Since moving to Maryland in 1999, I have managed to make it to every single Blues games against the Washington Capitals in DC. It isn't a very pretty record for the Blues out here in our nation's capital. They are 3-4-1 (one of those losses is a SO loss) here in DC since 1999. And I don't even want to think about Sunday night's loss, so I thought I would share what game day is like here "inside the beltway."
Since 1997, the Capitals have been playing hockey at the Verizon Center located in the heart of "Chinatown."
Why is "Chinatown" in quotations? I'm glad you asked. Because the only thing Chinese or even remotely Asian about DC's Chinatown are the clothes and blenders you can by from Urban Outfitters or Bed, Bath & Beyond. Chinatown, like the rest of DC, has been turned into "Corporate Chaintown" now. Most of the good asian restaurants are out on Rockville Pike now (in the richie-rich suburb of DC). And the only way that you know it is Chinatown is by the big archway,
and the fact that they force all the corporate chain stores to print their names in Chinese characters on their storefronts. What is left of Chinatown in DC is actually around the corner from the Verizon Center. There is a great noodle and dumpling shop on the corner of 8th and G Streets NW. There is also a Pho restaurant and some of the more well known Chinese restaurants that couldn't be forced out during the redevelopment. We actually ate at PI Pizza a few blocks away from Chinatown. A fitting way to start off game day when the Blues are in town!
Caps fans aren't
crazy industrious enough to have their own underground fan newspaper, but they do have some fun traditions at the game. For instance, there is Ovie the Bulldog. Not only does he have his own twitter account, but also his own blog! He comes out before home games to greet fans at the main entrance to the Verizon Center. He also makes appearances at the Caps Fan Convention and select practices.
Then there are the Caps' super-fans the Brouwer Rangers. Originally they were Knuble's Knights. And yes they dressed up as knights (as much as they legally could in order to get into the games). But when Mike Knuble was not resigned, they had to look for a new Capitals player and thus was born the Brouwer Rangers. And yes they actually show up to the games like that. As we were standing in line to get in to the arena, Kathleen (who writes for Backes to the Future) and her husband commented "Why do they even bother using the metal detector on them? Not like they can hide anything in those suits." Yes, just like the original Power Rangers, those suits do not leave much to the imagination. Oh and they are known for their catchy signs. You just have a glimpse of one below, but they are famous for their "Scratch Hunter" sign when Dale Hunter healthy-scratched Mike Knuble two seasons ago.
Then there was a hockey game. We all know how that turned out.
During the game it's just the usual tshirts thrown around, pizzas delivered to fans in random sections (which somehow always end up being the 100 section seats it seems like), and the Caps' mascot Slapshot (who wears pants by the way) running around making noise. The one bright spot of the game is that the Blues did manage to deny the Caps' fans their precious hot wings. A local restaurant gives out free wings if the Caps score five or more goals. Not that I am spiteful or anything.
Overall, it is a fun time at the Verizon Center, unless your team loses 4-1. But the Caps fans are nice to away-team fans. At least I've never been hassled at a game. The attendance was light for a weekend early evening game, but the Washington DC football team usually takes center stage during football season. There was a nice showing of Blues fans and I could even make out a faint "let's go Blues" every time the Caps fans started cheering "let's go Caps".
For Blues fan who want to come out to a Caps game, you should do it! Take some time off, come out, tour our nation's capital, and cheer on the Blues.