Brooks Orpik Ends NHL and Capital’s Career

The Washington Capitals announced Tuesday morning that defenseman Brooks Orpik has hung up his NHL skates. According to the press releases, Orpik has this to say: I’ve been extremely lucky to have the best job in the world for many years, but my body is telling me it is time to move on to something new,” said Orpik. “I’m excited for more family time and to experience a lot of the things that being a professional athlete forces you to miss out on. Thank you to the Washington Capitals and Pittsburgh Penguins for giving me the opportunity to play against the best athletes in the world. I’ll be forever grateful for the memories and relationships that hockey has given me.” Continue reading “Brooks Orpik Ends NHL and Capital’s Career”

Gary Bettman Upholds Tom Wilson’s 20-Game Suspension

After a hearing that lasted seven hours last week involving NHL commissioner Gary Bettman and Washington Capitals right winger Tom Wilson involving his appeal on his 20-game suspension to start the year, Bettman announced his decision on Thursday afternoon. There will be no reduction to his suspension.  Continue reading “Gary Bettman Upholds Tom Wilson’s 20-Game Suspension”

Tips for Dealing with the Bye Week


This week we are all struggling through the bye week. This is the first time bye weeks has  been enforced. I, as well as many Caps fans, are agonizing through Capitals withdrawal. I have a few tips that have made the bye week more bearable.

The timing for the bye week is very unfortunate in that we don’t have football anymore and baseball hasn’t started yet.


Do:

Watch NBCSN anytime that hockey is on. I know Pierre can be annoying, as is Milbury, but this is the only hockey we can get. There are teo games tonight: Blues vs. Red Wings with puck drop at 7:00 PM. At 10:30 there is a game between the Panthers and the Sharks.

Focus on the Wizards or any other basketball team. Sports always makes sports absences better. The next game is tomorrow at 7:00 PM. 

Read up on the Hershey Bears. The players playing on the Bears could be our future.
Watch Goon, Slapshot, Mighty Ducks, Mystery Alaska (etc.) these movies are good for dealing for days without hockey.

Watch Caps goals and replays on youtube, The Goal is a good one to watch.

Read articles about different NHL teams or the Caps.

Root against the Penguins, Flyers, and/or Rangers

Eat ice cream, ice creams always makes things better.
  

Don’t:

Count down the days it makes the bye week feel longer. 
Root for the Penguins (that’s a given!)
Also don’t cheer Crosby on. 

I hope these suggestions makes the bye week more bearable. Remember Saturday isn’t that far away. Also this is a chance for us to take a step back and look at the other teams to see how they’re doing. especially the teams we might be playing in the playoffs. 

The Laich Slide

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The Capitals have been known for making big trades throughout their history. In 2004, longtime Capitals fan favorite Peter Bondra was traded to the Ottawa Senators for 21-year-old newbie Brooks Laich. He played his first full season in 2006 after playing up and down with the Hershey Bears in 2005 during the NHL Lockout. For the past 12 seasons, Laich has become a hometown favorite and is the only player that has been with the team as long as Alexander Ovechkin.

bondra

Laich has been one of the leaders in the locker room, a positive influence on younger players but he has also been outspoken about the team,  especially after a loss. There are times that he has very positive things to say about the team and his teammates. He is never one to hide his opinion. For example, he was outspoken during the 2012 collective bargaining agreement negotiations saying, “At some point you have to dig your heels in and fight.” The players dug in and the NHL owners declared a lock-out.

No matter how he plays, Laich has endeared himself to fans. In April 2010, Washington Post reporter Dan Steinberg shared the story of how Brooks stopped on his way home (in his suit mind you) to help a woman and her 14-year old daughter change a tire—the same night the Caps were eliminated from the playoffs. Ever the gentleman! He has always been the private one—until he met Julianne Hough, his fiancé. He is now a bit of a celebrity, turning up at Hollywood events to support her (like “Grease Live!”) and is mentioned in numerous articles–including a rather revealing article in Cosmopolitan. He’s still just as humble as ever, often giving props to his teammates at every opportunity,.

There are those who think that his best years may be behind him. In 735 career NHL games, he has notched 323 points with 133 goals and 190 points. He recently passed Rod Langway’s eighth place hold on 726 games played in Caps franchise history.. From 2007 to 2012 he averaged 20 goals a season with a career high of 25 goals in the 2009/10 season. Perhaps more impressive was his assists average of 27.4 per season during that timeframe. For many years, Laich has been a solid player and key contributor to the Caps top nine players. Then 2012 brought injury. Between the lockout and numerous injuries, he only played nine games that shortened season.

He missed the better part of the 2012-2013 season for a number of injuries including a groin and shoulder injury. In February 2012, Laich took an awful hit in the Caps game against the Bruins and was assisted off the ice. Though he initially denied the injury, Russian Machine Never Breaks reported that he was seen later walking out on crutches and in a knee brace.

Unfortunately, this season has been rough for the Caps veteran. Although he has been much healthier this season, in 52 games he only has one goal and five assists as he centers the fourth line. He hasn’t scored since November 5 against the Boston Bruins. Despite the hope that this season would be his breakout season, the numbers prove otherwise.

So what is next for Brooksy? He has one year left on his contract with a lot of buzz that the Caps could trade him. The question remains: who would risk trading for an injury prone 32-year old points-declining player? Or will he finally break out and redeem himself with Washington fans? Only time will tell…

Written by Christopher Johnson and Maggie Marcum

Photos by Mel Abernethy, Brittney Marcum, and the NHL Capitals

Hockey and the Concussion Protocol

Once again the debate about the concussion protocol in hockey is up for discussion. Following a tussle between Montreal Canadiens defenseman Nathan Beaulie and Columbus Blue Jackets left winger and captain Nick Foligno on December 1, 2015, many questioned whether Beaulie, who suffered a glaring blow to the jaw, should have been sent to the box or off for medical evaluation. On the heels of the Brandon Dubinsky (Blue Jackets) suspension brought on by a back-side cross-check to Penguins Captain Sidney Crosby, and in preparation of the NHL Board of Governors meeting next week, it might be a good time to talk about concussions and the impact they have on players. This discussion normally begins with a reference to Crosby and his concussion history.

Let’s journey back to New Year’s Day 2011 in Pittsburgh. The air was cold as thousands of hockey fans gathered at Heinz field; a stadium usually known for its other tenants, The Pittsburgh Steelers. Today the football field was transformed into an NHL regulation size rink. Quite possibly the biggest events for hockey fans, with the exception of the Stanley Cup Playoffs, the Winter Classic is played once a year on New Year’s Day. In 2011 the game was between rival teams, the Washington Capitals and the Pittsburgh Penguins. Sidney Crosby and Alex Ovechkin, arguably two of the best players in the NHL, were on opposite sides this night so it was inevitable that the game would be competitive. But no one could have imagined what would happen. Continue reading “Hockey and the Concussion Protocol”