Caps chat with Tracee Hamilton

Apr 21, 2011

Tracee Hamilton chatted about the Washington Capitals, including last night's victory and where they go from here. She also took general sports questions.

its 8:40.. i'm drunk at work. thanks caps.

That's the first step to recovery -- taking the responsibility for your actions ...  and placing it squarely somewhere else! Nicely done! :)

And good morning, everyone. Just finished up with Mr. Tony and now it's time to chat.

Oh, and a question: Does anyone out there watch "Law and Order: UK"? My DVR cut off the last eight minutes of the finale last week. James was on trial. I know what happened, because I Googled it to find it online and found out the news instead, but is there anyone out there who can tell me HOW it happened?

As someone who owns a "Plush #1" jersey, I was seriously bummed out that Nyjer got solidly booed in his only plate appearance here.

Sure, there were some issues last year, but, jeez, remember the joy he provided in the miserable '09 season?

I wish him all the best, and I'll be writing him a letter to tell him so.

Section 405

Agreed. He brought some excitement to the game here at a time when there wasn't much. He should be remembered for that, too.

Tracee, I'm hoping you can utilize your Kansas experience to explain something that is Missouri-related. Why is Mike Shannon still employed as the Cardinals' broadcaster? Thanks to the miracles of modern technology, I had the chance to listen to him during this Nats series. Some samples: "The Nats are up by three here in the ninth, 8-6." (he repeated that three times) Of course, he called Jordan Zimmermann "Ryan Zimmerman" the first time he mentioned him and said he was from Washington, North Carolina. But the capper was during the rain delay when he started discussing the fact that Bud Selig was the best commissioner ever. Not just in baseball, but in any sport. Is this a sign of what happens when you overload on Budweiser or has he always been like that?

I can't answer that, and I wish I was in the office so Cindy Boren could help me with it. The Cardinals have a proud heritage of announcers so no idea what Shannon's deal is; I've never heard him.  But I know there are some Midwesterners out there so let's hear from you ...

First, your chat is now called Capitals chat with Tracee Hamilton, but you'll also take general sports questions. Does that mean once the playoffs are over in July that there's no more chats. Or is the WaPo just trying to control my thought processes. Good luck with that. What if I want to know where to get a cookie cutter of my Irish family's coat of arms? Second, you've been replaced on the columnist page by Katie Carrera. I'm sure she's very nice, but why not one of the others? Feinstein and Jenkins haven't written anything in a month. What gives? Third, the NHL has announced a ban on Cephalopod tossing during the playoffs, thus breaking a tradition older than most of the league's teams. Is Bettman betting against the Wings? Can you get your Detwa on and come up with a solution? Throw blank census forms? These things are keeping me up at night...Sleepless in Tejas.

I'm not sure how this became a Caps chat in the listings, when I was neither at nor watching the game last night. Love talking Caps but as always, not limited to that.

(Not intentionally, but last night was a longstanding girls night out for Bonnie Berkowitz, Amy Shipley and me. We do this about twice a year. I DVR'd the game but haven't had a chance to watch it yet, of course, since I was up at 5 to come to the radio show. And of course I didn't set the DVR for two OTs. End of PSA.)

Can't tell you why Katie would be on the columnist page since she isn't, in fact, a columnist, but whatever. No idea what's up with Junior and  Sally, although I think Sally had some time off. And she was just named the best columnist in the country so I say good for her.

As for the octopus situation, first of all, I wish him luck in telling Detroiters what to do. Second, Coney dogs would be an excellent option and would quickly make the NHL long for the days of the cephalopod (no relish, no mustard, no ketchup, no kraut, no onions...)

Now get some sleep!

This one was particularly sweet: not just the win, but THIS KIND of win. After the second period I had that old here-we-go-again feeling, but then the Caps fought back in the third and the feeling reversed itself. Then as the game went on the dread came back -- uh, fellas, we don't do particularly well as overtime starts to wear on -- and then Chimera tips in that little nonsense goal and it's heaven. When I saw Lundquist stare up at the gallery gods in amazement and frustration, I said, I know your pain, pal. It's just nice to have someone else feel it for a change. Happy day! -- Rico

Rico, I agree -- I think this was precisely the type of win they needed. I am not sure if they win this kind of game a year ago.

I don't give a whit about hockey. Does this mean I'm not invited to my weekly dose of catharsis?

You are always invited to your weekly dose, even if you are whitless. Hee hee.

Two glaring weaknesses I observed yesterday and have pointed out on this chat before. First, the Caps rarely win loose pucks. It seems as if every time the puck is up for grabs the [Insert Opposing Team Here] gets it. Getting the puck gives you the chance to create more opportunities. More opportunities mean more goals. The Caps need to get more loose pucks. Second there is no one in the paint for rebounds. Several times last night they either dumped the puck deep or took a shot and there were only blue jerseys in the vicinity. . .which essentially made the Caps effort a voluntary give away. Don't dump or shoot until you know your guys are in position. Don't get me wrong, I love the win but these are weaknesses that can cost games but they are correctable. Your thoughts?

You bet they have weaknesses, and last night did not clinch the series, and I don't mean to imply otherwise. I have noticed the loose puck situation you speak of but have REALLY noticed the lack of players in position for rebounds. I think this is partly the result of the new style and partly the result of the fact that they need to just fire away at Lundqvist to beat him. That's what BB is telling them to do. Yes, these are weaknesses that can cost games, and yes, they are correctable.

After the second period, my Facebook status read something like: "Why is it so hard to be a Caps fan during the playoffs?" Well, that sentiment sure rang true during the third, fourth, and fifth periods! But, wow, what a finish! They sure know how to put on a show and keep the fans on the edge of their seats. What a tough win, but surely it's a morale booster for the team?

Gotta be. I'm not over there today, obviously, but they weren't that down on Monday and Tuesday. I really sensed a confidence that I didn't a year ago. Sunday night, yes, everyone was down after that. But they snapped out of it. BB is good at keeping that room pretty loose, I think.l

Tracee, he's alternately cuddly, a cursing, insufferable gasbab, and a classy winner and loser. But after his team's improbable comeback, I feel he's in need of a playful. vigorous "noogie." Seriously, was this a case of the Rangers letting up on the gas, or the Caps just scrapping and scrapping?

The Rangers might have let up on the gas enough to let that first goal in -- I mean, when a team has a 3-0 lead you do tend to slow it up a little -- but not three goals' worth. Boudreau lit up like a Christmas tree at the end, didn't he?

Tracee, do you know what the deal is witht he seats behind home plate at Nats Park? Watching a game on MASN it looks like the place is empty. Even when the announced attendance in decent there are only a handful of people in view when they show the pitcher/batter. The optics, to use the current expression, are God awful.

They are expensive. Really expensive. I've been toying with the idea of writing about it but I have to say, when I flip around the channels, I see the same empty seats at a lot of other stadiums. Yankee Stadium, for one. What I don't understand is whether they aren't sold or they're sold to people who have no intention of using them, or only using them a few times. I would love to see the Nats do something like go into the upper deck in the fourth inning and say "come on down" to a few lucky fans. They'd win good will for life and make it look like people are actually at the ballpark.

When's it gonna be? I wasn't able to attend the last one and feel cheated!

Good question. I've got vacation coming up and I assume the rest of the world does, too. And it's impossible to plan anything because of the hockey schedule (last night's dinner is a case in point; when we scheduled, there was no game). So it's going to depend on the Caps, for starters, and then my vacation. I'll keep you posted and we'll do it with a lot more notice than last time.

I'm not a small man. I think I can, for the most part, handle myself were some punks of the mind to smart-off to me. But I'd feel a whole lot better about it if John Erskine could sometimes walk me to my car if I'm in a suspect neighborhood. If YOU were in a shady neighborhood, and needed to get to your car, and there were some shady-looking punks nearby who looked like they would relish lipping off to you, which Cap would you most want by your side?

Hmmm. Erskine would be on my short list. Hendricks because he's a gentleman but I wouldn't mess with him. Arnott is a large individual. Don't know him very well but he's got the size to do the job.

Hello, T-Ham. The 20 degree drop in temperature notwithstanding, it looks like we have changed over into the hot season. As such, did you fire up your home a/c yesterday? Or are you a fan gal?

Desperately trying to make it to May 1 before I hit the A/C but I will fail. I like a house with a temp in the 60s -- summer and winter. I am also a fan gal -- there are fans all over my house. So, so far, I've been okay. But you know townhouses, that top floor gets stuffy pretty easily.

Daniel, please, just stop being so, well, Snydery. Okay? Please learn from Uncle Ted about how to build a team with youth and patience. And, oh, yeah, it might be a good idea to stop suing your fans. Thanks.

I'm sure he's a regular reader, so I'll post this...

Even the Caps can't lose a 3-1 first round lead two years in a row. Right?


Would it make sense for Boudreau to play Varlamov on Saturday rather than Neuvirth? Neuvirth is certainly doing a good job, but resting him for the next game and at the same time shaking things up a little for the Rangers and their system might not be a bad idea. What do you think?

I think the smart move is to ride Neuvirth and try to end this Saturday. Then Neuvy gets his rest. I don't anticipate seeing Varly unless the wheels really come off.

T-Bone, I don't know if I've ever felt the highs and the lows of being a DC sports fan all in one game. They go down 3-0, and I'm thinking "dang, even if they win this series, it'll be six games at LEAST and probably seven, and then they'll get swept in the second round." Then they storm back, and start dominating play, but I completely expected them to lose somehow. I felt like an abused lover.

This team has that effect on its fans, that's for sure. Wonder how many people gave up and went to bed with the score 3-0?

Nothing profound here, Tracee. Just wanted to comment that this has become an odd source of constancy in my life-- that no matter when trials and tribulations come my way, I can always count on one unchanging thing: LeBron James is not likeable.

It's good to have constants in our lives. You have chosen an interesting one but one that serves you well. Embrace it!

Top of the morning to you, Tracee! Okay, it's been observed numerous times that seedings for the NHL playoffs seem to have little predictive power as compared to the NBA. But, in your opinion, why is this so? An 8 seems to consistently give a 1 all it can handle. Any thoughts? Also, we all know Kilgore feared you-- and perhaps still does. Do YOU fear anyone at WAPO? I kind of fear Petula Dvorak, for some reason.

Al Koken put it really well on Washington Post Live Tuesday when we were on together, and I wish I could quote him exactly, but a game played on ice but guys on blades hitting a piece of rubber is never going to be predictable. It was something like that and it was true. I think that accounts for the seeds not meaning all that much.

I don't fear anyone at the Post, but I wouldn't want Sally mad at me. I like Petula, so can't help you there.

when are we going to find out what's up with Knubs? Please tell me it's not a broken hand!

I can't tell you that but they are practicing today at noon so keep an eye on Caps Insider and Katie's tweets and also check in on Steinberg and Tarik on the video chat at 1:30.

Agreed with 405 and Tracee re. Morgan. Re. Caps Chat: I, too, don't give a flying, um, puck about hockey (uh oh - did I just ensure that this post won't appear?), but I love chatting with Tracee. Seats behind home plate: put the wounded warriors and disadvantaged DC kids there (like that'll happen).

Yes, that would be a smart move. Anything but those empty seats. Although I'm sure Lexus is loving the PR.

That's yet another reason why minor league ball is better: 8 bucks plus 3 for a Guinness and you're sitting at the screen telling the ump he's missing a good game. Most of the umps haven't ever heard that one, you know.

Ha! Yes, I'm sure that gets them every time. :)

Plus you said the magic word: Guinness. Yum.


Hello, Tracee - work has kept me away, but not today! "Well!" as Jack Benny would say. That was quite a comeback, and last night's game is another example of why playoff hockey can be so very compelling. And while we're at it, I guess we can file Marian Gaborik's attempted clear as Exhibit A in "No Good Deed Goes Unpunished" - look at what he saw as he went to clear the puck - one Capital (Jason Chimera, almost to the goal line) and another friendly Blueshirt. Why not clear it away and avoid a faceoff in his own end, particularly as I heard Lundqvist say later, that Gaborik didn't see him trying to cover it up?? It makes a great picture with the Rangers goalie pointed the wrong way, the puck in the back of the net, referee signaling a goal, and the red light lit up! This is my computer desktop background, until Game 5 back in the Phone Booth brings us new excitement. Maybe, just maybe, this year is different.......

Awesome photo and thanks for a chance to give a shoutout to John McDonnell.

I lived in St. Louis for three long painful years and have to assume that Shannon keeps his job because St. Louisians don't change anything...that city is inhabited by the descendants of people who headed west, then said "Eh, this is far enough." TBHitW p.s. With a 3-1 lead, how suicidal will Caps fans be when they lose the series?

Now, now, let's not go there yet.

As for St. Louis, yes, it's a very traditional place. (My Irish stopped there for a time and then said, "Ah, there's gotta be something better than this," and went just a wee bit further, thus making me a Kansas, and thank you very much.) I like St. Louis, I really do -- special place in my heart as it was the site of my first ML game.

Howdy Your Tness, I realize that you probably aren't paying much attention to the Nats right now, but I wanted to run this by you. I started thinking this last Sept., and now I'm convinced that they should switch Desmond and Espinosa, Ian seems not to have soft hands, which isn't as much of a problem at 2B, because you can knock down a ball and still have time to get the runner. Danny seems so much smoother, and none of the clanking sound when the ball hits his glove.

Interesting. I never gave this any thought. Anyone want to chime in?

Im thinking the Nats might be a 500 team, am i crazy? did you see Teddy slam that poor sausage during the 1st game last Sunday? loved it

You might be crazy, but I think I predicted them to be slightly above .500 too, so I might be crazy, too. No, Sunday I was at MSG, enjoying the ambience, so I didn't see the Nats' sweep. The Presidents are getting ever more physical -- although I can see TR tackling a sausage sooner, than, say, GW.

Great beat reporter, or the best beat reporter?

Ooooooo, you mean best current beat reporter? Best Nats beat reporter ever? No way I am answering that. I love all our beat reporters.

Tracee, just a quick note to say thank you for taking the time to respond to my inquiry about getting the chat listed early - your gracious interaction with readers and chatters is one of the saving graces of this god-forsaken redesign. Best regards :) ~Pats Fan

No, thank YOU for the reminder. I will get better at remembering, I think, but little notes taped on all three computers will help, too. :)

Being in DC, you would think the Nats would reach out to the military hospitals in the area to give the patients an outing. I've been at Nats games where some are shown on the big screen, but it could much more of an event for them and the baseball viewing public.

It would be a great gesture. I suppose the seat owners would complain that they paid for the seats, but use them, for pete's sake, or give the tickets away.

Tracee: I'm so tired today after last night's emotional roller coaster. You mix that with a benadryl chaser and I'm pretty much down for the count today. Have any quick non-caffeine related fixes for me?

Stick your head out the window? It was pretty nippy last time I checked ... but that was four hours ago so never mind.

Carolyn Hax said on her live online chat last Friday that she'd been interested in guesting or sharing a chat with you -- yay!!!

I've gotta talk to her and make it happen. Such fun!

I believe the main reason Desmond is at SS is his ridiculous range.

Good point.

After the amazing comeback, "mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa". I made a snotty comment last week about the Caps and choking, and, whatever happens, this year's different and I was wrong.

Now THAT'S how you write an apology. None of this "I'm sorry if you took it the wrong way" or that other garbage. Nicely done. Bad apologies are on my mind lately.

I cannot deal with these OT games! Just happy we've come out the winners in both!

I've got to give Boz and Katie props for handling that so well; it's horrible for the writers, when games end like that. Of course, nothing phases Benjamin Button, I mean, Boz.

Look, I pay good money for these seats. I don't want a bunch of proletarians from the poor sections sitting near me.

Of course you don't!

Too bad it's in Missouri, because it's really a good sports town. Cardinal fans are the best fans in sports - any sport, any level. I congratulate them. (And I have no idea why they don't have a good announcer; maybe because the Royals already hired Denny Mathews.) -K-Stater

Denny Mathews is under-appreciated. And St. Louis fans are tremendously good baseball fans, no doubt. And you still have a basketball coach, I see. :)

I think that's Buchanan you're thinking about--although recently there have been some rumors about Lincoln too. Not that there's anything wrong with that...

Yeah, when I wrote that I realized what I was doing but what the heck...

Just wanted to let you know that I praised you to the future former editor during his chat last week, but he didn't post the question.

Well, I thank you. "Let's Go Royals" sent him a song about me, but I'm quite sure it just confused him.

Just has a adult entertainment ring to it?? Doesn't it? Now if you did a video chat in full dominatrix gear it could be interesting. Steinberg and Kilgore restrained with whip marks. Your hits would raise dramatically.

So would theirs. Ba dum dum.

That would be a daily chat. It would be wrong, but it would go daily.

While driving down the street I saw a college kid in an ancient, ratty Caps t-shirt (must have been Mom's or Dad's). I yelled, "Nice shirt!" and he pumped his fist in the air. I'm a sad Devils fan in B-land, but EVeryone should appreciate a comeback like last night's.

Always fun to connect with fans in unexpected places. I saw Bert wore another Caps t-shirt on Raising Hope Tuesday night, and the cast members are in the video. Kinda fun. The cardboard Ovechkin scene was the best, though. That is a highly underrated little show, IMO.

Caps often score when I leave the room (or my STH seats - my section sends me out). AT 3 - 0, I went for a walk and received a text from one of our section mates asking where I was 'cause the Caps just scored 2 goals! Well, let's just say I didn't return home from my walk until 11pm!!! Definitely worth watching the GWG on DVR!!

I'm the same way with KU. If I turn to the game and they turn over the ball, I'm out again. I know it's nuts but I can't help it.

Hi, Tracee! I know I've bellyached about the WaPo plenty - but credit where credit is due! Nice work by everyone in getting the crack o'dawn edition out with quality Caps coverage! No more of that "Last night's game ended too late for this edition" stuff! Good work!

Yup, hats off to Katie, Boz and John in NY and the crack crew in the office -- the unsung heroes of the sports section.

I knew a guy who worked for UNLV in repurposing empty seats--the main idea was to get a body into a seat, because whether the ticket had been paid for or not, the facility made its money on concessions. What a coup for the Natinals to donate great seats to active or wounded military, and the seat "owners" could take a writeoff.

There you go.

FWIW, around the 2nd inning the Nats generally move someone from the 400 level downstairs. Also, when the regular "honoring the troops" happens, they are always seated in the ADA section behind the empty seats.

True. Still, a lot of vacancies. But as I said, they aren't the only ones.

Will the Penguins be meeting the Caps in the playoffs this Spring? (Pens had a nail-biter last night!)

Looking possible.  The job the Pens have done without their two best players is pretty amazing.

They also tend to have lower fielding percentages, since they get a hand on more chances, which might make things look worse than they are. If a ball is getting through the infield, that's actually worse than a ball that glances off the glove and allows the runner to get to first but doesn't allow the runner to score.

Another good point.

Seems like the sports gods, the hockey ones especially, were shining on the Caps for once, huh? First a goal goes off Johanson's side, then that winning goal. Nice to see it go our way for once. Slightly related question--are the Caps practicing tomorrow? I have today and tomorrow off from work but I don't think I can make it to Kettler in time for today (assuming that it is an open practice).

Sometimes you need luck. That game-winner Sunday is proof of that, with that puck bouncing around like Jerry's "magic loogie."

Caps are practicing at noon today and 10:30 tomorrow. I expect quite a crowd Friday; it was reasonably full Tuesday. See you there, perhaps.

I'd ride with him in the HOV lane. My brother (former bookstore employee) did that for years with a life-sized cardboard Colin Powell.

That's so wrong and so funny at the same time. Would you put a shirt and tie on Ovie and just let him ride in his helmet and sweater?

Boudreau's right about Madison Square Garden. It is old. The Caps played their very first game there in 1974 and it was six years old then. With every other pro sports facility replaced in the NYC area in the last couple of years maybe the Donald could momentarily turn his laser like focus from the Presidency to building a new gold-plated multi-billion dollar MSG. There's all that empty land covered with green stuff in the middle of the city that he could use.

Boudreau IS right. What's behind the scenes there is pretty grim. They are in the midst of a three-year renovation costing a billion dollars or something like that, so clearly BB isn't the only one who thinks it needs a facelift. It needs sprucing up, like any structure that old, with that much use.

Tracee, didn't you get my question? When will my dear Zimm be off the DL?

I was trying to figure that out, actually, but my computer -- and this is embarrassing -- but it won't allow me into the Washington Post sports section. (IT department, I'm coming in.) Anyway, I see no return date as yet, so I can't answer that, and I don't have time to bug Kilgore before the chat ends! Sorry!

Every time I walked into the room last night the Rangers scored. Made for a very painful end of the game when I needed to use the bathroom and wouldn't leave the room so I wouldn't re-enter it. Also I put on a Winter Classic Fehr jersey at the 2nd intermission. I wouldn't be so superstitious if it didn't work!

I used a wooden  puppet for an entire season every time KU shot a free throw. I'm familiar with the concept. :)

Well, as for me, a baseball fan, when I think of any President taking on ballpark sausages, it's got to be 300-lb William Howard Taft, who also was the first President to throw out the first pitch at a ballgame..... The smell of sausages and brats bubbling in their juices outside Fenway Park back in the old days used to be one of the best parts of going to the could find Fenway blindfolded from Kenmore Square, just by following that delicious aroma....just remember to dodge the scalpers.

Taft would be a good president to add. Sure, he's not so famous, but he should be. He had that huge bathtub and he was the first to throw out the ball ... I think we need a "We Want Taft" movement.

A lot of the folks who have tickets for seats behind home plate prefer to sit at the tables at the back of the section (so they can eat more easily) or to watch the game from inside the section's clubhouse (especially in unpleasant weather). My brother's father-in-law the lobbyist has the full season ticket plan for some of the most expensive seats, and either he or someone he knows is always using his tickets, but he hardly EVER sits close to home plate, I've often wondered if the Nats should hire "seat holders" akin to those who occupy seats during the Oscar ceremony when the stars leave them to, um, "powder their noses."

Yes, if this is what is happening, by all means, seat fillers. I have hesitated to write about it because I do think weather plays a part in it but when it's nice, I hope we see some booties in those seats.

Caps Win! My brother and I have a tradition that if the team we support is losing, we turn off the tv. After the quck 2nd and 3rd goals I honored this tradition, coming back for the OTs. I will continue to shower, wash my socks, etc...but part of me wants to let the tshirt air out for Saturday instead of hitting the washer - am I in trouble? And yes, I'm a 30 yr old female with Cup Fever.

Yeah, you're on the slippery slope to Crazyville but as you can see from this chat, you are not alone. Hang the T-shirt on the porch, I say.

I know this is now a Caps chat but I don't watch hockey, so if you'll forgive a Caps-to-Nats change... The Nats are in third place in the NL East and have a winning record. I know it's way early in the season and am not saving up for playoff tickets just yet, but it's great to see Washington represented by a respectable baseball team. It's not the record that has be so happy, it's the fact that they are playing good baseball (for the most part). I don't need a winner to love my team or the game at all, but I have to admit it's a lot more fun when the team doesn't flat-out suck.

Yup. This is how Wizards' fans will feel in about two years. It's hard to watch a bad product. Fans will put up with a lot, but you have to be at least competitive most nights to keep them interested, especially now that there are so many other options for our time than there ever have been. Some might even say TOO many options. (You kids get off my lawn!)

Anyway, time for me to get out of this radio station and on to other things. Thanks as always for joining me. Sorry no one else but me watches "Law and Order: UK" but I still have hopes for the transcript-readers. See some of you at Caps practice tomorrow and Game 5 Saturday. Have a great weekend, everyone!


In This Chat
Tracee Hamilton
Tracee Hamilton has worked at the Post since 1993, toiling in office obscurity as an editor before someone said, "Hey, you've got a lot of opinions and can write a little. Why don't you become a columnist?"

Her interests range from genealogy to Nordic combined to Kansas basketball. If ever there were a Jayhawk who once flew off a ski jump, she'd know where he was buried.

Her list of pet peeves is considerably longer, but includes Missouri basketball and poor Metro etiquette. She welcomes dissenting opinions -- in the way Great Whites welcome open-water swimmers.

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