Capitals Gave Fans Some Great Memories

Alright so the 2018/19 season didn’t go the Capitals way, but man did the summer of 2018 and the season of celebration that followed give fans memories that will last a lifetime. The best were those that included fan time with the Stanley Cup! Continue reading “Capitals Gave Fans Some Great Memories”

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

 

Changes to FiCP

Changes are happening at FiCP. Following the Capitals win over the LA Kings, Michael Marzzacco formerly announced to our followers that he is moving on to a new writing opportunity. We are really excited for him and wish him success there. He will let you know where he is soon. Continue reading “Changes to FiCP”

Just Another Day on the Ice for Returning Capitals

The mood on the ice at MedStar Capitals Iceplex was still lighthearted and yet focused.

Joining the workout on Monday for the first time were Dmitry Orlov, Michal Kempny, Madison Bowey, and TJ Oshie. Missing for a second day was Lars Eller. Continue reading “Just Another Day on the Ice for Returning Capitals”

The Trickle Begins

The season may not be underway just yet- but the boys are sure ready to get going and a few of our faves have even begun skating at MedStar Iceplex already! And we were more than ready to see them again!

Guys like Backstrom, Copley, Carlson, Gersich, and Eller are just a few that have returned to DC post-cup celly!

Even Nemo got in on the action today- suiting up for mini scrimmages and even taking sprints at the end of the skate with the guys- this is how you build a team friends!

BE SURE TO FOLLOW US FOR MORE EXCLUSIVE PRE-CAMP PHOTOS

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)”

Capitals Top 10 Moments of the Regular Season #6: Philipp Grubauer Tames the Bolts

One of the interesting things surrounding the Capitals improbable journey to the Stanley Cup was the goaltending saga. First, Philipp Grubauer played good but was unable to get a win. Later on in the season, Braden Holtby had a bit of a slump before a mental reset and the playoffs helped the Holtbeast regain his form.

Grubauer had his best season in Washington and his hot stretch began on Black Friday as the Capitals welcomed the Tampa Bay Lightning, who had an incredible season of their own which saw them dominate the Eastern Conference. Grubauer and the team came up big in the first of what would soon be many memorable wins against the Lightning.

Date: November 24, 2017

Result: Capitals 3, Lightning 1

Philipp Grubauer got off to a poor start but it wasn’t primarily his fault. For the most part, his starts would come in the back end of back-to-back affairs. Sometimes these instances came after a win the night before. Alas, Grubauer’s record heading into this Black Friday matchup was 0-5-1.

It wasn’t that Grubauer was playing bad. It was a variety of things. Most notably the backend as the Capitals were dealing with a young blue line filled with guys who had no prior NHL experience. Additionally, an injury to veteran Mat Niskanen was also a big blow.

The Lightning struck first 1:22 into the game on a power play goal from Vladislav Namestnikov. The Capitals would tie it late in the first with 1:24 left when Alex Ovechkin buried a one-timer from Tom Wilson.

Devante Smith-Pelly put the Caps ahead in the second on a give-n-go from Jay Beagle. Beagle would get the empty netter to give the Caps the 3-1 win.

In front of his parents, Grubauer gave his best performance of the season. He stopped 25-of-26 shots for a .962 save percentage. It would be the first of many occasions where Grubauer would come up big. His hot stretch while Braden Holtby needed the mental reset was a big reason as to why the Caps were able to not only make the playoffs but capture the Metropolitan Division and leading to better things to come.

What will moment #5 be?! Tune in next week to find out!

Miss any of the previous moments? Catch up below.

10. Capitals Top 10 Moments of the Regular Season: #10 A Comeback to Defeat the Rangers

9. Capitals Top 10 Moments of the Regular Season: #9 Nicklas Backstrom’s 200th Goal

8. Capitals Top 10 Moments of the Regular Season: #8 Ovechkin Scores Four Goals, Nathan Walker NHL Debut

7. Washington Capitals Top 10 Moments: Alex Ovechkin Dual Hat Trick

Hershey Spotlight: Jakub Vrana

Yeah yeah we know what you’re thinking about this spotlight “but he plays for the Caps.” Well that is true- but what is also true is that Jakub is on an entry-level contract from when he was drafted in 2014. If you do the math you would think his contract were up already, the  reason it isn’t is something called an entry-level slide.

This term refers to what happens to an ELC when a player has not played at least 10 games in the NHL in a season. The contract will then “slide” each season until this occurs. Jakub did not do that until the 2016-17 season which means his contract is good through the 2018-19 season. If the Caps do not ink a new deal before his contract expires he will become a restricted free agent and will also be ineligible for arbitration for another two seasons.

You all know how incredible Jakub Vrana is- from his play on the ice to his partying in the streets of DC. But just how good is he? And where did he come from?

Jakub was born in the Czech Republic in 1996 (22 years old) where he played for the majority of his early career prior to being drafted. He also put in a few years in the Swedish League from 2012-2014 with Linkopings HC where he earned the titles “Most Goals by a Junior” and “Most Points by a Junior” in his final season. He came to Hershey late in the 2014-15 season and played only three regular season games and 10 Calder Cup games. In those 10 games he scored two goals and four assists; impressive for a player straight off the plane from the Playoffs in Sweden. Jakub only lasted in Hershey for one full season (2015-16) before being snagged by the Capitals. In that season he made every single one of his 36 games played that season count (16 Goals, 18 Assists).

The numbers speak for themselves when it comes to Jakub Vrana. We told everyone we knew from the beginning that this kid was something special and that he as going to break out… and break out he did. His AHL totals are at 88 games, 35 goals, and 40 assists. He has played 94 games in the NHL regular season and has 33 points in the regular season, but has also played 23 Stanley Cup Games and scored a total of three goals and eight assists in the quest for this years Stanley Cup… which they WON!!!! Sorry not sorry for the #ALLCAPS…

Needless to say Jakub’s game is continuously developing and his moves are as slick as they come. Jakub reminds us A LOT of a young Ovechkin and we see his speed and sneaky shots taking him far in this league. We hope Vrana has the stamina to make it many years in the NHL and we get to see him flourish with the Capitals for seasons to come.

Read our other stories too:

Djoos

Bourque

Barber

Johansen

Boyd

Hobbs

Martin Fehervary, a Defenseman with Offensive Presence

Martin Fehervary, drafted as the 46th overall pick in the second round during the 2018 NHL Draft, has been signed by the Capitals to a three-year entry-level contract. The 18-year old defenseman from Bratislava, Slovakia seems to be a good addition to the offensive zone. Continue reading “Martin Fehervary, a Defenseman with Offensive Presence”

Capitals Development Camp Ends With Scrimmage And Hopes

Photos by Brittney Marcum Click Here

The Capitals concluded this year’s development camp with a high-paced game in which some players really stood out. Kettler Capitals Ice Plex was packed for the game, although some fans braved the heat for a chance with the Stanley Cup – more from our team later.

Scrimmage

The group was divided into Team Red and Team White. Out of play today were Lucas Johansen and Kristofers Bindulis.dsc_0496

The goalies were also split between the two teams with Mitchell Gibson, Peyton Jones, and Frank Marotte in the net for White while Ilya Samsanov and Logan Thompson protecting the net for Team Red.

Scrimmages are short bursts of play and the prospects have a limited time to show their skills to coaches as management. Watching from rafters were the new Caps coach Todd Reirden, Olie Kolzig (professional development coach and former goalie goalie mentor), Blaine Forsythe, Mitch Korn, as well as GM Brian MacLellen. Not that that added any pressure to the guys hoping to get to the show soon.

The game was full of lots (we mean LOTS) of hits between the guys. And some decent scoring too!!!

Goal makers today included:

Eric Florchuk (Red)

Mark Simpson (White)

Sebastian Walfridsson (White)

Shane Gerish (Red)

Chase Priskie (White)

Final score 4 – 2 Team White!

We had a few favorite standouts today and we will dive deeper into their play and potential in a few features later this summer. For now, let’s take a look at some of them:

Connor Hobbs is our number one player from camp and the scrimmage. He is everywhere on the ice, reading where the puck goes and getting there quickly. Everyone we spoke with today mentioned him. And there is something different in his play. A definite level of confidence we haven’t seen in previous camps.

Cooper Zech, a defenseman who at 5’9″ and 161 pounds was a real powerhouse. We liked him from day one and he confines to impress us in the scrimmage.watermarked24(2018-06-30-1552)

Shane Gerish is the real deal. He has fast feet, good hands control, great in the corners, and lots of control. Oh and he can score too! He had a goal and an assist today. We can’t wait to see him at training camp!watermarked28(2018-06-30-1552)

Jonas Siegenthaler had full control today. He has a new maturity in the ice. Today we saw a nice move forward and a backhand pass that looked effortless for him. Like Hobbs, he seems to have a new-found confidence in his performance.watermarked19(2018-06-30-1551)

Chase Priskie was outstanding- including that sweet goal late in the second period. There is something about his style we like. You know he is there, and yet he can skate under the radar and make a play like he did today. He is one to keep an eye on.

And we just have to mention Patrick Giles. He was one of the three youngest players at camp this year. He is a local guy and his family and fellow teammates came out today to watch him. It was fun seeing their excitement for their buddy! Giles wasn’t drafted but he was invited to camp. He will be off to Boston College and we hope we get to see him back at camp again.

We will cover more of the players, especially those heading to Hershey and those drafted by the Capitals. It can take a while for the dream to come true, but this crew has a lot of potential.

Next up for the Caps? Capitals Training Camp in September.