Workers prepare the ice for hockey at Verizon Center. (John McDonnell/The Washington Post)

Eager to see the Caps back at Verizon Center? The team hosts a free fan appreciation event tonight from 6 to 9 p.m. with an open practice at 7 p.m. I was hooked at "free nachos."

From the release:

Fans are invited to come celebrate the season with an open Capitals practice that includes complimentary hot dogs, fountain soda, popcorn, pretzels, nachos and ice cream that will be provided for all guests in attendance. The Capitals will host an open practice at 7 p.m. and select Capitals players will be available for a question-and-answer session with all fans in attendance after the practice as well as games, photo opportunities, a slapshot cage, face painting and autographs from Capitals legends Rod Langway and Peter Bondra.

(Of course, fan appreciation night comes at the cost of not having had any hockey for the past four months, thanks to the now-ended lockout, which was no fun at all.)