Flashing back to March 4th in 2006, fan favorite Ollie Kolzig takes a break at the bench during an away game at the Atlanta Thrashers Phillips Arena.I personally loved his masks, but surprisingly some didn’t.Check out more about Ollie here and about “Athletes Against Autism” which he founded with Scott Mellanby and Byron DeFoe.Capitalpowerplay.com images by PhotoByThom.com are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 United States License.
By Rodger M. Wood
My 8-year old son Tommy and I were anxious to see our first ever Washington Capitals game at the new state of the art Capital Centre on Wednesday, October 16, 1974.It was the Caps second home game in their inaugural 1974-75 season and the opponents were the dreaded Chicago Blackhawks, who had won the Stanley Cup as recently as two years before.I didn’t know at the time if I was wanted to see our star players, 40-year old Doug Mohns, goalie Ron Low, and Tommy Williams of 1960 USA Olympic Team fame, as much as I wanted to see famed Blackhawks, HOF center, Stan Mikita, forward Dennis Hull, and goalie Tony Esposito.
All that became unimportant once we entered the Capital Centre, looked around to see the big crowd, many of whom came right from work and were still in suits, skyboxes, which were a new phenomena, and our seats behind the visitors bench, where you could see all of the action up close. I was used to sitting in the nose bleed sections at old Detroit Olympia Stadium, and did not know what to do when I did not have to use my handkerchief once there at the Capital Centre.The fans were excited by Caps forward Denis Dupere’s two clutch goals, which put us in a 3-3 tie until the third period when Caps Jack Egers finished the Blackhawks off 4-3.
I recall poor Ivan Labre getting into a rumpus with massive Dale Talton, who I thought was going to put our guy in the hospital, but the rugged defenseman Labre always did show a lot of heart and that is why his jersey hangs from the rafters at the Verizon Centre today.I wonder if we would have had as much enthusiasm if we knew our guys were on their way to a dismal NHL record setting 8 – 67 – 5 season and 21-points overall. We would win only 7 more times after that game that season. But truly none of that mattered, as finally, we at last had hockey, whether it was good or bad, in our nation’s capital.
In a surprise announcement today, the franchise announced that they would be changing the “Rock the Red” slogan for the playoffs back to the 1970’s “Puck Power” slogan. The undisclosed reasoning was the good luck it brought the team back in its heyday. 🙂
By Rodger M. Wood
The Caps also have a fallen hero. Garnet Edward “Ace” Bailey, who died when United Airlines Flight 175 crashed into the World Trade Center in New York City during the September 11 attacks, played left wing for the Caps from the 1974-1978.Ace tried calling his wife 4 times unsuccessfully on the Flight 175 from a phone in row 32 when he had been seated at takeoff in row 6.“Ace,” as he was fondly called by the Capital Centre fans, came over to the Caps from the St. Louis Blues 49 games into the Caps’ inaugural 1974-75 season and what turned out to be his best NHL scoring season with 19 goals, 39 assists, 52 points. In 22 games with the Caps that season, he scored 4 goals and 13 assists.The left winger quickly won fans over with his intense, determined style of play on the ice and his gracious, smiling and ready to sign autographs and pose for photos with fans style off. He was a very popular Capitals player right away.A team player, he usually helped his teammates win on or off the ice. As a junior hockey player, he won a Memorial Cup with the Edmonton Oil Kings in 1966, and later as a NHLer, Stanley Cups with teammates, Bobby Orr, Phil Esposito and the Boston Bruins in 1970 and 1972.He also got his name on the Stanley Cup in 1985, 1987, and 1990 while a scout with the Edmonton Oilers.During the 1978-79 while a member of the WHA Edmonton Oilers, he mentored young Wayne Gretzky.In 568 games in 10 NHL seasons, he scored 107 goals, and 171 assists.Tragedy, however, followed in his footsteps as his father Irvine Bailey, star forward for Toronto in the 1920s and 1930s, was cross checked from behind, almost killed, and had his career ended by Eddie Shore when he was 30.Ace was Director of Pro Scouting for the Los Angeles Kings living in Lynnfield Massachusetts at the time of his death.