Brooks Laich Winks For The Ladies

28 12 2011

Everyone loves the Caps’ forward and team heartthrob, Brooks Laich. So today I’m sharing with you, a beautiful little tidbit of Brooks. Brought to you from the fine folks at Comcast Sportsnet and spotted on a recent post by Russian Machine Never Breaks (RMNB), there is a fine, fine video of Brooks and teammate Joel Ward wishing everyone a merry Christmas. The video is short and sweet and shows the two rehearsing their message before finally getting it right. One more excuse to watch Brooks in his “underroos” is fine with me, but my favorite part is his super cute wink at the end:

My, my, my, what a wink. And Joel Ward’s harmless almost-smile isn’t too shabby either. You can find the fantastic video here and make sure to save that link- I’m sure you’ll want to re-watch it many times. Thanks guys, for the thoroughly entertaining few minutes. I know I’m satisfied.





The Least Popular Man On The Caps

21 12 2011

Many of the players on the Washington Capitals are well loved and pretty popular among the fans. Some of the most popular guys seem to be Alex Ovechkin, Mike Green, Brooks Laich, Mike Knuble, Nicklas Backstrom, and the dynamic duo of John Carlson + Karl Alzner. I think it’s great that there are so many popular Caps players on the team, and that’s just naming a few. But here’s a question for you: which current Caps player is the least likeable/has the smallest fan base?

Now don’t get me wrong- I love all of the Capitals. But many people can see that fans flock to the coolest guy, the best player, the newest face, the most crazy personality. It’s no secret that attracting fans is something of a silly popularity contest. It shouldn’t be, but let’s face it- at least in the professional sports world, that’s how things tend to work.

I’m pretty sure that at one point the least interesting man on the team was D.J. King (a.k.a: my former favorite Cap). But tough guy King doesn’t play with the Caps anymore, so he’s out of the running. So instead, I’m nominating the following four (and still awesome) Caps players for the Least Popular Man On The Team. Maybe this will get the word out that these guys need a growing fan base too!

Troy Brouwer

First up is Troy Brouwer. Sure, he might be scoring goals this year, but this new face to the team, hasn’t seemed to get many fans this season. This 26 year old’s beady eyes and itty bitty teeth may not be what many fans find glorious to look at, but if we can all just look past this guy’s piercing physique, I think we can all agree that Brouwer’s crashing hits and sneaky goals are what really matters to the Caps team.

Joel Ward

Joel Ward seems to be left out of everyone’s list of cool players on the team. I don’t know what it is about this 31 year old, but he strikes me as the strong, silent type. Perhaps it’s the Western Conference (Ward’s former home) that the Caps don’t play much against, that adds to this guy’s mystery. I’m not even going to say his lack of popularity if because he’s one of the few black players, because Donald Brashear was hugely popular when he played in D.C., so that hypothesis is out of the question. Come on now, Joel’s worth another shot.

Roman Hamrlik

This third guy is also new to the Caps for the 2011-12 season. Roman Hamrlik is the second oldest on the Caps team (falling by two years to Knuble) at 37. I’m going to guess that Roman’s age is what’s keeping fans from being attracted to him, but frankly that’s just agism right there and it shouldn’t be decided like that. I’m hoping Roman will get more ice time because maybe all he needs is more exposure.

Jeff Schultz

I hate to admit this, but it kind of took me a while to find a good picture of Schultzy. (Thanks, Scarlet Caps!) Schultz’s lack of popularity on the team is kind of odd, since he’s been with the team for a while. Yet, for some reason, he doesn’t seem to garner many fans. “Double Nickel” (as he’s sometimes referred to, for his number is 55) is the Caps’ tallest player coming in at 6’6″ and is a pretty consistent defenseman. This 25 year old is still young and building his hockey career, but I think more fans need to take a second look at this tall glass of water.

So those four men are my nominations for player who needs to come out at the end with “Most Improved” in the team’s popularity contest. It’s sad, I know, but it’s also kind of true. I think D.C.’s fans really need to branch out and learn about some of the quieter, lesser-known guys on the team! I hope this posting will get the word out that there are some other Caps guys who need some lovin’ too!





Grier Retires From NHL

2 12 2011

I first started following hockey in the 2002-2003 season. That was the same year that Mike Grier started playing for the Eastern Conference in the NHL. While Grier had been playing with Edmonton for the previous seven years, this American-born player was back in the U.S. After Grier came to D.C., he continued to play for American teams (Buffalo and San Jose) for the rest of his career. I guess he realized that the United States is really a great place to play professional hockey.

I know we’re supposedly in a post-race society, but I will admit that black hockey players are somewhat of a rarity. Mike Grier though, was extra unique in this regard, because (according to Wikipedia), he “was the first African-American ice hockey player born and trained in the United States to play in the National Hockey League.” Grier was like the Jackie Robinson of the NHL! Cool. In addition to this fantastic statistic, Grier has also had a memorable hockey career, including a bronze medal from the 2004 Men’s World Ice Hockey Championships.

After such a great NHL experience though, Mike Grier has retired. He played in the NHL for 14 seasons  and was last seen playing with the Buffalo Sabres. It’s always exciting to see former Capitals players play hockey these days, so it’s a little sad to see Grier leave the NHL. But maybe he’ll do a “Dale Hunter” and come back as a coach! Who knows.





Caps Don’t Do Well With Coaches Named Bruce

28 11 2011

As many of you may have heard by now (boy, does news travel fast!), the Capitals’ lovable coach Bruce Boudreau was fired and Capitals veteran player, Dale Hunter has been called in to fill the coaching job. I’ll let you soak that one in…

I first heard about the news when I woke up to a text a friend had sent me. The radio was on to a discussion about the firing and re-hiring and it seemed like the whole world was talking about how poorly the Caps have been playing this season. Sure, we had a fantastic start to the season with seven straight wins, but I guess the Caps must have gotten exhausted from all that winning and the team broke down.

Many people have been asking me how I feel, as they know I am such a fan of the Caps team. Honestly, I’m sad to report that I’m not that surprised it happened. I used to think that it was somehow my fault that the Caps lost their games if I weren’t available to watch the game. That jinx could work, as I didn’t see the last two games the Caps played with Boudreau, but in all reality, I could also tell that the team was in some odd kind of muck.

So who’s the new guy taking over? Former Capital player, Dale Hunter is the new man in charge. Dale Hunter played with the Caps from 1987-1998, which was before I really became a Caps fan. Sure, you could check out his wikipedia page, but when I first heard the name, I immediately remembered this great Caps Rap which mentions Hunter at 1:08.

With all this being said and done however, it eerily reminds me that the Caps do not have the best record with coaches named Bruce. Who remembers former captain Bruce “Butch” Cassidy? While I’m not going to go and compare the coaching styles of the two men, I will point out that both coaches were named Bruce and both coaches didn’t last very long. To be fair, Bruce Boudreau’s stay in Washington was for a year longer than Bruce Cassidy’s, but still, it was a shame to see both coaches go.

So here’s to hoping that all the Caps really need now is a new coach. Maybe the Caps organization will have learned their lesson and won’t hire any more coaches name Bruce. But for the record, I liked Boudreau. I’m not happy to see that he’s gone, but I am more a fan of the players than the coaches, and when they players aren’t succeeding, then I will support whatever means will get the team to play better. I’m sorry to see the Bruce era come to a close, but I’m ready for the Caps to get their act together.





Orlov Gets Start With The Caps

25 11 2011

See that headline? It says that Dmitri Orlov just got his start with the Capitals. Back on Monday, he played his first NHL game against the Phoenix Coyotes, and game number two was on Wednesday versus the Winnipeg Jets. I had previously met the Russian kid at a Hershey Bears game, where we shared an incredibly awkward post-game conversation at an autograph session. Orlov is super young and super awkward, but apparently he’s also pretty good at playing hockey too.

Anyways, like I was saying, Orlov played in his first NHL games this week. So it confused me when I picked up a few days old Examiner newspaper today to see this odd photo:

So how come this photo shows Orlov playing against the Columbus Blue Jackets here? Did I miss something? I was under the impression that Monday was Orlov’s NHL debut. Either this photograph was Photoshopped or Orlov was secretly called up a while ago to play against Columbus when nobody knew who he was. This photo brings up some questions and I find this all very suspicious. Where did this photo come from? Why would anyone doctor such a photo? What did Orlov think of playing against one of the consistently bad teams? Where was I when this all happened?

In addition to this mysterious photo, I want to bring up another point. The article from which that photo was taken discussed how Orlov’s English may not be so strong. But Orlov has been playing with the Hershey Bears for some time. Does that imply that they don’t speak English in Hershey, PA? Is Russian the only language that they speak during hockey games and practices? Why doesn’t Dmitri speak any English? What kind of things are they teaching those Hershey boys?

Anyways, despite all this confusion around the mysterious Dmitri Orlov, he has definitely been keeping up on his end. Orlov’s been getting a good amount of ice time for a rookie, he’s been hitting, shooting, and overall impressing the Caps’ team and coaches. I heard a rumor that even if Erskine (the defenseman he’s been replacing) is healthy enough to play tonight, that Orlov might still get the nod from Boudreau to play tonight, because he’s been that useful on the ice. Thatta boy! Keep up the good work, Orlov!





Semin’s Lifetime Achievement

18 11 2011

Last night in the disappointing hockey game in which the Caps lost to the Winnipeg Jets, something rather miraculous happened. If you were watching the game, you may have seen something rather out of the ordinary. Alexander Semin did something that he’s never done before… at least not while playing hockey. Many have been negatively talking about Semin’s career with the Caps this season and how he seems to be slipping, but last night’s performance really seemed to be showing the player in a different light.

So Semin scored a goal. It was the Caps’ only goal of the game, too. But that’s not exactly what I’m referring to. Need a hint? Check out the video footage of his goal for a clue as to what I’m talking about. Still unsure? Alexander Semin smiled. It’s a simple notion, but normally, this Russian is way too serious and NEVER smiles. But last night changed all that. I think there’s a correlation here. I think that perhaps if Semin learned to smile more, he would score more goals.

Example 1

Example 2

See, Sasha? That wasn’t so bad! Smiling is fun! And easy! It makes you feel good! And as proved by last night, is caused by good things! Like scoring goals for your team who otherwise hadn’t really associated you with the best of thoughts. Keep up the good work, Alexander. Keep on smilin’.





All We Are Saying, Is Give King A Chance

18 10 2011

I have a new favorite hockey player on the Washington Capitals and this will probably come as a surprise to you all. It’s not the most well known player, or the best player, or frankly, the guy who gets the most ice time. But that’s not why I have chosen this guy to be my new obsession, no it is actually for the exact opposite reason. Why can’t the lesser appreciated players get some lovin’ too? You see, my new favorite player is DJ King.

Check out that ringless finger. Nice.

DJ King is unfortunately best known as the Caps’ most consistent healthy scratch on the team. I don’t really understand why he’s rarely on the ice come, game nights. King is known for being one of the toughest fighters in the NHL. And ever since the Caps lost Donald Brashear and then Matt Bradley (and since John Erskine’s been on injured reserve), the Caps have had a sever lack of an enforcer. But King’s more than just a fighter. He’s a pretty decent player too. He just hasn’t really had the chance to show his coach what he’s made of, since he keeps getting the boot. You know, maybe he’d be considered a better player if he had more experience playing. But of course, I’m not in the position to make those decisions.

So I’ve taken it upon myself to draw more attention to DJ King. Heck, I’ll even be his one-woman fan club. (I doubt the average Caps fan even knows who DJ King is, which is a sad, sad, fact.) With this new-found appreciation for the man who also happens to be only a year older than me (he’s 27! Not too shabby!), I have decided to invest some serous money and time into bringing DJ King more often onto the ice. I have the idea to buy my first ever Caps jersey. I would get it with King’s name on the back, though I have a few possible ideas below, that I am having a hard time deciding on…

This is what the standard player jersey looks like. But since DJ King isn't so well known, I feel like having the word, "King" on the back could be assumed to mean something else.

I like the idea of going with his first name initials instead. This could also double as being like a Disc Jockey, which I have claimed to be. But I don't want people to just assume the latter and not get that it's also a player.

This option has a little more humor involved and people might get the point. But is it being too funny? Will it get old after a while?

I’ve got some time still, to think about this too. And maybe I won’t even shuck out the $100+ for the customized jersey and instead opt for the more personal and inexpensive idea of creating my own t-shirt. I’ll have to think things over. But I do think it would be really nice to get a jersey honoring the lesser known guys on the team. Why shouldn’t every team player be special? DJ King needs to be heard!





One More Reason To Disike The Penguins

14 10 2011

Last night’s Caps vs. Penguins game was electric. It was not surprising that the game was low in scoring, that the game went into overtime, and of course, that the Capitals won! Malkin was on the ice too, which surprised me, because I had read earlier about how he was going to miss the game. Nonetheless, the game was a fast-paced and exciting few hours.

The one thing that upset me though about last night’s match-up was a certain quarrel that occurred in the first half of the third period. It started out with a hit by the Caps’ Jay Beagle on Penguins’ man, Kris Letang, knocking Letang’s helmet off. This shouldn’t have been such an ordeal, as non-goalie hockey players can play without their helmet on. But this occasion was made into a big deal. Perhaps it’s because Beagle just initially walked away from the hit as if nothing had happened. Letang’s teammate, Arron Asham was so upset about the hit that he took it upon himself to defend against Beagle. It’s frankly, a little silly when you think about the strong camaraderie among the teammates, but it’s also kind of cute. Below is an eight-part recap of what went down. (The video can be found here.)

1) The hit. Beagle knocks into Letang.

2) The walk away. Beagle shuffles it off, as Letang is clearly perturbed.

3) The fight. Beagle starts off with a few solid punches at Asham, but then Asham gets the better of Beagle with a couple strong whacks.

4) Part One of Asham's totally uncalled for "fight celebration*."

5) Part Two of Asham's totally uncalled for "fight celebration*."

6) Grounded. Beagle bloodies up the ice and is knocked out.

7) The damage. Beagle emerges from the ice, with a "Joker-like" gash across his mouth.

8) Helped off. Beagle is helped off the ice, not to return for the rest of the game.

I have no problem with a good hockey fight every now and then. The fight was pretty fair and the cause for it was not too surprising. What I do have a problem with however, is how Arron Asham reacted after he had defeated Jay Beagle in their battle. But was that *fight celebration really necessary? I think not. I know that hockey players [cough, cough, Alex Ovechkin, cough, cough] can be known to be rather showy at times, but that is only acceptable on some occasions. But to gloat about injuring another player is just distasteful and disrespectful. This just gives me one more reason not to like Pittsburgh’s hockey club. Arron Asham should be ashamed for his behavior. Next time just head to the penalty box like a pro. Sure, you can hang your head high, but the lack of regard for your opponent is flat out insulting- not just to the other player/team, but really to the sport of hockey. I expect more class from these guys.





A Refresher Course In The Caps/Pens Rivalry

13 10 2011

Tonight begins the first game between the Caps and the Penguins in the 2011-2012 season. It’s a big deal because these two teams have one of the most heated rivalries in the sport. Today’s post is for those of you who want a refresher course on why the Capitals and the Penguins have such a rivalry.

Now, I’m not the most knowledgeable when it come to the history of hockey (my expertise is more about the individual players’ lives), but when it comes to my Caps, I can still properly inform you of the important basics. I’ll start with an early example of the Alex Ovechkin/Sidney Crosby rivalry from this is fantastic commercial that aired a few years ago:

This rivalry between these two star players is important because it is ultimately what created the team rivalry. Brief history lesson time! Alex Ovechkin joined the Capitals in 2005, one year after the rather disappointing year-long NHL lockout. This is the same year that Sidney Crosby entered the NHL with the Penguins. Both players were contenders for Rookie of the Year, and their close ages (Ovie is two years older) also helped to fuel the competition. Plus, to add on the pressure, Ovechkin has more trophies and awards than Crosby, yet Crosby has earned the coveted Stanley Cup whereas Ovechkin has not… yet.

 Best quote? “Crosby is known for doing some whining, Ovechkin’s known for showboating.” – Eric Fehr.

Of course, these two players aren’t the only thing fueling the teams’ rivalry. There are some more “secondary characters” in this thickened plot of battling teams. For example, take the “youngsters,” Evgeni Malkin of the Pens versus Nicklas Backstrom of the Caps. Sure, Backstrom might be the odd man out of the Russian rivalry of the three others, but his amazing gameplay keeps him as an additional teammate to look out for. Also, the Penguins have had a number of former Capitals on their roster (Sergei Gonchar, Brent Johnson, Matt Cooke), so the heat just keeps getting intensified.

Another reason why the two teams are in cahoots? Pretty much what seems to be the rule in hockey, is that if your team has recently played another team in the post-season playoffs, then those teams become rivals. The Capitals and the Penguins have indeed seen each other in the post-season a number of times within the last few years. Add in the last Winter classic between the two teams, and you can imagine the intensity.

Below are a few more video examples of the crazy rivalry:

See 2:14…

 The hanging penguin is a nice touch.

So with that being said, may the best team win. And as for tonight? The game just won’t be the same without Malkin and Crosby who are expected to miss the game for separate reasons. We’ll be waiting for you next time…






A Serious Addiction

4 10 2011

I’ve always been pretty passionate about the things I love. Sometimes however, this passion can get out of hand. I recently admitted to myself that I am seriously addicted. Addicted to hockey; Capitals hockey to be exact. My addiction has been so strong in fact, that back in college,  I scheduled my classes at times that allowed me to be able to watch every Caps hockey game during the week. If that’s not dedication, I don’t know what is.

But apparently this addiction has taken itself to another level as of today. Today I was scouring Craigslist for tickets to the Caps’ home opener, which is this Saturday night. While trying to find tickets for the first game, I found people selling tickets to many of the other games in this upcoming season. In addition to having recently purchased a pair of tickets for a game next month, I decided to go forth and buy as many tickets as I could while I could still find some good deals. And did I ever. Now, maybe it’s because the season hasn’t even officially started, but I jumped on buying some tickets anyways. So what game did I buy tickets for? Oh, just the last game of the season. It’s true, the season hasn’t even begun, and I’ve already secured my seats for the last game (among others).

So here’s the thing: I need to be available for the last game of the season: April 5th. That’s a long ways away. It’s half a year from tomorrow, actually. This might be a new high (or low) for me. This Caps addiction is pretty much in full swing now. I don’t even want to think about what my addiction is going to be like, once the season actually starts!








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