Monday, September 23, 2013

1000 Pageviews Later...

It has been about five months since I began my little experiment, seeing if anybody would care enough to read my blog posts/rants.

I was not disappointed. Last weekend reached 1000 pageviews, a huge milestone I did not expect to hit this early.

To everybody who has been patronizing my blog, thanks. I appreciate that you like my posts enough to keep coming back.

Still, spread the word. I'd like to get more pageviews from more people, so tell your friends, enemies, or anybody else you know who likes hockey.

And here's hoping I reach 2000 views in another two months.

Some stats just for kicks...

  • The most viewed post has been my explanation for why Alex Ovechkin should win the Hart Trophy. I don't know if the NHLPA read it, but OV did end up winning the award...
  • The second most has been the gif when the Pittsburgh Penguins were swept by the Boston Bruins in the playoffs. I should get more stuff from RMNB (and give them credit of course)...
  • I have got views from many, many countries, but the USA is a run-away number one with 641, with Russia at second, with 231... 
  • This is the 55th post, so assuming 1000 pageviews for 54 posts, I'm averaging just under 20 views per post (which is probably misleading)...
So here we are. Thanks again, spread the word, and keep looking out for more from Caps Circle.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

My Choice for the Winter Classic (Venue and Opponent)

Four years after the Caps traveled to Heinz Field to pay a visit to the Pittsburgh Penguins in the Winter Classic, they will host one on January 1, 2015.

Needless to say, I'm going. There is no way I'm missing this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

But who should we play, and where? That has been the core of the speculation thus far since Ted Leonsis announced the news yesterday.

Here are my rankings for venue. And these are just based on absolute awesomeness, not necessarily what makes sense.

5. Orioles Park at Camden Yards. This is number five for two reasons: it is in Baltimore, and it is a baseball stadium. The sight-lines will therefore not be that great. Plus, hosting the game in Baltimore would incense NOVA fans like me to no end. It is historic and beautiful, but it is just not feasible for anybody outside of Maryland.
4. Fedex Field. This is not number 5 only because of it's closer proximity to DC compared to Camden Yards. The sight-lines would also be much better than in number 5 or 3, but for the sake of the city let's hope that the Caps don't take the Classic to Dan Snyder's dumping ground.
3. Nationals Park. This is probably the most likely site for the Classic. Being played here would be pretty sweet, as it is in DC and is a really nice park. Plus, the fact that Leonsis and Ted Lerner are good friends make the game being played here even more likely.
2. RFK Stadium. This trumps Nats Park because of the better sight-lines and historic significance. It is extremely unlikely that this will happen, because RFK is extremely old and the playing conditions may not be that great, but the nostalgia and DC-ness would make this an awesome venue.
1. The National Mall/ the Reflecting Pool. It would be hard to get more DC than either of these. Can you imagine playing in the heart of DC (the Mall), or playing under the shadow of the Lincoln Memorial and Washington Monument? Obviously, neither of these will happen, but it would be awesome to think about it.

Now that that is done, what about the opponents? Here they are.

5. Los Angeles Kings. East Coast vs. West Coast. The nation's capital against some famous city in the west. The Kings are one of the most talented teams in the league, but it probably will not happen.
4. New York Islanders. The Isles are one of the most promising teams in the league, and the Caps have had a long, harrowing rivalry with them. They are a dark-horse candidate for the game, though, and there are better opponents.
3. Philadelphia Flyers. They are probably the frontrunners for the game because the league wants a division rival other than Pittsburgh and NYR. I personally would not want this because the Flyers fans might make a takeover of DC like the Caps did of Pittsburgh.
2. Carolina Hurricanes. They probably will not be hosting an outdoor game anytime soon, so they would be a good choice for the Caps to play. The only drawback is the lack of big-name stars other than Eric Staal.
1. Tampa Bay Lightning. The same things that were said of Carolina could go for Tampa, except the increase in star-power would make this a much more fun matchup for the teams to watch. Unfortunately, this may end up making every Caps fan begin to hyperventilate halfway through the game.

So my choice would be Caps vs. Lightning at the Reflecting Pool. Unfortunately, it is more likely that it will be Caps vs. Flyers at Nats Park. Still, either way, this will be a great event with an amazing atmosphere.

Hurry up and get here 2015.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

The Season Has Begun; Caps Win Preseason Opener 4-3 (SO)

The Caps traveled to Stirling-Rawdon in Ontario, Canada to take on Winnipeg (them again?) in the Kraft Hockeyville game. Both teams got off to a slow start, with the first period going by scoreless. In the second period, the Jets jumped out to a 2-0 lead, but goals from Jack Hillen and Stanislav Galiev (yes, that guy, the 'disappointment') tied the game going into the third. Both teams scored a goal in the third (the Caps via Troy Brouwer), and the game went into OT.

OT went by scoreless, so we went into the shootout, where the deadlock continued. Neither team scored in the first three rounds, then Phillip Grubauer made a save in the top of the 4th round to give the opportunity to win the game to Mike Green. After 7 talented forward were unable to score, it was the as-talented defenseman Mike Green who finished the game with a beautiful shot upstairs off the crossbar and in.

So the Caps win 4-3 in the shootout. A good start, technically, but it was not that great a game from the good guys. I personally found the effort throughout the game a bit underwhelming. Albeit the Caps were playing with mostly prospects, but I would have expected a tad better performance in the preseason opener.

Other notes...

  • Yes, that was Alex Ovechkin taking a stick under the visor, falling to the ground in pain, making his bleeding way to the locker room to get patched up, then coming back a few minutes later. Russian Machine Never Breaks.
  • The prospects showed some good skills, especially on the second goal, where defenseman Nate Schidt made a nice play to pass it to Stan Galiev, who redirected it into the net. The Caps have a good future, folks, with or without Filip Forsberg.
  • Phillip Grubauer was arguably better than Braden Holtby in the game. Although Holts is undoubtedly the starter for the Caps, Grubauer's great performance could lead to either him or Michal Neuvirth  getting traded for a good value.
  • How about those Jets? They are drastically underrated, expected to be last place in a strong Central Division, but only the old Southeast Division rivals know just how strong this team is. Evander Kane and Blake Wheeler are both extremely talented, and the team has a lot of potential. Good luck, Central Division, and welcome to our old nightmare.
So what do you think? Did the Caps live up to expectations? Fall short? Surpass? Tell me in the comments. 

Saturday, September 7, 2013

The Most Annoying Penguins Fans

The Pittsburgh Penguins are Washington's arch-rivals. Along with the New York Rangers, New York Islanders, and Tampa Bay Lightning, they have tormented the Caps in their 38 year history.

But what really separates the Pens from the rest of the pack is their fans. Most of these fans have only gotten on board in the last 8-9 years, maybe even later. I'm guessing if you asked 10 fans where the Penguins were planning to relocate 10 years ago, at least 5-6 of them would have no clue what you were talking about.

Here is an official Penguins-fan-hater's take on the most annoying Pens fans:

5. Anybody who does not know anything about hockey before Sidney Crosby. This is the majority of Pens fans today, as I said earlier, and the only Penguins player pre-Crosby these guys may know of is Mario Lemieux. Ron Francis? Who is that? Paul Coffey? Never heard of him. These are also the most vocal Penguins supporters, which makes them all the more annoying.

4. The NHL on NBC crew. I know they are technically not Pens fans, but it's hard to watch them when they are gushing over Pittsburgh and/or NYR all the time.

3. Anybody who thinks Evgeni Malkin is better than Alex Ovechkin. The argument can be made that Sidney Crosby is better than Ovechkin (I would agree with that for now). But anybody who thinks the Pens got a good deal when they chose Malkin in the 2004 draft instead of Ovechkin, who went one spot ahead of him at number one, is delusional. Other than two and a half subpar years, OV has been one of the best players of this generation, and is definitely better than Malkin.

2. Anybody who thinks Mario Lemieux is the greatest NHL player in history. Lemieux is definitely one of the Top 10 NHL'ers of all time, but there is no way he was greater than Wayne Gretzky and Gordie Howe. Lemieux may be the most influential NHL'er of all time, but he is not the greatest.

1. Whoever writes the Pens blog on Bleacher Report. They must have their head in the clouds, because they have no idea what's going on outside the Pens world. If you want to know what I mean, go on their Bleacher Report page.

So here is my extremely biased and Penguins-hater opinion of the most annoying Pittsburgh fans. Thoughts? Rants? Put them in the comments.