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Posted at 12:59 AM ET, 02/17/2011

Caps fans in Anaheim

By Dan Steinberg


If you stayed up late in Thursday morning for the Caps' utterly bizarre 7-6 win over Anaheim -- and judging by Twitter activity, many of you did -- you would have noticed an incredible number of red-shirted folks in the Honda Center. You could see (and hear) them celebrate every Caps goal, you could see them waving red towels, and you could see at least one of their hats on the ice after Alex Semin's hat trick. I mean, I'm used to large numbers of Caps fans in New York and Boston by this point. I wouldn't have expected it in Southern California.

The best fans, of course, were the four folks in large rubber president masks, whose identity is surely known to at least one of you, who will promptly e-mail me so I can conduct an awesome interview with them. I mean, you really don't wear an Obama mask to a hockey game unless you want to get on TV, and then to have your image messily pasted onto a blog, and then to conduct an irony-laced interview with the author of that blog.

As for the game itself, well, if this team wants to start playing 7-6 games again, I'm more than willing to stay up until 1 in the morning.

"An absolutely crazy hockey game," Joe Beninati said on Comcast SportsNet.

"Hurry up, let's get out of here before they take these two points away," his partner, Craig Laughlin, added. "What a weird hockey game."






By Dan Steinberg  | February 17, 2011; 12:59 AM ET
Categories:  Caps  
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Comments

It was really loud when Semin scored the game winner almost as if we were playing at home. Caps fans in president masks were hilarious saluting the crowd and shaking hands with everyone.

Posted by: lightshow | February 17, 2011 1:59 AM | Report abuse

We celebrate this game and the good news that it brings.

Long way to go. But we won and scored 7. mb. mb indeed.

Posted by: CF11555 | February 17, 2011 2:33 AM | Report abuse

Was at the game in Anaheim as well. There were sections where most of the section was wearing red, including mine which was 90% Caps fans. I was with a friend for her first hockey game; she thought they segregate the fans like in Europe and that we were sitting in the Capitals section.

What is the rule for shouting "Red" during the national anthem in other teams' arenas? A few Caps fans did tonight but it was awkward - I didn't, because I figured Ducks fans don't know about that happening at Verizon and I didn't want Caps fans to be known in SoCal for disrespecting the national anthem.

In fairness it was probably no more than 25% Caps fans but we were far louder than Ducks fans (as you would expect for fans of the visiting team).

Posted by: guiliano89 | February 17, 2011 2:57 AM | Report abuse

I was at the game as well, and had the pleasure of sitting several rows back from the live action Mt.Rushmore. Quite dedicated fellas- never took off their masks for a breather. I have to say that we were respectful and handled ourselves with class. I DID feel like Verizon Center west though.

Posted by: sammy331 | February 17, 2011 4:58 AM | Report abuse

I was there because I live in LA now. Still have season tix but gave 1/3 to my family and sold 2/3rds. First game in person this year, I've watched most online or on NHL network. I am finally of the opinion Gabby needs to go. I hope I'm proven wrong in the playoffs and we win it all, but I don't see consistent effort. No one laid down for shots tonight. Our defense was a joke. If their goalie hadn't been even worse this would have been a complete embarassment.

Posted by: dcmusician2 | February 17, 2011 7:07 AM | Report abuse

This was a sloppy defensive game. I can only hope that a game like this gives them confidence boost they needed on offense, but doesn't give them the false sense that they can play like this and get the same result every game.

The number one positive is Semin. I have to believe that guy is bi-polar and when he is feeling good he is a beast. He was smiling pretty well last night, so I think we are going to see a 4 or 5 game goal scoring streak from him. I hope he stays happy long in to April and possibly May.

Posted by: akmzrazor | February 17, 2011 7:39 AM | Report abuse

Way to represent Caps fans! I watched the 1st period, but my 5:00 am alarm wasnt going to let me stay up. 7 goals!?!?!? I have a feeling this team is going to turn it up when they need to this year.

Posted by: Hondo5 | February 17, 2011 7:51 AM | Report abuse

The guy in the Red Caps jersey taking off his hat in the first picture (2 rows behind the presidents) is my brother, he drove up from San Diego to catch the game, glad it was a good one.

Posted by: gob75 | February 17, 2011 8:24 AM | Report abuse

Point Break was a great movie.

Posted by: GFisher1 | February 17, 2011 8:44 AM | Report abuse

Great article and noticed the same thing watching the game last night. Way to go Caps fans.

Agree on not shouting Red or O! away from home. The Anthem has become a carnival act at Verizon.

Posted by: tslats | February 17, 2011 9:43 AM | Report abuse

10 years ago their is no way you see this many Cap fans period on the road, especially on a west coast trip, but you see a lot of red now in places you would not have years ago.

Posted by: PublicEnemy1 | February 17, 2011 10:25 AM | Report abuse

University of Maryland Alumni could learn something from Caps fans. The Caps travel buddy. If Hockey had bowl games (I guess you could consider the Winter classic sort of a bowl game) the Caps would never have to play in the Eagle Bank Bowl. Awesome to see folks rockin the red all the way in So-Cal. If only they could take the "Unleash the Fury" video montage on the road with em.

Posted by: RobAnthony | February 17, 2011 10:28 AM | Report abuse

Anyone else see the Blackhawks logo flash of the screen after Ovechkin's first goal?

Posted by: seagray | February 17, 2011 11:05 AM | Report abuse

I only watched the first two periods before having to go to bed, but it was remarkable how loud it sounded after the Caps goals. My question is: Are these fans at games in places like Anaheim displaced Washingtonians who were always big Caps fans, displaced Washingtonians who weren't necessarily big Caps fans pre-Ovechkin but are now showing some hometown pride, or just people who have little connection to Washington but find the Caps, Ovy, etc. an exciting team? (Or at least found them an exciting team before the last 2.5 months of depressing Caps hockey?)

Posted by: TheFingerman | February 17, 2011 11:10 AM | Report abuse

Can somebody answer me this about the transformation that occurs when fans go on the road:

I've been to a handful of road games - last year made it to Joe Luis for the date with Detroit. Anyone in a caps jersey was an instant new friend.

At the last home game against LA I happened to sit in a different section from my regular seats. The guy behind me, in a red Caps jersey, REFUSED to sit back in his seat despite the polite requests from fans behind him. It turned into name calling, near fisticuffs, and finally security involvement. The guy was a huge D-bag.

So why is it that road fans are instant comrades and yet in your own building, among 18,000 potential friends some people just act like complete a-holes toward fellow fans?

Posted by: Rainier1 | February 17, 2011 11:10 AM | Report abuse

@Rainier1: Oh good grief dude, you had one bad experience with one fan at one game, let it go. D-bags are everywhere.

Posted by: theamazingmouse | February 17, 2011 11:15 AM | Report abuse

@ TheFingerman: I'll be heading to the shark tank tonight. Caps fan since age 8, season ticket holder pre ovie, raised in DC, now misplaced. But, honestly, who cares if they're "new" Caps fans or not (you didn't use this phrase i know). If they've made the effort of rocking the red at an away game, they'll be my friend for the night. Go Caps!

Posted by: BoulderBondra | February 17, 2011 11:30 AM | Report abuse

I noticed the Blackhawks logo as well. Had to rewind a replay once to make sure, but it was there a few times. I also noticed the basketball during the Miller Lite ad as well.

Posted by: Tblackford | February 17, 2011 11:32 AM | Report abuse

@Rainier1 : That's just the nature of people at a sporting event (well, in general), just because you're a fellow fan doesn't mean they are going to be polite - especially when whatever is going on is all about them. They should teach etiquette before the game (heh heh). Section 408 by chance? I was near a similar incident.

Posted by: irascible1 | February 17, 2011 12:26 PM | Report abuse

I was at the game and it was awesome.

Caps fans represented well last night.

Never gets old going to Ducks games and making joke after joke about those Mighty Duck movies.

Posted by: P00PY_MCP00P | February 17, 2011 1:45 PM | Report abuse

I was at the game last night, as I am a season ticket holder for the Ducks, but I would like to make a correction to this article. They were not waiving red towels at the game. they were ORANGE towels given away upon attendence to the game from the Tiger Woods Foundation. The caps fans were indeed very loud and I enjoyed the show of sitting behind all the presidents, but thought I would make the simple correction on the towels.

Posted by: PowerPlayerGirl88 | February 17, 2011 2:43 PM | Report abuse

@BoulderBondra

That's cool--I'm just curious. As you noted, I didn't use the term "new" fan because I don't care. I'm just interested because skeptics in both D.C. and in places like Philly and Pittsburgh often claim that there were hardly any Caps fans in Washington before three years ago. It isn't true, because I know plenty of people like myself and you who grew up going to Caps fans since they were young kids. Just glad to see those fans emerging on the road.

Posted by: TheFingerman | February 17, 2011 2:57 PM | Report abuse

Was there Rockin' the Red and representing Mount Pleasant ST NW DC!!!

Posted by: meximala | February 17, 2011 3:45 PM | Report abuse

Good to see that I'm not the only Caps fan in SoCal. I'll gladly give you people back in DC the weather, the Wizards, the Deadskins, and the politics, but I'll hang on to the Caps if you don't mind.

Ducks fans are pretty cool, by the way. And I'll be pulling for the Ducks to score five goals every game the rest of the way because you get five free wings at Hooters when they do it.

One thing that stood out is that a lot of people who don't follow the Caps don't realize how big Ovie is and how he likes to hit people. They see the slick skating and the fancy moves, and they don't realize that's a 225 pound guy making those moves, and when he hits you, it'll leave a mark.

Posted by: tonyw44 | February 17, 2011 4:08 PM | Report abuse

Honda Center was rockin' for the Red last night in Anaheim! I am from the DC area and have lived in Orange County for several years now. I was suprised to see how many CAPS fans came out. We were EVERYWHERE! Amazing game and got LOUD for CAPS goals. Great win!

Posted by: DCboyinSoCal | February 17, 2011 5:30 PM | Report abuse

Another Correction: There were 5 Prez guys, from right to left:(no pun intended) Barry, John,Willie,Ronnie,and Dick. @PowerPlayerGirl88 good call on the towels- I though I had missed something.
Alot of Military Guys rode the Amtrak up with me from San Diego, alot of others drove, yet another girl was visiting a friend in SD on Vacation. It was a great vibe from all the native Washingtonians and a feeling of genuine camaraderie.

Posted by: sammy331 | February 17, 2011 6:45 PM | Report abuse

Whoops! I meant LEFT to RIGHT which makes me wonder if they had planned it that way!? Clever dudes!

Posted by: sammy331 | February 17, 2011 6:53 PM | Report abuse

"...I mean, you really don't wear an Obama mask to a hockey game unless you want to get on TV..."

Especially in Orange County!!

Posted by: noslok | February 17, 2011 8:11 PM | Report abuse

Former Caps season ticket holder from the '80s, living in Orange County now. I've had Ducks season tickets since the franchise started, and have attended every Ducks/Caps ever played in Anaheim. BY FAR, this was the most Caps fans ever at a Ducks home game. I'm used to seeing a lot of red when Detroit comes in town, but not the Caps. PHI/PIT/NYR represent well here, but I'd have to say Caps' faithful outdid anyone else from the Eastern Conference this season. My allegiance has swung to the Ducks over the years (winning a Cup will do that!), so that last goal by Semin stung. But I do rock the red for the Caps against everyone else. So much history at the Capital Centre ingrained in me ... I'm probably the only one in Orange County who knew who Pete Peeters was when the Ducks hired him as goalie coach this season!

Posted by: BDinSoCal | February 18, 2011 3:02 PM | Report abuse

@thefingerman

I was at the game in Anaheim wearing my 23 year old Caps red jersey -- transplanted from DC Metro area 10 years ago. I was totally shocked at the number of Caps fans in the audience. The people I spoke with were traveling on vacation and actually from the DC Metro area (if Hagerstown is "in" the DC Metro now).

I was also at the Save the Caps rally at the Capital Centre in 1981 or '82(?) when I was 10 or 11 little girl in pigtails and Polin threatened to sell off the Caps when we were lucky if 8000 people would show up on the Caps side. Abe screwed with us to get more season ticket sales and also to raise ticket prices. Were you there? You are all welcome. I helped saved the team. =)

I was at that horrible Easter morning game ended by Pat LaFontaine. I was at the heartbreaking losses two years in a row, the last games of the season, to determine if the Caps would get into their first playoffs. I was there when Langway played his first game. I was the loudest cheering when Stevens did one of his infamous hip checks. I cried when they traded Gartner. I was back in Washington to be able to cheer them on to the Stanley Cup finals. I've been back into the team the past few years not because of Ovi, but mostly b/c I have DirecTV and can afford the NHL Center Ice package so I can at least see the games now.

Posted by: kimoCaps | February 19, 2011 12:07 PM | Report abuse

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