Thursday, January 1, 2009

Capitals Bolt Into the New Year

The Capitals bolted into the New Year with a high-scoring victory over the arch-rival Tampa Bay Lightning. First off, Hockey Mom wants to send her thoughts and prayers to former Cap and current Lightning player, Jamie Heward, who went down hard in the third period and was taken off the ice in a stretcher. As of this post, the report is that Heward suffered a concussion. There is lots of buzz circulating the Internet about whether or not the hit was clean (it appeared to be on all accounts and from Lightning coach Rick Tocchet's angle) and whether the NHL will suspend our super star as they are cracking down on hits from behind and to the head. Ovie plays hard and is not a dirty player and rest assured that no one was more concerned about the health of Caps' former team mate and friend Heward than number 8 himself.

It looked as if this one might turn out to be blowout by the end of the first with the Caps up 3 - 0 but the Bolts refused to fizzle and tightened up the score in the second period with two goals from their own star, Vinny Lecavalier. Tampa Bay was also awarded a bogus penalty shot for Adam Hall, which was swiftly denied by quick-hand Johnny. Lightning net minder Mike Smith allowed 7 goals - the most allowed by a Bolts' goalie this season.

A big Hockey Mom toast to Sean Collins who lit the red lamp for the red for the first time in his young NHL career. The Caps continue to rock as a result of secondary scoring and saw tallies from Collins, Matt Bradley, Boyd Gordon and captain Chris Clark (who attempted to rearrange the face of Adam Hall after he took exception to Hall's hit on Bradley). Yep, Clark is back with guns a-blazin'!

Mike Green and Ovie added a goal apiece to the scoring bonanza, resulting in a final score of 7 -4. Nicklas Backstrom contributed two assists and is on quite the streak as he's enjoying his 10th multiple-point game of this season! So the Caps are starting the New Year off with a bang and sit at second place in the Eastern Conference with 53 points. This is a great article by the Washington Post's Mike Wise, emphasizing the Caps' strong start, the depth on the bench and their bright future.

Of course the other big story for New Year's Day 2009, was the NHL Winter Classic at Wrigley Field. The young Chicago Blackhawks lost to the Stanley Cup Champion Detroit Red Wings in the annual outdoor game that drew more than 41,000 fans. HM really wanted to root for the Hawks but I just can't as long as they have Christobal Huet in net (who got the big hook back to the bench after allowing a few too many Detroit goals).

Photo courtesy NHL

Hockey Mom was the recipient of several rowdy phone calls from some dear friends from Chicago taking in the Winter Classic from a chilly rooftop 4-stories above Wrigley Field. The afore mentioned friends had procured HM a spot as well for $250, which covered the seat plus complementary liquid warmth and game food. But once I calculated in my airfare and looked at the boys' crazy upcoming out-of-town tournament schedule, I had to get real with my finances and forgo the offer. They promised me pictures, which I hope to have soon!

Hockey Mom will be in the house tomorrow night as the Caps take on the New York Rangers.I am bringing several hockey "newbies" who I managed to reel in during last year's playoff run.

In the meantime, I hope you all have a happy and healthy New Year and I especially wish Jamie Heward a speedy recovery!

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