The last time these teams faced-off in the playoffs, Sergei Fedorov scored the game-winner to eliminate the Rangers in seven games. (Photo credit: Mitchell Layton)
The Capitals find themselves in the top spot in the East for the second year in a row. Washington, however, hopes that is where the similarities to last year end as they bring a new system and mindset into the 2010 Stanley Cup Playoffs. But the Rangers won’t go easily.
Photo credit: Chris Gordon
Earlier in the season, some of the critics (and at least one esteemed newspaper columnist) were saying that the Caps needed an older and more experienced netminder. Now, the quandry is that they have an abundance of young talent and need to finally settle on a goalie before the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
With Braden Holtby back in Hershey, the contest seems to be down to Michael Neuvirth and Semyon Varlamov. The young goalies, by the way, were roommates on the Caps recent road trip. What did they talk about? “Expensive cars,” Neuvirth confided after Monday’s practice.
Editor’s note: One year ago, Emily Karol gave a newborn RMNB a kick in the pants with her report on the first Casino Night. This year she does the same with the added bonus of Chris Gordon’s photos.
By the way, Emily is looking for a roommate. Available February 1st, she’s got a single bedroom with a private bathroom and a walk-in closet located just 3 miles from Kettler Capitals Iceplex. Email her if you’re interested. Awesome people only, please. Take it away, Emily.
When I learned that the 2nd annual CapsCare Casino Night and Auction would take place on January 9th, I couldn’t be more excited. I attended the first Casino Night and had a blast, but this year’s festivities hit on the birthdays of both Bruce Boudreau and me. Who could pass up the chance to wear a pretty dress, drink some cocktails, and schmooze with fabulous people on your birthday? Not me.
Editor’s note: Caps Snaps’ Chris Gordon was your man on the street for the Capitals’ outdoor skate at Chevy Chase yesterday. Here’s his report.
The Caps got a little taste of outdoor hockey on Wednesday at a venue that was somewhat less imposing than Heinz Field in Pittsburgh. The practice at the Chevy Chase Club’s rink was closed to the public, but with the Winter Classic just three days away it still attracted a sizable crowd of club members.
“I think we’ve been looking forward to this all year, since they announced it,” Mike Green said. “It couldn’t come quick enough, now here we are, able to play in the game on Saturday. I know everybody is excited.”
“You wish the whole season was played outdoors.” added Karl Alzner.
The players certainly had fun during their skate in the elements. Every member of the team sported eye black, but some players took it further than others, including captain Alex Ovechkin who drew a mustache above his upper lip. “Just have fun, like laugh,” Ovechkin said. “Like, make a joke.”
Editor’s note: Chris Gordon of Caps Snaps once again provides the hook-up. This time it’s the Capitals new gear for the Winter Classic being used at practice. Enjoy! All photos are credited to Caps Snaps.
The Caps took the ice at Kettler Capitals Iceplex on Friday wearing some new digs. The players rocked their Winter Classic uniforms during a hard practice before the team flew to Boston.
The goalies had some something new to show, too: their brand new masks.
Friend-of-the-blog Chris Gordon (nom de guerre: Caps Snaps) put together a dazzling piece for the NYT hockey blog, Slap Shot, about the NHL’s media policy. We discussed the issue at length here already. The piece features quotes from Japers’ Rink, On the Forecheck, Caps media wizard Nate Ewell, and even us schlubs. It’s a savvy piece, comparing at the motivations of blog-friendly clubs like the Caps to media-saturated and besieged teams like the Rangers (and pretty much everyone in Canada).
For the sake of laughs and posterity, here’s the full quote we supplied, unabridged and with a few more jokes:
All I’ve heard so far of the new NHL media policy is rumor. Until some enterprising PR guy leaks the thing, it’ll remain a straw man for bloggers like us to sneer at. From what I can tell, the policy codifies travelling teams’ ability to restrict access from new media folks.
I don’t think access to players – especially visiting teams – is what bloggers are good at or even interested in, so I doubt there will be much practical difference under this new policy. All the NHL has done, therefore, is antagonize and belittle bloggers for no apparent reason. We’re already a cantankerous and unstable breed of people, and although anarchic and headless, we generate a big chunk of buzz for National Hockey League.
Were I a decision-maker in Toronto, I’d begin a Blogger Appeasement Tour. It would start with granting unmitigated access to players in locker rooms and hotel rooms alike and end with perhaps some complimentary Knoll Life office chairs. Ahh, yes. That would be nice.
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