NHL Pause: Can it please be over?

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!

A June Caps Fans will Never Forget

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”

Capitals Player Season Recap: Braden Holtby

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.

Ryan Reaves blindsides Tom Wilson in Vegas

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.

Nate Schmidt Makes His Old Team Pay, Caps Fall 5-3 to the Vegas Golden Knights

michael banner 2A Stanley Cup Finals rematch happened on Tuesday night at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. The Washington Capitals returned to the scene of the place where they captured their first Stanley Cup but the Vegas Golden Knights didn’t feel too well welcoming the Stanley Cup champs in their house. They got revenge in the rematch with a 5-3 win with the game-winning goal coming from….. Nate SchmidtContinue reading “Nate Schmidt Makes His Old Team Pay, Caps Fall 5-3 to the Vegas Golden Knights”

The Pregame: Viva Las Vegas! The Caps are Back Where the Stanley Cup Magic Happened

michael banner 2When I think of Las Vegas, Nevada two things come to my mind: magic shows and the place where our hockey team, the Washington Capitals won the Stanley Cup. Tuesday night, the Caps and the Vegas Golden Knights will square off inside T-Mobile Arena for the first time since that June 7th night and there will be a whirlwind of emotions for the players, coaches and fans.  Continue reading “The Pregame: Viva Las Vegas! The Caps are Back Where the Stanley Cup Magic Happened”

Struggling defense: Capitals suffering too many goals in the first month

After one month of the 2018-19 regular season, the numbers demonstrate that the Washington Capitals have been allowing too many goals until here. The Capitals are ranking some bitter goals against average positions. Continue reading “Struggling defense: Capitals suffering too many goals in the first month”

All I Want for Christmas is…

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…

Ps- Santa I wear a size L in jersey…. 😉

Caps Have Up-and-Down Week, Defeat Vegas Before Falling to New Jersey and Toronto

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Folks don’t blink. We’re back and the Washington Capitals are already charging forward into the 2018-19 season! This past week was an interesting one that began with a home game against the Vegas Golden Knights, a Stanley Cup rematch. Then the Caps quickly turned around to head up to New Jersey to take on the Devils in another back-to-back for the second week in a row (thanks schedule makers!) before coming back home to host Auston Matthews and the high-flying Toronto Maple Leafs offense who made the biggest splash in the summer by acquiring John Tavares. FiCP takes a look back at these games as we await for more Caps action to come on Wednesday night against the New York Rangers. Continue reading “Caps Have Up-and-Down Week, Defeat Vegas Before Falling to New Jersey and Toronto”

Michal Kempny Makes His Season Debut Tonight vs. Vegas

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Tonight the Washington Capitals and Vegas Golden Knights will meet for the first time since the Caps hoisted the Stanley Cup in the dessert to begin the greatest summer of our lives. It’s a rematch of the Stanley Cup and it is sure to be an exciting matchup! One big storyline going into tonight’s contest is this game will mark the return of Michal Kempny.  Continue reading “Michal Kempny Makes His Season Debut Tonight vs. Vegas”