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2/17/11-Washington Capitals Jump in San Jose’s Sharks Tank Tonight and I’ll Put the Fan Gloves Back On-FOR NOW

February 17, 2011


Ah yes, I pulled out the “scary” card in my last video blog. I know – now I’ll never get a date. Well, at least I have my hockey. I was proud of the Washington Capitals for their efforts in Monday night’s battle against the Coyotes in Arizona. As Gabby stated post game, the ‘yotes were held to FIVE goals. Winning isn’t everything, and losing well helps a win become more real. And there was A LOT of real in the game that followed against the Ducks last night. Let’s see if I can spell Anaheim correctly here and mention that shot for shot, the Capitals did keep the pace with the Ducks. None of netminders on ice last night had great games, but there were some interesting bounces that helped take them down as well.

I know some fans, bloggers and the media (let’s hope none of the players) are feeling the “up” and excitement. Feel free, because many were really beginning to lose faith and start to panic. Be aware that there are more games to play. Those games may be 1-0 games. The Capitals may not win. Ovechkin and Semin may not score. These are possibilities. For me as a fan, I am simply feeling better that Scott Hannan (it seems it’s public knowledge now) stepped-up and said the things in the locker room to the men with which he plays the greatest game in the  Universe, that I keep harping about like a crazy woman.

There is good and bad in every single game played, anywhere at any time. One of the reasons I LOVE ice hockey is exactly because of those things. I am always understanding of the need for fans to see excitement all the time. I simply don’t need that sort of thing when I am watching the Capitals play the game that I LOVE. It does happen and when it does, well it’s pretty awesome isn’t it? When it doesn’t, all I care about as a fan is that the team I TRUST and BELIEVE in is playing the game as though they love it as much as I do. I’m low maintenance that way. Although, that’s not really low maintenance at all is it?

The Washington Capitals players have been more defensive minded of late and I haven’t once complained about that. Top producers have struggled and I have not complained about that either. I have not made anguished pleas in text or verbally in the VB about boring neutral zone play and I never will. I HAVE challenged things that I can see in terms of team effort. I HAVE challenged Head Coach Bruce Boudreau but I have never mentioned firing Gabby. I am happy the team has these solid experiences so that when they get to the playoffs, they will be better prepared for what may come. They will have to sacrifice some O to get better D, but in the end, it may be worth all the effort. I care about the fact that as a long-time fan, I have seen other Washington Capitals fail in grand fashion and a lot of why that happened had everything to do with the mindset of the players assembled each season.

Most fans despise the name Jagr and “boo-hiss” at the mere mention of his name. Japer’s Rink wished him a “Happy Birthday” two days ago, but then put the word “vomit” directly after the well wishes. I will counteract that one with a simple “Happy  Belated 39 th Birthday Jaromir Jagr.” I wish nothing but happiness for the guy. One of the things many don’t like to think about is that Jagr came directly from the Czech Republic to the Pittsburgh Penguins where he was loved and cheered by all. He was on a team that won TWO Stanley Cups in a row. He was riding high with the Penguins and he was not familiar with much else but the “way of the Penguins”. He then comes to DC where the then, MCI Center, barely attracted even half attendance. Ron Wilson’s coaching style is very different from what he was used to in Pittsburgh. This was full-on culture shock for him and EVERYONE AROUND HIM RELIED ON HIM TO BE THE ONE SINGLE ANSWER TO ALL OF THE WASHINGTON CAPITAL’S WOES! That’s just no fun, in any way.

Plus, his maturity was behind those of a normal man his age and I can tell you why I know that for sure. His BIO as a Washington Capital listed his favorite band as “Metallica” (nothing wrong with that – I’ll be rocking my dentures to Metallica if I’m around that long) and his favorite TV show was listed as “Saved by the Bell.” (there is nothing right about that on any level at all). I could only hope when I saw that BIO that he just said the first TV show of which he could think. His money was not handled properly by others and he may or may not have a gambling problem. I can’t say either way, but proper money handling was not something any one spent a lot of time working on with him and that can happen when all a person does from young childhood to the NHL is worry about proper puck handling. Jagr is a great hockey player, but I could see the love of the game getting sucked right out of him once he got to DC and it happened fast. Others of the “Fan Favorite” variety who have great skill and promise also seemed to be losing the love of the game over the years.

The reason I am such a pain about making sure the guys are “okay” in the “head and heart” is because I LOVE THIS TEAM and I don’t want to see anyone lose the love of the game for any reason. Team dynamics are an always shifting experience. Personalities, beliefs, learned and natural traits are things that differ on teams, so it is of the UTMOST importance to be vigilant about making sure the team knows exactly what it has in common. The LOVE of the game and the DRIVE to win the Stanley Cup. It may not be a coach’s job to make sure that happens. I think some NHL coach’s do take on that role, while others do not. I am not the person who should decide what an NHL coach’s job is or not, but I can at least keep mentioning that when the “psyche” of any player is off its game, so follows the game itself.

There ARE NHL teams who understand the value of taking care of the mind when it comes to their players. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you the Chicago Blackhawks and James F. Gary – Mental Skills Coach. I would also like to introduce Dave Paskevich, Mental Development Coach for the Calgary Flames. One is a licensed practitioner of the ways of the “head”, but the other is a kinesiologist who just knows and understands the game and all of it’s ups and downs. Perhaps if it is not the coach’s job or the coaching staff’s job to take care of the mental side of NHL life, then it should be someone of the same caste as me. Gary and Dave are doing it and I bet the organizations have them on staff for a reason.

One other topic I will hit very quickly is simply that I have seen an awful lot of negative, angry, derisive, mean, nasty, cruel things written in blogs, comment sections, boards, media outlets and elsewhere about the Washington Capitals. I myself have received my fair share of that sort of thing via e-mail. Yes, I have put the e-mail up here to take it as it comes. Yes, I can a take a punch and I’m not pissing and moaning. I AM, however, very sad about the lack of actual understanding of how ice hockey happens while it’s being played and the complete lack of empathy that surrounds the team that I LOVE. If EVERYONE WHO HAS EVER WRITTEN IN A BLOG, POSTED A COMMENT OR SENT PIXELS OUT INTO THE UNIVERSE ABOUT YOUR THOUGHTS ON THE WASHINGTON CAPITALS COULD PLEASE STAND-UP FOR A SEC, THAT’D BE GREAT.  Now, all those people who have never been in a pair of skates on ice, please sit down. Then, all the people who have never played ice hockey please sit down. So now, all those still standing who have never played at the semi-professional level or higher (college players included). Finally, anyone who as ever sent a pixel out into the hockeyverse about the Washington Capitals and who has NOT played in the NHL before, please take a seat. There aren’t many people left standing are there?

I get frustrated and I do put pixels out about our Washington Capitals. I have reiterated time and time again that I am not a perfect fan. But just like the team in which I TRUST and in whom I BELIEVE, I am working hard at supporting them and being the best fan possible. I don’t always get it right, but I have a solid start because I have no right to decide who gets fired, hired or traded. I may think some players aren’t wheeling when they should and some players should do something else to keep the guys in the game. I may even say it out loud to the hockey gods, but THEY ARE THE BADA#SES who have to do what they have to do – NOT ME OR ANY OF THE THOUSANDS OF YOU WHO ARE SURE YOU KNOW BETTER.  If any single of you get a job with the Washington Capitals, I will take stock in what you say and I will BELIEVE and trust you. For now, I am tired of the HATE. It could be worse, you could be a Colorado Avalanche fan right now. There’s a team that’s REALLY going through it. GO AVS – You can find a way.

GO CAPS! TRUST each other and work the legs for good old DC please  – thanks – luv ya – peace – mia – ps-have I mentioned that I think Walter Gretzky is a genius lately? Oh, I just did – guess what though DON CHERRY – Walter wasn’t born in Canada (the horror!)


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