Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Tuesday Puck Talk Week #11

This week, I look at the Capitals and Penguins rivalry, HBO 24/7, the World Juniors, and Sidney Crosby's point streak.

Leave comments, questions, or suggestions for next week! Leave them here or email

Monday, December 27, 2010

Caps' Kids in WJC: Day 2

While yesterday all five of the Caps World Juniors prospects were in action, only Philipp Grubauer of Germany.  Despite giving up four goals in the first period of his debut yesterday and being pulled after that period, he got the nod again tonight.  This time he got through the first without a problem, stopping every piece of rubber that came his way.  He let in a goal just eight seconds into the second period, Germany was able to recover and tie it up at one before the end of the frame.

Grubauer held up under siege toward the end of the third period, and the teams headed into overtime tied at 1.  Just over a minute into the extra frame, Germany took a penalty.  Slovakia was able to convert with just under a minute and a half before the shootout would have begun.

This brings Grubauer’s World Junior record to 0-1-1.  He doesn’t have as strong a team to work with as the other Caps prospects, as last year Germany wasn’t even eligible for the tournament.  The overtime loss to Slovakia is respectable for the German program.

Tomorrow (Tuesday), Cody Eakin and team Canada take on the Czech Republic at 4:00pm.  Evgeny Kuznetsov, Dmitry Orlov, and the rest of team Russia will take on Marcus Johansson’s home land in team Sweden at 7:00pm.  Patrick Wey and team USA will play Slovakia at 8:00pm, while Grubauer and team Germany get their first day off of the tournament.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Caps' Kids in WJC: Day 1

The 2011 IIHF World Junior Championships began today in Buffalo, N.Y, and all five of the Caps prospects participating in the tournament were in action. It began today at 12:30 when Germany took on Switzerland. Prospect Philipp Grubauer minded the net for the German team, who had to fight back from an early 4-0 Swiss lead in the first period.  While Germany would go on to score three goals, it wouldn't be enough to complete the comeback and Grubauer picked up his first loss of the tournament.  He was relieved by backup Niklas Treutle during the first intermission.

At 4:00 pm, excitement filled the air as longtime rivals Canada and Russia faced off to open their tournament play. Three of the Caps prospects played in that game, with Cody Eakin suiting up for Canada and Evgeny Kuznetsov and Dmitry Orlov playing for Russia. Eakin played a feisty game, creating chances for himself and his linemates. He even drew a penalty, even though he took a slashing call halfway through the third period as well. Overall, he did his job and filled his role, helping Canada to a 6-3 victory over Russia.

Capitals @ Hurricanes Preview 12/26/10 (Video)

Despite a snowstorm, the Capitals were able to make it to Raleigh the day after Christmas to take on the Hurricanes for the fourth time this season.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

World Junior Championship 2011 Preview

A look at this year's World Junior Championship, which starts tomorrow. Team Canada and Team Russia will face off, while Team USA will play at 8pm on NHL Network.  Team USA looks to win just their 3rd gold medal in tournament history and their 2nd in two years.

Who do you think will win the tournament? And which of the Caps prospects will impress the most? Will there be another John Carlson-like moment, and if so who will have it? The journey begins tomorrow. Comment or email in your thoughts!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Caps Bear Down in 5-1 Win

The 2010 Calder Cup championship team seems to be the gift that keeps on giving.  Three representatives of the 2009-2010 Hershey Bears scored tonight in the Capitals’ 5-1 win over the New Jersey Devils: Andrew Gordon, Jay Beagle, and John Carlson (in that order).  At a time when the teams’ top players are dry on offense, it was a boost the Caps needed.

The youthful injection was visible from the start.  The Caps’ younger Gordon scored at 16:41 into the game, a game that had little momentum or intensity until that moment.  It was his first career NHL goal in his fifth career NHL game.

“It’s a weight lifted off my shoulders,” Gordon said, “I came here wanting to contribute and show I could do it up here.  I’ve had a couple of opportunities the last few games but finally got a nice one to squeak through on a great pass.”  Gordon later added an assist on Jason Chimera’s goal, recording the first multi-point NHL game of his career.  Chimera reached a milestone on the play too, notching his 200th career point.

Beagle would be the next Bear to contribute.  His goal came almost halfway through the game, at the 10:01 mark of the second period.  It also felt good for Beagle to get a goal against Martin Brodeur, a player he grew up watching.  “Marty, you know, he’s an intimidating guy,” Beagle said, “I saw him in warm-up, and grew up watching him, and to score on him was obviously a great thing.”

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Tuesday Puck Talk Week #10

We skipped over week 9, but here is week 10. I talk Perreault, 24/7, Pens and more.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Capitals @ Bruins Preview (Video) 12/18/10

A look at tonight's fourth and final meeting between the Capitals and the Bruins.

Remember to send in suggestions for Tuesday Puck talk! Leave them in the comments or email in at

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Apologies and Looking Forward

A Surprising Balance

Last night, the hockey world watched the premiere of HBO’s 4 part series, 24/7 Penguins Capitals: Road to the Winter Classic.  Expectations were through the roof, and HBO Sports had a lofty history of the 24/7 series and Hard Knocks to live up to.  It did that: and then some.

Every single aspect of this show was impeccable.  I will get to the editing and production in a little bit.  An entire book could be written on that alone.  The first thing I noticed when the show started was how even it was.  They must have taken a stopwatch to the footage to be as accurate as they were.  There was the exact same amount of time spent on each team and its players.

You may say “Well, that’s their job,” and you’d be right.  But the fact is that objectivity is hard to fully achieve.  While everyone in the media is supposed to be completely unbiased, that isn’t the case.  Just tune in to any locally broadcast sporting event and you will see the bias.  It isn’t intentional, but when you spend enough time with someone, you tend to take their side in matters.  Beat reporters are glued to the hip of their team, and it can result in coverage that is a little slanted.

Using this same logic, you would think that the HBO producers would have developed biases by now, seeing every aspect of the life of every player on each team.  If they have, none of it showed through in the broadcast.  Not being partial after following someone for 24 hrs a day is incredible to me all on its own.

And that’s before you get to the actual production of the show.  Let’s start with the editing.  I don’t know how many of you have ever edited video, but it’s a fairly painful process.  It’s awesome to watch the final product come together, but you want to include everything.  You can’t but you want to, and it makes cutting very difficult. 

They have 24/7 footage of two teams, their coaches, and select players to go through.  That’s not including game footage.  Snipping all that down to 55 minutes is difficult enough, even without the quick turnaround.  The show aired Wednesday and contained material from Sunday night.  For some perspective, I did a 1-minute sports update every week for our TV station that included B-roll. It took me 20 minutes to edit. Now imagine having to do that with 24/7 worth of footage for a 55-minute show.  Yeah, not a single member of that crew slept the last two nights.

The most impressive part of the show for me was the scene that tracked the Caps’ 7-0 shutout loss at Madison Square Garden.  The music choice was phenomenal, building a mood that brought you through what the players were feeling.  The lack of narration gave it such a feel of raw emotion.  One of the most personal speeches given was also heard during the 2nd intermission, when assistant coach Dean Evanson told them to “Pick up your sock,” and “F-ckin’ compete.”  It was an emotionally charged segment that really gave the audience a look into the psyche of the Capitals.

If this is a glimpse of what is to come, than yes please.  The opening episode had all the makings of an Emmy Award-winning series.  Hopefully the fates of the teams will change slightly so that we can get a more complete look at all the personalities, but so far, this show gets a huge A+.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Panthers @ Capitals Preview (Video) 12/9/10

Here is a preview of the first meeting of the season between the Florida Panthers and the Washington Capitals.  The Caps swept the series last season.

Remember to send in questions for PFC Dowd to  Its also never too early or Puck Talk suggestions!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Send in your Questions for PFC Dowd!

For those of you who follow me on twitter, you know I have a brother in the Army who I refer to as PFC Dowd.  He is currently training and getting ready to head to Special Forces selection camp.  He will be home over Christmas, and I'm going to interview him for a video.  

So I'm sending this out to all of you: What do you want me to ask him? It doesn't have to be Army-related, but if that is what you're curious about, ask!  He is also very politically savvy and loves hockey, so those questions would work as well.

Leave questions in the comments or email them in at  

I hope to give you what you want, so send them in!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Tuesday Puck Talk Week #8

This week I cover the Capitals' current slide, Perreault, the Penguins' hot streak, injuries and the WJC.

Remember to email in every week with feedback and suggestions. Email  anytime to!

Haynesworth Suspended for the Rest of 2010

There is never a dull moment at Redskins Park, and today was no different as the team announced that defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth is suspended for the final four games of the 2010 season.

The drama surrounding Haynesworth kicked into gear when he refused to attend any mandatory camps during the offseason.  He was the only player who took his option, while the rest wanted to get started right away learning a new system they would have to play under new coaches Mike Shanahan, Kyle Shanahan, and Jim Haslett.  Haynesworth cited the fact that he ahs been a veteran in the league and knows how best to prepare himself for the season. He claimed he was working out on his own.

Many of his own teammates said that all would be forgiven if he came in once mandatory workouts began and put in the effort.  They said if he came in ready to play, there would be no problem.  Well, then Haynesworth missed the first mandatory camp.  Everyone thought, ok, he will come in ready for training camp.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Maple Leafs @ Capitals Preview (Video) 12/6/10

A look at the game tonight between the Maple Leafs and the Capitals.  Roster juggling, mystery everywhere!

Remember to send your suggestions for tomorrow's Tuesday Puck Talk! You can email them in at or leave them in the comments or tweet me @KGDowd.  I love the feedback!

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Earning Respect: the P.K. Subban Case

As you all know, I’ve played on various sports teams my entire life.  I’ve been playing basketball since 1st grade, and I’ve played at recreational, travel, AAU, and varsity levels.  I played AA ice hockey for almost 8 years.  I have played various levels of softball, soccer, and lacrosse as well.

Now that we’ve got that out of the way, let me say that throughout this entire athletic career, I’ve always been a proponent for paying dues.  As a freshman, I was more than happy to get the water bottles, make sure all the balls were in the bag, and bring the medical kit everywhere.  Frankly, it made me feel like I was part of the team.  I felt like I was doing what all those had done before me, and that made me feel closer to the team. I felt like I belonged.

This is why I hate it when professional rookies like Dez Bryant of the Dallas Cowboys refuse to carry pads off the field.  Its why I love it when the team then drops a $50,000 plus dinner bill on him at the rookie dinner.  These are dues you have to pay, and considering the actual paycheck you’re getting, I feel athletes can suck it up, swallow their egos, and earn respect of their teammates.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Capitals @ Stars Preview (Video) 12/2/10

A look as the Caps take on the Dallas Stars in the second half of their 2 back-to-back game road trip and Scott Hannan makes his debut with the team.

Update: Raycroft will be in net for the Stars against Michal Neuvirth (or David, as the Blues announcers called him last night).  Poti out, Hannan will be paired with John Erskine.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Capitals @ Blues Preview (Video) 12/1/10

Here's a look at tonight's matchup between the Blues and the Capitals.  Both teams with back-to-backs, with their last meeting (on the birthday of yours truly) ending in a shootout.