February 18, 2010

"Team USA" Means More Than Just The Olympics

Postcard from Vancouver
Each USA player has been adopted by a wounded warrior from their home town, university or NHL city. They were informed that "you are not just playing for your country, but for your warrior as well". A personal package was provided containing a letter of encouragement and various other items, even bullets taken from the soldier's bodies to be placed in the player's locker.

Brian Burke (Team USA General Manager) summed it up by saying that "the real heroes in America don't wear hockey uniforms, they wear camo".
This is very cool.

One more time before he really has to go?

As posted on Raw Charge.... 

Forsberg still hankers for NHL future
"But at this stage of my career I don't think I'm ever going to be really healthy again so I'm just going to do my best and see how it goes."
A very true, but probably very painful, admission from one of the greatest hockey players ever.

I watched much of this game, and while Forsberg is no longer the dominant player he once was, he was still quick and had some good moves. Oh, and his passing skills haven't diminished one bit - which was always one of his biggest strengths. On pretty much any team in the NHL, given what I saw, he'd still be considered a solid #2 centerman.

He didn't skate the same, tho. I'd heard prior to the Olympics that he'd has some rib problems, and he skated like it. His upper body was held stiffly and he tended to shy away from hits along the boards. He did not seem to have any problems with his infamous foot, however.

I caught the post-game interview (or maybe it was a period intermission interview - I watched online on NBC's Olympic site), and what he said there seemed to be different from what was said in the article. He didn't sound like he was going to be playing much longer, let alone in the NHL. He was thrilled to be there - on camera, at least - but he sounded like a man who was looking to retire. And sooner rather than later. Like maybe as soon as the Olympics are over, but then again, he might wait until the season's over for Modo.

So, as with all aging athletes (and I hate saying that since I'm only a few months older than he is), it'll be a wait-and-see situation. Probably even more so than it has been. While it's great getting this last chance to watch him play again, I'm hoping he decides to hang them up and move on with his life. There's a lot more out there for him to do than play hockey.

February 16, 2010

Right Or Left?

It’s Not Political, but More Canadians Are Lefties
A 2006 study found that 60 percent of all National Hockey League forwards were left-handed, as were 70 percent of all N.H.L. defensemen, but those statistics were not sorted by nationality.
I thought that that was an interesting and curious statistic.

I helped put together my own hockey team because there wasn't a woman's program anywhere near where I lived, so most of the girls were first-time players. My first hockey coach was from Edmonton, and he approached the stick thing very logically. He said to grab a broom and start sweeping. And whatever way you swept is the way you should shoot. And in doing that, most of the girls ended up being right-handed shots.

As for myself, I shoot left. But I'm ambidextrous by nature, so I do many things better left-handed than I do right-handed - despite being right-handed when it comes to hand writing. Which is my excuse for shooting left instead of right.

February 12, 2010

February 11, 2010

February 9, 2010

Washington Capitals - New Media Trailblazers

Capitals continue to reach out to fans through social networking
The Capitals have more than 95,000 fans on Facebook and more than 11,000 followers on Twitter. Players with accounts include defenseman Mike Green, who Twitters as GreenLife52 and has more than 6,000 followers, and forward Eric Fehr, who only recently began using the social networking Web site at the suggestion of the Capitals.

"The team kind of talked about maybe getting some guys on there," said Fehr, who has nearly 2,000 followers under the handle EricFehr16. "I'm always open to different ideas, so I thought I would try it out, and I like it so far."
It's been really hard for me to avoid being inundated with Washington Capitals media of all forms. Especially since they're the closest NHL team to me. They know how to work the social media system, and they're successful at it. It's rather impressive.

I probably have far more Caps bloggers on my following list on Twitter than anyone else. Not that I want to - it's just that there are so many of them! And for good reason. The Washington Capitals owner has a blog himself that he posts to regularly.
"Where we should be advantaged is our customers are younger, more educated, Web-savvy than the NFL audience, which is older, less wired. So let's pick a fight we have a shot at winning, and if our consumers are younger, and they love video games, and they have shorter attention spans, and they love interactivity, and they love social media, and everyone blogs, and everyone's on Facebook, why wouldn't we put ourselves right in the middle of that?" [Caps owner Ted Leonsis
Leonsis has been at the forefront of advancing his team into what he calls "the new world," starting with launching a Web site for the Capitals soon after his purchase and becoming the first NHL owner to make available his direct e-mail address.
Not to mention that there are a ton of hockey bloggers for other teams that live in DC. Mostly it's because there are a lot of people who work for the federal government. And a lot of military as well. People from all over move here.

The Caps bloggers are lucky. Hopefully the rest of the NHL will be so forward thinking. And some are better than others. But they'll all end up following in the steps of the Caps, since they seem to know what they're doing. For the most part, anyways.
The Capitals' growth in popularity on the Web has also triggered a spike in credential requests from bloggers. Washington's Web site lists more than 30 blogs relating to the team, the NHL or both, and while some cover the team as a hobby rather than a profession, media relations director Nate Ewell wrote in an e-mail, "Our issues with bloggers have been very, very rare."
They were willing to grant me media credentials, but as a matter of policy deferred to the Tampa Bay Lightning. The Lightning turned me down stating that they're trying the blogging thing on a case-by-case basis locally in Tampa only - which does me a lot of good. But that's for the time being, anyways. We'll see what new ownership has to say about how things go here in the future.