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Morning Look: The Caps Are Flying

(Photos by Luis Alvarez - AP and Kevin Lamarque - Reuters)

Caps by the numbers

232: Days it has taken the Wizards to record their five most recent wins, dating to Game 5 of last season's playoffs.

82: Days it has taken the Redskins to record their five most recent wins.

9: Days it has taken the Capitals to record their five most recent wins, all during a five-game winning streak. (Yeah, one was in overtime. Sue me.)

35: Number of columns written about the Redskins by Mike Wise, Sally Jenkins, Tom Boswell and Michael Wilbon since Oct. 1, when the local busy season began.

10: Number of columns written about the Wizards by that foursome since Oct. 1.

3: Number of columns written about the Caps by that foursome since Oct. 1.

7: Number of WaPo sportswriters with bylines from Cincinnati last weekend, chronicling the transformation of a 7-6 NFL team into a 7-7 NFL team.

2: Number of WaPo sportswriters who have mentioned reigning NHL MVP Alex Ovechkin more than once in print during the past three months.

2: Rank of the Capitals Insider among Washington Post sports blogs pretty much every day this month, except for days on which Clinton Portis mouthed off on the radio and [blushing] some upstart surged into second.

12: On the other hand, just last week there were 12 Redskins stories on our site that got more traffic than the most-clicked Caps story. But when every Caps story is a game story or a preview, that's not terribly surprising.

6: Number of EagleBank Bowl items appearing on the D.C. Sports Bog since Tuesday.

6: Number of Caps items appearing on the D.C. Sports Bog since Dec. 1, including this one.

(My excuse: Hockey players don't seem to like being funny on cue. Plus 73 percent of Caps fans have their own blogs and already have press box access. Plus I don't speak Russian. But look, this one's pretty obvious. The whole burgundy thing ends in nine more days; please post below all your ideas for strange and wonderful Caps stories that The Tarik wouldn't be interested in following.)

By Dan Steinberg  |  December 19, 2008; 10:23 AM ET
Categories:  Caps , Morning Look  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: What It Felt Like to Lose to Cincy, the Movie
Next: Worst. Week. Ever.



Here are a few:

There is a fan at VC that walks around with a red Cape and flashing lighted gloves... We have no clue as to why!

As a season ticket holder, Alot of new fans have been coming to VC, Caps are averging at least 17,500 per home game. Well the problem is with the newbies is Hockey Viewing ethics... Like Dont lean forward in your seat, It blocks the view... Dont stand and leve your seat or come to your seat while play is going on... We need to get this out there!!!

Go talk to Karl Alzner you'll get some funny stuff..!

Alot of fans such as myself have nicknames for some of the players.. If you want let me know i'll fill you in..

You should sit in the upper deck for a game one night.. Im sure you'll have a blast!

Posted by: darrylrbaker | December 19, 2008 11:05 AM | Report abuse

19% of Russians in the NHL play for Washington Capitals...

Posted by: CodePoetry | December 19, 2008 11:06 AM | Report abuse

Do an article on ticket sales, game plan options, explain pricing, interview season ticket holders about benefits....premium games this year...You can also explain differences in watching live hockey vs TV hockey

Make it an infomercial, to let people know how to get tickets outside of the highway robbery known as ticketmaster.

Posted by: SA-Town | December 19, 2008 11:07 AM | Report abuse

the Bog needs more Matt Bradley.

Posted by: ThisGuy | December 19, 2008 11:19 AM | Report abuse

Check out Tuvanhillbilly's blog - he translates interviews the russian players give in their home country. There's some pretty ridiculous personal life stuff in there right up your alley.

also, have you seen the ovechkin russian gameshow clips on youtube?

personally, I rarely read Caps game stories as I saw the game and already know what happened. but I visit the Caps blog regularly because that is new info updated daily.

Posted by: stormblue | December 19, 2008 11:20 AM | Report abuse

The Cape wearing Caps fan has his own blog. He is very odd and yells out weird things. I wish he would just cheer like a normal fan.

Posted by: lloydo | December 19, 2008 11:28 AM | Report abuse

Oh and if you've eaten recently, or have a weak stomach you mat not want to click that link

Posted by: SombreroGuy | December 19, 2008 11:29 AM | Report abuse

The weekly Redskins show is a weekly 3 hour soap opera with a full staff from the Post covering everything but the game.

Posted by: mnmnt_snow | December 19, 2008 11:30 AM | Report abuse

How about you find out where Matt Bradley got this car and whose it is??? Very funny video...

Posted by: sargeantmofo | December 19, 2008 11:36 AM | Report abuse

whoops, that last comment was meant for the caps insider.

Posted by: SombreroGuy | December 19, 2008 11:36 AM | Report abuse

@ darrylrbaker

I agree with most of what you said. However, def not the leaning forward in your seat. As someone who is a life long hockey fan and has gone to pro games in many "hockey" towns eg Detroit, New York, Boston etc.. I find the not leaning forward in your seat thing ridiculous. We not at the opera man. C'mon

Posted by: CapCup | December 19, 2008 11:42 AM | Report abuse

Dan, I think like 2/3 of the team lives in the same building complex near Kettler Iceplex. They're all like 22, there must be shenanigans that are ripe for this Bog.

Posted by: ThisGuy | December 19, 2008 11:44 AM | Report abuse

How about the coverage caps get on the Radio. I listen to 980 on regular basis and its puzzling why, especially with Al KOKEN from 2-4 with John Thompson that caps are practically ignored. I think someone needs to mention that Caps have outdrawn Wizards at the gate as well they are more watched with the recent Caps Ratings up 140% since last year. But yet they still talk about Wizards and their 4 wins on Consistent basis. As much as AL KOKEN knows about hockey and works covering Caps on Comcacst there is no excuse for that. He easily could have at least 1 or 2 Caps or Managment come on Radio for inteviews.

Here is another topic that Tarik probably wont get too.

How Caps is one of the most exciting teams to watch in hockey and when they are on the road and especially in hockey hotbeds they are one of the most coveted tickets when they come to town.

Posted by: lightshow | December 19, 2008 11:52 AM | Report abuse

-I think we'd all like to read something about the ice quality at Verizon. Tarik seems to keep pushing the story off to the side after mentioning it for months.

-How about some articles about the unsung heroes, the grinders (see Laich, in particular).

-The mancrush on Laich that the entire fanbase has.

-Captaincy - why Chris Clark isn't really cutting it, and who leaders for next year will be (another Laich story!?)

-Anything Varlamov (maybe you can set his nickname in stone: Iron Curtain, From Russia With Glove (curtain gets my choice))

-Why does Nylander skate in circles?

I'm so ready for the Burgundy and Gold to move on. I love the Skins but that dead horse is down to bone.

Posted by: Semvechkin | December 19, 2008 12:02 PM | Report abuse

I got a story idea for you, but it involves a challenge. Here's the challenge:

Pick three games this season. Any three. For one, get seats in the 400 mezzanine end (either side). For another, get seats in the 100 level-end (either side). For the third, get seats about center ice, either 100 or 400, your preference. (400-level seats let you watch the play strategy develop across the entire ice, but 100 is more immediate and you can feel the power and speed of it better).

After each one, blog about it. Describe your experiences. Show up half an hour early for one or more and go down to the lower bowl to watch warmups (that's open to all fans). Watch the players, and the people around you. Describe the atmosphere, the games that are played during intermission, the videos on the jumbotron, and the people around you. You'll find that a surprising number of them know one another. Talk a little bit about the basic etiquette of watching a hockey game and why the rules are what they are.

Another possibility is to talk to and about season ticket holders. Hockey is a long season - 41 home games. When you're a STH, you get to know the people around you, because a lot of times, they're STH's too. By the end of the season, a group of STH's sharing a row or a section is like your hockey family, and this is even more true if you sit in the same seats for years and years. A season of hockey is a intense, shared experience from which many people make lifelong friends and sometimes more. I think there's a great story just in talking to season ticket holders and getting their take on the season and the VC and what's happened to it at the end of last season and all of this season.

Posted by: kittypawz | December 19, 2008 12:07 PM | Report abuse

Also, you want quotable people and funny guys from the Caps? Try talking to any of these guys (and I promise, they all speak English, most of them natively): Brooks Laich, Matt Bradley, Donald Brashear, Alex Ovechkin. They're all hilarious.

Posted by: kittypawz | December 19, 2008 12:12 PM | Report abuse

1---How about an article on how the increased size & speed of today's players may be responsible for the tremendous increase in injuries this year.

2---Report on the feelings of the leagues Gms on what will happen when all the teams in the league are at the salary cap limit & how that will affect player movement & the ongoing building of teams.

Posted by: sidehillman | December 19, 2008 12:16 PM | Report abuse

Would it help if Mike Green chewed on straws?

Posted by: Reader_Glenn | December 19, 2008 12:17 PM | Report abuse

You could do an article showing you giving Matt Bradley boxing/fighting lessons...

And yes, you do know more about fighting than he does. For starters, tell him to stop leading with his chin...

Posted by: jhorstma | December 19, 2008 12:27 PM | Report abuse

RE: leaning in the seats

I went to the game last night, and sat in the 400s at the end where the Caps shoot once. The girl sitting in front of me was literally sitting on the front half of the seat (as if there was something sticky on the back half). I let her sit like that for the first period because I didn't really want to see that part of the ice (ie if the Blues scored a goal). But before the second I asked her to sit back because she was blocking a good portion of the ice. She looked at me like I was insane and that it was rude of me to ask that.

I understand some leaning is to be expected but what I saw last night was above and beyond "casual leaning" and the fans behind them shouldn't have to deal with it. They paid the same or more money as you, why do you get to ruin the view for someone else?

Posted by: kateterp | December 19, 2008 12:49 PM | Report abuse

Ask Alexander Ovechkin what he thinks of Sidney Crosby.

Posted by: pj48 | December 19, 2008 12:54 PM | Report abuse


"Make it an infomercial, to let people know how to get tickets outside of the highway robbery known as ticketmaster."

Please do this article: every time I buy from ticketmaster it hurts to sit down for a couple days...

Posted by: jhorstma | December 19, 2008 12:59 PM | Report abuse

I think Reader_Glen hit it on the head....

How about stories on;
- the Malkin/Ovie hatred and why?
- how Rock the Red has become as much as a staple in the stadium as the Terrible Towel
- how the Caps are the fav. nhl team across the world (besides Cananda and Cyndy Crosby)
- how the caps roster linesup for the forseseeable future since they are all under 25 (or just about)
- compare GMGM to Vinny and EG and see how imporant using the draft has become in developing a potential, budding dynasty

Posted by: ThatGuy2 | December 19, 2008 1:17 PM | Report abuse

Ask the D.C. United fans if the magic is the same for Caps games.

Drum kit and all.

Posted by: StetSportsBlog | December 19, 2008 1:17 PM | Report abuse


more wizards bench mob coverage? : )

Posted by: yukiwith2us | December 19, 2008 1:22 PM | Report abuse

1. The Semin comments on Crosby have gotten lots of attention in the national hockey world, but virtually none by the media here in D.C.(outside of the Capitals Insider blog). Next game against the Pens is in mid-January.

2. Why won't Semin learn English?

3. Ovechkin is endlessly fascinating.

4. The Brett Leonhardt thing--is it played out yet? Maybe, but if something anywhere close to that had happened with the Skins, the Post would have run a special section on it, with all four columnists contributing. But because it's hockey, there's a sidebar of a few paragraphs.

Posted by: TheFingerman | December 19, 2008 1:32 PM | Report abuse


Where my seats are in 411 we are in the corner and when play comes to our end in the corner and I have 5 people in front of me leaning, I cant see bro, Thats all im saying it does block my view from seing the action.. I know we arent at an opera Ive been to hockey games and rock concerts since 84.. But when my view is blocked its disturbing, Thats all!

Posted by: darrylrbaker | December 19, 2008 2:55 PM | Report abuse

I wish the Caps would get more love also. I agree with what lightshow said: ESPN 980 NEVER talks about the Caps (the only winning and worth paying attention to team in DC) they (Al Koken) only talk about hockey for 3 minutes and that's it. ARGH!

Posted by: rachel216 | December 19, 2008 4:40 PM | Report abuse

Why does Nylander skate in circles?

Posted by: Semvechkin

-LOL!!! :D I've also wondered that before!! Like last night's game... at the end of the 2nd period (i think) Nylander skated in a circle like 10 times!

Posted by: rachel216 | December 19, 2008 4:44 PM | Report abuse

talk about how the Caps are everything the Redskins are not.

Posted by: rachel216 | December 19, 2008 4:48 PM | Report abuse

Somehow I think hockey etiquette is not quite for the Bog. Don't you think most of the people that would read a Caps article here are not the audience that needs a lesson?
(Unless the topic is proper etiquette at a Caps tailgate, and drinking beer from Hornguy's horn and the like)

Posted by: Grooven | December 19, 2008 5:00 PM | Report abuse

If you want topics on players, for example, you could do one on Jurcina's shot (the man broke three panes of plexi last week).

If you want one on fans, you can just roam the concourses and talk to people that catch your eye or have a sign or whatever.

Minor celebs, like Pat Sajak. Athletes like Clyde Simms or Jason Campbell. Caps celebs like Goat. The recent mix of Caps players and Ms. Virginia. You could even talk to the Spirit Squad girls (and guy).

What you need is one that has Mike Green 25 meeting Mike Green 52. That's the Bog synergistic stuff.

You can dig into some of the organization and individual player appearances or events or charity work.

There really is plenty to work with.

Posted by: Grooven | December 19, 2008 5:16 PM | Report abuse


Instead of the Caps, you need to make a trip up the interstate to visit the Bears in Hershey.

Surely, Cheese Boy could get some mileage out of being in Chocolate Town.

Posted by: metatext | December 19, 2008 5:40 PM | Report abuse

The sad part about WTEM is there are people there who love the puck (starting with Scott Linn) but "they" think that hockey talk equals the turning of the dial.

Posted by: metatext | December 19, 2008 5:42 PM | Report abuse

Talk about Ovechkins Girlfriend and how she is Former Miss Russia 2004 Same year Ovie was Drafted by the Caps.

Posted by: lightshow | December 19, 2008 6:43 PM | Report abuse

I'm just waiting for all the Frozen Four coverage in the spring.

Posted by: MaxWass | December 19, 2008 7:37 PM | Report abuse

How bout following up on what makes Brooks Laich the de facto ladies' man on the team?

Why do visions of early 70s "The Dating Game" start running through my head...?

Posted by: Jordana20 | December 22, 2008 10:51 AM | Report abuse

Since Tarik won't write his article on how bad the ice is, why don't you?

Posted by: FlyersSuck | December 22, 2008 11:24 AM | Report abuse

Rename "D.C. Sports Bog" to simple "Brooks Laich"

Posted by: Semvechkin | December 22, 2008 11:39 AM | Report abuse

You should blog about a beauty queen that plays ice hockey and .....

oh that's right...

you already blew that one off.


Posted by: no_private_info | December 22, 2008 11:47 AM | Report abuse

The ice is fine.

Write about how the Caps are embraced by such a diverse group of fans while also being one of the most diverse teams in the league. All the talk is of the Russians, but they've got Swedes, Finns, Canadians, Canadiens, Slovakians, Czechs, and even a few Americans. The Caps are like a UN of hckey, but they actually get things done.

Posted by: lornemyoung | December 22, 2008 3:04 PM | Report abuse


Here's 10 ideas...

1) Feature on how Alex Ovechkin has changed this franchise and what his spirit and character mean for the Caps, for the game of hockey, and for Russian youth -- as the Caps are most popular team in Russia.

2) Feature on Ted Leonsis and what he's brought to the Capitals franchise since taking over the team (Kettler, "blogger rights," the new uniforms, a close-knit franchise from ECHL to AHL to NHL, transparency and correspondence with fans, etc).

3) Feature on Donald Brashear and the history/tradition of fighting in hockey.

4) Feature on Kettler Iceplex and what it's meant for the Capitals fan-base inside the beltway, for free agents interested in signing with the Caps, for the Caps team itself, for the Arlington community.

5) Controversial piece on "Who's Better?" Ovechkin vs. Crosby (concluding that Ovie is better).

6) Feature on what bringing future first-ballot hall-of-famer Sergei Fedorov has meant for this team and its young Russian players, particularly Alex Semin, who went from a -14 player last year to a +20 so far this season and who completely changed his game in the post-season last year (becoming a complete player).

7) Go on the road with the Caps and report on what a road trip is like -- team dinners, hotel stays (roomate situation is always ripe material), game prep, etc)

8) The Bruce Boudreau story: This would be in parts. 1) his playing days, 2) minor league coaching, 3) taking over the Caps.

9) Hershey Bears story.

10) The Verizon Center Experience: How Rock the Red has made Caps games the most exciting event in town. (impeccable presentation -- i.e. video montages like "unleash the fury" -- outstanding game announcer, Rock the Red phenomenon, noise level, etc. What has this meant for Caps fans and what has it meant for the players? How have the players seen this evolve from their perspective?

Posted by: MTB7 | December 22, 2008 3:30 PM | Report abuse

You need to do a piece on Goat and "The Horn Guy" and why the stadium just doesn't feel the same when they aren't there. It's crazy that in a stadium full of 17,000 people that you can hear one guy cheering over the rest (Goat) and that one guys with a moose horn can totally change momentum.

Posted by: WVPhil | December 22, 2008 7:33 PM | Report abuse

Suggestions for Caps stories in the SportsBog --1)Karl Alzner seems to have good quotes so talking to him could yield some good stuff. 2) Matt Bradley did a very funny video about "his car" and talking to him about the filming of it would be interesting. 3) The Caps are honoring Mike Gardner at the end of December and a lot of former players will be there so that could yield some good stuff. 4) Some of ushers at VC seem to really like the Caps--talking to them about the differences between Caps crowds v. Wizards crowd might give some material. 5) Ask Nicholas if he is getting his hair cut here this year or if he is again waiting to go back to Sweden for a hair cut. 6) Ask the players what was their favorite Christmas gift when they were a child.

Posted by: NovaCath | December 22, 2008 8:45 PM | Report abuse

Hey Dan,

How about something about the music and video montage guy at the VC? I think there are message boards and whole communities where these guys get ideas for songs etc. I have heard that the Caps in game DJ or whatever they are called participates sometimes in the boards. I don't know if it is the same person that deos all the video stuff, but I have heard comments from the some of the Hershey call ups about the unleash the fury video as well as the Al Pacino "Inches" video. Heck even the players on the bench watch the Funniest Home Videos"

Posted by: CapsGuy | December 23, 2008 5:42 PM | Report abuse

Attention: Washington area sports fans.

Do you really want to root for a team that has the best chance at bringing a World Championship to the Washington area? Well, do you? If so, get on board the Capitals Express. It's a great ride. Hop on board the Express.

Posted by: Dougeb | December 23, 2008 6:28 PM | Report abuse

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