Party at the Phone Booth

OFB attended the Capitals’ Meet the Team Party on Wednesday. Here’s a review, knee-jerk style:

  • Sparse attendance, maybe half as many people as last year’s. The weather is partly to blame — people in DC react to snow flurries as if it were a nuclear winter (duck and cover!). But hosting the event late in the season for the first time was an odd choice by the team. Then consider the recent trades and the Caps’ precipitous drop in competitiveness, and I understand why some fans chose to stay home.
  • Despite the low turnout, plenty of star-struck children still excitedly queued up to meet their favorite players. So in that regard the event was a definite success.
  • The autograph lines were lengthy but not outrageous; in fact, the lines for free hot dogs & sodas seemed as long as most autograph lines. Olie Kolzig was personable as usual (which I’m sure slowed his line a bit, but no complaints) and seemed in good spirits.
  • Matt Pettinger is wearing a clear cast/brace on his broken finger, which did not make autograph-signing much fun for him.
  • Freddie Cassivi’s name is now above Olie’s usual locker, with the understanding that Olie will reclaim it when he returns to the roster. Olie skated this week for the first time since the MCL tear, albeit in sweatpants rather than goalie pads, so the team assigned him a temporary locker until he’s off the IR.
  • At 8:15 PM, the lights dimmed and Joe Beninati took the stage. He gave a brief speech thanking the fans, then introduced each player in numerical order. When he jumped directly from #8 to #10, it felt like he forgot someone… the gap in number sequence mirrored the hole in the lineup left by Zubrus’ departure. This observation is not meant as an indictment of the trade, but rather as the gut reaction of a Caps’ fan grown accustomed to seeing #9 in a Capitals sweater.
  • Ted Leonsis was not in attendance due to numerous prior commitments (see Ted’s blog for details). They did not screen the video he mentions on his blog — not sure why. [admin edit: check the comments for the explanation from Ted why the video was not shown. Many thanks to Ted for the update.]
  • Anyone who towers over Kolzig is tall. Welcome to DC, Jeff Schultz.
  • The final Cap to take the stage — #87, Donald Brashear — hammed it up, sashaying down the stage and doing a spin-turn at the edge of the stage to great applause.

    Terrific moment; perhaps a tip of the hat to the classic Slap Shot fashion show scene? That would be appropriate for the Capital closest to being a Hanson Brother.
  • Chris Clark stepped up to give a brief speech. A few words in, he paused… “I have to remove my teeth, I’m not used to talking with them in yet.” So he popped his recently-installed false teeth into his hand and continued his speech. High comedy.

An enjoyable evening, though the energy level was admittedly lower than prior seasons’. The Capitals displayed a real stand-up quality by making the entirety of the organization accessibile during a rough time and on the heels of a dispiriting bit of roster upheaval.
Memo to the team: move the party to preseason (or October) next season — and sign a few key free agents to fill out the roster — and next year’s Meet the Caps party will be a hot ticket.

Capital Lineup
This entry was posted in Joe Beninati, Olaf Kolzig, Ted Leonsis. Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Party at the Phone Booth

  1. Ted Leonsis says:

    I made the decision–which turned out to be a bad one–to NOT show my pre recorded video at the season ticket holder party.I felt that the setup of the room was awkward–fans are in the middle of the floor and the video would be shown above their heads on the Jumbotron;so– at last minute– I told our folks– the fans are here to see and hear from our players–not management–so just get the show started and ditch the video–which no one will be able to see nor hear because of the setup.Ted Leonsis

  2. VT Caps Fan says:

    WOW. Uncle Ted reads the blog. AWESOME!

  3. usiel says:

    Like the idea of having this in the preseason….sort of like a pep ralley for the coming new season.

  4. Chimaera says:

    Almost wish they did something like the Orioles with “fanfest” for everyone after the season or sometime during it.

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