Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Pre-Free Agency Countdown

As hockey fans across North America anxiously count down the hours until the NHL's Free Agency period officially starts in less than 24 hours, Caps' GM George McPhee says not to expect any "big moves" by the team. The wiley mastermind behind the rebuild of this young and uber-talented team has pretty much said the same thing the last three years. For a very funny interpretation of  "GMGM speak", you have to visit the Peerless today for some hilarious interpretation of the mysterious GM's quotes.

And here are some other bits of recommended reading as we wait to see what moves (if any) the team will make:

-Your Capitals Free Agency Manifesto courtesy of Storming the Crease

- A very insightful 2010 Free Agency Primer from the very knowledgeable peeps over at Japer's Rink gives a very thorough run down of where the team stands as of today in terms of cap money, needs analysis and potential targets.

On a totally unrelated note, Hockey Mom is well aware that there are some wacky hockey parents out there - I'm sure some people might count me among them (*sly wink*).  But really people, these parents take the cake. Check out this article from Puck Daddy about a Toronto family who are suing a youth hockey league for cutting their sons from the team during tryouts. For $25,000 smackers mind you! Are you kidding me? What's next, suing the school system for a bad grade? Way to teach your kids some life lessons. I know it's hard and to not make a team, but it's just the first one of many of life's disappointments that everyone has to deal with at one time or another. Like not getting the prom date, or not getting the job, the list is endless. As long as the kids tried their hardest, there's always a teachable moment in there somewhere. Apparently not for these folks...I'm speechless, and that doesn't happen often.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Caps Draft Picks/Free Agency Period Starts Thursday

First off, HM apologizes for her total lack of coverage of this weekend's NHL Draft. Yes, I watched it but after a full weekend spent at a lacrosse tournament in sizzling 100 degree heat, I was just too spent to do anything once I got home but chill...literally. Yep, those kinds of days definitely make me yearn for the coolness of an ice rink  - it was brutal I tell you. As I'm sure you've probably heard, the Capitals picked up quite a few nice picks during the draft including a few more talented Russian players (shocking!).

Here's the lowdown on the new kids (and I do mean kids despite the fact that most of this year's draftees measured in at around an average of 6'1" and over - what are they feeding these youngsters these days):

-The Caps first round pick went to Russian center Evgeny Kuznetsov, who played played last season with Chelyabinsk Traktor of the KHL. He tallied two goals and seven assists in 35 games last season while recording only 10 penalty minutes. Kuznetsov  represented Russia at the 2010 World Junior Championship and scored two goals in six games. He also played for Team Russia at the World Under-18 Championship in both 2009 and 2010. He captained Russia in 2010 and led his squad with five goals and seven assists in seven games.

-On the second day of the draft the Caps made a move for right wing Stanislav Galiev, who went as the 86th pick and was 20th-ranked North American skater by NHL Central Scouting. Galiev hails from Ovechkin's hometown of Moscow. He had 60 points (15 goals, 45 assists) in 67 games for the Saint John Sea Dogs of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League (QMJHL) and led all QMJHL rookie scorers in the playoffs with 19 points (eight goals, 11 assists) in 21 games.

-With the 112th pick, the team drafted German-born goaltender Philipp Grubauer, who split this past season with Belleville and Windsor of the Ontario Hockey League, led Windsor to the Memorial Cup (championship of the Canadian Hockey League). He posted a 23-15-2-5 record with a 2.86 goals-against average and a .911 save percentage.

-In a draft that saw an impressive number of players from the U.S. go in both rounds, the Capitals picked up Minnesota native Caleb Herbert. He recorded 55 points (26 goals, 29 assists) in 25 games as a center for Bloomington-Jefferson High School in Minnesota in 2009-10. He expects to play in the United States Hockey League next season before attending college.

-Finally, defenseman Samuel Carrier was chosen at number 176 in the fifth round. The Quebec native spent last season with Lewiston of the QMJHL.

GM George McPhee might have another busy week ahead as the NHL's free agency period starts on Thursday, July 1. The team made qualifying offers to nine players yesterday, including Jay Beagle, Chris Bourque, Eric Fehr, Tomas Fleischmann, Andrew Gordon, Boyd Gordon, Patrick McNeill, Zach Miskovic and Jeff Schultz. My pals over at On Frozen Blog did a great piece today on the Caps' current roster and how they could benefit from acquiring a few of the many UFAs that will hit the market in a few days.

Of course the days and weeks leading up to free agency are rife with rumours, keeping track of all of them is about as easy as tracking Lindsay Lohan on a pub crawl. Some of them are utterly crazy talk, like a Martin Brodeur for Alex Semin trade rumour that reared it's ridiculous head earlier this month. As if...

So HM will keep her ears to the ground if the Caps make any significant movement. In the meantime, please join me in a round of applause for the wonderful Capitals PR team, who just received their fourth straight Dick Dillman Award for the NHL’s Eastern Conference. This honor is given annually to the team judged to be the best in media relations by the members of the Professional Hockey Writers’ Association (PHWA).

The Dillman Award honors the late Dick Dillman, a highly respected media relations guru for the Minnesota North Stars. Members of the PHWA are eligible to vote on the award, and voters are asked to consider multiple factors, including fairness, cooperation, efficiency, accuracy and presentation of media notes, quality of media guide and willingness to help facilitate interviews.

The Capitals’ media relations staff, overseen by vice president of communications Kurt Kehl, includes Nate Ewell, Paul Rovnak, Kelly Murray and Jeff Weinstein, as well as a number of game-night staffers.

Congrats to all - this honor is well-deserved. The Capitals PR team does an extraordinary job in accomodating traditional and new media alike as well as reaching out to the team's broad fan base!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Several Capitals Claim Hardware and other Accolades at 2010 NHL Awards

If you missed the NHL Awards last night, you missed a much improved version of last year's yawn inducing show, albeit a little too "MTV'd up" for my liking (though HM is a big fan of performer Snoop Dogg, a rabid hockey fan in his own right - I like my rap old school). Big, big improvement from last year's show which featured a random performance from Chaka Kahn. Comedian Jay Mohr was actually pretty funny too - the only issue I saw is that the winners didn't have enough time for their acceptance speeches due to some of the extracurricular acts. It felt like a big hook was going to appear from behind a stage curtain and pull 6'8" Tyler Myers of the Buffalo Sabres off the stage during his acceptance speech for winning the Calder Trophy for best rookie.
Several of the winners were cut off by the awards music in the middle of their speeches, including our own Alex Ovechkin.

No problem for Ovi though - he was going to finish thanking all his peeps and indeed he did, even thanking the city of Las Vegas for showing him and his friends a "good time." Ovechkin beat out rival Sidney Crosby and supertwin Henrik Sedin to win his third consecutive Ted Lindsay Award (formerly known as the Lester B. Pearson Award). This award is especially significant as it recognizes the player voted as most outstanding by his fellow players. Congrats to Ovi on earning his third Ted Lindsay Award - he becomes the third player to win the NHLPA’s honor three straight years, joining Wayne Gretzky (1982-85) and Guy Lafleur (1976-78).

Another extraordinary Capital (unfortunately not for long) also took home some hardware from Las Vegas. Jose Theodore won the Masterton Trophy which honors the NHL player who best exemplifies the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship and dedication to hockey. Theodore is the first Capital to receive the award.

Theo and his wife Stephanie Cloutier dealt with  unimaginable personal tragedy last August when their two-month old son, Chace, passed away from respiratory complications related to a premature birth. In November, he started Saves for Kids, a fundraising program that benefits the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at Children's National Medical Center in Northwest, D.C., where Chace was treated and where Theodore and Cloutier spent most of their time during their son’s 54-day life. Theodore pledged money for each save, win and shutout he made during the season, and his donations were also matched by F.H. Furr Plumbing Heating Air Conditioning Inc., a Lennox Premier Dealer. The Capitals fan base and Washington Capitals Charities also pledged their support, and Jose presented a check worth $35,000 to Children’s National Medical Center on Friday, May 7.

On the ice Theodore played 47 games and had his best season since winning the Hart and Vezina trophies in 2001-02. He posted a 30-7-7 record, 2.81 goals-against average and .911 save percentage in helping lead Washington to the club’s first Presidents’ Trophy. His winning percentage (.761) was the highest of any goaltender in franchise history. He finished the season 20-0-3 with a 2.58 goals-against average and a .922 save percentage in games after Jan. 13, setting a team record for most decisions (23) without a regulation loss.

Theodore's heart wrenching acceptance speech was enough to bring tears to the eyes of everyone watching - his strength and perserverance in the face of such a personal tragedy is an inspiration to many and he will be sorely missed by the Capitals and their devoted fans.

Unfortunately, Caps defenseman Mike Green came in second to Norris Trophy winner Duncan Keith of the Chicago Blackhawks, but he was named to the NHL First All-Star Team along with captain Alex Ovechkin.

Ovi did not capture this year's Hart Tophy for MVP, but the honor did go to one of HM's other faves. Henrik Sedin, one half of the dynamic duo Sedin twins, recieved the award in a year that saw him post a career-high 112 points. He was most gracious in his acceptance speech, acknowledging the amazing talent of his fellow nominees Ovechkin and Crosby and, as HM pointed out to her own surly teenage twins, thanking his twin brother who plays an invaluable role in his on-ice success and vice-versa.

Other award winners during last evening's star-studded soiree include: Dave Tippett of the Phoenix Coyotes with the Jack Adams (Coach of the Year) Award; Ryan Miller of the Buffalo Sabres with the Vezina Trophy (Best Goaltender); Pavel Datsyuk of the Detroit Red Wings with the Selke Trophy (Best defensive forward); Sidney Crosby (yeah, we know who he is) with the Mark Messier Leadership Award; Shane Doan of the Phoenix Coyotes with the King Clancy Award for charitable and humanitarian contributions; and Martin St. Louis of Tampa Bay with his first Lady Byng Award given to the game's most gentlemanly player.

And HM's "quote of the night" award goes to none other than Jeremy Roenick. When co-presenter Eddie Olczyk teased JR that he'd made a bet that Roenick would cry during their presentation (based on JR's tearful monologue immediately following the Blackhawks' Stanley Cup win), JR retorted "You'd cry too if you had to be in the booth with Mike Milbury all day." SNAP!

Speaking of the Blackhawks, the Stanley Cup champions won't boast the same roster on opening night as the one seen during the Cup parade down Michigan Avenue a few weeks ago. Hockey types knew that the Hawks would have to trade some of their talented players away due to salary cap issues and the trades have already started. One of the Hawk's young playoff standouts, Dustin Bfyuglien, was dealt to the Atlanta Thrashers along with mates Brent Sopel and Ben Eager (plus a Chicago prospect). With the 2010 NHL Draft starting this weekend, things are definitely heating up (even more so with this hellacious sweltering heat wave that's overtaken the East Coast). Hold on to your hats, hockey fans - and make sure to hydrate for the ride....

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Get Those Calendars Ready - Capitals 2010-2011 Schedule Released

As Caps fans await tomorrow's NHL Awards and this weekend's Entry Draft, they can also get a head start on filling in their calendars with the team's just-released pre- and regular season dates.

The preseason schedule features six games against three opponents and includes three games at Verizon Center. The boys will play their first preseason game on the road at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 22, at the Columbus Blue Jackets. The team’s preseason home opener at Verizon Center is Tuesday, Sept. 28 at 7 p.m. against the Boston Bruins.

The 82-game regular-season schedule for 2010-11 begins on Friday, Oct. 8, at the Atlanta Thrashers, with the home opener set for the next night, Oct. 9, against New Jersey at the Phone Booth.

Here's the official release with all the need-to-know dates from the team:

The 2010-11 NHL schedule format, like the last two seasons, has the Capitals facing the other teams in the Southeast Division six times each and the remaining Eastern Conference opponents four times each. Washington plays each team in the Western Conference at least once, with two games each against Anaheim, San Jose and St. Louis. Nine Western Conference teams will visit Verizon Center.

The Capitals will face the Pittsburgh Penguins on New Year’s Day at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh for the 2011 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic. The two teams will also face off on Super Bowl Sunday for the second straight year, a 12:30 p.m. faceoff on Feb. 6 at Verizon Center.
Washington has six homestands of at least three games on the schedule, the longest being a four-game stretch at Verizon Center from Dec. 4-11. The Capitals have only two stretches of at least four straight games on the road, and both should allow the team to return home during the road trip (five games from Feb. 14-21, six games from March 15-26). The team has 15 sets of games on consecutive days.

Nearly half of the Capitals’ 41 home games at Verizon Center fall on weekends, including five Friday games, eight Saturday games and six Sunday games. The schedule features holiday home games on Veterans Day (Nov. 11 vs. Tampa Bay), the day after Thanksgiving (Nov. 26 vs. Tampa Bay) and Super Bowl Sunday (Feb. 6 vs. Pittsburgh).

All but six of Washington’s home games are scheduled to start at 7 p.m., with the exceptions all falling on Sunday afternoons or early evenings.

Television broadcast plans will be released at a later date. All Capitals games can be heard on Caps Radio 1500 and 820 AM as well as

2010-11 Washington Capitals Schedule

Fri., Oct. 8 at Atlanta 7:30 p.m.
Sat., Oct. 9 New Jersey 7 p.m.
Mon., Oct. 11 Ottawa 7 p.m.
Wed., Oct. 13 N.Y. Islanders 7 p.m.
Sat., Oct. 16 at Nashville 8 p.m.
Tues., Oct. 19 Boston 7 p.m.
Thurs., Oct. 21 at Boston 7 p.m.
Sat., Oct. 23 Atlanta 7 p.m.
Wed., Oct. 27 at Carolina 7 p.m.
Thurs., Oct. 28 at Minnesota 8 p.m.
Sat., Oct. 30 at Calgary 10 p.m.

Wed., Nov. 3 Toronto 7 p.m.
Fri., Nov. 5 Boston 7 p.m.
Sun., Nov. 7 Philadelphia 5 p.m.
Tues., Nov. 9 at N.Y. Rangers 7 p.m.
Thurs., Nov. 11 Tampa Bay 7 p.m.
Sat., Nov. 13 at Buffalo 7 p.m.
Sun., Nov. 14 Atlanta 5 p.m.
Wed., Nov. 17 Buffalo 7 p.m.
Fri., Nov. 19 at Atlanta 7:30 p.m.
Sat., Nov. 20 Philadelphia 7 p.m.
Mon., Nov. 22 at New Jersey 7 p.m.
Wed., Nov. 24 at Carolina 7 p.m.
Fri., Nov. 26 Tampa Bay 5 p.m.
Sun., Nov. 28 Carolina 5 p.m.

Wed., Dec. 1 at St. Louis 8 p.m.
Thurs., Dec. 2 at Dallas 8:30 p.m.
Sat., Dec. 4 Atlanta 7 p.m.
Mon., Dec. 6 Toronto 7 p.m.
Thurs., Dec. 9 Florida 7 p.m.
Sat., Dec. 11 Colorado 7 p.m.
Sun., Dec. 12 at N.Y. Rangers 7 p.m.
Wed., Dec. 15 Anaheim 7 p.m.
Sat., Dec. 18 at Boston 7 p.m.
Sun., Dec. 19 at Ottawa 5 p.m.
Tues., Dec. 21 New Jersey 7 p.m.
Thurs., Dec. 23 Pittsburgh 7 p.m.
Sun., Dec. 26 at Carolina 7 p.m.
Tues., Dec. 28 Montreal 7 p.m.

Sat., Jan. 1 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic at Pittsburgh 1 p.m.
Tues., Jan. 4 Tampa Bay 7 p.m.
Sat., Jan. 8 Florida 7 p.m.
Tues., Jan. 11 at Florida 7:30 p.m.
Wed., Jan. 12 at Tampa Bay 7:30 p.m.
Fri., Jan. 14 Vancouver 7 p.m.
Sun., Jan. 16 Ottawa 3 p.m.
Tues., Jan. 18 at Philadelphia 7 p.m.
Thurs., Jan. 20 at N.Y. Islanders 7 p.m.
Sat., Jan. 22 at Toronto 7 p.m.
Mon., Jan. 24 N.Y. Rangers 7 p.m.
Wed., Jan. 26 at Atlanta 7 p.m.
Sun., Jan. 30 2011 NHL All-Star Game

Tues., Feb. 1 Montreal 7 p.m.
Fri., Feb. 4 at Tampa Bay 7:30 p.m.
Sun., Feb. 6 Pittsburgh 12:30 p.m.
Tues., Feb. 8 San Jose 7 p.m.
Sat., Feb. 12 Los Angeles 12:30 p.m.
Mon., Feb. 14 at Phoenix 10 p.m.
Wed., Feb. 16 at Anaheim 10 p.m.
Thurs., Feb. 17 at San Jose 10:30 p.m.
Sun., Feb. 20 at Buffalo 3 p.m.
Mon., Feb. 21 at Pittsburgh 7 p.m.
Fri., Feb. 25 N.Y. Rangers 7 p.m.
Sat., Feb. 26 at N.Y. Islanders 7 p.m.

Tues., March 1 N.Y. Islanders 7 p.m.
Thurs., March 3 St. Louis 7 p.m.
Sun., March 6 at Florida 7 p.m.
Mon., March 7 at Tampa Bay 7:30 p.m.
Wed., March 9 Edmonton 7 p.m.
Fri., March 11 Carolina 7 p.m.
Sun., March 13 Chicago 12:30 p.m.
Tues., March 15 at Montreal 7:30 p.m.
Wed., March 16 at Detroit 7 p.m.
Fri., March 18 at New Jersey 7 p.m.
Tues., March 22 at Philadelphia 7 p.m.
Fri., March 25 at Ottawa 7:30 p.m.
Sat., March 26 at Montreal 7 p.m.
Tues., March 29 Carolina 7 p.m.
Thurs., March 31 Columbus 7 p.m.

Sat., April 2 Buffalo 7 p.m.
Tues., April 5 at Toronto 7 p.m.
Wed., April 6 Florida 7 p.m.
Sat., April 9 at Florida 7 p.m.

All Times Eastern

In addition to playing both Columbus and Boston twice, the Caps also have a home-and-home series with the Nashville Predators, beginning with a road game at Nashville on Saturday, Sept. 25 at 7 p.m.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

In the News

Here are some breaking news items HM just came across:

- Am glad to report that Flyer's star Danny Briere and his 9-year old son are okay after their car crashed in New York state early this morning.

-And let the trade shockers begin! Word is that the Montreal Canadiens have traded goaltender Jaroslav Halak (yep, we remember that guy all too well thank you) to the St. Louis Blues. Sorry I can't help you out with the French translation there....but I have to say, didn't see that trade coming. Wow!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Hershey Makes History - Wins Yet Another Calder Cup

A huge round of applause for the history-making Hershey Bears for clinching their second consecutive Calder Cup as the 2010 AHL Champions. Though they could be more aptly named the "grizzly bears" for those most magnificent playoff bears, the boys won the hardware in front of their home crowd for the first time in 30 years. In a splendid shut out performance, goaltender Michal Neuvirth stopped 22 shots en route to the huge 4-0 victory against the Texas Stars. Several other players we'd love to see permanently in Capitals red, white and blue also made notable contributions, including defensemen Karl Alzner (whose outstanding playoff beard makes him look remarkably like the claymation Kris Kringle in the old Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer) and Captain America (AKA John Carlson). Chris Bourque, who spent some time on the dark side in Pittsburgh, earned the title of Most Valuable Player during the series which saw the Bears rebound from losing the first two contests at home. To join Hockey Mom in celebrating this fine occasion, please join me in devouring a Hershey's Kiss (or a bag of them - your choice) to commemorate another sweet season and championship for this terrific young hockey team!

In other happenings around the rinks:

  • Caps' fans will get their first glimpse of the team's 2011 Bridegstone Winter Classic uniforms along with other WC merchandise at the Caps Convention on October 2. Tickets go on sale to the general public tomorrow.
  • Looks like forward Brendan Morrison will be shopping for a new team. Word has it that he will not be resigned by the Washington Capitals for next season. Good luck B'Mo!
  • The Toronto Maple Leafs have named their first team captain since the departure of Mats Sundin. Surly defenseman Dion Phanuef (who ranked 70th in the league in PIMs last season) will don the 'C' for one of Canada's oldest and most beloved hockey clubs next season.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Chicago Blackhawks are Stanley Cup Champions

PHILADELPHIA - JUNE 09: Jonathan Toews  hoists the Stanley Cup after teammate Patrick Kane  scored the game-winning goal in overtime to defeat the Philadelphia Flyers 4-3 and win the Stanley Cup in Game Six of the 2010 NHL Stanley Cup Final at the Wachovia Center on June 9, 2010 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

Captain Jonathan Toews hoists the Stanley Cup/Photo courtesy of

In one of the most exciting hockey games HM has seen in a while, the young and fiesty Chicago Blackhawks ended a 49-year drought to bring the Stanley Cup home to the Windy City. The Blackhawks came out strong in the first two periods, but the come-from-behind Flyers certainly deserve their due for their perserverance and forcing the critical Game 6 into a nail-biting OT. The Hawks lit the lamp first but for every goal scored by Chicago, Philadelphia responded in kind with goals from Danny Briere and Scott Hartnell. Dustin Byfuglien scored the first goal for the Hawks courtesy of a power play tally as Flyers agitator Chris Pronger took a seat in the penalty box for one of two calls on his extracurricular shenanigans. In the waning minutes of the third period, Hawks fans were contemplating popping the champagne corks but the undaunted Flyers weren't throwing in the towel yet.  Geico caveman look-alike winner Scott Hartnell scored with just 3:58 left in the period to tie the game at 3-3.

The battle raged on until Patrick Kane scored the game winning goal with under five minutes left in the OT period, stunning the Flyers and silencing the rabid Wachovia Center crowd. At first there was confusion on both benches as no one (other than than Kane himself) seemed 100 percent sure that the puck had crossed the goal line. But video proof reinforced the evidence that the brash Blackhawks were indeed the new Stanley Cup Champions and the much deserved celebration began in earnest (to the boos and jeers of many Flyers faithful of course). When asked when he knew the Kane goal was legit, Hawks head coach Joel Quennenville said,  "I heard the sound. It was a funny sound. Nobody knew where the puck was. Kaner thought it was in. Video guy came out, he knew it was in the net. And I think the guys knew. That's why they celebrated. I didn't know for sure when I saw the net lift and I saw the puck in the back, I said okay, the party is on."

Chicago captain Jonathan Toews, who is beyond mature for his age (only 22), has had an incredible year. The solemn face of the franchise has not only won an Olympic gold medal, but can now add the Cup and the Conn Smythe trophy to his impressive list of accomplishments. And a Hockey Mom stick tap to the captain for handing the Cup over to the beleagered Marian Hossa, who once and for all broke his "Cup curse" and proved the third time's a charm.

So enjoy the party Blackhawks and fans - and to both teams, thanks for treating us puckheads to one heck of a series!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Capitals' Calendar Dates; Could History be Made Tonight?

As Capitals fans jump on the Blackhawks' bandwagon and count the long summer months until our own boys are back on the ice, there are a few more things to look forward to before the 2010-2011 regular season officially begins. Yesterday, the team announced the dates for the second Capitals Convention (mark your calendars - there was a full house last year) in addition to the Fan Fest at Kettler Capitals Iceplex.

The second annual Capitals Convention moves downtown this year to the Washington Convention Center on Saturday, Oct. 2. The event was a huge success in its first year, attracting a sold-out crowd of more than 5,000 to a day-long interactive and informational celebration of the Capitals, featuring the entire roster of current players and a number of prominent alumni. Tickets go on sale Monday, June 14, to season-ticket holders and Wednesday, June 16, to the general public at Ticket prices are $40 for adults and $25 for children 14 and younger if purchased by June 30 (adult price increases to $45 on July 1). Two other ticket options are available: a $500 golden ticket with special access to every autograph session and a VIP room and a $30 ticket without autograph access.

Fan Fest will be held on the final day of the Capitals Development Camp, which will be held July 12-17 at Kettler Capitals Iceplex in Arlington, Va. The entire camp is open to the public (complete on-ice schedule still TBD), with a scrimmage set for Saturday, July 17, at 10 a.m. In addition to the scrimmage Fan Fest will feature the team’s annual equipment sale, inflatable games and autograph sessions. Season-ticket holders will have the first opportunity to shop at the equipment sale; details on that opportunity will be sent to each account in this week’s planholder update.

Of course the biggest news of the day is tonight's Game 6, where the young Chicago Blackhawks team has a shot at winning their first Stanley Cup since 1961. On that note, HM found this article on the Hawks' play to date interesting, especially for us Capitals fans still raw from an abrupt first round exit. The legendary Jacques Demers credits the normally flashy Hawks' success to playing down and dirty "blue collar" (translated "Flyer-style") hockey - a concept that seemingly eluded the Capitals in the post-season. That said, Chicago will have their work cut out for them tonight in front of a hostile Wachovia Center crowd and a mean Flyers club who'll be doing everything in their power to force a Game 7. Rumor has it that the Flyers will start Michael Leighton in net. If Patrick Kane ends up hoisting the coveted Cup this evening, it will be the best showing of an award-winning mullet since Mario Lemieux  and Jaromir Jagr's Pittsburgh Penguins beat Chicago to win the Cup back in 1992. Let's go Hawks!

And while we're on the subject of bad hair styles, HM recently read a hilarious blog post from a fabulous fellow female Capitals blogger. I came across Caps Girl via Twitter and find myself frequently laughing hysterically over her tweets and posts, as we share the same very snarky sense of humor. This time she takes on Alex Ovechkin's often misled fashion sense and offers some style tips for the talented star in a Glamour magazine "do's and don't format". Check it out here!

In other Capitals news, looks like Jose Theodore may not be in the fold much longer (Hockey Mom has sad face) while the team may be talking numbers with Eric Fehr's agent to extend the forward's contract.

Happy Hump Day and happy hockey watching sports fans - signing off....

Monday, June 7, 2010

Line Changes Earn Blackhawks Big Win in Finals' Game 5

The Chicago Blackhawks pretty much got manhandled by the thugnasty Flyers, especially resident puck kleptomaniac Chris Pronger, in Games 3 and 4 of the Stanley Cup finals. But the young Hawks earned a huge 7-4 win last night, renewed and recharged after coach Joel Quenneville broke up his top line of Dustin Byfuglien, Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane. The The ornery Pronger was held in check and was an ugly -5 in the Flyers' defeat. Big Buff also got revenge after being tossed around by the hulking Pronger in the previous two games and laid one of hockey's favorite villains on his keister:

(h/t to Kukla's Korner)

Byfuglien was an absolute beast last night, tallying seven points and rolling heads all over the ice. The Hawks owned the momentum, certainly through the first two periods, and were up 3-0 at the end of the opening period. Sharp shooter Patrick Kane added to the goal total in the second period, mullet flying and mouthguard ever present (on the outside of his mouth of course). Son if you don't stop chewing on that thing and use it to protect those teeth, you're going to be talking with a lisp like team mate Duncan Keith (who's missing seven chiclets from both the top and bottom rows). Of course if Chicago ends up hoisting the Cup on Wednesday, teeth, itchy beards and 1980's hairstyles be damned! Hockey Mom will definitely be watching as these two meet again in a pivotal Game 6. Chicago has a excellent chance to close it out and skate the Cup on Flyer's home ice. No matter who you're rooting for, seeing a team win the Stanley Cup is truly unlike any other celebration in sports. HM is confident that the Capitals and their fans will experience that otherworldly feeling soon...

While we're on the subject of championships, down on the farm the Hershey Bears are battling it out against the Texas Stars for the American Hockey League's coveted Calder Cup. The Bears are in the finals for the fourth time but are currently down two games.  All of you local puckheads needing a little Mathieu Perreault, Karl Alzner or John Carlson fix just happen to be in luck. Comcast SportsNet will be broadcasting Games 3, 4 and 5 starting tonight. Their live game coverage of the best-of-seven championship series will feature Hershey’s three road contests from Cedar Park, Texas, which are scheduled for tonight at 8:30 p.m., Wednesday, June 9 at 8:30 p.m. and Friday, June 11 at 8:30 p.m., if necessary. The broadcasts will feature Hershey Bears play-by-play announcer John Walton and Gregg Mace, who will serve as color analyst and sideline reporter. Let's go Bears!

And if you indulged in a little ice cream to beat the incessant heat this weekend, no need to feel guilty. Several NHLers admit to doing the same (though mostly in the off-season) and New York Islander John Tavares has a theory that the dreamy dessert may even help you sleep better. Now that's what I call useful nutritional news! Hockey peeps and ice cream lovers in the States unite - we must get Ben and Jerry's Caramel Hat Trick here soon. Have a great week sports fans!

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Puck Snatching Pronger and Flyers Make Series Interesting

Sorry about my hiatus, but Hockey Mom is just getting back into the swing of things after a whirlwind three-day weekend of kids' hockey. My twins were reunited on the same team for this particular tournament after a stress-inducing season of playing on two different travel teams. Their team won their division after battling it out with some very chippy teams from Jersey City and Philadelphia (I know - you're all shocked) - so that was exciting for the boys. My two were a bit chippy in their own right and I think they thought they were the self-appointed "goon squad" for the weekend. Needless to say, HM was not having visions of the Sedins with that attitude....

But they all played really well together so they should be proud of their efforts! It was quite a scene in the city of brotherly love with the Flyers in the Stanley Cup Finals. HM caught a few minutes of Game 1 in a local Philly establishment filled with some very scary Flyers fans and I fell asleep during Game 2 after being up at 5:30 a.m. for the championship game that day. As you know by now, Game 1 was a high-scoring affair and the Blackhawks seemed to be headed toward the sweep until the Flyers' OT win last night. Claude Giroux earned three points during last night's raucous affair in addition to netting the game winning goal. Maybe bad boy Chris Pronger's puck-swiping antics really did get into the Hawks' heads. The frequent trips to the penalty box by Big Buff - Dustin Byfuglien - certainly didn't help the Hawks' cause. But on a positive note for Chicago, Patrick Kane finally got on the board for the first time in this series with an absolutely lovely snap shot (like the wonder kid wouldn't light the lamp eventually, duh). So these two clubs will battle it out in Game 4 tomorrow night in a hostile Wachovia Center. Maybe I can catch the whole game this time, eh?

Not much going on back here in Caps Land other than George McPhee has made it official that UFAs Joe Corvo and Scott Walker won't be back in Capitals sweaters next season. Personally, I'm sad to see Walker go but surely wish them both well. And some other scuttlebutt regarding possible trade deadline aquisitions (Dear Santa, please bring us a bad-a#% blueliner this year). According to Tarik El Bashir, shot-blocker extraordinaire Anton Volchenkov may not be in the Caps' plans this year. And yes, HM does believe in Santa Claus...