Saturday, January 31, 2009

Caps Ground the Wings: Washington 4 - Detroit 2

Today was a true test for a talented Capitals club to see how they stood up to the Stanley Cup champion Red Wings - a team with tremendous depth on the bench, who until recently, was playing close-to-perfect hockey. Despite getting into (gasp - I know) penalty trouble late the third period and giving up yet another power play goal to Detroit's Johan (the Mule) Franzen, the Caps proved that they are right up there with hockey's elite.

It was great to see Tom Poti back on the ice - his presence really helped step up a struggling penalty kill. There were times during this contest where I was on the edge of my seat, as the Wings spent way too much time in the offensive zone. But Jose Theodore protected his house like a pit bull and held the Red Wings to 2 goals on the day.

Hockey Mom was surrounded by Red Wings fans, including a lovely couple who travel to one out of town game a year. I must say that all the opposing fans around me were very nice people, which was quite refreshing!

No surprise, Ovi sealed the Wings' fate with a fantabulous highlight reel goal late in third. HM blinked and mere seconds later, he lit the red light for a second time! Things got a bit hairy in the remaining few minutes of the final period as the Caps found themselves with a few boys in the sin bin and had to kill off a 5 on 3, which they did and then some.

So this was a gratifying victory for Caps fans, to beat the Cup champions with a bench finally devoid (knock on wood) of the nagging injuries that have plagued them all season. The throngs of happy Capitals' faithful clad in their proud red, filled the streets of Chinatown with laughter and high-fives all around.

Hockey Mom savored the sweetness of the win and celebrated with a yummy cupcake from Red Velvet Cupcakery, which is right down the street from the Phone Booth. As a bonafide chocoholic, that may just become my new routine after Caps games. Hockey and chocolate - what else can a girl ask for?

So tomorrow brings another matinee game for the Capitals as they seek to avenge the recent loss to the Ottawa Senators. HM will be at the boys game during the same time frame as they also seek to avenge a loss to a fellow Pee Wee team in an ugly previous meeting. So good luck to all tomorrow - it'll be another sports extravaganza for HM and clan, topped off the Super Bowl!

Before I sign off, the Caps will be hosting the third Hockey and Heels event on February 21 and tickets go on sale February 2. This is such a fun event and a great way for the fabulous female hockey fans to unite in fandom and learn more about this great game! I'll have more details as they become available but be sure to mark your calendars - you don't want to miss it!

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Red Out Weekend

After a disappointing loss to Boston this week, the Caps look ahead to a Saturday matinee game against the Detroit Red Wings. It's no secret that the Stanley Cup defending Wings are stacked with talent and sit 6 points behind the San Jose Sharks for the numero uno spot in the Western Conference.

But the Wings have been bitten by the injury bug and recently placed d-man Brad Stuart on injured reserve, calling up a pair of AHLers, Aaron Downey and Ville Leino. Wings star Henrik Zetterberg (who recently signed a big phat contract, making him a Red Wing for the rest of his career) also missed tonight's game against the Dallas Stars, suffering from back spasms.

The good news for the Caps is that Tom Poti will most likely return to the ice on Saturday after a lengthy injury. And the boys should be rested and ready to go after enjoying an outdoor practice today at a Maryland rink, bringing back memories for many of them of playing pond hockey in their younger days. Hockey Mom is bummed that I couldn't witness the fun but the boys' team had a fundraiser during the same time frame.

HM will be in attendance (with Red Wings fans no less - but I promise I'm louder than all three of them put together) on Saturday. It will take some serious carpool swapping and finagling to get to Verizon Center by the time the puck drops, but I wouldn't miss this game for anything! This will be a true test for the Caps and both teams are fascinating to watch. My boys have a 6:30 a.m. practice on Saturday a.m., followed by a game and then HM will be high-tailing it to the Phone Booth for the raucous red-out. Til then...

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Battle of the East - Round Three

After stealing the show - make that being the show - during All-Star Weekend in Montreal, Alex Ovechkin shared a plane ride with rival Boston Bruins Marc Savard and Tim Thomas en route to their Round Three showdown in Beantown.

Before we get to the action between the top two teams in the Eastern Conference, I want to propose a toast to Coach Bruce Boudreau, who was inducted into the AHL Hall of Fame yesterday - a much-deserved honor for a journeyman who spent most of his career in the American Hockey League before earning the NHL Coach of the Year award in his first year in the League.

So the Caps were back in action at TD Bank Garden in the frozen city of Boston, hoping to once again defeat the Boston Bruins to make it a "three-peat." The action started fast and furious with a Mike Green power play tally less than 3 minutes into the first period, courtesy of a Marc Savard penalty. Boston hasn't earned the top post in the East for nothin', and they tied the score with a goal from Shawn Thornton. This is HM's favorite kind of game, as the action was going from end to end in the first and second periods with lots of hard-hitting in between.

Michael Nylander scored on the Bruin's hot netminder Thomas, giving the Caps the advantage late in the first period. But Marc Savard showed us once again why he's having such a stellar scoring year with a "beast" goal against Jose Theodore. "Beast" is 13-year old hockey lingo for "awesome" - Just thought I'd try that one out in a post to see how it works...

I could feel Caps fans around the globe hold their collective breaths when Ovi went down hard (and stayed down, which is rare for the Great Eight) towards the end of the second period. Bruins' ginormous d-man Zdeno Chara hooked Ovi as he sped near the boards, causing him to crash shoulder first. He had the wherewithal to turn his head at the last second, but ever the competitor, he stormed into the tunnel while throwing off his gloves and helmet in frustration.

Thankfully, the hockey fairies were smiling on Ovi and he returned (with a vengeance) to the ice in the third period. Despite out shooting the Bruins throughout the contest, this nail-biter went into overtime.

Jose Theodore had another great game and put on a show with some spectacular saves. HM is all too familiar with the penalty box (my kids are never in there but I know some that are regulars - just kidding!), and unfortunately, it was senseless Caps penalties that once again lost them a game that should have been theirs. After Nick Backstrom took a hook that sent all 6'9" of Zdeno Chara sprawling into the net like some sort of large sea creature, David Krecji scored easily to give the Bruins a final 3-2 victory. One can't even say it was an ugly loss - just very dissappointing. Something about that cursed Boston ice...

So HM will be in the house on Saturday as the Caps take on the defending Stanley Cup champion Detroit Red Wings. This one's another biggie which will go down in front of a sold-out home crowd. More on that match up to come...still smoldering over the Bruins loss.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

The Belle of the Ball in the Breakaway Challenge

As he promised, Alexander Ovechkin had some special tricks up his sleeve that helped him win the NHL All-Star Game's Breakaway Challenge for the second year in a row. After making a few moves in the contest, Ovie thrilled the crowd and incited lots of laughs when he enlisted the help of his (friend/foe?) Evgeni Malkin with some unique props and a swig of Gatorade!

Check out the winning breakaway - how can anyone not love this guy? A huge Hockey Mom fist bump to Ovie for one of the most hilarious and innovative breakaway challenge wins the All-Star Super Skills competition has ever seen!

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Nous rupture de la All Star Game

As we break for the All-Star weekend, the Washington Capitals continue to gain press coverage as one of the hottest teams in the NHL! Check out this fabulous article in USA Today on the most humble Gabby himself. "Why not" is right Coach! The Caps just need to approach every game like it's Game 7 of the finals and we could very well be in business!

In the meantime, lots of happenings prior to this weekend's All-Star game. If you haven't already heard, Nick Backstrom has gracefully nodded out of the YoungStars game, which is part of the festivities. No worries Caps fans - Backstrom is 100% injury-free and released this statement regarding his decision:

“I am grateful that I had the opportunity to participate in the YoungStars Game last year. This year I felt like it made more sense for me to give someone else that opportunity and use this time to rest and prepare for the second half of the season with the Washington Capitals. I can assure Caps fans that I’m not injured and will be ready to go Tuesday in Boston.”

It seems like many teams who have players headed to Montreal this weekend are considering the importance of rest during this crucial point in the hockey season. Hockey Mom has even heard rumblings of the Pensguins holding back Sidney Crosby from the game (which is mostly a non-event anyway; it's the Skills Competition that's way more exciting)! Will be interesting to see if that happens...Pens fans won't be pleased, for sure.

HM is going to have tivo whatever spectacular new move that Ovechkin demonstrates during the Skills portion, as we have an away game on Saturday night. I can assure you that whatever "his move", which has most likely been practiced under tight security ( imagine Alex Semin as the lookout threatening to pound anyone sneaking photos), it will be fabulous!

And HM is sad to report that Karl Alzner was sent back to the Hershey Bears yesterday (for only a short time, I hope). He just fit right in to that Caps bench and played with amazing composure and confidence (besided just being a really smart player) for a young rookie. I know I speak for many when I say we hope to see ya back at the Phone Booth soon, Karl!

So for all of you sports fans that want to follow all of the All-Star action, here's the official Web site, which even includes a French hockey term of the day. HM needs to remember all of these terms when the twins' team heads to Montreal in March. I especially need to practice today's term, "juge de line", which is a sexy term for "linesman" or "ref!"

And to all you great lady Caps fans out there, keep reading for some great new events the Capitals organization has planned especially for us in the near future!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

A Battle of Two Capitols

Once again the Capitals find themselves in the Canadian capital of Ottawa on another day that will go down in the annals of American history (the first visit came on the night of the historic 2008 Presidential election). The boys came out with much more pep and vigor than they showed in yesterday's lackluster showing on Long Island, yet they found themselves down 2 - 0 behind the Senators, courtesy of two goals from Sens' sniper Dany Heatley.

One of HM's favorite moments in the first period came when Mike Green annihilated uber-thug and kindergarten biter Jarko Ruutu against the boards. The Caps caught up with their friends from Ottawa in the second period with a pair of goals from Sergei Fedorov and David Steckel. And ladies, did anyone catch a glimpse of former Idol Carrie Underwood's new squeeze (Ottawa Senators forward Mike Fisher)? You go girlfriend...very cute couple!

So after the Capitals out-shot the Sens 19 - 3 in the second, the teams from the two nation's capitals found themselves tied up going into the final period. With 3:17 left in regulation time, Alex Semin took a tripping call and the boys found themselves on a critical penalty kill. And the Senators' Brendan Bell was able to score and give the Sens a 3 - 2 lead.

And unfortunately, that was all she wrote. The Capitals go into the All-Star break having picked up NO points in this road game.

Speaking of the All-Star break, Hockey Mom will have to tivo Ovechkin's sick moves for this year's skills competition (the only part of the weekend I actually watch) as the boys have a game on Saturday night. Can't wait to see what he pulls out of his pocket this year!

Monday, January 19, 2009

MLK Day Matinee for the Caps

Hockey Mom is back from the Burgh (congrats to the Steelers fans who were all over the city in their black and gold) and man, was it COLD! One of the games the boys' team played took place on Saturday (when it was -15) in a rink built circa 1925, meaning no semblance of heat whatsoever!!

The team lost 2 and won 1 - the last one almost turning into a free for all as a result of poor officiating. But more importantly, they played hard and a good time was had by all! And a huge HM high five to the Caps for defeating the conference-leading Bruins in my absence. We looked all over Pittsburgh for a place to watch the game Saturday night but couldn't find one (imagine that - Pens town not televising a Caps game)!

I was having a discussion with some of the dads about the fact that Sidney Crosby is all over the Pittsburgh media - one of the leading news stories was about Sid conducting a clinic for underprivileged kids (which appeared on ALL the news channels). We were talking about the fact that our own Alex Ovechkin does the same kind of community work (especially with kids) and rarely gets that kind of coverage (with the exception of Comcast SportsNet). The print media is starting to catch on (now that the Skins are long done), but whether you like hockey or not, when is the mainstream media going to recognize that we have the NHL's version of Michael Jordan right here in our own backyard? Ya gotta wonder....

So on a historic day before another historic day tomorrow, the Capitals are visiting Nassau Coliseum to take on an injury-plagued New York Islanders club. Islanders' poster boy goaltender Rick DiPietro is still injured and Yann Danis is minding the crease. Boyd Gordon (who was suffering from back spasms - ouch) and captain Chris Clark were back in action for the Caps. And the other half of cutie-pie celebrity couple "Duffrie" (Hilary Duff/Mike Comrie) Mike Comrie was dressed for the Isles.

The Capitals seemed to be a bit lackadaisical in this match up, with the exception of the lone goal in the first 2 periods, courtesy of Alex the Great. The defense had way too many giveaways and despite leading in shots on goal, the Caps were not successful in taking advantage of scoring opportunities.

Late in the third period, OV took a delay of game penalty after sailing a puck over the glass and the Isles tied it up at 1-1 with a power play goal from youngster Kyle Okposo. And in a game that should have been a cakewalk for the Caps, this one goes into overtime.

Former Cap and current mullet-wearer Brendan Witt took an OT penalty for slashing Ovie and the boys went on the power play. And the lean, mean Russian machine struck again with a beautiful sequence from Sergei Fedorov to Alex Semin to Alex Ovechkin for the goal.

So while it wasn't pretty - a win is a win. It's hockey 101 to say that the boys have to play their game 100% every team, every time if we expect to go deep into the playoffs.

I also wanted to give a Hockey Mom shout out to the dashing Alexandre Giroux of the Caps' affiliate Hershey Bears for breaking the infamous Brett Hull's American Hockey League scoring record. Giroux netted his fifteenth consecutive goal on Sunday and has scored 22 goals over the streak, which began on Nov. 26, 2008. He broke the record Hull set with the Moncton Golden Flames during the 1986-87 season. Hull scored in 14 straight games en route to a 50-goal season for which he won the Dudley (Red) Garrett Award as the AHL's outstanding rookie.

To round out my Martin Luther King Day, HM just flipped the channel to the NHL Network and who should be featured on Captains but the Caps' own Chris Clark?

Next up for the Capitals, the Ottawa Senators in the Canadian capital on Inauguration Day for all of us in the U.S....til the puck drops tomorrow at 7:30!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Hockey Mom Hits the Road

So Hockey Mom is heading up the PA Turnpike tomorrow for the boys' tournament in Pittsburgh - still sporting my "yes the Caps spanked the Pens" gleeful smile. I'll be sure to give my regards to Geno and Sidney on behalf of all of you fabulous Caps fans - LOL! So while I am basking in the chill of an arctic cold front combined with the frigid temperatures of the various ice rinks we'll be competing in, the Caps will take on the Eastern Conference leading Boston Bruins on Saturday night. So HM wishes the boys well against the visitors from Beantown, who've won their last seven road games including tonight's victory over the New York Islanders.

Although I've never been a big fan of the Canadiens, this story about Mike Komisarek's hockey mom brought me to tears so I wanted to share. I'm sure this All-Star's hockey mom will forever be proud....

I hope everyone has a terrific weekend and HM will be back for a Caps/Bruins and Pee Wee tournament recap later this weekend!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

The Wait is Over - Game On Pens!

Amidst the hype and media frenzy regarding the intense mutual dislike and heated rivalry between the Caps and Penguins, it's finally time to drop the puck already!

The Caps found themselves in the sin bin early as "the Donald" took a bogus high-sticking penalty (which was loudly contested by Coach Boudreau, as it should have been), followed by a cross-checking call on Jeff Schultz. So the ice birds got a bit of a lucky break with a 5 on 3. Jose Theodore was successful in fighting them off for a good while, but then Ovie's pal Evgeni Malkin scored first for the home team.

So the feud continued on the ice with Malkin taking lots of shots at the Great Eight, finally drawing a penalty late in the first giving the Caps a man-advantage. Alas the boys were unable to take advantage and get on the scoreboard. The Pens' Rob Scuderi tried to block a shot and took a Mike Green wizbanger of a shot right to his face - making for a pretty scary mess. HM hopes he makes a full recovery...I never like to see any player go down like that.

So the Caps Viktor Kozlov lit the lamp first for the D.C. darlings - assisted by who else, young Nick Backstrom. As any Caps/Pens game is usually played tit for tat, former Islander Miroslav Satan added another for the Pens, making it 2 - 1.

But one of the highlights for HM was seeing Alex Semin net a beauty assisted by a healthy (we hope 100%) Sergei Fedorov and Tomas Fleischmann. So far we have scores on the board for red-hot Russian players from each team so if you happen to playing the Caps/Pens drinking game courtesy of Caps Chick, you're feeling really good right about now! Just don't forget to drink lots of water and take some ibuprofen - your hockey mom hangover prevention tip to make sure all you faithful Caps fans make it work tomorrow!

The end of the second saw a wicked hit on Sid the Kid courtesy of AO and former Capital and current Penguin Matt Cooke took great exception (and took an interference call for defending his captain). And yes, HM knows that Sid is legally not a 'kid' anymore but sorry - he still has that baby face! Um, and he still lives in Mario Lemieux's basement...

Things got pretty exciting in the third as the Caps took a brief 3-2 lead as a result of an Alex Ovechkin goal - much to the dismay of the Penguins fans who booed him loudly every time he touched the puck. Yet Ryan Whitney netted another for Pittsburgh to tie it again at 3-3.

Tomas Fleischmann (who has definitely lived up to his nickname "Flash" thus far this season) came through on a power play goal to give the Caps the lead and Alex Ovechkin added some insurance to make it 5 -3.

And the big defenseman, Jeff Schultz, put a fork in this one with his long range empty net goal!

So the Caps win their third against the ice birds in a row and Hockey Mom can venture into Pens territory for the boys' tournament this weekend with her head held high!

With the exception of some unecessary penalties, the Caps seemed a bit more like the team we know and love - playing the familiar gritty style of hockey with exciting offensive prowess. Now that's more like it - and a win against the Penguins at the Igloo is always gratifying.

Way to go boys and safe travels!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Caps Attempt to Grease the Oilers

The Edmonton Oilers paid a rare visit to the Phone Booth tonight as the Caps tried to rebound from a disappointing string of losses. Though they were without the services of their sharp shooter, Ales Hemsky, the Oilers managed to net 3 goals courtesy of Steve MacIntyre, Erik Cole and Gilbert Brule by the second period to take a 3 - 0 lead. Eerily reminiscient of Friday's shut out at the hands of the Columbus Blue Jackets and the Mason jar (goalie phenom and shut out specialist Steve Mason)...

Well into the second, the lone bright spot in the Caps' favor was a magnificent goal by Tomas Fleischmann (who we're happy to report has made a full recovery from a bout of pneumonia) as he 'flashed' through two Edmonton defenders for the score. Much to the Caps' fans dismay, the Oilers' Kyle Brodziak slid a fourth puck past Jose Theodore as he was surrounded by white Oilers jerseys.

The Caps cut the deficit to 2 after Mike Green, aided by Alex Semin, scored on a power play goal - a result of Brooks Laich getting boarded by an Oilers player. Alas, the Oilers put one onto an empty net towards the end of third for a final score of 5 - 2 in favor of the visitors and a hot-handed Dwayne Roloson.

The boys made too many mistakes of the Pee-Wee hockey variety tonight - way too many giveaways to another team that they should have beat handily. And yes, Caps fans are spoiled - they are used to winning (no need to remind you sports fans that the Caps are the only winning professional sports team this year).

One can only hope that the boys weren't looking ahead to tomorrow's much anticipated contest with the hated Pittsburgh Penguins. Though the Pens are not the same team we saw battle for the Stanley Cup last season (and they just lost Ruslan Fedotenko to injury), you can bet they will come ready to play (and in Sidney Crosby's case dive like he's in the Beijing Olympics and argue with the zebras). This will be the first meeting of these two teams since Alex Semin expressed his honest opinion during an interview with a Russian interviewer that he thinks Chicago's Patrick Kane is a better overall player than Sid the Kid. Needless to say, his honesty did not go over with Crosby and pals and HM expects them to come out swinging tomorrow night in front of their home crowd.

And we all know there's no love lost between Alex Ovechkin and his fellow countryman, Penguins forward Evgeni Malkin. If there's any question about the intensity of the "dislike" between these two, check out this article from

Hockey Mom has her own selfish reasons for wanting the Caps to cream those pond birds at the Igloo tomorrow - my boys have a tournament in the Burgh this weekend and I'll have to deal with all the ribbing from my Pens-loving relatives in the rare event (please win this one boys) the Caps lose.

Til the puck drops tomorrow in the chilly Igloo...

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Those Pesky Kostitsyn Brothers - Habs Beat Caps

Everyone knows how Hockey Mom admires siblings in the NHL, especially when they're paired up on the same team.

But NEVER at the expense of my Washington Capitals, which is exactly what happened tonight as those pesky Kostisyn brothers (Andrei and Sergei) turned on the heat as the Canadiens beat the Caps in a 5-4 high-scoring affair.

Alexander Semin scored 2 for the Caps and Flash (Tomas Fleischmann) and Michael Nylander added one apiece for a final count of 4 goals for the visitors. Unfortunately, the scoreboard did not reflect an impressive performance by Caps' goalie Brent Johnson. Despite several magnificent stops including several high glove saves that reminded me of King Kong grabbing airplanes out of the sky, the Canadiens saw 2 goals from Tomas Plekanec, one from Robert Lang and a tally each from the brothers Andrei and Sergei.

The loss also earned Habs boss Guy Carbonneau a spot as assistant coach at the Match de Etoile (All-Star game) in his home arena. Caps' coach Bruce Boudreau expressed his frustration over a second loss in 2 nights (including the winning Montreal goal - a result of Milan Jurcina losing the puck in his skate), saying the loss was a result of playing "dumb hockey."

Next week is going to see some tough competition for the boys and let's hope that these 2 losses can get them back on track to face the likes of the Edmonton Oilers, the hated Pittsburgh Penguins and the Eastern conference leading Boston Bruins. Now is the time to unleash the fury for sure....

Friday, January 9, 2009

Nicklas Backstrom on NHL YoungStars Roster

Seems like the NHL All-Star's head honchos are finally getting something right when it comes to our beloved Capitals! Nicklas Backstrom has earned a place on the roster for the All-Star weekend's YoungStars team (that should have been a no-brainer as the young Swede boasts 41 points in his last 29 games)!

Here's more from the team's official press release:

ARLINGTON, Va. – Washington Capitals center Nicklas Backstrom is one of 20 NHL YoungStars invited to the 2009 NHL All-Star Weekend, the NHL announced today. Backstrom will join nine other Eastern Conference YoungStars to compete in a wide-open game of three-on-three in the NHL YoungStars Game presented by Upper Deck, Saturday, Jan. 24 at Montreal’s Bell Centre.

Backstrom, 21, was Washington’s first-round choice, fourth overall, in the 2006 NHL Entry Draft. He is second on the Capitals and 11th in the league in scoring with 45 points (12 goals, 33 assists) in 41 games. His 33 assists rank first on the team and tied for fifth in the league.

A native of Gavle, Sweden, Backstrom has been especially effective since November. He has 41 points in the last 29 games (12 goals, 29 assists) and tied for the league lead with 21 points (6 goals, 15 assists) in December. In the 2008 calendar year, Backstrom ranked third in the league in assists (65) and eighth in the league in points (83).

Backstrom will be join linemate Alex Ovechkin in Montreal for the All-Star Weekend festivities, as Ovechkin will represent the Eastern Conference in his third consecutive NHL All-Star Game. This will be Backstrom’s second appearance in the NHL YoungStars Game.

Ovechkin and Backstrom could be joined by their head coach, Bruce Boudreau, in Montreal. If the Capitals win one of their two games this weekend (today vs. Columbus, Saturday at Montreal), Boudreau would clinch a spot as the Eastern Conference’s assistant coach by virtue of his team having the second-best winning percentage in the conference on Jan. 10.

So a huge Hockey Mom toast to Nick and hopefully to another Caps' win against the injury-plagued Blue Jackets tonight so we can get Gabby on the plane to Montreal for all the fun. Hey Gabby, you already are our All-Star coach!

If you haven't caught up with D.C. Sports Bog today (who by the way, has been showing the team lots of love lately), check out this snippet on the Donald trying to teach OV some fightin' moves....

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Just Another Reason to Love Hockey!

First off, congrats to Alex Ovechkin (who should have been a starter) for making the reserve roster for the 2009 (cough cough) "All-Star" games. And a big Hockey Mom shaky fist to the League for allowing Nicklas Backstrom, Alex Semin and Mike Green to be left off through their joke of a voting system.

And a big happy birthday to Ted Leonsis and I hope you get a big ole Stanley Cup (albeit after your actual birthday) this year! Plus, a belated happy birthday to Donald Brashear who turned a youthful 37 this week!

If you don't already know what makes hockey players so different (and special) than other professional athletes, check out this piece written by Chicago Black Hawks' player Adam Burish.

I love this piece and it is so true - despite the fact that they might be missing a few teeth and throw a few punches here and there, pro hockey players are some of the most upstanding and nice guys you'll find in the entire sporting world. HM is proud of the manner with which the vast majority (minus a random Sean Avery or Jarko Ruutu) NHLers conduct themselves and they are phenomenal role models for young and old alike (especially HM's hockey boys).

h/t Kuklas Korner

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Now That's My Kind of Reality TV!

If you're a reality tv-addict and a Caps fan, has Comcast SportsNet got a show for you! In response to greater fan demand for all things Capitals, the network is slated to debut the weekly, 30-minute show Capitals Red Line Monday, starting on February 9. Each of the eight shows will consist of nine segments lasting between one and three minutes each.

These segments also will be featured on CSN’s SportsNite, available on and through a special Capitals Red Line Monday video widget and some segments will be shown on video board at Caps games. Each episode also will be replayed on Comcast SportsNet and through On Demand where available.

The nine primary segments will give Caps-crazy fans an inside look at all of their favorite players - the current "darlings of D.C."

The nine segments include Caps Bling, which will give fans the inside look at the players off the ice, showing their homes, cars, collections and passions away from the rink. Who I Am will be a series of questions in a casual setting offering fans a quick, fun look inside the player’s personality. Ask a Cap will give the fans an opportunity to get Caps players’ opinion on their questions. There will be a couple of guest appearances by kid reporter Brady Boudreau, the 9-year-old son of Capitals coach Bruce Boudreau who is known for his tough line of questioning.

The FAN-ATIC segment, presented by The Greene Turtle, will showcase some of the Capitals’ colorful fan base, while Forces of Hockey, presented by American Service Center, will compare occurrences in everyday life with what takes place during the world’s fastest sport. For example, does getting checked by Alex Ovechkin feel like getting hit by a car going 20 mph (probably a lot like getting mowed over by a Mack truck)?

Caps Classics will replay great moments in Caps history, highlighting memorable goals, players and seasons. Ted’s Take will be an Andy Rooney-style segment with Capitals chairman and majority owner Ted Leonsis providing his opinions and insight (thank goodness Ted doesn't have Andy Rooney's eyebrows).

Hockey Insider will give the fans the exclusive behind-the-scenes look at the Caps organization, the scouts, website producer, athletic trainer, equipment manager and more. Caps Kids will showcase the area’s amateur hockey talent (of which Hockey Mom has seen some of the best)!

So be sure to jot down these dates for Capitals Red Line Monday on your calendar next month and get ready to settle down with your favorite beverage of choice and spend some quality time with the Caps!

Original show listings dates and times:
Monday, Feb. 9 at 9:30 p.m. Comcast SportsNet
Monday, Feb. 16 at 9:30 p.m. Comcast SportsNet
Monday, Feb. 23 at 9:30 p.m. Comcast SportsNet
Monday, March 9 at 7 p.m. Comcast SportsNet
Monday, March 16 at 9:30 p.m. Comcast SportsNet
Monday, March 30 at 9:30 p.m. Comcast SportsNet
Monday, April 6 at 9:30 p.m. Comcast SportsNet
Week of April 13 TBD Comcast SportsNet

Ruutu Update - 2 Game Suspension

Hockey Mom thinks he should gotten a few more days on the hot seat, but the NHL decided today to suspend uber-pest Jarko Ruutu for 2 games without pay for his pre-school biting antics yesterday.

Someone needs to clobber that guy....

Ruutu Needs to Go to Time-Out!

If you need more proof that Ottawa's Jarko Ruutu is one of the nastiest players in the NHL, one only needs to reference his bizarre actions in last night's game against the Buffalo Sabres. After getting his face splattened against the glass by the Sabres' Andrew Peters, Ruutu retaliated by biting Peter's hand. Yes - biting...looks like young Jarko never learned "no bite" in his formative pre-school years. That is just downright gross (besides being barbaric) to bite another player - check it out here:

That just gave new meaning to the term "animal" - hockey is a tough sport but that just crosses way over the line. Looks like someone else may have to join Sean Avery in anger management - HM can't wait to see if there's a suspension doled out on this one!

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Caps Get Vengeance Against Flyers

Photo: Reuters

So the fireworks between the Washington Capitals and the arch-rival Flyers began before the first puck dropped with a bit of verbal mud-slinging between the 2 bench bosses Bruce Boudreau and John Stevens. In response to Gabby's comments about the Flyers "piling it on" in their last meeting, Flyers coach Stevens had this to say:

"He can say what he wants. Our team plays the way we play; we're a stand-up, honest hockey team. And he can save that stuff for the media outside of me, because I don't really care to hear it."

Note the line"we're a stand-up, honest hockey team." Now that's the funniest thing Hockey Mom has heard in a looong time! Hard working? Yep. Hard-hitting? Yep? But "stand-up" and "honest?" - not so much. How do you think your team earned the lovely title of "Filthadelphia" from opposing hockey clubs and fans throughout the Eastern Conference, Coach?

So the Caps struck first with a power play goal from Nicklas Backstrom - things were looking good. As expected, things got a bit testy out there with pushing and shoving after almost every whistle but fans expecting to see Brashear/Cote butt-whupping Part II were disappointed. Ovechkin was literally trying to take the heads off of several guys in orange sweaters with more wicked highlight-worthy hits. Jose Theodore just keeps getting better and more confident with every game and was money last night stopping 34 shots, fired up by the boisterous red out in the stands.

Braydon Coburn notched the only Flyers goal in the third and this heated contest went into the dreaded shootout (HM bites nails nervously)....

Viktor Kozlov (possessor of some sick shoot out skills) scored on a lovely top-shelf goal on the Caps' first attempt. Theo (earning First Star of the Night honors) consequently denied all of the Flyers shoot out attempts including one one a clearly frustrated Jeff Carter.

Theo's performance, combined with his team mates' stellar efforts, led to a Caps' 2 - 0 SO victory and a rocking red crowd of very happy Caps' faithful celebrating a gratifying win!

A huge Hockey Mom toast to a win over my most-hated team in the League and another 2 points for the boys!

Alex - You Will Always be Our All-Star

Check out this great story from the Alex Ovetjkin blog - what a fabulous story and just another example of how number 8 is not only phenomenal on the ice but off as well with his heart of gold.

As for Hockey Mom, I am in agreement with Peerless and will be boycotting this year's All-Star game, as the league's biggest All-Star is not in the starting lineup and the voting has become a total joke.

On another note - congrats to Team Canada for another gold medal victory in a very chippy game over Sweden last night in the IIHF World Juniors. Very exciting to see the next generation of NHL talent from all the teams involved!

And we all know what's up next tonight for the Caps' - a Flyers team who blew the boys out in front their thugnasty home fans in the last meeting. Hockey Mom will be flying home from the rink after the boys' game to catch all the fireworks - and I'm sure there will be plenty. C'mon Caps - time for "vengeance!" More from me later...til then, hockey fans!

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Fabulous Girl's Night Out - Caps Versus Rangers

So Hockey Mom has a confession to make - I was at the game last night rocking the red with great friends of mine (recent Caps converts) and was having a few cocktails and laughing with my friends - your typical gal's night out (hockey moms don't usually get too many girl's nights out - trust me). So while I was at the game, I wasn't watching with the eagle-eye detail with which I usually observe. So I asked my fellow blogger extraordinaire pal, pucksandbooks of OFB fame, to guest blog for me in greater detail to which he thankfully obliged.

Here are his observations of the Caps' win over a New York Rangers team seeking retribution for an at-home whupping a week earlier (details have been edited to protect the innocent):

Emergency Guest Blogging:
Caps 2, Rags 1
by pucksandbooks

Can there be any better proof of the friendly fraternity that is Capitals' bloggers than my appearance here today, filling in for Hockey Mom?

Saturday night I was seated (sober) in the Verizon Center press box, making observations and collecting notes for my own file for On Frozen Blog. Hockey Mom however was enjoying Hockey Night in Washington -- a big game against the vengeance-minded Rangers -- as part of a girls' night out, down in the stands, with some fellow hockey moms. They had a few puck sodas. Near 10:00 Hockey Mom sent me a text message, which read, "Will you blog for me? I am having 2 much fun."

She was half serious, but this was the first such request I'd fielded from a fellow blogger buddy, and it struck me as a fun exercise. Far from rendering any adverse judgment against this devoted and intrepid blogger Mom, most particularly during the holidays, I fairly envied the girls' exuberance and celebration and messaged back my delight at the request.

However, I don't believe in conforming. I can't and won't be Hockey Mom. Instead, I have to be my blogging self and try and have fun, and invite you to indulge us in this exercise.
So then.

Saturday's was an enormous victory for the home team. But before we get to that let us savor another wondrous development Saturday: the Pittsburgh Penguins -- your defending Eastern Conference Champions -- will awaken Sunday morning in 9th place in the East, out of the playoffs were the season to end today. At OFB, we call this a Category 5 celebration moment (generally speaking, it suggests that bartenders make out well on our tab).

If you've read OFB, you know that we channel some Capitals' fan enthusiasm for schadenfreude at all that ills Steel City skaters. Every chance we get. We also have a bit of an issue with the NHL's myopic marketing of # 87.

Speaking of which, during the Pens' 6-1 loss to Florida Saturday afternoon the Penguins' captain ambushed Florida Panther Brett McLean. You can check out the unsightly and cowardly footage here. What kind of poster boy is this?

Anyway, let us all have another to the news that the Pens are in a freefall and that their captain soon may be losing endorsements from his embarrassing behavior.

Alexander Semin got into his own unfortunate tussle Saturday night, with New York's Marc Staal. Our standout left winger earned a game misconduct when he lost his sweater in the fracas. I was seated near the WTOP radio team when Capitals' General Manager George McPhee came by and informed us of the league's arcane rule. Semin had his sweater pulled off by Staal, but he had failed to secure it to his pants with his fight strap. So he won't be making that mistake again, I wager.

For me this incident is more evidence that Semin is being targeted by opposing teams, getting rough with him to try and throw him off his world-class game. It's up to Bruce Boudreau and the coaching staff to make Semin aware that more of this nonsense is coming his way (as in Tuesday night, when Philly visits).

Jose Theodore faced just 22 shots Saturday night, but I was particularly impressed by how aggressively he challenged Ranger shooters. He really seemed to come out of the net quickly and decisively and cut off shooting angles. Certainly he appears to have found a winning groove of late. But my concerns about his consistency remain. I was also impressed by Dave Steckel's game. He was really active in all three zones.

The game was played with little flow but high intensity. Pucks were bouncing all over the place. There was a basketball game played at Verizon Center at noon on Saturday, and that imperils the ice quality no matter how cold it is outside. I asked around a bit in the press box about what determines who plays when when two sporting events take place at the Phone Booth on the same day, but I couldn't get a sure answer. Note that when Detroit visits the Phone Booth on Saturday, January 31, faceoff is at 12:00. That probably is to accommodate NBC. But I wish the NHL could come to an agreement with the NBA and college basketball, to the extent possible, to have hockey go first on such days. Basketball floors never really suffer from earlier hockey games, but ice sheets always stink 4 or 5 hours after the hoops end.

The Caps have now won six straight games, and vengeance becomes their theme when Philly pays a visit on Tuesday night. They'll be seeking to atone for the 7-1 shellacking they endured on the road on December 20. Expect another raucous and full Sea of Red in Chinatown for that one, as well as a "paying attention to the details" Hockey Mom covering it.


Many, many thanks to pucksandbooks for helping out a hockey mom who doesn't get out much! So here are Hockey Mom's own observations of last night's contest:

  • Alex Ovechkin (with another short-handed goal) continues to rock! I've said it before, but the fact that he is not in the starting line-up for the 2009 All-Star game is a travesty and the League should be embarrassed that they allowed this to happen.
  • Alex Semin - you rock, too but please just stick to scoring. Or at least ask the "Donald" to give you some pointers. Last night's "fight" reminded me of the scene from my favorite movie "The Christmas Story" when Ralphie takes on the feared Farkus.
  • Jose Theodore is on a roll - let's hope the streak continues as we will be facing that high-scoring Flyers club from Filthadelphia again on Tuesday.
  • Hockey Mom had the privilege to meet a young player on the NOVA Cool Cats hockey team who was kind enough to give me one of his neat hockey pins. The team got to meet Mike Green and AO on New Year's Day and they were super excited. This is a fabulous program for special needs kids to get involved in the game - be sure to check it out! And good luck to the Cool Cats as they face the Montgomery Cheetahs today!

So that's it from here - up next, the Flyers on Tuesday. Let's make it 18-1-1 at home boys!

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!