A before and after shot showing Wes Johnson's weight loss

A before and after shot of Wes with his health coach Elaine.

On December 6, 2012, while the NHL lockout was in its 82nd day, employees of the Washington Capitals game entertainment crew reunited for hockey for the first time in seven months. The Caps AHL affiliate, the Hershey Bears, played the Norfolk Admirals in front of a sold out crowd. Hours before the game, arena employees met near the Caps locker room area for a briefing.

As PA Announcer Wes Johnson entered the room, Michael Wurman, Director of Game Entertainment and TV Products, pointed over to the man that many referred to as “Big Guy.” “There have been quite a few changes over the offseason,” Wurman said with a big smile. “And one of them just so happens to be sitting over here: Wes.”

The room gave Johnson a round of applause. “It was very gratifying,” Johnson told me in a phone interview. “And a little embarrassing too.”

“You’re probably in the last five to ten years of your life”

During a winter day a few years ago, Johnson walked out the front door of his Virginia home to run a few errands. As he made his way to his car, the 51-year-old actor, voice-over artist, and comedian, slipped on a patch of ice in his driveway. Despite his five-foot, nine-inch height, Johnson took a big tumble to the ground, ripping ligaments in his ankle.

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As the NHL spirals towards its second lockout in less than a decade, every member of the Washington Capitals organization — from the players, front office, and arena workers — will find themselves without work. (Oh no, us too!) Lucky for Caps PA Announcer Wes Johnson, he has an awesome day job.

Wes is both an accomplished actor (A Dirty Shame, anyone?) and voice-over artist. You know when you’re driving to work listening to Elliot in the Morning? Wes’s voice is in like 95% of the commercials.

And on August 18th Johnson filmed a national commercial for VISA, starring both Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis and an adorable little girl.

Today, the commercial dropped and below the jump you can check it out.

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#RMNBParty4: The Photos

Photo credit: Chris Gordon

Thank you to everyone who attended RMNB Party 4: Judgment Day at Front Page Arlington. Thank you to Front Page for being such terrific hosts and putting up with our crowd. Thank you to Wes Johnson for rocking the microphone. Thank you to Mathieu Perreault for scoring the game-winner.

The turnout was terrific, the game was great, and it scarcely could have gone better. Our own paparazzo, Chris Gordon, was snapping pics all night long; here’s a sampling behind the jump. If you’ve got more pics to share, please link ’em up in the comments or share ’em on Twitter on the #RMNBParty4 hashtag. If you’ve got a story to tell about the party (love connections, anyone?), let us know that as well. Thanks again!

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Caps P.A. Announcer Wes Johnson Conquers Skyrim

If any of your friends disappear for the next few weeks, go ahead and blame Skyrim. Created by Bethesda Softworks and released today (11/11/11!), Skyrim is the latest installment in The Elder Scrolls, a series of beloved role-playing video games dating back to 1994. This new game already has earned rave reviews– including a few perfect scores— for its lavish landscapes, sprawling story, and tense action sequences. For the next 30 to 300 hours of game time, you can probably find your vanished friend questing in Tamriel, a magical and medieval continent populated with monsters, dragons,  …and Capitals P.A. Announcer, Wes Johnson.

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Have You Heard? The Caps Are Back.

I feel like I’ve seen this person before… (Photo credit: Mitchell Layton)

Fans enter Verizon Center before the season-opener. (Photo credit: Chris Gordon)

One hundred fifty-seven days. That’s a long summer for Caps fans. And Saturday night at 7:09 P.M. Eastern Time when six ounces of vulcanized rubber tumbled toward the ice sheet it was finally over.

“The atmosphere was great,” Alex Ovechkin told reporters after the game. “The fans push us forward all the time. It’s nice to play at home, especially the first game. I know everybody was missing hockey here so it’s nice to come back.”

The trademarks of Caps hockey were all there last night: Sam Wolk pursed his lips to his horn and let lout three loud blasts at the drop of the puck; Wes Johnson bellowed out the name of Alexander Semin (heavy on the “r”) after Washington lit the lamp for the first time this season on Sasha’s tally; William Stilwell, better known as the Goat, let out a thunderous roar of “Let’s Go Caps!” as he stomped the metal beneath his feet when shown on the big screen in the second period.

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Team Maryland and Team Virginia pose after the game (Download the high-res version)

Despite Washington, D.C. setting a record high temperature of 102 degrees Saturday, it was a perfect day for hockey as over 40 players and over a hundred visitors gathered at Kettler Capitals Iceplex for the 4th Annual Dave Fay Memorial Game benefitting Hockey Fights Cancer. Former Caps Yvon Labre, Gord Lane, Paul Mulvey, Gary Rissling, and Alan Hangsleben joined players from across Maryland and Virginia to honor the long-time Washington Times hockey writer who passed away in 2007 after 12-year battle with cancer.

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NHLer For a Day: One Fan versus Alex Ovechkin

Jerry Moxley

Editor’s note: Reader Jerry Moxley is just your average, amateur hockey player, but he has got one of the greatest “meet your hero” stories we’ve ever read.

If you can make a living doing something you love, consider yourself lucky. I was able to take my interest in television and make a career out of it, but I put on my hockey skates too late to become more than a beer-league weekend warrior. With the birth of my second daughter, I decided to take more work on the side to pay the bills. One day, through Russian Machine Never Breaks and Carlyn Davis Casting, I learned that there was a commercial being filmed at my home rink in Laurel, MD that needed ice rink extras. I emailed the casting agency with the expectation that of a little extra money and maybe a spot in a blurry background somewhere. It turned out to be something bigger.

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Caps Skate with Fans at DC Sculpture Garden

John Carlson holds what appears to be a really happy baby

Prepare to have your heart-strings tugged at. The Washington Capitals participated in a public skate at the D.C. Sculpture Garden this morning. Our hero Suzanne K. was on the scene and snapped some superb pictures. If you’ve been waiting for photos of Nicky Backstrom skating hand-in-hand with adorable little girls, your wait is now over.

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Capitals Superfan Goat Gets Hitched

William 'Goat' Stilwell weds Jill Hunt. Dude, awesome.

Goat and Jill rock the wed. (Photo credit: Wes Johnson)

Goat, recently featured on Espn.com

The madman of 105 (Photo: ESPN)

You might not know him by name, but William Stilwell is a legend to Caps fans. At any moment, the man known as GOAT can fill Verizon Center to the rafters with his boomy “Let’s! Go! Caps!” holler. Goat has become a Capitals institution, a good-natured leader of cheers, as reliable as he is boisterous. He is– in short– beloved.

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.

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Ill Omens as Thrashers beat Caps 4-2 in Season Opener


Just one of those nights. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

Just one of those nights. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

Important stuff first: Atlanta goalie Ondrej Pavelec collapsed during a stoppage of play early in the first period. Medical staff rushed to the ice, as Pavelec remained motionless for ten minutes.  He was then taken to the hospital where he later regained consciousness. Panic, dread, and confusion filled Phillips Arena during the extended delay, but the stalwart audio crew in Atlanta made sure to drown it out with crass jock rock in the interim. We wish all the best to Pavelec.

The Caps opened this season much like they closed the last one: messily.  Through sixty minutes of scrambling, bad turnovers, and awkward attacks, the Capitals stumbled through tonight’s game with the Thrashers like a baby elephant learning to walk.  The Caps put 31 shots against Chris Mason and another 28 into various Thrasher players willing to block them.  While only Brooks Laich and Mike Knuble were each able to defeat the Atlanta defense once, the opponents found ways to score at every turn. Thanks to a penalty-shot goal from Johnny Oduya, a laser from Andrew Ladd, and a twofer from Evander Kane, the Atlanta Thrashers felled the Caps in the opening bout. Thrashers beat Caps 4-2.

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