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Capitals lend a hand on new playground


Capitals lend a hand on new playground

While nearly 300 other NHL players are in New York trying to build a bridge between the players union and the leagues owners, Capitals Mike Green, Brooks Laich and Nicklas Backstrom are in Old Town Alexandria today helping more than 200 volunteers build a playground.

Through the collaborative efforts of So Kids Can, KaBOOM!, the Alexandria Redevelopment and Housing Authority and Washington Capitals Charities, the 500 block of North Royal St. is being transformed from an old, little-used playground into a colorful new play area in the span of about six hours.

Funds for the S.T.A.R.S. Playground at Hopkins-Tancil Court were raised through So Kids Can, a nonprofit created in 2008 by Green and Elliot Segal from the Elliott in the Morning show. Since its inception So Kids Can has raised more than 200,000 for various youth-oriented organizations.

Ive always wanted to work with kids, Green said, and I liked to play on the playground when I was a kid. And here I am now building them.

Green, 26, grew up in Calgary, Alberta, the middle child of Dave and Kate Greens three children. When his parents werent carting him from rink to rink, they were encouraging him and his brother and sister to go outside and play.

All the time, he said. I was never inside. We were either playing street hockey or soccer or something.

Thats what Green wants for every boy and girl, regardless of the diversity of their neighborhoods.

They can sit and play Nintendo all day long, he said. You can only play that so long until your eyeballs dry out.

Greens push for kids to be physically active is a vision shared by Darrell Hammond, who in 1996 created KaBOOM!, a national nonprofit dedicated to saving play. Hammond founded the nonprofit in Washington with a goal of creating a place to play within walking distance of every child in America.

Since then, KaBOOM! has mapped over 89,000 places to play and has built or re-built more than 2,100 playgrounds.

The Old Town Alexandria playground is the second built by KaBOOM!, the Capitals and So Kids Can, and is one of more than 150 playgrounds across the country that will be built by KaBOOM! in 2012.

The design of the S.T.A.R.S. playground is based on drawings created by children who participated in a Design Day event in August. The build began at 9 a.m. today and is expected to be completed with a ribbon-cutting ceremony around 3 p.m.

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Capitals Faceoff Podcast: A trip to the Stanley Cup Final is on the line


Capitals Faceoff Podcast: A trip to the Stanley Cup Final is on the line

The Eastern Conference Final is going the distance!

After losing three straight to the Tampa Bay Lightning, the Capitals won Game 6 to force a Game 7 in Tampa Bay. Can the Caps beat the Lightning one more time and advance to the Stanley Cup Final?

JJ Regan, Tarik El-Bashir and special guest cameraman Mike D break it all down.


PLEASE NOTE: Due to schedule and time constraints, this podcast was recorded by phone and the audio quality is not up to our usual standards.

Check out their latest episode in the player below or listen on the Capitals Faceoff Podcast page.

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Caps push Lightning around in Game 6 with physical game plan

Caps push Lightning around in Game 6 with physical game plan

As the NHL continues to focus more on speed and skill, the Capitals took a very old-school approach to Game 6 against the Tampa Bay Lightning. From the moment the puck dropped until the clock hit zero, it was clear Washington came into Monday with a very physical game plan.

"It made a big difference," T.J. Oshie said. "I think in these games, everyone’s bringing energy and you kind of want to control that and direct it towards some positive play, some momentum building for your team, and tonight I think we handled that and did that pretty well."

"We just wanted to throw everything we had at them," Stephenson said. "It was a do or die game and we don't want our season to end."

It worked.

The scoresheet officially credited the Caps with 39 hits for the game. The Lightning had only 19. The physical play seemed to wear down Tampa Bay as the game went on.

After an even first period, Washington took a 1-0 lead in the second. Then, very fittingly, a physical fourth line extended that lead to 2-0 in the third to finish the Lightning off.

"All of a sudden now we turn a puck over, you’re back in your end, they’re feeling it, they’re being physical, crowd’s behind them and we’re spending way too much time in our D zone," Tampa Bay head coach Jon Cooper said. "That’s what hurt us."

What made it so effective was the fact that the entire team bought into it. Alex Ovechkin was certainly the most noticeable player as he threw himself around like a wrecking ball against everyone wearing a white jersey. But it was not just his line. Tom Wilson and Brooks Orpik each led the team with six hits, Devante Smith-Pelly recorded five of his own while Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom both had four.

The Lightning faced a constant barrage from the Caps from every line and defensive pair. There was no respite.

The hits also gave the fans plenty to cheer for.

The Caps were playing an elimination game at home and Tampa Bay goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy was standing on his head. Even with the score locked at 0-0 through the first period, the crowd was still very much into the game. There was no apprehension, there was no quiet tension. There was just a loud crowd cheering on its team.

"[The fans] were loud right from the start, which I think we fed off of and wanted to give them something back," Brooks Orpik said. "We didn't get a goal early. I think some of the physical play kind of helped carry that. They were great for us."

Now in the third round of the playoffs after six intense games between the Caps and Lightning, the hope is that Game 6's physical play will continue to take its toll on Tampa Bay heading into Game 7.

"We need to do that every game," Nicklas Backstrom said. "That's our forecheck. Hopefully, we can keep it going here in Game 7."