Saturday, January 31, 2009

Wings Lose 4 -2

The third period killed the Wings when Alexander Ovechkin scored two goals that put the Capitals ahead 4-2. The Wings never recovered. This puts Detroit on a five game losing streak and also signifies that the days of the Wings coming into the Caps rink and cleaning up are over. Ovechkin’s goals were extremely impressive and the Caps played a solid game for all three periods. While the Hat Trick wishes that his Wings had come out on top I am glad to see the Caps have such good success. If they keep playing the way they are they should go deep in the Eastern Conference playoffs this spring.

Wings-Caps Tied After Two Periods

Caps go up by one on a nice goal by Mike Green but Wings come right back with a power play goal by Johan Franzen. Second period is now complete with a tie game at two apiece. Looks like the whole game is going to be tight…

Wings-Caps Series Update

Update from Washington Capitals announcer Joe Beninati (sometimes seen doing play-by-play on Versus) just reported that the last time the Caps beat the Wings in Washington was Halloween 2000 so it’s been a while for the Caps.

Wings-Caps Tied After One Period

It looks like we’ve got a game…end of the first period with a 1-1 score. The Wings scored first with a goal by Ville Leino (first NHL career goal) but the Caps followed up with a nice goal by Viktor Kozlov.

Looks like we are going to have a good game…only wish I could be there in person!

Red Wings In the Hat Trick's Backyard

The Hat Trick is sitting down to watch the Red Wings play the hometown Capitals this afternoon. Attending the game in person was not an option due to my soon-to-be unemployment status so will have to be content with seeing the game on the widescreen.

The Wings have been in a bit of a slide lately having last their last four games…two before the All-Star break and two after the game. I’m hoping they can stop the skid against the Caps today but that could be a tall order. While recent game history shows the Wings have handled the Caps pretty well (and the Hat Trick has had the privilege to view many of those games here in DC) the Caps are a much better team…Washington currently is leading the Southeast Division and is in third place in points total in the NHL’s Eastern Conference. As a result the Wings are going to have their hands full during this game…hopefully it will be a good one and not like Thursday night’s loss to the Dallas Stars in the JLA where the Wings had to climb out of a big hole and weren’t able to get it done. We’ll see if they can do any better against the Caps this afternoon.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Shanahan, Part II

Some additional information, compliments of, on how Shanny stayed in shape before joining the New Jersey Devils this month...not what you would normally expect!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Nice to See Shanahan Back

Just watched former Red Wing (and Ranger, Blues, Whaler and drafted by the Devils) player Brendan Shanahan score after signing with the New Jersey Devils in January. Shanahan was an integral part of the Red Wing's Stanley Cup runs in 1997, 1998 and 2002 and was sorry to see him not signed by a team after last season. While he is reaching the end of his career it's good to see some of these old Wings still playing.

Wings Lose to Blue Jackets

The Hat Trick just watched the Red Wings lose to the Columbus Blue Jackets in overtime...not a pretty game. The Wings looked rusty, especially without team captain Nick Lidstrom and Pavel Datsyuck who are serving their one game suspensions for not attending the All-Star game festivities in Montreal. The fact that we lost Henrik Zetterberg in the first period to back spasms didn't the fact that the Blue Jackets are having a good year and working hard to make sure they make the playoffs this year...a very realistic possibility for the team.

No need to panic at this point but hoping the Wings get back into form before they visit Washington, DC this Saturday to play the Washington Capitals (who also lost tonight in overtime). The Hat Trick isn't sure if he is going to attend the Wings/Caps game or soon-to-be unemployment status makes purchasing hockey tickets a little difficult. Now if one of the Hat Trick's colleagues can come through with free tickets..well, that's a different matter entirely!

Sunday, January 25, 2009

All-Star Game Tonight

The Hat Trick is spending a quiet Sunday at home today and looking forward to the NHL All- Star game tonight at 6:00pm…live from Montreal, Canada. The All-Star game is always a good time for me…the skills competition is great and all the talent on the ice during the actual game is truly impressive. The format for this year’s game is Eastern Conference v. Western Conference which is an improvement over the old format that had a North America team v. a World team. We should see a lot of offense tonight and it is great that the game is in Montreal, celebrating the Canadiens 100th year anniversary.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Congratulations President Obama

The Hat Trick wants to congratulate President Obama on his inauguration and wish him the best of luck as he undertakes some very difficult challenges. While the Hat Trick did not vote for President Obama in the election, I have hopes for him and his presidency. My main concerns in not voting for him centered on his relative lack of experience for the job (four years in the United States Senate) and some of the positions he has supported in those four years in the Senate. The Hat Trick continues to smile at the attacks that Alaska Governor Palin withstood in the general election on her lack of experience yet the glossing over of President Obama’s experience level…clearly the mainstream media had their agenda as well.

Regardless, I hope he does well and has success. One thing is certain…this country has taken a large step in the process of rectifying our historical past with regard to slavery and segregation. Clearly the time has come for a Black American to become President of the United States and hopefully this will go a long way to correct some of the wrongs of the past. In that respect the Hat Trick is hopeful.

On Location

The Hat Trick is going on location to Florida for a few days to get out of the winter cold and, more importantly, crowds that have infiltrated Washington, DC to celebrate the inauguration of President-elect Barrack Obama. With impending unemployment, the East Coast Wing’s felt a little R & R was in order and, luckily, an invitation was extended from the in-laws to come down to Sarasota…this post is actually being written on the plane.

The airline of choice for this trip is US Airways due to the fact that it was cheap ($358 roundtrip for everyone) and easy as we secured seats on US Airway’s non-stop service between Washington National (a short ten minute drive from home) and Fort Myers…non-stops are key when traveling with East Coast Wing Junior.

Flying US Airways is always interesting as the airline continues to plummet in its service levels. US Airways was the first mainline carrier to begin charging for checked baggage and the first to charge for beverages on the plane…and not just alcohol…but soda (pop to my Midwestern readers), coffee, tea and even water. The reasoning for all of these charges that came last summer was to “recap revenue lost to the high price of oil and to remain competitive in a difficult climate.” The irony in this statement is that oil has dropped to about $35 a barrel as of yesterday but for some reason the charges are still in effect…interesting. The baggage fees on US Airways run $15 for the first bag and $25 for the second. The East Coast Wing’s were exempt from the baggage fees as I have Star Alliance Gold status with US Airway’s partner United Airlines so the three pieces we checked were not charged…but it would have cost us $130 roundtrip if I did not have status. So on top of the price of your ticket there are many “ad-ons” which can drive up the cost of a trip.

This is how many European budget carriers operate but US Airways is the first to take it to this level in the United States. Most other major air carriers in this country have followed the lead of US Airways and are charging fees for checked luggage…some allow the first bag to be checked free of charge, some charge for the first bag, and all do not charge for their customers who have elite status with the airline. Interestingly, Southwest Airlines has chosen not to charge baggage fees or fees for beverages in-flight. Southwest, once known (somewhat unfairly) as the “Greyhound of the Air” has initiated a very aggressive advertising campaign to point this out to consumers and it appears to have gotten a lot of attention (thank you You Tube!).

The Hat Trick isn’t sure what to make of all of this…I have sympathy for the airlines in this difficult economy but I also get frustrated with the “nickel and diming” of consumers that is becoming common in this culture. Case in point by blaming the need to charge for drinks when oil is expensive but not stopping the practice when oil drops to its lowest price in over ten years. The Hat Trick is no doubt naive but this is how I feel…not that US Airway’s management is concerned about my views!

Regardless, US Airways is getting my family to Florida and that is the important thing. It may not be pretty but it gets the job done! Hopefully there will be some more time to blog under the Florida sun…

NHL Winter Classic

The Hat Trick is a little late in getting this post out on the NHL Winter Classic…but better late than never!

Needless to say the Hat Trick enjoyed the Winter Classic immensely. Not only was the Hat Trick’s Stanley Cup Champion Detroit Red Wings playing but they came from behind and won big against the Chicago Blackhawks, one of the NHL’s oldest rivalries. The game was fantastic and it was crazy to see Wrigley Field with an ice rink in the middle of the park…but the stands were packed with fans just like a Cubs game. Mrs. East Coast Wing, a former Chicagoan, enjoyed it as well and could even see her old building from some of the television shots.

The Hat Trick is a BIG proponent of the NHL continuing this game format. The game received some of the highest television ratings for ice hockey ever and it was a nice diversion from all of the college bowl game mania that takes place on New Year’s Day. There are so many good rivalries and venues available across the country for this kinds of game…Fenway Park in Boston, Yankee Stadium in New York, Mile High (INVESCO) in Denver, Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, Heinz Field in Pittsburgh or even go to a neutral city like Cleveland, Ohio and play the game in Cleveland Browns Stadium, right on cold and windy Lake Erie!

It’s great to see hockey make a comeback after the strike year and the Hat Trick thinks that the NHL has found a great format to bring more fans into the fold. The Hat Trick plans to watch every year, even if the Red Wings aren’t in the game, although it sure was a nice way to start the New Year with a big Red Wing’s win in a big game. Since I’m sure Commissioner Gary Bettman is a Hat Trick reader we will be hearing about the next Winter Classic location very soon…