Saturday, February 28, 2009

Battle of the Best in Beantown: Caps' Matinee Meeting with Bruins

Today's a big day for Caps fans as the boys take on the Eastern Conference's number one team in the Boston Bruins. The Bruins are without big man Milan Lucic, who is suffering from "upper body injuries" after he beat the tar (and broke "The Code" by pummeling a guy when he's down) out of the Anaheim Ducks' Mike Brown.

Here's a little snippet of that throwdown:

But of course the Bruins have plenty of heavy-hitters and sharpshooters in Lucic's absence, with the likes of Marc Savard, Phil Kessel, rookie Blake Wheeler and the ginormous Zdeno Chara, their towering d-man. And let us not forget their uber-goalie Timmy Thomas, who's probably a shoe-in for this year's Vezina Trophy for the League's hottest hand in net.

The good news is that the Caps managed to stay out of the sin bin for the first two periods for the most part and the penalty on Semin was questionable. The ref was obviously not sporting his contact lenses on that one as the huge Chara swiped Sasha's stick. Nick Backstrom took the lead for the Caps first on a power play tally. The B's Matt Hunwick tied it up on an even strength goal about a minute later. Both Thomas and Jose Theodore had some brilliant saves throughout this contest!

The Bruin's fans booed the Great Eight heartily whenever his magic stick touched the puck but AO temporarily gave the Caps another one-goal lead with a nice goal in the second. Not to be outdone, the Bruins tied it shortly thereafter on a Phil Kessel goal.

The third period saw another Caps' lead with a Tomas Fleischmann goal. But just when Hockey Mom was ready to propose a toast to the boys for staying out of penalty trouble, they seemed to take back-to-back trips to the bin in the final period. Honestly, it's been said over and over and these penalties are killing them. You cannot repeatedly put your team in a short-handed situation, especially against playoff-ready clubs like the Bruins, Devils and the (insert expletive of your choice here) Flyers! Because when you do, Zdeno Chara smokes your goalie with his 100 m.p.h. shot to tie it up at 3 - 3.

And this nail-biter went into sudden death OT! Alex Semin won it lights out with a beauty of a shot that went five-hole on an unsuspecting Tim Thomas. Time for Hockey Mom to enjoy an adult beverage and toast to an exciting win against a tough foe and a fabulous 2 points...hope all you sports fans out there are doing the same!

Get ready to rock the red and welcome the guys home as the take on the Florida Panthers (who are currently getting annihilated by the mean New Jersey Devils) tomorrow at the Phone Booth....

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Caps Want to Thrash Atlanta: Battle of the Russian Snipers

The Capitals haven't seen the Atlanta Thrashers since Turkey Day, when Ovie had a fabulous hat trick outing. As HM said before, this is not a team to be taken lightly as the Thrasher's Ilya Kovalchuk (the peace ambassador who recently brokered the truce between Ovechkin and Evgeni Malkin) has scored 9 times in his last 11 games.

A big plus for the Caps this evening is the return of another key player as big Viktor Kozlov returned from a groin injury. Baby-faced Michal Neuvirth got his second start in goal, saving Theo for the looming Bruins and Panthers this weekend. Every time HM sees young Neuvirth, he is sporting the wool fisherman's hat - always! Reminds me of the dude from Fat Albert - remember him? What was his name anyway?

Another big plus is that the Capitals are first in the Eastern Conference on the power play and third overall in the league on the PP. And the boys took advantage of their power play prowess early in this one! The first period saw a power play goal from Alex Semin. Mere minutes later, it looked like Mike Green was going to light the lamp, but Brooks Laich snuck it in as Thrasher's goalie Kari Lehtonen looked like he was headed out of the goal to go grab a brewski and a pretzel!

And I'm not sure that the refs weren't daydreaming about brewskis when they missed that blatent high-sticking call against Ovechkin. What in the sam-harry-hell was that ref? When Ovie retaliated in frustration, he was sent to the bin putting the blue men on a power play. Unfortunately for the boys in red, this resulted in a Kovalchuk goal that not even Clark Kent could have stopped.

Things got interesting in the second for sure. We haven't seen a good bout from "the Donald" in a while but this evening he had a nice long dance with the Thrasher's Eric Boulton. Boulton looked like all he really wanted to do was dance as he pretty much hung on to Brashear's jersey for the most part but Brash got in a few power-packed shots. Seriously, you must have a screw loose to want to take on that man in a brawl...but we Caps fans love him!

Atlanta tied it up in the second to Neuvirth's dismay. But thanks to the many Thrashers' penalties, Mike Green took the lead back with a rocket of a slap shot.

And Eric Fehr apparently didn't wear that hand out signing the hundreds of autographs at the Hockey & Heels Cocktail party last night as he scored on a wicked score in the third to double up the score 4 -2. And of course in hockey, the momentum can change in an instant and things got a bit scary when Atlanta's Todd White scored a short-handed goal to come within 1 goal with less than two minutes left in the game. But Neuvirth held on in the closing seconds to earn the win with a final score of 4- 3 Whewh! (HM wipes brow)...

HM couldn't be at the game tonight but Craig & Joe made a nice mention of the Cap's Club Scarlet; I saw there were lots of ladies in the house cheering on the Caps at the Phone Booth this evening. Speaking of Club Scarlet, there's been a lot of buzz (mostly positive) about the first female-only fan club in the NHL but I think that this blog post pretty much says it all.

If you haven't read this one -this is a fabulous piece by the Washington Post's Mike Wise spreading the Cap's love. Next up, the big bad Bruins at their house on Saturday...

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Caps, Cocktails and Conversation: Hockey & Heels Cocktail Event

Capitals player Eric Fehr

Hundreds of women of all ages and backgrounds gathered together tonight at the Front Page in Arlington to celebrate one thing - their common passion for the Washington Capitals. The Hockey & Heels Cocktail event hosted by Mix 107.3 and the Caps is one of the first events in the lineup of the Caps' new (and NHL's first) fan club exclusively for female fans - Club Scarlet.
Most of the lovely ladies were rocking the red and had a great time exchanging hockey stories and sharing their excitement over the Caps' success thus far this season. Capitals players Stephan Kronwall, Nicklas Backstrom, David Steckel, Eric Fehr, Milan Jurcina and Michal Neuvirth were on hand for photos, autographs and hockey talk. Hockey Mom made some great new aquaintances and I look forward to seeing some of them again at the next Club Scarlet event - it's so refreshing to meet other gals who love hockey and the Caps as much as I do!

Caps' player David Steckel signs autographs

The boys will need to rest up after last night's Philly fiasco - the Atlanta Thrashers are in town tomorrow night and we need those 2 points! Plus, Ovie's bud and Thrasher captain, Ilya Kovalchuk lit it up in an earlier game this week - this would be one of the teams that the Caps could historically "play down" to. Let's all hope they'll shake that pattern and that there's no looking ahead to the Boston Bruins this weekend....

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Caps Lady Fans, Let Me Introduce You to "Scarlet"!

It’s no secret that the Washington Capitals fan base has grown by leaps and bounds over the past few years. One of the fastest-growing segments of the Caps’ faithful is the legion of female hockey fans who rock the red with style!

The Washington Capitals are pleased to introduce “Club Scarlet” – a new women’s initiative featuring a dedicated web site and events created specifically for the fabulous female Caps fan!

This ground-breaking program aims to bring together the magnificent multitude of lady Caps fans. They will be able share their passion for hockey in a unique online forum and at one-of-a-kind events created especially for women! Since I started writing Musings of a Hockey Mom, this Cap-centric blog created especially for lady fans, I’ve found that female hockey fans are some of the most passionate, loyal and most importantly, FUN sports fans you’ll ever run across.

Gals love hockey because of the speed and non-stop action and let’s face it – what’s not to love about our Washington Capitals? The Caps are incredibly exciting to watch, full of personality, totally hip and just an overall great group of guys - both on and off the ice!

“We have a large and passionate female fanbase, and like the rest of our audience, it is growing,” said Capitals' senior manager of fan development Kim Frank. “Women have been underserved in traditional sports experiences and coverage, and Club Scarlet will provide a customized outlet where our female fans can express their passion for the Caps year round.”

Club Scarlet, the first women’s fan club in the NHL, is free to join. Members will receive exclusive content on, invitations to member-only events including cocktail parties and player meet and greets, special team and sponsor offers and more. Every female fan that signs up to join Club Scarlet on will be eligible to enter into a drawing to win an autographed item by a Caps player. was designed by women with input from focus groups comprised of females conducted in the summer of 2008. The focus groups consisted of a wide array of women including devoted Caps fans, women who recently became Caps fans and some who have never attended a hockey game. Throughout the focus groups, the women expressed how they would like to become more engaged with the team and what they would like to see from a website and from a club. As an ongoing part of Club Scarlet, a panel consisting of females in the media, bloggers (including Hockey Mom) and select Caps fans has been assembled to advise on content and upcoming events for the club to help maximize the member experience. will complement with content specifically created for Washington Capitals female fans. The site will include hockey instruction, behind-the-scenes videos of Caps players and an outlet for women to discuss the team and hockey on an exclusive message board. will also feature blogs from women such as Chilli Amar from Mix 107.3, Chasta Piatakovas, a blogger who is also a member of the Capitals Fan Club and of course, yours truly (HM). Other prominent female figures in the media and in the community with contribute as guest bloggers throughout the year.

The third-annual Hockey ’n Heels, which began Saturday at Kettler Capitals Iceplex, will conclude Wednesday at a cocktail party hosted by The Front Page in Arlington. The next Club Scarlet event is Thursday night, when winners selected on air and online by DC 101’s Elliot in the Morning will attend the Capitals game against Atlanta and attend a postgame meet and greet with Sergei Fedorov hosted by Diane from Elliot in the Morning.

So I encourage all you fabulous lady fans out there to go to the Web site and join for free today! I have a feeling that Hockey Mom and Scarlet are going to become fast friends!

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Cindy Who? Caps Crush Penguins 5 - 2 on NBC

Photo courtesy of Washington Capitals/Getty Images

The recent peace accord between Evgeni Malkin and Alex Ovechkin that was "brokered" at the All-Star game may still have wet ink, but it was obvious by today's heated rivalry game that there won't be a similar handshake between the Great 8 and Sidney Crosby anytime soon.

The Capitals more than made up for their mistakes at the hands of the Colorado Avalanche with a thrilling win over the hated Pens in front of a revelling red-rocking crowd. Besides being all over the birds with the fore-check, today's game saw goals by Ovie, Alex Semin, Brooks Laich, Shaone Morrison and Sergei Fedorov. Hockey Mom was unable to make today's game as the twins had a game as well - jeez, the things we do for our kids!

But I did watch the nationally-televised contest on NBC and got a huge kick out of listening to Mike Milbury finally jump on the Ovechkin bandwagon and wax poetic about how he's the greatest player in the league. Yes, this is the same clod who made an arse of himself during the SC Playoffs last year by telling Ovie he "played like a dog" during the Caps/Flyers series. And analyst Pierre McGuire has apparently been drinking the "Sidney Crosby is THE face of the NHL" juice by reporting that the Caps were slinging "harsher than normal" words towards the Pen's captain. Waa waa waaah! Wait a minute, HM thinks it was Crosby who tried to dump Ovie into his own bench ( after which Ovie blew him off after some choice words and a smart little wave of the hand).

As expected, this was a heated and physical match and thankfully the Capitals returned to the game we all know and love. Looks like the new bench boss the Penguins GM Ray Shero hired isn't going to give the team a quick fix as they have some serious personnel issues as well. Maybe he should have followed Cap's GM George McPhee's how-to-build-a-team program. Speaking of GMGM, check out this piece by the guys over at DC Pro Sports Report on how the Caps have built the team as we know it and the talent in store for the fans for years to for me!

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Caps Host Hundreds at Hockey & Heels 2009

Hundreds of happy female Cap's fans congregated today at Kettler Capitals Iceplex for a fun day of hockey 101, on-ice skill demonstrations and camaraderie at the annual Hockey & Heels event.

Hockey Mom was among the sold-out crowd of red-rocking ladies who enjoyed an afternoon learning more about the coolest game on earth.

Chilli Amar of Mix 107.3, an avid hockey fan in her own right, kicked off the event by welcoming the women and telling the crowd about the Caps' new Web site created especially for women. Then the gals broke up into groups and rotated to different sessions about all things hockey.

HM's group started on the ice as the ladies got a chance to play "Theo" for a day and try their talents as potential NHL goalies. Participants were shot at (with a soft puck, I might add) by Capital's forward Boyd Gordon and young goalie (baby-face!) Michal Neuvirth gave the women tips on stopping shots. There was some serious talent out there for sure - HM thinks that some of these ladies have played some hockey in their day!

Next up, we attended a "Chalk Talk" session with one of Hockey Mom's favorite sports reporters, Comcast SportsNet's Lisa Hillary, and Capital alum Rod Langway. Lisa is incredibly down-to-earth and funny - the kind of gal you'd love to share a round of pomegranate margaritas with! She related some of her experiences in her many years of covering the NHL and Rod Langway spoke candidly about his years as a Washington Capital and his thoughts on the present-day Caps. The ladies in the group had some really interesting questions - HM asked Langway about all the talk about fighting in the league. His answer was that despite the fact that the NHL "talks" a lot about regulating or even trying to ban fighting, it has and in his view, always will be a part of hockey. I know that some people dislike fighting in the game but honestly, if you read the book The Code - you'll see the history and evolvement of the players trying to protect their own.

We then attended an informative session on all the necessary equipment worn by NHL players. We got to touch and feel player's gloves, very large skates and other gear worn by the Caps. For all you fashionistas out there, who knew that some of the Caps' gear has an air of preppiness a la J.Crew? Each players glove has their name embroidered on the leather - very nice little touch.
Brett Leonhardt did a great job in answering all of the questions regarding equipment and the function of each piece.

Another highlight of the afternoon was the film session conducted by none other than Coach Bruce Boudreau himself. He walked us through a "film session" and demonstrated how the team prepares for a game by reviewing game film of an opponent as well as film from the Caps' previous contest. I bet the film session from Friday's Colorado game was not a pleasant experience! HM thought this was a fascinating session as the game moves so fast, it's hard to see the plays unfold much of the time. Coach Boudreau explained how a play evolves from the face-off and pinpointed exactly where players should be positioned in their offensive and defensive zones. So there is a lot of method behind the madness as he described the many hours of film-watching and meetings that take place up until game time...

The highlight for Hockey Mom was the final on-ice demonstration where the ladies learned the intricacies of a wrist shot and a slap shot from Jeff Schultz, Tomas Fleischmann and assistant coach Dean Evason. I must admit this was a very humbling experience for HM and I might need to reign in the yelling at my kids during games as this was hard! I netted my second slap shot but let's put it this way: Hockey Mom doesn't got game! The players and Coach Evason were fabulous sports and really took their time in demonstrating how it's done to each "player." It really gives you a greater appreciation for how much skill hockey requires...

At the end of the day, a great time was had by all and each participant got a stylish Hockey & Heels t-shirt (in red, of course) to commemorate the event. Kudos to the Capitals'staff and Chilli for another wonderful event and looking forward to next year's already! I met so many great gals yesterday and it was such a diverse group of fun-loving ladies. In my group alone I met a lady who got her Hockey & Heels ticket as a Valentines Day gift (good man!), a high school teacher who's been following the Caps since back in the day, some college gals who are in HM's former sorority and even a young lady from Boston, who flies in for all the home games!

I look forward to seeing these fabulous ladies again as the Caps are launching a new Web site and fan club just for us - stay tuned for details. And we all know today brings NBC's game of the week as the Caps take on the hated Pittsburgh Penguins (who beat Philly last night - drats). More from HM later... cheers!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Un autre magnifique spectacle de Ovie! Capitals 4 - Canadiens 3

Even minus Alex Kovalev (who was sent home for basically "not showing up" and a bad attitude), the Montreal Canadiens came to Verizon Center tonight ready for a fight. As Hockey Mom's own mom used to say: "99% of winning is basically just showing up." So Kovalev's prima donna routine and not showing up to give it his all has gotten him in hot water with Bob Gainey - will be interesting to see where this story goes.

Nonetheless, the Habs saw the addition of d-man Mathieu Schnieder, who was recently traded to join a Canadiens team he's played with before. And the fiesty Canadiens came out swinging, getting on the board first with a power play goal from Chris Higgins. But the goal of the night belonged to guess who...of course, another Ovechkin sliding highlight goal! In case you missed it, check it - Hockey Mom is still in awe:

Nicklas Backstrom scored in the third to give the Caps a 2-1 lead. But once again, the boys found themselves in some penalty trouble and the Habs tied it up courtesy of the other Kostitsyn brother, Andrei. The two teams traded another goal apiece in the final period and this baby went into OT and eventually into another shoot out.

Alex Semin schooled Habs' net minder Carey Price with a magnificent deke move as the first Washington player in the shoot out line up. Nick Backstrom scored next with a sweet wrister as Jose Theodore denied both attempts from his former team, putting this game in the books with a final score of 4 -3.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Caps Cheer on the Kids at Children's National Medical Center

Alex Ovechkin plays video games with kids at Children's National Medical Center

Washington Capitals players shared their spirit and smiles today with the young patients at Children's National Medical Center in the Caps' second visit to the hospital this month. A great time was had by all - especially the players, even though some of them found themselves on the losing end while playing video games with the children. Nicklas Backstrom, Matt Bradley, Eric Fehr, Brooks Laich, Alex Ovechkin, Alexander Semin and David Steckel joined the kids playing Wii, Playstation and X-Box games and Hockey Mom has a feeling that the kids taught these on-ice superstars a thing or two about video gaming - all in great fun, of course!

Some of the patients at the hospital were unable to leave their rooms so after playing video games the Capitals broke up into two groups and visited the rooms, passing out calculators, cups, tattoos and signed player cards and taking pictures with the patients, who ranged from seven days old to 18 years old. The Capitals visited the Heart and Kidney Unit, Hematology/Oncology Unit and Pediatric Intensive Care Unit.

“This was such a good idea to play with the children instead of just meeting them,” said Brooks Laich. “We get to play and hopefully connect with them. It was heartwarming to see their faces light up; hopefully we brought them some joy today.”

Keep spreading the smiles Caps - kudos for all the great off-ice work you do for those in need. Meanwhile, Hockey Mom sends her special wishes to all of the patients and families at Children's National Medical Center!

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Hats Off to Ovie! Caps 4 - Panthers 2

The Great 8 struck again with his eighth career hat trick to declaw the Florida Panthers, who were attempting a late comeback. Alex Ovechkin started today's scoring early and put the game away with a brilliant goal from a very difficult angle against net minder Tomas Vokoun. Eric Fehr, who's been on a lovely little scoring run of late, added his own tally against the Cats.

Ovie's empty netter gave him his 41st goal of the season and yet another hat trick and reason for wild celebration from the bench. The only downside of today's game (besides the fact that the Panthers were able to twice catch the Caps' lead) was the eight power plays the boys allowed as a result of more silly penalties.

But we'll take the 2 points and the guys get to take advantage of some Florida sunshine and r&r with their dads before returning to D.C. More big games await the Caps this week with Montreal and Pittsburgh (who just fired their coach Michel Therrien - could have seen that one coming). So the Pens will face their arch rivals at the Phone Booth on Sunday with a new bench boss, Dan Bylsma, head coach of the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins of the American Hockey League. Will make an always intense contest even more interesting, for sure!

Don't forget must-see Monday t.v. tomorrow night with a brand new episode of Capitals Red Line Monday! Be sure to tune in at 9:30 p.m. on Comcast SportsNet to see what fun and fascinating things the Caps have in store next....

Cupid Was Definitely Smiling on the Capitals Last Night!

Whether you're single, married or "it's complicated" - if you're a Caps fan, last night was a Valentine's Day game to remember! What an absolutely brilliant showing all around by the D.C. darlings in a southeastern showdown against a Tampa Bay Lightning team that wasn't "feeling the love."

A huge Hockey Mom toast (make that a champagne toast for Valentines' Day) to Michal Neuvirth, the youngster from Hershey making his dazzling NHL debut by stopping 31 shots (which included putting the brakes on a beautiful breakaway from the dashing Vinny LeCavalier, who got absolutely schooled by Neuvirth)!

And of course champagne all around in honor of the sickly talented Mike Green - who set an NHL record for defensemen by scoring a goal in his eighth consecutive game! Green will always remember this Valentine's Day, made especially more poignant as his very proud papa was in the house to witness history as part of the annual Cap's father/son trip!

Last night's game also saw tallies from Alex Semin, Shaone Morrison, Eric Fehr and of course, the Great 8 - Alex Ovechkin, lighting the lamp with his league-leading 38th goal!

Hockey Mom had to listen to a portion of the game on NHL Home Ice while en route to a restaurant and got a big kick out of one my favorite hockey personalities, the fabulous Phil Esposito, try to pronounce "Neuvirth." HM listens to "Espo" on the drive home from work every day; I refer to him as "Dr. Phil" as he's never been known as one to mince words and gives his brutally honest opinion on everything hockey...

So Ovie celebrated his team mates' magnificent achievements last night with shaving cream pies for both Green and Neuvirth and HM hopes that they got at least a small champagne toast in there later. But not too much bubbly, boys - the Panthers await with a puck drop at 5 p.m.

In case any of you sports fans missed it - the Bruins dropped another game last night to the Nashvile Predators (huh?). The Caps are now only one point behind the B's in the Eastern Conference standings but still they are still tied with the New Jersey Devils.

Til the puck drops later - hope everyone is enjoying this wonderful three-day weekend...

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Caps' Wives Bring Smiles to Children's National Medical Center

Dee Steckel and Slapshot help make valentines arts and crafts with patients at Children’s National Medical Center.

While Hockey Mom was celebrating the twins' 13th birthday today, Slapshot and several of the fabulous Capital's wives were busy spreading smiles to the young patients at Children's National Medical Center. The Children's National Medical Center is a place near and dear to the Capitals organization and the team usually makes a few visits each year to help raise funds and brighten the day for the children. Today marked the first of two visits the Capitals will make to Children’s National Medical Center this month. Capitals players will also visit the hospital Tuesday, Feb. 17, to play video games with the patients.

Sasha Bradley, Rachel Fehr, Dee Steckel and Krystal Stotz made valentines, Hula-Hooped and danced with the patients. “We are out here having fun with the kids,” said Rachel Fehr, wife of Capitals forward Eric Fehr. “It’s nice to come out here and play with the children. We are having as much fun as they are.”

Children’s National Medical Center is the only exclusive provider of pediatric care in the metropolitan Washington area and is the only freestanding children’s hospital between Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Norfolk, and Atlanta. Serving the nation’s children for more than 130 years, Children’s National is a proven leader in the development and application of innovative new treatments for childhood illness and injury.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Hockey Mom High Five to Mike Green!

Though the Caps posted a disappointing loss to the New York Rangers (who have been on a losing schlump until tonight), Mike Green tied the NHL record for a defenseman scoring consecutive goals (2 tonight to be exact)! Caps fans fill your glasses and join HM in a well-deserved toast to Green, who'll probably be adding the Norris trophy to his collection as well.

Tonight's battle got chippy early and the first period saw back-to-back brawls with Donald Brashear taking on Colton Orr and seconds later Aaron Voros asked Matt Bradley to the dance. The Rangers looked a bit like the 'Broadway Bullies' at times and the hitting was off the charts. Looked like Ovie made a new pal in Ranger's d-man Paul Mara, who couldn't seem to stay out of the Great 8's grill - goading him into a penalty late in the third. The boys once again got into penalty trouble late (though HM would throw the "bogus" flag on a few of those calls). In spite of some scary puck handling in the final minutes, the Caps forced it into overtime and eventually into the dreaded nail-biting shoot out. The blasted Blueshirts won the game during the shoot out courtesy of goals from Ryan Callahan (whose goal appeared to ping off the post causing some confusion) and Nigel Dawes.

Final score: Rangers 5 - Caps 4. And we'll take the point, thank you very much.....

On a happier note, a big happy birthday to Hockey Mom's hockey boys tomorrow. The twins will officially become teenagers and blow out 13 you guys!

Celebrate Hockey Across America Weekend at Kettler Capitals Iceplex

Not only is this weekend Valentine's Day, but for lovers of hockey, it's also Hockey Across America Weekend. Sponsored by USA Hockey, Hockey Across America Weekend is a nationwide celebration of the coolest game on ice.

If you're looking for a unique way to commemorate Hockey Across America Weekend, head down to Kettler Capitals Iceplex or Rockville Ice Arena for the 2nd Annual Challenge Cup Tournament. The Washington Pride of the Junior Women’s Hockey League is sponsoring this weekend's tournament, which will see two divisions (19U) face off at Kettler Capitals Iceplex starting Friday and at Rockville Ice Arena – The Home of The Washington Pride (17U) beginning Saturday.

The 2009 Challenge Cup will spotlight 22 of the top junior women’s teams from across North America.

The following teams will skating in this weekend’s tournament:

North American Hockey Academy Winter Hawks (VT)
National Sports Academy Mountaineers (NY)
Boston Shamrocks (MA)
Balmoral Hall School Blazers (MB)
Warner School Warriors (AB)
Edge School Mountaineers (AB)
Pacific Steelers (BC)
Chicago Mission (IL)Dawson College (QC)Detroit Little Caesars (MI)London Devilettes (ONT)Los Angeles Selects (CA)New Jersey Rockets (NJ)
The Washington Pride

Long Island Wave (NY)
North American Hockey Academy Winter Hawks (VT)
Lady Quakers (PA)
Rochester Edge (NY)Detroit Little Caesars (MI)Anaheim Lady Ducks (CA)New Jersey Rockets (NJ)
The Washington Pride

The 2009 JWHL Challenge Cup is also presented by the Washington Capitals as part of Hockey Weekend Across America.

Now Hockey Mom has all kinds of respect for gals who play hockey, especially in light of my own weak skating skills. Maybe some of these competitors can teach this old lady to skate backwards without holding on to the boards. In all seriousness, HM hopes to catch some of this weekend's 2009 JWHL Challenge Cup games and hope all you sports fans do the same

Happy Valentine's Day and Hockey Weekend Across America everyone....

It Takes Heart....

One of the reasons Caps fans love majority owner Ted Leonsis is because of his open relationship and concern for his fans, his love for the team and his big heart. Check out this shining example of Ted's huge heart courtesy of the Washington Post's Tarik El-Bashir.

One word - wow....

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Mike Green and Must-See TV!

First off, a big Hockey Mom high five to Cap's d-man Mike Green for being named the NHL's Third Star of the Week!

From the NHL's press release:


Green earned Third Star honors for the second consecutive week after posting seven points (four goals, three assists) and becoming the first NHL defenseman in nearly 25 years to score a goal in six consecutive games. He notched one goal and one assist in a 5-2 victory over the New Jersey Devils Feb. 3, tallied another one-goal, one-assist effort in a 5-4 loss to the Los Angeles Kings Feb. 5 and concluded the week with two goals and one assist in a 3-1 win over the Florida Panthers Feb. 7. Green's current six-game goal-scoring streak is the longest by an NHL defenseman since Ray Bourque's six-game streak for Boston in March, 1984 and is one shy of the League record for blueliners set by the Bruins' Mike O'Connell in January, 1984. Green's 19 goals and 47 points lead all defensemen this season.

Which brings me to Monday night's new must-see t.v., Capitals Red Line Monday. Last night's inagural episode featured among other things, a look at Mike Green's new pad and an interview with the design team helping him with the finishing touches. Smart guy - letting the ladies handle the decorative details. Hockey Mom missed the first ten minutes of the show (drats!) as the boys had practice where they each broke a hockey stick. The show was a lot of fun and my favorite parts were the "which player rocks the best suit" debate and Ted Leonsis' insight into his 101 Things to Do Before I Die list (which of course includes winning a Stanley Cup)! If you missed it, here's a clip of Mike Green's crib:

While we're on must-see t.v., new and old hockey fans alike won't want to miss tonight's showdown between the #1 team in the East (Boston Bruins) and the #1 team in the West (San Jose Sharks). For playoff intensity hockey, be sure to check out tonight's game on the Versus Network.

Next up for the Capitals, the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden tomorrow night. The blueshirts will not be happy, coming off of last night's shut out by their rivals, the New Jersey Devils. The Devils are now within one point (yikes, one point) of again taking the East's second place position from the Caps.

More on tomorrow's contest to come including the latest on crazy boy Sean Avery's possible return to the NHL....

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Cats Come Calling: Capitals/Panthers

As predicted, the Florida Panthers came in hungry with claws bared to tonight's Southeast showdown with the Capitals. The Caps didn't waste any time putting on the red light, with an Eric Fehr goal less than one minute after the first puck dropped.

The Panther's Keith Ballard returned the favor later on in the first. The Caps' defense for the most part seemed to shake off the malaise that was hanging over their heads during that ugly loss to the Kings on Thursday. Speaking of Capital's d-men, Mike Green had another stellar night with 2 goals. The Norris Trophy (the award for the League's best defense man) candidate has been gleaning accolades left and right. Green leads NHL blueliners with a career-high 19 goals and 46 points this season, despite missing 13 games. He's currently second in the NHL with 14 power-play scores. Hockey Mom can't wait to see more of Green's new crib on Capitals Red Line Monday, but more on that later.

Tonight's contest wasn't always smooth sailing for the men in red however, as a check from behind and game misconduct call on Shaone Morrison resulted in the Caps having to kill off a 5 on 3 (this seems to be a recurrent theme in the third period, eh?). Mo joined his team mate Sergei Fedorov, who was chillin' in the sin bin after a hooking infraction. But this time the stars aligned and a brilliant effort by the penalty kill unit (led by Tom Poti) kept the Panthers off the board. Mike Green netted his second of the evening into an empty net and the Caps left the ice cheered on by a rocking crowd of red with 2 points in their pocket! Tom Poti was rewarded with a star of the night for his dazzling contribution to dousing the 5 on 3 power play, thus stumping the cats' attempt at clawing their way back into the game.

Final score: Caps 3 - Panthers 1

So a huge Hockey Mom toast to the boys for hanging tough, though they still haven't eliminated the number of silly penalties. The guys played with consistent energy and were ready to battle and the results paid off tonight!

HM has never been so excited for Monday night t.v., as this Monday (February 9th) marks the debut of Capitals Red Line Monday at 9:30 p.m. on Comcast SportsNet.

Here's a look at some of the fun story lines featured on the first episode:

Caps Bling
Viewers will get a behind-the-scenes look at Mike Green’s newly renovated condo in the first of a three-part series. Green designs on his own dime as he completely rips out his entire penthouse. Viewers will even see his hot tub lifted from the street to the top of the building to get installed.

Who I Am
Presented by The Front Page
Alex Ovechkin gives viewers a first-hand look at one of the NHL’s most dynamic personalities.

Caps Classic
Highlights from the June 4, 1998, playoff Game 6 versus Buffalo that the Capitals won 3-2 in overtime to advance to the Stanley Cup Finals.

Presented by The Greene Turtle
A sit down with the one and only “Goat.” You’ll learn what gets Goat’s, Goat. Why he is a superfan and what makes him want to get the crowd cheering for the caps.

Forces of Hockey
Presented by Jones-Rogers a Lennox premier dealer
Professor Matt Bradley explains to the audience the physics behind the force of a body check. See open ice hits and hits along the boards in the crushing segment of the science behind the check.

Mites Minute
Presented by Geico
Warrior: a tongue and cheek video about kids preparing for battle, including action throughout the game.

Hockey Insider
Presented by 1-800-GOT-JUNK?
Features producer Brett Leonhardt, who became a cult hero when he suited up as backup goaltender for the Capitals in December. Since his 15 minutes of fame, Leonhardt has been in Sports Illustrated and other publications but the biggest shock for him was walking around the concourse at a game and seeing fans wearing his jersey.

Ted’s Take
Owner Ted Leonsis on his list of 101 things to do to make his life fully actualized.

Ask A Cap
Presented by American Service Center/Mercedes-Benz of Alexandria
A couple of the Capitals players answer questions about their style and what is hot today.

Original show listings dates and times:
Monday, Feb. 9 9:30 p.m. Comcast SportsNet
Monday, Feb. 16 9:30 p.m. Comcast SportsNet
Monday, Feb. 23 9:30 p.m. Comcast SportsNet
Monday, March 9 7 p.m. Comcast SportsNet
Monday, March 16 9:30 p.m. Comcast SportsNet
Monday, March 30 9:30 p.m. Comcast SportsNet
Monday, April 6 9:30 p.m. Comcast SportsNet
Tuesday, April 14 9:30 p.m. Comcast SportsNet

So finally - a reason to look forward to Mondays!

Friday, February 6, 2009

Caps Face Battle Against Pesky Panthers

So in case anyone missed all the happenings today in Capsland, fan fave Karl Alzner is back in the fold and the team acquired another defenseman, former Toronto Maple Leaf Staffan Kronwall, off of waivers. Hockey Mom doesn't know what this all means for the rest of the guys on the blueline, but the fact that Jose Theodore was hung out to dry too many times last evening probably has something to do with it.

Another interesting happening was that one of HM's personal favorites, St. Louis Blues goaltender Manny Legace, was put on waivers. If you haven't heard the bad news about Caps net minder Brent Johnson, his season is most likely done due to surgery he'll need for that nagging hip injury. So Theo has two talented, but young, backups who have very little ice time on the NHL stage. Could a veteran Legacy be the answer? GM George McPhee says not right now, but we all know that he is the master of secrecy when it comes to personnel moves.

So the upcoming period prior to the trade deadline is full of more buzz and rumors than a One Life to Live soap opera marathon. It'll be interesting to see if the Caps make any personnel changes in the push to the playoffs.

Speaking of push to the playoffs, the boys will face the Florida Panthers tomorrow in a Southeast division showdown. HM is hoping that the guys come out full force and shed the needless penalties and defensive gifts to the opposition, as this is not a team to be taken lightly. The Cats are clawing their way to a perch at the top of the SE Division and are currently a mere 2 points behind the Capitals. They have some fiery goal-scorers in David Booth and Jay Boouwmeester so the Cap's refinizzled 'd' better be ready.

And in case you missed it, check out this wicked lords a'leaping goal from former Cap and current Panther Richard Zednik against the New York Islanders:

HM is glad to see Zednik back after his awful accident last year. But let's make sure that we don't have any of those highlight goals against our home team!

Til the puck drops at 7 p.m. tomorrow...

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Visitors from Hollywood - Caps Versus L.A. Kings

The countdown to the weekend has begun and the Thursday night Caps fanatics were out in force (18, 277 to be exact) to witness the rare visit from the boys from Hollywood - the Los Angeles Kings.

Now Hockey Mom is a bit like Dustin Hoffman from the movie Rain Man in that she sometimes can't remember whether she locked the door or not, but I can recite the names of almost every goalie in the League, with the exception of the Kings' net minder. That one always stumps me.

So I don't know a lot about this young squad other than they've won 4 out of their last 5 games and Kings' center Jarret Stoll dates a former supermodel (Rachel Hunter) - an older woman, I might add! Oh, and one of their leading scorers, Anze Kopitar is a big fave in HM's household as he wears the same number as one of my twins (#11). The other twin is #7 so we've got the 7-11 theme going on - just don't ask for a burrito or Big Gulp...

Before I go further, I want to give a ginormous shout out to ALL of the brave members of the military as tonight the Capitals are recognizing our country's real heroes during Military Appreciation Night. We all appreciate the tremendous sacrifices that you and your families make to defend our freedom.

This show got started early, like within 15 seconds of the first puck drop, with a five-hole Caps goal by Alex Semin, assisted by Brooks Laich. Early in the first, both teams went 4 on 4 as Mike Green found himself in the sin bin for slashing and Ivanans for the Kings went for hooking. Then at 7:23, David Steckel took a tripping call. As Hockey Mom is known to yell loudly during Pee Wee games, "Keep your sticks on the ice for crying out loud, boys!"

The Kings tied it up with a power play goal by #11 Kopitar, as Jose Theodore was screened by big man Dustin Brown and lost sight of the puck. That power play was a result of a delay of game call on Shaone Morrison. For all of you wonderful hockey newbies out there, a delay of game is called when a defensive player is cited for shooting or flipping the puck over the glass in the defensive zone.

The second period opened with a lovely defensive breakdown and it was payback time for the Kings - Anze Kopitar netted his second of the evening only 14 seconds into the period! Minutes later the Caps gave away a short-handed goal to the King's Michal Handzus giving the purple-clad opponents a 3-1 advantage. Don't worry sports fans, they don't call Mike Green "game over" for naught - Green cut the King's lead to one as he rocketed one in on goalie Jonathan Quick (not so Quick in this particular instance)!

Kopitar was a force to be reckoned with this evening as he was credited with the assist in the King's fourth goal from Ryan O'Sullivan. Is it just me, or does Kopitar bear a strong Shrek-like resemblance to that other sniper Caps fans love to hate, Evgeni Malkin?

The men in red couldn't stay out of the darn sin bin this evening, with back-to-back penalties from Shaone Morrison and Nicklas Backstrom causing the guys to kill off a 5 on 3. The tempers and frustrations were flaring in the second as the Caps' Matt Bradley dropped the gloves and danced a round with the King's Matt Greene.

The fireworks continued as Michal Handzus took a high stick to Alex Semin - who didn't care too much for that action and subsequently retaliated for a roughing call.

Third period, after "unleashing the fury", Alex the Great made a fabulous unassisted goal to again cut the Kings' lead to one. Yet Kyle Calder of the Kings scored with 1:33 left. Mike Green tried for "game over" with another last minute goal.With 29 seconds left in the game there was a wild flurry of activity as the Caps tried to force OT but alas it was too late. Alex Ovechkin made history yet again by scoring his 200th NHL goal, which he didn't seem too excited about in the disappointment of the game's outcome.

Final score: Kings 5 - Caps 4.

Yet another one the boys should have won...Gabby was none too pleased with this one. His comments at the post-game press conference: "The first period wasn't pretty, but the second period was downright ugly." After telling Hockey This Morning yesterday that he doesn't believe in the morning skate - he may want to consider the "bag skate." "Bag skate" for all you new fans is when the coach skates you so hard you may need one of those nice little bags the put in the back of the airplane seats by the end of the practice.

Before I forget, happy birthday to Hockey Night in Canada's Don Cherry who turns 75 today. If you haven't had the chance to witness some of Cherry's wild and wacky suits, you are missing a real fashion treat. I wonder what eccentric ensemble he wore as his birthday suit? Wait a minute - HM didn't really want to go there. Happy birthday Don and we hope we get many more years of your fascinating wardrobe and sharp wit....

Happy Hockey is for Everybody Month!

Donald Brashear, Willie O’Ree and Wayne Simmonds skate with the kids at Fort Dupont Ice Arena in Washington, D.C., to celebrate Hockey is for Everyone month.

Now these are some happy hockey faces! The future hockey stars from the Fort Dupont Ice Hockey Club in Washington, D.C. were all smiles after skating with the Caps' Donald Brashear, the L.A. Kings' Wayne Simmonds and the NHL's first black player, the great Willie O'Ree. Brashear, Simmonds and O’Ree spent an hour skating with the kids and teaching them different hockey skills, including shooting drills and skating drills.

Yesterday's visit highlighted Hockey is for Everyone month, which is an initiative that runs throughout February and celebrates hockey’s growth and diversity. Hockey is for Everyone provides support and unique programming to non-profit youth hockey organizations across North America that are committed to offering children of all backgrounds the opportunity to play hockey. Since its inception, Hockey is for Everyone has exposed more than 45,000 boys and girls to unique hockey experiences.

Best known for his role as the Cap's tough-guy enforcer, don't let Donald Brashear's on-ice persona fool you - he loves working with the little guys and teaching them his craft! Of yesterday's event, Brash said: “Fort Dupont is such a great program, and I love coming out here and skating with the children. It was fun hanging out with the kids, they love playing hockey.”

Current NHL Diversity Director Willie O'Ree told the kids that one of the most important things about the game is to have fun!

“This is all about fun, lets have fun tonight,” said O’Ree when he addressed the kids. “It’s important for the children to see Donald and Wayne out here and see that they can be just like them.”

The NHL's first black player, O’Ree was born in Fredericton, New Brunswick, Canada, in 1935. He was called up to the Boston Bruins of the National Hockey League to replace an injured player and made his NHL debut on Jan. 18, 1958 against the rival Montreal Canadiens. In a game against Montreal on Jan. 1, 1961, O’Ree scored his first NHL goal, which was also the first goal ever scored by a black player in the NHL.

Sounds like a good time was had by all and keep up the great work, Fort Dupont Ice Hockey Club! Hockey Mom hopes to have the chance to see you guys play soon!

In the meantime, "the Donald" will face off with Wayne Simmond's L.A. Kings' club tonight at the Verizon Center - HM is in the house.

Happy Hockey is for Everyone month to all you great fans out there - keep spreading the puck love...

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Caps Take Home a Piece of the Rock and Two Points

So apparently Hockey Mom missed one of the best first periods the Caps have had this season while I was at the hair salon last night - the price we pay for vanity! In last night's 5 -2 victory over the New Jersey Devils, the Caps were all over the boys from Jersey and found themselves up 2 - 0 in the first, courtesy of goals from Mike Green and Brooks Laich. The Devils found themselves in penalty trouble in the first and the Caps took full advantage. Last night's victory over a team who recently hopscotched over the Caps for the number 2 spot in the Eastern Conference also saw two goals from Michael Nylander, who is known more his passing than taking the shot. But his second goal was beauty, taken from a weird angle to the far right of net.

Eric Fehr, who will be seeing more playing time due to Captain Chris Clark's injury, netted the fifth and final - capping off an evening of spectacular effort from the Capitals. So a big Hockey Mom toast to another nice win - let's try to stay out of the box though next time - okay guys? The 5 on 3's are killing me and being the mother of hockey-playing soon-to-be 13-year old twins (big birthday next week), HM doesn't need any more high-blood pressure inducing situations!

So tomorrow, the L.A. Kings will pay a rare visit to the Verizon Center and HM will be in the house. One of the purple clad Kings, Wayne Simmonds, will join our own Donald Brashear and Nicklas Backstrom this afternoon at D.C.'s Fort Dupont Ice Arena, home to the oldest minority youth hockey program in the U.S. To commemorate Hockey is for Everyone month, they'll be accompanied by one of HM's favorite hockey personalities, Willie O'Ree, the NHL’s first black player who skated with the Boston Bruins, among other teams.

A great time should be had by all - have fun kids!

Monday, February 2, 2009

Dance with the Devils: Caps Visit the Rock

Coming off of a weekend of back-to-back wins, the Caps will take a trip to Newark tomorrow night to visit the New Jersey Devils, who have been on fire of late in their quest for the top perch in the Eastern Conference standings. Devils' winger Jamie Langenbrunner earned First Star of the Week nods from the NHL - along with the Caps's own Mike Green, who earned a star for the first time in his burgeoning career. The boys from New Jersey are stacked with a bunch of young guns who've been racking up goals of late including Zach Parise, Langenbrunner and Brian Gionta, among others. Though some of these snipers boast such youthful faces they look like they belong on my twins' Pee Wee team - don't let their young good looks fool you - they got game.

So tune in to Versus (yes, the network specializing in Extreme Cage Fighting) tomorrow night at 7 - should be a great game from two offensive powers!

So all you new lady hockey fans, the Caps have announced the dates for the third annual Hockey & Heels. Mark your calendars for February 21 from 12:45 - 5 p.m. and high-tail it down to Kettler Iceplex for a fabulous afternoon with Gabby (Coach Broudreau), MIX 107.3 Radio's Chilli Amar, Comcast SportsNet's Lisa Hillary, Caps alumnus Rod Langway and more for hockey instruction, on ice demonstrations and lots more fun stuff. All in the company of other spirited and spectacular lady hockey fans (plus all of the new ones who want to know more about the great game of hockey)!

Visit the Washington Capitals Web site for tickets - tickets are $45 for the event only and $65 if you want to attend the March 3 game against the Carolina Hurricanes. Hockey Mom will definitely be in the house celebrating the spirit of female fandom!