Caps Home Opener: Full Day of Celebrations

Finally, we are turning the DMV R E D!!

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Fancy Slapshot Red Carpet 2015

The Caps home opener against the Islanders starts at 7 pm but there is plenty to do before then.
Sign up, if you haven’t already for the 8 am Best Buddies – Strolling with Nolan Caps Team – walk. Details are here.

Check out morning skate at Kettler Iceplex at 10:15 am. Click here for info on getting photos and autographs with players. Given their tight schedule, they may not have time to stop so don’t be too disappointed.

Stop by team store at Kettler Iceplex if you need to pick up a new jersey for the game-or even a cowbell!!

Head downtown early for the Caps Red Carpet Walk at 3:30pm. There will be plenty of stuff to do on F Street until…watermarked42016-10-10-2016

Doors open at 6 pm. Head down to the glass for warmups by 6:30.

And then UNLEASH the FURY and prepare for a great night of hockey!!

The View from Behind the Capitals Braden Holtby

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The Holtbeast Stare!

 

I sit behind the Caps net where they defend both first and third periods. My goodness I picked a great section and great year to sit in that section.

Watching Braden Holtby become an All Star, Vezina Trophy finalist, record tying, elite goaltender was truly amazing.

Every game I felt I was helping Holts defend the net. When a goal would go in, I felt no pressure or stress because of the calmness of Holts’ routine where he squirts his water bottle. To watch a droplet fall actually makes you concentrate on that and not the celebration going on from the opposing team.  He’s not shaking his head or slamming his stick; he just gets that much more focused on the next shot and makes incredible saves to lift the Caps back into the game. image

Watching Holtby’s game day routine is quite a great experience.  It starts with him coming out an hour before the game to the player’s bench in his workout clothes. Even that is a routine: a Caps sweatshirt and red shorts. Holts starts his pre-game routine of eye exercises, going through locking his focus to the nets and warming his hands up throwing his stick around in his hand.  image  Next the Caps take the ice for warmups and Holts now in his goalie gear will wet his hair with a water bottle (this happens quite a bit throughout a game too) then dazzling the crowd with a series of moves in the face off circle on each side of the ice. Splits, sliding side to side and shaking his upper body around. Gosh, I could do a whole article on Holtby’s routines! But these routines help Braden focus and fans love to watch, take pictures and video all the routines. Most of the fans in my section change from game to game, but every time Holtby turns to spray water from his water bottle, cameras and phones go up to capture a memory of  the Holtby routine.

I have learned a lot about the goalie position sitting behind the net.  How quick the puck travels and how a goalie tracks that puck.  The job of the visiting team to screen the goalie and how hard that is when you have defenseman like John Carlson, Karl Alzner, Brooks Orpik defending our goalie and net.

The goalie can steal a game for a team, and I have watched Braden Holtby do that this season, making saves and denying shots from becoming goals.  The Holtbeast could slow down a game by making a save after a flurry of shots from the other team and give the Caps a chance to regroup and change the momentum of the game.

I renewed my seat for this next season in the same section.  I look forward to learning much more about the great sport of hockey and the goalie position, actually all the positions but focusing on our goalie. And taking  more great pictures for all of you to share what I enjoy!!

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A very big thank you to Braden Holtby for an unbelievable season from your fans!

Explaining the Calder Cup

The Hershey Bears hold the record for most American Hockey League (AHL) wins of the Calder Cup (11) as well as the first and second place team to win the Cup. So what does it mean? What is the story behind the Calder Cup?

As the AHL explains it, the Calder Cup gets its name from Frank Calder, the first president of the AHL. Mr. Calder played a pivotal role in making a name for the AHL. The trophy was first awarded in 1938.

The Bears have been in the final run for the Cup more times (22) than any other team; and they have lost (11) more times than any other AHL team. Many current Capitals and notable past players have their name etched on the trophy. Some coaches including Barry Trotz (1994), Bruce Boudreau (2006) can be found on the Cup.

Among the current Caps players whose names can be found on the Cup are:

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Jay Beagle (2x)DSC_0106

John Carlson (2x)DSC_0438

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There have only been three times in which the NHL and AHL affiliate have won the Stanley Cup and the Calder Cup: Montreal Canadiens (1976 and 1977) and the New Jersey Devil (1995), and Pittsburg Penguins (2015). Thankfully, that won’t happen again this year!

As all eyes in Washington shift to watch the Hershey Bears, we will be taking a closer look at prospects for the third and fourth line, and maybe even a couple defensemen who the Caps management might consider bringing up for permanent spots on the 2016/17 roster. Stay tuned for a deeper dive into the top prospects for the Caps.

Hershey: Where Caps Fans Place Their Hopes

After losing out on their chance to follow the Washington Capitals all the way to the final Stanley Cup challenge, Caps fans now place their hopes in the Hershey Bears. The Bears will enter the final charge for Calder Cup on Wednesday, June 1st.

Other than the fact that many of us can’t stomach the final round of the Stanley Cup because a certain team from Pennsylvania is playing—this is a great chance to see how some Caps prospects play under pressure.

Your AHL Bears Playoff Leaders:

DSC_0601Carter Camper has been the playoff’s number two top scorer to date in the AHL, after former Bear Connor Carrick who ended the playoffs with 18 points. (we sure do miss him on the team)

Jakub Varna leads the team in playoff goals at seven—he also has six assists. He is a shooting machine with 37 shots on goal (SOG) during the playoffs.

Carter Camper leads in overall points (15) with six goals and nine assists. He has 29 SOG in the playoffs.

Chris Bourque has proven why bringing him back to the Bears this year was the right decision. He is third in the overall point count with 10: four goals and six assists. There doesn’t seem to be anything he won’t do to get in front of the net.DSC_0561

And finally, let’s talk Zach Sill. Caps fans had a chance to see a bit of him this past season when he was called up to Washington to play. He rounds out the top lines with eight points: five goals and three assists. Another player that is driven to win; Sill seems to be everywhere ready to shoot.

DSC_0569The Bears have always had some pretty tremendous goalies and this year they again have two of the best in Justin Peters and Dan Ellis. Peters has been the goaltender of choice this year with Ellis only playing in two post-season games.

Happy Birthday Latta (All the Reasons we Love Latts in Photos)

Happy 25th birthday to our favorite Cap! (Oh who are we kidding, he is our favorite everything.)

This one goes out to our dedicated Michael Latta Fans!

We have had the privilege of getting to know Michael a little bit this season and have had a lot of fun taking pictures of him for you.

There is serious Latts.

There is roomie Latts.

There is shooting Latts.

There is silly Latts.

And last but certainly not least, there is son Latts.image1 (13)All we can hope for is that we will see Michael back on the ice come October. He is a restricted free agent which means it is time to negotiate a new contract. We think Michael has what it takes as a solid fourth liner. Trotz has said he brings a spark to the game (which is why we have nicknamed him Sparky)and you see that every time he is on the ice. He even took to fighting a bit more at the end of the regular season — much to our surprise.

Latta is good on the face off. Sparky has the right juice for a fourth liner. He isn’t overly expensive at this stage of his career. We need to see more ice time for him so that he can become the solid player the Caps need in their next run for the Cup. We recommend the Caps sign him up for another two years. And yes, we would take him over Mike Richards or Stan Galiev.

Happy Birthday Michael, and we really enjoyed getting to know you this season!

 

O what a Night-Oshie and the Caps take Down Pens in OT

The night started with lightups and loud, and we mean, LOUD fans. And thankfully the house was pretty red–hardly a Pens jersey could be seen! Well done friends!!!!

The game started like we expected, physical and fast.  Andre Burakovsky got things going with a little help from is friends Jason Chimera and John Carlson put the Caps on the board. The first period ended 1-0 Caps.

The second period started so slow we weren’t sure the were really playing. Fans thought there were lots of missed calls against Pens– probably right.

It was all good until the Pens (Ben Lovejoy) got one over on Holtby. Fans stayed loud and like the players, we weren’t giving up.

There was a lot of back and forth scoring; first Evgeni Malkin scored and then TJ Oshie got one past goaltender Matt Murry to even things out by the end of the second period. TJ came back in the third period, followed by Nick Bonino.

By the end of the third we were tied up again forcing the game into overtime.

The crowd could barely contain themselves.

OT started with a flurry of red nightsticks and horn blowing from Sam to get everyone one ready. Both teams clearly wanted the win, but it was Oshie who scored the game winning goal and the hats flew onto the ice!!!

The Pens challenged but nah- it was the Caps night.

We kind Of like this team a lot.

See ya Saturday for Game 2. Go CAPS.

Optional practice Friday at 12:15 at Kettler which means a handful of the tired players will be there. Pens will also be at Kettler for anyone interested…(be classy Caps fans)

Morning skate is scheduled for 10:15 Saturday followed by Game 2 at 8 pm.