One of my favorite movies of all-time is Hugo, so let it be know that I’ve always been a huge Chloe Grace Moretz fan. She’s a brilliant actor, but I’m having a hard time appreciating that right now. The reason? She loves the New York Islanders.
Now that’s fine. I can handle her liking another team, even the club that is trying to knock the Capitals out of the playoffs. I appreciate anyone who’s a passionate hockey fan (and respectful).
But her troll-level is so, so very high. Here’s a sampling.
With the Washington Capitals officially locked in to the 2014-2015 postseason, most Caps fans are eagerly anticipating the playoffs, which will begin next week. Two fans are looking a bit further ahead – to November, when they’re expecting their first child.
The way they announced the news to family and friends this week was one of a kind.
Ever since the NHL came back from the 2004-05 lockout, there has been a constant in Washington: Alex Ovechkin. And also those crazy fans who sat beside the Caps bench wearing 8’s on their heads. They’ve been shown on CSN Washington countless times during games. They are as much a fabric of the Caps fan experience as The Horn Guy, Goat, or the Brouwer Rangers.
I have some sad news to deliver. Thursday night will be the last time you see Max and Zach Wolpoff, The Crazy 8’s, in those seats during a regular season game. Time and higher education have become sad realities for the Wolpoffs.
Max will be leaving the area in the fall to attend Boston University to study communications. His goal is to one day take over the play-by-play duties from Doc Emrick or Joe Beninati. His older brother Zach, already a sophomore in college, is studying geography at Hofstra. Being relocated to New York has made attending games difficult the last two seasons.
“It’s hard to believe that it has been ten years– an entire decade,” Zach told me Tuesday. “Two presidents, an arena name change, a jersey change, two winter classic wins, three captains, five coaches, five division championships, two GMs, a countless number of players that I could probably name most of, and about 15 inches of hair.”
The brothers credit their Uncle Gregg as being the brain child behind the wearable 8’s.
For hockey players who first learned the game on frozen ponds, the Winter Classic is a throwback to their youth. On January 1st, the NHL’s signature game will invade Nationals Park to pay homage to that tradition. But one of the major story lines heading into New Year’s day won’t be hockey; it’ll be about weather.
If you’ve seen NBC’s most recent Winter Classic commercial, there’s no doubt what kind of forecast they’re hoping for. As CGI’d snow falls around Washington’s historic landmarks, the clip announces, “hockey returns outdoors.” Barack Obama crows in the background, “let us brave once more the icy currents and endure what storms may come.”
The mere chance of snow excites fans. If the sky spits just a little that day, it could provide bigger ratings and better visuals both for NBC and a league eager to reach new fans. The weather will have a major impact on the playing surface as well. A long stretch pass from the defensive zone just won’t make it if the ice sheet is blanketed with snow… or puddles.
With all that on the line, one of the most interested bystanders will be emerging-star weekend meteorologist for NBC Washington, Amelia Segal. And for good reason. Not only does she love weather, she’s also from this area and loves the sport.
Richmond-native Chelsea D. had been looking forward to this day for months. The 23-year-old sociology major from VCU has been a Washington Capitals fan for years. Her father Greg — a huge hockey fan himself– takes his daughter to five to ten Caps games a year. On New Year’s Eve, he asked Chelsea if she wanted to try something different this time. Something a little more fanatical.
“You interested in going to Casino Night? It’s in March. Mom doesn’t want to go.” Greg said. “I promise I won’t embarrass you much.”
In disbelief, Chelsea replied, “I’ll definitely go! But yes, please don’t embarrass me.”
Life threw the family a curve ball a few weeks later. Greg had to get knee replacement surgery at the end of January, then a few days before Casino Night, there was a death in the family. Greg, already hobbling as it was, had to go out to Las Vegas.
Chelsea wasn’t sure she’d still go without her dad. Unsure what to do, she asked her boyfriend Evan if he would come along. Evan, a Caps fan himself, obliged.
And then, despite all the trouble following them around lately, a special moment – that could have happened to anyone – found their family.
Coming into training camp, the Washington Capitals had a few question marks around their forwards. Brooks Laich was sidelined by a groin injury, and Wojtek Wolski was tentatively slated [gulp] as a top-six winger. But on Saturday, as the lockout ended, George McPhee got himself some insurance, inking longtime-Cap Eric Fehr to a one-year deal worth $600,000. The signing made a lot of fans happy.
Five years ago, back when I had just recently graduated college, I’d have given a kidney for playoff tickets. Watching hockey with 18,000 of my closest friends in a rock concert-like atmosphere, it seemed to me, would be well worth it.
21-year-old Caps fan David Bower is a better person than I. To get the chance to see the Capitals in the playoffs this year, he’s giving up one of his prized possessions: this signed Alex Ovechkin ornament.
This past Saturday, Goat married his sweetheart Jill. The ceremony, held at the L’Enfant Plaza Hotel in downtown D.C., was attended by friends, family, and a smattering of Caps notables. Sam “The Horn Guy” Wolk and our own Ian Oland attended. The wedding itself was officiated by the voice of the Capitals (and perhaps the only guy louder than Goat), Wes Johnson.