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Meet 2014 Red Rocker Rookie: Morgan
What made you want to tryout for Red Rockers?I was a cheerleader at the University of Maryland and it was a lot of fun. I really enjoyed cheerleading so I really wanted to get back at it and Red Rockers stood out to me as a group because they do a lot of charitable appearances throughout the year and they have a lot of fan interaction. So, I decided that I wanted to tryout for a professional cheer team and Red Rockers just seemed like the right fit for me.Are you from Maryland originally?I am. I’m from Frederick, Maryland originally.Have you always been a Caps fan?I have. My family’s not really a hockey family but my friend’s family is. I remember going to games with them growing up and having a really good time at Caps games. We watched hockey at their house and we watched her brother play hockey, so hockey has always been a big part of my life.Tell us about yourself outside of cheerleading? What’s your major?I’m a broadcast journalism major at Maryland. I currently work at a government access cable station in Rockville, Maryland and I anchor a monthly news show that we do there — so that’s been fun. I’ve been doing that for about a year now. I also participate in pageants in the Miss America organization. So, this past June was the Miss Maryland pageant and I received Second Runner Up so I’ve received close to $4,000 in scholarships for school. Are you involved in any charitable work?I am. I work a lot with the Ronald McDonald house. My cousin was diagnosed with cancer and stayed at the Ronald McDonald house in New York City for an entire year. It had such an impact on him and his childhood, so that’s definitely one of the biggest organizations that I work with. I also do a lot with Children’s Miracle Network. That is the Miss America national charity that they partner with. I also work at my school with an organization that we call TerpAthon, and we put on a 12-hour dance marathon every year and we raise money for them. This past year I think we raised close to $1,600 for Children’s Miracle Network.Who is somebody that you really admire in broadcast journalism?I really enjoy Katie Couric for personal and professional reasons. Not only has she been able to have an incredibly successful career and open up a lot of doors for female journalists but she’s also been able to maintain a really solid personal life. Even after her husband passed away, she raised her children and has always been a really big family persona and I really admire her for that.Do you see yourself going into hard news, or sports or what is your preference?Ideally, I’d like to do morning news at some point. I think it’s a combination of hard news, soft news and a little bit of fun too. I think before I can get there I definitely will have to tryout local news and different areas too.What is something about you that people wouldn’t expect?I actually have a moped that I drive around and within the next couple of months I’m going to be getting my motorcycle license. So yeah, I’m a five-foot-zero blonde, a lot of people wouldn’t guess that about me. It’s fun! My moped doesn’t go faster than 50 miles-per-hour but I have a lot of fun driving it so I decided that I wanted to take the next step up.
— Deborah Francisco (@NHLgirl)

Meet 2014 Red Rocker Rookie: Morgan

What made you want to tryout for Red Rockers?
I was a cheerleader at the University of Maryland and it was a lot of fun. I really enjoyed cheerleading so I really wanted to get back at it and Red Rockers stood out to me as a group because they do a lot of charitable appearances throughout the year and they have a lot of fan interaction. So, I decided that I wanted to tryout for a professional cheer team and Red Rockers just seemed like the right fit for me.

Are you from Maryland originally?
I am. I’m from Frederick, Maryland originally.

Have you always been a Caps fan?
I have. My family’s not really a hockey family but my friend’s family is. I remember going to games with them growing up and having a really good time at Caps games. We watched hockey at their house and we watched her brother play hockey, so hockey has always been a big part of my life.

Tell us about yourself outside of cheerleading? What’s your major?
I’m a broadcast journalism major at Maryland. I currently work at a government access cable station in Rockville, Maryland and I anchor a monthly news show that we do there — so that’s been fun. I’ve been doing that for about a year now. I also participate in pageants in the Miss America organization. So, this past June was the Miss Maryland pageant and I received Second Runner Up so I’ve received close to $4,000 in scholarships for school.

Are you involved in any charitable work?
I am. I work a lot with the Ronald McDonald house. My cousin was diagnosed with cancer and stayed at the Ronald McDonald house in New York City for an entire year. It had such an impact on him and his childhood, so that’s definitely one of the biggest organizations that I work with. I also do a lot with Children’s Miracle Network. That is the Miss America national charity that they partner with. I also work at my school with an organization that we call TerpAthon, and we put on a 12-hour dance marathon every year and we raise money for them. This past year I think we raised close to $1,600 for Children’s Miracle Network.

Who is somebody that you really admire in broadcast journalism?
I really enjoy Katie Couric for personal and professional reasons. Not only has she been able to have an incredibly successful career and open up a lot of doors for female journalists but she’s also been able to maintain a really solid personal life. Even after her husband passed away, she raised her children and has always been a really big family persona and I really admire her for that.

Do you see yourself going into hard news, or sports or what is your preference?
Ideally, I’d like to do morning news at some point. I think it’s a combination of hard news, soft news and a little bit of fun too. I think before I can get there I definitely will have to tryout local news and different areas too.

What is something about you that people wouldn’t expect?
I actually have a moped that I drive around and within the next couple of months I’m going to be getting my motorcycle license. So yeah, I’m a five-foot-zero blonde, a lot of people wouldn’t guess that about me. It’s fun! My moped doesn’t go faster than 50 miles-per-hour but I have a lot of fun driving it so I decided that I wanted to take the next step up.

— Deborah Francisco (@NHLgirl)

Meet 2014 Red Rocker Rookie: Shannon
Why do you want to be a Red Rocker?Well, I’ve cheered for a very long time — since middle school, through college — and I graduate from Georgetown in two weeks and I cheered there. I love cheerleading and dancing and performing and I wasn’t ready to give it up. I have a friend that was on the team last year and she said it was a great opportunity so I just went for it.Where are you from originally?I was born in DC but I am in a military family so I grew up mostly in Washington State. I came back to go to school at Georgetown.Tell us about yourself outside of cheer. What are you majoring in?I’m double majoring in music and government. Two very different fields. And I’m actually Miss D.C. United States. I won that tile at the end of May so I’ve been doing a lot with that. A lot of community service. Since I’m from a military family my platform is veterans rights, so I do a lot of community service with the military.So why music and why government?I’m a singer. I’ve sang my whole life and studied voice — it’s my first passion. Government, I became very passionate about from a young age as well, which is funny because they don’t really fit well together. In some ways they do but mostly they don’t. Its great because they’re both very challenging fields but they’re very challenging in different ways. It’s been a great left-brain, right-brain exercise of the brain experiment. What kind of music do you like to listen to?My favorite kind of music to sing is R&B and jazz.If you could spend an evening with any performing artist who would it be?Dead or alive? Probably Billy Holiday. I really admire her. I would love to sit down and have a conversation and see what was in her head when she was performing.Do you write your own music?I do, a little bit. And I’ve studied music theory, so I can do a little bit of composition, but mores the lyric side, I’m more comfortable with.What is something about yourself that people wouldn’t expect?I actually am a huge fan, almost to the point of obsession, with Abraham Lincoln. In high school I wrote my cap stone research paper on his assassination, and when I turned 16 my dad gave me a bust, like a two-foot bust of him that I’ve kept with me wherever I’ve lived.
— Deborah Francisco (@nhlgirl)

Meet 2014 Red Rocker Rookie: Shannon

Why do you want to be a Red Rocker?
Well, I’ve cheered for a very long time — since middle school, through college — and I graduate from Georgetown in two weeks and I cheered there. I love cheerleading and dancing and performing and I wasn’t ready to give it up. I have a friend that was on the team last year and she said it was a great opportunity so I just went for it.

Where are you from originally?
I was born in DC but I am in a military family so I grew up mostly in Washington State. I came back to go to school at Georgetown.

Tell us about yourself outside of cheer. What are you majoring in?
I’m double majoring in music and government. Two very different fields. And I’m actually Miss D.C. United States. I won that tile at the end of May so I’ve been doing a lot with that. A lot of community service. Since I’m from a military family my platform is veterans rights, so I do a lot of community service with the military.

So why music and why government?
I’m a singer. I’ve sang my whole life and studied voice — it’s my first passion. Government, I became very passionate about from a young age as well, which is funny because they don’t really fit well together. In some ways they do but mostly they don’t. Its great because they’re both very challenging fields but they’re very challenging in different ways. It’s been a great left-brain, right-brain exercise of the brain experiment.

What kind of music do you like to listen to?
My favorite kind of music to sing is R&B and jazz.

If you could spend an evening with any performing artist who would it be?
Dead or alive? Probably Billy Holiday. I really admire her. I would love to sit down and have a conversation and see what was in her head when she was performing.

Do you write your own music?
I do, a little bit. And I’ve studied music theory, so I can do a little bit of composition, but mores the lyric side, I’m more comfortable with.

What is something about yourself that people wouldn’t expect?
I actually am a huge fan, almost to the point of obsession, with Abraham Lincoln. In high school I wrote my cap stone research paper on his assassination, and when I turned 16 my dad gave me a bust, like a two-foot bust of him that I’ve kept with me wherever I’ve lived.

— Deborah Francisco (@nhlgirl)

Via DaveArt.com, check out Philipp Grubauer’s new goalie mask. #Grubi #Caps

Via DaveArt.com, check out Philipp Grubauer’s new goalie mask. #Grubi #Caps

Laylor Performance Systems holds its 3rd Annual Off-Season Kick-off in Toronto featuring P.K. Subban and Joel Ward.

Welcome to the ice - your Washington Capitals! #CapsDevCamp #CapsFanFest

#CapsDevCamp Profile: Chef Robert Wood

Chef Robert wood provides food for the Washington Capitals and has provided lunch and dinner for #CapsDevCamp all week. His goal this week was to teach the prospects some new things about nutrition.

What’s been your approach to teaching the guys about nutrition this week?
We’re just trying to expose them to some things they’ve probably never seen before. Like Thursday, with the amaranth and the farro: amaranth is very nutrient dense and very good for them, especially when they are doing intensive training. It has ten times the amount of protein that wheat does. I try to expose them to different things that they might not get on a regular basis.

What are the most important nutrition rules for hockey players to know?
Variety is the most important thing. Not getting stuck on eating the same thing over and over again. Have multiple colors in your vegetables and multiple different kinds of fruit in your smoothies… different types of grains offer different antioxidants and different minerals so trying to have a variety in their diet. Which is difficult for a lot of these guys because they train so hard. They don’t have a chef at home, so trying to incorporate as much variety into their diet as they possibly can would be the most important thing from a training standpoint.

What are some recommended snacks?
Nuts are always great snacks. It’s a complete protein for a snack. The fatty acids and everything involved, and they’re easy, nothing complicated. Raw nuts are even better. They don’t taste as good as roasted and salted but they’re much healthier for you.

When you’re preparing a menu for a meal, what is your approach?
I start with proteins. So, I’ll have one leaner protein and one richer protein. Thursday, the beef was the richer protein and the boneless skinless chicken thighs were leaner.
Thursday was kind of a Latin-American theme, or kind of an, Island of the Caribbean theme.  So, Ropa Vieja is from Cuba. It’s Cuban pot roast. And Adobo rubbed chicken thighs, Adobo is a Puerto Rican spice blend. So I made some fun flavors there and then I made some ancient grains that they are not used to but I thought I could get them to eat it especially with some fun other flavors to override the strangeness of amaranth and faro.

What are your favorite grains?
Wild rice is one that’s fallen out of popularity, but it’s very very nutrient dense. It delivers way more protein than some of the other ones, like white rice. Wild rice is not even a rice, it’s a seed of a Native American grass. Quinoa is very popular right now, so that’s an easy one to start with and then I use that one as a bridge. All the guys know quinoa at this point and then I can use that as a jumping off point.

What about veggies?
Vegetables are always seasonal for me. Right now these guys are eating a lot of squash. Last night they were all looking at the yellow wax beans kind of like, “what are these chef?” I was like, “they’re green beans, they’re just yellow.” So lot’s of beans. Vegetables are always seasonal to me.

Eco Caters specify in Organic Local food, does that play into your philosophy as a chef?
Yes. I think one of the biggest reasons for us to do it is because of the quality of the ingredients, but also because of the effect on the environment. I don’t like any extra chemicals or things put into my food. Not only just from a flavor profile stand point or an ethical stand point but also because it effects health. The more chemicals and additives that we put into our bodies, the more damage we’re doing from a systemic standpoint.

— Deborah Francisco

#CapsDevCamp Profile: Nathan Walker
Nathan Walker became the first Australian NHL draft pick when the Capitals selected him 89th overall in the 2014 NHL Draft. The 5-foot-9, 192-pound center spent the 2013-14 hockey season playing with the Capitals AHL affiliate, the Hershey Bears. Walker collected 11 points (5g, 6a) in 43 games with the Bears. This is his third development with the Caps. What has been your overall impression of development camp?It’s been really good. It was awesome how they brought in those skating coaches. It was really good to learn about the break down of skating and find out different techniques for what you need to do on cross overs and stuff like that. I’ve enjoyed this camp, it’s been really good.I heard that you speak five languages, is that true?(laughs) That’s not true. I speak two.What languages do you speak?I speak Czech and English.Did you learn to speak Czech when you were playing over there?Yeah.Has it been nice to be able to communicate with some of the other Czech players this week?It’s been good. It’s nice to have someone to speak Czech to because back home in Australia there’s not that many people who speak Czech. It’s good that I can keep that language and keep using it.When you first started playing in the Czech Republic, did you just have to learn the language when you got there?Yeah, I went to school the first year I got there but every time I had Czech lessons I had hockey practice. The only reason I wanted to go to school pretty much was to learn Czech and that couldn’t happen because I had practice everyday that we had Czech classes so I got a tutor for a couple times a week for a month which helped out a lot. Other than that, it was just in the locker room and watching TV.What is the coolest thing about being from Australia?It’s just different I guess. There’s not many Australian hockey players, so I guess it’s that.What’s the worst part about being from Australia?That we don’t have as much hockey as you have here.What was your highlight of last year in Hershey?I couldn’t pick one. There were some really good times. It was great playing with all the older guys and they taught me a lot. My first pro year was really good to pick their brains for all of their knowledge and experience about the game.Can you tell us a couple of the “must know” slang words in Australia?We say, “G’Day,” which is, “good day.” You just have to break it down.Instead of saying my last name, we don’t say “Walk-er” we say, “Walk-uh” so the “er” is like an ‘uh”. We don’t say shrimp. Everyone thinks we say, “shrimp on the barbie,” but we don’t use shrimp too often, we say “prawns.” Kangaroo we call “Kanga.” And we say “mate” a lot.— Deborah Francisco

#CapsDevCamp Profile: Nathan Walker

Nathan Walker became the first Australian NHL draft pick when the Capitals selected him 89th overall in the 2014 NHL Draft. The 5-foot-9, 192-pound center spent the 2013-14 hockey season playing with the Capitals AHL affiliate, the Hershey Bears. Walker collected 11 points (5g, 6a) in 43 games with the Bears. This is his third development with the Caps.

What has been your overall impression of development camp?
It’s been really good. It was awesome how they brought in those skating coaches. It was really good to learn about the break down of skating and find out different techniques for what you need to do on cross overs and stuff like that. I’ve enjoyed this camp, it’s been really good.

I heard that you speak five languages, is that true?
(laughs) That’s not true. I speak two.

What languages do you speak?
I speak Czech and English.

Did you learn to speak Czech when you were playing over there?
Yeah.

Has it been nice to be able to communicate with some of the other Czech players this week?
It’s been good. It’s nice to have someone to speak Czech to because back home in Australia there’s not that many people who speak Czech. It’s good that I can keep that language and keep using it.

When you first started playing in the Czech Republic, did you just have to learn the language when you got there?
Yeah, I went to school the first year I got there but every time I had Czech lessons I had hockey practice. The only reason I wanted to go to school pretty much was to learn Czech and that couldn’t happen because I had practice everyday that we had Czech classes so I got a tutor for a couple times a week for a month which helped out a lot. Other than that, it was just in the locker room and watching TV.

What is the coolest thing about being from Australia?
It’s just different I guess. There’s not many Australian hockey players, so I guess it’s that.

What’s the worst part about being from Australia?
That we don’t have as much hockey as you have here.

What was your highlight of last year in Hershey?
I couldn’t pick one. There were some really good times. It was great playing with all the older guys and they taught me a lot. My first pro year was really good to pick their brains for all of their knowledge and experience about the game.

Can you tell us a couple of the “must know” slang words in Australia?
We say, “G’Day,” which is, “good day.” You just have to break it down.
Instead of saying my last name, we don’t say “Walk-er” we say, “Walk-uh” so the “er” is like an ‘uh”.
We don’t say shrimp. Everyone thinks we say, “shrimp on the barbie,” but we don’t use shrimp too often, we say “prawns.” Kangaroo we call “Kanga.” And we say “mate” a lot.

— Deborah Francisco

#CapsDraft pick Jakub Vrana’s sick shootout goal from today’s #CapsDevCamp scrimmage. Next scrimmage tomorrow, Friday at 10:30 a.m. #CapsFanFest scrimmage on Saturday at 10:30 a.m. streamed live on @monumentalntwrk.

#CapsDevCamp Profile: Pheonix Copley
Pheonix Copley signed a two-year, entry-level contract with the Capitals on March 19, 2014. The 6-foot-3, 180-pound goaltender appeared in 30 games for the Michigan Tech Huskies in 2013-14. The 22-year-old  posted a 10-13-6 record with one shutout, a .911 save percentage and a 2.51 goals-against average in that span.Since you’re from North Pole, Alaska, what is Christmas like in North Pole?It’s obviously fun there and special. It’s a big tourist thing. They have candy cane light poles and stuff like that.Did you ever get involved in any of that stuff?I was always away during Christmas. With hockey we always had tournaments during Christmas and once I left to play down in the States I wasn’t there for it. But it’s fun, I guess they have a little Santa Clause house for the kids to go to, so it’s a fun time there.What did the hockey scene in Alaska look like while you were growing up, and at what point did you realize you needed to leave to get serious about hockey?It’s tough for scouts to make it up there. There are a couple of Division 1 colleges up there but for the other schools it’s tough to get up and watch kids. Growing up, I played there until I was 17. We did go down to tournaments which helped for the kids there to get out and get seen, but for the most part it’s good to get away and explore down in the States because that’s where it’s easy for scouts to go and watch. That’s the most beneficial and that’s why I decided to go.If you’re from North Pole, was there a team there you played on or was there a more regional team?Fairbanks is about 15 miles from North Pole and Fairbanks is a decent sized city, so that’s where our team was based out of and we travelled to Anchorage and places like that to get our games in.Have you always played goalie?I started forward and I have an older brother and we played mini sticks in the house and he needed somebody to shoot on so eventually I was the one he started shooting on, and I enjoyed it and thought it was fun. So, the next year, when we signed up for hockey I decided to go for goalie. I enjoyed it a lot and was having fun so I stuck with it.Does your brother still play hockey?No, (Navarone) played juniors and a little bit of college Division III.Is there significance to your names?I don’t know where my parents got his name from, but after they had his name  they decided they couldn’t have another regular name, they couldn’t have a Navarone and a Bob, or something, so they had to come up with another creative one.What is the best thing and what is the worst thing about living in Alaska?The best thing is probably the summers up there. There’s a lot of outdoors stuff to do like fishing, and camping and all sorts of stuff like that. If you like that stuff. For me, that’s what I really enjoy. It’s a nice time to get away and relax.The worst part is probably the winters up there, if you live there full year round the winters are pretty rough. They are dark and cold, so that’s probably the worst part about Alaska.Did you play a lot of outdoor hockey up there?Yeah, when I was up there in the winters we had a rink in our backyard and the lakes are frozen so we would go out on the lakes a couple of times and there are outdoor rinks at schools and stuff. Outdoor hockey is pretty big up there.How excited are you to playing in Hershey?I’m excited. Wherever they put me, I’ll work hard. It’s exciting to be a part of this organization. It has a good reputation and a lot of good people and a lot of good coaches so I’m really excited for it.For development camp this week, what has been the highlight for you?It’s been a really big highlight to work with the goalie coaches. It’s always good to get an opportunity to work with goalie coaches like that. Being on the ice with them, and getting one-on-one time with them, and figuring out what to work on, and figuring out what are the strengths and weaknesses has been a lot of fun. It’s been great for me. I’ve really enjoyed that and it will be the biggest thing I’ll take away.Is there something specific about their approach this week that has stood out to you?It seems like their approach is to make sure you come away a better player than when you came in and try and get better every day at forming good habits. I think that’s been really beneficial to me and to a lot of other players too.What song is at the top of your playlist right now?It would probably be a country song… I don’t know… I wouldn’t say I have a favorite band. I listen to country music, I don’t even know what artist, I just go to Country Top Hits and download the top hit or so. Country music is my favorite.— Deborah Francisco (@NHLgirl)

#CapsDevCamp Profile: Pheonix Copley

Pheonix Copley signed a two-year, entry-level contract with the Capitals on March 19, 2014. The 6-foot-3, 180-pound goaltender appeared in 30 games for the Michigan Tech Huskies in 2013-14. The 22-year-old  posted a 10-13-6 record with one shutout, a .911 save percentage and a 2.51 goals-against average in that span.

Since you’re from North Pole, Alaska, what is Christmas like in North Pole?
It’s obviously fun there and special. It’s a big tourist thing. They have candy cane light poles and stuff like that.

Did you ever get involved in any of that stuff?
I was always away during Christmas. With hockey we always had tournaments during Christmas and once I left to play down in the States I wasn’t there for it. But it’s fun, I guess they have a little Santa Clause house for the kids to go to, so it’s a fun time there.

What did the hockey scene in Alaska look like while you were growing up, and at what point did you realize you needed to leave to get serious about hockey?
It’s tough for scouts to make it up there. There are a couple of Division 1 colleges up there but for the other schools it’s tough to get up and watch kids. Growing up, I played there until I was 17. We did go down to tournaments which helped for the kids there to get out and get seen, but for the most part it’s good to get away and explore down in the States because that’s where it’s easy for scouts to go and watch. That’s the most beneficial and that’s why I decided to go.

If you’re from North Pole, was there a team there you played on or was there a more regional team?
Fairbanks is about 15 miles from North Pole and Fairbanks is a decent sized city, so that’s where our team was based out of and we travelled to Anchorage and places like that to get our games in.

Have you always played goalie?
I started forward and I have an older brother and we played mini sticks in the house and he needed somebody to shoot on so eventually I was the one he started shooting on, and I enjoyed it and thought it was fun. So, the next year, when we signed up for hockey I decided to go for goalie. I enjoyed it a lot and was having fun so I stuck with it.

Does your brother still play hockey?
No, (Navarone) played juniors and a little bit of college Division III.

Is there significance to your names?
I don’t know where my parents got his name from, but after they had his name  they decided they couldn’t have another regular name, they couldn’t have a Navarone and a Bob, or something, so they had to come up with another creative one.

What is the best thing and what is the worst thing about living in Alaska?
The best thing is probably the summers up there. There’s a lot of outdoors stuff to do like fishing, and camping and all sorts of stuff like that. If you like that stuff. For me, that’s what I really enjoy. It’s a nice time to get away and relax.
The worst part is probably the winters up there, if you live there full year round the winters are pretty rough. They are dark and cold, so that’s probably the worst part about Alaska.

Did you play a lot of outdoor hockey up there?
Yeah, when I was up there in the winters we had a rink in our backyard and the lakes are frozen so we would go out on the lakes a couple of times and there are outdoor rinks at schools and stuff. Outdoor hockey is pretty big up there.

How excited are you to playing in Hershey?
I’m excited. Wherever they put me, I’ll work hard. It’s exciting to be a part of this organization. It has a good reputation and a lot of good people and a lot of good coaches so I’m really excited for it.

For development camp this week, what has been the highlight for you?
It’s been a really big highlight to work with the goalie coaches. It’s always good to get an opportunity to work with goalie coaches like that. Being on the ice with them, and getting one-on-one time with them, and figuring out what to work on, and figuring out what are the strengths and weaknesses has been a lot of fun. It’s been great for me. I’ve really enjoyed that and it will be the biggest thing I’ll take away.

Is there something specific about their approach this week that has stood out to you?
It seems like their approach is to make sure you come away a better player than when you came in and try and get better every day at forming good habits. I think that’s been really beneficial to me and to a lot of other players too.

What song is at the top of your playlist right now?
It would probably be a country song… I don’t know… I wouldn’t say I have a favorite band. I listen to country music, I don’t even know what artist, I just go to Country Top Hits and download the top hit or so. Country music is my favorite.

— Deborah Francisco (@NHLgirl)