Behind Enemy Lines: Thoughts And Observations From Washington, DC

WASHINGTON, DC– Some thirty-two hours after arriving in our nation’s capital, I’ve decided to follow the model of BruinsDaily’s Tim Rosenthal — who is also on the trip, putting up with yours truly for the past day and a half — and create something a little different for you all. In no particular order (for the most part), here are some observations from my journeys in Washington, DC. Oh yeah, and a little more about that hockey game from Monday night.

1) The first things I’ve noticed since arriving in Washington is the city’s overall efficiency and convenience for both residents and visitors. With seemingly every popular attraction accessible from one of the many public Metro stations — for those in Boston, think of it as the DC alternative to the MBTA Subway system, yet a lot cleaner and faster — and a bevy of maps and information booths placed carefully throughout the city, it’s easy for any amateur tourist (like myself) to scope out every nook and cranny of the Capital. Also, another small contraption that I found both interesting and highly valuable is the countdown clock that’s found at each and every Metro stop, letting you know exactly how long you’ll have to wait for your train. This, I’m sure comes in handy on many occasions for commuters traveling to and from the workplace on a daily basis.

2) Submerged within the 400 level of the Verizon Center was where I took in Monday’s game three action in one of the oddest locations for a press box that I’ve ever come across. To put it into perspective, if the gentleman immediately in front of me was to stand up (which he did, far more often that I would have liked) it would severely affect my sight-line. Another adverse affect that comes with being so close to the hoards of screaming fans is having to listen to their loud (and often times profane) comments. While I will admit that it’s possible to hear screaming fans from the Boston press box, it’s far easier and more often done in DC. On the other side of the coin, the Capitals do deserve some credit for providing us with a state-of-the-art media lounge and a bevy of in-game snacking options.

3) Throughout Monday’s game, I had to repeatedly glance up at the countless “Division Champions” banners hanging from the Verizon Center rafters just to make sure I was in the right building. Cheering each and every time, without fail, a member of their beloved Capitals fell to the ice and proceeding to rain down with a chorus of boos upon realizing that there would not be a penalty called, the Caps’ fans make the Verizon Center feel a lot like the Centre Bell up in Montreal. Of course things like this happen in arenas across the NHL, it’s a natural part of being a fan and seeing things through bright red-colored glasses (in Washington’s case). However, Capitals’ fans took things to a whole new level of referee trolling on Monday, even breaking into a “Refs, You Suck” chant on multiple occasions. To be completely honest, it was truly an embarrassing display of fan-hood from all that partook in it. The below video is from 2010 but shows, on a small scale, what exactly I am talking about.

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4) If you haven’t already heard, Nicklas Backstrom’s cross-check to the face of Rich Peverley has bought  the Caps’ superstar pivot a one-game suspension. The ruling has DC in an uproar and Capitals’ fans demanding answers. While I have not been able to see Brendan Shanahan’s suspension video, the guess here would be that Backstrom’s match-penalty (and automatic suspension) was upheld simply due to the fact that it was his THIRD cross-checking penalty of the game.

5) After an off-day on Tuesday, the Black and Gold will be back on the ice Wednesday at Kettler Capitals Iceplex in Arlington, VA. I’ll be sure to provide you all with some insight from there via Twitter and will be back with more tomorrow.

Note: If you’d like to check out some professional quality (I kid, of course) photos from my many stops in DC, you can do so, here.

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About the Author: Boston Bruins writer for Hockey Independent. Michigan Fan. Street Hockey Agitator. My work has been featured at the New England and New York Hockey Journals, The Hockey Guys, and SB Nation Boston. Follow me on Twitter @_BWoodward or shoot me an email at BWoodward.HI@gmail.com!

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