Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Personnel Changes on the Caps Beat at Comcast SportsNet

There will be a different friendly face covering the Caps beat for Comcast SportsNet this season. The network just announced that former Caps reporter and puck guru Lisa Hillary has departed the network to cover the rival Philadelphia Flyers. Jill Sorensen,  a veteran sports anchor who hails from the hockey mecca of Minnesota (Minn-a-sOta), will be stepping into the vacant role.

From the CSN press release:

Sorenson, a longtime Washington-area sports journalist, returns to the role of Capitals television beat reporter after serving as an anchor and reporter for Comcast SportsNet Mid-Atlantic for five years. Sorenson, who led the network’s coverage of the Capitals from 2005 to 2007, spent four years as the Capitals beat reporter for WRC-TV (NBC) from 2000 to 2004, where she served as a sports anchor and reporter. A graduate of Brown University, Sorenson also spent time as a news reporter for WTTG-TV (FOX) in Washington, D.C. and as a as a sports anchor and reporter for WDIO-TV (ABC) in Duluth, Minn.

After serving as the Capitals television beat reporter for Comcast SportsNet Mid-Atlantic for three seasons, Hillary joins Comcast SportsNet Philadelphia to lead their television news coverage of the Flyers. A veteran hockey reporter, she joined the network in July 2007 following a lengthy career as a reporter and anchor with several major television outlets in Canada, where she spent time covering the NHL for two national sports networks, The Sports Network (TSN) and The Score. A graduate of Algonquin College, she also spent time as a news anchor for Ottawa’s A-Channel.

Congrats to Jill and we look forward to seeing her from Kettler in about minus 18 days! And best of luck to Lisa, hope those testy Flyers fans treat you right...

Thursday, August 26, 2010

NHL National TV Schedules Released; Willie Mitchell Goes to Hollywood

For your puck planning purposes, VERSUS and NBC released their NHL broadcast schedules yesterday. VERSUS will broadcast 11 Capitals games to a national television audience in 2010-11 while NBC, which will operate under a flexible schedule for nine of the network’s regular-season dates, will carry the 2011 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic on Jan. 1 and has the option to pick up three other Washington games.

In addition to the broadcast schedule the Capitals announced 10 time changes from the original schedule:

 Oct. 19 vs. Boston (7:30 p.m.)
 Nov. 9 at New York Rangers (7:30 p.m.)
 Dec. 19 at Ottawa (7:30 p.m.)
 Dec. 21 vs. New Jersey (7:30 p.m.)
 Jan. 24 vs. New York Rangers (7:30 p.m.)
 Feb. 1 vs. Montreal (7:30 p.m.)
 Feb. 21 at Pittsburgh (7:30 p.m.)
 March 15 at Montreal (7 p.m.)
 March 16 at Detroit (7:30 p.m.)
 March 22 at Philadelphia (7:30 p.m.).

VERSUS, which will broadcast 78 regular-season NHL games, will feature the Capitals 11 times this season, tied for the most appearances of any team. The network will also broadcast the following games:

Oct. 13 vs. New York Islanders
Oct. 19 vs. Boston
Nov. 9 at New York Rangers
Dec. 21 vs. New Jersey
Jan. 24 vs. New York Rangers
Feb. 14 at Phoenix
Feb. 21 at Pittsburgh
March 7 at Tampa Bay
March 16 at Detroit
March 22 at Philadelphia
March 31 vs. Columbus.

In other news, the Willie Mitchell saga has come to an end. The gritty veteran defenseman signed with the L.A. Kings yesterday, joining a young defense corps where youngsters Drew Doughty and Jack Johnson play starring roles. Sources say LA was the only club offering Mitchell a two-year deal; Peerless has an interesting take on how a potential Mitchell signing would have affected the Cap's salary cap. Ah Willie, you would've looked dashing in red, but not for that kind of commitment (especially in light of that concussion history). Maybe your Canucks pal Kevin Bieksa may still be in play - time will tell.

Some other miscellaneous odds and ends as we mark off the long summer days:

  • Please wish ComcastSportsNet's former Capitals reporter (and great gal) Lisa Hillary luck as she moves on to cover the arch-rival Flyers. OFB says it all here.
  • Wanna make sure you get all your hockey news on the go? Check out Storming the Creases' handy guide to mobile apps for puckheads!
  • Semyon Varlamov issues a personal invitation for you to join him at the Caps Convention and Varly has officially joined the blogosphere. (Russian Machine Never Breaks).
  • Finally, two notable hockey dads weigh in on body checking in youth hockey - a discussion that took place at this week's Hockey Summit in Toronto.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Tuesday Tidbits: Get Your Single Game Tickets!

The Washington Capitals have literally become such a hot ticket that the team is adding standing room only tickets this year after selling out 60 consecutive Capitals games (including playoffs ). The Caps announced yesterday that single-game tickets will go on sale Friday, Sept. 10 and may be purchased at 202-397-SEAT, on WashingtonCaps.com, at Kettler Capitals Iceplex and at all local Ticketmaster outlets, including the Verizon Center box office. Once the single-game tickets have sold (they'll be selling as fast as fresh-out-of-the-oven red velvets from Georgetown Cupcake), the team will make a limited number of Standing Room Only tickets available.

The Caps will open their home season against against the New Jersey Devils (who could be with or without Ilya Kovalchuk - the drama continues). The  team will unveil their 2009-10 Presidents’ Trophy and Southeast Division championship banners prior to the game, and fans will receive a magnet schedule presented by GEICO.

And as we drag through another slow day of counting the days until Training Camp, here are a few miscellaneous tidbits for your reading pleasure:

  • And the Willie wait continues. Will Canuck's defenseman Willie Mitchell be rocking the red this season? One Hockey Mom would love to see it...
  • Speaking of the Canucks, as the mom of twins you know of my fascination with thos Sedin boys. Here's an interesting viewpoint on whether Vancouver could give one Sedin the captaincy and not the other should the need arise. (stick tap to Canucks Hockey Blog). My twins were doing anything but channeling the Sedins during practice last night. Coach had them on the same line and several times when one made a drop pass to the other, the intended recipient overskated it as he was skating alongside the brother instead of behind him. Need to work on that one boys...
  • The boss weighs in on Alex Ovechkin (interesting insight from AO on youth hockey in Russia) and the Cap's goalie situation.
That's all for now folks - I'll be sure to update with any developing news. Until then, I think I need a nap...

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Midweek Musings

And we're midway through another week of summer void of any spectacular hockey news. The current buzz circulating around here revolves around a member of Hockey Mom's second favorite team (the home of the Sedin twins - those Vancouver Canucks). Veteran d-man Willie Mitchell is conducting a "rose ceremony" (pick Roberto - oh wait, sorry...) of sorts of his own, trying to narrow his team choices down to the last man standing. Those teams include the Capitals, the L.A. Kings and the San Jose Sharks, and of course the Canucks aren't totally out of the bidding picture yet. Mitchell worked out at Kettler yesterday and met with team management (please say yes, Willie) and should be making his final rose presentation to the chosen team within the next week or so. The Hockey Writers and Capitals Insider devoted pixels to the Mitchell sighting, which was initially reported by Corey Masisak of CSN Washington. If you are of the many fans who feel that the team is a tad too soft on the blueline, just Google the video of Willie Mitchell steamrolling Jonathan Toews last season. Caps' senior writer Mike Vogel has his own thoughts on the current state of the teams' defense. So the wait begins to see if we welcome Willie to Washington (or anyone else for that matter) before training camp starts for the vets on September 18.

In other random news (other than my boys started on-ice practice this week):

  • Unfortunately HM realized in my second season of covering an NHL team that the chances of my kids making it to the big show (or a free college ride would be nice) are slim to none (hey, a mom can dream, can't she). But this is a fantastic article over at NHL FanHouse about how hockey has changed in the D.C. area, a direct result of the Capitals' success.
  • Speaking of youth hockey - a huge Hockey Mom high-five to our Bantam team goalie, Colin McNelis, who will represent Virginia in the finals of the Capitals Shoot Out Contest during a Caps game at the Verizon Center in January! Way to represent and good luck in the finals!
  • Alex Ovechkin and I have more than hockey in common - apparently we both live in a zoo. (stick tap to Alex Ovetjkin). When I told my boys about the article, they retorted in their typical teenage fashion, "What kind of NHL player has 8 cats and would admit it"? I dare you two to ask him that to his face and need I remind you, he's bringing home a big dog....plus, we have a cat (duh).
  • Finally, a happy fifth anniversary to everybody's favorite grinder, Matt Bradley. The always-witty Becca over at Japer's Rink has written a lovely celebratory post complete with the requisite bloody Brads fights. Totally awesome - must read now!

Friday, August 13, 2010

Another Slow Sports Friday in August...

Seems like the only thing making any noise in D.C. this summer are the wacky wave of destructive thunderstorms that keep hammering the area. Yes puckheads, this has proved to be one loooong, hot summer void of any earthshattering trade news as far as the Capitals are concerned. But there are a few tidbits that have popped up here and there and the trade rumour mill is still spinning as fast as the Wheel of Fortune. For starters, word has it that forward (and dentist with no formal training to speak of) Eric Berlanger has agreed to a one-year deal with the Caps but there has been no "official" word from the team. Buzz is circulating (some of it from unreliable sources mind you) that the deal will go down and may involve another possible trade for a defenseman. Puckhead's Thoughts and Peerless have some good reads on this very subject. Some of the names that have been tossed around include Canucks' Kevin Bieksa, Willie Mitchell and Toronto's Tomas Kaberle - but any impending trade is all speculation for now.

In other news, someone in the Hockey Hall of Fame's engraving department may be finding themselves leading tours instead, as the Capitals were engraved in the Prince of Wales trophy in error. Um, oopsie?

Musings of a Hockey Mom Turns Two!

In all the madness that makes up "in-season" (following my twins on two separate travel teams as well as furiously keeping up with our beloved Capitals), HM totally neglected the momentous second birthday of Musings of A Hockey Mom. But hey, at least I remembered all the birthdays of my many family members, friends and co-workers, right? Because it's not like this single working hockey mom of teen twins doesn't have anything going on...

But to commemorate this belated birthday, HM wants to first start off by thanking Capitals' owner extraordinaire Ted Leonsis for his faith in this blogger by showing Musings lots of support, especially in the early days. Secondly, I have to thank the Capitals organization and their multi-Dillman Award winning PR staff for making my duties in keeping up with Caps "scoop" easy! Also to the other terrific members of the hockey media, especially all my great hockey pals listed in my Blog Roll. But most of all, I want to thank my many fabulous readers and tweeps (Twitter followers) for reading and supporting me in this wonderful world of hockey fandom! In the famous words of Sally Field: "You like me, you really like me..."

I'd love to reach out and give all of you a collective hockey hug and hope you'll keep reading for my not-so politically correct women's take on this amazingly awesome sport and the players we all heart so much. September will be here before you know it - meanwhile, HM may have to head down to Georgetown Cupcake to celebrate...

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Hockey Mom's "What Not to Wear" Edition

The fashion flunkees responsible for creating fan gear for all the fabulous hockey-adoring ladies out there have done it again. Here's the latest "female-friendly" team jersey that's a cross between something a 9-year old girl would wear and an Elvis-impersonation gone very wrong, complete with studs around the "feminine" collar. Is it that hard to design stylish merchandise that is complimentary to the female figure (but doesn't make us look like a bunch of harlots), yet spotlight's the team's colors/logo like the men's versions?  This abomination of a "jersey" is just one more hairbrained idea that will end up on the clearance table as clearly, the NHL is not listening (or are they even asking) to the opinions of the ever-growing population of female fans.

This issue was first brought to HM's attention by the wonderful Monica McAlister over at The Hockey Writers. Once more lady fans got wind of yet another NHL fashion disaster, Twitter almost self-imploded with the number of comments from irate female puckheads. Puck Daddy got a great sampling of the pulse of the female fan regarding the NHL's misaligned version of  "What Women Want." While the league has made great strides in the selection of fan gear for women as of late (case in point, Hockey Mom's most favorite Capitals zip-up hoodie - a wardrobe staple), somehow they still believe that if you put sparklies on it, women will kill each other to buy it. You almost expect to get a free team replica "My Little Pony" with each purchase of a sparkly (non-team colored) jersey. None of the female fans I know would dare step into Verizon Center donning such a wardrobe disaster. But be forewarned, those ladies who choose to may just find one Stacy London shaking her head furiously in fan fashion disapproval....

Friday, August 6, 2010

Pint-Sized Pugilists Attend Root Beer Summit

By now, you've probably seen the viral YouTube video of two Mite players dropping the gloves until they are reprimanded by a mom's voice from the stands. HM's boys have not gotten into a fight yet (with an opposing player that is; trading blows between the two of them is a near-daily occurence), but I'll be curious to see how that plays out. As they are entering their second Bantam year and now both twins tower over my 5'2" frame, I'm pretty their first fight(s) won't resemble the Mite video in any form or fashion.

Well one of my favorite players, David Booth of the Florida Panthers, saw the video as well and decided to host a "root beer" summit for these two fiesty tikes. After being knocked out of action for quite some time last season following a rude hit from Flyer's captain Mike Richards, Booth engaged in fisticuffs against Richards to alleviate his pent-up anger and frustration. Check out this video, where Booth uncovers what exactly started the fight and shares his love of the game and some pointers with these future enforcers:

In addition to that sparking-white smile and his perserverance to get back into the game following a months-long concussion, yet another reason to love this Florida Panther!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Mid-Week Musings

Still not a lot of exciting hockey news to report so here are some random mid-week musings for your coffee-break perusal:
  • Au revoir and best of luck to defenseman Shaone Morrisonn (until the Capitals face the Sabres that is). ShaMo is one of the many players that hit the market and has landed a 2-year deal with our pals in Buffalo.
  • The guy in charge is not too proud to clean the pottys at the Phone Booth - one more reason he's a shining example of what a sports owner should be. Take note Dan Snyder....
  • The Capitals' new tough guy D.J. King gave new Washington Post Caps beat writer Katie Carrera some insight into the mind of an enforcer. Again, welcome to Washington D.J.!
  • The former face of the franchise, Olie the Goalie, will be in house for the second Caps Convention in October - sure to be another sellout event.
  • And finally, should you single guys out there need any more reason to rock the red - let's just say "chicks dig it." Check it out here....

Monday, August 2, 2010

Could Caps be in the Hunt for Another Goaltender?

The Chicago Blackhawks have parted ways with Stanley Cup-winning netminder Antti Niemi after an arbitrator's decision to award him with a $2.75 million contract. The Hawks said "thanks but no thanks" and signed veteran ex-Star Marty Turco instead. Could the Capitals be in the mix as a possible new home for the talented Finnish puck-stopper? Check out this post  - guess we'll have to wait and see if GMGM will be in hot pursuit.