C-A-P-S CAPS CAPS CAPS!

Karl Alzner

Karl Alzner celebrates after scoring a goal in practice.

Washington Capitals gamedays are exciting. There’s just a natural buzz leading up to the game. To help pass the time, there are a couple of places you can go to read up on the night’s game. First of all, the site you should check every morning is Caps Today. It’s run by the Caps media and is basically a daily overview of what to know. It includes the day’s storyline, loads of links and tips for what to read to be in the know, and updated practice schedules for the upcoming three days. Also, before every game, the Caps have a podcast, PreCap/Capitals Report, which can be downloaded from iTunes at the conclusion of each segment. You can also listen live online.

Now you’ve read up on the game and the matchup for the evening. But getting there is a whole different story. Here are some tips for how to get to Verizon Center:

First of all, I cannot stress enough how convenient it is to take the Metro in. The red line will you take you straight to Chinatown/Gallery Place and drop you off right at the Verizon Center doors. Ok, technically you’ll have to walk around the corner, but regardless, you’re right there. Metro rides are reasonably cheap and with gas prices and then the price of parking in the various garages, the cost can become pretty high. Not to mention the fact that you need to have permits to be able to park in the Verizon Center parking garage (located underneath the building).  In addition, after the game you’ll have to battle loads of traffic trying to get out of the city. In short, Metro is the way to go. But even with taking the Metro, there are more tricks.  Depending on where you’re coming from, there are certain tricks of where to get off the train. If you have to ride through Metro Center to get to Verizon Center (specifically, if you have to switch trains), the most time efficient thing to do might be to just walk the couple of blocks from Metro Center to Verizon. I always check to see when the next train will be arriving. It’s over two minutes, I’ll walk it. If not, I’ll wait. To walk to Verizon, just take a left out of the station, walk down to the corner, turn left again and then it’s just a straight walk until you hit Verizon. If you get lost, just follow the other red jerseys. That’s what former Cap Scott Walker did last year.

Also, before you leave, you can log onto the Metro’s website to plan your trip more carefully. Visiting the Metro’s website will also notify you of any potential rail closings or rail work. They usually do repairs on weekends, so that’s definitely something to keep track of and look out for.

Now that you know how to get there, be sure that you arrive on time. If you want to arrive in time for warm-ups, for a 7 p.m. game, you should arrive by 6:30 to see the boys come out. I’ll describe warm-ups in greater detail a little later, but if you want a spot on the glass, the earlier you can get there, the better. If you’re just planning on coming to the game, make sure you’re there before the puck drops. As it’s been said before, hockey is such an exciting sport that you’re really not going to want to miss a second of it.

Pre-skate, or warm-ups, is exciting to watch. It’s open to everyone so that even if you’re sitting in the farthest seat from the ice, you can still come down and enjoy some closeup hockey. Getting there early enough will ensure a spot right on the glass with only that small pane of Plexiglas separating the crowd from the players. Sometimes, some of the players will flip pucks over the glass to the awaiting, cheering fans. It’s not guaranteed, but it’s always nice to come and watch the players get in the zone before the game. It’s also a nice time to preview the line combinations, starting goaltenders, etc. for both teams.

When trying to put together a game wardrobe, there’s only one thing you need to know: wear RED! One of the Caps’ main slogans is “Rock the Red” so definitely wear something red. It doesn’t matter if it’s not an official Caps shirt, jersey, etc. Just wearing a red t-shirt will work. It’s the thought that counts. Obviously team apparel is best, but in a pinch, any sort of red is fine. Basically, just don’t wear black and gold. Those are Pittsburgh Penguins colors and Caps fans HATE the Penguins above all other teams in the NHL.