Sunday, March 28, 2010

Benjamin's First Caps Game

The Caps played the Calgary Flames today at Verizon Center. Today also marked a very important milestone: Benjamin's first live Capitals game. He's four and a half year's old and has been following the Caps with me and has been really into it this year. He loves listening to the goal horn when the Caps score on TV, his favorite player is Alex Ovechkin and he's got a couple red jersey shirts plus a cool Caps hat. When it comes to gear, Daddy will take care of him.

We got to Verizon Center before warm ups so I was able to take some pictures from the Club Level, section 215. Both of us liked watching both teams practice skills and Benjamin was thrilled to see his hockey hero in person for the first time.

The experience was great despite the Caps losing the game 5-3 to the Flames. He got to meet a couple of my friends who are regulars at Caps games. He saw the sea of red jerseys and shirts the Caps fans were wearing all over the arena. Plus, for the first time he got to experience "UNLEASH THE FURY!", which is the Caps rallying cry on the video screen.

Despite the Caps loss, Benjamin had a blast and wants to go back. We got our tickets from a friend of ours. I've also purchased tickets off the Caps Season Ticket Holders Exchange. We will probably do that again next year as this is the hottest ticket in town. The Caps have sold out over 50 straight home games and there is a season ticket waiting list. That's great!

Here are some of the 125 pictures I took from Section 215. Click for a larger image.

Benjamin hanging out before the game.

Caps goalie Jose Theodore during warm ups.

Alex Ovechkin, Mike Knuble and Alex Semin share a laugh during warm ups.

Alex Ovechkin: Benjamin's favorite player.

Alex Ovechkin practicing a tip drill before the end of warm ups.

Pair of Captains: Jerome Iginla of Calgary and Alex Ovechkin of Washington

Caps on the move...

This sequence led to a Calgary goal. Caps D was nowhere to be found

Caps Defenseman Joe Corvo decides to try to pop Calgary RW David Moss but it led to a goal for the Flames.

Caps Mike Knuble being surrounded by three Calgary Flames.

Couple scraps here. Game got chippy when the Caps were down 4-0.

Caps Mike Green and Flames Eric Nystrom collide.

Mathieu Perreault, called up from Hershey, faces off vs Calgary's Mikael Backlund

Traffic in front of Caps goalie Semyon Varlamov.

Caps Head Coach Bruce Boudreau is not pleased with the way the game was going. Final score was Calgary 5, Caps 3.


Calgary on the move...

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Michigan State Ends Maryland's Season

85-83 Michigan State wins at the buzzer. Maryland came back from 16 points down to take the lead 83-82. Then Michigan State guard Korie Lucious made the game-winning three-point shot from the top of the key at the buzzer. End of game, end of season, end of career for Greivis Vasquez, who became Maryland's second all time leading scorer in the game.

I'm very proud of the Terps for coming back the way they did in the second half today. It was fun watching them play this year and even Benjamin got to see them play back in December. He became a fan this year as we watched games together.

To summarize the Terps season: These guys ALWAYS came back in the second half this year. Sometimes it worked - MOST times it worked - this time it didn't.

This Maryland team was one of the most mentally tough 'second half' Terp teams I've ever seen in my 40 years of following Terp basketball. I won't forget this team. Terps came from nowhere in the pre-season to share the regular season ACC title and had the ACC Player in Greivis Vasquez and Coach of the Year in Gary Williams. Be proud Terps fans.

On a personal note this team did a lot for me as this Fall I get the news of a job layoff, my Mother in Law had a brain tumor removed successfully and has undergone a lengthy rehabilitation process and I lost my Uncle Dave. For a couple hours two or three times a week I just totally got into the games they were playing. No, I won't ever forget these guys. I'm just sad it ended today but if they had to check out, I'm glad it was to a good coach who runs a classy program. This is why I will root for Michigan State the rest of the way.

I would like to add one more note about Greivis Vasquez. As I said earlier he became Maryland's second all time leading scorer today by passing Len Bias (Juan Dixon is number one). In the last two minutes of today's game Vasquez took the team and put it on his back for one final ride. It was like he was telling the team - "We're not going to lose! We didn't come this far, work this hard to lose." He scored ten points in those two minutes and nailed the shot that put the Terps ahead 83-82 and I thought Maryland had it. So close.

Post Recap

Sunday, March 07, 2010

Capitals vs Rangers In Pictures

I went to the Caps-Rangers game last night and had a seat in the Club level of Verizon Center. In my opinion the Club level is the best place to take game pictures. Since I got my camera over a year ago, when I go to games I like to take pictures and show them to Benjamin, who at age four is now learning (and participating in) sports. I use my pictures as a way to introduce the game and the local teams to him. I have a Nikon D40 and I used the 70-300mm VR Nikkor zoom lens I got from my family for Christmas.

I like the Club level as the seats are a bit roomier than the upper level and I can lean into a shot easier if I need to. I don't like to do this a lot as I don't want to interfere with the fans behind me, but the folks last night who sat behind me said they weren't distracted.

This Caps team continues to amaze me. They have won 13 straight games at home and are leading the entire NHL in points. Never in the Caps history have they had the overall lead this late in the season. So I am very excited for the Caps chances. I really believe this team is stocked from top to bottom to win the Stanley Cup.

This is the team's 35th anniversary and last night the Caps had a celebration. We saw highlight videos, a couple former players were in house and even Ron Weber, the Caps radio voice from 1974 to 1997 was there. A lot of memories were brought back for me as I've followed the team since day one. My family had season tickets the first six seasons and I lived and died with the expansion 8-67-5 Caps as a 13 year old. Over the years, I supported them in person as often as I could at Cap Centre and now Verizon Center. Since Benjamin's birth, trips to Verizon Center aren't as frequent as now he's an active four year old so I cherish each game I get to see in person. Last night was no exception. Unfortunately I got off to a late start and missed taking pictures during warm ups.

It was a great game by Jose Theodore and the Capitals defense. Eric Fehr and newly acquired Eric Belanger scored the goals for the Caps. You can read more about the 2-0 win over the Rangers here via the Washington Post here.

So since I'm not able to get to Verizon Center as often as I like, in addition to watching the games on TV with Benjamin, I follow these sites to get my Caps fix.

DC Sports Bog

On Frozen Blog

Japer's Rink

Washington Capitals Blog

One I recently discovered, Mark's Musings

And the Caps Owner Ted Leonsis has his blog Ted's Take that is must reading for Caps fans.

Now that Benjamin's developed an interest in hockey and the Caps (Alex Ovechkin is his favorite Cap), a month ago I used the Caps season ticket holder exchange to get center ice Club Level tickets to the March 28th game vs the Calgary Flames. This will be Benjamin's first Caps game and he is excited. The waiting has been the hardest part for him but come March 28th, we'll be decked out in red and rocking in Verizon Center.

Here are most of my pictures of last night's game. (Click to enlarge) Enjoy and Let's go Caps!!!

The Caps and Mike Knuble are introduced before the game.

Opening faceoff

Nicklas Backstrom

Eric Belanger and Jose Theodore

Defenseman Joe Corvo keeping things in check for the Caps.

Caps Defense was solid all night in front of goalie Jose Theodore.

#1 star of the game with his first shutout of the year, Jose Theodore.

Caps defenseman Jeff Schultz, who blocked three shots in the win over the Rangers. Solid effort.

Rangers pest Sean Avery

Caps defenseman Mike Green


Caps make sure the Rangers get the Caddyshack Spaulding treatment. In other words, "you'll get nothing and like it!"

Caps defenseman John Carlson keeps an eye on things as Jose Theodore keeps the Rangers at zero goals.

Caps Mike Knuble and Rangers Vinny Prospal

Caps Eric Belanger on the faceoff.

More solid defense by the Caps.

The net was in the way here on this faceoff between Rangers Chris Drury and Caps Tomas Fleishmann but I loved the view from the club level.

Take a seat Sean Avery. The Caps would eventually score on a 5 on 3 with :10 left in his penalty.

Mike Green with the puck.

I like this shot of gritty veteran Mike Knuble, a tremendous offseason pick up by the Caps.

Caps first goal which was scored by #16 Eric Fehr.

One of the Caps unsung heroes, David Steckel

Matt Bradley, another grinder for the Caps.

Alex Semin and Mike Green make sure Jose Theodore has the puck.

Nicklas Backstrom of the Caps and Artem Anisimov of the Rangers battle during the faceoff.

Caps Captain Alex Ovechkin

Ovie hustles and does anything it takes to gain an advantage on the ice. He was held scoreless vs the Rangers but he created a lot of havoc and the Caps just win.

Caps Scott Walker and Rangers Brandon Dubinsky discuss dinner plans while Matt Gilroy and David Steckel look on.

Caps defenseman John Carlson

Caps defenseman Mike Green

Joe Corvo and Brooks Laich take care of business in front of Jose Theodore.

Rangers put pressure on the net but the Caps are there to answer.

Caps defenseman Joe Corvo

Mike Knuble pressures the Ranger net.

Ovie awaits the faceoff.

Brian Boyle of the Rangers and David Steckel of the Caps.