Capitals

Quick Links

For the love of D.C. sports: How the love of D.C. sports brought these fans a love of their own

valentines_collage.jpg
NBCSW

For the love of D.C. sports: How the love of D.C. sports brought these fans a love of their own

Billy Beane once said, "how can you not be romantic about baseball?"

For these Washington, DC sports fans, it's not just baseball - they are all love when it comes to their favorite teams. High fives turned into heart eyes, catching a drink after a game turned into a lifelong love and a first date led to a mutual bond over the Caps, Nats, Wizards, Redskins, Mystics, DC United, and Orioles.

I took to Twitter to ask DC sports fans to tell me their love stories, to reminisce on the game that brought them together. Their responses did not disappoint. Here are just a few of the many replies I received:

Twelve years after they had met on AOL and subsequently lost contact, Jesse and Summer finally reconnected and had their first date: a Wizards-Nets game on Feb. 8, 2013. The pair hit it off and a relationship blossomed. Four years to the day later, their son Champ was born Feb. 8, 2017, remarkably, during another matchup between the Wizards and Nets. Champ's baby shower was Wizards-themed, of course, and the new family of three went to a Wizards game for Champ's first birthday. Now, the Joneses are a "sports-loving family of 5." "With AOL and the Wizards, we thank Ted for bringing us together," Jesse said.

Another prior missed connection that led to love was that of Kenneth and Didget. The pair attended high school together in the late 80's, Didget going on to become a Redskinette in 1989. 20-years later, Kenneth reached out to Didget after finding her on classmates.com. Didget converted Kenneth into a diehard Redskins fan, and the pair has had to purchase the highest cable plan and the NFL Ticket to catch every game.

The Redskins also brought love to Chris Gregory and his wife, Mary. After bonding over their love for the Redskins in their '90's glory days, Chris and Mary were married in September of 1992 and attended a Redskins game as part of their honeymoon.

Opening Day of 2015, Nationals in-game host Mike Ploger, met his fiancé Maddy Tettelbach when she was a contestant on his pregame show. Four years later after Maddy had joined the "NatPack" team, Mike proposed to Maddy on the field with a special video tribute on the jumbotron, their families watching in the stands above. Warning: The video below of their proposal will probably make you cry.

Also finding love at Nats Park are these couples: one meeting in the stands, the other having their first date, engagement AND wedding at the Park.

Josh and Michelle have always been DC sports fans, so when the Caps and Nats won championships in consecutive years for the first time ever, it was a big deal for them and their relationship. Exactly 200 days before the Nats won Game 7 of the World Series, Josh proposed to Michelle on the mound at Nats Park.

After taking in a Caps game with friends eight years ago, Tasha and Jimmy met walking out of the game on 7th Street. The pair headed to Rocket Bar for some postgame drinks and skee ball and never looked back. Now, the two are engaged and live together in Southwest DC, able to walk to Nats Park to catch games as season ticket holders, to Audi Field for DC United games, and a short Metro ride away from where it all began at Capital One. Tasha and Jimmy took in the Stanley Cup win together and attended every Nats home playoff game and watch party of their 2019 World Series win.

Mark and Alison Hendricks also met at a Caps game -- Game 2 of Caps-Habs 2010, which the Caps won 6-5 in overtime. Alison was there with her dad. Mark was a row in front of them with his friends. "Started with high fives after goals, and 10 years later we are married (with a kid on the way)," Mark said.

A Caps game seemed a popular first date destination for a lot of fans. This couple never misses a chance to catch a Caps game together, even on their wedding day!

After being set up at a bar while the Caps were playing, Candice turned her now-husband into such a huge Caps fan, they had a Caps-themed engagement shoot.

Corey Brown and Megan Miller's first date was at a Caps-Canucks game, now making it a point to attend every home game against Vancouver. When the Canucks came to town this past November, Corey got penalty box package tickets and hired a photographer to capture the moment he bent down on one knee during warm-ups.

Emmaly Kiley knew Mike was the one when he gave her a personalized Caps jersey from 1992. But when the season ticket holders' wedding day fell on a Caps game day, they had to improvise. "Photographer in tow, we headed to Verizon Center and couldn’t NOT include Caps fans in our day," Emmaly said.

After two years of trying to court Jenn the baseball fan, Nick the hockey fan finally got her to agree to a date at an Orioles game.  Jenn converted Nick into a baseball fan and Nick turned Jenn into a hockey fan. When they got married years later, they had a Caps and O's themed wedding. They also had former player Troy Brouwer do their pregnancy announcement, named their son Troy Nicklas after Brouwer and Backstrom and watched the Caps hoist the Stanley Cup in person for Game 5 in Las Vegas. Now together 10 years, their 4-year-old son Troy can name every Caps player on the roster, gives recaps after every game and plays hockey himself.

DC United brought Ashley and her boyfriend together.

Abby met her boyfriend while watching the Mystics win their first-ever championship in a bar.

Of course, love doesn't always have to be romantic. Alex recalls bonding with his infant daughter as he held her while watching the Nats go on their World Series run.

For Angelica Vergel Dios, striking up a conversation with co-worker Jodi Aime about her Capitals mug, led to a lifelong friendship. "She asked if I had ever been to the Hockey n heels event and I said no, I can’t wear heels," Vergel Dios said. "It’s been our running joke since then! We’ve become such close friends that we consider us “framily” (friends who are family). She and her kids spend holidays with us, and we all go to games together. We were all together the night that we won the Cup!"

There's something about sports that brings people together. The teams we know and love brought lifelong friendships and partnerships.

So, DC sports fans, if you haven't found "the one" yet, support your teams, go to games, head out to catch a game at a bar or restaurant. You never know, it might just change your life.

Happy Valentine's Day, District of Champions.

Quick Links

With NHL season paused, a ranking of Capitals' best wins of 2019-20: No. 7

With NHL season paused, a ranking of Capitals' best wins of 2019-20: No. 7

While we wait for the NHL to hopefully resume its season, NBC Sports Washington is looking back at the 20 best wins of the Capitals' season so far. Mark Zaner, producer for Caps Faceoff Live and Caps Overtime Live, has watched every game. His rankings continue with No. 7, a 4-2 win over the Los Angeles Kings on Feb. 4 that featured the most unexpected and perhaps the most amazing hat trick in Alex Ovechkin’s career. 

You can re-watch the game tonight on NBC Sports Washington at 8pm. 

WHAT HAPPENED 

Fresh off a loss to Pittsburgh, the Caps came out completely flat against an inferior Kings team. There was no energy on the ice and there was no energy at Capital One Arena. After tilting the ice in their favor all period, Los Angeles got on the board at the 15:03 mark on a Jeff Carter wrister past Braden Holtby. 

Holtby and John Carlson woke up Washington in the second. Holtby made several critical saves to keep the deficit at one. Carlson erased the Kings lead as he finished off a 3-on-2 rush with a close-range snipe on Jonathan Quick. 

  

The momentum once again shifted towards Los Angeles in the third. Holtby did an outstanding job keeping the Kings off the board until Carter scored his second of the night with less than nine minutes remaining. It looked like it wouldn’t be Washington’s night until this: 

 

 Alex Ovechkin didn’t have a shot on goal for the first 53-plus minutes of the game. His first shot of the night came off a great pass from T.J. Oshie and Ovi beat Quick on the doorstep. Just 70 seconds later Ovechkin struck again. Carlson started the play with a long stretch pass that hit Ovechkin in stride. Quick made the initial stop on Ovechkin’s wrister, but couldn’t find the rebound. While Quick and his defense scrambled, Ovechkin got to the loose puck first and gave the Caps their first lead. 

  

Ovechkin added an empty-net goal a few minutes later for one of the most unlikely natural hat tricks. 

MEMORABLE MOMENTS 

Ready for the Ovechkin statistical smorgasbord? He scored three goals in 4:24 of play. The three goals gave him 14 goals in his last seven games and 16 goals in his last ten. It was his third hat trick in six games. It was his 27th career hat trick which passed Maurice Richard for eighth-most in NHL history. He reached 698 career goals and 40 for the season. He was the first player in 2020 to 40 goals. And at that point, he was on pace for 61 goals on the year. By the way, he’s 34 years old.  

WHY IT WAS SIGNIFICANT 

Aside from Ovechkin, the play of Holtby was the biggest takeaway after the game. Carter beat him twice glove side, but Holtby handled the other 29 shots he faced. Holtby was fresh off a miserable January that had seen Ilya Samsonov get more and more playing time. But instead of growing impatient with their star goalie, the crowd at Capital One Arena got behind him. There were several Holtby chants throughout the second period as Caps fans tried to encourage him out of his slump. 

  

Since his win against the Kings, Holtby is 5-3-2 in ten starts and his save percentage is back over 90%. 

WHAT WE WERE TALKING ABOU

To provide some energy, Tom Wilson went to the corner and tried to pick a fight with the entire Kings lineup after a whistle. None of the Kings took the bait. 

In the “never seen this before” category, Dmitry Orlov’s slap shot was so hard, it knocked the blade off Carl Grundstrom’s skate. 

  

We also had one of the best Mites on Ice celebrations of the season. That was going to be the highlight of the evening until Ovechkin carried the Caps to a win. 

  

Stay connected to the Capitals and Wizards with the MyTeams app. Click here to download for comprehensive coverage of your teams.

MORE CAPITALS NEWS:

Quick Links

How to watch Capitals vs. Lightning Eastern Conference Final 2018

How to watch Capitals vs. Lightning Eastern Conference Final 2018

After the Capitals finally "exorcised the demons" and advanced past Round 2 of the Stanley Cup Playoffs by beating the Pittsburgh Penguins, they moved on to the Eastern Conference Final for the first time in franchise history since 1998.

Capitals fans waited for 20-years to see their team advance past the second round and the Caps were not going to make the wait for a Cup any longer.

Saturday, April 4, NBC Sports Washington will be airing Games 1, 2, 6 and 7 of the Eastern Conference Final between the Capitals and Lightning. Here's how to tune in.

When: Saturday, April 4, 10:30 a.m.

Where:

  • NBC Sports Washington (channel finder
  • Any of our 24/7 authenticated streaming platforms


Broadcast Schedule:

10:30 a.m.: NHL Classics: 2018 Playoffs Washington at Tampa Bay [Game 1]

1:30 p.m.: NHL Classics: 2018 Playoffs Washington at Tampa Bay [Game 2] 

4:30 p.m.: NHL Classics: 2018 Playoffs Tampa Bay at Washington [Game 6]

7:00 p.m.: NHL 20: Capitals @ Panthers

8:00 p.m.: NHL Classics: 2018 Playoffs Washington at Tampa Bay [Game 7] 

What happened in the 2018 Eastern Conference Final, Capitals vs. Lightning?

Game 1:

Coming off a high from beating the Penguins to advance to the ECF, the Capitals came out strong, Michal Kempny netting the first goal of the game to put the Caps up 1-0 over the Lightning eight minutes into the first period. With seconds to go, the Lightning took the puck down the ice and scored off of a wild play, but the goal was called back thanks to a too many men on the ice penalty. The Caps took the power play and with only seven seconds left in the first, Alex Ovechkin scored right off the face off to put the Caps up 2-0 heading into the second. Just under three minutes into the second period, Jay Beagle got a lucky bounce putting the Caps up 3 goals over the Lightning. A few minutes later, the Caps got their fourth and final goal of the game, Lars Eller getting the rebound off of an Ovi shot. The Lightning finally got something going in the third period, scoring two goals but it wasn't enough to beat the hot Caps.

Game 2:

The Caps kept their hot streak going into Game 2, this time laying it on with a 6-2 victory. The Caps got on the board first once again, with a shot from Matt Niskanen tipping off the stick of Tom Wilson and past Andrei Vasilevskiy who didn't stand a chance. But minutes later, Brayden Point put the Lightning on the board during a power play, tying the game at 1. The Lightning got on the board again to take the 2-1 lead thanks to another Caps penalty. But little did the Bolts know that would be their final two goals of the game. Early in the second period, a snipe from Devante Smith-Pelly tied the game at 2. With a minute to go in the second, Lars Eller broke the tie to put the Caps up 3-2 and with a mere two seconds left, Evgeny Kuznetsov put the Caps up 4-2 heading into the third. Two more goals followed from Alex Ovechkin and Brett Connolly to beat the Lightning 6-2.

Game 6:

After losing THREE straight games in a row, the Caps headed into a do-or-die Game 6 on the brink of elimination. In the first period, Vasilevskiy stood on his head for the Lightning, denying the Caps on multiple chances with superb goaltending. Finally, T.J. Oshie put the Caps on the board in the second period with a beautiful, one-timer snipe off of a Nicklas Backstrom assist. The Caps got their second goal of the game in the third period thanks to a great hustle by Jay Beagle and Chandler Stephenson to avoid the icing call and a pass to Smith-Pelly in front of the net who made it 2-0 Caps. With just under a minute to play, Nicklas Backstrom got his second assist of the game, passing to Oshie who got his second goal of the game with the empty-netter to secure the 3-0 win and force a decisive Game 7.

Game 7:

It all came down to a decisive Game 7. After losing three straight, the Caps forced Game 7 in Tampa with a 3-0 Game 6 win in Washington. Just 1:02 into the first period, Alex Ovechkin got the Caps on the board. In the second, Andre Burakovsky extended the Caps' lead to 2 and then AGAIN minutes later to make it 3-0. Tampa pulled the goalie with a couple of minutes to go in the third and Nicklas Backstrom capitalized on the opportunity, scoring the fourth and final goal for the Caps to defeat the Lightning 4-0 and advance to the Stanley Cup Final for the first time in 20-years. Braden Holtby secured two shutouts in row for Games 6 and 7, a feat only accomplished by four other goalies in NHL history.

Make sure to tune in Saturday, April 4 to watch the Caps beat the Lightning en route to their first-ever Stanley Cup Championship.

Stay connected to the Capitals and Wizards with the MyTeams app. Click here to download for comprehensive coverage of your teams.

MORE CAPITALS NEWS: