An Offseason in Bullets (with, Hopefully Soon, Our Old Bullets Back)

Let’s say that like me you approached this offseason as an occasion to distance yourself from hockey a bit, to treat our sport’s summer developments with comparative indifference relative to recent years. First-round flameouts by Cup heavies can breed that. And enduring an all-time hot summer here made thoughts puck tougher to come by.

No worries; I’ve boned up a bit of late, and I’ve got your end-of-summer debriefing right here, to catch you up on all of ice note that transpired.

In no particular hierarchy:

  • The Caps will wear a classic look at Heinz Field for the Winter Classic on New Years Day. The team will host its second annual fan convention on Saturday, October 2, at the D.C. Convention Center, and the Winter Classic threads will be unveiled there.
  • Despite their springtime shortcomings, the Caps remain the hot ticket in town. During the playoffs in April the Caps sold standing room only tickets for the first time. Beginning with 2010-11, Verizon Center will be home to standing-room-only accommodation during hockey’s regular season.
  • Having already added D. J. King to the roster, the Capitals set enforcement hearts aflutter by slow dancing with

    RMNB: Gone missing at summer's crucial moment -- the Caps' GM

    Willie Mitchell, inviting the Canucks’ rugged UFA rearguard to Kettler for an August audition. Earlier this summer Jim Matheson of the Edmonton Journal ID’ed Mitchell as the guy to get for Capitals’ General Manager George McPhee: “[The Capitals] badly need a heart-and-soul guy back there who can match up against Sidney Crosby or Evgeni Malkin.” Ultimately and unfortunately Mitchell signed with L.A., but the interest by Caps’ management offered further evidence that an important organizational reconsideration of a soft roster was in a to-be-continued mode.

  • The Capitals’ beat in print also received a jolt, with WaPost’s Tarik El Bashir forsaking Cup-contending puck for the limited travel comforts of Georgetown hoops and that long-standing Washington sports passion of . . . NASCAR.
  • Speaking of media and the beat, OFB was pleased as peaches to partner with upstart media initiative TBD this summer. Albritton Communications is bankrolling the venture, and the premise is intriguing: marshal committed D.C. blogs into a digital family of vibrant coverage, one not exclusive to sports and one that will be supplemented by Albritton-owned WJLA and News Channel 8 TV. The ethos and joie de vie of our coverage won’t change a lick, but its dissemination and immersion into larger digital D.C. is likely to.
  • According to this August 12 report by the Toronto Globe and Mail’s James Mirtle, featuring “multiple sources,” not only was Tomas Fleischmann on his way out of D.C. in a trade but Eric Belanger was coming back for 2010-11. Nearly a month later, we have no clarity with either player, except that Flash is in town and apparently kicking soccer balls around.
  • Local MSM remains in dire need of a 24-step remediation program for their Burgundy and Gold addiction.
  • I’ve had my fill of first-round flameouts and soft, finesse, easy-to-defend hockey, and to cope with all of them I immersed myself this summer in . . .  rejuvinative endeavors. I’m departing summer thoroughly recharged. You can expect big things here commencing with training camp. Let’s get to it.
This entry was posted in Comcast SportsNet, D. J. King, Lisa Hillary, Media, Morning cup-a-joe, National Hockey League, Tarik El-Bashir, Ted Leonsis, TV, Vancouver Canucks, Washington Capitals, Washington Post. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to An Offseason in Bullets (with, Hopefully Soon, Our Old Bullets Back)

  1. OvieTracker says:

    I confess. After the Caps flameout in the playoffs, I distanced myself from all things hockey for months. I avoided the sites that once were my home away from home, avoided reading the Caps-centric and Ovie-centric blogs, etc. I was done, fried, finished, engulfed in a web of despair. Indifference and ennui were my summer long companions.

    No more. The call of the wild beckons, and as the first signs of fall appear where I live, the old longing for body checks and the sounds of bodies colliding has returned. The bitter memories of an abrupt spring ending to the Caps postseason has been replaced by a renewed anticipation and hope for the new season, however misplaced and illogical that hope might be.

    I have even gone so far as to contemplate making my first visit to DC this fall, to witness the Rock the Red Verizon Center madness in person. Of course, if I can make this magic happen, attending some practices at Kettler is a must.

    That is why I’m asking anyone here, with personal experience of going to attend Caps practices, if you have any advice or suggestions about when to go, where to sit, and any tactics or strategy for snagging players’ autographs. I know a lot of luck is involved, but I would appreciate some insider info to help me navigate the waters. I asked this at another site where I post, and my hope is to get more insights here.

    Thanks in advance to anyone who helps stoke the fires of my dream to see the Caps play and practice in person.

  2. Eric says:

    I did quite the opposite. I embraced hockey this Summer. I went to Fan Fest and the scrimmage. I played in 2 tournaments and 2 Summer leagues. I fit in pickup hockey where I could. Hockey in DC is experiencing a renaissance despite the local pro club’s disappointing finale. I’m taking advantage of that as a fan and a player.

    Hockey season never ends.

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