Friday, August 29, 2008

Hockey Mom for VP?

Now Hockey Mom hasn't decided which way she's going to vote and I am in no way endorsing either candidate, but we may end up with a fellow hockey mom in the White House!

Breaking news reports are confirming that Alaska Governor Sarah Palin - a "self-styled" hockey mom has been appointed as running mate to Republican candidate John McCain. I don't know much about her yet, but I can say from experience if she's a hockey mom with 5 kids (including one with Down's Syndrome), I know she's tough as nails, a master at handling crisis situations and can handle the messiest of messes!

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Interesting Article on Russian Players in NHL

Hockey Mom found this interesting article on Russian players in the NHL. As Caps fans know, three Caps (Ovechkin, Fedorov and Semin) led the Russian team to gold in this year's IIHF World Championships in addition to leading the Capitals to the playoffs last season. HM would be interested in getting their opinion on Predator's broadcaster Terry Crisp's comment where he states "I don't think the skins of Russian players are as thick as the other guys." Hockey Mom is going to throw the flag down on that little diddy!

Just because the Nashville Predators are in a tizzy because their star player
Alexander Radulov tried to go over to Russia's KHL (Kontinental Hockey League) for the crazy mad money they are throwing around, doesn't mean you can label all Russian-born players. They continue to come here for a chance to play in the world's best hockey showcase - the National Hockey League. I for one can't wait to see the newest Russian addition to the Washington Capitals when he makes the move up from Hershey - young goalie phenom, Simeon Varlamov.

Let's ask Gabby - I bet Bruce Boudreau would agree that Alex Ovechkin is probably one of the most coachable players in the game today! And he is obviously happy to be here along with his fellow countrymen Semin and Fedorov. Well maybe not so much for Semin, but hey I think Washington is growing on him...

Where in the World is Mats Sundin?

Okay boys, it's almost back to camp time and time for an attendance check.

Ovechkin? Check. Crosby? Check. Zetterberg? Check. Vinny? Check. Sundin?...Sundin? Anyone? Anyone?

Hockey Mom (along with many other fans world-wide) wants to know when Mats Sundin is going to get off the pot and make a decision to retire or sign with another team. There are even rumors swirling around that the New York Rangers may trade Scott Gomez to make cap room for the yet-undecided Swedish veteran. HM gets the fact that it takes a lot of time and thought to decide whether it's time to hang up the skates on an illustrious career. For most NHL players, hockey is all they've known since their youth and it's in their blood and enmeshed in their DNA! I'm sure the decision doesn't go down like this: "So Mabel (or insert name of hot hockey wife here), I've been thinking. I'm kinda tired of getting the tar knocked out of me every night and my feet are starting to hurt. Whaddya say I hang up the skates for good and we go fishing?"

But the stringing teams along routine (which occurs in other sports as well, see Brett Favre) while a player is trying to decide what to do about retirement issue is getting a bit old. For one, there's the CBA (Collective Bargaining Agreement) to consider. HM doesn't even profess to completely understand the intricacies of the CBA in the least. But I do know, that once a player says they are going to retire (before they're ready) and then comes back to the team, some other guy gets misplaced due to salary cap limits. For a prime example, I refer to the case of the Anaheim Duck's Scott Neidermayer, whose return from a brief "semi-retirement" displaced one of my favorite players, Andy McDonald.

So hurry up Mats, the season's almost here...make a move finally!

Sunday, August 24, 2008

An HM Toast to All You Female Hockey Bloggers...

Hockey Mom wants to propose a toast to all of the fabulous, hard-working and enthusiastic female hockey bloggers out there who are spreading the puck love among avid fans and the hockey uninitiated alike! I got a great shout out today from Ted Leonsis, the Washington Capitals' fan-tabulous owner (also known as "Uncle Ted" by legions of the Caps' faithful) - thanks Uncle Ted!

He also mentioned another favorite Cap's gal blogger pal of mine, Love The Game, Don't Like Puck Bunnies. This hockey goddess has scored some phenomenal interviews lately, including the most recent with Ted Leonsis himself. And of course there's also DC Sports Chick contributing her insight on Capitals hockey with the On Frozen Blog gang and one of the Cap's best female voices, Caps Chick providing her View From the Cheap Seats.

It's so exciting to see women succeeding in building momentum and recruiting new fans to this great game, all from the unique female perspective. You can be a "girl's girl" and still possess a wealth of knowledge about hockey, which has historically been covered by the "boy's club." Keep up the great work ladies - the season is just around the corner and I hope to see you all at Kettler during training camp!

Friday, August 22, 2008

Athletes & Egos

Today Hockey Mom stumbled across a FOX Sports feature, The Top 10 Showboaters in Sports. I was surprised to see the player I love to strongly dislike (you teach your youth players not to say "hate") the most, Sean Avery, only coming in at number 10! Of course the rest of the list is comprised of 3 NFL players, a few MLB players, Danica Patrick, Serena Williams, Jamaican runner Usain Bolt and unfortunately, the Washington Wizard's own Gilbert Arenas. But hey, when you have as many aliases as Gilbert (A.K.A. Agent Zero; A.K.A. The Hibachi) and have just signed another contract for an obscene amount of money ($111 million dollars), you're bound to end up on this sort of list. Do you know how much hockey equipment you could buy for underprivileged kids who want to get into the game with even a fraction of that amount of money?

NFL players are notorious for showboating in the end zone and despite efforts by the NCAA to curtail these antics, many of these players begin to polish their showboating skills at the college level. HM is a graduate of Florida State University, home to one of the biggest showboaters in college or NFL history, the legendary Deion "Prime Time" Sanders.

Don't get me wrong, I have absolutely no problem seeing any athlete (youth or pro) celebrate a goal or victory. Showboating is an entirely different thing which in most cases, demonstrates a complete lack of respect for your opponent and sportsmanship in general. That's one of the things that Hockey Mom loves about the way the game is played in the NHL. Watch any NHL team and it's pretty clear that the majority of these guys are totally in it "for the team" and not themselves. When Alex Ovechkin jumps into the boards after scoring a sweet goal for the Caps, it is out of pure joy for the game and not self-promotion. Even upon winning the biggest awards in the league this year, Ovie thanked his team first.

That's why, despite the bad rap the NHL may sometimes get for fighting, I think it's one of the best professional leagues that young athletes can follow. There's just no room for showboating in the game of hockey - at any level. Plus, it would be really hard to do an obnoxious "goal dance" on skates - you'd look more like a member of the Ice Capades than a bad-a$# hockey player!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Does the NHL Really "Get" Female Fans?

Seriously now, would you wear this to a Cap's game? You might if you want to be mistaken for a "lady of the evening" - as my grandma used to say. There was a great post on Puck Daddy's blog yesterday, where NHL gal fans and bloggers ranted about Alyssa Milano's "Touch" line of NHL licensed clothing. Now Alyssa Milano is and always has been drop-dead gorgeous and I'm glad that she's an avid fan.

But hey NHL Consumer Marketing gurus - real female fans don't wear this stuff (unless they're puck bunnies but that's another blog post and a very small demographic representation of female hockey fandom.) As one my fellow respected female Capitals bloggers quoted: "Alyssa Milano must have done her R&D for this line in a brothel." Hockey Mom got a good giggle out of that one - right on sister!

HM is happy to see more retail offerings by the NHL for the increasing number of lady fans. But I'd like to know - do you guys ever go out and actually talk to this audience? As I've said before once us gals are hooked, we'll get out the credit cards for that great (and flattering) Washington Capitals t-shirt. And then buy one for our BFF, our grandma, mom and cousin - just because we can!

I hope to see some more appropriate options for ladies debut this season. And thank our lucky stars, the season's almost here!

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Ovie Makes One More Cover...

This is wacked, but Hockey Mom loves to get the mail! With the exception of the never-ending barrage of bills, every now and then you find a really fun surprise in your mailbox. Think the latest issue of Vogue, a note from a long-lost friend, a Half-Off Sale notice from DSW Shoes and in today's case...The Hockey News 2008-2009 Yearbook. And you'll never guess who's on the cover? Who else but the Capital's own Alex Ovechkin. He shares the cover with fellow NHL poster boy Vincent LeCavalier of the Tampa Bay Lightning.

This is a fabulous issue with editorial features on both Alex and Mike Green. THN also gives a complete pre-season rundown (roster, depth chart, season schedule and much more) on each team, which is handy dandy information for all of you new hockey fans out there. The Caps earned the prediction of ending up 3rd in the Eastern Conference at season's end, along with an A- team rating (what's with the A-?).

I have to admit, this mailbox surprise might actually be better than a DSW Sale notice! Well, okay, maybe not so much. But it's a phenomenal resource to get you primed for the season and ladies, if you see it on the news stands, THN's 2008-09 Yearbook definitely gets the official Hockey Mom Seal of Approval...

Friday, August 15, 2008

HOT Indeed!

Not that I'm telling you anything new, but the Washington Capitals are one hot ticket! Check out Tarik's piece in today's Washington Post. As HM's day job is in the marketing field, it doesn't take a marketing genius to figure out that a 93% season ticket holder renewal rate is a pretty decent ROI for the Caps' promotional efforts! I was a little bummed to see that lower bowl tickets went up a tad - but hey, my motto has always been "you get what to pay for" and Caps fans are paying to see some of the most fantabulous players in the NHL. Everytime I take my guys to a game, I think about the fact that we're watching NHL history in the making by having the privilege to see Ovechkin play. However, Hockey Mom has become what I call a "seat snob" and even if I have to sell off prized possessions (with the exception of my shoe collection or my Washington Capitals Mr. Potato Head), I'll pay to sit in the lower bowl for a better view of the action. Yes, I am one of those people who orders a drink with about 158 descriptors at Starbucks too. Sometimes they just write "high maintenance mocha" on my cup - then again, you get what you pay for - right?

P.S. Speaking of my Caps Mr. Potato Head, that was one of the most clever promotional giveaways I saw at a game last season (with the exception of the red mullet, of course). And no, Hockey Mom did not mug a young fan to get one, we got an extra one at the door. I hope the Caps run that promotion again this year, only I'd like to get my own Mr. Potato Head mullet - like the one that comes with the Detroit Red Wings' version!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Ice Arena Named after Hockey Mom - This One's Great!

One die-hard hockey mom is soon to have her own ice arena named after her in recognition of her many years supporting her sons and her beloved Philadelphia Flyers! 85-year old Mary Watson once went so far as to pull an opposing team member's hair once when she didn't like the way he checked her boy. All I have to say for myself is that it's a good thing they have glass between me and the ice these days; I would have to say if they didn't - I'd probably have done the same thing by now!

Thanks to Kukla's Korner for sharing this piece about this fabulous HM. Check out the article here. A big Hockey Mom toast to Mary and to all the kid-schlepping, gear-toting, multi-tasking and cheering squad hockey moms out there! Ladies, this is proof that one day, they will appreciate all that we do!

Kudos to Cammi - First Female in NHL HOF...

A HUGE Hockey Mom fist bump and kudos galore to Cammi Granato, the All-Time Top Scorer of the U.S. Women's Hockey Team. for being the first female player welcomed into the NHL Hall of Fame! This fabulous player continues to pave the way for young women in hockey and to be named to the HOF is a well-deserved honor for this tremendous athlete. Although no women are among the past or present ranks of the NHL, Cammi led the U.S team to a Gold and a Silver medal and has already earned a spot in the International Ice Hockey Hall of Fame. She's also married to a former NHLer and does some broadcast commentating for the League.

HM is always thrilled to see young women get into this great game and am envious that it's too late for me to participate (alas, I cannot master the art of skating backwards - maybe someday). So all you hockey gals out there, uncork your finest champagne and toast to Cammi!

Monday, August 11, 2008

Go Caps - Great Press!

Check out this great piece on about the Capitals. Makes HM wish it were October already!

You Go USA!

So in the waning days of summer without hockey, HM along with the rest of the country, is trying to religiously follow the 2008 Olympics. I have to give a huge Hockey Mom fist bump to the men's relay swim team in capturing the gold last night (by a finger-length, mind you) over the smack-talking French. It's always so much fun (especially in hockey) to hear a team trash-talk the other team and then get slapped in the face by their opponent with a last-minute victory. Hey, Huet, what happened to the French relay team? They sure talked a big game but kudos to the Americans for that incredible comeback!

Back to hockey for a minute, HM was happy to hear that the Buffalo Sabres re-signed Finnish d-man Teppo Numminen to a new one-year contract. For the hockey newbies, the 40-year old Numminen missed a large part of last season due to open-heart surgery. He had to undergo valve surgery to correct a congenital heart defect and was suspended without pay by the team (which HM thought was bogus but apparently had something to do with the NHL's CBA - "Collective Bargaining Agreement"). So I am thrilled to see him back on the ice and wish him a great season!

And does anyone know when Mats Sundin is going to stop stringing the hockey world along and make a flipping decision about if and where he's going to play next season? Dude, seriously time to make a move - the season's less than 2 months away (yippeeee!)....

Hey Caps fans, don't forget about the Open House this Wednesday - D-man Matt Bradley and Cap's Captain Chris Clark will be in the house! I saw a video snippet on Caps TV recently where they followed Matt back to his home in Ontario and introduced his Hockey Grandma - what a cute lady; HM would love to watch a game with her! And I hope to see our Chris Clark back on the ice soon....

Til next time...Go Team USA!

Friday, August 8, 2008

Wanted: A Professional Scheduler

HELP! Hockey Mom in search of professional scheduler (or at least someone who can organize the multi-colored sticky notes that need to be pasted daily to my forehead by jersey, rink and team). No kidding, we just started getting the (pre-season, mind you) off-ice and on-ice workout schedules, tournament calendars and other team events and it has been determined that HM will be spending even more of her waking moments at the rink. Luckily, I have some help with the carpools but my new laptop is gonna come in handy with the free Wi-Fi the rink provides (you rink-owners think of everything: in-house pizza place with red vino in paper cups, pro shop for last-minute jock replacements and several t.v.s for my Caps viewing pleasure)!

Speaking of my beloved Caps, they are hosting an open house next week, where you can buy partial season tickets. HM really wants to do the 11-game package this year, but seeing as I'm lacking half of the boys' game schedule and no personal scheduler, I might just have to go on a "when the boys don't have a game or practice" per-game schedule. I definitely want to catch the Caps play the Vancouver Canucks - would be one of my 11 for sure. Even though the Canucks have been struggling the past few seasons, you know I have to get my fix of the Sedin twins - it's a twin thing.

Oh, I heard the understatement of the year the other day when I was listening to "the NHLer HM loves-to-hate-the-most" interview of Sean Avery. Avery actually admitted that "he steps over the line on occasion" - ya think? I do however, have to give the man an HM fist bump for his most recent lady conquest; rumor has it that he's dating fashionista Kelly Klein. I love to hear those cougar stories - you go girls!

So that's it for now - back to trying to sort my house league/travel league/Caps/dating/work/miscellaneous schedules out for now. I think I need a drink....

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Hockey Mom Fist Bumps To....

Ted Leonsis and Caps Chick for being mentioned in the list of top blogs by USA Hockey magazine. As you all know, Ted's Take is the blog of Ted Leonsis, the Caps' fearless and fabulous owner. He keeps fans in the loop on all things Capitals and really listens to the feedback he gets from fans on his blog! Caps Chick pens A View From The Cheap Seats, which recently featured a poll of which Washington Capital possesses the best posterior. Besides being totally fun and informative, this chick knows her hockey! So congrats to both....and thanks for keeping us hockey-starved fans up to date on the latest and greatest!

HM was disappointed to see some of my favorite blogs left off of this list. For Cap's fans, On Frozen Blog, Japer's Rink and Peerless Procrastinator are always must-reads. And where is my Puck Daddy? For an amusing "Jon Stewart-like" version of the latest hockey news and happenings, Puck Daddy totally rocks - he gets the Hockey Mom seal of approval (and complimentary fist bump) any day!

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Ugh, The Stench...The Horrific Odors That Come from Hockey Bags

Like most hockey moms, I am all too familiar with the horribly rank odors that seep from within the depths of my twins' hockey bags and permeate the trunk of my car. Hockey equipment has its own distinctive odor that can only be described like some sort of putrid combination of rotten eggs, B.O., dirty cat litter, old refried beans and vinegar. Well maybe not that bad, but it certainly isn't pleasant!

One key to avoiding the "stank" is making sure the equipment (especially some of the pads that can't be machine-washed) gets aired out after each use. The problem with that in our house is that inevitably, someone forgets to put a vital piece of equipment (like their jock) back in the bag, resulting in a mad scramble at the rink.

Socks and jerseys can be washed and I've found that putting fabric softener sheets in the bags helps a little. Hockey Mom has to give a big shout out to the boys' stepmom, who selflessly subjects herself to the rancid smell and washes the dirty bag contents when the boys are not at my house! She's also a major part of their cheering section during the season.

There are folks out there who have the equipment to professionally clean the heavy pads and gear, such as GearClean, based in Winchester, Va.

I've been on several tours of my beloved Caps' locker room and somehow it seems that those large men don't smell up the locker room half as bad as some of the youth locker rooms I've been in. If anyone knows the "secret of their fresh as a daisy locker room scent", please pass it on to Hockey Mom ASAP!

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Hockey Mom Safety Tips....

Yesterday afternoon I took the boys to "Stick & Shoot" at the rink. Stick & Shoot is basically like target practice where you pay for the ice time and just practice shooting the puck at whatever random goalies show up. There are a few older kids who always show up at these sessions in merely a t-shirt, shorts or sweat pants and a helmet. I guess that's "cool". So every time we go to Stick & Shoot, my guys ask if they can they play without pads and then proceed to argue the 125 great reasons they should be allowed to go "sans gear."

"Mom, can't we just play without pads this one time? Everybody else does." Hmmm, let me think about it....okay, no - hell, no! Even when there's no physical contact, I've seen too many men and kids alike get hit in unforeseen places with a flying puck. And since you're there just to practice shooting, that's the last place you're going to skate without pads.

I'm sure all Caps fans remember the playoff game where Flyer's player Patrick Thoresen (now in playing in Europe) took a puck below the equator. And the poor guy was wearing a cup (which shattered but at least there was some protection)! Note to self: Never lay down in front of one of mad Mike Green's sick 90 mph slap shots! And a Hockey Mom fist bump to Green, who like the stand up guy he is, called the poor chap the next day to see how he was doing....

So Hockey Mom's rules are here to stay: No gear - no ice. Put your big boy pants (and cup, pads and shin guards) on and deal with it!