All posts in hockey


from russia, you’ll love

(photo by Luis M. Alvarez)

The story of the night for the Washington Capitals heading into the game against the St. Louis Blues Thursday was clearly the home debut of goalie Simeon Varlamov. The 20-year-old won his NHL debut by a score of 2-1 in Montreal last week, so this was D.C.’s first glimpse of the highly-touted rookie.

(For the record, the other story coming into this game was Alex Ovechkin bobblehead night because seriously, who doesn’t love bobbleheads? Okay, where were we?)

Speaking of netminders, Varlamov was matched up against Blues 22-year-old goalie Ben Bishop, who was playing in just his fifth game of the season. With both rookie goaltenders so early into the professional careers, both sported plain, white hockey masks – which is an NHL first since 1973 (in a stat we completely made up).

After seeing the young Russian first hand, we can say this – Varlamov is very quick and very athletic. When he makes a kick save, the first-rounder is talented enough to launch the puck perfectly to a teammate breaking out at the blueline. It’s something Caps fans haven’t seen in a long, long time and actually gives the home team and chance to turn a routine defensive play into a fast break the other direction.

The Capitals defeated the Blues 4-2 thanks in large part to steady play of Varlamov throughout the game. With his team’s powerplay embarrassing itself and many Caps players getting outhustled, there was about a 10-minute stretch during the second period when Varlamov was the only player in a Capitals uniform who didn’t look like he was going through the motions. Had Varlamov not played at such a consistently high level throughout the night, there’s little reason to think the Caps would have picked up their fifth-straight win and improved their home record to 13-1-1 for the year.

“He played well,” said veteran defenseman Tom Poti of Varlamov. “I thought he was really good at challenging the shooters and coming out of the crease. He played sharp tonight and had a great game.”

Doesn’t he seem to have a lot of confidence for such a young kid?

“Yeah, definitely,” Poti said. “He knows his job is to stop the puck and that’s it, and he’s been doing that. My hat’s off to him. He played very good tonight.”

The highlight of the night came with less than six minutes remaining, when Varlamov absolutely stoned Blues left wing Keith Tkachuk, who was on the breakaway.

“I knew (Tkachuk) was going to deke,” Varlamov said through an interpreter. “He’s an older player and I knew when he made the first move I shouldn’t go down so fast.”

With the Blues having closed the score to 4-2 and last week’s near third-period collapse against the New York Islanders still fresh on the team’s mind, that play was huge.

“I thought he played really well,” said coach Bruce Boudreau. “The big one on Tkachuk’s breakaway – it was 4-2 at the time – took the wind out of their sails a little bit. He’s pretty good and I think he’s got a bright future in front of him.”

Through his first two professional games, Varlamov has stopped 61 of 64 shots for an impressive 1.50 goals against average and a .953 save percentage. If there’s something that can rattle him, opposing teams haven’t found it yet.

Goalie Brent Johnson has been stellar this year, but is eligible for free agency after the season and the Caps other goalie, Jose Theodore, hasn’t exactly recaptured lightning in a bottle since he came to town this past offseason. If these first two games are any indication of the type of NHL player Varlamov is going to be, then the team just might have found their long-term solution for the biggest question mark on the roster. Trust us when we say that by all accounts, Varlamov is the real deal.


here’s johnny

(photo by Lawrence Jackson)

A funny thing happened this past offseason when the Washington Capitals were left at the alter by Cristobal Huet – the team accidentally found it’s number-one goalie.

Instead of re-signing with the Caps after coming over at the trading deadline last season, Huet leveraged the team’s offer into a bigger payday with the Chicago Blackhawks (a four-year deal worth $5.625 million annually).

That’s when general manager George McPhee quickly moved to ‘Plan B,’ which turned out to be signing free agent goalie Jose Theodore to a two-year, $9 million contract. Everyone assumed he would take over as the number-one goaltender while Brent Johnson, earning just $825,000, would fill in as needed. There’s just one problem – Johnson has clearly outplayed Theodore this season.

For the season, Johnson has a 2.37 goals against average, a .918 save percentage and a 8-4-2 record. Theodore has a 3.08 goals against average, .888 save percentage and is 8-6-1 on the year. Both players have been asked to do more while the team has dealt with an extraordinary amount of injuries, but Johnson has clearly done better shouldering the additional responsibilities.

In his last three games, all wins by the Caps, Johnson has an unheard of .952 save percentage. He’s only given up four goals on 83 shots during that span. Meanwhile, Theodore has lost his last two starts.

Last night was a perfect example of why Johnson should be the clear-cut starter. The Boston Bruins, the best team in the East Conference and winners of 17 of their last 20 games, were in town riding a five-game winning streak. No one has been able to slow them down all season and yet, Johnson sent them home shaking their heads and wondering what had just happened after turning in his best effort of the season.

In the first period, Bruins forward Patrice Bergeron flew in on a breakaway down the left wing. He fired a shot which Johnson turned away, only the rebound ended up on the stick of Chuck Kobasew, who thought he had an easy goal. Kobasew, who had crashed in from the right wing, quickly shot the puck towards a wide-open net, only to be stonewalled by Johnson.

And that wasn’t even the save of the night for Johnny. His second-period effort on Bruins rookie Blake Wheeler, who was standing on the doorstep and looked to have a “gimme,” is easily one of the best saves in the entire NHL this season. While Wheeler was planning his post-goal celebration after faking past Johnson for the easy score, Johnson lunged backwards and somehow dropped his stick on the ice just in time to keep the puck out of the net.

“(Wheeler) actually made a really, really good move,” Johnson said to reporters after the game. “I thought he was definitely going to his backhand. I just threw everything and prayed that he didn’t get it up. I’m sure he wanted to get it up but I just got lucky there.”

What did Wheeler say about being on the wrong end of the NHL’s highlight of the night?

“Extraordinary,” Wheeler said. “He’s pulling some saves out of thin air.”

The truth is, Johnson should have earned a shutout Wednesday night. Nothing to take away anything from a very talented Bruins squad, but Milan Lucic’s goal with 35 seconds left in the second period was caused by a Tyler Sloan mistake – not because of anything Johnson did. His 33-save outing against a very lethal Boston offense is easily the most impressive performance by a Capitals goalie this season. Coach Bruce Boudreau may never come out and formally announce Johnson as the starter, but the number at the end of the season will show who the team turns to when they absolutely need a win.

And to think, we may never had gotten the chance to see just how talented Johnson is if Huet didn’t get greedy.


nothing but love

(photo by Brian Murphy)

More than 18,000 fans were on hand last week to see the Washington Capitals exciting 5-2 win over the New York Islanders, and now at least two individuals consider themselves Caps fans because of it.

Redskins cornerback Fred Smoot and kick returner Rock Cartwright took in their first hockey game that night and both came away loving what they saw. Much like tight end Chris Cooley and quarterback Jason Campbell before them, they stopped by the Phone Booth to see what the fuss was about and came away with a new appreciation for a sport they knew nothing about.

This week we had a chance to catch up with Cartwright and Smoot to find out exactly how they ended up attending their first professional hockey game and their thoughts on a sport neither had ever given much thought about before last week.

Freddie, what the hell do you know about hockey?

“It’s very fast, very physical and people really need to check out these athletes. They’re serious,” he said.

Be honest, you thought Beyonce was in town, right?

(Laughs). “Nah, [Capitals star Alex] Ovechkin came to a Redskins game, I told him I’m coming to a hockey game,” Smoot said. “I showed up, he winked his eye at me and they won.”

How much did you know about the game and the rules coming in?

“I didn’t know anything and it’s always hard to follow a sport that you don’t know the rules of, but they kind of gave me the breakdown and taught me some of the rules and things. Man, it’s a great sport. I’m going to another game this week.”

And you just so happened to go to the game where the brother got the game winner …

“Brashear got the game winner,” Smoot said excitedly. “The only black guy. You know what, when I came out there I was like ‘What’s he doing out there?’ Hey, they say he’s been a great player for like 12 or 13 years. That just goes to show you how little people actually know about the sport. I like it, man. I’m taking it on head first.”

So are you making an announcement here? Are you becoming a two-sport athlete?

“I don’t want to say that,” Smoot said. “I did realize something though. We’re physical, but they’re very physical too. Very physical.”

Still cracking up from the thought of Smoot trying to lace ‘em up, we headed over to chat with Cartwright. Hey Rock, what do you know about hockey?

“I just had a chance to go out and experience something I hadn’t experienced before and it was pretty nice. I think I have to go back to another game,” he said.

Seriously, did you think the Wizards were in town?

“Nah, I knew the hockey game was going to be played and I wanted to check it out,” Cartwright said. “I had some guys explaining to me what was going on because I didn’t know what was happening at first, but some guys sitting behind me helped out.”

What appeals to you about the sport of hockey?

“Everything,” he said. “It’s pretty amazing. From watching it on TV to watching it live, it’s interesting. The guys are real physical out there. That’s what I liked the most. I didn’t see much of that growing up in Texas, but it was nice. I’ll definitely be going back.”

So if you’re attending the Caps game tonight against the Boston Bruins or Friday night against the Ottawa Senators and you happen to be sitting next to a loquacious cornerback from Mississippi, feel free to lean over and teach Smoot some of the intricacies of professional hockey. The guy loves the sport but still has a lot to learn. Maybe in exchange for your help, Smoot will give you an energy bar, or better yet, invite you out to the Love Boat.


no place like home

(courtesy photos)

First there was the embarrassing loss to the previously winless St. Louis Rams. Then, the back-to-back beatdowns at the hands of the Pittsburgh Steelers and Dallas Cowboys on primetime television. Most recently, there was the uninspired effort against the New York Giants on a day meant to honor a fallen teammate.

Any way you spin it, one thing is certain when discussing the Washington Redskins – they have absolutely no home-field advantage. How else can you explain a 4-1 record on the road this season and a 3-4 record at home?

“You know, I don’t know,” said fullback Mike Sellers, who was clearly stumped. “I didn’t even think about that until you brought it up to be honest with you. Hmmm … I don’t know.”

Do you guys stay in better hotels on the road? Are you happy to get away from your family for a couple days? Seriously, what’s going on?

“Mr. Snyder takes great care of us period, so being on the road doesn’t really matter,” Seller said. “I really don’t know what it is. I really, honestly couldn’t answer that.”

We let Big Mike off the hook and headed elsewhere in search of answers.

“We just seem to play a little bit better on the road,” said running back Rock Cartwright. “I don’t know why. That’s just the way it is. You’re supposed to be better at home and worse on the road, but it’s vice versa for us. Hopefully we can continue to win games on the road and get one back at home at the end of the season.”

Does anyone in this locker room have any idea why the Redskins do better away from home?

“I don’t know. It just kind of seems to be working out like that,” said linebacker Marcus Washington. “Some people seem to think that at home you have more of an advantage, but I guess we’re trying to prove that theory wrong.”

Sadly, Marcus is on to something there. With one home game left to play this season, here’s the Redskins record at FedEx Field over the last five years:

2008: 3-4
2007: 5-3
2006: 3-5
2005: 6-2
2004: 3-5

Total: 20-19

That’s right, the ‘Skins have gone just 20-19 at home over the last half decade. Basically, if you score tickets to a game at FedEx Field, it’s a coin toss whether the home team wins or not.

Are the fans to blame? We know far too many of them sold their tickets to Steelers fans, but has it affected the players on the field?

“I think the fans play off of us,” Washington said. “If we’re out there rocking and socking, then they can’t help but get into it.”

Okay, so it’s not on us. As players, do you have to have a different mentality for road games, as opposed to when you’re at home?

“Pretty much, it’s all odds against you and it’s a challenge because you know everyone is rooting against you,” said wide receiver Devin Thomas of playing on the road. “It’s kind of fun. You’re kind of like the bad guy. In that adverse environment, you’ve really got to step up and it feels really good when you do something to quiet their crowd.”

So what you’re basically saying is you need the home crowd to turn on you guys …

(Laughs). “No, not at all,” Thomas said. “You know, we get so much support at home and it’s disappointing that we haven’t been winning at home.”

Meanwhile, on the other side of the spectrum, we’ve got the Washington Capitals, who are 10-1-1 at home this season. If that’s not impressive enough, check this out. Since Bruce Boudreau became the coach last November, the Capitals have gone an impressive 31-9-4 at the Verizon Center. The man took over an underachieving Caps team that started the season winning just two out of nine home games and almost over night transformed the Phone Booth into a place opposing teams hate to visit.

“We want teams to come in and almost feel like they’re down a goal,” said Capitals forward Brooks Laich of playing at the Verizon Center.

“It’s been fantastic here,” Laich said. “If you go back to last season, what the fans started doing, we started winning consistently and we’ve got this thing around here called ‘Rock the Red.’ We just live off the fans. They’ve come out and have supported us. They’re very passionate and enthusiastic fans. Everyone talks about the Canadian cities and those are the real hockey towns, well Washington is turning into one of them.”

So here’s the million-dollar question – how can we get the Redskins to where the Capitals are? What do we have to do to see the ‘Skins become as dominant at home as the Caps?

Best as we can tell, there are three choices. One, hire Bruce Boudreau. That’s probably not an option right now. We’re fairly certain his current employer wouldn’t approve. Second, learn to play on ice. While quarterback Jason Campbell is clearly willing to give it a try (and for comedic purposes it would be wildly entertaining), that’s probably not doable either. Which leaves us with door number three – move the team back to D.C.

The Caps have won 31 of their last 44 home games while playing in D.C. The ‘Skins have won just 20 of their last 39 games in Maryland. The numbers speak for themselves – move the Redskins back to Washington and all will be well again.

Besides, the team won three Super Bowls playing in D.C. How many have they won since they left?


baptism by fire

(AP photo)

You would have thought the Wizards were the home team at the Verizon Center Tuesday night, with the lack of defense played by the Washington Capitals.

The team was painfully thin on defense to start the season, but last night’s game – a 5-3 loss to the Florida Panthers – featured Shaone Morrisonn, Milan Jurcina and four minor leaguers on the blueline.

Karl Alzner and Sami Lepisto are going to be regulars in D.C. some day (probably in the near future), but against Florida they both looked overmatched and out of place for chunks of the night. Sure, goalie Jose Theodore hasn’t been the most reliable netminder in the NHL this season, but he never had a chance Tuesday night.

“I don’t have the timing down yet,” Alzner said after the game. “I’m definitely going to go and practice that tomorrow.”

In the locker room after the Caps’ first regulation home loss of the season, we asked Alzner just how tough it is to learn the NHL game on the fly.

“It’s very tough,” Alzner said. “I felt awesome after training camp. I thought I had the timing down. I was feeling confident with the puck. You go out and play at this new level and then adjust yourself to that. I got away with it the first few games, but then tonight I was tested by a guy who’s been around a while and knows what to do. I just need to calm down a little bit and not worry about making mistakes.”

Alzner, to his credit, said he would seek out the coaching staff following the Panthers loss and get their feedback.

“I want to know what they want me to do exactly so I can settle in for as long as I’m up here and know I’m doing what they want,” he said.

But this loss doesn’t fall solely on Alzner, no matter how hard he was taking it. Tyler Sloan and Bryan Helmer might be enjoyable “feel good stories,” but neither player looked particularly up to the challenge against a very ordinary Panthers team. Sloan should consider donating his game check to charity after falling asleep at the wheel and leaving Panthers wing Radek Dvorak all alone on the doorstep for the hockey equivalent of a layup, putting Florida up 4-1 in the third period.

The truth is, ideally teams want to slowly phase in one, maybe two, rookie defenders at a time. Give them a chance to pick up some minutes and gain a certain comfort level out on the ice without asking them to do too much too quickly. Unfortunately for the Caps, that’s just simply not an option. And while blaming injuries or rookies might be convenient in times like these, the veteran players wouldn’t touch it.

“It’s not just the rookies,” said forward Donald Brashear. “We all need to do a better job and take some of the pressure off of them. If we play better the first two periods, we’re not in that situation in the third period.”

And while Brashear is intimidating enough to convince us to go along with whatever he’s saying, his teammates all agreed that the current injury/rookie situation wasn’t the only reason the Panthers were victorious.

“We’re not going to use that as an excuse,” said forward Brooks Laich. “You look at their lineup and they had four of their top guys out too. Prior to the game we talked about how hard they were going to work. We watched their game the other night when they played the Rangers and knew what kind of effort they were going to bring.”

That means guys who have been around a while need to step up and make plays, if for no other reason than to lessen the burden on so many of these young guys. And maybe that’s some of the problem.

If we’re being honest, Jurcina isn’t much of a pro caliber player. He possesses the prototypical big body general manager George McPhee desires, but that’s about it. He’s slow, both on his feet and to react to the play around him. If the Caps are killing a penalty and need Jurcina to clear the puck out of the zone, there’s a better chance of George W. Bush getting a third term in the White House than Jurcina actually getting the job done. Not only are the Caps asking four rookies to play an increased roll, but the same goes for some of the regulars too.

And yet, the Caps were still in the game until an empty-net goal with one minute left sealed their fate. That’s the maddening part of it all. This team, even without injured defenders like Mike Green, Tom Poti and Jeff Schultz, is still capable of beating most teams on most nights. They dug themselves into a hole against Florida, allowing the Panthers’ 27th-ranked powerplay unit to score on each of their first three chances and battled back to make things interesting after a lackluster second period.

“There’s just a lot of resiliency in here,” Laich said. “Look at our head coach, it comes right from him. Our lineup, even with the injuries – with [Alexander] Semin out, with [Sergei] Federov out, with Mike Green out – we still have some very explosive players in the lineup. Alex Ovechkin obviously speaks for himself. Same with [Nicklas] Backstrom. The goal Victor Kozlov scored tonight was a fabulous goal. We are a hockey team that sometimes scores goals in bunches.

“It’s a staple in the locker room that we’re never going to give up, no matter what the score,” said Laich. “We’re not going to roll over and die. I’m proud of our guys that we keep coming back. Unfortunately tonight it just didn’t come back all the way.”

Nights like tonight just go to show – the sooner some of the regular defenders return to action, the better. But in the meantime, these four minor leaguers are gaining valuable experience that could eventually help stabilize the Caps’ defensive rotation for the foreseeable future. It might not have been pretty, but we’re willing to sacrifice some in the interim for a chance at long-term success.


campbell and the caps

(photo by Brian Murphy)

Last week we chatted with Washington Redskins quarterback Jason Campbell about his unlikely hockey fandom. A few days later, Washington Capitals owner Ted Leonsis followed our post up by inviting Campbell to come out and skate with the team. So we figured we should be the ones to let Campbell know about the owner’s gracious offer and see if he’d actually be willing to do it after his football season concluded.

“I might take that offer up,” he said. “They’d have to teach me how to skate though. I’ve never skated.”

They’ll take it easy on you your first time out there, right?

“Yeah, yeah, yeah,” Campbell said. “They can’t hit me. That’s a violation.”

Can you hit them?

“If it’s the offseason, then I’m not supposed to be getting hit. I’m supposed to be recovering,” he said. “If I can’t stop and we just accidentally hit each other, then I’ll have to deal with it.”

From there, we figured we should ask a few of Campbell’s teammates what visions come to mind when picturing their franchise quarterback attempting to skate/play hockey for the first time in his life. Predictably, each player we talked to cracked up before actually attempting to answer the question.

“He’d be a goalie – because he probably can’t skate,” said tackle Jon Jansen, who knows a thing or two about cold weather sports having attended college at the University of Michigan. “I hope he does well. I hope he doesn’t hurt himself out there.”

Is he at least athletic enough to go out there and not embarrass himself?

“Oh, I’m sure he’d do fine,” Jansen said. “It’s not that hard. As long as his ankles are strong enough, he’ll be fine.”

We were greeted with more of the same confused looks and laughter as we headed to the other side of the locker room.

“Jason skating,” asked defensive tackle Anthony Montgomery with a laugh. “I can envision him falling a lot, man. If I had my way, I wouldn’t let him do it. That’s our starting quarterback and I don’t want to risk him getting injured.”

Let’s say we could get him out there and be guaranteed he’d get through it injury free. What kind of hockey player would Campbell be?

“Jason’s a real calm guy,” said Montgomery, who like Jansen, is familiar with cold weather sports thanks to his time at the University of Minnesota. “If he’s doing good or doing bad he’s got the same look on his face. I just don’t think he’d be aggressive enough [to play hockey]. Somebody smack him up against the glass or try to fight or something like that, I don’t think Jason would take part in that. I’m not saying he’s a coward or anything like that. Hockey’s just a real aggressive sport.”

Rounding out our informal poll of Redskins players, we figured we had to stop by the residential Canadian, kicker Shaun Suisham. On a hunch, we figured if anyone in the locker room knew hockey, it’d be Shazam. Turns out, we guessed right.

“I was at every home playoff game but one last season,” Suisham said. “I’ve really become a Capitals fan. I’ve only had the opportunity to get out to one game this year, but it’s a great game.”

What is it about the sport of hockey that appeals to you?

“I grew up playing hockey,” said Suisham, who manned the blueline as a defender back in the day. “I started skating at three. Football was kind of my ticket to school and all of that, but I played hockey all the way up until I left for football.”

Hypothetically speaking, what kind of hockey player would Jason Campbell be?

“Oh, I don’t think he’d be very good,” Suisham said. “He’s pretty good at what he does, but I wouldn’t think he’d be very good at skating if he’s never skated before.”

What advice would you give to Campbell if/when he gets out there?

“Hold onto the boards,” Suisham said.


redskins rock the red

(photo by Brian Murphy)

The Washington Capitals are good. And chances are, they’re going to be really good for a while. Their top four players – left wing Alex Ovechkin (23-years-old), left wing Alexander Semin (24), defenseman Mike Green (23) and center Nicklas Backstrom (20) – are young and seem poised to lead this team to heights D.C. has never seen.

After scoring an NHL-best 65 goals last season, Ovechkin won every conceivable award possible. He took home the Lester B. Pearson Award as the league’s most outstanding player (voted by the players), the Hart Memorial Trophy as the Most Valuable Player, the Art Ross Trophy and the Maurice “Rocket” Richard Trophy. Additionally, coach Bruce Boudreau took home the Jack Adams Award as the NHL’s top coach.

This season, Semin has managed to take his game to the next level – even managing to outplay fellow-Russian Ovechkin many nights early in the year. In just 16 games, Semin has scored 13 goals and 14 assists for 27 points. His wristshot is so nasty that it ranks among the best in all of professional hockey. Oh, and he became even more popular with locals when he decided to basically call Pittsburgh Penguins center Sidney “Cindy” Crosby overrated.

Pairing a motivated Semin with Oveckin, last season’s league MVP, as well as Green, the NHL’s top goal scoring defenseman and Backstrom, runner-up for rookie of the year, easily gives the Caps the most exciting offense in D.C. sports. And folks seem to be taking notice.

Maybe its due to the addition of the Red Rockers, but the Caps’ average attendance at the Verizon Center is over 17,700 (97 percent capacity) this season. (Quick sidenote on the Red Rockers link: can you say one of these things is not like the other?) And the team has rewarded those in attendance with the Caps undefeated (7-0-1) at home in regulation thus far this season. What’s more, even the other sports stars in town are “rocking the red” with the Caps this year.

Earlier this month, Redskins tight end Chris Cooley officially became a Caps fan after attending his first hockey game, a 3-1 Capitals victory over the New York Rangers. While Cooley is new to the hockey bandwagon, quarterback Jason Campbell is not.

The face of the franchise has been spotted at the Verizon Center enjoying Caps games for a couple seasons now, so we caught up with Campbell earlier this week to ask him how someone from Laurel, Mississippi becomes a hockey fan.

What is it about the Capitals and the game of hockey in general that appeals to you?

“I just like the intensity of it,” Campbell said. “It’s kind of like football, except its on skates. Guys are hitting each other and they’re playing hard and getting physical. It’s a tough game. You definitely respect the guys who play that game because it is so physical.”

Had you ever been to a hockey game before you came to D.C.?

(Laughs) “No, I’d never been to one,” he said. “This was my first time going to one and its fun.”

What’s kind of cool for local fans is we’ve got guys like you going to Caps games and now we’ve got Ovechkin and some of his teammates showing up at FedEx Field. Have you had a chance to meet some of those guys and get to know them?

“Yeah, I know Ovechkin real well,” Campbell said. “I also know Ryan Zimmerman [of the Nationals] and a couple of the other guys in the area. I always know when they’re coming to our games and if I go to their games, I always see them before or after the game. We all try to get out and support each other. It’s definitely nice because we’re all in this city together. If we can all get on a winning track this city can really be live.”

What kind of hockey player would Jason Campbell be?

“I’d probably be a bad hockey player,” Campbell said with a laugh. “I’d probably have to be a goalie or something.”

Can you skate?

“I’ve never skated in my life,” Campbell admitted.

Goalie is probably a bad place for you to start then. If someone like Ovie fires a 100 mile an hour shot at you, its probably not going to end well.

“I know, right,” he said. “I’ll probably just have to stick with football.”

Dear Ted Leonsis, if you’re as smart as we think you are, you’ll immediately invite Campbell out to Kettler IcePlex or the Verizon Center to skate with Ovechkin and friends. You don’t have to put him in net, but this is an opportunity too good to pass up.

[Update: Capitals owner Ted Leonsis has taken our advice and extended an offer to Campbell to come out to skate with his team. Here’s hoping Jason won’t be available to do so until after a deep playoff run.]

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