Archive | July, 2011

Lockouts, no hockey, it’s summer, Oh my!

30 Jul

I have to admit, my brilliant idea of starting a hockey blog was moved down to genius due to the fact, it’s summer.
But let that not phase you my fellow hockey fans, I’ve come up with yet another (brilliant) idea: a Q&A column.
It runs from the last game of the finals to the Caps opening day (this year, October 8th). You ask me any question to do with hockey.
It can be about players, how the game is played, my personal views, etc. It’s all about getting people engaged in the game.
To submit a question shoot me an email at hockeyluver74@gmail.com, tweet me at @hockey_fan_10, or just leave a comment.
I’ll repost your question with my answer and use your username or say anonymous, depending on your preference.
Now I’ve got some Suits to catch up on, toodles!

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Matt Bradley: the Spark Plug

23 Jul

As all Caps fans know, our trusty fourth liner has gone to a sunnier place, literally he was traded to the Flordia Panthers, it’s time to pay homage to our “Spark plug” as The Express put it.
Not only did he bring game changing energy to the game, he was just a great guy on and off the ice.
As The Express puts it “Need a momentum changing hit? Bradley’s your guy.” Bradley was the momentum changer, every game I watched that needed some changing around he always went out, guns a blazing to get the momentum going our way.
Of course, he wasn’t just a steller guy on the ice. He helped out in the community, like one Christmas he went (with his wife) to give presents to a poor family and spend the day with them. Just being a good guy and helping his community. A spark plug.
While Caps fan my not be able to tweet his montra anymore (#NEEDSMOREBRADLEY anyone?) I’m sure Panthers fans will carry on the tradition of our lovable spark plug, better yet great player.
We’ll miss ya Brads, I’ll always cheer you on (unless you’re playing the Caps, I have a sworn duty). Have a kickass season and be the best spark plug out there.

Le froid intrasquad game, day 4

15 Jul

When you first step into Kettler it feels like the third Ice Age is upon you, As my dad and I figured out after stumbling around the mall parking lot for 10 minutes. Well we didn’t get up at the wee hours of the morning and perilously drive through rush hour traffic to feel Kettlers superb AC, we had come to see the intrasquad game at D Camp.
Dad and I quickly made our way to the rink, only to find it was even colder than the lobby. Which I didn’t think was possible. We sat down on the frozen bleachers near a nice looking old lady and her husband. Note to all male hockey fans: When they say apply liberally on the axe bottle, they don’t mean use the whole thing.
As I sat on my stone cold seat shivering in my J. Crew sweater, listening to my dad talk about the players at D Camp, I saw a lot. I saw Brucie standing directly across from me (we totally made eye contact!), I saw players lining up on the bench preparing to warm up, and the big banners of the Caps greats from yester year; Langway, Hunter, Labre, and Gartner.
My musing was interrupted by what I thought was thunder (not another thunder storm!), not just a slap shot hitting the glass. It looked a lot like the warm up for regular NHL games, but without the kickass music.
After the warm up, the players got in formation. Then, bam! puck drop and they were off like rockets. There were quite a few good chances in the first half of the first period. After that it slackened off until, in the second, Mitchell and Weicheva dropped the mittens talking about the latest issue of Vogue.
After all the excitement of the first and second period, I was cold and hungry. Who would’ve thought humidity could feel so good? After our refreshing bout of July weather, we scampered back inside to catch the final frozen period. At this point it was 2-1, start of the third. While White came in ready to seal the deal soon after taking a 3-1 lead. Red was firing back, ready to fight for it which resulted in a 3-3 tie late in the third. Just in time for a shootout, sadly the Reds didn’t muster quite enough fighting spirit as no pucks fond the back of the net. While Team white swooped past the goalie and came out with a 4-3 shootout win.
I was then lucky enough to con my dad into getting me an Alzy shirsey (he’d better sign) and taking me out to lunch. Next time all I need to remember is my parka so I don’t lose any appendages from frost bite. Until then, I’m going to try to save a few toes.

Free Agency was so last week, What’s hot is Development Camp

14 Jul

The buzz over Free Agency has died down after all the big names like Brad Richards and Tomas Vokoun (my dad chuckled when reading that, I wonder why) signed with there respective teams.
Of course when one frenzy dies another one takes the reigns. In this case that frenzy is development camp.
I like to think of D camp as wedding cake tasting (I’ve been watching far to much Cake Boss). You sit down in front of all the different kinds of cake, with different flavors and textures. And you take a little nibble of each kind to see which one you like the best.
Those you like the best, you set aside and take bigger slices of to get a real feel for that special blend of flour, sugar, and eggs.
Same thing applies to D camp. That’s the cake you sorted out from the hundreds of other samples, or in this case Free agents or college kids. Of course you can’t have a 40 tier wedding cake, so you have to weed out that one of a kind rasberry filled pound cake. For the Caps, those special pound cakes come with the names Cody Eakin, Mattais Sjogren, and Dimitri Orlov.
While it’s too early to tell who gets there respective coveted spots on the Caps roster, many speculate it’s between Sjogren and Eakin for that 3rd or 2nd line center position. For Orlov, time will tell.
Until then, I’m off to watch the Cake Boss marathon.

Why we need Karl Alzner

9 Jul

As a Caps fan I’ve been compulsively checking the RFa’s(Restricted Free Agents) to see if the Caps have signed Karl Alzner.

why Karl Alzner? there are a plethora of reasons, beside the fact he’s my favorite player. Alzy, as I like to call him, has always stood out from his fellow defensive defensemen. His quick foot work and powerful stick handling has helped him stand out from the rest of the 22 year old, British Columbia born defensive defensemen. He moved quickly through the WHL as a defensemen for the Calgary Hitmen, with a career total of 19 goals and 117 points.

His talents as a leader and player shined as a member of the Canadian Gold medal winning team in the 2007 WJC (World Junior Championship). His leadership skills continued to shine as he was picked as an Alternate Captain in the 2007 Super Series and was named Captain of Team Canada for the 2008 WJC.

Although his career in the NHL has been short, he has preformed well in the last two seasons as a full time Capital with line mate, and friend, John Carlson. Their name among Caps fans and announcers is the “shutdown crew”, due to their ability to shut down any teams offense and keep them out of the Caps end of the ice while creating chances for the Caps offense.

He has not only done well on the score board, with 3 career goals and 22 points, but in the locker room as well. Even though Karl has never worn an “A” or an “C” he has always been a strong presence, even as a rookie. His quiet strength is noticed by fans and team mates alike.

If those reasons aren’t enough, his determination to be better and stronger every year speaks volumes.

The goalie trilogy: preface-meeting the goalies

9 Jul

Preface: As every Caps fan knows, or really NHL fan for the matter, Washington is stacked with goalies. Last week they had the tri-fecta with Michal Neuvirth, braden Holtby, and Semyon Varlomov. Due to free agency and threats of venturing off to no mans land (aka the KHL), luckily GMGM fleeced the Colorado Avalanche into taking Varly off of our hands for the more than fair exchange of 2 draft picks. One in the first round and one in the second.

This week, after many Caps fans were excited to finally see the tandem of Neuvy-Holtby, GMGM pulled another sly move and signed “legendary” goal Keeper Tomas Vokoun. Many Caps fans, including myself, were confused. We have two NHL caliber goalies, why do we need another?

This was put into perspective for me by a fellow Caps fan, Andy we’ll call him. He said Holtby needed just one more year of “seasoning”, if you will, in the AHL before becoming a fulltime backup or starting goalie in the NHL. Also, Vokoun can be a great mentor for Neuvy seeing as they are both Czech and he’s been playing in the NHL for longer.

While Vokoun could be the older, more experianced goalie. Isn’t it a good idea to give Neuvy some of the limelight? he’s worked his tochus off working through the OHL, ECHL, AHL and now in the NHL. Give the baby Czech the benifet of the doubt and let him start. If Vokoun is there for guidance, he can guide perfectly well from the bench.

The plastic Owl

9 Jul

Today, as I was cleaning up breakfast, I looked out the kitchen window. The kitchen window has a great view of our 5X5 yard which hosts my dad’s pride and joy, the garden. In his fool hardy attempt to keep the fat squirrels and rats at bay he employed a plastic Owl. I guess he thought something of such a predatory nature in the wild would have an effect on these vegging rodents, even though it was harmless and plastic. This got me thinking about our prior discussion driving to the “place that used to be Macgruders” as he infamously calls it, to pick up ingredients for spaghetti sauce. We were talking about the Caps and how we had copped off early in the Playoffs, again, and we were talking about the how the “young guns” didn’t really show up against Tampa and how that really effected our teams playing ability. As I was scrubbing away the last remnants of eggs, it hit me. Every team has a plastic owl. He looks menacing and hard hitting, but he’s just an empty shell used as propaganda, if you will, to get the other team psyched and ready for battle. When all he really is, is an inconsistent, more cold than hot, infamous for stick minors type of player. I suppose my description’s a little pointed, but isn’t it true? Semin’s play throughout the entire season (when not injured) was always so streaky and inconsistent. He had some great runs, but they were more often than not over shadowed by his cold streaks. So to conclude this little post, who do you think is a plastic owl on your team? (feel free to disagree and pick another player on the Caps if you so choose)

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