Do you feel like the summer is too long to go without hockey? So do we! To give you your hockey fix and to pass the time from now until the start of next season, CSN proudly presents the Caps Summer Series, a series of five episodes that will broadcast on CSN in July.
The third episode, CSN’s best features, premieres Saturday at 9 p.m. on CSN (channel finder). Check out the teaser clip above!
The episode will feature the best stories CSN has brought you about the Capitals away from the ice. To get you ready, here is a sneak peek into the locker room from Capitals correspondent J.J. Regan. These are his favorite moments he saw in the locker room that did not make the headlines.
Nate Schmidt always makes ‘em smile
Whatever you may think of Schmidt as a player—whether you see him as a top-four defenseman poised for a breakout or a glorified depth player—what’s not up for debate is the fact that he is just a great human being. That really shined through in Caps Fight Cancer Day. The event brought in kids from Make-A-Wish Mid-Atlantic and paired each one with a player. The participants waited for their player partner in the locker room at Kettler after practice. You may remember that day because of Addy who turned into a good luck charm for her partner, T.J. Oshie.
Professional athletes can be pretty intimidating to little kids. Nate Schmidt's partner was a very young little girl who was a bit overwhelmed by the whole event. As he entered the locker room, she sat on the floor as her mom explained to Schmidt that she was a little shy. Schmidt being Schmidt, he sat on the floor with her in almost full gear from practice. He took a puck and rolled it to her. She smiled and rolled it back. They did that for a few minutes until she began to relax and open up. A few minutes later, she and a few other kids were climbing all over Schmidt’s back as he lay pinned on the floor, big smile on his face. Schmidt really embraced the event and did everything he could to make that little girl comfortable. It was a heart-warming site.
Jockeying for votes
To celebrate election day, the Caps hosted their own Election Night giving fans the chance to vote to determine the bobblehead giveaway for later in the season. The choices were Braden Holtby, Tom Wilson or Justin Williams. On election day, the Caps hosted the San Jose Sharks and held a morning skate at Kettler. As I was in the locker room talking to players about that night’s game, I noticed the team’s PR staff was asking several players which bobblehead they would vote for and filming the response to play on the video screen during the game. Just to give you some background on morning skates, as the players have to be at Verizon Center just a few hours later, most are in a hurry to leave. Some players will be out of the locker room before the media is even admitted in. On that day, however, Holtby, Wilson and Williams all seemed to stick around longer than normal and it soon became clear why. Every time a player announced who they would vote for, they would hear it from the other two. It was all in good fun, but I think all three of them wanted to win the vote. As a quick aside, the fact that Williams didn’t win this is a travesty.
Don’t tread on Ovechkin
Every sport has its own norms and traditions. One that is particularly important in hockey is that you never step on the team logo. The Capitals’ locker room at Verizon Center has the team’s secondary eagle logo on the floor in the middle of the room. It is cordoned off, but if it gets crowded with lots of media, sometimes someone can accidentally find themselves stepping on part of the logo. During the playoffs I was in a scrum around Ovechkin following a game. Ovechkin was answering a reporter's question then stopped mid answer. “Excuse me?” he said looking past the crowd of media surrounding him and then again a little louder. He had noticed someone was stepping on the logo. Usually when that happens, a PR representative will ask the person to move. I cannot remember another situation the entire season when a player asked someone to move, but Ovechkin did. He stopped mid answer to ask the person to get off the logo. He then went on to finish the question. After years of falling short of a Stanley Cup, there are a lot of questions about Ovechkin and his ability to lead the team as the captain. There are reasonable points to be made on both sides of the argument and I am certainly not trying to point to this story as the definitive proof that he deserves to wear the C, but if you want to argue that he does not care about the team or about being a leader, I can tell you that’s simply not true. He cares way more than you may think.