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Verizon Center officially changes naming rights, will be known as Capital One Arena

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Monumental Sports Network

Verizon Center officially changes naming rights, will be known as Capital One Arena

The downtown home of the Capitals, Wizards, Mystics, Georgetown men’s basketball and Valor has a new name: Capital One Arena.

On Wednesday morning, Monumental Sports and Entertainment announced that McLean-based Capital One will be replacing Verizon as the new naming rights partner for the building, which opened in 1997.

Although the new name takes effect immediately, the full signage and branding changeover will happen in the coming months.

The arena, which began as MCI Center before being renamed Verizon Center in 2006, is also getting $40 million upgrades to improve the fan experience, according to MSE.

From the release:

As part of its continued commitment to provide the best fan experience in the country, Monumental Sports and Entertainment today also announces a separate, independent $40 million investment in Capital One Arena. Capital One Arena is one of the few privately-owned arenas in the country, and throughout its ownership, MSE has made over $100 million in investments to ensure the arena remains a best-in-class facility. The announcement today of this new investment is a further down payment on that commitment. 

And...

As part of its independent investment announced today, MSE will continue to push the envelope by employing cutting edge technology to benefit our fans. For example, through the Monumental360 program, MSE will use data to build out a full view of our fans, so we can better cater to their individual needs and interests. Our aim is to use what fans tell us about their preferences when they interact with any touch point of a Monumental franchise. Who they follow on social media, channel of purchase and seat location, how they connect to arena WIFI and what they purchase in the arena can help us tailor not just the Capital One Arena experience, but their fan experience outside the building, too. We want to know our fans well - so we can make sure we are providing them with the very best experience.

This summer, MSE also plans to move to a new point of sale system -- which will be a great first step toward faster lines and additional payment options for fans, as well as better analytics and data that will allow MSE to better tailor the arena experience to each fan. The new point of sale system will also enable MSE to offer Capital One cardholders automated discounts on food, beverage, merchandise and more.

This is all part of MSE's continued commitment to ensure that Capital One Arena remains a premiere destination in the country for sports and entertainment. 

For the full release, click here.

In a blog post, Monumental majority owner and CEO Ted Leonsis noted that the naming rights deal with Capital One continues a big year for MSE, which has also agreed to a new TV rights deal and equity partnership with CSN, welcomed NBC Sports Group as an investor in Monumental Sports Network, invested in a top esports team, Team Liquid, added a NBA G League team and kicked off the inaugural seasons for a pair of AFL teams, the Washington Valor and Baltimore Brigade.

"Welcome to Capital One Arena," Leonsis wrote. "That sounds fantastic." 

The arena has been credited with rejuvenating the Chinatown area of downtown Washington by bringing in many new restaurants and retail stores in recent years. In 2016, Billboard Magazine ranked the arena 8th in the nation and 13th in the world among top-grossing venues with a seating capacity of more than 15,000.  

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JJ vs. the fans bold predictions: A big night for Tom Wilson?

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USA TODAY Sports

JJ vs. the fans bold predictions: A big night for Tom Wilson?

In the very first edition of JJ vs. the fans bold predictions, no one got a single prediction right. Well, there’s nowhere to go but up!

The Caps hit the road on Friday to take on the Detroit Red Wings (7:30 p.m., NBC Sports Washington Plus). Let’s check out our predictions.

RELATED: MADISON BOWEY IS ALREADY LOOKING MUCH IMPROVED

Fan predictions:

For those who don't know, a Gordie Howe hat trick is a goal, an assist and a fight all in one game. Tom Wilson gets the promotion to the top line tonight and Wade is expecting big things. I am not so bullish on it. I think adjusting to a new line and a new side, Wilson has moved from right wing to left, will take Wilson some time.

The Caps face former defenseman Mike Green and Garrett thinks he is going to get one past Braden Holtby. This is pretty bold considering Green has yet to record a single point in five games against his former squad.

The Capitals’ defense has had its problems of late and it has certainly dragged down the penalty kill. Remember how hot the penalty kill was to start the season? Now the Caps rank 19th in the league at 78.6-percent. Still, two power play goals is a lot considering Detroit ranks 24th in the NHL with a success rate of only 14.8-percent.

MORE CAPITALS: HOW TO WATCH CAPS-RED WINGS

JJ’s predictions:

The Caps will allow more than two goals

Washington’s defense is not as bad as they looked against Philadelphia, but it isn't as good as they looked against Toronto either. One thing that helped against the Maple Leafs was that the game was at home. Barry Trotz could get the favorable matchups for his rookie defensemen as his team had the second change. That won’t be true on Friday in Detroit. The defense will struggle as a result.

John Carlson will play more than he did against Toronto

See above. Carlson logged a hefty 27:33 on Tuesday and that was with the Caps getting the second change. The Caps will rely even more on him on the road.

Washington will get at least two goals form players not named Ovechkin, Oshie and Backstrom

Alex Ovechkin, T.J. Oshie and Nicklas Backstrom have 17 of the Caps’ 22 goals this season. Perhaps the big three will have another big night, but eventually the team will need someone else to step up and score. Whether because the team emphasizes it or through just dumb luck, the Caps are going to record a few points from a few of their other players on Friday.

Want to see your tweet among the fan predictions for the next game? Tweet your prediction to @JJReganNBCS every game day! Remember, we don’t just want to know who will win or the score, we want to see specifics. Be bold!

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In just one week, Madison Bowey already looks like a much improved player

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USA TODAY Sports

In just one week, Madison Bowey already looks like a much improved player

Madison Bowey’s second game went a lot better than his first and it’s not just because the Caps allowed only two goals as opposed to eight.

Despite being thrust into a significant role in his first taste of NHL experience, Bowey seemed to settle in a bit in his second contest even as it came against the NHL’s best offense in the Toronto Maple Leafs.

“Just everything in the first game felt like it happened so quick, I think,” Bowey said Thursday after the team’s practice. “It was obviously nice to come back in Washington and play in the home in front of the home crowd, get a practice in on Monday before the game Tuesday with the team. Just all the little factors that went into it definitely helped and I think it definitely felt a lot smoother out there on the ice.”

RELATED: BURAKOVSKY DEMOTED TO THIRD LINE

Playing at home definitely has its benefits for the coaching staff as they try to protect the rookie defensemen. Home teams get the chance to change after the visiting team allowing the coaches to pick the matchups they want for Bowey.

More favorable matchups certainly helped him, but Bowey also seemed to play with more confidence and a level of calm that was not there against Philadelphia. For Bowey, the difference was having time to settle in and practice with the team.

“Obviously this team is one of the veteran teams in the league so to be able to practice against top players in the league, it goes a long way,” Bowey said.

RELATED: WHY THE CAPS SHOULD NOT TRADE PROSPECT IIYA SAMSONOV

Bowey was called up for a Saturday game in Philadelphia after Matt Niskanen suffered a hand injury Friday in New Jersey. That means he quickly had to join the team and jump into the lineup for his first ever NHL game without any practice with the Caps at all.

Bowey now has two practices and two games under his belt and even a team-building day at FBI training. The effect that has had on his game was noticeable on Tuesday. It should be even more clear on Friday as the team travels to face the Detroit Red Wings.

“I feel myself improving every day,” Bowey said. “It forces you to really work hard and be on your top every day you come to the rink so for me, just having those two practices already have been huge. I feel the development's getting a lot better early.”