Saturday, September 20, 2008

The Boys are Back in Town!

No need to tell Caps fans that today kicked off the start of training camp for veterans and rookies hoping to earn a spot on this season's roster! After an early morning Pee-Wee game, HM loaded the stinky boys in the car and smelly gear in the trunk and headed down to Kettler Capitals Iceplex.

There were lots of Caps fans in the house to welcome back the boys. The first group to hit the ice included vets Alex Ovechkin, Viktor Kozlov, Matt Bradley, Tom Poti and rookies Chris Bourque and Simeon Varlamov. For a period we sat behind "Papa" Ovechkin who seems to have the same mischievous and playful streak as his offspring. He kept tapping the shoulder of the young boy sitting in front of him and then looking away when the lad turned around. The young fan finally caught on but Papa O. found it quite amusing!

Gabby (Coach Bruce Boudreau) was putting them all through some tough drills and HM witnessed several nice pad and glove saves on the part of young goalie Simeon Varlamov.

Over on the other rink, Assistant Coach Dean Evason was running the show and fans got their first glimpse of new goalie, Jose Theodore. Theodore looked to be on his game as he faced a barrage of shots from Alex Semin, Boyd Gordon, Brooks Laich, Donald Brashear and Sergei Fedorov.

I missed seeing Chris Clark and Michael Nylander hit the ice for the first time in quite awhile after both suffered season-ending injuries last year. They were in the third group along with Mike Green. HM and her posse had to rush back to our home rink for yet another pratice. But we got our Caps fix so it was a great day!

Lest you think this hockey marathon day comes to a close - we stayed for another hour at the rink to watch a friend's son play at the U-18 level. I gotta tell you, that was one of the most chippy games I've ever seen. For you new fans, "chippy" is when there's a lot of unnecessary pushing, shoving and other extracurricular activity. I haven't seen so much hard hitting since the Caps/Flyers playoff series. At the closing buzzer, one player decided to knock an opposing player into the goal's crossbar. I seriously thought they were going to come too blows towards the end. Very exciting to watch though!

So the hockey extravaganza comes to an end for today and we get to get up with the chickens tomorrow morning and head to Maryland for a travel game. What a great day for a hockey fan though....yessiree, fall is finally here folks!

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