Caps - TB tighter than Fla results. Tied @ 1 after 1.— David Gregory (@davidgregory) February 1, 2012
Earlier this week, “Meet the Press” host and noted hockey fan David Gregory stopped by Kettler Capitals Iceplex to tape an intro for NBC’s “Game of the Week” on the main rink.
After he repeated the same line about a dozen times — and slipped while taking a slap shot in leather-soled shoes — I caught up with Gregory for a brief, lighthearted chat. Here’s what the Capitals season ticket holder had to say about his fanhood:
Being from Los Angeles, how did you become a fan of the Capitals?
Hockey was not a big part of me growing up, even though Gretzky played when I was in high school. I did see him play in the late ‘80’s. But it was not a big part of consciousness at all.
But a few years back my oldest son, Max, started to get really into the Capitals. So I really got into it, as well, to keep up with him. And my younger son, Jed, is also into it, so we got tickets and really got into the team. I just totally fell for them.
Obviously, it’s been exciting to be a Caps fan the past few years – the playoffs notwithstanding.
I’ve learned a lot more about the game, and I would talk about it on the show, which made the NHL and the Caps really happy.
There have been some ups and downs this season for the Caps. How has that played in the Gregory household?
It’s been frustrating. It’s been tough to keep my older boy’s attention and it’s been a little disappointing.
I don’t know what’s been more disappointing: the idea of having such dominance in the regular season and falling apart in the playoffs, which has been really tough, or the fact that they just seem like they weren’t putting it all together this season.
But now that they’re on the bubble of the playoffs, they seem a little bit better.
Look, from my point of view, I’d rather they stay on the bubble, get in and get that eighth spot. Let’s try it that way and see if a fire can be lit as they go into the playoffs. What I have learned about hockey is hot goalies and hot teams really do seem to show up in the playoffs. And that’s what I hope happens now.
Who has a harder job, you or Coach Dale Hunter? You’ve both got some interesting characters to manage.
Both jobs present their challenges. Both of us are thinking about how to get the most out of people and the different strategies to do that. You think you know the way sometimes and it doesn’t always materialize.
We also share the idea that there’s a lot of scrutiny about what we do. That’s something in common.
Have you met any of the players?
I have not met any of the Caps. I really want to. But we have seats where we can high-five the players in the tunnel.
Who’s your favorite Capital?
Ovi, of course. But I really like Carlson and Green. I was sorry to see Eric Fehr go. We were at Nationals game and my son sees Fehr and Carlson across from where we were. They couldn’t have been nicer to my boy. They’re just good guys.
So, are the Caps going to make playoffs or not?
I think, yeah. With Semin playing well and Green back in the lineup, I think Ovechkin has a lot of room here in the end to show up and play a leadership role and light a spark. They’ve played like a bubble team and maybe that’ll be enough to light a fuse, get in there and see what we can do.
You look at a team like the Rangers. They’ve been cruising along all year long. We know what that ride’s like. Let’s get in there and see what we can do.