Caps to Face Rangers
The Washington Capitals are back on the ice on Tuesday night at Madison Square Garden to face the New York Rangers in game two of their four game regular season series. The Caps won the first tilt, 3-1, back on November 8th at the Verizon Center. Washington looks to rebound after being drubbed 7-1 by the Flyers on Saturday at the Wachovia Center. Injuries continue to pile up for the Caps and they will be without key players Tom Poti, Mike Green, Sergei Fedorov, and Alexander Semin in New York. Some Hershey call-ups are likely on Tuesday morning just so Washington can put 20 healthy players on the ice. In all of my 25+ years of being around the Caps I cannot ever recall an injury situation as bad as this one. The 1996-97 squad endured a lot of injuries but I don’t remember it being this bad for this long, especially on the blue line.
On Saturday in Philly, Alex Ovechkin had 12 shots in the game and several good scoring chances but he and the Caps had a hard time solving Flyer goalie Antero Niittymaki, who made 47 saves, including 25 in the first period. When a team gets that kind of great goaltending in the first period they typically respond the rest of the game and that is what Philadelphia did in turning this contest into a third period laugher. Brent Johnson was not good in net for the Caps (the second goal he gave up, Jeff Carter’s first of the night, was just terrible) and Jose Theodore was forced to come in and face a Flyer barrage in the third period. It was ugly to watch if you are a Caps fan and Philadelphia enjoyed rubbing it in. So you can bet that Caps Coach Bruce Boudreau and his club have already circled January 6th on their calendar because that is when Philly next comes to the Verizon Center. By the way, WNST has a “Puck Bus” that night so sign up now to go down and watch Washington get some revenge on the Flyers.
Mike Gartner Ceremony
The Washington Capitals will retire Mike Gartner’s No. 11 jersey at a pregame ceremony on Sunday, Dec. 28, against the Toronto Maple Leafs. Gartner, a member of the Hockey Hall of Fame who ranks second in Capitals history in goals (397), assists (392) and points (789), will become the fourth player in Capitals history to have his number retired. Yvon Labre’s No. 7 was retired on Nov. 7, 1981, Rod Langway’s No. 5 was retired on Nov. 26, 1997, and Dale Hunter’s No. 32 was retired on March 11, 2000.
Every fan in attendance will receive a commemorative Mike Gartner jersey pin, sponsored by Comcast SportsNet, upon entrance into the game, along with a special No. 11 signs to pay tribute to Gartner. Fans are encouraged to be in their seats early for the ceremony, which will start promptly at 7 p.m. The ceremony and the game will be broadcast on Comcast SportsNet and will be available in high definition.
Former Washington Capitals Greg Adams, Bob Carpenter, Bob Gould, Alan Hangsleben, Wes Jarvis, Labre, Langway, Craig Laughlin, Dennis Maruk, Paul Mulvey, Larry Murphy, Errol Rausse, Gary Rissling and Scott Stevens as well as former broadcaster Ron Weber will be in attendance to help share in this special night. Some of Gartner’s former teammates will be around the concourse before the game meeting fans and signing autographs and they will be introduced during the first intermission.
The ceremony will start with a video of Gartner’s playing highlights followed by Jarvis’s speech introducing Gartner. Jarvis and Gartner played together from 1979-82 and have remained friends and business partners. After Gartner’s remarks, Capitals president Dick Patrick will present Gartner with gifts from the organization and the jersey will be raised to the rafters.
Prior to the ceremony, the current Capitals will wear special white retro jerseys during pregame warmups. Each jersey will have No. 11 on them along with the current player’s name. The jerseys will be autographed by Gartner and each player and will be available at a silent auction during the game with a portion of the proceeds going to World Vision. World Vision, Gartner’s charity of choice, is a Christian humanitarian organization dedicated to working with children, families and their communities worldwide to reach their full potential by tackling the causes of poverty and injustice.
The Caps will wear white jerseys during the game – as Gartner’s Capitals teams did at the Cap Centre – while Toronto will wear dark jerseys.
WashingtonCaps.com will feature tributes and other Gartner-related content in the week leading up to the Dec. 28 game. Fans are encouraged to send congratulatory messages to Mike at WashingtonCaps.com/mikegartner recalling their favorite memories, which will be displayed on WashingtonCaps.com during the week.
Gartner, a member of the Hockey Hall of Fame who ranks second in Capitals history in goals (397), assists (392) and points (789), will become the fourth player in Capitals history to have his number retired. Gartner spent the first 10 seasons of his 19-year NHL career with the Capitals after Washington selected him in the first round, fourth overall, in the 1979 NHL Draft. He led the team in goals five times and in points four times, scoring at least 35 goals in each of his first nine years in Washington (he had 26 goals when he was traded 56 games into 1988-89, his 10th season). He left the team as its all-time leader in games played, goals, assists, points, power-play goals and game-winning goals.
The Ottawa native is one of only three players in Capitals history with a 100-point season (joining Dennis Maruk and Alex Ovechkin), having recorded 102 points in 1984-85. He holds the Capitals record for most consecutive games with a point (17, twice) and consecutive games with a goal (9) and shares the club record for most shorthanded goals in a season (6). Gartner was a member of the first six Capitals playoff teams, leading four of those teams in playoff scoring. He recorded 43 points (16 goals, 27 assists) in 47 playoff games for the club and at the time of his trade was Washington’s all-time leading playoff scorer.
Gartner played 1,432 career games with five teams in his career, recording 708 goals (sixth in NHL history) and 627 assists for 1,335 points. Inducted in the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2001, Gartner holds the NHL record for the most 30-goal seasons (17) and shares the record for most consecutive 30-goal seasons (15). He played in seven NHL All-Star Games and three times won the NHL’s fastest skater competition at the NHL All-Star Game.
Gartner was an active member of the community during his time in Washington, D.C., and a particularly generous contributor to the Children’s National Medical Center.
A limited number of tickets to the Dec. 28 game remain.