Matt Niskanen Heads Back to Pennsylvania

Matt Niskanen has always been one of the more reserved Capitals’ players. We remember when he first came to Washington in 2014 after a successful career with the Pittsburgh Penguins. The Capitals announced Friday that they traded the defenseman to the Flyers for Radko Gudas. Continue reading “Matt Niskanen Heads Back to Pennsylvania”

In Surprise Move the Capitals Trade Matt Niskanen to Flyers

We all felt that Matt Niskanen would not return in a Capitals’ sweater for the 2019/20 season. And now we know where he will he playing and where we will face the talented defenseman next season. Continue reading “In Surprise Move the Capitals Trade Matt Niskanen to Flyers”

Capitals and Flyers Set For Sunday Afternoon Game (Update)

The Capitals will be on home ice as the Philadelphia Flyers join them for their final matchup of the regular season. The Caps have played the Flyers three times this season, winning all three games. A win Sunday will be the second time ever the Caps have swept the Flyers,

Fans can watch the game at 12:30 pm on NBC. Continue reading “Capitals and Flyers Set For Sunday Afternoon Game (Update)”

Friends in (Not So) Far Places; Wells Fargo Center

Yesterday, March 6th, 2019, was my 25th birthday. Coincidentally, our Washington Capitals took a short train ride up to Wells Fargo Center to take on the Philadelphia Flyers, hoping to extend their four-game win streak. Despite having attended nearly 70 Caps games over the last three years, I had never attended an away game. I saw this as the perfect opportunity to finally watch my favorite team take on a division rival in a barn that ISN’T Capital One Arena. Thanks to a friend of mine (whom I met through the Capitals), we snagged tickets through the Caps Road Crew, booked an Airbnb, and drove up to the City of Brotherly Love.

Now, I’ve heard a lot of rumors about Philly sports fans; how they’ll trash talk you, throw beer at you, and challenge you to meet them “out back after the game”. How they’ll burn their city, win or lose. With that being said, I am a strong believer that if you go into a situation looking for issues, you’ll find them. I personally just wanted to have a good time in a city I haven’t visited since that 6th grade field trip, in a new arena, and watch the Caps snag a win for my birthday. From DC, the trip is only about 2 1/2 hours, without traffic. Side note: if you’re ever in Philly, and want to try something new, Banana Leaf is a hole-in-the-wall Malaysian restaurant, and it was INCREDIBLE. Donning our jerseys, we set out on an adventure. After visiting a number of local sports bars, per locals’ recommendations, and befriending a handful of Flyers’ fans, we jumped on a free shuttle (shout out to Chickie & Pete’s) to Wells Fargo Center, thus officially entering ‘enemy territory’.

I’ll be honest with you, I truthfully didn’t know what to expect. I prefer to let my experiences speak for themselves, rather than rumors and anecdotal stories from others. While in line, we were lightly harried for wearing ‘Crapitals’ jerseys, but once we thanked them for beating Pittsburgh in the Stadium Series, it didn’t last. There’s nothing quite like a mutual distaste for a team to bring rivals together, eh? Once inside, we headed down to the glass for the pregame skate. Everyone I interacted with, Flyers fans and Caps fans, were wonderful. First of all, the new sound system at Wells Fargo Center…? Yeah, we need that at Capital One Arena. It is loud, it is reverberating, and it is deafening. There was A LOT of red in Wells Fargo, which was amazing to see. Being so close to DC, it is so easy to just drive up to Philly for a game. At times, our chants were louder than the home team. The cheers for Caps’ goals were LOUD. It seemed as though Flyers fans didn’t truly start ‘cheering’ until they scored their 3rd goal. But they BOO’ed. A lot. Despite being surrounded by Flyers’ fans, there was no name-calling, no beer-flinging. As someone who attends A LOT of hockey games, I am not bothered by the casual chirping and trash talking. We had started a “Let’s Go Caps!” chant, and was just told to “shut the f**k up”. No big deal. Some may be bothered by that, so if you’re easily triggered, I’d recommend you watch from the comfort of your own home. I, however, draw the line at targeting a single person. Generalized cheers and jeers are are just a part of hockey.

The only issue we had all night was a single woman a few seats down from us who took the chirps a little bit too far, and a man who screamed some unintelligible nonsense at us with three minutes left in the game. Belligerently, she began to swear at us, making excuses for her behavior because its ‘her house’ (which to an extent is acceptable). What at first was innocent haggling evolved into targeted ‘unsportsmanlike conduct’. Maturely, we were non-reactive. Regardless of venue, when you go to watch a hockey game (or any event), the best way you can respond to harassment, is to not respond at all. The row of guys in front of us would trash talk, we’d trash talk back, but at the end of the night, we shook hands and parted ways. We got some “Ovechkin Sucks!” and “Holtby Sucks!” chants, but that was to be expected. We sat in the lower bowl with the Caps Road Crew, so I assume we would have had more issues if we had sat in the upper levels. Again, if you’re looking for trouble, you will certainly find it. However, if you are simply looking to enjoy a good hockey game, and aren’t easily upset, I would recommend Wells Fargo Center to any hockey fan. The best part of all, the Capitals won 5-3 on the road, and extended their streak to 5 wins, and are again first in the Metropolitan. Overall, I would chalk this up to a positive experience, and I absolutely intend on returning to Wells Fargo Center in the future.

My ratings for Wells Fargo Center are as follows:

Parking: 4/10 (we took a shuttle to the arena but it looked like a massive logistical nightmare trying to leave WFC).

Security: 10/10 (they’re strict with what is allowed in [posters under 14×14, no flags, noisemakers], but they were super efficient and appeared to like their job).

Concourses: 8/10 (the upper concourse was recently renovated, but I didn’t see it, so I’m rating the lower level concourse. It is older, but it’s much larger and not as crowded, even during intermissions).

Prices: 6/10 (overpriced, but typical for the event).

Sound System: 10/10 (I would rate it higher if I could. Recently updated, deafening, reverberating, definitely the best part of the arena).

Jumbotron: 9/10 (large, presumably what the new Jumbotron will be like at Capital One Arena, cool information and statistics centrally located, didn’t obstruct view).

Seats: 5/10 (decently sized, but old and worn, and many were in the process of breaking).

Intermission Entertainment: 6/10 (two bouts of mites-on-ice, a performance by the cheer squad, and some weird commercial break games)

Hometown Fans: 8/10 (its Philadelphia, they’re passionate about their sports. There’s always that occasional bad apple wherever you go).

OVERALL RATING: 7.3/10

 

Braden Holtby and John Carlson Lead Metropolitan Division to All-Star Game Win

Washington Capitals goaltender Braden Holtby and defenseman John Carlson were well represented at the NHL All-Star Game in San Jose last week. With coach Todd Reirden at the helm of the Metropolitan Division, the trio contributed to wins over the Atlantic and Central Divisions to win the All-Star Game and split the grand prize of one million dollars. Continue reading “Braden Holtby and John Carlson Lead Metropolitan Division to All-Star Game Win”

Jakub Vrana’s Two Goals Lead Caps to 5-3 Win Over Flyers

DwcirR8WoAATySz

CAPITAL ONE ARENA – The Washington Capitals were leading the Philadelphia Flyers 2-1 just over the midway mark in the second period. The Flyers were looking for some kind of momentum to tie the game. As they had the puck in the Caps zone, Jakub Vrana stayed on his man and forced a turnover off an errant attempted pass from Sean Couturier and went off to the races. Vrana flew up the ice with only goaltender Mike McKenna to beat. Vrana went to his left and beat McKenna above the glove in the top corner.  Continue reading “Jakub Vrana’s Two Goals Lead Caps to 5-3 Win Over Flyers”

The Origin of Gritty: The Story Behind the NHL’s Newest Mascot

With the Washington Capitals taking on the Philadelphia Flyers on Tuesday night at Capital One Arena, FiCP takes a look at the fascination behind the NHL’s newest furry friend. Ever since the Flyers have introduced their new mascot Gritty to the entire hockey world in late September, hockey fans worldwide have became obsessed with the big eyed, orange furred phenomenon. Here is the story behind Gritty’s origin.  Continue reading “The Origin of Gritty: The Story Behind the NHL’s Newest Mascot”

Caps Down Two at Home: Game Photos Habs and Flyers

The Washington Capitals have lost their last three games, two of which they played at home. Mel was in the house to get photos for you. Unfortunately there aren’t many happy moments from the games; however, we love us some player pics.

Photos by Mel: @smel18 on Twitter

The Washington Capitals have lost their last three games, two of which they played at home. Mel was in the house to get photos for you. Unfortunately there aren’t many happy moments from the games; however, we love us some player pics.

flyers hand stretch

This represented the third loss in a row for the Caps, having lost to the NJ Devils upon their return from the Bye Week. Given that there was some degree of struggle before the Bye Week, we aren’t too inclined to blame it on the break. After three games one can hardly stay with the “rust” excuse.

Continue reading “Caps Down Two at Home: Game Photos Habs and Flyers”

Capitals-Flyers Ovechkin Evens the Score

The Caps-Flyers game has had its moments. So so many times the Caps came close to scoring.

Flyers got on the board first and the Capitals kept at it. Holtby has been grand!

But it is our Captain that once again has elevated the game with a goal at the 19:43 mark. He now has 29 for the season!

Maybe he had some extra inspiration today?!

Capitals Defense Struggles

We knew there would be some growing pains this year for the Capitals and Saturday we saw how real the problem is. Matt Niskanen is on long-term injured reserve (LTIR) and will be out for at least 10 games or 24 days. That was a blow to the blue line.

With Nisky out the door opened for Madison Bowey to finally see his NHL debut. We were pretty excited about it as we wrote Saturday. Unfortunately it was not as great a debut for him as it was for Hershey teammates Djoos and Walker. For example, he lost his stick and was outplayed by the Flyers which led to a goal by Wayne Simmonds. He ended the game a -3.

Bowey wasn’t alone with the defense struggles. John Carlson had two penalties for slashing, a turnover, and an assist. We need to see more consistency in his play. Brooks Orpik, with a -2 also recorded an assist. More consistency issues. Dmitry Orlov, while shooting at the net also had a -4. Awful for him. And Aaron Ness wasn’t really visible this game.

The Caps just couldn’t get the momentum to  stop the fast skating and slick passing of the Flyers. 

On the positive side, Christian Djoos was the only defenseman ending with a +1. Even when the Caps lost to Pittsburgh it was Djoos who stood out. Read more here.

  • Nick Backstrom remains solid with a beauty of a goal- a five game streak with 11 points. And Jakub Vrana is finding his groove with a goal himself. 
  • Evgeny Kuznetsov now has 11 assists. We are ready for his first goal of the season!

All-in-all, it was a brutal game. The forwards didn’t seem to connect, the defense wasn’t where it needed to be, and Grubi had a few errors of his own. There were too many turnovers. All part of the process of a team early in the season that is adjusting to change. They have time to focus on those gaps in performance and right the ship. 

Caps practice Monday, participate in a season ticket holder event, and practice again Tuesday before they meet the Maple Leafs at home at 7 pm.