March 12, 2020: the day hockey came to an abrupt end with the announcement from the commissioner that he would take a pause as the United States and Canada began to see the spread of the Coronavirus. It was maybe when many of us realized that this was serious and possibly life changing. It was only two weeks ago and yet it seems like forever.
We have seen hockey go on hiatus before with the lockouts. That was about grown men who couldn’t come to agreement (where have we seen that lately). There was uncertainty then too: when would they start, how long would it take, would the game look different, and could the teams (for us the Washington Capitals) be able to quickly rebound. Those are the same questions we are asking today and we have the same, if not greater degree of uncertainty.
What we do know is that we need hockey. There is something healing about hockey and sports in general. It was there after 9/11 to help us cry with New York and give us something to look forward to. It was there in Las Vegas after an unthinkable shooting when the newly minted Vegas Knights stepped in the limelight. Their opening was unlike anything ever seen and a powerful statement about resilience and recovery. And it was there in Florida when Roberto Luango stood as part of the local community, as a parent and said what needed to be said about the tragic shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. So yes, we need hockey to help make us feel whole again.
In the meantime, we watch reruns of the Capitals winning the Stanley Cup and that incredible parade after. We cheer again as Alexander Ovechkin scores 700 and 701 points, over and over again. Now we watch simulated games with our own guys announcing the short video game. But it’s getting a little old.
Caps Stanley Cup Parade
What we are really missing is community. Work and schools and religious communities are banding people together over various video chat platforms. It makes us feel connected when we actually see faces. Can we do that in Caps country? Can we virtually connect in a way that will help us all get through? Call some friends- get online and talk Hockey and when you do—be sure to check and see how everything is going. Give them space to talk about their fears and maybe cry about kids being home and unemployment. And bring some laughs in as you talk about hat tricks and amazing saves.
Let’s do community Caps fans. We need it more than ever!
Remember back in May 2018 when the Capitals surpassed previous expectations and entered the final round of the NHL Playoffs? Remember when Caps fans went crazy as their team returned from Las Vegas tied in the series 1-1 to play their first home ice game on June 2nd? Continue reading “A June Caps Fans will Never Forget”
Braden Holtby has been a rock for the Washington Capitals in net throughout the years he’s played for them. He won the Vezina Trophy in 2016 and helped bring home the Stanley Cup to Washington D.C. last year. With contract extension talks looming social media, some questions arise whether the Caps should retain his services or move on to one of the young guns down in Hershey.
One of Holtby’s most memorable NHL moments was hands down “The Save” during the 2018 Stanley Cup Finals when he robbed Vegas Golden Knights’ forward Alex Tuch with the stick on an open net chance. He has flashed greatness for many years for the Caps, but he has also let in some softies. In perspective, what goalie hasn’t let in goals that should’ve been saved? Some fans believe he has let in too many and is not worth the pay he’s expected to ask for when it comes to contractual talk.
Hershey Bears’ net-minding duo, Vitek Vanacek and Sergei Samsonov, have been brought into the discussion quite a bit on whether or not they should be given a look next season. With the three-year extension given to Pheonix Copley, I doubt they would be forced into an NHL role, but you never know.
Holtby this season posted 32-19-5 (W-L-OTL) record this regular season with a .911 save percentage. Not too bad and enough for the Caps to win the Metro division. We can all make our own opinion and judgement on the Canadian goaltender, but at the end of the day, it’s all a scheme in General Manager Brian MacLellan‘s eyes. We’ll just have to wait and see if he believes in Holtby enough to bring him back, or decide to let him go.
Now, I’m not going to sit here and preach how much we dislike Ryan Reaves or how dirty the hit was on Tom Wilson. I am going to give my honest analysis of the hit, the disciplinary action given, and my final thoughts.
Image from The Athletic
Last night in Las Vegas, Reaves was ejected from the game for an open-ice, blind-side hit on Wilson that left him on the ice and forced him to leave the game. Some Golden Knights fans rejoiced that Reaves had slain the Caps’ tough guy, then expressed their anger once he was ejected. Many Caps fans (including myself) immediately pointed the finger calling it a dirty hit, then expressed their concern for Wilson who did not return that night.
Let’s analyze the hit. First off, the hit was a shoulder-to-shoulder hit and just barely within the given time of puck release to not count as interference. Yes, Wilson was unaware that Reaves had him locked in. From release of the puck for a breakout pass to the contact with Reaves was 0.6 seconds, according to expert analysis Alan May of NBC Sports Washington Capitals Intermission Report. The window of finishing your check after release is 0.7 seconds, which leaves a 0.1 second buffer. Close in numbers, but legal.
Image from USA Today
The main point of injury to Wilson was not the initial contact from Reaves. The hit did jar his helmet off, making his bare head vulnerable. The main point of injury came from Wilson bouncing his head off the ice after contact. Very scary given who hit him and how he bounced off the ice. He was helped off and did not return to the game, obvious concussion protocol.
Reaves was given a 5-minute game misconduct and a game ejection for the hit following the injury. At first sight, like I’m sure many of you were the same, I wanted Reaves crucified by the Department of Player Safety (DoPS) with a hefty suspension. After reviewing the hit myself a few times and hearing the experts analyze it, I do believe it was not suspension worthy. DoPS thought the same and did not issue any disciplinary action for number 75 of the Vegas Golden Knights.
DoPS made the right call. As much as I dislike the blind-side hit, I don’t believe it’s suspension worthy. An unfortunate break for Tom and prayers go out to him for a speedy recovery.
Well Everyone, it’s official. I can now buy my Nate Schmidt Golden Knights jersey. Yes, you read that correctly. Nate is going to be in Vegas for a very long time, as the team signed him to a six-year contract extension totally 35.7 Million. Obviously we are SUPER excited for Nate here at FiCP and can’t wait to spend many more holidays in Vegas to watch him play.
Nate is available to play following his 20 game suspension November 18th when the Knights take on the Oilers, and you better believe we’ll be watching…