Tom Poti - Jim McIsaac

Photo: Jim McIsaac

Tom Poti‘s NHL career ended inauspiciously in March of last year. A persistent groin injury kept him off the ice for all of 2011-12 before an abbreviated, 16-game comeback in 2012-13 spelled the end of his time with the Washington Capitals. “I still have that hunger to play and I still have that desire,” Poti told the Washington Times that May, “and I definitely want to play as long as I can.”

While his future has not included more NHL action, Poti is still on the ice and still doing good. This time he’s suiting up to face off against the USA Warriors, the sled and standing hockey teams made of wounded and injured American servicemen and women. On April 9, Poti and a team of US Olympians will play against the Warriors at UMass Lowell. The charity game will pit some of the most accomplished and impressive athletes in the country — against former Olympians.

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charity hockey classic

Blood and hockey are a natural pair, and we need more of both right now. The Charity Hockey Classic, to be held at 7pm this Saturday at Kettler Capitals Iceplex, is gonna solve both those problems at once. The event is a round-robin tournament for charity (I expect the Caps alum/front-office team to sweep) with special appearances by Elliot in the Morning’s Elliot Segal, Slapshot, the Red Rockers, and those dang mites on ice.

There will also be a silent auction. Admission is 10 bucks at the door; kids are free.

Please help Inova refurbish the bloodmobile and save some lives. And, because it’s hockey, you can watch Cap alum Paul Mulvey (43 career fights) endanger some lives as well.

More info after the jump and at charityhockeyclassic.com.

UPDATE: Your boy Wes Johnson, Capitals in-arena announcer, will be there too. Now it’s a party.

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You Need to Buy This Caps-Signed PRS Guitar for Charity

guitar

Paul Reed Smith guitars are known as some of the best-made guitars in the world. The action is light, the neck is fast, and the sustain is infinite. All kinds of guitarists from metalheads and jam bands play ‘em. The Dave Navarro Signature (he of Jane’s Addiction fame) runs about 650 dollars, so it’s absolutely baffling to me that the charity auction for the signed Caps-themed guitar above is currently just over 700 bucks. It’s signed by the 2012-13 Washington Capitals, including one Alex Ovechkin (Cam Schilling too, but don’t let that count against it).

Listen. You need to buy this guitar.

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CapitalsMilitaryNight (8 of 8)

The Washington Capitals honor a lot of charities, something many teams do. Playing in the city that houses the countries government, though, creates a special bond with the military. The team skates with families of the fallen, recognizes injured soldiers during games, and raises money for military charities.

On Thursday, the Caps did even more, holding their 10th annual Military Appreciation Night. The Caps wore desert camouflage jerseys during warmups (auctioned off during the game), and hosted the Navy Mites on Ice team and the USA Warriors hockey team during the intermissions. A number of tickets were also given away to soldiers and veterans.

Below, take a look at some photos of the special jerseys: Continue Reading

Washington Capitals Launch Courage Caps Program

Erskine Courage Caps

Washington wore Courage Caps hats during warmups to support the cause. (Photo credit: @KCity65)

Sports teams may feel like glorified corporations these days. There still, however, is something more to them: the fans, the community, and the good the teams can do through charitable work. On Sunday, the Washington Capitals launched their annual Courage Caps program, which raised over $100,000 for TAPS, a military charity, last year.

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Courage Caps (14 of 14)

Photos by Chris Gordon

The past decade has seen the United States involved in two wars — one in Iraq, one in Afghanistan. We’re all aware of them, we’ve seen the headlines. But for most Americans, the country’s battles are an abstraction. It’s something on the news, not part of the stories of other human beings.

Some Americans, though, can’t remove themselves from them — the wars have taken members of their family. Husbands, wives, children, brothers, sisters, mothers, and fathers: the all have loved ones who will never come home. This has unfolded thousands of times throughout the past 12 years.

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Braden Holtby meets Zach

Holtby skates Zachary around the ice. (Photo credit: Ann-Marie Ward)

Holtby skates Zachary around the ice. (Photo credit: Ann-Marie Ward)

Photo credit: Ann-Marie Ward

The day before the Washington Capitals played their most inspired game of the season — a 5-0 shellacking of the Florida Panthers, some special guests invaded Kettler Capitals Iceplex and raised the spirits of three Caps in particular: Braden Holtby, Jason Chimera, and Tomas Kundratek. The Caps hosted Extreme Recess Hockey in conjunction with Dreams For Kids DC, a program which allows children with physical and developmental disabilities — as well as at-risk youth — to get out on the ice and skate with the pros.

The event had a profound impact on both the children and players involved.

“It’s making me feel unreal,” Kundratek told John Walton in a team-produced video. “Kids having smiles on their faces. That’s what this is all about. This is my first time and I’m really enjoying it.”

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On November 17th, Washington Capitals first-line winger Troy Brouwer suited up for the Goals For Dreams hockey game, a charity exhibition that pitted the NHL Players Association against Winnipeg Police Patrolmen. In front of a sold-out crowd at the University of Manitoba’s Max Bell Centre, locked-out stars like Jonathan Toews, Shea Weber, and Mike Richards hit the ice again and raised over $80,000 for the Children’s Hospital Foundation and the Dream Factory.

Good news for all you Brouwer-maniacs out there: Goals For Dreams has put every player’s game-used jersey up for auction on eBayincluding Troy’s — and bidding ends a little after 9pm tonight.

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Resisting… urge… to make fun of MG52′s shirt. (Photo credit: @KevinMacDonnell)

Via his Twitter account @GreenLife52, Mike offers a free drink to his 75k+ followers

NHL players have missed their first four paychecks of the 2012-13 season, but one Washington Capitals player is still willing to empty his pockets for a good cause. On Saturday night, Mike Green asked all of his followers in a tweet to come out to the popular sports bar Front Page Arlington. The all-star defenseman then bought all Caps fans in attendance a round of shots and then later just paid for the entire bar tab. Green also served drinks from behind the bar, signed autographs and took pictures with fans, and even participated in the last round of a day-long poker tournament to help benefit Hurricane Sandy victims and the Ballston restaurant whose revenue is down 10% because of the lockout. How cool is that?!

If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a million times: hockey players are the most down-to-earth and generous athletes in any sport. These types of gestures make fans for life, regardless of how the unnecessary league-imposed lockout darkens our collective hockey souls.

Below the jump, I’ve included a few more pictures from the night — and if you’ve got some more, feel free to send ‘em our way.

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Tomas Kundratek

Photo credit: Kyle Mace of Sweetest Hockey On Earth

November 1st marks the first day of Movember, an event where men across the globe grow mustaches to raise money to fight prostate cancer. Hockey players have been among the most avid supporters of the charity, raising thousands for research and awareness.

Almost the entire Hershey Bears team is participating this year, and some players are trying to one up each other. After Boyd Kane’s wife offered a signed team photo for any person donating $25 or more, Caps prospect Tomas Kundratek responded with his own overture.

No signed jersey or stick. Too rote. Instead, Kundratek is offering to take the fan who donates the most money out to dinner at the finest establishment in Hershey: Houlihan’s! If you’re nice, he might let you order an appetizer.

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