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Random hockey musings

By Kareem El-Alaily

Caps Bandwagon: I read with interest fellow fan blogger Nicole Weissman’s piece on Bandwagon Cap Fans. I know this has been a talking point among DMVers in the past year and I thought I’d throw my two cents in. Granted, it is occasionally annoying when you get a newbie sitting next to you who cheers every hit like it was a goal, screams for Ovechkin to fight anyone, and loudly declares his/her disdain for playoff hockey shootouts (yes, you read that correctly). But those vocal folks are few and far between and while their numbers increase the farther south you go, the truth is that you find those fans in EVERY American city, including Original 6 ones. I personally have no beef with newly-minted Caps fans and actually enjoy them for three reasons:

1) They bring a sense of optimism that us long-time Caps sufferers no longer have. I’m actually jealous of the fact that they have very little Caps-related scar tissue.

2) They bring energy and excitement to the VC, which was severely lacking when there were only 12,000 of us filling the building on a nightly basis a mere five years ago.

3) They line Uncle Ted’s pockets (and he deserves it).

As long as these fans stick around when we’re playing sub-.500 hockey I happily embrace them -- regardless of whether they ever learn what “icing” is.

Eric Belanger & Saturation Coverage of the NHL:  Oddly, the first thing I thought of when this story broke was about how different this would have been had Eric Belanger played for the Redskins. It’s not every day that a player calls out his former team. I can only imagine the media circus that would have ensued as the local and national TV and radio stations all would have descended upon Redskin Park en masse. Heck, Sal Paolantonio or Chris Mortensen may have even graced Ashburn with their presence. With all those folks hovering around Redskin Park someone on the inside would have spilled the beans on what really went down. That didn’t quite happen for the Eric Belanger saga. The Canadian press was all over this story from Belanger’s angle but it took a bit for it to pick up in the DC Area (outside of the Caps blogosphere of course).

Obviously, the NHL in the U.S. just doesn’t get the saturation coverage that it does in Canada or that the NFL does in the U.S.  While I would have loved to get a bit more out of the Belanger fiasco -- like what really happened, what trade the signing was contingent on, etc. -- I would never want the NHL to become like the NFL, where marginally news-worthy stories are overplayed, drawn out and sensationalized.

Penn State: After dozens of years dominating club hockey -- and occasionally a few NCAA teams -- Penn State is finally moving up to NCAA D1 hockey. That’s great for the college game as well as the local area! For us college hockey fans we will now have two teams (Princeton, PSU) within a 4-hour drive of DC. Maybe this can be the impetus to push Navy to go D-I and become the area’s first NCAA hockey team.

Lest we think Navy is the only regional team that can go D-I, there is also a dark-horse candidate for future D-I membership down in Southern Virginia. Nope, not Virginia Tech - although they would make a great NCAA program. I’m talking about Liberty University. They have a successful club hockey team, a 3,000+-seat on-campus arena that they routinely fill up and strong school support.  While that scenario is still a long-shot here’s to hoping that college hockey continues its slow creep southward in the next decade. Congrats again to Penn State!

Starry Pants? The popular decision the Skins made going back to gold Pants has made me question why the Caps don’t go back to their old-school hockey pants, the navy blues with the six stars down the side or some variation of it. Those would definitely more interesting than the current set of all-blue pants. Occasionally, if you skate in the DC Area you always find one or two old-timers that still rock the old-school pants during pick-up. True classics.

By Box Seats blogger  | September 21, 2010; 4:00 PM ET
Categories:  Capitals, Kareem El-Alaily  | Tags:  Capitals  
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Next: DC United vs. LA Galaxy game diary and player rankings


1. Thanks for linking to my post!
2. Props for knowledge of local NCAA hockey. Awesome.
3. I hate the gold pants, but I like where you're coming from. But I do hate the gold pants, seriously.

Posted by: nicko | September 21, 2010 4:20 PM | Report abuse

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