Caps players Peter Bondra and Michal Pivoňka pose with Ellis and his Ashburn Ice House-sponsored car.
There’s a reason why race car drivers thank companies before family members in post-race interviews: they are the main reason they have a seat. This Sunday at Phoenix International Raceway, Ryan Ellis, a die-hard Caps fan and RMNB reader from Ashburn, will get a shot in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, the sport’s top level. The 25-year-old will drive the Circle Sport #33 Chevy SS, sponsored by the Reston-based IT firm Science Logic, in the penultimate race of the season.
“I’m really, really freaking excited,” Ellis told me last month.
Photo: Geoff Burke
Tom Wilson is now in his third full NHL season. He was supposed to be bruising power forward and a complement to top-six playmakers. Instead, the 16th overall pick in 2012 has been a fourth line agitator almost his entire career, fighting and hitting to try to get himself noticed in limited ice time.
On Saturday night, that almost cost the Capitals the game as Wilson, recently demoted back down to the bottom trio, took a double minor for roughing that put his team a man down late in the game. The Maple Leafs scored on the power play that followed, giving themselves a 2-1 lead that would gotten them the victory if not for a stunning goal by Nicklas Backstrom with less than a second left.
“When emotions get tied into close games, that’s how you don’t play,” Barry Trotz said of Wilson’s tomfoolery. “That’s why Tom never saw the ice again. He knows that and hopefully he learns from that.”
On Thursday the Capitals held their annual season-ticket holder party at Six Flags America. Two and a half years after performing the greatest soccer trick shot in carnival game history, Alex Ovechkin moved his talents to the whack-a-mole station. Naturally, he dominated.
Here’s the essential (but vertical) video from Melissa Allen.
Photo: NY Times
Alex Ovechkin has been an elite goal scorer since he first set foot in the NHL. He’s also has been one of the most feared body checkers in the league too. For instance, in Ovechkin’s first game as a Capital 10 years ago, he dislodged a pane of glass while hitting a Columbus Blue Jacket player behind the net.
In an interview with Graham Bensinger (which airs in its entirety this weekend), Ovechkin was asked what his biggest hit was.
“Probably [Jaromir] Jagr in Olympics,” Ovechkin said.
Which is what pretty much everyone guessed they would be.
I got the chance to sit down with Ryan (né Ranger Ryan) and Nathan (né Ranger Nathan) to talk about the transition and give us a sneak peek of their new getups. A lightly (and skillfully) edited version of our conversation is below.
Not visible: the player with the puck. (Photo credit: Chris Gordon)
On Friday night, Verizon Center debuted its new “skycam,” the first such camera permanently installed at an NHL and NBA building. Now it appears the expensive device may not be so permanent. A CSN Washington spokesman told RMNB the camera will not be in place for the next Capitals home game. It received a deluge of criticism from fans.
“The product was being tested last night and is not scheduled to be used Sunday,” Brian Potter, the director of communications for the channel, said in an email. “It hasn’t yet been determined if it will be used further. Many factors will be considered, including feedback from fans.”
Four years ago, Evan Markley — a Blackhawks fan from Chicago — moved with his family to Edgewater, Maryland. The move forced the teenager to make new friends. In eighth grade he met someone who would become very special to him: Jessica.
Jessica and Evan had a lot in common. They both played soccer. They both loved hockey. Jessica was a diehard Capitals fan; her family owns season tickets.
Markley grew fond of his new area team. “The Caps are definitely my second favorite now,” Markley tells me.
He also grew fond of Jessica.
Photos: Amanda Bowen
On Tuesday afternoon, the Capitals celebrated all twelve months of the year with Homeward Trails’ Animal Rescue dogs for the 2015-16 Caps Canine Calendar. Each month had its own silly theme based on a season or holiday, with the players and dogs dressed accordingly.
Here’s a quick preview: Caps roomies Tom Wilson and Michael Latta celebrated Valentine’s Day by putting roses in their mouth for February; Braden Holtby wore a sombrero and poncho for Cinco de Mayo; and Karl Alzner dressed in a skin-tight skeleton costume with his dogs for Halloween in October.
January models Andre Burakovsky and Marcus Johansson had problems. By the time the photographer was ready for them, the puppies they were carrying fell asleep in their arms. Adorable, but improvisation was needed. The New Years theme became “falling asleep before midnight.” After two rounds of throwing balloons, the crew tried popping confetti champagne bottles that startled the two pups awake in the middle of the take. The Swedes handled it well: with many puppy kisses.
After the main sets, the photographer did sessions with the player families that wanted their own set of photos. #SquadGoals.
Prepare yourself for enormous amounts of adorable. We can’t wait to buy this calendar.
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