When Washington management went out to get Mark Messier, they felt not only would he help the team better on the ice, but they knew in the dressing room as well. "This kid was born to be a leader, plain and simple. I have been around many, he might be one of the best," said Coach Goring after the opening night game. Tonight Game 1 of the new season, he made a statement and fast, scoring 5 seconds into the game. That would be all the scoring in the first period, which was a very physical tough one. Goring was reminded of the many series with Pittsburgh through the years. "When we were in Philadelphia we always had such tough games against the Pens. I mean it truly was a battle of Pennsylvania. The hatred for both spilled over, and it almost seems if that has carried on even though we are  now in Washington. After the first it was 1-0 and we had already seen a double-minor, major, and a game misconduct. The Penguins actually ran at Richter twice. 

The second period would have the Caps first line once again producing as Neely would score his first just over 2 minutes in. Pens would quickly respond but not before Carpenter would notch his first of the year, and then Gates Orlando his first of the season. The second would showcase a double-minor, a major, and one misconduct along with 8 minor penalties, one of those again was running Richter. 

The third period was more about the Capitals just closing the door and they did a pretty decent job of it, limiting Pittsburgh to just 8 shots after allowing 14 in the second. The Pens would score to make it 4-2 but that would be all for the scoring. Another game misconduct would occur and see Gusarov go down in the third. In all the Penguins would have 51 PIM's and Capitals had 37. 

The Capitals first line would end up with a great game. Gates Orlando had 1 goal, 2 assists with a 3 and 8 hits in the game. Messier also had 1goal, 2 assists and a +2. Neely would round out the line with 1 goal and a +2. The sophomore Mike Richter would also put in a solid first game of the year making 31 saves for the victory. Sean Burke took the loss saving 35 of the 39 shots he faced.

Gusarov appears that he will miss a few games with his injury at the minimum. He has an abdominal strain. 


After winning the Wales Conference in the NMFHL last season, Washington decided to move the team down to the Big Easy in New Orleans. "They are trying to create hockey in the south. If we can help get that started it would be great. The food is amazing and we will have a great home ice advantage. Let's just say teams coming into New Orleans, will have a lot of distractions." The club did come out victorious beating Ajax 5-3. John Davidson posted the win, and the team had 5 different scorers. Perhaps Matheson is correct about hockey coming to the south one day. The atmosphere was pretty exciting that's for sure. 

Bubba Smith Sr.

Capital Press