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

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Grandpa Slippers Hits 900

Grandpa Slippers? Poor Mike Knuble, it’s not that you’re old. As a matter of fact, 38 is prime time, and you couldn’t reach the 900 game mark without living through the whole kit and Knuble. (See what I did there?) Not quite the Iron Man status of Cal Ripken Jr., but you still gotta appreciate what 900 games really means in the NHL. Mike started in the AHL in 1995 at age 23 and has been going pretty strong ever since. 15 years is a decent career stint if I do say so myself.

First, let’s take a little trip in the way back machine. Knoobs has been able to play 82 straight regular season NHL games 5 times in his career. Once with the Rangers, twice with the Bruins and twice with the Flyers. So far, I’m impressed. He has scored more than 20 goals every regular NHL season he’s played in the last 7 years. Ditto for assists, 20 or more in the last 7 seasons. And let’s not forget, the man has a Stanley Cup ring, thanks to his stint with the Red Wings in the 97-98 season. Now, aren’t you happy the Flyers couldn’t come to terms and GMGM thought it would be a good idea to sign him up in 2009?

Now let’s look at what 900 games have meant to Knoobs when it comes to the Medicare report. According to his bio, Mike’s injuries have included:

~injuring his hamstring, ouchie, but not so bad as-

~breaking the middle finger on his left hand (which is a bummer since most players use that finger to wave “Hi” to all their opponents, and I personally use it to let fellow drivers know when I’m changing lanes or taking a certain parking place, but I digress), and then there was the time that he-

~fracturing his right cheekbone and orbital bone, which I’m sure hurts as bad as it sounds.

And, of course, lots of bumps, bruises, scrapes, tweaked muscles, and all the other aches and pains that come with getting older playing hockey. It’s a tough job, somebody is gonna get hurt.

Speaking of a tough job, it’s time for Mike’s review of his performance in the office. His office? That’s that blue area in front of the goalie. You know; it’s called the crease. As a player, Mike can be in the right place at the right time. The right place for Mike is in the goalies face, blocking his view of the ice and always prepared for a pass that he can smash into the net. Last year, Mr. Knuble scored 29 goals and had 24 assists, so if I were writing his yearly work evaluation, I’d say his performance would be categorized as “Exceeds Expectations”. Where I come from, that’s worthy of a raise. Unfortunately, Mike will be UFA at the end of this season, and if he is still a Capital by July, I would be happy but surprised.

And, don’t start harping on me for being mean to Mike about his age. He is one of the few Caps players that I could never possibly be old enough to be his Mother. At my age; and Mike’s age, I can really appreciate what he has achieved in his career, so I kid with love.

So I say, let’s raise our glasses in a toast to Michael Rudolph Knuble. Wait, Rudolph? Yup, his middle name is Rudolph. Makes some sense now. Anybody who has a middle name of Rudolph has to have gone through life defending himself, so it’s no surprise he became a hockey player. Maybe back in school he was ribbed about it, but would you want to give him grief over it now? Didn’t think so.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

TeamNeuvyVarly- BFF's 4 Evah

Ok, had to make a post outta the comments from tonight's twitpics of Varly and Neuvy chatting on the bench. Never enjoyed a post game more! (Thank you Verizon for my HD DVR and Apple for my iPhone, cuz none of this would be possible without either of them).

Pic #1 "BFF's?"

Among the caption comments: "Twinsies" from @, "That was the shot of the night for sure" from @ , and ding ding ding: "They're discussing Varly joining facebook!" from @

But wait....There's more:
Pic #2 "Look at Varly's expression! Wonder what Neuvy said? Is the bromance over already?"

Among the caption comments: Ladies and Gentlemen, we have a tie!  "For the last time Varly, I swear up and down that mullets are OUT of style!" from @, "Neuvy: Want to grab post-game Happy Meals? Varly: Mehhhh..." from @

But wait...There's even more:
Pic #3 "Nope, besties again. All better."

This inspired some of the best caption comments yet!  "Neuvy: ...but I'll give you my free hotwheels toy. Varly: Orly??!?" from @ , "Neuvy: "Yup mullets are out... but might I suggest a rat tail?" Varly=intrigued" from @  Who could pick a winner between these two Tweeps? Since I adore them both, they both win. (the only prize is the honor of  being linked and quoted here, sorry, that's all I got!)

So, after a crushing defeat, who couldn't use a good giggle with their tears?

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Team Varly Time?

It seems there has been a lot of debate since the season started about which goalie the fans prefer. I think it’s time to address Team Varly, since I pretty much gushed over Neuvirth last weekend.

I haven't even had a chance to photograph Varly in his 1 sweater yet!

Here’s the thing, I kind of hope Varly is in net tonight. I am ready to see how he plays. Let’s be honest, debating between the two goalies at this moment is actually a moot point. We haven’t seen Varly in regular season action yet this year. Who’s to say which one is #1 without having that factored into the equation? And, at this point, why do we even have to designate either of them as #1 in the first place?

I actually think, as far as NHL teams go, the Caps are in an enviable position having these two 22 year old goalies on the roster. Both of these players bring different styles of net minding to the ice. What NHL team wouldn’t love to be able to pick their goalie based on their opponent on any given night?

Several quotes from Boudreau on the situation yesterday: “Whoever is playing better; for the most part; if they’re playing equal, we’ll split.” And- “They will both get chances to play and somebody always comes to the forefront.” And- “Whoever is playing great will play.” And- “They will indicate who will be the player, not me.” And, finally- “It might be late March before we decide on this.”

As Caps fans, let’s not pick sides. Let’s table the debate until both Varlamov and Neuvirth have had opportunities to show their stuff. Let’s enjoy the position our team is in. Our chant should be “Go Caps” no matter who is between the pipes...Any questions?

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Team Neuvy: A Mood Ring Would be Wasted on Him

Last night, Michal Neuvirth reached another career milestone, his first NHL home opener. And what a game it was! Our baby Bear goalie is no longer, he is a sharp NHL goalie and I for one am damned proud of him.

After the game the night before, I think we all went into Verizon Center with very high hopes and very high expectations, and we were duly rewarded. But for me personally, I was most eager to see this:

And also get my first ever chance to watch another great goalie in action, (but sadly for him, it just wasn’t Mar-tay’s night; thank goodness):

You all should know by now, I am a fan of the man behind the mask, (yes, this applies to baseball catchers as well as hockey goalies). These are the guys who most often endure the entire game, getting 100 mph pucks bulleted at them, players crashing into them; often more than one at a time, taunts from the home crowd, and the agony of having a puck get past them and into the net. These are the players who have to shake off all of those things, keep their head together and in my book, they deserve one of the three stars of the game in any win.

I was extremely pleased to read Tracee Hamilton’s article in the Washington Post this morning about our Caps goalies. My favorite line from that article:

              Neuvirth is a technician in goal and a mood ring would be wasted on him.
 (I want a shirt made of this: Team Neuvy. A mood ring would be wasted on him. Who's up for it?
  10/10/10 7pm- Update- This is in the works, faithful readers, in the works. Will post link asap.)

Looking back at last night’s game, truer words were never spoken. Neuvy was composed, sharp and totally focused. He showed a new maturity that went above what he had displayed in the past. Nothing seemed to rattle him, even the fact that he had two goals scored against him and had a loss the night before. Going into this 2nd game in just 24 hours, he proved to the team and the fans that he had what it takes to be in that net. In that span of 24 hours, Neuvy played 119 minutes and stopped 64 shots on goal. And even though he had 6 goals against him overall, you should be impressed with his .906 save percentage. Not so bad for the start of his NHL career.

Two other goalie notes here: Please don’t think I am anti-Varly, I’m not. Hopefully, Varly is back on the ice and gets into the game soon, maybe by Wednesday? Since I love the fact that the Caps are going with both of these young netminders this year, they will both have my support 100%. I would like to post a Team Varly article soon. Secondly, even though Dany Sabourin didn’t do anything more then keep the bench warm last night, I would like to commend him on his choice of goalie mask. Nice, clean, classic Caps Weagle on a white background. Loved it for its simplicity of design:

Hopefully, I will have game pics posted to my Flickr account tonight, I'll update when they are done.
Game pics are now up on Flickr, see them here.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Hockey in BlondeSpeak - Waivers

Time for more hockey learning - the blonde way. So, you’ve heard of waivers, right? Want to know what they are? They are a couple of things you need to know in order to understand how waivers work. (By the way, this explanation refers to NHL players, waivers, and contracts. If I tried to add all the other leagues and their rules into this, your mind might be blown. Not the way I want to lose readers, so I’m gonna try to keep it simple.)

First, some people may throw the different types of contracts a player may have into explanations on waivers. So, let’s clear this up. Yes, there are 2 types of contracts, 1-way and 2-way. If an NHL player has a 1-way contract and his team wants to send him down to the minors, the player must clear waivers first. If an NHL player has a 2-way contract, he can usually be moved back and forth between the NHL and the minors without having to clear waivers. (There are exceptions, but for general purposes, that is how it works). 2-way contracts are what you want if you have an injured player so you can call up a guy with a 2-way contract to take his place while the injured player recovers. 1-way/2-way, like streets, get it? But do they really have anything to do with whether or not a player will be placed on waivers? Not really.

Ok, now, there are 2 types of waivers, unconditional and regular. These are the important things to keep in mind. If a team places a player on unconditional waivers, it means that the team has no intention of keeping the player, even in the minors, so his contract can be completely bought out; done deal/game over. If a team places a player on regular waivers, it means the team really wants to keep him, but by NHL rules, they can’t reassign him or recall him from the AHL for “re-entry” without placing him on waivers. Sounds pretty risky, right? There are several conditions about when you can place a player on waivers, such as age, length of contract or amount of games played, etc., etc. They are important but if your team puts someone on waivers, trust they have met those conditions and don’t get bogged down by those pesky details. The most important part is why that player was placed on waivers.

So, let’s look at what the internet says:

~ From WikiAnswers:

Waivers are when a team wants to send a player down to the minors or farm team and they have to "waive" the rights to that player before they can send him down. If another team claims that player he is now their property. If the player clears waivers (no one claims him), he remains the property of the original team and can be sent to the minors. The player may be released and can be a free agent.

Essentially any player that has three professional seasons since signing his first contract, or who has played 180+ NHL games, must go through waivers before going to the AHL. The waiver system allows all 29 other NHL clubs to pick up that player, with teams lower down in the standings taking precedence over those at the top. Players are on waivers for two days, and if they go unclaimed, they're off to the minors.

If they go to the minors and then return to the NHL club, players don't have to pass through waivers again unless they've been with the big club for 10+ games or 30+ days.
Those are both pretty good examples of the waiver process but are they clear enough? Let’s break this down into BlondeSpeak:

Waivers are like eBay. Want to get rid of a player? If he is on unconditional waivers, you put him on eBay with a 2 day listing, because he just doesn’t suit your d├ęcor anymore. Let’s hope somebody bids and wins him. Bidders that have lower “ratings” get the pick over any competitive bidder who has higher “ratings”, just to keep things fair. Then you pack him up and ship him out, so long, nice knowing ya. If your bidder is nice, they might even give you a good review on their purchase, but you can bet fans of the player won’t be posting pleasant comments on your eBay listing!

If nobody buys him, you can just let him go, buhbye, see ya. (Kind of like sending him off to the charity bin at Salvation Army, because you certainly have no more use for him. Otherwise, you wouldn’t have listed him on eBay in the first place, right?)

If he is on regular waivers, you hope that nobody bids on him during that 2 day listing, so you can send him down to the AHL. The risk here is a bidder might come along and snatch his butt up and you’ve lost him. But what are you gonna do, you had to put him up for bid in order to send him down to the AHL, you know? That’s why people get so worried and stress out for 2 days during the time a player is placed on waivers. He might be gone by the time the whole listing period is over. If nobody bids on him, he has "cleared" waivers, WooHoo! Just what we wanted!

So, yeah, maybe I didn’t cover all the wherefores and how to’s, but if you want to know those, Google away. I just want to give you the overall simple description of waivers and how they work in essence. I’m a little worried that people are gonna want to get into all those details, but remember; I’m not an expert; I’m just a blonde girl who wants the simple things in life…Any questions?

Sunday, October 3, 2010

The 3 C's (Caps-Columbus & Convention)

So I've been a bit of a blogger fail the last 10 days, new job responsibilities have taken a lot out of me, and the next thing I know, IT"S HOCKTOBER!!! (Not to be confused with Octoberfest, which is another reason this month is awesome, but today is all about hockey).

What better way to start celebrating than to go to a preseason game the very first day of the month.
Captain Ovechkin checking out the Blue Jackets during warm-ups

Our chance to watch Hendricks play was short-lived; he was outta the game early ine the first when he was the victim of a heavy check by Nate Guenin.

Come to find out, our own Nicky-Lars required 14 stitches on his leg after blocking a shot during this game. What a trooper! But, this is now old news.

So, what better way to continue Hocktober, then to attend the Caps Convention on Saturday, 10/2. This year I made sure I was going to some of the panels, since I totally missed out last year, due to poor planning. (And this also resulted in a lot lower number of player pictures, since I was happily sitting in adjacent rooms for half the day.

First up, Ask the GM, with GM George McPhee and Nate Ewell. Gotta say, I really appreciate McPhee even more after listening to him during the question and answer session here. While he didn't give any secrets away, I felt he was pretty upfront when he answered questions. Favorite response was to a question about the trade that involved Delle Rovere. Final answer, he has yet to have traded away a superstar. There was one lady who spent at least 5 minutes asking a question, which was actually a good one, but she went off track so many times, I be damned if I can remember what it was.

Next up was the Kids Press Conference. After missing it last year because the room was full by the time I found it, I made sure to be there yesterday. Ovi, Brads and Fehrsie really seemed to have a great time with the kid’s questions. I was pretty surprised how many kids asked questions about fighting and who the guys hated the most (opposing players and/or teams). And you could tell how many questions were actually from the parents. Two things that really stood out - Fehrsie and Brads singing Happy Birthday to one little girl, followed by Ovi singing it a cappella in Russian. Trust me on this, Ovi will most definitely not be making any music videos without some voice lessons. But, seriously, he has enough talent on the ice to make up for that. Second “Awwwww” moment, when another little girl asked Ovi to say something in Russian. His response “You’re beautiful” (not gonna trust free translation here and possibly botch the Russian spelling of that phrase. Who knows what I’d actually be typing!)

Next up, back to the main stage for Coach BB’s Who are the 2010-2011 Capitals? segment. Loved this last year and wasn’t disappointed this year. I especially enjoyed seeing the new jumbotron pictures of the players. As you can see below, a couple were big hits with me.

Next I got in line for my autograph sessions. First up, J-Car and Fehrsie. Congratulated Carlson on World Juniors and gave Fehrsie props on the game the night before.

From there, I went straight to the next line, and ended up with Gordicris and Chimmers. Yes, Chimmers signs as fast as he skates and talks. Gotta say, all the guys were as nice as could be.

Final panel discussion, Blogging the Caps. Couldn’t miss a chance to hear Nate Ewell, Eric McErlain, John Keeley, and Jon Press (otherwise known as @nateewell, @emcerlain, @JohnMKeeley, and @JapersRink). Although the crowd was a little thin, I did enjoy the discussions and questions. But, damned if the lady from GMGM’s panel earlier in the day, didn’t show up again with another very long drawn out “question” for the panel. Once again, I totally forget what her question was. Wanted to stop and say Hi to them all when it was over, but wouldn’t you know, they got fan mobbed when they left the stage. (Guys, I was the blonde in the front row on your far right).

Well, now that the last preseason game is out of the way, it's time for the offical beginning of the 2010-2011 hockey season. Let the hockey begin!

More pictures from the 10/1 game and Caps Convention can be found here.