Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind, don't matter, and those who matter, don't mind. ~Dr. Seuss
Girls just wanna have fun ~ Cyndi Lauper
Make some fun, happy time ~ Alex Ovechkin

Monday, April 12, 2010

My Winning Season

Yesterday was the final game in the Capitals regular season for 2009-2010. Not only was it a winning season for them, but it was a season of win for me too. I can’t say when I’ve enjoyed a rollercoaster ride more.

I was very fortunate to enjoy a lot of Caps awesomeness in person this season. My season of win actually began at Caps development camp on 9/7/09. I had never been to watch any skating at Kettler before, what a great way to start. It was the first time I ever got to watch hockey players up close. I can tell you right now, it sealed the deal on my fascination for the game. Not only did I get to see the players that were being considered for the team, but also some Caps players that just had to get back out on the ice too. I even got to watch Neuvy and some other guy in net who got to play all of about 10 minutes in a regular season game once.

My second trip to Kettler was for Veterans Camp on 9/13/09. I got my first glimpse of Knuble, Cash and Beagle, as well as all the guys I’ve been cheering on for a while. I got a greater appreciation for how hard they work to perfect their game. And an appreciation for the camaraderie they share as a team. Who knew? Ok, a lot of you all knew, but I didn’t!

Next came the Caps Convention on 9/26/09. What a total fandom adventure that was! Not only did I get to hear great hockey stories and Q & A sessions, I was fortunate enough to get a picture with Nicky and autographs from Brads, Laich, Morrisonn and Bourque. I’ll admit the autographs from Shaone and Chris were not the highlight of my day, but the rest of day was pretty awesome and exhausting!

Finally, time for the season opener on 10/3/09. It was against the Maple Leafs and we won; final score 6-4. The Southeast Division Champions banner was hoisted to minor fanfare. Highlight for that game, to quote my tweet at 9:18 pm that night, “We caught the fucking puck!” Oh yeah, Mike Green bobble head swag was also obtained.

November rolls around and it’s the Caps/Panthers game on 11/7/09. We win again, final score 7-4. Witnessed Matty Perreault’s first NHL goal. Our Pocket Ovi was a star that night! Ovi and Green didn’t play that night, Ovi’s pesky upper body injury kept him in the press box. That was also the night that Florida Panthers center Gregory took a shot to the face, which resulted in the Hubs and I being shown on national TV as they escorted him off the ice. Didn’t tell anyone at the time, but I do have the video saved. (Why, I don’t know, but saved it is).

Then December rolls around, this month’s game was against the Hurricanes on 12/11/09. Final score 4-3, Caps winning in overtime. That was the night Tim Gleason took home his own special souvenir, 30 stitches in his face from blocking a wicked shot from Ovi. It was also our first live OT game of the season and it ended with a GWG from Mike Green. Nail biter of a game.

The New Year in game attendance arrives late in January. The game was 1/23/10 against Phoenix. Final score: 4-2 Caps. It was the sixth game of the winning streak we all enjoyed this season. It was also my first opportunity to see that glorious “C” on the chest of Alex Ovechkin. Watching Neuvy in net that night was also a great highlight for me. And, finally, this was also the night that inspired my Ode to Tweetup’s post. It was an epic #caps108 that night!

February brings the Olympics and no Caps game for us. We took the opportunity to go up to Hershey and finally take in a Bears game. My winning season continued on 2/27/10 with the Bears winning 9-2 over Bridgeport. Sadly, I wasn’t thinking clearly enough to devise a plan to get my camera into Giant Center, so I only got one decent photo with my cell phone, but, I finally got a chance to watch Holtby play a game and could not keep my eyes off the man. I have my own video of his quirky antics on my iPhone to enjoy whenever I feel a little blue. It was a great road trip, and we hope to do it again soon.

March was my only failure to obtain Caps tickets this season. I wanted to go to the Rangers game on 3/6/10. Sadly, tickets could not be obtained and we missed witnessing Theo’s first shutout in person.

Finally, time to close the season out. Last night against Boston was the first loss I’ve seen at Verizon Center all season; Bruins won it 4-3. (Come to think of it, I only saw one loss at Verizon Center 08-09, but that’s a blog post that didn’t get written). It was also my first in person shootout finish of the season as well. Now I’m not counting this game as a loss in MY winning season. Who could be disappointed with game that included a Chimmer/Thomas “scuffle” and a shootout finish with Brads and Gordo taking the shots! To cap it all off, who wouldn’t enjoy watching hockey players disrobing for fans? (Yeah, not really, but a girl can dream, right?)

So there you have it. My winning season. Oh, and the Caps winning season as well. It’s been a hell of a year, but it’s not over yet. I don’t expect to have tickets to any playoff games, unless some kind soul decides to reward me for my winning ways. Not to worry though. I’ll be there in spirit and hope to continue more winning next season.

(All of the pictures in this post can be found on my Flickr page with lots more. Well, except for the last picture from yesterday's game. Still editing the 895 shots taken and my real job is taking precedence over that happening any time soon. But they will get there. Done now, check them out!)

Sunday, April 4, 2010

2 + 2 = 8

A lot of people are expressing concern at the current lack of goals by Ovi lately. I’m here to tell you that maybe; just maybe, Ovi has something else in mind. Call it a hunch.

As Caps fans, we are a spoiled bunch. We have the greatest current NHL player on our team. (Debatable by some, but not by Caps fans). We have watched him win award after award, and accolades aplenty since his rookie year. Many have come to expect this to continue this season, but would any of us really be that disappointed if the only award Ovi and the Caps won this year was the Stanley Cup?

I can’t claim to have any personal insight on what is going on in Alex’s head right now in regards to his game, but there lots of clues to what he might be thinking.

Yes, Ovi is currently in the top 3 in the NHL standings, but, is his objective to be MVP? It would be nice, but I don’t think he is focused on that. He has made it quite clear to one and all; the man wants the Stanley Cup.

I like to think that his record is what it is because the man is a beast on the ice, it’s what he does. He couldn’t help that if he tried, but, two different sets of suspensions have shown that this team can win games without relying on Ovechkin. That’s a good thing. It also takes a great deal of pressure off of Ovi. I’ll say it again, the man is a beast, God love him, but it takes a whole team to win the ultimate prize. Let’s get real people; I would rather have him healthy going into the playoffs then injured, just because some moron like Downie tried to take him out during a regular season game to prevent him from getting a puck in the net. If he isn’t a scoring machine right now, just wait. I’d be more concerned if he wasn’t scoring during playoffs.

There is also the position of Captain to consider. The honor of being named Captain is not something I think he takes lightly, nor is it something that will be gone at the end of this season. It’s a promotion and sign of respect that is serious business. I enjoy watching this more mature Ovi play. Back at the beginning of the Olympics, in an interview translated by Russian Machine Never Breaks, Ovi is quoted as saying “It is better to celebrate wins, not goals”. I think in Ovi’s mind, this applies to Caps wins too. As an athlete, he has to apply that to his personal game no matter where he is playing. He makes great assists, doesn’t hog the puck like he is the only one who can score. He is not only a team player, but a team leader. Sure, there are times when he had a scoring opportunity that wasn’t taken, but just look at the other goal stats that the Caps have. We have 7 players with over 20 goals so far, and Mike Green could become another on that list before the end of the regular season. We have 9 players with over 20 assists. Under his captaincy, this has become a more well-rounded complete team. It’s no longer the Ovi show, but that’s something I think we can all live with.

So, as disheartening as it may be, let’s consider this Alex’s chance to rest up before the big show. He’s still on the ice, not on the bench, or God forbid; in the press box sitting out a game. He’s in there keeping his eye on the prize, staying an important part of his team’s success. Remember, the Caps already have the pieces in place to go all the way, and Ovi is one of the reasons why they are there. And as much as I would also like to see Ovi net a couple more to lead the league, if the only thing that we get out of this season is the Stanley Cup, I’ll be one happy Caps fan.