him but it was a good two years. He was our Mr. Game 7 but the one game seven we had, he didn’t really help us. We loved his hair and his personality. He said on twitter the Caps “didn’t reach our goal but I will cherish the time I spent there.” On Saturday he signed a two-year contract with the Carolina Hurricanes for nine million dollars. We will miss him and his hair!
What can I say about Shattenkirk that hasn’t already been said? We mourn only the promise we had when he first joined the team. Shattenkirk under-performed our expectations with his -7 points in the playoffs. He signed a four-year deal with the NY Rangers on Saturday for $26.6 million. I hope he helps the Rangers as much as he helped us. 😉
This one really really hurt. Not only did I lose a good shirt but we lost a good player. Johansson was a clutch player and possibly one of the most improved players this past season. He was also just a kind person. He would always sign autographs and take pictures with fans. He had so much potential. Last night he was traded to the New Jersey Devils for a second and third pick by the Capitals in next year’s draft. While I will be excited to see him again, I will be sad to see him in the other teams jersey.
While I am confused as to Brian McClellan;s reasoning, I understand that things happen for a reason and I wish all of these players good luck for the future. I still hope we get a Cup before they do though.
Justin Williams is returning to the place where he first made a name for himself – the Carolina Hurricanes. This is where he earned his first Stanley Cup ring. They are fortunate to have him back and they seem pretty darn excited about it too!
Some of us here at FiCP have a thing for Justin Williams. We loved him when he played for the LA Kings and knew what a special talent he was before he came to the Caps. He is the guy with the experience of winning three Stanley Cups. He brought a brand of maturity to the locker room and on the ice that was needed after the Caps traded Brooks Laich.
This past season J-Will scored 24 goals – tied with Marcus Johansson in fourth place on the team. Williams has always been a solid steady player. He holds his own on the ice and creates opportunities for his teammates. He isn’t afraid to crash the net and do what it takes to get the puck in the net
His new contract is a two-year deal for $9,000,000, an average of $4,500,000 a year. His previous contract with the Capitals was also a two-year contract for $6,500,000 and an average yearly of $3,250,000. A slight bump for the 35-year old player, another deal the Caps just couldn’t afford to make. “The deal will pay Williams $5 million during the 2017-18 season, and $4 million during the 2018-19 season’ per the Canes.
We can’t say enough good things about Justin Williams. We know he will bring his special sense of dedication and excitement to the game. Take good care of him Carolina! We’ll be down to see ya soon Willy.
The great “what do with do with this team” debate continues this week following the fall of the Caps, again. There is plenty of blame to go around. Every blogger, every media person, and every fan has an opinion. Everyone is searching for an answer. In the end, the only opinion that will matter is that of the management and the owners. And they aren’t talking, yet.
So lets take a look at what’s been going on during the Ovechkin Era since he is the one person who consistently receives the blame for the Capitals Cup failure. He was drafted just before the 2004/05 lockout so we’ll start with the 2005/06 season.
The longest tenured players on the team are Alexander Ovechkin (drafted 2004 and played first game in 2005) and Nicklas Backstrom (acquired in 2006 although he didn’t play his first game until 2007). Shortly after the Caps would raid the Hershey Bears and bring up John Carlson, Karl Alzner, and Jay Beagle. Soon, the Caps and coach Dale Hunter would call up goaltender Braden Holtby for the 2011 for Playoffs . Under coach Adam Oates they would finally give him a permanent spot on the Caps roster in 2012/13 season. When we talk about the old guard, these are those players. These are the players whom many say are holding the Caps back since they are the ones, other than Holtby, who have been in the thick of all the playoff losses, especially Ovi and Backie. Continue reading “Washington Capitals: The Blame Game Continues”