Friday, May 28, 2010

Capitals to Face Rival Penguins in Epic 2011 Winter Classic

Well, we didn't get to face the rival Penguins in the playoffs this year but it's official: the Capitals will meet their arch rivals on a frigid Heinz Field on January 1, 2011 in the fourth annual Winter Classic. Hockey Mom has already been heating up the phone lines to the relatives from the dark side trying to line up lodging and tickets once I heard the rumblings were close to being confirmed. Ovi and Sid in the snow - will make for a spectacular sporting event - one that's already claimed a spot on even casual hockey fans' New Years Day viewing schedules.

Here's the official press release from the Capitals:

Capitals to Face Penguins in 2011 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic in Pittsburgh

Game set for Jan. 1 at Heinz Field; Washington, D.C., area to host future outdoor game

ARLINGTON, Va. – The Washington Capitals will face the Pittsburgh Penguins in the 2011 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic on Jan. 1, 2011, at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh, NHL commissioner Gary Bettman announced today. The two teams will face off at 1 p.m. ET at the home of the Pittsburgh Steelers in a game that will be televised on NBC. In addition, the commissioner announced that the Washington, D.C., area will be home to a future outdoor game in the next two or three years.

“We are excited to participate not only in the 2011 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic but also are pleased that the NHL has agreed to play a future outdoor game in the D.C. area,” Capitals majority owner Ted Leonsis said. “Our organization is extremely appreciative of Commissioner Bettman’s efforts and that he recognized our intense desire to have our great fan base and the D.C. area enjoy all the benefits associated with an outdoor game. It recognizes and rewards our fans and franchise for our many achievements on and off the ice. We are also happy to announce that all of our full season-ticket account holders will be given an opportunity to purchase tickets to the game in Pittsburgh. It was important for us to be able to reward and extend this benefit to our most valued customers.”

Every Washington Capitals full-season account holder will have the opportunity to purchase tickets for the 2011 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic. Details on ticket availability and pricing will be sent to full season-ticket holders when they become available. Other fans interested in attending the event are encouraged to sign up for ticket updates on

This marks the fourth Winter Classic, an annual game that Forbes magazine called the best new sporting event of the last decade. It will mark the first time the Capitals will play an outdoor game in their history.

Coach Boudreau will be on a media conference call later this afternoon sharing his thoughts on this exciting news.

The Washington-Pittsburgh matchup pits two traditional rivals against each other, teams that have won the Presidents’ Trophy (Washington) and Stanley Cup (Pittsburgh) in the last two seasons. Their rosters feature three of the four 100-point scorers in the NHL this season (Alex Ovechkin, Sidney Crosby and Nicklas Backstrom), two-time Norris Trophy finalist Mike Green and two of the three finalists for the Hart Trophy as the league’s most valuable player (Ovechkin and Crosby), led by two-time defending Hart Trophy winner Ovechkin.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Caps Present Courage Caps Check to USO

On Tuesday, Mike Knuble and Brendan Morrison represented the Capitals organization as they presented a check in the amount of $38,109.27 raised through the sale of Courage Caps, presented by Microsoft, to the USO of Metro Washington. Chief Operating Officer for the USO of Metropolitan Washington Cheryl Hall received the check along with the wounded warriors from Walter Reed Army Medical Center and the National Naval Medical Center.

While fans applaud the efforts the players bring to their battles on the ice, Knuble recognized the sacrifices of our country's true heroes  - especially those who have returned from combat with life-altering injuries. These brave soldiers exemplify the utmost courage, tenacity and dedication to preserving our freedom. Observing the wounded warriors who participated in a pratice on the Kettler Capitals rink, Knuble said “Just to see them out there playing hockey is inspiring,” Brendan Morrison voiced his agreement, saying: “These guys put their lives on the line for us everyday and to be able to see their passion for hockey is amazing."

Washington Capitals Charities provided ice time at Kettler Capitals Iceplex for 35 wounded warriors from USA Warriors to practice hockey – half of whom played sled hockey – before the check presentation. After their practice, the wounded warriors and their families were treated to lunch with Knuble and Morrison.

“To be able to spend some time with them after was special, to hangout and talk to them was great,” said Knuble. “It was nice to sit down and meet some of the guys and their families,” said Morrison.

Courage Caps, presented by Microsoft, are in their third season and have raised nearly $100,000 for local charities. Courage Caps are team-issued and branded hats that are sold at Capitals home games, at Kettler Capitals Iceplex and online at with 100% of the proceeds benefiting a different charity each year.

Thanks to all of the fabulous fans who helped the Caps in this most worthy effort and HM will join you all in remembering all the service members who have lost their lives serving our country this Memorial Day weekend.

And speaking of Mike Knuble, I was curious to hear if he had any thoughts on his former Flyers team getting into the playoffs in a last second shoot out and now representing the Eastern Conference in the Stanley Cup finals. The veteran forward shared his thoughts with CSN on coming to terms with the abrupt end to the Capitals' season along with his former team mates emergence from a season which saw their coach fired and an injury-plagued bench to capturing a spot in the finals. Yep, that's gotta be a tough one to stomach.

Before HM signs off to start packing for this weekend's tournament in Flyer-ville, I hope you all have a safe holiday weekend. Off to the rink....

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Stanley Cup Finals Start Saturday

I aplogize in advance to my fabulous, faithful readers for my spotty series of lackadaisical blog posts lately. The Capitals fans among you will get it - I just can't find it in me to get overly excited about watching the Hawks and Flyers play for Lord Stanley's Cup. Plus, there really hasn't been any super exciting news in Capsland to howl about as of late, other than Backstrom's signing, Ovi losing a few more teeth and getting a new dog and several very sad photos of Alex Semin tearing up after Russia's loss at the World Championships (Eegads, son - pour yourself a Zima and get yourself together; there's no crying in hockey)!

But even though we don't have a dog in the hunt, as a hockey fan, HM will be watching the Stanley Cup Finals (and I've sort of already jumped on the Blackhawks bandwagon - hope they don't mind). The series kicks off in Chicago on Saturday night and go figure, Hockey Mom and crew will be in Philadelphia for a hockey tournament, lucky me. A fellow hockey mom and Flyers fan offered to bring me to Wachovia Center to watch with the rest of the crazies (I think she was kidding) but I politely declined knowing full well that I'd probably come out of that place looking like Duncan Keith with a black eye. In all seriousness, it will be entertaining to watch these two go at it - if for nothing else but the grit factor. I will be curious to see how Flyer's goalie Michael Leighton stacks up against Chicago's scary offense. Jonathan Toews, Patrick Sharp and Patrick Kane already have seven playoff goals to date, while the beast, Dustin Bfyuglien, has eight. Meanwhile, Annti Niemi and the Hawks' defense will have to keep an eye on the sneaky pocket-sized Danny Briere, who has scored nine playoff goals thus far followed closely by mates Claude Giroux (8); Simon Gagne (7); and their fearless leader Mike Richards (6). HM would reckon to venture that this SCF might be the only time you'll find Capitals, Penguins and Rangers fans united for the same cause - rooting for the Blackhawks. Or are they, as this post from Rangers writer Scotty Hockey examines?

Either way, it's sure to be a chippy series full of line brawls between very hairy men - speaking of which, check out today's very funny Puck Daddy, where he offers a complete style analysis of both the Hawks' and Flyers' playoff beards.

And in other random puck-related news:
  •  The Tampa Bay Lightning are coming closer to losing the sideshow aura that unfortunately followed them during the reign of former owners Len Barrie and Oren Koules (clown residents in charge). New team owner Jeff Vinik has hired one of the greatest names in hockey, Steve Yzerman, as the team's new GMYzerman left for his new post after an illustrious 27-year career as both a Stanley Cup winning player and  later, in a management  role, with the prestigious Detroit Red Wings organization. With Steve Stamkos lighting it up and Stevie Y in the front office, things just might be looking brighter in the Sunshine State.

  • Fellow hockey moms - check out this very helpful blog about skate sharpening from one of my favorite hockey bloggers Bourne's Blog (he is very witty plus includes totally random snippets about his cute cat). I have to drop the twins' skates off to be sharpened before the tourney tomorrow and am glad I can finally appear somewhat knowledgeable on this subject.

  • Finally, posted on the photo album from HM's recent office golf (make that putt putt outing) regarding her less than stellar performance: "The day's WORST golfer. But it's not her fault. Hockey Mom kept trying to pass the ball, but no one was crashing the hole to put it in. She was so confused by the "team" thing."

Call me crazy....

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Close the Broom Closet Door: Chicago Sweeps San Jose for Trip to Stanley Cup Finals

The Chicago Blackhawks put another dusting on the San Jose Sharks this afternoon to complete a four-game sweep and earn a trip to the Stanley Cup Finals. Dave Bolland, Brent Seabrook, Kris Versteeg and Dustin Byfuglien all lit the lamp in the Hawks' 4-2 victory over a veteran-laden Sharks team that boasted the likes of Patrick Marleau, Rob Blake (who may be hanging them up after an illustrious career) and Joe Thornton. Norris Trophy candidate Duncan Keith left more than his best effort on the ice, losing four teeth. As is the norm for rough and tumble NHLers, Keith had a quickie root canal and returned to the ice to help his pals close out the Sharks.

The run and gun young Blackhawks blasted 27 shots towards Evgeni Nabakov, compared to the Sharks' 18. Therein lied the problem for San Jose as they were unable to get their scary good offense going in this series. The sad-eyed Patrick Marleau seemed to be the only San Jose star with a hot stick against the Hawks, scoring five goals in this series. Meanwhile,  Dustin Byfuglien has become the toast of the town in Chicago, scoring the game-winning goal and adding to his playoff total of eight. So congrats and best of luck to the Chicago Blackhawks - you may end up with some new bandwagons fans from around these parts should you end up facing the Flyers in the Finals!

And speaking of the Philadelphia Flyers, they can wrap their series up tomorrow night at Wachovia Center. The Montreal Canadiens who defeated the Caps and Pens have seemingly disappeared, despite a convincing Game Three win. And it doesn't help the Habs' cause that the gritty Ian Laperriere is back in the Flyers' lineup. Should the Flyers meet the Hawks in the final quest for Lord Stanley's Cup, HM is predicting it will be quite an interesting slugfest to say the least!

For your Sunday reading pleasure, here are some other pertinent hockey happenings from around the rinks:

  • You've heard HM ramble about what a nice little addition Ottawa's Anton Volchenkov would be to the Capitals' talented bench. Well not to get the rumor mill started or anything, but check out this little tidbit.
  • A huge Hockey Mom high-five to the Hershey Bears who are once again headed to the Calder Cup Finals!
  • And finally, another heartbreak for Alex Ovechkin and his Russian mates as they lost the Gold Medal game at the IIHF World Championships to the Czechs. I know that the Caps' Russian contigent of Ovi, Semin and Varlamov don't want to hear this right now but remember, whatever doesn't kill you will make you stronger... right?

Thursday, May 20, 2010

NHL Team Mates Face Off in Rival Match at IIHF World Championships Today

This afternoon, a half a world away, four of the Capitals' finest will be on the same ice - as fierce opponents. The historic, and often ugly, rivalry between Russia and Canada will come to a head once again as the two teams meet at 2:15 p.m. in the quarterfinals of the IIHF World Championships. Representing their respective countries are Washington's Brooks Laich (Canada) and Alex Ovechkin, Alexander Semin and Semyon Varlamov (Russia). Russia took the crown last year, but it is always a heated battle when these two highly talented teams meet. When interviewed about facing his captain Ovi in today's game, Laich said, "There will be no friends today." This will not be the same Brooks that stops to change a tire for stranded ladies in distress when he meets his Russian NHL mates later today, that's for sure. Meanwhile, several NHL players (including Sidney Crosby, our own Nick Backstrom, and fellow Swedes Henrik Zetterberg and the Sedins) have been called out in a controversial Web posting by Szymon Szemberg, the International Ice Hockey Federation director of communications, for not participating in this year's World Championships (despite all playing in the Olympics and the NHL's post-season). Sorry Szymon, but Backstrom was busy signing his long-term phat contract with the Capitals and resting up for next season. Hockey Canada came to King Crosby's defense of course and many in the hockey world are calling the accusations by the IIHF unfounded and ridiculous. In any case, hope the players that didn't participate are getting some much-needed R&R and best of luck to all of our Capitals still competing.

In other hockey happenings, a Hockey Mom high five to one of my faves, Henrik Sedin for being named The Sporting News Player of the Year. Sedin recorded a career high 112 points this season and is up for the Hart Trophy alongside Ovi and Crosby, despite being without the magical services of his twin brother for a long stretch of the season. Sorry my #33 Sedin shirt didn't bring you any more luck in the second round Henrik, but congrats on this latest accolade!

And Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Finals goes down tonight. The Canadiens hope to get on the board quickly in front of their loyal fans at a raucous Bell Centre after being shut out by the Flyers in the first two games. Flyers' net minder Michael Leighton has apparently stolen Jaro Halak's hot hand thus far, making 58 stops to this point in this series. Meanwhile, the Flyers' Ville Leino's third period goal on Tuesday was a result of one of the ugliest non-attempts to stop a puck I've ever seen from a goaltender. The Habs are trying to regroup and return to the form that helped them take down the powerhouse Capitals and Penguins - don't count Cinderella out yet folks.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Conference Finals: Game Two and Other Tuesday Tidbits

So yesterday brought the news of the much anticipated Nicklas Backstrom signing by the Caps. But #19 wasn't the only player signed by the organization, as fellow Swede and center Marcus Johansson was also signed to a three-year entry level deal. The 19-year old Johansson was a first round pick in the 2009 NHL Entry Draft and currently plays in his home country for Farjestads of the Swedish Elite League (SEL), the top professional league in Sweden. He recorded 20 points (10 goals, 10 assists) in 42 games this season. Johansson will don number 90 when he sports the Washington red, white and blue. Welcome aboard Marcus!

And many fans of the Capitals, Penguins and now the down-trodden Boston Bruins with an epic Game 7 fail, are still shaking their heads in disbelief as we watch the Conference Finals. Game Two for both East and West will go down tonight and Montreal Canadiens fans are wondering if their hot streak had a collision with a fire hose after being squashed by the Flyers in Game One. But after being chased from the net, Habs players are confident that hot Halak (whose last name is now being used as a verb in hockey jargon - synonymous with "opening up a can of whoopass") are confident that their elite netminder will bounce back. He will certainly need to as the thugnasty Flyers might just get even more nasty with the possible return of Ian Laperriere to the bench. Things in that series are getting ugly on and off the ice. Check out this story about a veteran reporter for the Montreal Gazette who had his car vandalized by some of Philly's finest during Game One (stick tap to Kukla's Korner/NHL Fanhouse). Stay classy guys - actions like that give Canadiens' player Hal Gill proof in the pudding to back up his assessment of many Flyers fans. And while we're at it, some of you don't exactly look like Einstein shouting out anti-French Canadian slurs to opposing fans when two of your team's most prolific scorers hail from the province of Quebec - think Daniel Briere and Simone Gagne. That's right up there with some of the Canadiens fans booing the National Anthem while key Habs players Brian Gionta, Mike Cammalleri and Scott Gomez are proud products of the USA.

If you're not getting enough drama watching the 2010 Stanley Cup playoffs, apparently drama queen (and train wreck) Lindsay Lohan put on quite a show at a NYC nightclub recently, getting into an altercation with two New York Rangers (including Sean Avery - girlfriend must be on drugs). Here are the dirty details from the New York Post. And we thought Avery was a prima donna? Wonder if Rangers coach John Tortorella helped her out with any beverage tossing tips he acquired during last year's series against the Capitals?

Monday, May 17, 2010

Backstrom Gets a Big Deal

The Washington Capitals held a press conference today to announce the good news that the team has signed elite center Nicklas Backstrom to a long-term (10 years to be exact) contract, worth a reported $67 million. The uber-talented young Swede finished this season fourth atop league standings with an impressive 101 points. Nicky also gets an A+ for attendance and has never missed an NHL game (246 games).  Backstrom has joined Wayne Gretzky and Peter Stastny as the only players in NHL history with 55 or more assists in each of their first three seasons in the league. Only five players have had more than Backstrom’s 189 assists in three seasons, and his 258 points are the most of any Capital besides teammate Ovechkin (310) in his first three years. Henrik Sedin and Joe Thornton are the only players with more assists than Backstrom in the last three seasons.

HM is certain Nick will recieve a congratulatory call today from his best pal and running mate Ovi, who is currently lighting it up at the IIHF World Championships. A huge Hockey Mom toast to Nick on his well-deserved contract - you are well-loved among the Caps faithful and we are so proud to have such an outstanding young talent here in DC! Look for more from Hockey Mom on the conference finals and other random musings later today...

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Big Caps Announcement Forthcoming

After returning from a weekend wedding in Sidney-land (filled with lots of disappointed Pens and especially Bruins fans), Hockey Mom recieved the following communication from the Capitals' PR staff:

Capitals to Make Significant Announcement Monday, May 17, at 10:30 a.m.

ARLINGTON, Va. – The Washington Capitals will make a significant player-related announcement on Monday, May 17, at 10:30 a.m. at Kettler Capitals Iceplex in Arlington, Va. Media are invited to attend the announcement, which will be held in the team’s locker room at the practice facility.

My best guess would be that the team has come to a contract agreement with elite center Nicklas Backstrom which I hope is the case, but stay tuned....

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Hearty Habs Knock Out Defending Champions Pittsburgh

Canadiens Win NHL Eastern Conference Semi Finals in Pittsburgh

Photo: PK Subban and Mike Cammalleri/Courtesy of PicApp

And in the end, the Cinderella story Montreal Canadiens proved to be too much for not only the President's Trophy-winning Washington Capitals, but they've now knocked out the defending Stanley Cup champion Pittsburgh Penguins with last night's commanding 5-2 win. The hearty Habs shellshocked Sidney Crosby and mates and silenced a sold-out Pittsburgh crowd in what ended up being the Penguin's final game at the landmark Igloo.

Crosby got off to a rocky start, getting the whistle for a cross-check merely 10 seconds into the first period. It was apparent in the latter games in this series that Halak and the Habs were frustrating him and Brian Gionta made him pay with this early trangression, trickling the puck by Marc-Andre Fleury. Of course, pesky Matt Cooke added to the Pens' woes, taking a high-sticking call about 20 some seconds after Crosby's penalty. Birthday boy (a whopping 21 years of age today - happy birthday!) and spunky rookie PK Subban earned the assist on Gionta's goal along with Scott Gomez. Dominic Moore made it 2-0 for the Canadiens with a sizzling wrister at 14:23. The Penguins seemed to be sleepwalking through the first period and Fleury's struggles only compounded the situation.

Mike Cammalleri's hot streak doesn't appear to be fading anytime soon as he netted his twelfth goal of the playoffs early in the second period. Two minutes later Travis Moen scored a shorty and stunned the Penguins with a 4-0 advantage. After Moen's tally, Coach Dan Bylsma gave Fleury the hook and replaced him with former Caps' net minder Brent Johnson. Penguins' faithful found reason to cheer in the latter part of the second period as Chris Kunitz and Jordan Staal each banked a goal - cutting their deficit to two going into the dressing room.

The Penguins continued to bring it in the third but Jaroslav Halak continued his jaw-dropping play, stopping 18 shots by the home team in a dazzling display of goal-tending magic. The Penguins had two too-many men penalties in the third period and Brian Gionta put the final pin in Pittsburgh's balloon to capture a spot in the Eastern Conference finals. In an amazing run, the 8th-seeded Habs have now knocked off the number-one seeded, President's Trophy winning Capitals and now the defending champion Penguins. There has to be a little feeling of relief (albeit a tiny one) for Caps fans as this gutsy Canadiens team held Sid the Kid to one goal (5 points total) and Jaro Halak has proven that he is indeed composed of brick wall material. In the aftermath of the fallout, the Crosby and Ovechkin comparisons have already started. And Penguins d-man Brooks Orpik had this to say about the no-quit Habs: "A lot's going to be put on us like it has been all series. I mean, they've beaten Washington and now they've beaten us. I think it's time to give this team some credit for what they've done rather than picking apart why we didn't do what we were supposed to do."

So a heartfelt congratulations to the history-laden Canadiens and their passionate fans. Now HM can go to the family wedding in Pittsburgh this weekend with just the slightest hint of a smirk on my face and not have to listen to any trash talking of my beloved Capitals. Priceless...

Friday, May 7, 2010

More Awards Nods for Ovi and George McPhee

Yesterday brought the news of two more awards nominations for Capitals organization as Alex Ovechkin was one of three finalists for the Ted Lindsay Award, which is presented annually to the player judged as the most outstanding player in the NHL, as voted by fellow members of the NHLPA.Ovechkin, who has won the last two NHLPA’s “Most Outstanding Player” awards and the past two Hart Trophies, could join Guy Lafleur (1975-78) and Wayne Gretzky (1981-85) as the only players to ever win it three years in a row. He joins rival Sidney Crosby and one-half of Hockey Mom's other favorite twins, Henrik Sedin, as this year's nominees. The winner will be announced Wednesday, June 23, during the 2010 NHL Awards that will be broadcast live from the Pearl Concert Theater inside the Palms Hotel Las Vegas on VERSUS in the United States and on CBC in Canada. Hockey Mom could sure use a vaca right about that time - hmmm, hanging by the pool in say, Vegas maybe? Not gonna happen but it sure would be fun, eh?

And the accolades don't stop there as General Manager George McPhee was also cited as one of three finalists for the league’s first General Manager of the Year Award, along with Phoenix’s Don Maloney and Nashville’s David Poile. Voting for the General Manager of the Year Award was conducted among the 30 club general managers and a panel of NHL executives, print and broadcast media. The winner will be announced during the 2010 Stanley Cup Final. McPhee assembled a Capitals team that established club records in wins (54) and points (121) while winning the franchise’s first Presidents’ Trophy for the best record in the NHL and its third consecutive Southeast Division title. Washington led the NHL in goals per game (3.82) and power play (25.2%).
Washington finished the regular season with a roster that featured nine players drafted by McPhee, nine he signed as free agents and eight that he acquired via trade. Additions to this year’s team included 29-goal-scorer Mike Knuble, who signed with the Capitals July 1, 2009, and four players acquired at the March 3 trade deadline. In addition to Washington’s success the team’s American Hockey league affiliate, the Hershey Bears, posted that league’s best record after winning the 2009 Calder Cup.

And in other hockey happenings:

-Capitals goaltender Jose Theodore and defenseman Mike Green will be presenting the Children’s National Medical Center with two separate checks on Friday, May 7, and Monday, May 10. Theo, a finalist for the Masterton Trophy, raised $35,000  for the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) at Children’s National Medical Center through his Saves for Kids program. Green is a finalist for the NHL Foundation Player Award, which is given to the player who applies the core values of hockey – commitment, perseverance and teamwork – to enrich the lives of people in his community. This great group of guys changes tires for stranded fans and devotes their time and resources to bring cheer to the kids at CNMC - enough to make your heart melt. Keep up the great work boys!

-A look at some of the UFAs available to put in your favorite NHL team's shopping cart this summer courtesy of  From the Rink.

-A terrific interview with everybody's favorite backup goalie -  Brett "Stretch" Leonhardt - from my pal over at Storming the Crease.

-Japer's Rink breaks down the pros and cons of the Capitals pursuing Anton Volchenkov to shore up the blueline.

-Yep, those Montreal Canadiens are proving to be no spring picnic for the Stanley Cup Champion Penguins...

-Detroit's Johan Franzen didn't earn the nickname "The Mule" for nothin'...the hard-working forward set a team playoff record with six points including four (yes, four) goals in the 7-1 drubbing of the San Jose Sharks. The Red Wings were fighting for their playoff lives in a must-win Game 4 to avoid a Sharks sweep and to say Franzen came up huge would be the understatement of the season...

-Bad new for the Boston Bruins, who need to get a huge can of Raid to stave off the injury bugs that have plagued them all season. Looking to sweep their series against the Flyers (who may see the return of Simone Gagne from injury for Game 4), the Bs lost David Krecji (who has four goals and four assists in nine postseason games) to a dislocated wrist. Ouch.

And to all you moms out there (especially my cohorts in hockey momhood) - wishing you all a spectacular Mother's Day with no kids' sporting events on the agenda!

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Growlings from the Gahden and other Miscellaneous Puck Talk

So after taking a few days to cool off, Caps' defense man Mike Green finally spoke to the media about the disheartening Round 1 exit and his take on his performance.  Hockey Mom can totally understand that (as I myself had to wait 24 hours before being able to write anything that wouldn't be censored by the FCC). In Green's own words: "It almost took a couple of days -- three days -- to not have the anxiety, almost, and feel like you want to break something." So now Green and his mates have an awful long summer to regroup; HM is hoping that GMGM might be able to get someone, like say Anton Volchenkov of Ottawa, in the off-season to bolster that blueline for next year. That is in addition to keep the youngster duo of Alzner and Carlson up to play with the big boys. One of my fellow hockey mom pals said she's first in line to buy the John Carlson action figure upon its debut.

And if watching all the other guys play (jeez, this bites) isn't enough, you can at least get the Capitals' summer schedule programmed into your calendar courtesy of Tarik El Bashir. And my pal Homer McFanboy (who shares my thoughts on a possible Volchenkov acquisition) has done a brilliant job of breaking down exactly what needs to get done this summer in terms of all the contract wheelin' and dealin'.

But for now, my Canucks dropped a lead last night with some sloppy third period play and there was lots of Emmy-worthy drama in the very heated Bruins/Flyers series. The theatrics started pretty early on when the ubernasty Daniel Carcillo took a medal-winning dive after a scrum in the corners. But the scene got really ugly when Carcillo and pals retaliated on Marc Savard (who we all know recently returned from a devastating concussion that kept him off the ice for two months). Savard took a slash on Flyers' goalie and Carcillo, doing his duty as an enforcer type, proceeded to engage in fisticuffs with the Bruins' forward. Apparently in the melee that ensued, Carcillo claims that Savard bit him. In this case, I'd say Savard needs to get the rabies shot. More humorous insight plus video reaction of the incident can be found over at Puck Daddy. Good times, good times...

Monday, May 3, 2010

Monday Morning Musings

Hope you all had a wonderful weekend! I'm sure my fellow Capitals fans, like moi, found it hard to watch all the Round Two action this weekend. Probably even harder on the fellas, I'm sure. Since there is no Caps news per se (wipes another tear from face), here are some tidbits from around the hockey world for your Monday morning reading pleasure:

  • HM ran across this yesterday - a must-read for Capitals fans (especially those few that think all hope is lost - far from it). CBC's Elliotte Friedman disses his thoughts on how the team should move forward.
  • Caps fans may have felt just a slight bit of satisfaction yesterday as the Habs that beat the Caps also put quite a drubbing (3-1 to be exact) on the rival Penguins. The bound and determined boys from history-laden Montreal were outshot by a mile, but their stalwart defense and the reignited hot hand of Jaro Halak took the victory. Sidney Crosby let the frustration get to him by breaking and tossing a stick - yep, been there.
  • As for the Pens, Evgeni Malkin is getting some media heat for his lack of playoff lustre - unfortunately Geno could probably get some tips from Alex Semin in that regard.
  • And though he is not in the building, kudos for Capitals forward Nick Backstrom for being cited as one of the winners of TSN's No Guts, No Glory honors. The young Swedish star shares the honor with Blues' veteran Keith Tkachuck for his stickless, shot-blocking performance against the Tampa Bay Lightning's Kurtis Foster during the regular season. See Nicky, all those ice packs weren't for nothing? Bravo young man!

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Caps Clean Out; Round Two Commences

Yesterday was a somber day at Kettler Capitals Iceplex as the boys cleaned out their lockers to head home after a season cut way too short. Ovi, Nick Backstrom and most of the other guys spoke about their disappointing Round 1 performance and Capitals Insider has some closing comments from some of the other fellas. There was also a lot of buzz amongst both fans and hockey media insiders on Twitter, as Mike Green did not speak to the media at all. Green has been in the media spotlight all season and as difficult as it may have been to speak about the loss and his second straight not-so-stellar playoff showing, I think it comes with the territory. 

Some of the other tibits that were revealed during yesterday's bummer of a breakdown day (Hockey Mom almost had a breakdown of her own when I realized I would no longer be watching my team this season) included gruesome details on Tom Poti's eye injury and General Manager George McPhee's assurance that Gabby will be the team's bench boss for some time to come. So the boys are off for a long summer with plenty of time to digest the pain resulting from such an abrupt end to what had been an incredible season.

To make matters worse (or to rub salt in the fresh and raw wound), the Pittsburgh Penguins made haste of the guy the Caps couldn't manage to pierce last night, running Jaroslav Halak out of the crease after he gave up 5 of 20 shots. The reigning Stanley Cup champions' 5-2 victory came at high price however, as they lost one of the league's best defensive forwards, Jordan Staal, to a tendon injury. The Canadiens also suffered a major blow to their roster as their star defense man Andrei Markov was injured on a brutal hit from guess who? Yep, you guessed it - the Picasso of cheap shots, Pens' agitator Matt Cooke. In this case, the hit was actually ruled as clean.

And though I swore I couldn't bear to watch hockey this weekend, it didn't take too long before I caved and caught the last two periods of the Flyers/Bruins contest. Today's Disney feel good moment of the day came from Boston's Marc Savard, who scored the game winning overtime goal after returning to the game for the first time in close to two months! One of the last times many hockey fans saw this dapper young man, he was being wheeled off the ice with a severe concussion - again, thanks to Matt Cooke.

Of course I'll most likely be tuning in tonight as well to catch my other favorite twins, the Sedins, in the Canucks' opening game with the rival Blackhawks. The Canucks also feature the feisty Ryan Kesler, who was outstanding as a member of Team USA this winter. But man does it stink having to jump on another team's bandwagon, even though we already have Henrik and Daniel Sedin jerseys mixed in among all the Capitals fangear.