Since I'm not the most prolific writer on the internet, and there are plenty of other sources to get much more in-depth recaps and info about the games as they happen (such as here, here, here, or here, in no particular order), I'd just compile a brief collection of some of my impressions of the recently completed homestand.
(Bear with me, as this is definitely a work in progress.)
On The IceI certainly can't find anything to complain about in the area of results. There were definitely some stretches of dicey play by the home team in each of the three games, but any time there's a higher number on the left side of the scoreboard than the right, I tend to go home happy. A few tweaks on the power play, and we could be in for a lot of fun coming our way.
In The StandsOpening night was a madhouse. The place was packed, the atmosphere was electric even as the Caps fell behind twice in the early going. There was almost a welcome back party vibe throughout the night. As the score blew open and the eventual fisticuff parade took shape, it only got more raucous.
Over the next couple of games, things seemed to simmer down just a little bit. I think there was a bit of the old fashioned weeknight malaise combined with opponents that don't exactly inspire intense emotion. The quick-hitting schedule might have generated a little bit of fatigue amongst the regulars as well.
Above Our Heads And BeyondBeing the opening homestand, this will probably be the biggest that this section ever gets.
Count me in as digging the new opening video. I like the song, if only because it features a clappable drum beat, unlike the very fanfare-ish music featured last year. (It doesn't hurt that it's also a bit of a pro wrestling reference, heh!) As referenced by Dan Steinberg at the DC Sports Bog, there are sparks, metal, and even a bit of Wes Johnson, which I agree are all good things. By extension the overall "metal plates" theme for the graphics works for me.
Speaking of Wes, the PA voices and music seemed to be at a much more reasonable volume than last season, especially in the playoffs. I like that the crowd could be loud enough to overpower it at times. On top of that, the music itself is a pretty stout upgrade over the playlists of the previous years.
The irreplaceable unleashing of the fury in video form, complete with the newly filmed Tom Green bits, feels like a win to me. I think it definitely takes it from being "one of those things" and turns it into a "Caps thing."
Unfortunately, on a personal note, one of the "improvements" to the F Street Arena over the summer was to take the six-dollar nachos away from the concession stands on the lower level. They've been replaced by the "Mondo Nachos" for nine bucks. While they are admittedly impressive-looking, they're a bit harder to eat without a mess, and get cold much more quickly.
After a little bit of recon, it appears that the six-dollar nachos are still around, but they seem to be quarantined to the upper level. Here's hoping a shipment of old-school trays makes its way to the stand behind section 106. (People say you should avoid dairy for a good voice, but I'm pretty sure there's no actual dairy in that cheese.)
And So…It's great to be back at the F Street Arena for a game that counts, even without the six-dollar nachos. The new bits and pieces of the presentation seem to be falling into place nicely. There wasn't a single unhappy ending in the set, leaving the Caps unbeaten at home to start things off nicely. Plus I even got to do a little "heavy lifting" on opening night. Welcome back to DC ice, Caps!
(Now, if they could just get a little more consistent on that power play.)
Photo credit: Stewart Small / Facebook