Monday, August 31, 2009

Give Blood - Play Hockey

Blood and hockey are pretty much synonymous with one another, eh? So what a better idea than to raise money for Inova Blood Donor Services than to hold a charity hockey game between the coaching staff of two incredibly competitive local hockey clubs. For all you local hockey fans in the D.C. area, come out to the Ashburn Ice House here in lovely suburban Virginia for the Inaugural Charity Hockey Classic on September 12th (after Capitals Training Camp of course)!

Hockey Mom knows many of the players for the red (gotta love that color) team and I promise that a good time will be had by all while raising money for a much-needed new bloodmobile! Slapshot and former Miss Virginia Tara Wheeler will also be on hand for the festivities and what promises to be a highly-spirited contest. Check out the Web site for more information and hope to see you all there!

In other hockey happenings:

  • Ovie is apparently sporting some fresh ink very close to his cheeky parts. Hmmm, any guesses as to what that says? Makes for some interesting pre-season conversation anyhoo... (stick tap to the always unique Puck Daddy).

  • In case you missed it, the NHL Players Association showed Executive Director Paul Kelly the door in the wee hours of the morning after only two years with the organization. Talk about a revolving door in that place...

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

The Wait is Almost Over...

I can't believe that it's almost September, the month that brings the boys back to their D.C. home to shake off the summer blues at Training Camp! The Capitals just released the schedule for Rookie Training Camp and complete schedule for the veterans is coming soon.

From the team press release:

ARLINGTON, Va. – The Washington Capitals 2009 rookie camp and training camp will once again be held at Kettler Capitals Iceplex in Arlington, Va.

Rookie camp will begin Monday, Sept. 7, and will conclude with a road game against the Philadelphia Flyers rookies at 3 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 11, at Virtua Center Flyers Skate Zone in Voorhees, N.J. The game is open to the public and free of charge. This is the third straight year that Washington rookies will play Philadelphia rookies prior to training camp.

Veterans will report to training camp on Saturday, Sept. 12, and will be available for interviews and photographs at Kettler Capitals Iceplex that day. On-ice training camp activities will begin on Monday, Sept. 13.

I am sorry all you sports fans out there can't hear the sound of Hockey Mom's fancy feet dancing with joy - hockey season is almost here!

Wining and Dining with Ovie

The Great Eight is going to try his hand at cooking sometime in September with a guest appearance in the kitchen of a major Manhattan restaurant. Wonder if Mama Ovechkin is going to be there as sous chef? In any case, HM hopes they keep Gordon Ramsey out of the picture. Can you imagine him getting up in Ovie's grill about his technique (cooking technique, that is)? I can just see Ovie bodychecking the hot-headed chef into laps of unsuspecting diners!

(stick tap to Japer's Rink)

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

More Back-to-School with the Men in Red

As thousands of happy D.C. kids made their way back to the classroom this week, the Washington Capitals announced the continuation of the popular Caps Hockey School program. The Capitals have conducted the program the previous two years, hosting 20 clinics and reaching 2,500 students in the Washington, D.C., area.

Here's more of the fun details on the program courtesy of the team:

This season Caps coaches, players, Slapshot and team representatives will host Hockey School sessions between September and May for groups of 100 to 150 fifth-eighth graders. Each Hockey School visit consists of an interactive floor hockey clinic and a question-and-answer session with representatives of the Capitals. It is designed to be both instructional and interactive, with the goal of exposing students to floor hockey and teaching proper technique.

Each student who participates in Hockey School will receive:

  • An autographed player card signed by one of the Washington Capitals

  • A Hockey 101 booklet that outlines the rules of street hockey and ice hockey

  • One coupon for a free open skate session at a local participating rink

  • One coupon for a free learn to skate or learn to play introductory class at a local rink

  • A Hockey School squishy puck

Certain schools will also receive a free set of street hockey equipment.

Teachers or principals who would like up to 150 of their fifth-, sixth-, seventh- and/or eighth-grade students to participate in Hockey School can register here. Hockey School visits will start at 2 p.m., are approximately one hour in length and should take place in the school’s gymnasium. Schools are chosen on a first-come, first-served basis and must select one of the predetermined dates available when signing up. Schools must be within a 30-mile radius of Kettler Capitals Iceplex in Arlington, Va., to be eligible. A Capitals representative will contact schools to confirm their participation and coordinate visit details.

Now that's what Hockey Mom calls making learning fun!

In other hockey happenings, the Caps' own Mike Green is one of more than 40 hopefuls looking to make Team Canada and don the red Maple Leaf at Vancouver 2010. A virtual who's who of the NHL, the elite players are currently in Calgary at the Olympic Orientation Camp. Boy, I wouldn't want to be bench boss Mike Babcock having to whittle down that roster....

Friday, August 21, 2009

Caps Convention Update

For all of you fabulous fans who are thinking about attending the first ever Capitals Convention, don't wait too long as there are only about 500tickets left!

The Caps are giving the fans a chance to weigh in on some of the additional panels they'd like to see at the convention. Some of the potential topics that you'll have the chance to vote on include:

  • Marketing and the NHL

  • Behind the Bench

  • Cap-ology

  • Droppin' the Gloves (where's Donnie B. when you need him? Oh yeah, wearing a Rags jersey)

  • And a whole host of others!

Be sure to visit the Web site and place your vote on the hockey talk that you want to hear first-hand from the experts...

ABCs with the C-A-P-S

Back-to-school time is literally right around the corner but this year, there's a new game in town to help make learning a little more fun and exciting! The Washington Capitals have implemented a new program called Caps at School, a curriculum-based teaching tool designed for fourth, fifth and sixth graders.

Caps at School was created to provide Maryland, Virginia and Washington D.C., elementary school educators with resources that integrate hockey and Washington Capitals players into teaching lessons for math, language, art, health and physical education. This unique program offers engaging, classroom-ready lesson plans that will capture the attention of students and allow classes that complete the lesson plans the opportunity to win Caps prizes. Now that's my kind of education!

Students (and future Caps fans for life) will learn math using NHL most valuable player Alex Ovechkin’s statistics - (you might need one of those fancy calculators for that one)! Capitals captain Chris Clark will help students hone their reading skills, while Matt Bradley will explain creative ways to be environmentally responsible in a fun art activity. We got the chance to see Bradley play professor during last season's Capitals Red Line and he was quite the educator! Meanwhile, big "D" Mike Green will pitch in on the phys ed front by teaching different ways to become more healthy and active.

So all you great teachers, be sure to get this on your lesson plan! Local teachers can enroll their classes for free and start to download lesson plans immediately at Hockey Mom wants to express her utmost admiration and give a big high five to all you teachers out there - hope you all have a fabulous school year! Now if we could just get the Caps to do a rendition of Schoolhouse Rock....

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Please Keep Theo in Your Prayers...

The Washington Capitals today confirmed the terrible news that the
2-month old son of goaltender Jose Theodore has passed away.

From GM George McPhee: “We are aware of the heartbreaking news. At this time we ask that everyone respects the privacy of Jose and his family.”

My heart goes out to Jose, his wife and family and please keep them all in your prayers as they mourn their unimaginable loss...

Tuesday, August 18, 2009


Here I am again, with no real gritty or earth-shattering hockey news to report. Yes folks, we are definitely in the heat and boredom-inducing (unless you're lucky enough to be at the beach) throes of August.

The good news is that September, which brings Training Camp and pre-season action, along with a Cap's fans ultimate lovefest - the inaugural Capitals Convention, is just around the corner!

So while we mark those days off the calendar and wait to hear that wonderful sound of Ovie and pals' skates tearing up the ice at Kettler, there's still some hockey-related goings on worth note.

Here are some of Hockey Mom's picks for the week:

  • Just in time for back-to-school shopping, this really cool Capitals notebook set

  • Check out the new look at

  • A veteran enforcer may be looking for a new home and rumblings of another bad boy Todd Bertuzzi going back to Hockeytown

  • Check out Caps Chick's hilarious questionnaire responses over at A View From the Cheap Seats

  • Go see Bruce Boudreau throw out the first pitch for the soon-to-be vastly improved Washington Nationals on Thursday, August 20

  • For all you peeps interested in a career in sports media/marketing, check out this insightful interview with Caps' Director of Media Relations, Nate Ewell

  • Finally, join Gabby, Brian Pothier and other Capitals staffers this Saturday to lend a hand for D.C. Public Schools Beautification Day

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Thursday Goalie Gab

Other than babyfaced Patrick Kane's recent run in with the law, it has been an unbearably slow news week for hockey fans.

Now I'm not going to speculate on the young Blackhawk's star's antics (though am confident that alcoholic beverages were involved) until he gets his day in the courtroom, but if he is found guilty of assaulting a cabbie over a buck and change, then he deserves a big Hockey Mom slap on the hand and a suspension just for acting a fool!

Back in Caps land, Tarik reports that Gabby is touting Jose Theodore as the team's number one netminder going into September's Training Camp, unless Semyon Varlamov and Michal Neuvirth prove otherwise. That will be battle worth tracking for sure!

And on the subject of goaltenders, the Capitals announced the hiring of Arturs Irbe as their new goaltending coach, to replace Dave Prior, who recently resigned after 12 years with the club to spend more time with his family.

A little more background on Irbe from the team:

Irbe, 42, is a native of Riga, Latvia, and served as the goaltending coach for his hometown Dinamo Riga last season in the Kontinental Hockey League. He has also worked with the Latvian national team, which he represented in the 2002 and 2006 Olympics. Irbe is also a former teammate of Capitals’ assistant coach Dean Evason, as both players were with the San Jose Sharks from 1991-93.

Irbe native is a 13-year NHL veteran and played for San Jose, Dallas, Vancouver and Carolina. He played in 568 games and compiled a career record of 218-236-79 while appearing in two NHL All-Star Games (1994, 1999). His last NHL season was 2003-04, and he finished his NHL career with a 2.83 goals-against average and an .899 save percentage. Irbe played professionally in Europe after he left the NHL and retired completely after appearing in six games with Slovakia’s HK Nitra in 2006-07.

Irbe is fluent in English, Latvian, Russian and also speaks some German. He was selected in the 10th round, 196th overall, in the 1989 NHL Entry Draft by the Minnesota North Stars. He spent five years in the San Jose organization and made his NHL debut in the 1991-92 season when he appeared in 13 games. Irbe played in 74 games for the Sharks during 1993-94 and set an NHL record (since broken) by playing 4,412 minutes in the regular season. He spent the 1996-97 season with Dallas and the 1997-98 season with Vancouver before joining Carolina for the final six years of his career.

Irbe became a fixture in the Carolina net and played more than 50 games in each of his first four seasons with the Hurricanes. He registered career-best marks in GAA(2.22) and in save percentage (.923) during the 1998-99 season, his first with Carolina. He played a career high 77 games during the 2000-01 season and a year later he helped lead Carolina to the Stanley Cup final.

As for HM, my hockey madness has already begun as both twins (wait, that's redundant) started pre-season practices this week. One of mine was unable to participate in his first practice after cutting the tip of his pinky finger practically off in an ugly altercation with the lawnmower (handle, not the blade thankfully). I must say that after five years of hockey, it's amazing that we've made it up to this point (13 years with two boys) with no stitches! As he nervously waiting for the ER doc to sew up the jagged edges, I kept reminding him of how Ovie broke his nose, got stitches in his mouth and went out to score five goals in one game. Not sure that it helped, but we all came through without passing out - which is always a good thing.

Friday, August 7, 2009

An American Great Bids Tearful Good-Bye

Jeremy Roenick, one of the most dynamic (and at times, controversial) American-born stars to ever play in the NHL, bid a tearful farewell yesterday to the sport he loves so much. As JR officially made his announcement to hang up the skates for good, he was hailed by fellow NHL greats Mike Modano, Chris Chelios (who apparently has no plans to retire at the tender age of 47) and Sharks GM Doug Wilson.

Hockey fans around the world will certainly miss JR's on and off-ice abilities and most would love to see him contribute his love for the game in the television arena (he'd sure add some spice as he's never been one to mince words). Turns out JR has some local ties as well, sometime during his illustrious youth hockey career he spent some time with the Washington Little Caps organization.

So let's raise our glasses a make a farewell toast to an American great as he rides off into the sunset...or onto the set of Versus' Hockey Central.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Lost in Translation?

So apparently there's been some word-flinging going on between Caps' forward Michael Nylander and head coach Bruce Boudreau. Nyls, who spent quite a bit of noticeable time as a healthy scratch during the 2009 playoffs, supposedly told a Swedish media outlet that Gabby told him he "wasn't good enough" to play for the Caps. Boudreau has denied saying anything of the sort and many Caps fans are hoping that Nylander will just follow the unpopular Jaromir Jagr for a stint in Russia's KHL. (Stick tap to Tarik El-Bashir).

Could be that all of the hoopla was just "lost in translation." Hockey Mom is wondering if comments made by our very lovable Ovie in a Russia Today interview were also lost in translation? Ovie dishes about a certain extracurricular activity he might partake in before (and after) games as well as his preference for Russian-vs-American beauties. As Hockey Mom caters to the G-rated (okay, maybe PG-13) audience, I'll let you check it out for yourself over at Puck Daddy. HM is verklemped and at a loss for words after viewing aforementioned video so I'll just say....well, okay then.

In other hockey happenings, Buffalo Sabres' d-man (and a true "fighter" in every sense of the word after coming back from open-heart surgery), Teppo Numminen is hanging 'em up for retirement at the age of 41. HM wishes him a happy retirement and the best of luck!

Also rumored to be retiring is one of HM's personal faves, the one and only Jeremy Roenick. We can only hope to hear his colorful commentary on a cable channel near you sometime soon!