Let Me Hear You Scream

Mike Knuble tosses puck

Mike Knuble tosses a puck to the fans after being selected as one of the three stars of the game.

As with every sports team, the fans have certain cheers that are said throughout the game. Some are at certain times, others are just customary chants. It’s very important, if you’re going to go to a game, to be in the know. Here’s a rough overview of the top things that Caps fans shout during games and some of the in-game videos that are always played:

1. The Opener

Every team has an opening video. After the opening, the Caps’ starting lineup is announced. Obviously, it’s customary to cheer and support the starters and the rest of the team.

2. The National Anthem

While most people know the national anthem, Caps fans add their own twist. During the “Rocket’s red glare…” fans shout “red,” and during “Oh say does that star spangled…” fans shout “O” to represent the Baltimore fanhood to the Orioles baseball team.

3. The Horn Guy

“The Horn Guy” is an iconic fan who comes to every Caps game. Him and “Goat,” another iconic fan, often start up the infamous “Let’s Go Caps!” chant. The Horn Guy starts the chant with three consecutive blows of his horn, to which fans will respond with the chant. Goat just belts out, “Let’s Go Caps” and the fans echo. His voice can sometimes be heard when watching at home. Another popular chant is “C-A-P-S, Caps, Caps, Caps!” This chant is usually started by random fans throughout the arena and not one specific person.

4. Goal Celebration

When the Caps score, the goal song is played. However, what makes the Caps’ goal celebration unique to others is that after the goal has been announced, fans count off the goals scored followed by, “All your fault!” directed at the opposing goaltender.

5. Opposing Team’s Goal

When the opposing team scores, after the goal has been announced, fans shout, “Who cares!” While this chant has received criticism, the idea is not that fans don’t care that a goal was scored because, obviously, everyone does, but instead that they don’t care who scored it.

6. The Bird Call

Whenever an old member of the team returns to Verizon Center, fans will chant the “bird call.” Basically, they chant, “Whoop, whoop!” constantly while the player: A) has control of the puck or B) is just on the ice in general. The amount of whooping is determined by how hated the player is that is returning. For instance, when former Caps defenseman Sergei Gonchar returns, the chant goes on almost the entire time he’s on the ice.

7. Hazing the Refs

Usually, after a ref makes a “horrible” call (either misses an infraction that should be a penalty, doles out a penalty to the wrong person or someone who didn’t do anything illegal, disallows a Caps goal, or something else along those lines), Caps fans will chant, “Refs you suck!”

8. Wings

The Washington Capitals have teamed up with Glory Days Grill for a promotion. If the Caps are able to score five or more goals in a single game at home, all fans in attendance will receive a free half-dozen order of chicken wings from from Glory Days when they present their ticket stub. When the Caps score their fourth goal, fans start chanting “We want wings!”

9. Unleash the Fury

If there’s one chant you learn before going to a game, it’s “Unleash the Fury.” Quite possibly one of the loudest, most exciting chants at Caps games, Unleas the Fury is played once a game. At the end of the in-game video, you’ll know when it comes, just shout along with the video, “Unleash the Fury!”

10. End of Game

At the end of the game, the three stars of the game are announced. Basically, just cheer if the end result is a Caps win.

Whether you remember these cheers or not, the most important thing is to just scream and cheer on the hometown boys.

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Caps Officially Coming to Baltimore

It’s official: the Washington Capitals will play a preseason game in Baltimore, Md. The Washington Post’s Dan Steinberg broke the news earlier today. Per Steinberg, the Caps will make an official statement within the week, but the game is likely to be held between the Caps and the Nashville Predators. It is expected to be held on Sept. 20 at 1st Marina Arena. The game has been named the Baltimore Hockey Classic.

Read the full post here.

Here is the Baltimore Sports Report’s take on the game.

 

Mike Green during warm-ups

Defenseman Mike Green during warm-ups before the Caps vs. Canucks game.

A Fan’s Pre-Game Meal

Caps games generally take a long time. With travel, they are roughly five hours long. That’s a long time to go without food, so the smart choice would be to eat something once downtown. There are plenty of places around Verizon Center and I’ll break down the top ones in both sit-down restaurants and faster eats.

Fast Eats:

On the same side of the street as the arena, almost completely connected to the building, are two of the busiest game-day fast food places: McDonald’s and Chipotle (on the 7th Street side). While these two are fast, because of their proximity to Verizon, they get very crowded very fast. From experience, it’s hard to move, cramped, lines wrap around the restaurant and it’s often hard to find a place to sit.

However, on the other side of the street, there’s a Potbelly (roughly a four minute walk on the 7th Street side), which specializes in sandwiches, and a California Tortilla (a few feet down from Potbelly), which is similar to a Chipotle but offers a wider range of Mexican food such as quesadillas. Both are roughly just as fast as McDonald’s and Chipotle, but the lines are usually shorter. However, be aware that seating in these two places is also a bit limited.

A little farther away (a six minute walk from the arena), there’s a Five Guys Burger and Fries. It’s roughly a six minute walk from the arena and is more likely to not be as busy. I haven’t been to that specific location myself, but be sure to leave plenty of time just in case it is busy.

Sit-Down:

There are a number of sit-down restaurants located near the Verizon Center. But be advised that, since they are sit-down restaurants, to leave plenty of time for a full meal before the puck drops. The Verizon Center website also has a suggested list of restaurants to try. Here are some of the better places:

Rosa Mexicano – Barely a minute walk away, it specializes in Mexican food. It’s a nicely decorated restaurant with a menu that contains a wide assortment of choices. Prices range from roughly $15-$27.

Legal Sea Foods – Three minutes away, this seafood restaurant is advertised as one of the best. Of course, with high quality food comes a high price. Adult entrees range anywhere from $12-$30, but you’re guaranteed a good meal.

Fuddruckers – A five minute walk away, Fuddruckers specializes in burgers, but also serves sandwiches and salads. Basically, it’s an American restaurant. Price ranges from as low as $11 to as high as $30, but not many entrees are that expensive. It’s a nice, casual dining experience before a game.

Matchbox – Six minutes away from Verizon Center, it specializes in pizza. Some of the seafood entrees run a bit higher at around $20-$30, but pizzas, depending on size range from $14-$20. It’s definitely something to check out.

McCormick and Schmick’s Seafood Restaurant – Four minutes away, it’s a much classier restaurant. However, since it is seafood, the prices are a bit higher, ranging from $15-$30. If you’re looking to splurge for a meal, this place is recommended, but you may want to wait until after dinner to put your Caps jersey on.

Eat First Restaurant – Just a six minute walk around the corner, let’s not forget that Verizon Center is located in Chinatown. If you’re looking for a good Chinese restaurant, this is the place to go. It’s incredibly cheap with almost all entrees under $10. It’s not gourmet, but it’ll get you fed and to the game.

 

Remember, wherever you choose to go, the most important thing is that you get to the game on time. With hockey, and especially the Caps, games are so exciting that you don’t want to miss a second of it.

 

San Jose Sharks forward Kyle Wellwood takes the faceoff against Washington's Mathieu Perreault during the game against the Sharks on Feb. 8.

San Jose Sharks forward Kyle Wellwood takes the faceoff against Washington's Mathieu Perreault during the game against the Sharks on Feb. 8.

 

 

Rosa Mexicano – Barely a minute walk away, it specializes in Mexican food. It’s a nicely decorated restaurant with a menu that contains a wide assortment of choices. Prices range from roughly $15-$27.

 

Legal Sea Foods – Three minutes away, this seafood restaurant is advertised as one of the best. Of course, with high quality food comes a high price. Adult entrees range anywhere from $12-$30, but you’re guaranteed a good meal.

 

 

Pay the Right Price

 

Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin plays with a puck during the team's warm-up skate before its game against the Vancouver Canucks on Jan. 14, 2011.

Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin plays with a puck during the team's warm-up skate before its game against the Vancouver Canucks on Jan. 14, 2011.

While Caps practices are fun and enjoyable, there’s nothing like going to a real, live hockey game. However, like I said in an earlier post, ticket prices can be expensive so you want to get the most out of what you pay. Here’s a breakdown of the top places to purchase your tickets.

First, there’s the 100 percent legitimate way of buying tickets: through the Washington Capitals themselves. However, being so late in the season, there are hardly any tickets left. And if there are tickets, they are guaranteed to be expensive. Slap on a $4.75 service charge and any other possible mailing charges and the cheapest single ticket is $79.05**.

Another option is TicketExchange, where Caps season ticket holders can sell their tickets. The problem with this site is that, while you don’t have to pay the service charges, you’re forced to pay whatever prices the season ticket holder seems fit. In some cases, this price is larger than the door price. And this is why the following sites are more recommended.

With these other websites, the end ticket price is a bit more expensive, but there is a much larger selection of tickets, so while you’re paying a bit more, there are more options to get the ideal seat.

The first site is Ticket Liquidator. The cheapest tickets are $29 each. Add in a $5 service fee per ticket and a $15 shipping fee, the total amounts to $49.37. The next site, Ticket Luck, is very similar to Ticket Liquidator. The cheapest tickets are $28 each. There is a $5.32 service fee per ticket and a $15 delivery fee. The total cost for one ticket is $48.32.

The third, and final, site is StubHub. The cheapest tickets are $37 each. This site is formatted a bit differently from the other two sites. The shipping charge is cheaper at $11.95 and it is two-day shipping as opposed to the other sites’ standard shipping. Also, the service charge is 10 percent of the total price of the tickets, instead of just a set fee. So for these tickets, the total price, with shipping and service charges included, would be $52.65.

In the end, it doesn’t really matter where you sit because I have yet to have a bad seat at Verizon center. From personal experience, all three of these seats are reliable so the choice is up to you.

**Prices based on the Caps vs. Carolina Hurricanes game on March 29, 2011.

Capitals rookie goalie Michal Neuvirth stretches during warm-ups before the team's game against the Canucks on Jan. 14, 2011.

Capitals rookie goalie Michal Neuvirth stretches during warm-ups before the team's game against the Canucks on Jan. 14, 2011.

Quick Hits 3-10-11

Just a couple quick hits before I get into this week’s Fan’s Guide tip:

First, I wrote an article for the Towerlight about the Caps’ recent acquisitions and how they’re helping the team’s momentum. (Also worth noting, it was one of the articles on this morning’s Caps Clips on Japers’ Rink).

Another notable, it looks as if the Washington Post had the same idea I did. Also worth noting, I got there first.

Caps Coming to Baltimore?

Big news came out today for Caps fans in Baltimore. Baltimore Sports Report broke the news today that there’s a chance the Caps will play a preseason game here in Baltimore.

The article states that the Caps are close to “finalizing a deal that will allow them to play a preseason game in Baltimore.” Apparently Nestor Aparicio of WNST broke the news Monday night in a facebook wall post. There is still no word as to the specific details of the game or where it would be played, but speculations are that it would be held at First Mariner Arena.

Aparicio’s status as was posted on Baltimore Sports Report:

I’m hearing that the Washington Capitals will be playing a really cool preseason game in Baltimore in September. Tons of details to come, but deal is t-h-i-s close…

I’ll try and follow up on this and update if any more details are released.

So You Want to Meet a Hockey Player

Braden Holtby signs for fans after the Caps' practice on Jan. 24, 2011.

Braden Holtby signs for fans after the Caps' practice on Jan. 24, 2011.

Last week I talked about a poor man’s alternative to watching hockey and promised to talk about meeting the players in greater detail. Well this week, I intend to make good on that promise.

When searching for player autographs, you could always stay after a Caps home game and wait outside the Verizon Center garage. However, this may not be the best way for two main reasons:

1.      Players may not stop and sign, especially after a loss.

2.      That part of D.C. starts to get sketchy and unsafe if you stick around late after the games.

That’s why I recommend going to a Caps practice. At practice, if you walk to the other side of the rink, there’s a gate separating the fans from the team’s locker room. A majority of the players will stop there and sign before heading into the locker room after practice. Usually, they’ll stick around for awhile, especially if you’re lucky enough to grab one of the call-ups from the team’s American Hockey League affiliate Hershey Bears.

However, if you miss those guys because you didn’t get over soon enough or the crowd was too large, all hope is not lost. Because KCI is located on top of a public parking garage, there is no section set aside specifically for players. Therefore, if you hang around just outside the facility by the wall-window where the large ‘Capitals’ logo is displayed, a number of the players will come out.

Some players scatter themselves through the garage, but the notable ones that almost always park up there are:

  • Brooks Laich
  • Mike Green
  • Semyon Varlamov
  • Alexander Semin (although he has been known to park in the lower levels on occasion)
  • Alex Ovechkin (he’ll sometimes have Caps employees drive his car to street level)

Remember, though, that players’ parking spaces are likely to change since nothing is reserved. Also, the players try to sign for as many as they can, but they have busy lives too and places they need to be, so don’t get upset if you don’t get an autograph.

Also, away teams will sometimes practice at Kettler. Be sure to call the facility first to make sure, but practicing at Kettler is the best way to meet other players as well.

New York Rangers players embrace during a practice held at Kettler on Jan. 24, 2011.

New York Rangers players embrace during a practice held at Kettler on Jan. 24, 2011.

New York Rangers captain Chris Drury signs for fans after the Rangers practiced at Kettler Capitals Iceplex on Jan. 24, 2011

New York Rangers captain Chris Drury signs for fans after the Rangers practiced at Kettler Capitals Iceplex on Jan. 24, 2011