NBA Lockout Turns Wizards Fan into Caps Fan

Craig Brownstein of Puck Buddys writes for Russian Machine. You will follow @PuckBuddys, and you will like it.

The NBA lockout continues. Getting a jump on last night’s breaking news about the first two weeks of the NBA season being spiked is Chris, one of the newer faces in Capsblogistan. Chris loves the Wizards and was a fan of all the DC teams except the Caps, but when he saw David Stern’s writing on the wall, he decided to dedicate his online efforts to the the Men in Red. From the mission statement on his site, CapsBasketball:

This blog is designed for people who never really watched the Caps but are looking to start now that there may not be an NBA. We can all figure it out together!  I have decided to “force” myself to watch hockey and to become a “hardcore” Caps fan. Has anyone written a blog about something they don’t know anything about before? Thousands of times I guess. While I’m writing this I could name maybe 3-4 players on the roster. This should be interesting…

He is a proud noob and doesn’t even try to hide it. His headline for a post ahead of Saturday’s season opener: “A Kid Named Michael [sic] Neuvirth Will Start In Goal Game 1.” His recap of the Canes game was entitled: “Caps Win!  Other Team Still Rewarded,” clearly mystified on why one point is awarded for teams that lose in OT. Chris has given nicknames to some of the players; Vokoun is “Tommy V,” and that just freakin’ cute. With even weaker photoshop skills than ours, he depicts our veteran Czech netminder as a raccoon. Also cute.

We’re sure Chris will pick up the nuances of the Caps’ playing style as well as the lingo and quaint customs that have become part of our lives: Carlzner, Grab your sacks, Baby Swede, Will be sick!!! hahahah))), Fancystats, Haagen Daaz, Sasha Minor, The Front Page, and some guy named Sir Ryan.

We love Chris already; he jumped on the bandwagon even after we did. Even after Mike Wise!  We went 5v5 with Chris yesterday to get his thoughts on the sport and his new passion– Your Washington Capitals. They are now Chris’ Washington Capitals, too.

1. With the prospect of the Wizards season collapsing, why jump on the Caps bandwagon and not write about the Skins who seem on the improve? What are your initial thoughts about the game and the Caps and are 82 games enough or too many?
I used to be interested in hockey when I was younger.  I moved from Virginia where hockey was basically non-existent to New Jersey. All the kids played street hockey, played NHL 94 for Sega Genesis, and watched hockey on TV.  So I immersed myself in the game so I could fit in more.  So basically life is repeating itself, except this time I didn’t move away from Virginia, hockey moved into Virginia.  So now I have to fit in again.  If everyone is having fun, I want to have fun too.

The Skins are my favorite DC team, but they play only 1 time per week, and there are a million players on the team.  The Nats play too much, I can’t keep up with the writing.  So the NBA and NHL are right in my wheelhouse.

It’s amazing how games can have one minute left in it, but teams end up scoring to win in that final second.  That’s what is good about basketball is the buzzer beaters. So the NHL has more exciting finishes then I originally thought.  There is also more scoring than I remember. As for the Caps, I’ve seen them play every year in the playoffs, but I don’t know exactly what to think. I expect them to be a top team in the league, and I’m excited to see who ends up playing in goal the majority of the year.

82 games is def long enough. It is even too long. But that’s only because I’ve been burned before.  I had Wizards season tickets for the past 3-4 years. When they were good, 82 games weren’t enough. When they were bad, I wished the season was about half the length. I’d rather be in pain for less time than be happy for more time. I hear that with the Caps it shouldn’t be an issue. But I’m young-ish, so what is gonna happen in 15 years if the team is terrible.

2.  What do you find most difficult about learning hockey?  What would it take to get you on the ice? 
I pretty much know the rules of hockey and how the game technically works from a casual fan perspective.  I’m more interested in learning the strategy aspect. How do line shifts work. Players being on the ice for short periods of time as well as the players names make it difficult to learn about the players around the league.

"I think there are 20 guys named Staal"

Many of the players not from US/Canada have similar sounding names. I think there are 20 guys named Staal. I used to play street hockey every day (goalie) about 20 years ago. I think I still have it. I’ve been on ice one time in my life and my back hurt after 10 minutes of ice skating. I don’t think I’m gonna get on the ice, and I’m too old to play on the street.

 3. What do you think about that Boudreau guy?
I didn’t see 24/7 where Boudreau was cursing, but I heard about it and I like it. The more profanity the better when it comes to coaching. Other than that, I’m not sure how hockey coaches works. Coaches seem to get hired and fired for no reason all the time. I think if you are the best team but can’t win in the playoffs, I don’t blame the coach, which could be different from how most people feel.

4. Who are favorite Caps players and why?
Ovi used to be my favorite player when I didn’t watch.  I’ve kind of fallen away from him cuz I usually like more underdog or role players. I like Carlson because he is young and I have no idea what else factors in to that. I think I like his name. He is also on my fantasy hockey team.

5. Now that you’re a Caps fan, are you willing to lay some serious hate on the Penguins, Flyers and Rangers?  Do you have what it takes to be a hockey goon/fan?
I kind of used to not really like the Caps, so I never had any Caps style hatred towards those teams. However, even if the Caps didn’t exist I’d despise the Penguins and the Flyers. I hate the Steelers and all teams from Philly as well. I’m good at being a hater, so no problem. I’ll learn quick who to hate not just team wise but individuals as well. I could go to a curling match and get obsessed with the game and go crazy, so hockey should be no problem.

OVERTIME:  Have you figured out what the delayed off-sides call is yet?  If so, please explain it to us
I would guess that the player is not offsides until he touches the puck, so if they are offsides the delay is called, but it doesn’t count until they touch the puck? I dunno. Maybe it is if the ref sees an offsides but he dropped his whistle so it is delayed until he picks up his whistle to blow it.”  [Ed. note: That makes more sense than anything else we've heard].

SHOOTOUT: Do you think Sasha really cares?
If I care, then Sasha cares.

You can follow Chris on Twitter @TheDugsMusic. Read his blog, Caps Basketball. We wish him all the best. Удачи.

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