December 20, 2014

About Cheryl Nichols

Cheryl Nichols is a Columnist and Photographer for District Sports Page. She is credentialed to cover the Washington Capitals and has reported on the community service and fan events since 2006. Cheryl has been published in The Washington Post and many other local media. She was a credentialed photographer for the 2010 season covering the Washington Nationals. You can follow her on Twitter @cnichols14.

Nationals Matt Williams Named NL Manager of the Year

Matt Williams NL Manager of the Year

NATIONALS MANAGER MATT WILLIAMS NAMED
2014 BBWAA NATIONAL LEAGUE MANAGER OF THE YEAR

Washington Nationals manager Matt Williams was named the 2014 National League Manager of the Year Tuesday night by the Baseball Writers Association of America. Williams received a total 109 points, including 80 first-place votes. Pittsburgh Pirates manager Clint Hurdle finished second in the voting, and San Francisco Giants Manager Bruce Bochy was third.

Williams, who becomes the second manager in Nationals history to earn this honor, had an exceptionally successful rookie season in the dugout as he led the Nationals to an NL-best 96 victories and the National League East Championship.

“On behalf of the Lerner Family and the entire Washington Nationals organization, I want to offer heartfelt congratulations to Matt on this well-deserved award,” said Nationals President of Baseball Operations and General Manager Mike Rizzo. “His first year in the dugout was excellent, and it was a pleasure to watch him grow throughout. He is a respected leader, and the steady hand that navigated our team through many challenges this season.

“What we accomplished this season would not have been possible without the right man at the helm. That was Matt this season, and we’re all looking forward to 2015.”

Since the inception of the award in 1983, Williams is just the fourth first-year manager ever to win it. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, he joins Hal Lanier (Houston Astros, 1986), Dusty Baker (San Francisco Giants, 1993), and Joe Girardi (Florida Marlins, 2006).

“I am incredibly honored and humbled by this award,” Williams said. “This was a very special year for us, and I am proud of what we accomplished in my first season at the helm. For me, as a newcomer to the managerial fraternity, it is a privilege just to be considered amongst the best in our game. Clint and Bruce are certainly that.

“While this is an incredible acknowledgement by the writers, I know we have bigger goals to accomplish in Washington and I look forward to the challenge that the 2015 season will bring.”

The Nationals, though besieged by injuries, won their division by the largest margin (17.0 games) of any in the Major Leagues under Williams’ watch. Over the course of the season, the Nationals saw 948 total games missed due to stints on the Disabled List, with key players like Bryce Harper, Ryan Zimmerman, Wilson Ramos, Doug Fister, Gio Gonzalez, Adam LaRoche and Denard Span accounting for 284 of those games.

While the Nationals withstood that barrage, Williams’ guided them toward steady improvement as the season progressed. After playing to a .500 record (27-27) through the season’s first two months, the Nationals were at least four games over the .500 mark in each remaining month of the season, finishing 69-39 from June through September. That stretch included a 19-10 month of August that featured a 10-game winning streak from Aug. 12-21, the longest winning streak in the National League this season.

On Sept. 16, the Nationals clinched their second National League East Division title in the last three years, and they finished the regular season with a 96-66 record.

Williams, 48, was named the fifth field manager in Nationals history on Oct. 31, 2013. The five-time All-Star third baseman was also voted by his managerial peers as the 2014 Sporting News Manager of the Year.

NATIONALS MANAGERS TO WIN BBWAA N.L. MANAGER OF THE YEAR (2005-2014)
2012 Davey Johnson
2014 Matt Williams

NATS: Color Run at Nationals Park

Have you ever wanted to step onto the warning track at Nationals Park? Now is your chance! The home of the Washington Nationals will become a colorful place on Saturday, November 1 for the 5K Color Run.

You can feel like a major leaguer and run through the tunnel and continue around the warning track! Tickets are still available! Use the discount code NATIONALSPARK to receive $5 off your Color Run registration.

Color runs have become very popular and are a fun way to exercise with friends and family while getting “dirty.”

If running is not your thing, volunteering is an option.

Race Info.

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NATS: Player Appearance by Strasburg

Washington Nationals starting pitcher Stephen Strasburg will make an appearance at the grand opening of the Microsoft Store at the Montgomery Mall in Bethesda, Maryland on Saturday, November 22.

According to the website, the first 200 people in line for the Microsoft opening on Saturday, November 22, will receive one complimentary meet and greet ticket for the Xbox One event with Stephen Strasburg on November 22. Tickets are limited to 200. Must have ticket to enter line. Check facebook.com/microsoftstore to get up-to-the-minute details.

Strasburg even tweeted about the event today.

Stephen Strasburg made his last start at home for 2012 - Miami Marlins v. Washington Nationals, 9/7/2012. (Cheryl Nichols/District Sports Page)

Stephen Strasburg made his last start at home for 2012 – Miami Marlins v. Washington Nationals, 9/7/2012. (Cheryl Nichols/District Sports Page)

NATS: Washington Nationals NatsFest for 2015 Season

natsfest_dec

The biggest fan event of the offseason will be held Saturday, December 13, 2014
from 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. at Walter E. Washington Convention Center.

Season Plan Holders will have exclusive access to the event for an entire hour (10:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m.) before #NatsFest opens to the general public at 11:00 a.m.

Tickets and autograph vouchers will go on sale on Wednesday, October 29 at 9:00 a.m.

Tickets purchased in advance at will cost $20 for adults and $10 for children 12 and under, with prices increasing to $25 for adults and $15 for children 12 and under the day of the event. Season Plan Holders will receive an information about purchasing NatsFest tickets at a discounted rate.

A full schedule of events will be available in the coming weeks.

CAPS: Hockey ‘N Heels, November 2014

Attention ladies. Hockey ‘n Heels is back by popular demand! The Washington Capitals are once again hosting Hockey ‘n Heels of the season on Wednesday, Nov. 12, 2014 from 6:15 to 9:30 p.m. at Kettler Capitals Iceplex. Tickets go on sale on Monday, Oct. 27 at 10 a.m., exclusively to Club Scarlet members. Not already a member? Join here for free.

Check out photos from Hockey ‘N Heels 2013.

Defensemen Steve Oleksy and forward Tom Wilson instructed participants on shooting - Washington Capitals Hockey 'N Heels, 11/13/2013 (Cheryl Nichols/District Sports Page)

Defensemen Steve Oleksy and forward Tom Wilson instructed participants on shooting – Washington Capitals Hockey ‘N Heels, 11/13/2013 (Cheryl Nichols/District Sports Page)

 

Press Release:

Washington Capitals to Host Hockey ‘n Heels Wednesday, Nov. 12
Tickets to go on sale at 10 a.m. Monday, Oct. 27, at ScarletCaps.com

ARLINGTON, Va. – The Washington Capitals will host Hockey ‘n Heels on Wednesday, Nov. 12, from 6:15-9:30 p.m. at Kettler Capitals Iceplex in Arlington, Va. Tickets for the event will be available beginning Monday, Oct. 27, at 10 a.m.

Hockey ‘n Heels is held each season exclusively for members of Club Scarlet presented by Lindsey Automotive Group and features instructional sessions and on-ice demonstrations targeted towards the Capitals’ female audience.

Fans interested in attending Hockey ‘n Heels must sign up to become a member of Club Scarlet at ScarletCaps.com. A ticket link will be sent to all Scarlet members. Tickets for this year’s event are $65, with a limit of four tickets per person. Tickets are not guaranteed for all Scarlet members. Club Scarlet membership is free.

The night will be divided into sessions of on-ice demonstrations featuring Capitals players and off-ice presentations featuring coaches and equipment staff. Players scheduled to appear include forward Michael Latta, defenseman Nate Schmidt and goaltender Justin Peters. Hockey ‘n Heels will feature on-ice demonstrations with Latta, Peters and Schmidt. Fans also will be able to try on the 2015 NHL Bridgestone Winter Classic uniform and take their photograph with a player.

Head coach Barry Trotz will participate in a Q & A, while assistant coach Lane Lambert will lead a discussion on the rules of the game. Head equipment manager Brock Myles will give an overview of equipment, while strength and conditioning coach Mark Nemish will host a session on fitness.

Founded in 2009, Club Scarlet is a fan club for women designed to provide more information, events and networking opportunities for the team’s population of female fans. For more information visit Scarletcaps.com.

CAPS: Hockey ‘N Heels 2013 (Photos)

THROWBACK THURSDAY: Hockey ‘N Heels, November 2013

The Washington Capitals hosted the sold-out Hockey ‘n Heels on Nov. 13, at Kettler Capitals Iceplex in Arlington, Va.

Defensemen Steve Oleksy and forward Tom Wilson instructed participants on shooting - Washington Capitals Hockey 'N Heels, 11/13/2013 (Cheryl Nichols/District Sports Page)

Defensemen Steve Oleksy and forward Tom Wilson instructed participants on shooting – Washington Capitals Hockey ‘N Heels, 11/13/2013 (Cheryl Nichols/District Sports Page)

The event was held exclusively for Club Scarlet members in partnership with 97.1 Wash FM and featured instructional sessions and on-ice demonstrations targeted towards the Capitals female audience.

Attendees including Miss Washington DC (middle) - Washington Capitals Hockey 'N Heels, 11/13/2013 (Cheryl Nichols/District Sports Page)

Attendees including Miss Washington DC (middle) – Washington Capitals Hockey ‘N Heels, 11/13/2013 (Cheryl Nichols/District Sports Page)

The first half of the night was divided into three sessions of on-ice demonstrations from current and former Capitals players and coaches. Defenseman Steve Oleksy, forward Tom Wilson and former Capital/current Comcast analyst Alan May instructed participants on shooting skills. Assistant coach Blaine Forsythe instructed women on face-offs while defenseman Alexander Urbom and former Capital Paul Mulvey covered stick handling and passing skills. Attendees also had the opportunity to take a photo with defenseman Karl Alzner during the event.

Defensemen Steve Oleksy  high-fives attendee after she made a shot into the goal - Washington Capitals Hockey 'N Heels, 11/13/2013 (Cheryl Nichols/District Sports Page)

Defensemen Steve Oleksy high-fives attendee after she made a shot into the goal – Washington Capitals Hockey ‘N Heels, 11/13/2013 (Cheryl Nichols/District Sports Page)

Defensemen Steve Oleksy and forward Tom Wilson instructed participants on shooting - Washington Capitals Hockey 'N Heels, 11/13/2013 (Cheryl Nichols/District Sports Page)

Defensemen Steve Oleksy and forward Tom Wilson instructed participants on shooting – Washington Capitals Hockey ‘N Heels, 11/13/2013 (Cheryl Nichols/District Sports Page)

 

Assistant Coach Blaine Forsythe instructed women on faceoffs - Washington Capitals Hockey 'N Heels, 11/13/2013 (Cheryl Nichols/District Sports Page)

Assistant Coach Blaine Forsythe instructed women on faceoffs – Washington Capitals Hockey ‘N Heels, 11/13/2013 (Cheryl Nichols/District Sports Page)

Assistant Coach Blaine Forsythe instructed women on faceoffs - Washington Capitals Hockey 'N Heels, 11/13/2013 (Cheryl Nichols/District Sports Page)

Assistant Coach Blaine Forsythe instructed women on faceoffs – Washington Capitals Hockey ‘N Heels, 11/13/2013 (Cheryl Nichols/District Sports Page)

Former Capital and current Comcast analyst Alan May instructed women on shooting - Washington Capitals Hockey 'N Heels, 11/13/2013 (Cheryl Nichols/District Sports Page)

Former Capital and current Comcast analyst Alan May instructed women on shooting – Washington Capitals Hockey ‘N Heels, 11/13/2013 (Cheryl Nichols/District Sports Page)

 

Alexander Urbom  instructed participants on skills including stickhandling and passing -  Washington Capitals Hockey 'N Heels, 11/13/2013 (Cheryl Nichols/District Sports Page)

Alexander Urbom instructed participants on skills including stickhandling and passing – Washington Capitals Hockey ‘N Heels, 11/13/2013 (Cheryl Nichols/District Sports Page)

Alexander Urbom  instructed participants on skills including stickhandling and passing -  Washington Capitals Hockey 'N Heels, 11/13/2013 (Cheryl Nichols/District Sports Page)

Alexander Urbom instructed participants on skills including stickhandling and passing – Washington Capitals Hockey ‘N Heels, 11/13/2013 (Cheryl Nichols/District Sports Page)

Alexander Urbom and Former Cap Paul Mulvey instructed participants on skills including stickhandling and passing - Washington Capitals Hockey 'N Heels, 11/13/2013 (Cheryl Nichols/District Sports Page)

Alexander Urbom and Former Cap Paul Mulvey instructed participants on skills including stickhandling and passing – Washington Capitals Hockey ‘N Heels, 11/13/2013 (Cheryl Nichols/District Sports Page)

Caps Defenseman Karl Alzner posed for photographs with participants - Washington Capitals Hockey 'N Heels, 11/13/2013 (Cheryl Nichols/District Sports Page)

Caps Defenseman Karl Alzner posed for photographs with participants – Washington Capitals Hockey ‘N Heels, 11/13/2013 (Cheryl Nichols/District Sports Page)

 

Off-ice presentations included a Q & A with head goaltender coach Olie Kolzig, along with May.

Former Caps Players Olie Kolzig and Alan May answering fan questions - Washington Capitals Hockey 'N Heels, 11/13/2013 (Cheryl Nichols/District Sports Page)

Former Caps Players Olie Kolzig and Alan May answering fan questions – Washington Capitals Hockey ‘N Heels, 11/13/2013 (Cheryl Nichols/District Sports Page)

Former Caps Goalie Olie Kolzig answering fan questions - Washington Capitals Hockey 'N Heels, 11/13/2013 (Cheryl Nichols/District Sports Page)

Former Caps Goalie Olie Kolzig answering fan questions – Washington Capitals Hockey ‘N Heels, 11/13/2013 (Cheryl Nichols/District Sports Page)

Video coach Brett Leonhardt conducted a video session to provide attendees a peek into how the team prepares for upcoming games by watching game footage.

The head equipment manager Brock Myles discussed equipment worn by the team during an equipment session in the Capitals locker room. Women were able to try on an official helmet and see equipment up close.

Fans checking out equipment in Caps practice locker room - Washington Capitals Hockey 'N Heels, 11/13/2013 (Cheryl Nichols/District Sports Page)

Fans checking out equipment in Caps practice locker room – Washington Capitals Hockey ‘N Heels, 11/13/2013 (Cheryl Nichols/District Sports Page)

Fans trying on equipment in Caps practice locker room - Washington Capitals Hockey 'N Heels, 11/13/2013 (Cheryl Nichols/District Sports Page)

Fans trying on equipment in Caps practice locker room – Washington Capitals Hockey ‘N Heels, 11/13/2013 (Cheryl Nichols/District Sports Page)

Caps Head Equipment Manager Brock Myles instructing fan Miss Washington DC how to press numbers onto knit caps - Washington Capitals Hockey 'N Heels, 11/13/2013 (Cheryl Nichols/District Sports Page)

Caps Head Equipment Manager Brock Myles instructing fan Miss Washington DC how to press numbers onto knit caps – Washington Capitals Hockey ‘N Heels, 11/13/2013 (Cheryl Nichols/District Sports Page)

Caps gear ready to go in practice locker room - Washington Capitals Hockey 'N Heels, 11/13/2013 (Cheryl Nichols/District Sports Page)

Caps gear ready to go in practice locker room – Washington Capitals Hockey ‘N Heels, 11/13/2013 (Cheryl Nichols/District Sports Page)

“It was great to see such an interest in hockey from our female fan base,” said Wilson. “We had a lot of skilled participants out tonight, and we enjoyed sharing the game with them.”

Founded in 2009, Club Scarlet is a fan club for women designed to provide more information, events and networking opportunities for the team’s population of female fans.

To learn more about Club Scarlet visit http://www.scarletcaps.com/.


CAPS: 2015 Caps Canine Calendar

Members of the Washington Capitals players participated in the 2015 Capitals Canine Calendar photo shoot to benefit Homeward Trails Animal Rescue at Potomac Regional Overlook Park in Arlington, Virginia.

A limited number of 2015 Caps Canine Calendars will be available for $20 beginning Tuesday, Dec. 2, when the Capitals host the Vancouver Canucks. The Caps Better Halves will help sell the calendars during the month of December at the MSE Foundation table located at section 104 on the main concourse. In addition the calendar will be available for purchase at the team stores at Verizon Center and Kettler Capitals Iceplex. The online sales are closed.

Players being photographed include Karl Alzner, Nicklas Backstrom, Jay Beagle, Troy Brouwer, John Carlson, Jack Hillen, Matt Niskanen, Brooks Orpik, Justin Peters, Aaron Volpatti, and Joel Ward with their dogs and Braden Holtby, Michael Latta, Alex Ovechkin, Dmitri Orlov and Tom Wilson with shelter dogs.

Last season $34,044.99 was donated to Homeward Trails through the sale of the 2014 Capitals Canine Calendar.

How could you resist a calendar with your favorite hockey players and adorable dogs? Here are a few of the photos posted on Twitter and Instragram.

 

@backstrom19 gets some puppy kisses after his shoot. #capscaninecalendar

A photo posted by MSE Foundation (@msefoundation) on

#CapsCanineCalendar shoot with Braden Holtby and Hogan from Homeward Trails Animal Rescue

A photo posted by MSE Foundation (@msefoundation) on

CAPS: Eric Fehr Writes Children’s Book The Bulliest Dozer

Capitals Forward Eric Fehr Writes Children’s Book The Bulliest Dozer

The Bulliest Dozer, co-authored by Washington Capitals forward Eric Fehr and Pamela Duncan Edwards, will be available for $10 beginning Thursday, Oct. 9, at Capitals home games, at WashingtonCaps.com and at the Washington Capitals Team Store at Kettler Capitals Iceplex and at the Team Store at Verizon Center. (Photo Courtesy of Washington Capitals)

The Bulliest Dozer, co-authored by Washington Capitals forward Eric Fehr and Pamela Duncan Edwards, will be available for $10 beginning Thursday, Oct. 9, at Capitals home games, at WashingtonCaps.com and at the Washington Capitals Team Store at Kettler Capitals Iceplex and at the Team Store at Verizon Center. (Photo Courtesy of Washington Capitals)

ARLINGTON, Va. – The Bulliest Dozer, a children’s book co-authored by Washington Capitals forward Eric Fehr and Pamela Duncan Edwards, will be available for purchase beginning Thursday, Oct. 9, in the United States. Fehr and Edwards wrote the book to raise funds for bullying prevention and to encourage positive behavior, with 100% of the proceeds benefiting charity.

The book tells the story of Bo Dozer and his peers at Ms. Crane’s Academy for Little Machines. Embarrassed by being unable to skate in preparation for a holiday concert on ice, Bo decides to become ‘A Mean Machine.’ Bo bullies other students until a concert day crisis helps him understand the importance of friendship.

“In The Bulliest Dozer, Bo learns the valuable lesson that acceptance and teamwork can lead to success,” said Fehr. “My hope is that this book will provide an opening for parents to discuss how important it is for children to accept one another and to treat their peers with respect. All forms of bullying including verbal abuse, cyberbullying and physical abuse are unacceptable, and whether the aggressor or the victim, I hope children read Bo’s story and realize there are steps they can take to reduce bullying.”

The Bulliest Dozer will be sold for $10 online at WashingtonCaps.com, at the Washington Capitals Team Store at Kettler Capitals Iceplex and at the Team Store at Verizon Center during Capitals home games beginning Thursday, Oct. 9, when the Capitals host the Montreal Canadiens during Opening Night presented by GEICO. In addition there will be a limited number of autographed books available for purchase for $20 at WashingtonCaps.com, at the Team Store at Kettler Capitals Iceplex and at the Monumental Sports & Entertainment Foundation table located behind section 104 on the main concourse at Verizon Center during Caps home games.

The book, illustrated by Kate Komarnicki, also will be available in Canada beginning Oct. 9 throughout Giant Tiger stores in Winnipeg, at Jonny’s Java in Winkler, Manitoba, and during the Western Hockey League’s Brandon Wheat Kings home games.

Funds from U.S. sales will benefit Playworks DC. Playworks is a national nonprofit that transforms recess to improve school climate. In 18 elementary schools throughout Washington, D.C., principals have partnered with Playworks to improve recess, work with teachers in the classroom, mentor young leaders and develop sports teams. By showing students new games that level the playing field for every kid, and teaching them social skills such as empathy, fair play and inclusiveness, Playworks helps to create a welcoming environment where every child gets to play, regardless of ability, and bullying behavior is much less likely to be considered. Studies have shown that this multi-disciplinary Playworks model reduces bullying and exclusionary behavior during recess by 43%.

Proceeds from Canada sales will benefit the Canadian Red Cross’s Violence, Bullying and Abuse Prevention program. The Canadian Red Cross is a member of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement, with a mission to improve the lives of vulnerable people by mobilizing the power of humanity in Canada and around the world.

To watch reaction from Capitals players as they received their first look at The Bulliest Dozer, visit MonumentalNetwork.com. For Fehr’s media availability on the book click here.

The launch of the book coincides with National Bullying Prevention Awareness Month, a time when communities nationwide are encouraged to unite and take a stand for bullying prevention efforts through events, activities, outreach and education. Fehr designed a custom T-shirt as part of CustomInk’s “Be Good to Each Other” bullying prevention campaign, with proceeds benefiting CustomInk’s nonprofit partner – PACER’s National Bullying Prevention Center. Fehr’s “Don’t be a Mean Machine!” T-shirt was inspired by a line from The Bulliest Dozer and will be available for purchase at www.booster.com/ericfehr.

In addition Monumental Sports & Entertainment Foundation is partnering with the District of Columbia Office of Human Rights’ Citywide Bullying Prevention Program which aims to reduce incidents of bullying across the District by emphasizing prevention and proper procedures for responding when incidents occur. The program works with government agencies, District schools and youth-serving government grantees to ensure bullying prevention policies are adopted and implemented in ways consistent with best practices, as demonstrated in the District-wide Model Bullying Prevention Policy released in January 2013. The groundbreaking District-wide approach – moving beyond discipline and focusing on prevention – makes it one of the most unique and far-reaching government bullying prevention programs in the nation. More information is available at ohr.dc.gov/bullyingprevention. Playworks, the beneficiary of funds from The Bulliest Dozer’s U.S. sales, is a member of the program’s Youth Bullying Prevention Task Force.

Monumental Sports & Entertainment Foundation supports the charitable efforts of the professional teams under its umbrella: the Washington Capitals, Mystics and Wizards. MSE is committed to the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area and focuses on the following five pillars to maximize its impact and engagement with the community: youth basketball and hockey, education and scholarship, pediatric health and fitness, military and veterans’ affairs and hunger and homelessness.

CAPS: Alex Ovechkin Surprises 10-Year Old Girl with a Date

Ovechkin Surprises 10-year-old Washington Ice Dogs Player, Asks Her on a “Date”

Washington Capitals captain high fives 10-year old Ann as forward Nicklas Backstrom signs her jersey. As part of her date with Ovechkin Ann met numerous Capitals players in the locker room, including defenseman Mike Green (center). (Photo Courtesy of Washington Capitals)

Washington Capitals captain high fives 10-year old Ann as forward Nicklas Backstrom signs her jersey. As part of her date with Ovechkin Ann met numerous Capitals players in the locker room, including defenseman Mike Green (center). (Photo Courtesy of Washington Capitals)

Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin poses with his “date,” 10-year-old Ann, following the Capitals game versus the Carolina Hurricanes on Oct. 5. Ann asked Ovechkin on a date during a skate he hosted at Kettler Capitals Iceplex on Sept. 11 and Ovechkin surprised her by granting her request during the Capitals’ final preseason game. (Photo Courtesy of Washington Capitals)

Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin poses with his “date,” 10-year-old Ann, following the Capitals game versus the Carolina Hurricanes on Oct. 5. Ann asked Ovechkin on a date during a skate he hosted at Kettler Capitals Iceplex on Sept. 11 and Ovechkin surprised her by granting her request during the Capitals’ final preseason game. (Photo Courtesy of Washington Capitals)

Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin and 10-year-old Ann high-five during a sushi date at Verizon Center on Oct. 5. Ovechkin and Ann met on Sept. 11, during an American Special Hockey Association (ASHA) skate with 60 children and adolescents hosted by Ovechkin. During the session, Ann skated to Ovechkin and invited him on a sushi date. (Photo Courtesy of Washington Capitals)

Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin and 10-year-old Ann high-five during a sushi date at Verizon Center on Oct. 5. Ovechkin and Ann met on Sept. 11, during an American Special Hockey Association (ASHA) skate with 60 children and adolescents hosted by Ovechkin. During the session, Ann skated to Ovechkin and invited him on a sushi date. (Photo Courtesy of Washington Capitals)

ARLINGTON, Va. – Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin surprised 10-year-old Ann and asked her on a date during the Capitals’ game versus the Carolina Hurricanes on Oct. 5. Ovechkin and Ann, a native of Laurel, Md., met on Sept. 11, during an American Special Hockey Association (ASHA) skate with 60 children and adolescents hosted by Ovechkin at Kettler Capitals Iceplex, the official training facility of the Capitals. During the session, Ann, who has the genetic disorder Downs Syndrome, skated to Ovechkin and invited him on a sushi date. Ovechkin granted her request during the Capitals final preseason game at Verizon Center.

The day began with Ann and her parents arriving at Kettler Capitals Iceplex, where they were given a tour of the Capitals locker room. During the tour of the facility and with Ann sitting in Ovechkin’s stall, the Capitals captain entered the locker room, surprising Ann with his appearance. He presented a personalized jersey and flowers to Ann to accept her date invitation and drove Ann to Verizon Center.

At Verizon Center Ann watched warmups from the Capitals bench sat in the Ovi’s Crazy 8’s seating section along with her family to watch the Capitals game. Following the game, after meeting numerous Capitals players and head coach Barry Trotz in the locker room, she and Ovechkin continued their date with a post-game meal of sushi in the Monumental Sports & Entertainment Owners Club.

“I was pretty surprised when Ann skated over and asked me out during our skate,” said Ovechkin. “I thought it was a good idea and decided to take her up on it. It was great to see a smile on her face. She is a terrific and funny kid. She seemed to have a lot of fun and I was very pleased to spend some time with her.”

The Sept. 11 ASHA event during which Ovechkin met Ann marked the first of many community initiatives he will continue to support throughout the 2014-15 season. Ovechkin created Ovi’s Crazy 8s in 2006, a program through which he purchases and donates eight Capitals season tickets to Most Valuable Kids, allowing fans who normally wouldn’t have access to tickets the opportunity to attend games. Ovechkin also supports the Make-A-Wish Foundation®, having most recently granted the wish of Washington, D.C., native Ellie Carney.

For a video recap of the date click here.

For a photo gallery of the date click here.

Washington Capitals Game 1 Recap: Caps fall to Habs in shootout 2-1

Washington Capitals home opener against Montreal featuring 40th Anniversary cermony, 10/09/2014 (Photo by Cheryl Nichols/District Sports Page)

Washington Capitals home opener against Montreal featuring 40th Anniversary cermony, 10/09/2014 (Photo by Cheryl Nichols/District Sports Page)

 

The Washington Capitals opened the 2014-15 season by hosting the Montreal Canadiens in front of a sellout crowd at Verizon Center. The red-rocking crowd was treated to all of the pomp and circumstance of a home opener and excitement until the end with a shootout. After a four round shootout, the Habs took the two points winning 2-1.

The Caps took the ice with energy and dominated the first period, out shooting the Habs 13-2. “We had the puck the whole time in the first period, we had them [Montreal] on the floor, but we couldn’t knock them out,” said Capitals Head Coach Barry Trotz after the game.

Andre Burakovsky, making his NHL debut, scored the Caps first and only goal 6:43 into the first period.  “It was a great moment,” said Burakovsky after the game about his first NHL goal. “It would be so much better if we just win this game.”

Trotz smiled when asked about Burakovsky’s play. “I thought he was going to have the winner there for a long time. We were really playing quite well. They weren’t getting too many chances and the chances they were getting were mostly results of some zone time and on the face off.”

The Caps continued to lead 1-0 until Habs Tomas Plekanec scored half-way through the third period to tie it up 1-1. The Caps just couldn’t find the back of the net despite scoring chances and Canadiens had two goals disallowed.

Players from both teams were a little feisty.  Each team had nine penalties, serving nineteen minutes and neither team scored during a power play. Caps outshot Habs 30-24 and outhit them 30-29.

Brooks Orpik made his Caps’ debut wearing the “A” on his sweater and immediately showed an impact. Fans on Twitter were professing their love for the new Cap as he showed he can hit and protect his goalie. “I’m just fortunate to have them in front of me. I think we’re going to win a lot of games based just on our defense,” said Braden Holtby. “It wasn’t as uncontrolled in our zone. It felt like all night we knew what was going on with who was supposed to go where at when. Very easy to read off for me. It showed on the scoresheet for our defense. “

See DSP’s Three Stars of the Game and photo gallery of the player introductions and 40th Anniversary ceremonial puck drop.

Capitals magnet schedule was given out to all fans at the  Washington Capitals home opener against Montreal featuring 40th Anniversary cermony, 10/09/2014 (Photo by Cheryl Nichols/District Sports Page)

Capitals magnet schedule was given out to all fans at the Washington Capitals home opener against Montreal featuring 40th Anniversary cermony, 10/09/2014 (Photo by Cheryl Nichols/District Sports Page)

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