Hockey Community Steps Up

We are hearing more and more stories about the way the national and local hockey communities are stepping up in this era of crisis. Players are posting encouraging messages. Team owners are paying arena personnel. Companies are shifting priorities.

What personal stories about hockey family can you share with us!!

Monumental Sports and Entertainment (owners of the Washington Capitals) has extended payment to Capital One Arena part-time workers who were scheduled to work postponed games and events through April 2020. This will include all Capitals, Wizards, and concerts set for April and they will also be paid when, and if, those events occur later in the summer. Not all teams have been as generous as Ted Leonsis and we appreciate that he is stepping up to take care of those friends we see at every game. You know the ones who stop people from walking down in the middle of a play or that remove unruly visiting fans.

Fanatics, the producers of most of the Capitals and NHL merchandise that we spend $100s to $1,000 on has shifted their MLB production line priorities. They announced this week that they will be using the polyester mesh fabric from MLB jerseys to make masks and gowns for hospitals. Fanatics owner, Michael Rubin, said: “We’re fortunate to have this giant factory in Pennsylvania that makes all these baseball jerseys, and to have the commissioner of baseball behind us, and to have the governor and attorney general saying, ‘How do we make a difference?’ Time will tell if that will include suspension of NHL merchandise too.

Bauer Hockey is also making changes to provide medical face shields to those working on the front lines fighting this virus:

Fort DuPont Ice Arena is still helping local families. They are an organization supported by the Washington Capitals and the Caps Fan Club. They do good things and if you are looking for a place to make a donation, we would suggest you consider them:

The Capitals shared a bit of inspiration from their captain, Alex Ovechkin. Players, their wives, and kids are keeping us entertained with Instagram stories. Be sure to check them out.

Alex participated in a rather hilarious interview and in the end he said what really matters for all of us:

Nick Backstrom shared some sweet moments at home:

Tom Wilson brought new pup Halle to his video message:

Be sure to follow Caps Pup on Twitter and Instagram. What can be better than this cute guy??

You may be familiar with Homeward Trails as sponsors of the Caps calendar each year. They are still helping pups and could use your help too:

We have long loved the work of Ellie’s Hats who provide a bit of joy for kids in the midst of medical treatments. Please consider helping them to help vulnerable children in our community.

Our friends at Compass Coffee have fallen on tough times during the crisis and had to let go of a number of employees. And yet they continue to help the community as part of the effort in DC to provide hand sanitizers. Visit them in Ballston while they remain open for grab and go.

The stories will keep coming. The outreach from those who can help will hopefully also continue. We would love to share your “feel good” story too. And as we said in our article yesterday- let’s pull together as the Caps and hockey community to carry each other through. We can do this!!

Hitting Pause for FICP

Dear Friends,

Happy 2020!

Our Prediction for the year ahead??

A GR8 year of big wins lies ahead the Washington Capitals!!

Unfortunately for us, we are taking a blog break. Our team has done some fantastic tweeting and posting photos on IG. However, life (meaning school and work) has made it nearly impossible for us to write.

We have also felt the pressure from another blog that has greater resources to cover every tidbit of Caps news. We don’t want to just repackage what NBC Sports and other first line media outlets report. Nor do we want just to repost what Caps’ players post. We don’t think you need to read the same news in four or five different blogs.

Our bread and butter has always been our photographs and first-hand reporting from MedStar (Kettler), Capital One, and on the road. Sadly, we also haven’t been getting to as many games as we would like and again, we don’t want to give you news you have already read or watched from the pros.

So we thank you for reading our articles and engaging with us these past four+ years. We will keep on tweeting because we can’t turn off the “Twitter King.” We will post photos on IG and Twitter when we can.

We hope to be back, especially when the Caps make it to the playoffs. We’ll see what happens then.

We have been blessed to have made so many great friends and look forward to seeing you around and talking with you!

Go CAPS!!!

Maggie and Brittney Marcum, FiCP Founders

Mark Your Calendar For Capitals PreSeason

The Capitals announced their preseason schedule for the 2019/20 season. This is when management takes one final look at players as they set the roster. Typically players from the Hershey Bears are on the ice with a mix of new and mature Caps players.

If you are not a season ticket holder (STH) or if regular season tickets are out of the budget- this is a less expensive way to see some of the NHL players warm up for some serious play. STH will often list their seats on TicketMaster so be sure to check there first.

What’s ahead? The first three games will be played at Capital One Arena. The Blackhawks hope this is the season their rebuild is over and they should be putting forward some pretty strong players for the Caps to face. The current Stanley Cup Champion St. Louis Blues come to town, likely without many of their Cup winners but they should still be great to watch. And finally, the Caps will be playing the team that took them out of the playoffs in April 2019. Then the Caps go on the road for three games. This is when they typically make those final cuts and more of the regular roster steps in.

16 September, Monday:          Chicago Blackhawks at Capital One Arena – Game at 7 PM
18 September, Wednesday:    St. Louis Blues at Capital One Arena – Game at 7 PM
21 September, Saturday:         Carolina Hurricanes at Capital One Arena – Game at 7 PM
25 September, Wednesday:    Chicago Blackhawks in Chicago at 8 PM
27 September, Friday:               St. Louis Blues in St. Louis at 8 PM
29 September, Sunday:            Carolina Hurricanes in Raleigh at 1:30 PM

The Capitals will release the full training camp schedule later this summer. Next up is development camp which begins Tuesday 25 June. The full 2019-20 schedule should be released by 21 June.


Capitals Player Season Recap: Nicklas Backstrom

One of the most underrated centers in the NHL today, Nicklas Backstrom has been a crucial part of the Capitals’ organization for many years. Drafted in 2006, “Backy” has been a playmaking machine for the club and a serious lifeline for goal scorers like Alex Ovechkin and Jakub Vrana.

Backstrom accumulated 74 points this season (22g, 52a), putting him 2nd on the Caps’ list for most points behind Ovechkin. This post-season, Backstrom has the most goals for the Caps (5) and the best face-off percentage (52.69%). He continues to help drive this team to its best form and this season he did not disappoint. His vision on the ice has always been something that sometimes gets overlooked, but blows our minds when we notice it.

As a top six elite centerman for the Caps, Backstrom holds his team and himself to a high standard. In his season exit interview he stated, “Even if it sucks right now, I feel like we’re going to come back stronger and more prepared. That’s our goal and we got a good team.” He has the perfect mindset for a leader of the Washington Capitals, train hard and come back stronger next year for a harder run at glory.

Game Seven Too Much for the Caps

What a night in Washington DC. It was a long fight to see who would advance to round two of the playoffs. The Carolina Hurricanes led by former Caps and LA Kings Justin Williams or the Washington Capitals led by defending champ Alex Ovechkin. After 60 minutes of regular play, a tied game pushed the teams into not one, but two overtime periods. The dream for the Capitals to repeat their success ended in a seventh game 4-3 loss. Continue reading “Game Seven Too Much for the Caps”

It’s Been A Year and the Capitals Still Have It

The first game of the first round of the 2019 NHL Playoffs and the Washington Capitals proved they still have what it takes to win. They made it look easy at points and at points fans were on the edge of their seats. The Caps brought a sweet 4-2 defeat over the Carolina Hurricanes. Continue reading “It’s Been A Year and the Capitals Still Have It”

Monumental Sports Takes a Stand Against Opioid Abuse During Friday’s Caps’ Game

Monumental Sports & Entertainment announced a new initiative to bring awareness to the rising opioid abuse problem that many families in America are facing. They are partnering with the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) for National Prescription Drug Take Back Day. A fundamental part of this program will encourage participants to get rid of any unused medications they have in their homes. Continue reading “Monumental Sports Takes a Stand Against Opioid Abuse During Friday’s Caps’ Game”

Capitals White House Visit Sparks Fan Controversy

Word slipped out on Tuesday that the Washington Capital Stanley Cup Champions would keep with tradition and visit the White House on 25 March. Only seven of the players are US born, and as of today, only Brett Connolly has said he will not attend the celebration. Other players may decide against going; however, for now it looks as if most of the team will reunite with Lord Stanley on Monday. Continue reading “Capitals White House Visit Sparks Fan Controversy”

Caps Delay Jets 3-1, Hagelin Scores GWG, and Eller Pots Another ENG

TLDR: High-powered penalty killers, along with goals from Backstrom, Hagelin, and another empty-netter from Eller lift the Capitals to a 3-1 win over powerhouse Winnipeg Jets, Copley wins 5th straight start. 

Your Washington Capitals rounded out this short two-game home stand with a 3-1 win over the Winnipeg Jets. With a New York Islanders loss last night, the Caps are holding onto first place in the Metropolitan Division by a four-point margin. As we look ahead to the final 13 games of the season, it is becoming increasingly important for the Capitals to win these all-important division and conference games that loom ahead.

Many asserted that tonight’s game versus the Winnipeg Jets was a preview to what could possibly be a Stanley Cup Final match-up. The last time these two teams played, both T.J. Oshie and Evgeny Kuznetsov ended up on the receiving end of some vicious hits. Neither Jets’ players received supplemental discipline, and Caps ultimately dropped that game 3-1, on the road. Despite having not seen Caps’ backup goaltender Pheonix Copley since February 24th, head coach Todd Reirden chose him over Braden Holtby to allow the veteran time to rest before the playoffs begin. Both the Caps and Jets boast offensive firepower, so a high-scoring game was to be expected. Just under five minutes into the period, a perfect screen in front of Jets’ goaltender Connor Hellebuyck allowed Nicklas Backstrom to score his 18th goal of the season. With the goal, Backstrom now has points in 5 of his last 6 games, including 3 goals in his last 3 games.

Just moments later, Mathieu Perreault scored on a wide open net, giving the Jets the equalizer. For the majority of the period, the Capitals were able to effectively neutralize an explosive Jets team. Heavy forechecking and puck-nabbing allowed the Caps to comfortably settle into the first period. However, it was Winnipeg that received the first power play of the night, as Brett Connolly would go off for tripping. Moments later, as Tom Wilson jumped on the ice and played the puck, the Capitals would be penalized for too-many-men-on-the-ice. The Jets would have the two-man advantage for 1:34, and would be a man up for the remaining 26 seconds. The first real test of the night for Copley would be one that he ultimately would pass, with flying colors. Neither team would strike again in the remaining four minutes, and therefore the score would settle at 1-1 heading into the first intermission.

The second period started off very much like the first; fast and aggressive. Despite the Capitals seriously needing a power play, the Jets would receive yet another man-advantage. Top-tier penalty killer Carl Hagelin would go off for tripping, and the Caps’ penalty kill would be tested yet again. The refereeing was sub-par at best, as they seemed to turn a blind eye to every penalty the Jets should have been called for. Luckily, the Caps successfully killed the penalty. Finally, the Capitals would be gifted their first power play, as Perreault was sent to the box for tripping. The boys in red would not retake their lead. With just a couple of registered shots halfway through the period, it was apparent they Capitals desperately needed to improve their zone exits and entries. Carl Hagelin would be called again for another minor penalty, but the refs would not penalize any Jets players for unsportsmanlike conduct nor instigating. Just as the penalty expired, Hagelin would jump out of the box, snag a breakaway, and score his second goal with the Capitals, giving them the 2-1 advantage.

Despite the Jets doubling up on shots on goal, it would be the Capitals with the 2-1 lead as the second period came to a close.

Leading 2-1 at the start of the third and final period, we all hoped the good guys could hold the lead, if not improve it. Patrik Laine was called early on for hooking, and so the Caps would get just their second power play of the game. However, they would not convert. A nerve-wracking third period for both sides, the Jets would challenge a potential goal with just over 10 minutes remaining. We believed that the referees whistled down the play, and waived off the goal as Copley was pushed. For what felt like the first lucky strike of the night for the Capitals, the call was ultimately upheld, and the score remained 2-1. Dmitry Orlov would go off for tripping with just over two minutes left in the period, and so the Jets would get the man advantage. Winnipeg would elect to pull their goalie for the two-man advantage, but Lars Eller would pot his 10th goal of the season. Two empty net goals in two games by the Tiger to seal the deal? We’ll take it.

The 3-1 win for the Capitals mark seven straight, and Pheonix Copley once again, proved to the disbelievers that he is more than capable of stopping offensive powerhouses such as the Winnipeg Jets.

FiCP’s Three Takeaways of the Game

  1. The Caps penalty kill is improving, but the sheer number of penalties being called against us is terrifying. We need to get back to playing more disciplined hockey, even if some of them are soft calls.
  2. Carl Hagelin is fitting in just fine.
  3. People seriously need to stop discrediting Pheonix Copley. He is a worthy and capable goaltender. You cannot claim to ‘love him’ as a back-up, and then criticize when he is picked to start.

The Resurgence of Andre Burakovsky

The NHL trade deadline passed in February without the Capitals moving Andre Burakovsky off the roster, much to the surprise of many fans and media outlets. For whatever reason, the Caps kept him in the lineup while sending playoff star Devante Smith-Pelly down to Hershey and the AHL. So did they make the right choice sticking with Burky? Continue reading “The Resurgence of Andre Burakovsky”