Friday, December 26, 2008
Boxing Day Match Up with Buffalo
Mike Green watches 12-year-old Bilal Gholson play with a Nintendo DS that Green gave Gholson for Christmas. Photo courtesy of Washington Capitals
Hockey Mom hopes everyone had a happy holiday and wishes our Canadian neighbors a happy Boxing Day!
Washington Capitals' defense man Mike Green helped make one local family's holiday a little brighter, delivering clothes and toys to 12-year-old Bilal Gholson and his 11-year-old sister Naimah and surprising Bilal's grandmother and mother with gift certificates.
Green connected with the family through Quality Trust for Individuals with Disabilities Family EMPOWERment Center, which was created to advance the individual and collective interests of people with mental retardation and other developmental disabilities in the Washington, D.C. area.
“This was truly something special, to see the children’s faces opening up their presents on Christmas Day, it just doesn’t get better than that,” said Green. “It was fun spending time playing with the children, listening to music and playing basketball. This was something I won’t forget.” The Caps do so many great things to help others and spread so much cheer (especially among the children) - keep up the great work!
So now that the holiday rush is over, it's back to all hockey - all the time, in HM's household. We're currently flipping the channels between watching the Caps take on the Buffalo Sabres and Team Canada contest Team Czechoslovakia in the IIHF World Junior Championships. Of course, that's all between testing out the new Guitar Hero World Tour that appeared under the tree yesterday!
Back to the Boxing Day match up with the Buffalo Sabres, who boast one of the NHL's leading scorers in sniper Thomas Vanek. Though the injury-depleted Caps are still missing Mike Green, Alex Semin, Tom Poti,
Jeff Schultz, Sergei Fedorov and John Erskine, the great news was that captain Chris Clark suited up and took to the ice tonight after being on long-term injured reserve. Feds will remain on long-term injured reserve until at least January 9th, allowing the team to keep Karl Alzner on the roster for the time being.
Both the Caps and the Sabres were scoreless through the first period but things got more exciting late in the second with Viktor Kozlov (who's enjoying a nice scoring streak) lighting the red lamp first. The Caps faithful thought there was second goal courtesy of the Great 8 minutes later, but the call was goalie interference on the part of Brooks Laich and the goal was called back. Donald Brashear (with help from Boyd Gordon) scored number two for the men in red to take a 2 goal lead.
Early in the third, the Sabres' Thomas Vanek was the beneficiary of a piece of Ovechkin's wicked wrist shot and was in obvious pain as he made his way to the bench. He wasn't set back for long as he scored for Buffalo on a power play.
With close to 11 minutes left in the third, Ovie showed us all once again why he is the Most Valuable Player in the NHL and a favorite of hockey fans world-wide with a magnificent display of stick work and speed to net number three for the Caps! Wow - his final third period goal is a highlight reel for the ages! I am forever using Alex Ovechkin as an example for my boys. Yes, he is ridiculously gifted but the thing that always inspires me is his resilience and work ethic. The guy NEVER gives up and plays all out, every shift - every second. He is a true role model in both his on-ice abilities and the enthusiasm with which he approaches anything thrown his way.
Sorry, I digress, but who doesn't just love watching that guy? At 1:49 in the third, Ovie's fellow countryman Maxim Afinogenov touched the puck while doing his "nine lords a leaping" imitation which took a lucky Buffalo bounce into Jose Theodore's crease to make the score 3 - 2. But after pulling goalie Patrick Lalime to add an extra skater, the Sabres were unable to score and the Caps notched another win with a final score of 3 - 2.
So on Boxing Day, all of the Caps fans rocking their new holiday red have one more victory to celebrate and big smiles on their faces. Next up, the team will honor the great Mike Gartner as they retire his jersey on Sunday night prior to taking on the Toronto Maple Leafs.