Back in April of 2009, when the Capitals were facing the Rangers in the first round of the playoffs, enforcer Donald Brashear announced to the world via Twitter that he would be a healthy scratch no more.
"im getting ready for my first playoff game against the Rangers," wrote Brashear, who had watched Games 1 and 2 from the press box.
Bruce Boudreau had declined to reveal his Game 3 lineup leading up to the contest, but when asked about the tweet, the Capitals’ coach wasn’t too bothered by it.
"I don't even know what Twittering is, so I don't think I'd be upset," Boudreau said at the time.
Things have changed since then, with more and more NHL players taking their personal and professional lives public on sites like Twitter and Facebook. You can be sure there isn’t a coach or general manager in the league who doesn’t know what Twitter is. And on Wednesday, the NHL finally joined the other professional sports leagues who have long had social media policies in place.
Among the new rules is a social media “blackout” period beginning two hours before faceoff on game days and ending after post-game media availability. Tweets like Brashear’s could now lead to discipline by the league, according to the policy.
"I don't [tweet before games] anyway,” defenseman John Carlson, one of several Capitals with active Twitter accounts, told the The Post’s Katie Carrera today. “If some people are doing it, I don't necessarily think it's a good idea, anyway. I remember Ochocinco getting fined for tweeting things during a game by the Bengals, and that's something that doesn't need to happen."
Two years ago, Mike Green was the only Capitals player (if you don’t count the fakes) who tweeted. But Alex Ovechkin revived his account (@ovi8) earlier this year and now Karl Alzner, D.J. King and John Erskine also tweet, along with assistant goaltending coach Olie Kolzig and a handful of Hershey Bears players.
Thankfully, there’s no mention of a limit on exclamation points or demonic “ahahhahaha”s in the NHL’s new policy, so fans of Ovechkin’s updates need not worry.