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!

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”

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 and Golden Knights Meet Again Wednesday

Remember all those times the Caps played the Golden Knights??

When the Road Crew and Fan Club flew out to Las Vegas and were really part of the VGK hype? Oh and we went to see Nate Schmidt because we felt like George McPhee stole him from DC??

Continue reading “Capitals and Golden Knights Meet Again Wednesday”

Not Schmidtty!?!

This is not a prank. Nate Schmidt, he of the goofy grin and excellent knowledge of Taylor Swift lyrics, has been suspended 20 — yes, TWENTY — games for violating the terms of the NHL/NHLPA Performance Enhancing Substances Program.

We know. We can’t believe it either. Continue reading “Not Schmidtty!?!”

They Like Us, They Really Like Us (Our Caps photos that is)

We launched this media outlet at the start of the 2015/16 season because we wanted to showcase the best moments of the Capitals in photos. Players, other blogs, and fans were already using and liking the pictures our photographer, Brittney Marcum, took at practice and during games so we thought, why not just create our own site to share those great for the fans, and of course the players.

Our name, Friends in Cold Places comes from a joke that Tom Wilson and Michael Latta liked and used so many of our pictures that we had become their “friends” around the ice–their private photographer. In these photos- Brittney took a picture of Latts, it was picked up by the Caps on the jumbo-tron during the next game, he liked it, so we printed it and gave it to him to honor his grandmother. And a new website was launched!!

We added a few stories about the Capitals that we thought you might want to read, and here we are today. We still take lots of photos and we love writing stories about the Capitals, the Hershey Bears, and the experiences we have following them. We hope you enjoy them as much as we enjoy taking photos and writing.

So,  excuse us now if we toot our own horn a little bit! Continue reading “They Like Us, They Really Like Us (Our Caps photos that is)”

Hershey Bears Spotlight: Travis Boyd

Today’s Hershey Player Spotlight turns to Travis Boyd, a 24 year old (25 in September) centerman who has more than earned his spot in the lineup. Apparently GMBM thinks so too after yesterdays two-year contract extension- Congrats to you Travis!!

Travis comes from a full four years in the University of Minnesota program which also produced the likes of Nate Schmidt (they were roommates), Erik Haula, Phil Kessel, and Kyle Okposo. As you can tell the pedigree of players from the university really speaks for itself.

In 2011 prior to playing college hockey Travis was drafted in the 2011 NHL Draft in the sixth round 177th overall. At the time he was playing in the USHL for the US National team and was scoring an average of 5-8 goals per season accompanied by 10-13 assists. Low numbers by NHL standards but it was a start. Travis’ numbers continued to rise the longer he played for Minnesota, beginning with one goal in his freshmen year all the way up to 19 in his senior year.

Though he only played two games for the Bears in the 2014-15 season he managed a goal and an assist. The upward trend continued for Boyd in 2015-16 season scoring 21 goals and 32 assists, showing that he has excellent passing skills and knows how the get it to the net, while being a team player. Boyd reminds us a lot of Nicklas Backstrom in this respect. Although Boyd’s numbers seem to be sliding ever so slightly in regards to goals, his assists are still sky rocketing with 47 in the 2016-17 season and 32 the following year.

Travis has now had the opportunity to play a few games in the NHL  recording his first point in March of this year and playing one game in the Stanley Cup Finals 2018.

All this to say that Boyd is the kind of guy you want to have on your line every night and in the locker room. We have had so many great experiences with Travis in Hershey, he is always willing to sign for fans and take a picture too.

 

Caps Take the Glow Out of the Knights

At long last, DC had an NHL Final Championship round played at home when the Caps welcomed the Vegas Golden Knights to the capital city.

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It was an amazing night in which fans fought the humidity and the rain to watch inside and outside of Capital One Arena. We’ll have more of those photos later.

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Needless to say, Caps fans were pretty darn excited when the Eastern Conference champs took the ice.

For a while it looked like it was the Ovi vrs Schmidt Show, as old friend Nate Schmidt did his best to keep Ovi off the score board. It worked pretty well for the first period which ended with a couple of pings off the post but no goal by either team.

The second period heated up with a couple of power plays, including one brought on by chief Golden Boy Marc-Andre Fleury:

Ovi finally shook off Schmidt and scored! It was a thing of beauty!

And then there was Kuznetsov, who the Knights tried to take out in game two, only to have him return to skate and score a jaw-dropping goal!!

So that brings us to the third period. Back and forth we go. And then BAM Devante Smith-Pelly, with a little help from The Beagle, scores on a wrister to make it 3-1 Caps.

What an incredible feeling to be there and see this what team can do when all the pieces fall in place. They now take the series lead 2-1.

Next game is Monday at 8pm. Fall Out Boy will be performing on the street before the game. Come down to watch in the street if you don’t have tickets inside. We will have more coverage inside and outside for you!

We’ll leave you with these images for now. More after we dig through the thousands we took- no really, thousands!

How could they not win when Wonder Woman shows up for them?!?

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Photos by Brittney Marcum

Jekyll or Hyde: The Caps Season To Date and Why it May be a Good Thing – The Defense

Part 1 of 3

As the 62nd game of the season is fast approaching lets look at the Washington Capitals season so far and what we should expect over the last 20 games heading into the playoffs. For the record, as long as the team is playing well heading into the playoffs, I could care less about seeding. It’s NEVER helped this team before. That being said, I do believe the Caps can finish with home ice at least in the first round.

When the Capitals entered the 2017/18 NHL season they did so with much different expectations than the previous two seasons from most fans and hockey minds outside DC. Many had the Caps relegating to a “changing of the guard” position, but within the dressing room they felt they could still compete for division title, and in turn take another run at a painfully long awaited Stanley Cup. So far this season the Caps have been a little Jekyll and Hyde. If they get somewhere in middle come playoffs, who knows what will happen. They looked great at times and at then we see a team that “Caps-izes” (thanks RMNB – great term) like they are waiting for April. On some nights Evgeny Kuznetsov has looked like a Hart trophy nominee earning the big contract but also has went 26 games without a shot…. well I’m exaggerating a tad but you all know what I mean.

With the losses of Justin Williams, Marcus Johannson, Nate Schmidt, and Karl Alzner the Caps knew they would have to make changes not only in player personnel but also adapt to a much quicker NHL. One of the best examples of that starts with captain Alex Ovechkin, who came into camp having been through an altered fitness regime during the off season and has looked lighter on his skates and sits atop the NHL goal scoring column after 57 games with 34 goals and inches closer to career goal 600.

The Defense

Let’s look at the defense from whom we will need to Unleash The Fury come the 2018 NHL post-season:

Alzner was not a surprise loss as his UFA status forced the Caps to let him walk. The loss of Schmidt to the expansion draft however has likely cost the Caps most as his speed and puck maneuverability are clearly missed on the Caps back end and has forced the team to employ two rookie defensemen in Madison Bowey and Christian Djoos for the first time in over 20 years. Djoos has been the more impressive of the two so far as he’s shown great mobility and is not afraid to join the rush. He has three goals and 13 points so far and has also shown a propensity for dancing around opposing forwards in the Ozone. I’m expecting big things from this kid down the road.  Bowey is still finding his way in his own end more so but has chipped in 12 assists while still looking for his elusive first goal in the NHL.

The Caps need to keep letting the kids learn. I am not opposed to a visit to the press box once in awhile, but so long as they are learning from mistakes, the club will be better of down the road. If it comes at the cost of a game now then so be it. I suspect them minutes would be drastically reduced come playoff time anyhow. I will say this much, Djoos needs to be in the lineup every night.

Brooks Orpik could use some “rest” once in a few games I believe and if his veteran coaching is so coveted, maybe some scouting by him from up top wouldn’t hurt a few games between now and April. While he is still not afraid to make a big hit and is a physical presence, Orpik is not able to keep up to the play at times. It’s not a matter of fitness (he may be the best on the team in that regard) it’s just his foot speed is, well, slow to be nice. And in the new age NHL, as Milan Lucic et al is finding out, the game is in the passing lane and Orpik is in the travel lane. Now to say Orpik is a liability may be a stretch. He still averages close to three hits a game and remains a blocking machine where he’ll likely finish with the most blocks he’s had since 2013/14. That is a thankless job.

John Carlson has been in the top 3 in defense scoring most of the season and was carrying the Caps during the Niskanen injury. His numbers are up across the board. This is making it a very tricky situation this summer as his impending UFA status likely is going to make him a very rich free agent. He leads the team in takeaways and has a chance at having the most takeaways by a Capital since 2011/12 (62-Oshie 2015-16) with 40 after 57 games. While he tends to have many giveaways on the stat sheet, this can be expected from a defenseman playing more than 25 minutes a game. Sitting third in team scoring he also has been producing on the power play currently only behind Ovechkin in points. A lot of that is attributed to being the setup passer for the howitzer we know as Ovi, but his right handedness is an effective weapon as he can lay the puck out for Ovi.

An injury to Matt Niskanen seemingly has altered his play somewhat since his return. His minutes have not decreased much but with only 13 assists in 43 games it seems unlikely he will get close to last years 34 in 78 games. He had 67 giveaways all of last year and already has accumulated 50 this season. That’s not the Niskanen we have seen in last few seasons. The Caps need Nisky of 2016/17 in the playoffs if they want to go deep.

Dimitry Orlov was signed last summer to a six year, $36.6M deal by the club and he’s responded by already matching his career high in goals (8 in 2015-16) after 57 games played. He’s taking on more tough minutes averaging almost three more per game and has shown more confidence in carrying the puck with his wheels. His slap shot remains his biggest weapon and I think he needs to use it more and his play in his own end has improved with already more takeaways this season (35) then last seasons 34. Still susceptible to the bad penalty and is risky at the offensive blue line but the risks are getting less and the rewards are more. Let’s hope that continues.

Taylor Chorney is admirably filling in as the veteran is a consummate teammate and has been ready when called on. Really, there is not much to add here. I don’t expect Chorney back with the squad next year.

This is the first time in three seasons that the Capitals will enter the playoffs not as a favorite and most in Rock The Red country likely feel how I do. Who cares? This team has been picked to win before and well, let’s not go down that foxhole. The Capitals likely have a better chance of going on a deep run and making all our dreams come true when we least expect it. With the last two seasons “going for it” ending in heartbreak to the Pens (again) in game 7, this season may as well be good as any. Are we getting the Jekyll or Hyde or something in the middle this spring??

I will look at the forwards and goalies next week.

Go Caps Go