Alex Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom Continue to Show They’re the Perfect Pair

michael banner 2Nicklas Backstrom and Alex Ovechkin have been together for oh so long, but everyone knows that. Linemates or simply teammates, the duo had been through a lot and this past June they finally shared a moment together that they waited their whole careers for. While both players are dynamic superstars, they both contrast in personality. Ovechkin seems like the outgoing type while Backstrom is often quiet, but as the old saying goes “opposites attract.” The duo shined in the Capitals’ 6-3 win over the New Jersey Devils on Friday night at Capital One Arena to win their seventh in a row.  Continue reading “Alex Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom Continue to Show They’re the Perfect Pair”

Nicklas Backstrom Passes Peter Bondra for Franchise Points Mark in Capitals 4-1 Win Over Trotz’s Islanders

michael banner 2The Washington Capitals are on fire and teams are having trouble extinguishing them. Their latest victim was the New York Islanders, whom the Capitals dominated in a 4-1 win several hours after players reunited with their former coach Barry Trotz and presented him with his well-earned, well-deserved Stanley Cup ring.
Continue reading “Nicklas Backstrom Passes Peter Bondra for Franchise Points Mark in Capitals 4-1 Win Over Trotz’s Islanders”

Peter Bondra: Capitals Epic Legend

Before Alex Ovechkin would shake up the Capitals franchise, Peter Bondra was one of the Capitals leading scorers and franchise legends. In the 2004 NHL Draft, the Washington Capitals organization and the fans saw the rise of a new era when Ovechkin was chosen as the first overall pick. The GR8 has received many individual awards and achievements and as the team’s captain, led the Caps to three Presidents’ Trophy (2009/10, 2015/16 and 2016/17) and the long-awaited Stanley Cup. This has become the era of challenging Bondra’s hold on franchise milestones! Continue reading “Peter Bondra: Capitals Epic Legend”

Former Caps Peter Bondra is the new Director of Alumni Affairs & Business Development

One of the greatest idols in the Washington Capitals history is back! Not as a player, unfortunately, because he would be of great value alongside Alex Ovechkin. Now, Peter Bondra is the new Director of Alumni Affairs and Business Development.

Born in the Ukraine, Bonzai, as he is called by the Caps fans, moved to Slovakia, by which he won the gold medal at the 2002 World Cup and was the scorer of two goals in the final, defeating Russia by 4-3. The Slovak was selected by the Capitals in the 1990 Draft and was one of the big names in the decade and later in franchise history. He participated in the conquer of the first and only until then of the Eastern Conference in 1998. The team defeated the Buffalo Sabers and was swept by the Detroit Red Wings in the Stanley Cup final. In 2004, Bondra was traded to the Ottawa Senators and it was possible to observe the player in tears at the press conference that announced his trade. He also played for Atlanta Trashers and Chicago Blackhawks. He retired in 2007, appearing in the alumni games, alongside important Caps former players.

Bondra was the main name of the team before the Ovechkin era. In fact, the Slovak was the top scorer of the team, which would be overcome by Ovi. By the Caps, Bonzai still holds the record for shorthanded goals in a season (6 goals, 1994-95), more shorthanded career goals (32 goals) and more game-winning goals in a season (13 goals in 1997- 98).

Now the Caps legend will work with event development, alumni issues, revenue and community development. Bondra said he was looking forward about working with the Caps. “Washington has always been my home and I try to help this organization in any way I can,” he said.

One question that remains among the fans is: when will the Capitals retire his #12 jersey? After all, an eternal idol, which until today is remembered by the fans and which has contributed so much to the development of hockey in the capital, deserves to have his name immortalized.

Oldies but Goodies Back for Capitals Alumni Game

Last night the Capitals gave us the experience of virtual time traveling by putting Capitals alumni on the ice to face off against one another. It was a very cool experience. The teams wore Red jerseys vs White jerseys for the match up.

alumni with refs

A few notable alums on the Red team were Capital’s legend Peter Bondra, Capitals current CSN analyst Craig Laughlin and their coach, former Capital Yvon Labre.

The White team also had some notable players like Olaf Kolzig, Mike Knuble, and Alan May. They were coached by another Capitals Legend, Rod Langway.

The game ended up 8-7 in the RED team’s favor due to a late game winner by Laughlin.

It was so much fun seeing the old guard playing together. There was a fan favorite for all the viewers!! 

Happy Belated Birthday from Brazil, Bonzai!

Our favorite Slovak Caps ever turned 49 last Tuesday, Feb. 7. I wanted to write about it at the day, but some obligations changed my plans.

bondra

Drafted in 1990, Peter Bondra is one of the Caps legends and my favorite player ever. In 1,081 games played in the NHL, he recorded 892 points, with 503 goals and 389 assists.

Before Alex Ovechkin, the right-winger used to be the Caps’ player with most goals and points (472 and 825, respectively), but is still as the Caps’ player with most shorthanded goals in a season (6 in 1994-95, tied with Mike Gartner). He holds the records for most shorthanded goals in a career (32) and most game-winning goals in a season (13 in 1997-98) during the same season the Caps won their first (and only) appearance in the Stanley Cup. They lost to the Red Wings by 4-0.

As a Washington Capitals player between 1990-2004, Bonzai has spent 14 of his 18 years in the league.

Hockey is, slowly, becoming popular in Brazil nowadays. But it was in 2000, when the Capitals had that eagle and Capitol logo, that with a lack of internet and video games, became my hockey source of time. I was a lonely hockey fan and I choose my favorite team and my favorite player. The Caps’ eternal #12 was the fastest and the top overall in the team, with 90.

As his favorite Caps fan, at least in Brazil, it’s with so much happiness I watch him attending to a lot of the Capitals’ events, like the Alumni game in 2011. Last year, he surprised a Caps British fan. Another great reason was recently, when he provided great help to Fatima Al Ali, a female hockey player from United Arab Emirates to visit the US as part of “Hockey is for Everyone”.


I have no words to describe the satisfaction that the choice I made when I was six years old still brings me happiness 17 years later.  Seeing your childhood hero being as great person as he was as a player, that he’s still so present in the fans’ memories, the Caps itself as an organization, and making such a difference in other people’s lives is inspirational.

Caps, Abu Dhabi, and a Young Woman’s Dream in Photos

Back in November 2016, former Capital’s player Peter Bondra took off to participate in a hockey clinic in the United Arab Emirates and met an incredible female hockey player in the process. That young woman, Fatima Al Ali, so impressed Bondra with her stickhandling abilities that by December he had crafted a plan to bring her to Washington DC to meet the Capitals.

fatima-pregameWednesday, after patiently watching practice from the bench, Alex Ovechkin invited her to join him on the ice.  Fatima was all smiles. We can’t help but wonder what Ovi was saying to her as they talked about hockey.  ovi-welcome-to-ice

 

 

 

 

 

Continue reading “Caps, Abu Dhabi, and a Young Woman’s Dream in Photos”

We’ve Got Friends in Hot Places Too: FiCP Welcomes Luis to the Team

A few weeks back our contributor and Twitter King Chris Cleveland was complaining that he needed another guy on our girl team. I knew he was right but we also wanted to make sure we added the right person. And then it came to me; ask Luís Felipe Rodrigues, better known by many of you as @WCapitalsBR (Capitals Brasil) on Twitter. And he agreed. He’ll be writing on a regular basis about life as a Caps fan outside of the country and some pieces about his perspective on the Caps. Please welcome him here and give him a follow on Twitter too. 

Here is an introduction to our newest team member:

Where do you live?

I’m from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, born and raised. The place is a reference of summer, beaches, sun and our most popular sport, soccer. I love soccer, but I love hockey with the same intensity.

You recently said you graduated with a history degree? What do you do?

I’ve got my History degree last December, now I want a Master degree in Medieval History. I also would love to write about hockey. I’m in the Navy since 2013, same year I founded the Washington Capitals Brasil.

How did you come to like hockey and the Caps?

It was around 2000-2001, I was six or seven years old at the time. My cousin called me to play the game he bought: NHL Face Off 2000 (for PlayStation One). I always liked winter sports, even living in a tropical country. So, I fell in love with the sport at that very moment. My cousin chose Colorado Avalanche because the logo is a big “A”, and his name is Adriano. I chose the Caps because of that weagle logo; the blue one was my favorite jersey. The player I like most it’s Peter Bondra.

How do you watch or listen?

Here in Brazil, just ESPN has the NHL’s broadcasting rights, but it’s just a few Caps games. It’s just two guys, Ari Aguiar (play-by-play announcer) and Thiago Simões (analyst) are hockey fans and doing a great job, but it’s just one channel and it’s 30 teams in the NHL (now 31, with Las Vegas). So, when it doesn’t broadcast Caps’ games, I use streaming websites, because we don’t have channels like CSN here and the NHL GameCenter is kinda expensive, because we must pay in dollars if we want to get it. One dollar at this moment is worth around R$ 3,20 (Brazilian Real). Sometimes I listen to John Walton in the App.

How hard is it to follow since English is not your first language?

I have loved the English language since I was a kid. So, I studied hard by myself, because the courses are expensive here and it takes some time. You have to do a monthly payment and also, buy the material, like books. I think I can write pretty well, but I need to practice my speaking and listening skills. But I’m improving it lately.

Have you been to a game?

Unfortunately, no. Now it’s 17 years since I started to love hockey and it’s a big dream I MUST realize as soon as I can. It’s taking longer than I expected. I was close last year, I tried to get the Tourist VISA, but it was denied. I can’t wait to see the Caps.

You tweet a lot and have a blog- are there many followers or hockey fans in Brazil?

Thanks to internet and the broadcasting on ESPN, people are knowing hockey. It’s getting known slowly, but it’s a progress. Gradually, people are contacting us and asking to join our WhatsApp group. We have groups like Capitals Brasil on WhatsApp and NHL Brasil on Facebook and WhatsApp. We have followers from Brazil and abroad, mainly USA.

I’d like to take the opportunity and say “thanks” to all the Americans who follow and interact with us. Some of them said very kind words of support and admiration to our project. They’re also part of our history. And, representing the Washington Capitals Brasil, I’d like to say thank you to FiCP for your invitation, I loved the interview and you girls’ project is great!

So there you have it friends. We are thrilled to have Luis collaborating with us. We are also really excited to see the Caps and the hockey community growing outside of the traditional markets. You’ll be hearing more from Luis soon.

If you would like to join our team, just send us an email at friendsincoldplacesdc@gmail.com and tell us how you would like to contribute–especially if you would like to be part of our Caps Friends Around the World.

The Laich Slide

laich

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