Capital Excitement

It’s that time of year.  School is back in session, the weather is wavering between warm and cool, and the boys are back in town.

Hockey is thisclose to being back.

The Caps are stacked this year and I can’t wait for them to be back on the ice together as a team.  With the addition of Vokun in the net and the ridiculously awesome Roman Hamrlik to the defense,  this season is sure to be silly fantastic.  I can’t wait to see the new chemistry, the new pairings, the new…everything.  There’s going to be a different dynamic this year and I can already feel it.

I love that the boys are popping up around town, too.  From Ovi showing up at rookie camp to Brooks Laich video bombing our local rock radio show teaser, it’s great to see that they’re back.

I’m cautiously excited for what this season holds for the team and the fans.  I want to scream “Unleash the Fury” for no reason at all, but I’m keeping it in until it’s time.   I want to high-five Ted Leonsis and fist pump Nick Backstrom, Mike Knuble and Jeff Halpern in succession.    I can’t wait to see them on the ice.  I have a feeling it’s going to be an electrifying and entertaining experience.

Go Caps!

PS:  Caps are in the spotlight, as Hockey News has crowned them the team to beat for the 2012 Stanley Cup.

Weekend Rewind + Upcoming Week

Fun weekend!

We had a relaxing evening on Friday and spent Saturday relaxing and avoiding crazy storms.  I did some shopping for the wedding and used up some gift cards we’ve been saving and then headed home to get ready to drive to Frederick, MD for the Frederick Keys baseball game.  When we moved to Leesburg we said we’d go to some games up there because we’ve heard it’s so much fun, and it didn’t disappoint.

We sat on the dugout and paid $11 a ticket.  Doesn’t get much better than that!

It was only a quick 30 minute drive to Frederick, so I think we’ll definitely do this again.  After the game, they did fireworks, so it was really fun.

Today, we hit the gym and it was a mess.  Kirsten had a boot camp workout for us and in the midst of the first circuit, I lost my cookies and threw up my breakfast.  GROSS.  Lesson learned:  No eating anything of substance less than 2 hours before an intense workout.  I went back to finish the workout, but it was lackluster at best.  I left feeling defeated for the day, but I understand that there are going to be good days and bad days.  Today was just a bad day.

My friend Lindsey blogs her workouts for the week and then wraps them up and this week, I thought I’d give it a shot, sooooo, here goes:

Monday:  Strength training class

Tuesday:  Elliptical cardio + swim

Wednesday:  Off night – Dinner for moms birthday

Thursday:  Training with Kirsten

Friday:  Off

Saturday:  Cardio class OR elliptical cardio

I can’t wait to recap this at the end of the week to sum up what we accomplished.

I have the Sunday grumpies and I’m not ready for the weekend to be over.

Weekend Rewind

Gahhhh.  Who all is in favor of three-day weekends and four-day work weeks?!  MEEEEEEEE!  As usual, the weekend flew the heck by and I was spit out on Monday morning with a crazy busy work week ahead.  Sigh.  At least we were productive.

Saturday morning there was absolutely zero sleeping in.  I was up by 6:30am and picked up Kirsten at 8am so we could drive two hours to Prince Frederick, MD for my hair & makeup trial.  I wanted to do it at the salon we’ll be using on wedding day, so driving that far was a must.  I’m so lucky to have a friend willing to wake up at the butt crack of dawn on a weekend for a mini road trip all for practice hair and makeup.  The day was a total success though, I must say.  I loved the salon and was really happy with the outcome of the trial.  It also helped to have another opinion just for moral support and validation.  I can’t wait for the rest of the girls to see it and for us all to be together and I think it’s going to be great come wedding day.

We didn’t get home until almost 4pm, and by that point, I was completely exhausted, so Chris and I ordered pizza, watched a movie and went to bed early.

Sunday, we had plans for some of our bridal party to come over and help with the crafty side of the wedding.  I was so happy we had help because I was stressing out and so nervous about assembling stuff and making it look decent.  We got a lot done though, and I can now cross the favors, seating display, and table numbers off of our list.  THANK GOD.  It feels so great to have little things like that done.  Many thanks to Lindsay (thank god for your beautiful handwriting), Kevin (who knew you could tie such nice knots), Kirsten (you’re great with the scissors) and Scott (nice crabs!) .

I’ve been taking pictures to document this entire process and I really can’t wait to share everything, but it has to wait til after the wedding, otherwise nothing is a surprise, right?

This week we get to trek all the way out to Maryland again to meet with our wedding venue.  It should be a fun meeting, though, and I’m pretty excited.  We’ll figure out how we want to configure the room, bring our centerpiece examples to see the layout, and the thing I’m most looking forward to:  Picking out our linens!

Non wedding related events this week should be good, too!  Tomorrow we’re having dinner with my aunt and cousin in Leesburg, Wednesday we’re training at the gym, and Saturday, we’re doing date night at the Frederick Keys baseball game.  Chris better bring his glove (and I should bring a helmet), because we’re sitting in the first row right behind the dugout.  I love a $20 date night thanks to minor league baseball.

This week is already flying and I love it!

PS:  I’m struggling to get through The Help and really hope it picks up soon.

A Capital Victory

Stay angry.  Believe in Yourself.

That was the mantra that the Capitals opened their 2010-2011 season with after being knocked out of the playoffs by Montreal early last year.

This season has been nothing short of extrordinary.  With injuries, trades, a Winter Classic victory and now the playoffs, the Caps are still angry, and they have something to prove.

The Capitals have an interesting relationship with the Rangers, but most of it has to do with their rabid fans.  In 2009 during the playoffs, the Rangers head coach, John Tortarella got angry with a fan behind the bench to the point of spraying water on him, throwing a water bottle, and taking a players stick and waving it at the fan.  He was ultimately suspended for the incident and should be embarassed for life for such actions as far as I’m concerned.

Angry Tortorella

When the Rangers returned to Verizon Center for the playoffs this year, the Capitals faithful were ready for their arrival.

Ponchos for Everyone!

The Capitals fans took the incident in stride.  They didn’t forget, and they made a joke out of a rude incident.  Mind you that Tortarella certainly couldn’t miss the message as the entire section behind their bench was filled with red ponchos.  Bravo fans, bravo.

The Caps lost on Sunday in New York bringing the series to 2-1.  On Wednesday night, the Caps and Rangers took to the ice at Madison Square Garden, but not before the Capitals head coach, Bruce Boudreau had some words to say.

Monday morning, Boudreau said of Madison Square Garden, “The locker rooms are horrible. The benches are horrible. There’s no room for anything.  But the reputation of being in Madison Square Garden is what makes it famous. Also, our building’s a lot louder, too. So I mean, they can say what they want, but it’s not that loud in there.”

Rangers fans and media alike took Boudreau’s comments and had a field day.  It was splashed on the newspapers of New York City, Twitter went bananas, and Boudreau was suddenly a terrible guy.  Going into Wednesday’s night, the Rangers fans were rabid, screaming “Boudreauuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuu,” and “Can you hear us?!”

The Caps were down 0-3 going into the third period and the game pretty much looked and felt like this:

In the 3rd period, something changed.  The Caps scored just moments into the 3rd period and then scored again just a few minutes later.  Momentum shifted, and the crowed quieted.  Suddenly, the heckling of Boudreau and the Caps stopped.  It got quiet – very quiet.

When the Caps scored the tying goal with only a few minutes left in the game, it was almost like watching the fans completely deflate like balloons.  Suddenly they didn’t care about Boudreau and his comments – they only cared about the win.  Funny how focus changes when the game is on the line.

Over 120 minutes of hockey were played, and the Capitals came back from an overwhelming defecit to win in double overtime.  In normal hockey, this is a feat.  In playoff hockey, this is a herculean effort, and well deserved I might add.  Both Caps and Rangers fans waited and waited and waited for that final goal, and Chimera from Washinton delivered.

It’s your turn, Washington.  It’s your turn to beat rivals in the playoffs.  It’s your turn to speak your opinion withour fear of retaliation.  It’s your turn to win.

Craig Laughlin, a former Capitals player and now color commentator for televised games tweeted last night that Wednesday’s game would likely be the last home game for the Rangers this year and that “MSG is a dump.”

The Capitals and their fans need to talk like other fans do.  It’s okay for Bruce to make some criticisms – he’s passionate about his arena and his fans.  It’s okay for Laughlin to call MSG a dump – it’s not a secret that it is!  These guys are lighting fires and getting fans pumped up and ready to go.  Running their mouths is a lot better than throwing things at fans, or being Sean Avery. In the past, the Capitals have quietly gone about their business, minding their P’s and Q’s and going about their day.

But not now.  They’re angry.  And more importantly, they believe in themselves.

Winter Classic Recap!

When it was announced earlier this year that the Capitals would be playing the Penguins in the 2011 Winter Classic, Chris and I were beside ourselves with excitement.  We bought our tickets months ago and waited anxiously for game day to arrive.  Game day, my friends, did not disappoint.  If I could describe it in a word, it would be “extraordinary.”

We headed up to Pittsburgh on New Years Eve to spend some time with Chris’ family friend, Mike and his family.  We did a little gambling and a little drinking, but were fairly low-key and got back to the hotel about 5 minutes before midnight to ring in the New Year.

The game was supposed to be played at 1pm on New Years Day, but the weather was not cooperating, and the NHL was smart enough to delay the game by 7 hours on Friday as opposed to making the fans sit in the rain, waiting for it to stop on game day.  THANK YOU, NHL!  So, instead of a 1pm start, the game began at 8pm.

With a night game upon us, we were given the unusual opportunity of tailgating at Heinz Field before a hockey game!  Who does that?  We do!  We got a great parking spot right downtown and adjacent to the casino, so we had indoor bathrooms, entertainment, tailgating and fun, all right there.

Pittsburgh Skyline

An absolutely candid tailgating photo.

Rockin' the red.......Converse.

The NHL did a really great job by setting up this whole “fan experience” that took up half of the exterior of Heinz Field.  Sponsors were giving out free stuff, there were a lot of photo-ops, and just cool stuff to see and do.   If you’ve ever been to a Nascar race, it was similar to that type of fan experience.  Very cool for a hockey game.

Chris and his dad.

And Pittsburgh wonders why we don't like them....

Fan experience.

We made it!

Chris and me on the river in Pittsburgh.

Once we made our way into the stadium, it was pretty much overwhelming.  Verizon Center only holds about 18,000 fans, while Heinz Field holds close to 70,000.  That’s a lot of people.  And the Caps fans showed up!  I think when the final numbers came out, there were something like 30,000 Caps fans to 40,000 Penguins fans.  That’s a LOT for the visiting team and I’m just really proud that we showed up loud and proud.   It’s really difficult to really describe watching the game because talking about it doesn’t do it any justice.  You literally had to be there.  Hockey outside is so different than in an arena that it’s impossible to put into words.  At Verizon Center, it’s impossibly loud.  Outdoors, it was eerily quiet.  The puck flew across the ice differently and the players tripped, stumbled and fell as the rain slowly melted the outdoor surface.  The whole thing was a once in a lifetime experience.  Ultimately, the Capitals beat the Penguins 3-1 and even as we left the stadium, Caps fans were still cheering “C-A-P-S, CAPS, CAPS, CAPS. ”  The energy in that stadium was electric and being present for the moments we witnessed was certainly a once in a lifetime experience.

Pre-game American Flag.

Richard and Chris before the game.

Our view, right before the puck dropped.

Fight!

Us at Heinz Field.

Capitals win!!!

Love the Red and Blue Fireworks.

Final Score.