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

Friday, December 30, 2011

Thank You, Love Caps Girl

Feeling grateful; so some shout outs of thanks…

First and foremost: a huge thank you to everyone who has ever clicked a link to this blog. Even though inspiration is sometimes lacking on my part; every reader, follower and comment is truly appreciated.

Secondly, some very nice people who have taken the time to link this little blog and send huge numbers of hits: all the folks at @JapersRink and @TedLeonsis. Just the fact that you took the time to read and decided a post was worthy of a link brings heartfelt gratitude.

Thirdly: all the fellow bloggers who have listed me on their blog rolls, most especially the Washington Capitals and Monumental Sports. I blush every time I see my blog listed on your sites. (Really)

I started this blog over two years ago, with no grand scheme other than to bitch and moan and sometimes share a few laughs along the way. From this, I have been able to further my own hockey education and hopefully further a few reader’s hockey educations as well. So, speaking of educating, I’d like to thank some experts who have helped educate me with their insight and by answering some sometimes stupid questions: @VogsCaps, @JohnKeeley, @ODPllc, @EdFrankovic, @CapsExaminer, @emcerlain , @pckhdsthghts , and @TedStarkey. Even though I’ve only met a few of you in real life, I owe you all at least one beer for sharing your wealth of knowledge with me.

I’d also like to thank some of my partners in crime: Leslie (@hockeymomva), for co-blogging on Scarlet Caps and fun shenanigans at brunch along with Liz (@DCSportsChick); and my fellow gchat snarkers: Dana (@YoCalleJo, who also shares Caps tickets cuz she’s just awesome that way), Katelyn (@dorcov), Stephy (@carrotbazooka), Julie (@dimickj), and Beta (@itsabeta), it’s always fun to be around these ladies.

Finally, thank you to everyone who follows and interacts with me on Twitter. I’ve said it before; I have the best Tweeps! Yes, I tend to get a little sappy at the end of the year, so thank you for indulging me, putting up with my blondness and shenanigans, and making 2011 such a great year. I love you all.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

The Annual Caps JibJab Christmas Card

Cause we all need a little cheering up after a loss:

Personalize funny videos and birthday eCards at JibJab!

Saturday, December 3, 2011

The Art of the RT

Time for another Social Media rant. And it’s about the one thing that puts most Twitter users’ teeth on edge, the “retweet” (or “RT” for those in the know). I briefly covered this in a previous Social Media post, but I guess nobody paid attention to it or forgot.

Some of this rant will be directed to my tweet stream as a Washington Capitals fan in particular, but I’m sure it can apply to every Twitter user, as the majority of Tweeps usually follow a certain topic/theme/interest. So, let the ranting begin.

Dear Tweeps,

Please use RT’s with care. It is not necessary to RT everything tweeted by the @washcaps account. They are followed by almost 70,000 people, so you can be pretty much guaranteed that everyone who follows you has already seen the news they just tweeted. The same can be said of any tweets or blogs posted by @TedLeonsis (who may only have 20,000+ followers, but that’s enough to ensure that most fans are already seeing the original). Maybe you think you are providing a service to your followers by doing this? Yes, that is so very nice of you. But you aren’t paying attention, are you? I just told you, I can pretty much guarantee that all of your followers have already seen the news. So, as nice as that seems; in truth, it is very annoying to those of us that follow both you and the team. We follow you for your own personal musings, not to see the same information regurgitated over and over and over.

Which brings me to bloggers and media type Twitter users. I know it’s tough to compete. Some of you make your living by being actual sports journalists, and that’s why we follow you; for actual sports news. Bloggers, your job is to put your own spin on that sports news. But how many times have we seen the same thing tweeted by both? Too many. You might as well just RT them, but then you'd piss people off then too. We are on to you; you really want to be professional journalists, don’t you? Well, until such time as you get hired by an actual media outlet and make the big bucks, please stop posing. Put your own spin on your tweets, we’d rather see you than some clone of someone else. That is why we follow you after all. And, this seems to be a good place to thank all of the bloggers who do this correctly; you make me want to click your links.

And speaking of following, let’s talk about #FF’s while we are at it. A lot of Twitter users like to give shout outs to Tweeps by giving them an #FF every Friday. People who receive these are usually very honored to receive the recommendation, as they should be. But by RTing that #FF recommendation verbatim to your entire follower base makes you come off as either lazy or egotistical. Let me remind you, when you RT a #FF recommendation to your tweet stream, you are sending it to people who already follow you! Yes, it’s possible that someone in the original #FF tweet doesn’t follow you, but those people already saw the recommendation for you when they were @’d in the first place! The correct response to a #FF directed towards you is a simple thank you.

Which brings me to people who ask for RT’s. How many times have you seen people either tweet a blog post, some silly or inane idea/comment or announce it’s their birthday and ask someone else for a RT? Yes, fortunately for them, some people they ask will oblige them. But in essence, what you are doing when you ask for the RT is begging for attention and validation. I feel kind of sorry for people who do this, how sad their meaningless little lives must be. (That is snark, people; don’t get your panties in a wad.) On the flip side, if you have a certain piece of information that you think would be beneficial to have RT’d for the greater good, such as a charity or cause, go right ahead and ask for the RT. This circumstance seems appropriate, and I hope that the celebrity who gets these requests consider actually following through with a RT. Now, that’s the way to use your powers for good!

So, like the earlier thank you to bloggers, I’d like to say thank you to all my Tweeps who do the RT the right way. You make it a pleasure to follow you all. To those of you who can’t seem to be Social Media savvy, you may have already been unfollowed for the sake of irritation alone, but you probably have no idea why. As for me, I expect to be unfollowed in 5….4….3….2….

Authors Note: Minutes after posting this with no linking to Twitter or Facebook because it really is just a personal rant, I was sorta retweeted by the @CapsBlogsRT. Yes, I am kind of embarrassed right now.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Stripping Ovi

I’m still amazed people want to strip Ovi of the “C”. I’ll grant you that the decision to make Ovechkin the Captain was made by GM George McPhee and Coach Bruce Boudreau, but it was reported that when this was in the works, the team was in on the decision. Let’s take a trip down Reality Road, ok?

First up; per from 1/5/2010:

Boudreau said he had polled the team in recent days and Ovechkin was the unanimous choice.

"They were really happy when I told them (Tuesday) morning and this doesn't happen too often, but the group got up and cheered," Boudreau said. "I had talked to a lot of them in the last couple of days and they said Alex was the only choice, 'He's our leader and he's our guy.”
So, if the team wanted him, and the General Manager wanted him, and the Coach wanted him, how does that result in the idea he isn’t the right guy?

I’m also amazed that people say he doesn’t show leadership qualities and the job should be given to a more outspoken veteran guy.

Show of hands; how many people have actually been present in the locker room between periods that are NOT members of the Capitals team or staff? …Anyone? I thought so. Assumptions are being made that claim Ovi does not have what it takes to be the team captain.

Ok, let’s tackle the argument that he’s too young. How about a little look around the league?

Out of 30 teams, 13 of the current captains were born between 5/1/1984 and 4/29/1988, with the two youngest being Stanley Cup winners. (And, yes, #3 Andrew Ladd also won 2 Stanley Cups but he was not a captain on either team at the time they won.)

Jonathan Toews 4/29/1988

Sidney Crosby 8/7/1987

Andrew Ladd 12/12/1985

Alex Ovechkin 9/17/1985

Shea Weber 8/14/1985

Ryan Getzlaf 5/10/1985

Dion Phaneuf 4/10/1985

Ryan Callahan 3/21/1985

Dustin Brown 11/4/1984

Eric Staal 10/29/1984

Zach Parise 7/28/1984

Rick Nash 6/16/1984

David Backes 5/1/1984

How about the argument that Ovi is Russian and English is his second language? I call bullshit there as well. You and I know that Alex’s English is fine and he works hard to speak it and be understood.

Next up; Alex is a selfish player who is out for himself. Come on, really? The guy has tons of heart; one of his greatest wishes is to win a Stanley Cup. Naturally, you have to be selfish to do that and not support your team, because it’s an individual achievement. Yeah, right.

Have I covered all the main arguments? I hope so. The biggest issue is what it says about the team if they strip Ovi of the “C”. Like we need a vote of no confidence right now? Let’s get real. We have enough to complain about and it’s only November. Who is or should be Captain is not really an issue, it’s a diversion. As a fan base, we are concerned about our team. I get it, but let’s not get detoured down Reality Road.

Author's Note: Anyone who clicked the link expecting this post to be about something else...sorry, but thanks for reading!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Chemistry Shemistry - Handicapping the Lines

I've blogged this several times in the past, but unfortunately, this issue is still relevant; line juggling has to be as frustrating to play as it is to watch. 

I could relate this to just last night's game, but it goes much deeper than that. Bruce Boudreau has stated many times that he switches up the lines in accordance with the particular opponent they are facing. Break that down to mean the opponents have figured out the line in question and can beat them; so Bruce wants to throw them a curve ball. In the immortal words of Craig Laughlin: "Hold it here".

Yesterday, Boudreau decided to throw Cody Eakin onto the B line as a reward for a few good outings and to add a "little chemistry". By doing this, we saw an A line of Ovechkin/Johansson/Semin and a B line of Eakin/Backstrom/Brouwer to start the game, with veteran Mike Knuble being dropped back like a kid being punished in school. Now, don't get me wrong; I'm not ragging on Eakin per se; I'm questioning the thought process behind the "promotion" in general. (After all, isn't getting the call up a promotion and reward in itself?) In all honesty, that "reward" was more of a "lab experiment" then it was an addition of a "little chemistry". 

Does it really make sense to scramble lines on a minute by minute basis because you think your opponent knows all your moves? At some point, logic demands you give your lines a chance to prove themselves, continue to work together and overcome the opposition even if they do know your game. Don't second guess their already established chemistry, work on how that chemistry can adjust to the opponent. 

Look at the result of almost every pre-game lineup change and compare it to the actual lines at the end of the game. How often does that original pre-game line stay intact? How often do the lines get reshuffled back to the most common pairings? The "lab experiment" blows up like the Hindenburg and we are left with soot-covered goggles. The purpose of lab experimentation is to get satisfactory results. Are you satisfied? I'm not. Even though the team should be able to pair with anyone at any given time doesn't mean that it will work. 

So, how about the issue of benching players for poor performance? I'm totally in sync with accountability, but is the poor performance due to a change in the lines? Throw a donkey onto a team of horses pulling a wagon and the entire team either has to compensate for the donkey or the team just breaks down all together. (Yeah, I know, weird analogy). But, do you blame the donkey or the person who put him there in the first place? Where does the accountability lie? I’m not jumping on the “Fire Boudreau” bandwagon just yet, but if the entire team has to be accountable, that has to include the coach of the team as well.  

At this point, many of you will say "it's November, it's not like it's going to hurt to shuffle the lines right now". To a certain extent, I would agree, but only if there weren't a history of apparent crisis management preceding it. Continually switching the lines ultimately betrays a lack of confidence in your players' abilities. Last night I tweeted a thought from my husband, "Why isn't the team responding to BB? Think they might be done with him and they are sending HIM a message?" Is it possible that, even subconsciously, the team has said enough is enough? I suspect we'll find out the answer to that soon.

Editors Note: Interestingly, Boudreau was fired 11/28/11, only 8 short days after this was posted. Do not deny my psychic abilities!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Hockey 'n Heels in Pictures

Last night, I attended my first Hockey 'n Heels. If you've never attended before, this event is sponsered by the Scarlet Caps to further educate it's members on many aspects of hockey. Attendees were given the opportunity to learn to pass pucks (with Karl Alzner), shooting skills (with Alan May, Troy Brouwer, and Matty Perrault), and how to handle face-offs (with Assistant Coach Bob Woods). The informational panels were Chalk Talk with John Walton and Alan May, Bruce Boudreau's ever popular discussion on game preparation with film footage, and  Fitness and Conditioning with the Caps Strength and Conditioning Coach Mark Nemish. Attendees also posed for a picture with Nick Backstrom.

Bruce's panel was very entertaining. Great to see how the coaches use game footage to determine how to prepare for an opponent. Chalk Talk was a lot of fun. John Walton and Alan May were very informative while being extremely personable. As you may have guessed, the only panel I didn't attend was the Fitness and Conditioning one. Attendees were expected to do actual exercises, so that was not gonna happen, sorry Coach Nemish!

One bit of advise for anyone who has never attended the event but plans to: ice is slippery (duh!). While I didn't fall on my ass, it took a lot of careful manuvering out on the rink in flat boots. To those who wore actual heels to the event (and there were some), kudos to you!

Anyway, here's some pics. I have more posted on my Flickr account as well.

My thanks to the Washington Capitals Scarlet Caps for allowing me to tag along and to Sarah Kogod of NBC Washington for using some of the above on the Capital Games blog

Sunday, November 6, 2011

You Gotta Have Heart

Recently, I have seen tweets that accuse Alex Semin of being lazy and selfish. I have also seen tweets that call Mike Green a wuss for not playing with his injury. Geesh, I even saw one that said Alex Ovechkin is statistically on pace for only 41 goals and 82 points this season, "what a bum". (Yes, I recognize sarcasm.) And then there are the tweets that Vokoun lost the game for "us". Seen them all. There are a lot of stats floating around that could back some of these things up, but one thing stats do not convey is the heart and soul of a player and a team when times are tough.

I know every fan of a team is disappointed when they lose. I feel your pain. But let's get real here, folks. Pro athletes are human. Shit happens. I will admit, like so many others, I joke when Semin causes a penalty. Do I think he does it on purpose? Not usually. Do I think he is selfish or lazy. Nope. Do I think Mike Green is a wuss for not playing injured. No way. Yes, I get frustrated when I see Ovechkin standing on the ice waiting for a pass and I'll yell "Move Ovi, get in there". Do I know why he's doing this at this particular time? Not a clue. And nobody else except Ovi does either. (Well, maybe the other players on the ice do too - I hope).

Lest we forget, hockey players have a lot demanded of them, not only in the aspect of the game itself, but outside forces brought on by fan expectations and physical limitations. Football players get at least 5 days between games, sometimes 12-14 days if they have a by week. Even baseball pitchers are on a 5 game rotation. Their league recognizes the need for them to rest between outings to stay healthy. Hockey often requires back to back games, with travel in between; very constant physical activity while playing and many situations of possibly extreme exertion.

So, all statistics aside, let's examine the human factor. The heart. How can anyone know for sure if a player's heart is in the game? You can look at so many examples and draw conclusions, but would you be right? Does anyone really know what goes on in a player's head at any given moment?

Remember back when Ovi got a two game suspension in December of 2009? He was quoted to say afterwards that he would not let the suspension effect the way he plays. But when he returned, I thought the opposite. Watching him play, he seemed to be more cautious when it came to hitting players. All sports psychology aside, he seemed to take the suspension and criticism to heart and; to me; he adjusted his playing style accordingly. The key word in that thought was "heart". This man is one of the "Faces of the Franchise". Don't think that affects him? You gotta believe he would be the last person who would want to be known as a dirty player and human instinct is going to kick in.

So, what do you think Alex Semin is thinking when he sits in the penalty box for a stupid mistake? Well, what would you think if it were you? Of course, you'd be muttering "shit, shit, shit" (or whatever the Russian equivalent is), who wouldn't? Thinking that all of Semin's penalties are because he is lazy or selfish only shows that you have left out the human factor of "heart". What you "see" can be diametrically opposed to what you actually "know". Just watch his face break out into a beaming grin after he scores or assists on a goal, and you know his heart is in it. Maybe his lack of interaction with the media in the past has given people the impression that he is aloof and uncaring. If so, I'm glad he's finally breaking that boundary and beginning to speak up. It might help fans see his human side. It could go a long way to correcting some bad impressions people have of him.

And what about Mike Green being a wuss for not playing while injured? When your personal stats rely on games played, shots blocked, protecting your goalie and the net, goals scored and minutes on the ice; sitting out due to injury only makes your numbers look worse. But what does that do to a player's heart? Do you seriously believe Green enjoys sitting out games? Of course he wants to be out there. But do you; or your team for that matter; jeopardize a player's health or a team's win by letting an injured player actually play? Maybe in the playoffs, but not now. Hopefully, once he gets back into a game, his heart will be more into it than before because, not only is it his job, it's who he is, it defines him.

How about people calling Vokoun out for letting in goals and losing the game for "us"? Think back to his reaction to his first loss as a Capital. The guy was truly regretful about letting the game get to that point, he spoke from the heart. Would you want to be thought of as the reason your team lost the game? Seriously? Vokoun's heart as a player was fully evidenced after that game. Why would it suddenly change? It's going to take time for him to get used to playing with a team he is still learning about. Yes, we all hope he's got it figured out by now, but if you got a new job, how long do you think it would take for you to figure out all the nuances of your co-workers? Shit is gonna spring up to throw you for a loop long after your first day on the job. Still doesn't mean your heart isn't into it, just that shit happens. You learn from your mistakes and move on.

As you can tell, this post is a total opinion piece. Am I going to stop yelling at Ovi on my TV? Nope. Am I going to stop cussing at Schultz for "letting a goal get by"? Nope. Do I expect them to give 100%? You betcha. I'm just speaking from the heart, hopefully getting to the heart of the matter, and now I'm going to go play "Heart and Soul" on the piano.

Monday, October 10, 2011

A Tale of Two Goalies

Author's note: Yes, I actually did real research for this. Aren't you proud? Just like a real serious blogger ;)

Far be it for the Caps to start a season without a little uproar. This season’s began with the announcement of young net minder, Michal Neuvirth, getting the nod to play between the pipes for the season opener on Saturday against the Carolina Hurricanes. With everyone assuming Vokoun would get the start; many fans, journalists, and bloggers were up in arms over this announcement. It seemed you couldn’t click anywhere on a hockey news or blog site without seeing some kind of comment or article about it. With Saturday’s win in the books, tonight we finally got to see Tomas Vokoun in the crease for his first regular season game as a Washington Capital against the Tampa Bay Lightning.

You may have heard that Vokoun was disappointed not to start on Saturday. Many feel your #1 goalie starts the regular season home opener, and being new to the team, it would be a chance for the home crowd to give him a big welcome. Giving Vokoun the start on Saturday against the Canes could have resulted in Neuvirth getting his season start tonight against Tampa. But, what if it were looked at from another direction?

First, let’s consider the opponents, starting with Carolina. Neuvy had a fine performance against Carolina last season, with a shutout against them on 10/27/10. Not so much Vokoun. On 11/5/10, Vokoun was pulled only 10:49 into the first period after giving up two goals. On 12/15/10 Vokoun lost 4-3 to the Canes, and then on 1/7/11, Vokoun lost to the Canes 5-3.

Now, let’s consider Mondays opponent; the Tampa Bay Lightning. Neuvirth only had one regular season win against Tampa which was on 11/7/10 (final score 6-3). The only other regular season game Neuvy played against Tampa was 3/7/11, where he left game after getting a shot to the cage and was replaced by Holtby. And, of course, we all remember the post season games where all four resulted in losses for Neuvirth. On the other hand, Vokoun’s record against Tampa last season was a little different. Vokoun recorded a 6-0 shutout against them on 10/6/10, a shoot out win on 11/27/10 and a shoot out loss on 1/21/11.

So, how about a brief review of the games. Saturday, Neuvirth gets the win. It’s a tough game that goes to overtime, but a win is a win. Some excellent saves (28 in all), some goals that really couldn’t have been stopped, terrific performance in overtime. A respectable .903 save percentage. Monday, Vokoun looked like he got off to a shaky start, but also gets a win with some really great veteran saves in overtime and totally denying Tampa in the shoot out. Two games, two wins.

Personally, I’m gonna say that Vokoun’s shaky start is due to lack of experience with this team and the fact that the coverage from the defense could have caused some adjustments that weren’t made in time. As a matter of fact, even though Vokoun admitted it was his worst start, gotta say the defense didn't help him out as much as they do with Neuvy. But, then again, they are used to Neuvy. Hopefully, more time and practice with guys in actual play will help Vokoun get comfortable and we will see the value of GMGM’s gamble.

Are we going to have to endure another year of who’s #1 and who’s #2? During the Capitals Convention this year; at the goalie panel; Dave Prior said he considered the 2 goalies as partners rather than competitors for the #1 spot. Boudreau had said in an interview, he considers them #1 and #1A. Both sound like good plans to me. In hindsight (which is always perfect 20/20 vision), I have to say I like how Bruce played these two goalies. Based on past experiences with the two opponents involved, it was the right call in my opinion. What do you think?

Saturday, October 8, 2011

No Haagen-Daz for You

Lots of pre-game surprises before the season opener tonight. Tomas Vokoun was told he would not start until Monday. Welcome to Gabby's Caps, Tomas. No Haagen-Daz for you.

Another surprise was the apparent healthy scratch of Marcus Johansson, but according to Katie Carrera"s report in the Washington Post earlier, Boudreau said of Johansson, “He practiced hard this week, he’s taking warmup tonight--you never know he might still be in.” Yeah, we pretty much know what that means - No Haagen-Daz for you.

Still, we should be used to this by now. Boudreau has a way of taking what is expected and switching it up. I liken it to him pulling cards out of his sleeve, throwing them down on the table with a flourish, and exclaiming "Aha, take that!". I see a lot of fans want to play armchair coach, but do we really know what's going on day to day behind the closed doors of Kettler? How many times last season did Boudreau switch out a player or a line and we all screamed in frustration "WTF?". Personally, I had hoped Gabby would have played Varly one game against Tampa in the semi-finals last year. I thought it might have helped to shake things up, but even then, Bruce denied even me. No Haagen-Daz for you.

So, now the first game of the regular season is in the books. Caps win in OT by none other than Game Over Green. Boudreau's choice to play Neuvy worked out, considering how hard he worked tonight between the pipes. A .903 save % is pretty darn good for a 1A goalie, don't ya think?  And saving Vokoun for Tampa (especially after the playoffs last season) could become a very strategic move. As to scratching Mojo, I still need to see the % of face-off wins tonight before I speculate on that. Let's hope whatever message he was trying to send has been heard and noted.

I do know one message that was sent and heard tonight, and that was to the Carolina Hurricanes: No Haagen-Daz for you.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Good Times at the STH Party

Right off the bat, you have to know (if you don't already), I am a very outspoken person. So, I have no problem talking to our Caps players like they are any regular guy I would meet. Keep this in mind as you read the following run down of our evening at the STH Party at Six Flags America tonight. And I would like to thank @YoCalleJo for taking me with her as well.

YoCalleJo and I were on a mission tonight. She wanted to get her Chimera used hockey stick signed and ask him why the tape seemed to be almost half way down the stick, and why there was scotch tape on it as well. (This was one heck of a used stick, by the way. Brutal) So we got to the line for his table well in advance of the start of signing. Once we got up to Chimmers and asked the question, he responded "it was for grip". We replied "That far down the stick, really?" Maybe he thought we didn't know what grip tape was for? Seriously, either that or he just wasn't going to divulge the whole story? Oh well, at least the mission was accomplished and we also got to meet new Caps player Joel Ward too.

Next, we had to decide who we wanted to see next. Quite a few of the lines for autographs were very very long. One long line in particular was for Marcus Johansson and Michal Neuvirth, which was a bummer as I wanted Neuvy to sign a photograph I had taken of him.

This would have been sweet to have signed. Oh well, maybe another time. 

Since Mojo and Neuvy were obviously not going to happen, we decided our next mission was to get John Erskine to sign a photo I had taken of him at the Caps/Thrashers game last November. The one where he had that great fight with Eric Boulton? Yeah, epic. It was well past the beginning of the time for signing, but the line was at a stand still. Oops, Mathieu Perreault was late to the table and we were all waiting for him to show up. At this point in the narrative, I'd like to remind you about my being outspoken. Yup, once I spoke to Ersk and got his signature, I couldn't resist giving Perry a little ribbing. Pretty sure my exact opening words to him were: "Dude, you were late. We were waiting on you". Thankfully, Perry realized it was said in jest and had a good laugh. At least our second mission was accomplished:

(The actual photo looks much better then this, this one was taken with my cell phone.)

Next up was Tomas Vokoun and Jeff Schultz. (New player #2 added to the tally). The lady in front of me was showing Schultzy a picture of him on her cell phone, explaining it was from when he donated blood at a blood drive. He said to her that the donation went pretty quick. My turn, and of course, I had to be outspoken again. "What do you mean that it was pretty quick, Jeff?" To which he replied "My blood goes fast". Total wtf moment but worth a good laugh.

Around the corner was the coaches table. I thought we had seen Bruce there with Bob Woods and Dean Evason, but I guess at some point, Bruce took a little break. Quite a few people left the line when they didn't see him there, but we decided to stick with the plan. Just before our turn arrived, Bruce returned, so when I got to him to sign my autograph covered Caps hat, I said to him "Looks like we have the right table". Now, I gotta say, Bruce can be  pretty darn funny, so he quickly agreed and said; "Yes, you have the right table" and then looking at the hat, said; "Where do you want me to sign?". Now, not intending anything (I promise), I said "Anywhere you want". Bruce quickly looked at the Caps logo on the front of my shirt, then up to my eyes. Yeah, he did what you think he did. Outspoken me says "Hey now, that's not gonna happen, get your mind out of the gutter!" and gave Bruce the 2 fingers from my eyes to his 'I'm watching you' gesture. Bruce, Bob and Dean all laughed and kept joking about how we had the "right table". Yeah guys, thanks for the signatures. I think I'll try that gesture again the next time I catch their eye when I go to shoot pics at practice at Kettler. We'll see who blushes first. Guaranteed it won't be me!

Last up for us was Jay Beagle and Roman Hamrlik. (New player #3 added to the total tally). Really have to say how sweet Beags is. After congratulating him on making the roster, he couldn't wait to tell us about his family coming down and how great it was gonna be, with the biggest grin on his face. Exactly what you'd expect a former AHL player who's finally made the roster say, right? So genuine and cute. On the other hand, Hamrlik was too busy to converse, so I guess he's gonna be an all-business kind of guy? Not that it matters so much, I had lots of fun talking and joking with everyone else, Roman gets a pass.

So, now that you know just how outspoken I can be, anybody want to take me to another Caps event? You know, Hockey and Heels or Casino night will be coming up. I'll guarantee you; you'll have lots of laughs!

Author's Note: Yes, I was sober, in case you wondered.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Participate in the Poll

Participate in the poll: How do you feel about the new white netting at Verizon Center? I heard a lot of grumbling tonight about it on my tweet stream. It didn't look so great on the video feed either. How about you? The poll will be up for a couple of days, so let your opinion be heard! Please feel free to add your comments there as well. In case you missed the link in the word "poll", here is another one: (Can you tell I really want your imput!!!)

UPDATE: Via Uncle Ted on Ted's Take today 9/27/11:

Netting Update

We took a closer look at the Verizon Center protective netting today, and it clearly isn’t what we had anticipated. It hinders the fan experience and it is not an asset to our local rights holder, Comcast SportsNet. Therefore, starting with Friday’s preseason game, we will reinstall the black netting that had been used last season. We were attempting to improve the arena and television viewing experience, but we fell short of that mark.

So I guess the poll is no longer necessary. As of this edit the tally was 232 votes with 183 against the white netting (79%) versus 49 votes for (21%). Who knows what impact the poll had, if any, but thanks to everyone who reposted/retweeted the poll and participated!

Monday, September 5, 2011

Goalie Gear

Last week, the Washington Capitals posted a picture on their tumblr blog  of Neuvy's new glove and blocker. This got me curious. What does a goalie do to break in new equipment? So I posed some questions to a few hockey goalies.

Participating in the discussion were:

Jared DeMichiel, our former ECHL South Carolina Stingrays goalie, now playing with the ECHL Elmira Jackals. (Jared recently tweeted that he has been invited to try out with the Boston Bruins, I’m sure we all wish him the best of luck!) On Twitter as @demike3316.

Mark Russo, who besides being a PGA professional, is also a goalie in leagues at both Laurel Ice Gardens and Piney Orchard Ice Arena. Mark also contributed a great article on goalie pads to the NHL Digest blog  which is run by a terrific guy named Tyler McKinna. On Twitter as @markrussopga and @tylermckinna.

Angela Robson, who will be playing in the Steel City Hockey League this year, which is based in Ontario. On Twitter as @goaliegirl.

Jacob Greengas, a paramedic living in Colorado who has been a goalie for 6 years. On Twitter as @MedicGoalie84.

Chris Gannon, who plays pickup hockey. On Twitter as @CapsCup2012.

Tommy Huynh, who played in the AA Men's league at Kettler this past summer. On Twitter as @GLaSnoST9.

My thanks to everyone who participated. Please give them all a follow on Twitter if you aren’t already.

So, what does it take to break in new equipment? I imagined breaking in a goalie glove would be similar to breaking in a baseball mitt. I wasn’t far off, but when it comes to the blocker or lag pads, I hadn’t a clue.

Jared: With my pads the only break in I really do is figure out the sizing for the straps to my legs. My glove probably is the biggest break it period. I like to leave it under a heavy weight, mattress, or couch. I periodically switch the weight on the glove as I leave the glove open and close it too. There's really no break in with the blocker. I just chuck it on and get used to it!

Mark: When a catching glove first arrives, it is generally very stiff and difficult to close, which can be problematic if the puck can't be properly sealed into the glove when caught. Goalies have many different ways to break-in their gloves - bending them back and forth to break down the materials, resting heavy objects on them to work them into that closed position, and tying a softball into the webbing to get it nice and open in there to ensure the puck stays tightly enclosed. There is nothing a goalie won't try to break the glove down, but in the end it takes persistence and use to get it to where it needs to be for game action. I usually will bend it back and forth quite a bit trying to flex it as much as possible, and then I will also rest a heavy object on the glove in a closed position so that it starts to get bent in that direction. After that, it's just constantly working it and using it trying to get it broken in... You really do see a lot of different methods, and it really seems to be what feels best or gives the goalie the most confidence that it is going to be game ready. The pads require the least break-in of any equipment, as they are made with a certain amount of flex already built in by nature should be a bit firm on the outside.

Angela: Thankfully this is something you don’t have to do very often. I’ve been playing for almost 15 years and I still have my first trapper. For my trapper, when I first got it, I wore it every chance I could and continuously opened and closed it. Probably not the best way to do it, but it worked for me. For goalie pads, you want to beat them up, HARD. You can use a baseball bat to beat them (lying on the floor, pad side up) and this is actually a pretty common practice. Obviously don’t do that to the inside part where your leg/knee goes. If you don’t want to do that, you can also put them at the bottom of the stairs so that every time you go up/down the stairs, you have to step on them. Really though, the best way to break in pads is to wear them and play lots of hockey. It takes a looooong time to break them in! It took me several seasons and I play all year round.

Jacob: When it comes to breaking in equipment the only pieces that need any special attention are the catcher, leg pads and skates (full disclosure, I still play in the same used chest protector and breezers I started with, so I've never had to break them in). I break in my leg pads wearing them around the house and playing drop in games in them. For my catcher I wear it and just keep opening and closing it over and over until it loosens up.

Chris: Out of all the equipment gloves are the items that need the most work when getting new goalie gear. What I have always done is loosen the webbing in the mitt. Dumped a glass of water on the glove and fold it inside out. Normally I will sit a desk or something heavy on top of it for 24 hours. Every time I've done this the glove is easy to open and shut the next day. You need to be able to easily hold the glove open as wide as it can go and I have found doing the above helps tremendously. As far as the leg pads go, it's close to the same thing. I will dump some water on them and take the top buckle and latch it to the bottom buckle bend the pads in half. Wetting the pads first makes it easier for them to bend. After they dry I unlatch them and they normally have a nice bend to them. Another thing i have found is that the bend really seems to make the pads more flexible when you butterfly. The blocker's I have never really needed to do anything with.

Tommy: In regards to new leg pads, it's different with each brand. I have a custom set of Reebok Revoke Pro Zone pads, they came already kind of broken in, and I took out the thigh guards that came with them so it's more comfortable when I butterfly. I wear knee pads underneath for protection and I won't go back to wearing thigh guards ever again. After wearing them a few times, the way I keep them broken in is I stack them upside down, so the bottom of the pad is facing up. I leave them like that until I use them next. For my glove, I tie a skate lace around the glove (2 loops) and sometimes  put 2 tennis balls in the mitt so that it stays compact, so when I unwrap it before I get on the ice, it’s easier to close. I'm not really sure how to break in a blocker other than just using it. In terms of Chest Pads, I've heard that you can wear it in the sauna, so the best way to break these in is by wearing it and getting it wet/moist. Then it will start to become more flexible and mold to your body.

Second question for the group: What special preparations, if any, do you do to your equipment prior to a game? (I do think this question needs a follow up in regards to superstitions in the near future, don't you?)

Jared: I like to get my skate's sharpened at 3/8 of an inch, tape/wax the blade of my stick, and lastly I like my glove/blocker dry before every game.

Mark: One of the big pre-game rituals for virtually every goalie is to lay his equipment out for proper inspection. All of it is checked over for any loose straps or broken/worn material, especially in the chest protector where a loose strap can cause an opening and some major pain if a puck gets through to the body. Every goalie knows what it is like to catch that one shot that just comes in awkwardly and seems to miss every piece of equipment and leave you with a nice bruise. So checking everything before the game is always important. In addition, the buckles and straps on the pads always need to be checked as they endure a lot of stress, as well as get easily weathered from the moisture and can come apart. Also, all goalie pads have a "toe bridge" on the bottom of the pads that has two screws; this "toe bridge" rests right on top of the skate and attaches the long skate lace that every goalie uses to run through the bottom of the skates to help secure the pad properly to the top of the foot. These screws constantly come loose through the movement of the goalie in the games, and always need to be checked so that they don't come out on the ice. Maybe last, but not least, are the skates. Goalie skates are much different than player skates as they not only have a protective shell on them, but are much flatter in the blade area; this is for stability and the ability to glide from side to side much more smoothly, as well as push from side to side when down on the ice in the "butterfly" position. But the blades of these skates take a beating as they meet with the metal posts of the goal on a regular basis as the goalie works to keep a tight seal on the post and not let that puck squeeze through. So, attention to the blades and a regular sharpening or use of a sharpening stone is very important.

Angela: No special preparations. But, in order to keep my equipment in good working order, I air it out as much as possible and frequently check all pieces for broken clasps, holes, etc. My pads got a hole in the leather on the inside bottom where the skate goes…I took it to a leather repair guy and he fixed it up for $30.

And finally, is there anything special about the fitting of the equipment; i.e. sizing, weight, helmet specifications, etc., that the average hockey fan wouldn't know but might find interesting?

Jared: Well, my pads are sized specifically to the length of my legs. I believe I wear 35 +2.5 length Reebok Pads. My helmet is fitted to the size of my head. Usually this is the size of one's baseball cap. I think my head is somewhere around 7 and 1/4 so my melon isn't too large! Lastly, I like to have a hand on deciding the paint job on my helmet. I usually do it through Eye Candy Air. They do an unreal job and they are fun to work with!

Mark: It's incredibly important to get the right fitting pad as not only does it need to fit the playing style of the goalie but it also must fit properly for safety. The main point that all goalies look for is the size of the pad; all goalie pads come measured in inches, and a proper measurement will take place by measuring from the top of the foot to the center of the knee. The key to that is the "knee stack"; this is the pad that will be directly under the goalie's knees when he goes down to the ice, and must be lined up perfectly under the knee or an injury can occur. In addition, it makes it much easier to slide from side to side when the knee stack is positioned correctly, as the knee stack is the main contact point with the ice when a goalie is down to make the save. When it comes to equipment, the most glamorous part of the bag is the mask. In terms of fitting, the high end masks are made of Kevlar and can be fitted by doing a plaster mold of the goalie's face, which will then be used to make the inside of the mask so there is a snug fit for protection. But most masks can be bought without having to do the plaster mold and as long as the head size is correct, a goalie can get a good, safe fit.

Angela: DON’T BUY ANYTHING TOO TIGHT. It’s much more preferred to have equipment that is on the loose side, but not huge. You need to be able to move in the net quickly, and being constricted won’t help.The helmet should fit snugly, not tight but not moving when you turn your head from side to side. Don’t ever cut a goalie stick, they are balanced. When buying a chest protector, move around in it; make sure that the tops of your arms and shoulders aren’t exposed to non-padded areas.

Chris: Regarding the stick: You should be able to easily hold in one hand and hold at eye level. If not, the stick is too heavy for you. Make sure you get a stick that is not to heavy and you a comfortable with. I cannot tell you how important this will be for when you need to make some amazing Holtby stick saves. Regarding the leg pads: If you plan on butterfly goaltending, spend a lot of time making sure you are comfortable in the butterfly position in your leg pads. Newer pads are made to butterfly easily but some older pads actually require you to awkwardly wear the pads on the sides of your legs. Before purchasing any legs pads make sure you fully suit up and spend at least an hour playing with them in butterfly.
As you all should know by now, I am a fan of goalies, so I personally enjoyed getting this wealth of knowledge regarding goalie equipment. Sadly, I wasn't able to interview Neuvy himself for this post, but maybe I'll be luckier next time I get a spark of inspiration. Thanks again to everyone who helped educate me!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Wishing and Hoping

It’s mid-August; September is right around the corner. You hockey fans know what that means. Almost time for training camp and preseason hockey, baby!

In pondering the upcoming Caps season, and musing on Matt Bradley’s thoughts on last year, I came to the realization that besides my non-diva wish for the 2011-2012 season, there are a couple of things I’d like to see adjusted for the Caps. Being a simple blonde girl blogger, and not BB/GMGM/Uncle Ted, it’s easy to be an armchair analyst, right?

1. LET THEM GEL. My greatest wish for training camp and beyond is that Bruce will give the lines a chance to gel. We know how frustrating it is to watch the constant line changing during a game; just imagine what it is like for the players who are experiencing it. Feels a little like crisis management, doesn’t it? Hopefully, Bruce will use training camp as a starting point for creating some solid lines and then give them a chance to learn to play off each other’s strengths and weaknesses. Trust your instincts Bruce, and let the guys work together. You have lots of time to determine if it isn’t gelling. That’s when you make adjustments. And once you make those adjustments, give those new lines a chance to gel too. Use training camp and preseason games to get your lines set and then let them play together for a while before you start switching them up, ok?

2. LET’S SEE A LEAN, MEAN, RUSSIAN MACHINE. I know there were a lot of comments on Ovi being fat when his post-season interview with Mike Vogel was released. (I’m going to stick by my theory that he was just bloated from all his traveling around that time. That and he was slumping in his chair.) Now, if you research just a little, you will see the few pictures of Ovechkin taken this summer since that time. Doesn’t look fat to me at all. I hope you’ve worked hard over the summer, Ovi, please come back to training camp the lean, mean Russian machine we long to see. Oh, and I hope that lean, mean Russian machine is present in the locker room as well. I’m kinda tired of hearing about veterans making their presence known; I’d really like to hear that Ovi’s presence is being shown in the locker room. I am not one of those fans that thinks the “C” should be taken away from him, so back me up here, ok Ovi?

3. BACKY COMES BACK. I miss Nick Backstrom. I think we all miss Nick Backstrom. Dear Nicky, I hope whatever was going on last season is in the past. I hope whatever physical or mental obstacles that you encountered are gone. I hope you had a great summer of training and working on all the things that caused you to “stumble” last year and you come into training camp with a renewed sense of purpose. We need our #1 Center back in action, focused and strong. Love, all Caps fans.

4. NO OPTIONAL PRACTICES. Brads kind of alluded to this in his recent interview. My Twitter feed totally alluded to this during the entire season last year. Unless there is an injury, let’s see every player at every practice, ok? In order for wish #1 to work, you all need to be there making sure you are prepared for every inevitability. No excuses. Sorry, but if you expect to be a threat on the ice this year, everybody has to buy in to it. There is no I in team. (Yes, there is an M-E, but forget you heard that). While I don’t expect to have players punished with bag skates, that wouldn’t even be considered if everyone played their hearts out and participated in every practice.

5. DO NOT FEED US FALSE PROMISES. Do not give us promises of winning the Stanley Cup. Please, I’m begging here. All we want to hear is that the entire team is serious about being the best they can be. Yes, we all want the Stanley Cup, but we are a little tired of hearing how this is going to be our year. Let’s make “Giving our all” the motto this year, ok?

Just 5 simple wishes for the Caps 2011-2012 season. Not much to ask for, right? And I didn’t even use any cussing, aren’t you proud of me? So, what would you wish for?

Monday, July 18, 2011

#NeedsMoreBradley (Part2)

Today, while going through my Caps pictures to clean up a Blogger mess, I noticed I had a lot of really funny pictures of Matt Bradley from over the years. After a brief poll, I was convinced it isn't too late for a pictoral tribute to our favorite paper-skinned Capital; Matt Bradley. (Actually, since I really wanted to do one, it didn't take that much arm twisting).

Any time I shot pictures at practices or game warmups, I could almost always be guarnteed of at least one great pic of our MB10.

If you happen to know any Florida Panthers fans; besides teaching them the #needsmorebradley hashtag, I'd really love for them to see what to expect when it comes to the fun loving Brads, so give 'em a link to here to get a small taste.

I would like to dedicate this post to @iloveburritos, who as far as I am concerned, is THE biggest MB10 fan. I know her Capfandom will probably never be the same. :(

Maybe I'll be lucky enough to catch a Caps/Panthers game and snag one or two more, but until then, ladies and gentlemen, I present to you The Many Faces of Matt Bradley:

We'll miss you Brads!

If I discover I've missed any, I'll update the post.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Social Media Ain’t for Wimps

The more I use Social Media, the more I’ve realized it is not for the faint-of-heart. Unless you have restricted yourself to a private Facebook and/or Twitter account, you might as well be back on the schoolyard playground when it comes to any type of Social Media.

It reminds me of a moment in the movie The American President; “America is advanced citizenship. You gotta want it bad, 'cause it's gonna put up a fight. It's gonna say "You want free speech? Let's see you acknowledge a man whose words make your blood boil, who's standing center stage and advocating at the top of his lungs that which you would spend a lifetime opposing at the top of yours.” (The result of this in relation to Social Media, and on Twitter in particular; is what we like to call “Twitter Fights”. You may come out of it victorious, or have your ego completely battered and bruised while you slink off into a corner to pout.)

Like the schoolyard playground, Social Media has all the personalities you had hoped to have left back in your childhood. Unless you only follow a few select people on any Social Media platform, you ARE going to meet them in your interactions in the web.
  • The Expert: The Experts are also known as the Know-it-alls. No matter what you tell them, they already know it. The Expert knows everything. They are never wrong. They will fight you to the death to convince you that they are smarter then you. Unfortunately, the Experts usually have a pretty large following, because like lemmings, people will follow any leader off the proverbial cliff. Their audience will jump on the Expert’s bandwagon and chime in just to show they also belong in the “Expert” category. I’ll grant you this; there are times when the Expert actually is right and they sometimes help you increase your knowledge. But getting through their diatribes to actually find these little nuggets can be extremely difficult.
  • The Bully: Like the Expert, the Bully will do everything in their power to convince you that their way is the only way. But, the Bully adds a little extra to their forcefulness. If you refuse to give in to the Bully, not only will they publically snub you, they will convince their own group of lemmings to do the same. Get on the wrong side of the Bully and they will make sure you live to regret it. You will probably beg and plead to be restored to their good graces, everything from retweeting them to just plain kissing their ass, just to not be ostracized by the Bully and his gang. The Bully does not fall for this; give it up.
  • The Cool Kids: This is the group that that everybody wants to be a part of. The Cool Kids are edgy. They listen to obscure music and tell great jokes. Their postings usually make you wish you had thought of that. They know a lot of good stuff but don’t shove it down your throat like the Experts. If they don’t get a response/reply/retweet, their usual reaction is a simple “Meh” and they move on. Life is pretty good if you are one of the Cool Kids. 
  • The Nice Guys: The Nice Guys are the people pleasers. They will agree with just about everything just to be accepted into the fold. I like Nice Guys but often feel a little sorry for them. They try awfully hard but are frequently ignored. The Experts and the Bullies won’t waste their time on the Nice Guys because the Nice Guys rarely argue, and what’s the fun in that? Many people think the Nice Guys are insecure and needy, but they actually aren’t. They’re nice, that’s all.
  • The Whiners: The Whiners are the attention seekers. They will pester you to death to be heard. They are the high maintenance people of Social Media. And ignoring the Whiners will NOT make them go away. These are the people you regret ever following. My advice to you is to just go ahead and unfollow them; they will never contribute anything to your Social Media experience since they are only in it for themselves. I know, that’s a bit mean, but post after post, tweet after tweet of just “listen to me” and “pay attention to me”, you’re gonna rue the day you clicked follow.
  • The Trolls: The Trolls are the people that make your blood boil. Although the free speech aspect of Social Media is commendable, the Trolls are the ones you wish had never ever bought a computer. They spew hate. I imagine them walking around in real life with little fumes of hate wafting from the top of their heads. The Trolls are similar to the Whiners, in that they are attention seekers. But, unfortunately, their methods only make people reject them more. Pay attention when you hear people on Social Media say a particular person is a Troll. That moniker is usually not given out lightly. It is a warning to others. Heed the warning.
  • The Outsiders: The Outsiders really just don’t get it. They try really hard though, so sometimes you need to give them a chance. If they use Social Media as a learning tool, they may advance to becoming a valuable person in your feed. If they show potential, take pity on them. Take them by the hand, and lead them into the Promised Land.
  • The Hall Monitors: Just like in school, the Hall Monitors are the boss of everybody. Don’t spell something right? They’ll be quick to point out your mistake. Don’t mess with them. If you do, they’ll make sure everybody finds out that you are not worthy of belonging to any Social Media. Yes, they are similar to the Bully, but their purpose in life is to make sure you do everything exactly as they think you should. I guess it gives them some kind of self-satisfaction, but since I would be the kind of person who would be considered the “runs with scissors” instead of the “plays well with others”, I don’t have a lot of patience with the Hall Monitors. If you don’t mind being corrected every time you have a minor faux pas, more power to you.
  • The Smart Alecks: These were the kids who smoked under the bleachers and talked back to the teachers. In today's world, these people are the snarky instigators, they goad people into making fools of themselves, usually very successfully. Like the Cool Kids, they are pretty popular because they love to post drunk posts/tweets, because everything is funnier when you're drunk. They are very entertaining. The Smart Alecks also love to laugh at everyone, including themselves. You will recognize them immediately because they often to write in all caps and use all kinds of abbreviations or have very inventive avatars. Sit back and enjoy the Smart Alecks, they are just looking for a good time.
Looking back on my Social Media experience, I now understand why some people have their accounts private or only follow back a limited number of people. Which brings me to Google+. I always hate unfollowing people; I guess it’s the Nice Guy in me. Like many people, I also hate being unfollowed, which might be a little Whiner-ish too. So, the one thing I like about Google+ is the ability to put people in “circles”. You can let anyone in the world follow your feed without having to actually follow theirs. It’s a win/win situation. They don’t feel dissed that you don’t read their feed; they don’t even know that you don’t. You can create circles and then just pick the ones you actually want to interact with. True story; I have a circle called “People I have no clue about”. No, you aren’t in it.

I have a love/hate relationship with Social Media. Many days I just want to tweet “That’s it, I quit”. That’s the time when I take a break and go enjoy the real world. So if I don’t tweet or post on Facebook or Google+ for a while, that’s where I’ll be. Just DM me and I’ll tell you where you can find me, hopefully hanging out with the Cool Kids or drinking with the Smart Alecks.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

G is for Goalie

Today the Caps signed veteran goalie Tomas Vokoun to a one-year contract. Now, you knew something like this was gonna happen, didn’t you? Here’s my take on this whole goalie “situation”.

1. Varly traded to Colorado for a 1st and 2nd round draft pick. Aw, dear Cleek on Me. What an athletic goaltender. He was great for us when the chips were down in 2010. But, if you believe the press conference reports, Varly asked for more money and a guarantee of the #1 position. Sounds kinda Diva-ish, doesn’t it? Guess he trusted his agent when it came to negotiations, right? I will say one thing in Varly’s defense: as much as I like Neuvy, I think if BB had put Varly in for one game of the second round of the playoffs, something might have shaken loose and we “might” not have been swept. Now, hear me out, I am not blaming Neuvy for the 2nd round sweep. Not by a long shot. All I’m saying is I think if Boudreau HAD put Varly in for just one game, it might have changed the course just enough to keep us in the series longer. He was ready and it might have made a difference. But, that being said, I would like to quote the all-knowing Justin Goldman from the The Goalie Guild:

“Although Varlamov has terrific talent and awesome potential, he is still a raw-skilled goalie that has to prove he can stay healthy and perform at a consistent and competitive level on a nightly basis. Without a full-time goalie coach in Colorado, Varlamov’s mental toughness and focus will be tested right away.”

And this:

“Now he has to prove he can play 55-60 without getting hurt, and with no luxury of struggling for more than a few games.”

I wish dear Varly well; I hope he has the final “I told you so”.

2. Holtby as backup for 2011-2012? I love Holtby; I think he is an awesome goalie. I also think he needs just one more year in the AHL for a touch more maturity. I am not blaming the Hershey Bears not winning the Calder Cup on Holtby, far from it. But the NHL is not the AHL, and while Holts impressed us the games he did play, let’s consider what he might have done if he had to play longer. Possible break down after 10+ more games? Possible loss of concentration when it was needed most? Who knows? Well, Holtby certainly had the hot hand then, but maybe Irbe knew. He was kinda intuitive that way. Think he had something to say about it? Yeah, I do. But now that Olie Kolzig will be working with him up in Hershey (for the most part), I really think 2012-2013 will be a great season in the NHL for Holtby. Looking forward to that!

3. Signing Tomas Vokoun to a one year contract. Ok, so now we have signed a veteran goalie for one year. The same one year we need for Holts to mature. The same year we need somebody to backup (?) Neuvy now that Varly is gone. Ok, I know Vokoun is 35 and has played 13 seasons, but we how does a veteran hurt right now? Think about it…let’s say we get to the playoffs again in 2012, and Neuvy needs help, gets hurt, or heaven forbid, needs to be relieved in a playoff game. Wouldn’t you feel just a tad more confident with a veteran backing him up? (Now I am assuming Vokoun is gonna be the backup, and you know what they say when you assume…) Besides that, think about having 2 Czech goalies on the roster. I’ve always said Neuvy is “money like a Czechbook”, and now he has a countryman to mentor him and help him mature. Being the goalie fan girl that I am, the more I think about this, the more I’m kinda digging it. The personal dynamics of this could be awesome.

(Picture to follow *as soon as I can get to Kettler or Verizon Center and capture Vokoun in a Caps jersey!)

4. Neuvy. Ah, Neuvy. As it stands right now, I consider you the future of the Caps goaltending. Such a cool head in net for one so young. Just thinking about where he could be in few years in regards to his ability is mind boggling. Is he the next Olaf Kolzig for the Caps? Could be! Especially with the possible opportunity to have some mentoring from Olie, I think we should try to be happy with Neuvy and give this whole situation a chance to play out.

So, because I really have no say in the matter, I’m going to have to put my faith in Dave Prior when it comes to the goalies. Fingers crossed this whole thing makes for a total winning season for the Caps. But I will never forget this: