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Capitals opening video: D.C.'s a hockey town


There's a lot going on in the new game-opening video the Caps debuted on Saturday. There's Alex Ovechkin playing soccer, Red Rockers, a cameo for Wes Johnson, multiple shots of kids playing hockey at Fort Dupont, men skating on molten red metal or possibly paint, and a lot of metal-working and shooting flames in general. All those things are huge positives.

There's also the underlying theme: that this is a hockey town. That's something of an obsession -- are we or aren't we? -- and it's kind of silly. Yes, D.C. now cares massively more about its hockey team than it did three or four years ago. No, it's not more of a Hockey Town than a Football Town, and never will be.

But it's still an A+ opening video.

By Dan Steinberg  | October 11, 2010; 10:38 AM ET
Categories:  Caps  
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Comments

Tell you what, Steinberg. You define "hockey town" for me, and I'll be able to post more intelligently on the subject. "Hockey town" is one of those terms that people throw around but it means. For example, is New York a hockey town? Three NHL teams in the metro area? I would argue no since all three of the hockey teams rank well below the Jints, Jets, Yanks, MEts and KNicks in fan interest. One could argue that the DC is more of a hockey town than New York since the Caps are the number two team in town right now. See what I mean?

Posted by: poguesmahone | October 11, 2010 10:49 AM | Report abuse

I really like it, except for the interspersed (sp?) talking heads saying "we are a hockey town" - kinda jarring when it breaks up the high-energy song!

Posted by: gumball83 | October 11, 2010 10:54 AM | Report abuse

Steinberg: disagree on the football town comment. This is a REDSKINS town, not a football town. You don't see huge throngs going to high school or college games. It is a REDSKINS town. There is a difference.

Posted by: poguesmahone | October 11, 2010 10:55 AM | Report abuse

@Pogues, I think it's a silly debate, because like you say, what is a hockey town? But go to Damascus or Oakton or someplace like that on a Friday night, and then go survey some prep hockey games, and tell me which has more throngs. Or go shopping during a Redskins game, and then during a Caps playoff game, and see when the stores are emptier.

I love this video. I love the excitement around the Caps. If that makes this a hockey town, fine.

Posted by: DanSteinberg1 | October 11, 2010 11:11 AM | Report abuse

Only one Hockeytown in America... I think the Redskins play there in a couple weeks

Posted by: JohnnyBlades | October 11, 2010 11:14 AM | Report abuse

The complex over whether DC is a hockeytown or not reeks of insecurity.

I just hope "Building America's Hockey Capital" doesn't lead even remotely into the same trap of disgust that "America's Team" fostered.

Posted by: Grooven | October 11, 2010 11:25 AM | Report abuse

Stein: I'm not saying DC is a hockey town. I was just showing how, depending upon what definition you use, you can argue that DC is and NY isn't. My definition of a hockey town is where people talk about the games in the office, you go into bars and the games are always on television and the sport is pervasive in the fabric of the area. The only real hockey towns are in Canada, in my view. I know the Detroit people say they are a hockey town, but that has more to do with how crappy the Lions have been over the years than anything else.

Posted by: poguesmahone | October 11, 2010 11:31 AM | Report abuse

That's fair enough.

It's just odd, every few weeks, someone or other asks whether D.C. is a hockey town. No one ever asks that about football or basketball.

Posted by: DanSteinberg1 | October 11, 2010 11:33 AM | Report abuse

Did the funds to build America's hockeytown come from the stimulus package?

Posted by: jpfterps | October 11, 2010 11:34 AM | Report abuse

Dan, I always interpret it as being more of a response to other hockey fans who claim DC is a bandwagon hockey market and not a true hockey town. I don't think any Caps fans, or anyone within the organization, would question whether the Skins hold (and will continue to hold) that #1 spot in DC.

And you don't hear that same kind of claim from basketball or football fans because those are sports that are widely played in the US, and there's not the same need to prove yourself to other fans. Meanwhile hockey has struggled in less traditional markets and fans in those markets are constantly fending off claims from northern teams and more established markets, both above and below the Canadian border, that they're not "real" hockey fans. Whatever that means.

Posted by: Becca_H | October 11, 2010 11:36 AM | Report abuse

F the 3-1-3. Let's Go Caps!!!!!

Posted by: CF11555 | October 11, 2010 11:38 AM | Report abuse

DC is not a hockey town.

Some proof: that new Capital One commercial. In it, McNabb is sitting on the couch in casual clothes, while Ovie is walking around in his Caps sweater. Some folks have complained about it, asking why a 3-time league MVP must wear his uniform to be recognized.

This makes sense, because if you were to ask 500 DC residents to pick Ovechkin and McNabb out of a lineup, I guarantee McNabb would be immediately identified. Ovie, not so much. To most DC natives, he's just some white dude with an accent.

More proof: the sheer numbers of clueless bandwagon fans who fill up the VC on game nights. Why are they there? It's not because they have any true love for hockey. They've settled for something that might make them feel better about their horrible football team. They just want to see some success for a change. They're so sick of the Redskins failing that they've (temporarily) traded in their burgundy and gold for the red, white an blue.

I'm hoping the Skins will begin to do well at some point just so they'll regain all the fans who've started coming to Caps games.

Peter Bondra can walk the concourse at VC and no one around even notices. I've witnessed this more often than I care to admit. Now, if Chris Cooley were to stroll the concourse you'd hear the squeals of teenage girls and the stomping of guys trying to get autographs.

Selling out games doesn't make this a hockey town. It makes it a town that's sick of the Redskins failing to live up to their past glory and is seeing other teams until their true love gets its act together.

I admire what Leonsis hopes to achieve, and I wish him luck. But I don't believe he will meet this goal.

Posted by: HornGuy | October 11, 2010 11:46 AM | Report abuse

Hornguy: I think you vastly underestimate Ovechkin's recognizability in this area. Vastly.

Posted by: poguesmahone | October 11, 2010 12:07 PM | Report abuse

Stein: I don't think DC is a hockey town. But I've been a Caps fan for 35 years, since day one. I enjoy the enhanced popularity and visibility of the team and the fact that it is viewed as the "cool" sport in town. I like that the best hockey player in the world plays here. I like seeing that a huge percentage of the Verizon Caps crowd is made up of folks 40 and under. I like seeing that the local sportstalk station that is willing to talk Caps (WJFK) seems to be crushing in the ratings the one that won't (ESPN 980). And even though I have my issues with Leonsis, I like how he has marketed the team. And I certainly like that the team is competitive for a Cup. So it is all good, hockey town or not........

Posted by: poguesmahone | October 11, 2010 12:13 PM | Report abuse

Why is this topic a big deal to some people?

Skins play once a week on Sunday. Caps are never involved in Head to Head with Skins for viewership. I never have to choose should I watch Skins or Caps. We can be both, a Redskins town and a up and coming Hockey Town. Hockey is a niche sport and always will be but it can certainly have a loyal following. What this current Caps team did is awaken a sleeping fan base that was around in late 80's and early 90's. I still have Dale Hunter's OT goal fresh in my memory.
Also Steinberg visit Laurel Ice Garden when there is Local High School playoffs between Gonzaga and DeMatha Standing room only. Don't underestimate Prep Hockey in this area.

Posted by: lightshow | October 11, 2010 12:24 PM | Report abuse

I love the Caps, but I don't think this area is a hockeytown. For example, none of the preseason games were televised or not all were on a radio station. If Bondra can walk around unrecognized by fans at VC, then that is a very sad state of affairs. Bondra still holds the Caps records for goals, power play goals, short handed goals, and game winning goals.

Posted by: NovaCath1 | October 11, 2010 1:23 PM | Report abuse

Worst bog ever.

Posted by: DisgustedinArlington | October 11, 2010 2:26 PM | Report abuse

By the way Hornguy, I think McNabb not wearing his Redskins jersey in the commercial had everything to do with rights fees that the NFL and Snyder would charge and nothing to do with recognizability.

Posted by: poguesmahone | October 11, 2010 3:09 PM | Report abuse

you guys way over think things, this is a marketing campaign....the cup can be half full, when a lot of people who comment seem to always think it is half empty...

Posted by: CelticFCbhoys | October 11, 2010 4:01 PM | Report abuse

I'm a long time Caps fan, but I'm not under any illusion about whether DC lives off hockey the way Montreal, Toronto, Detroit, and even Chicago, NY, Boston and Philly do. We don't. Hockey just isn't in the city's bloodstream the way it is in other cities. The best measure of a sports team's worth to their city is whether the city is still passionate about the team even when that team is going through lean times. On that measurement, there's no reasonable way to say that the Caps outrank the Skins, or even come close. And there's no way to say that DC is on a par with other traditional hockey cities either. I certainly hope the day comes when that's not true. But right now, the attitude in other hockey cities is that DC is hot for the Caps only because the Caps are doing well and are exciting. The second that's no longer true is the second Verizon starts getting empty again. That's been true in the past. We'll see if that's true in the future.

Posted by: mbcnewspaper | October 11, 2010 4:03 PM | Report abuse

I thought the key point of the video was the slogan "Building America's Hockey Capital"--as in "we're building a hockey town" and the work isn't done yet. And I think there's some truth to that. While everyone who grew up in the DC area in the 1970s and 1980s is a longtime Redskins fan because the team was so successful over that time, kids growing up in the Washington area now, particularly if the Caps win a Cup or two, are growing up with the Caps being the most successful team in town. A lot of those kids are still Redskins fans, too, but they'll grow up with a Caps tradition. That's what builds, if not a hockey town, a town that makes the Caps an important part of the sports landscape. That doesn't mean they'll displace the Redskins as the top team, but can you name me any city in America where the hockey team is more popular than the NFL team? That's not unique to DC and it shouldn't be the standard for whether the DC area is embracing the Caps in a way that's different than any time in the past.

Posted by: TheFingerman | October 11, 2010 5:32 PM | Report abuse

Being obsessed with the "Hockey Town" crap falls right in line with the envy this town has for Crosby and The Pens.
I agree, we are more interested in hockey then we were a couple of years ago, but HOCKEY TOWN? Come on Ted....step away from the buffet and put down the silverware.

Posted by: caphcky | October 11, 2010 9:23 PM | Report abuse

They may claim that tonight was a sellout, but it is not a hockeytown until all the seats are not just sold, but actually filled on a Monday night game in October.

Posted by: NovaCath1 | October 11, 2010 10:16 PM | Report abuse

Maybe DC will never be a hockey town, but I've got my sights set a little lower: that eventually the bandwagoners will learn hockey and know what they're talking about at games, in their blogs, and in comments on the post site.

I'm not holding my breath for either.

Posted by: GFisher1 | October 12, 2010 9:21 AM | Report abuse

Eh, this video is good, but the 2008-2009 video was better...

Posted by: CapsNut | October 12, 2010 9:43 AM | Report abuse

When I'm at Wegmans on a Saturday (with a billion people running around like idiots) and I'm the only one wearing an article of Caps clothing and see countless Redskins fans representing, it's fairly obvious what kind of "town" this is.

I'd love for it to be a hockey town though. Go Caps!

Posted by: LloydChristmas | October 12, 2010 9:44 AM | Report abuse

DC is a hockey town when the Caps are winning, just like DC will be a baseball town when the Nats are winning, and just like DC will rediscover its true roots as a basketball town when the Wizards are winning.

DC is a winning town.

Posted by: Zornado | October 12, 2010 9:58 AM | Report abuse

Agree with CapsNut - the 2008-2009 intro video was better. And so was last year's The new one lacks focus.

Posted by: pirate1 | October 12, 2010 10:04 AM | Report abuse

@pirate1
maybe the 2008-2009 was the best, but dear god not last years. that might have been the worst one I can recall in recent memory.

Posted by: hubcop84 | October 12, 2010 10:13 AM | Report abuse

Last year's video was awful. The postseason one was worse.

Posted by: Zornado | October 12, 2010 10:25 AM | Report abuse

When I'm at Wegmans on a Saturday (with a billion people running around like idiots) and I'm the only one wearing an article of Caps clothing and see countless Redskins fans representing, it's fairly obvious what kind of "town" this is.

I'd love for it to be a hockey town though. Go Caps!

Posted by: LloydChristmas | October 12, 2010 9:44 AM | Report abuse
----
You should go to the Fairfax Wegmans. I see people rockin' the red in there every weekend.

I agree with capsnut and others that the 2008-2009 video was much better...but that might be because I was in it. :) I graded this year's opening video a C. I dislike the new slogan and the lack of a recognizable rock song to accompany the video. In the past we've had "The Pretender," "Elevation," etc. Would it kill them to choose something people know that will actually get the crowd fired up?

For years the Caps have shied away from playing what I consider hockey music during games, though I was pleasantly surprised to hear some old school Metallica last night. One of the most frustrating thing about watching road games is hearing the better music that's played in some other buildings. How are the players supposed to "stay angry" when the games are peppered with lame music? Bring back Rage Against the Machine!

Posted by: JillC | October 12, 2010 10:36 AM | Report abuse

What's worse is that the "rock" part of this year's song is also a prominent wrestling entrance theme used in the WWE.

Posted by: Zornado | October 12, 2010 10:49 AM | Report abuse

Re: the WWE song - to clear myself, I only know that because I read it on a random Caps blog.

Posted by: Zornado | October 12, 2010 10:53 AM | Report abuse

Nothing worse than the guys playing the terrible song "Why can't We Be Friends" during the Devils-Caps brawl at the end of the home opener.

I second the old school metallica though. I'd crap my pants if there was some Children of Bodom though. Great stuff for a hockey game.

Posted by: GFisher1 | October 12, 2010 11:55 AM | Report abuse

@Zornado, thank you for the shoutout. I have a feeling that my blog, Kings Of Leonsis, is the blog in which you are referring to. I hope the song rubs off on you one day.

Adam
-KOL
"The Random Caps Blog."

Posted by: adamvingan | October 12, 2010 12:02 PM | Report abuse

@Zornado, thank you for the shoutout. I have a feeling that my blog, Kings Of Leonsis, is the "random Caps blog" in which you are referring to. I hope the song rubs off on you one day.

Adam
-KOL

Posted by: adamvingan | October 12, 2010 12:03 PM | Report abuse

JillC Said: "One of the most frustrating thing about watching road games is hearing the better music that's played in some other buildings."

You know, this is something that has bothered me about both the Redskins and Caps for years -- though I must say the Caps music is MUCH MUCH MUCH MUCH MUCH better than the Skins! I would have canned the guy in charge of music at FedEx years ago if I had that power. Seriously awful.

Posted by: TheOtherGuyInSection117 | October 12, 2010 2:11 PM | Report abuse

I can't believe I left out "Beautiful People." Possibly the best opening song EVER.

Posted by: JillC | October 12, 2010 5:48 PM | Report abuse

D.C., a Hockey Town .... No. 62 consecutive sell outs and a 3,000 season ticket holder waiting list. No complaints here. I'm waiting for Lord Stanley to arrive and it will happen.

Posted by: noreaster1 | October 12, 2010 6:17 PM | Report abuse

granted I live in the burbs, but I see more caps stuff than redskins everyday..I also see more at school now than ever, During playoffs I would have at least three out of ten kids with caps wear on..

the thing I dont like about the video is the dumb molten sparks.. hello.. that a pittsburgh thing.. they weld ,, we read or spy or argue or shove people in the metro.. its not a blue collar city and shouldnt pretend to be since our rival pens self identifies as such..

Posted by: kmr2r | October 12, 2010 7:20 PM | Report abuse

granted I live in the burbs, but I see more caps stuff than redskins everyday..I also see more at school now than ever, During playoffs I would have at least three out of ten kids with caps wear on..

the thing I dont like about the video is the dumb molten sparks.. hello.. that a pittsburgh thing.. they weld ,, we read or spy or argue or shove people in the metro.. its not a blue collar city and shouldnt pretend to be since our rival pens self identifies as such..

Posted by: kmr2r | October 12, 2010 7:22 PM | Report abuse

we won't know if DC is a hockeytown until the capitals start sucking again (which, like every sports team, they eventually will). No team can be great forever. When the Caps are no longer a great team and Verizon Centre still draws a sellout crowd, we'll know this place is a hockeytown.

I've become a Caps fan in recent years, but I intend to be one for life. Discovered hockey as an awesome sport.

Posted by: j762 | October 12, 2010 10:54 PM | Report abuse

I was at the home opener and I noticed that instead of Varlamov in the beginning they had Neuvirth. I wonder if they change it to cater to the starting goaltender.

Posted by: kkthemook | October 14, 2010 11:48 AM | Report abuse

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