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 and Kuznetsov Statement and Apology

After a rush to insinuate that Evgeny Kuznetsov may have been using an illegal substance, he and the Capitals issued a statement regarding the video:

In addition to doing our own due diligence, we met with Evgeny to discuss the video circulated on social media. While we are disappointed by his presence in the video, we accept his explanation and apology for putting himself in an unfortunate situation. Evgeny has been a terrific player and an active member of our community, and we expect him to learn from this experience and uphold both the standards the organization has for him as well as his own.”

Washington Capitals forward Evgeny Kuznetsov has released the following statement:

“I would like to address the video of me that appeared online on Monday. While I have never taken illegal drugs in my life and career, I would like to publicly apologize to the Capitals, my teammates, our fans and everyone else, for putting myself in a bad situation. This was a hard lesson for me to learn.”

Nate Schmidt Makes His Old Team Pay, Caps Fall 5-3 to the Vegas Golden Knights

michael banner 2A Stanley Cup Finals rematch happened on Tuesday night at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. The Washington Capitals returned to the scene of the place where they captured their first Stanley Cup but the Vegas Golden Knights didn’t feel too well welcoming the Stanley Cup champs in their house. They got revenge in the rematch with a 5-3 win with the game-winning goal coming from….. Nate SchmidtContinue reading “Nate Schmidt Makes His Old Team Pay, Caps Fall 5-3 to the Vegas Golden Knights”

The Pregame: Viva Las Vegas! The Caps are Back Where the Stanley Cup Magic Happened

michael banner 2When I think of Las Vegas, Nevada two things come to my mind: magic shows and the place where our hockey team, the Washington Capitals won the Stanley Cup. Tuesday night, the Caps and the Vegas Golden Knights will square off inside T-Mobile Arena for the first time since that June 7th night and there will be a whirlwind of emotions for the players, coaches and fans.  Continue reading “The Pregame: Viva Las Vegas! The Caps are Back Where the Stanley Cup Magic Happened”

All I Want for Christmas is…

Well Everyone, it’s official. I can now buy my Nate Schmidt Golden Knights jersey. Yes, you read that correctly. Nate is going to be in Vegas for a very long time, as the team signed him to a six-year contract extension totally 35.7 Million. Obviously we are SUPER excited for Nate here at FiCP and can’t wait to spend many more holidays in Vegas to watch him play.

Nate is available to play following his 20 game suspension November 18th when the Knights take on the Oilers, and you better believe we’ll be watching…

Ps- Santa I wear a size L in jersey…. 😉

Capitals vs Golden Knights: Analyzing NHL Expansion Changes

The Washington Capitals and the Vegas Golden Knights faced each other for the 2018 Stanley Cup championship and the team from America’s capital city  won for the first first time in its history, ending a long 44-year wait. For Vegas, even though runners-up, they had a great inaugural season. There has been a lot of talk about the amazing season the expansion team had so we thought we would compare the Caps first year and the Knights first year and what has changed over time.  In the end, its hard not to be amazed by the accomplishments of the team from the desert even though they lost to their new rivals. img_5288

Continue reading “Capitals vs Golden Knights: Analyzing NHL Expansion Changes”

Thank you Ted Leonsis for Rebuilding the Washington Capitals

The vision and dream that Ted Leonsis had for Washington DC finally came true on a Thursday night in Las Vegas. It didn’t matter that the Caps won the Stanley Cup away from home because the Hockey Town that Ted built celebrated just the way he envisioned. He has always wanted the DC community to be a town that was proud of its teams and one that the fans loved – be it the Wizards or the Capitals.

And when he took the STANLEY CUP from Alex Ovechkin, you could see what a proud papa he was. That look of overwhelming emotion over a goal finally achieved exemplified the feels we all felt watching.

Ted Leonsis – is allll Washington Caps and a BIG silly fan like alllll of us!

Mr. Leonsis bought the Washington Capitals (along with the Wizards and the stadium now known as Capital One Arena) from DC legend Abe Pollin in May 1999 for about $200 million – a year after their failed final round of the Stanley Cup. Ted was 42 at the time and had a vision for both teams and a plan to engage fans in one of his favorite sports.

His dream morphed into today’s Monumental Sports and Entertainment, LLC, an organization that broadly includes the AFL’s Washington Valor, NBA’s Washington Wizards, NHL’s Washington Capitals, and  the WNBA’s Washington Mystics. And he launched the subscription –based Monumental Sports Network in 2017, which pretty much rules the airwaves around the DMV.

It’s Ted’s love of hockey and his dedication to building a Hockey Town on the east coast; one that would become a place equal to many cities in Canada and the original six hockey teams. In 1997 he brought in George McPhee (GMGM) as his general manager and began to set the tone for the future we are living today. Leonsis had a lot of faith in McPhee who would go on to acquire some of the shining stars of the Capitals, especially Alexander Ovechkin.

ovi capscon2010There is no doubt that Ted Leonsis is a savvy businessman. That isn’t why we fell in love with him. Many of us are “latecomers” to the hockey and Capitals scene. We didn’t really engage until the Ovechkin Era began that faithful day Ovi was given the keys to the city. And Ted knew how to make the most of that silly infectious grin. He knew that with the talent and charisma of Ovechkin and the management genius of McPhee, the future would be bright.

In April 2009 Leonsis shared his list of 10-point plan for rebuilding the Capitals. Among those things the plan included transparency with the fan base, investing in the draft and taking time to develop younger players, add veterans for the short-term to infuse the team with experience, and most importantly, NEVER SETTLE.

In 2012 he answered questions from fans via Japers Rink, and then said: “The Caps have made the playoffs five years in a row. We haven’t progressed past the second round in any of those years; it has been a huge hurdle despite some Game 7 opportunities. So we keep tweaking and making changes to get to the next step. It is tedious, sometimes frustrating, but it is necessary.” 

Ted made some hard changes in the summer of 2014 after the Capitals failed to make it to the NHL Playoffs. The biggest change was letting go of the man with whom he built the hockey team that included Alex Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom, as well as many other notable players, but failed to help win the cup. McPhee and Leonsis seemed to know what was needed and they went out and got the best players that they thought would help reach the pinnacle of success. GMGM gave us Bruce Boudreau and unfortunately, also Dale Hunter and Adam Oates who nearly destroyed everything they had worked so hard to have in place to win.

trotz watchLeonsis moved up Brian MacLellan as general manager and hired former Nashville Predators coach, Barry Trotz in 2014. The excitement began to build again. Trotz had a good reputation as a community man and as a coach. He seemed the perfect fit for the image of the Capitals we all had by that time. However, in July 2015, after another year of disappointment, Ted told reporters about Ovechkin: “I feel I haven’t met my commitment that we would build a team that would be able to win Stanley Cups.” Many of us felt that too.

Together MacLellan and Leonsis brought in reinforcements, like Justin Williams whose name was already on the cup three times and American favorite, TJ Oshie. Everything looked right at the start of the 2015/16 season. The team came together as friends in a way that we have never seen. Sadly, we know how that ended again.

Ted was one of us. He was seen walking around the Verizon Center and outside. He was known to meet and speak with people from all walks of life. We learned about the gentle heart of this big man when in 2009 he heard about a homeless man who was a huge Caps fan and spent his nights outside Verizon Center trying to catch glimpses of the game. Ted would later respond to a letter from a season ticket holder about Scott Lovell, find him a job in a local restaurant, and help him rebuild his life.  Not only did the encounter change Lovell’s life, it changed Ted, who had never even had a discussion with a homeless person before. A man of the people, he recently sent 200 employees to Vegas to watch games one and two of the Stanley Cup finals.

Time and again, we have heard the stories about Ted reaching out to fans. Maybe they were from Brazil and arrived to watch a game only to be snowed out. Ted later brought our friends Pedro Rocha and his family back for a game in his box.

Or how about Connolly Fan sensation Keelan Moxley? Somehow he always seems to want to make a bad situation better. And his actions inspire us as a result.

Never one to just relax or sit back quietly, rumors began in 2016 that he might consider moving the Caps and Wizards out of Chinatown at some point. He corrected himself later, saying: “We love Washington D.C., and we have a great, mutual respect for our city, and we have a 99-year lease on the land, and it’s been the greatest experience, so we’re very, very committed to Washington, D.C., and I’m grateful for the love that the fan base has shown us, and I hope to return that certainly for the rest of my lifetime.”  For now, he continues to focus on making Capital One Arena a better place for the fan experience. He announced in February 2018 that over the summer he would be investing $40 million in improvements to the arena to “…ensure that the fan experience at Capital One Arena remains second to none.” We can expect to return to a more modern concourse, improved concession stands, two new lounges, on the 100 level, and even new padded seats!! Always making it better for us.

So while the Capitals are a business for Ted Leonsis, it is also his passion. He is one of those rare breed of owners who actually involves himself in team and the community. We are in large part the kind of community that showed up by the thousands at Capital One Arena and in the streets of DC on a night when the team played in a place far away, because of him. And when it was all over, and the Cup came back to DC, what did he do?? He took it to the people!!

So when you line the streets on Tuesday to celebrate the Stanley Cup – make sure you wave to Ted Leonsis and scream a huge CAPS THANK YOU!!!  And if you see him walking around town or the Arena – stop and shake his hand. Let him see the tears in your eyes as you thank him for investing in a sport that we all love and a team that has proven to be incredible ambassadors for Washington DC!

Well done TED, well done!!

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!

The Surprise of Devante Smith-Pelly

There are certain Caps players that we run hot and cold about. Devante Smith-Pelly (DSP) has been one of those for us this season. Unlike us, Coach Barry Trotz has always had faith in him. The 25 year-old Canadian who was  drafted in the second round and 42nd by the Ducks in 2010 had bounced between teams with little to show for his time. He was signed by the Capitals during the 2017 Summer of Change to a two-way contract. We weren’t even sure if he would skate with the Caps or the Hershey Bears. And if he did skate with the Caps, our expectations were low because of his past performance, most recently with the Devils in which he only scored four goals with five assists and a -19 plus/minus for the 2016/17 season.

Continue reading “The Surprise of Devante Smith-Pelly”