Sunday, July 26, 2009

Summer In Bristow...Not So Lazy, But Often Hazy Days...

Well summer goes on here in scenic Bristow, VA.... Wingman was home for a while after his school year ended until last week, actually Friday, the 17th when he left for Long Beach, CA - he caught his first ship for his sea year. He's now on his way to Honolulu which he should arrive at this afternoon our time and this morning his time by my best guess. That is of course, a more educated guess thanks to technology - We haven't heard from him since he left Cali on Wednesday afternoon, I guess his Internet access on the ship while underway is limited if not non-existent due to the high cost of connectivity and that's something that hasn't changed much since I was last at sea 18 years ago. In any case tracking his progress and hoping he's enjoying this aspect of his training at "Kings Point" aka the United States Merchant Marine Academy (see is something I've been doing daily, like the parents of the other ~220 KP Cadets/Midshipmen who have children at sea. It sure beats the daylights out of what he was doing last year this time - "Indoc" - Indoctrination/Regimental Orientation. I'm quite, quite sure working on a ship beats the daylights out of doing push ups, running and getting yelled at by Mids 1, 2, and 3 years your senior for 14+ days, but then again perhaps Wingman is a closet masochist, or not nearly as bright as we two proud parents always think he is - but I'm probably right. I'm hoping to hear from him later today as I know he'll have cell phone service in HI. For us (his mother and I) this sure beats what we'd be worried about if he was returning to the Academy this week or had been an A-Split who was a Drill Instructor at Indoc. It seems there has been a few cases of confirmed Type A Influenza and that of course is just what anyone needed to increase the stress on a situation where elevated stress is always present by design - Indoctrination - NOT.

I think about those parents of this year's Plebe Candidates - most of whom are relatively unfamiliar with the Academy and many of whom live much farther away then we do so they will be feeling more helpless, detached and as such worried then we were last year about our son and wonder about what I might be able to do, say or write to ease those parts of that concern that might be unfounded and find myself with - nothing, nada, nichts, nutin' sorry. All I can say is the USMMA Medical Staff and the professionals from North Shore-LIJ got me through my four years (1979-1982) in fine form and my son seemed well cared for last year. Now I'll go back to being self-centered and hoping the phone rings and it's "our mid" from HI later today. In the meantime, there's been work and searching for news about "my Washington Capitals".

Last Saturday, since Wingman wasn't around ZI went to the last scrimmage of Development Camp at KCI (Kettler Center Iceplex). It was - well great for an Ice Hockey fan such as me and since it was packed I didn't feel like a jerk for going to KCI to see a bunch of prospects, also since the Caps have one of the better talent pipelines in the NHL and these guys were good and admission was free I didn't feel dumb either. Several guys stood out - one of whom was Joe Finely because as I arrived a little late - about midway through the first period - he laid a monster check on someone (I think it was Andrew Gordon but I'm not sure as I was still looking through the crowd for a good place to watch the rest of the game at the time). At 6-7 Finley is hard to miss, he made a few other good plays and a couple of missteps - again hard to miss; I was excited about him until this past week when he was busted in ND for basically being 22 and well stupid, as well as I suspect a little inebriated. Hopefully he'll quickly grow out of that and continue to develop this season in either SC or Hershey and we'll see if he has what it takes to play in the NHL. Others were really all four goaltenders, John Carlson, Dmitri Orlov, and Gordon and in general about five other forwards who made some pretty good plays. Fortunately we aren't far from the start of training camp, it's been a quite week for Caps news. The big news on the blogs is that Ovie started his summer training routine back in Russia and he still wants to meet Maria Sharapova. See the gratuitous picture of the stunning, blond Russian tennis star to the right if you can't figure out why. Personally. I'd have thought the Bondarenko sisters more AO's type - they have more of that "worldly look" while Maria is more "good girl next door" - with AO's scruffy bad boy look I'd think Alona Bondarenko's tattoo would be somewhat intriguing and seductive to AO. Of course perhaps it's the height that has AO wondering.

" Wait, stop get back to hockey butthead! Oh yeah forgot, lazy, hazy Sunday and all..."

Coming up this week we have Milan Jurcina's arbitration hearing or whatever other resolution that gets reached in that piece of the roster puzzle. That could make for a few days discussion, banter, etc.

Consensus around the hockey blogsphere is that Florida will have a hard time staying even close to the level they had last season given their moves, or lack there-of this off season and that Carolina is probably well poised to make a battle of it for the SE division for the Capitals. Many also agree that after last summers disastrous moves during the short "Melrose Era" Tampa Bay also have had a very good off season and Atlanta is making good, steady progress with their rebuild. On Long Island besides Swine Flue and Indoc at KP, the NY Islanders seem to be collecting goaltenders to compliment their first round pick of John Tavares - interesting moves and a commentary on the likely health of Rick DiPietro for the start of the season at least. In Chicago - could these guys in the front office have made any more bonehead mistakes, this off-season - maybe, but they would have had to really, really work hard at it - amazingly it's clear the ripple of their mistakes will haunt them for at least another year, if not longer and they are still likely to be a solid playoff team - that's how good Toews, Kane and Campbell are (IMHO).

Well I don't know about you but I just can't wait for the season, or at least Camp to start. When do you think Caps GM, George McPhee should start talking to Alexander Semin and Nicklas Backstrom about their contract extensions? How about right after the Jurcina arbitration is settled? I say no later than Thanksgiving to start talks and have them inked no later than February. Come on, let's talk about that with some comments here boys, we need some grist for the mill. Talking about Finely throwing a kitchen table out in the street in ND doesn't cut it for me.



Dan, Jr. said...

After seeing that bit uh Sharapova, I wasted a considerable amount of time cruising internet pics of women tennis players. Thanks for that, Mark.

Training camp can't get here soon enough. Like everybody else, I'm anxious to see how things shake out.

Usually Frustrated Caps Fan said...


Ms. Sharapova and the current group and trend can be a bit distracting. However, I'm not sure I'd classify your actions as "wasting time"....