White netting at Verizon Center causes issues for some fans (Update)

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Last night there was something a little different for fans checking out the Washington Capitals at Verizon Center.

Instead of the usual black netting above the glass at each end of the ice, the netting was white causing the fans to look at the game through different colored lenses… er, fabric. Instead of peering through a dark foreground, fans were made to look at the game through white netting that helped the game look a bit hazy for some fans.

The change for the Capitals was a new one and one that didn’t exactly go over all that well with the spectators on all levels of Verizon Center watching the game. Stephen Whyno of The Washington Times gets the grumpy lowdown from some of the fans at last night’s game.

“The white netting is worse than the old black one, which I wasn’t a fan of,” said Weber Grandish, 36, of Arlington, who has season tickets in Section 115. “The view of the players on the ice is seriously like looking through a snow storm, which is quaint for the Winter Classic, but not for 41 home games. You can’t read players’ names on their jerseys.”

A few fans complained of headaches during the game because they had to watch part of the game through the new white netting.

“When looking through the net on the Section 117 side across the ice the new white netting on the other side of the arena distracts,” saidStephanie Stockman, 51, of Lanham. “By the end of the second period both of my eyes hurt.”

With such negative reviews from these fans and others in attendance, the change that was supposed to be a permanent one at the arena has come under fire. Luckily for Caps fans, owner Ted Leonsis is a guy in tune with what the fans are saying and he let it be known that the fans’ wishes and complaints won’t be ignored.

We will take a closer look at it ASAP. The plan was to improve the fan and TV experience. If we aren’t able to accomplish that goal, then we will return to the netting we used previously. Stay tuned.

White netting versus black netting is a strange battle here as most, if not all, arenas use the darker netting so as to better blend in with the background and have the ice and players stand out when looking through it. Using white netting helps the lights in the arena reflect off of it causing it to be more of a distraction if you allow it to be.

Yes, people fear change and this is the sort of change that can be initially shocking, but by taking a look at the photo provided to us by Stephanie Sutton of CapsInPics.com, what do you think of it? Is it visually disturbing for you or are some fans just being a bit too sensitive to something new?

(Photo: Stephanie Sutton of CapsInPictures.com)

UPDATE (5:05 p.m.): Mike Vogel from the Washington Capitals website reports that the old, black netting will be back in place for their next preseason game against Buffalo on Friday. The fans voices have been heard.

Video: AHL goalie Jonas Gustavsson scores his first career goal

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He didn’t shoot, but Jonas Gustavsson still scored.

The former NHL netminder, now with the Bakersfield Condors in the AHL, scored his first career goal Friday, as part of his team’s victory over the San Diego Gulls.

From the AHL:

With San Diego goaltender Dustin Tokarski on the bench for an extra attacker and the Gulls working on a power play, Gustavsson made a save before an errant San Diego pass slid down the length of the ice and into the vacated net at 16:56 of the third period.

Gustavsson is the fifth AHL goaltender to be credited with a goal without actually shooting the puck into the opposition net. In addition to his goal, Gustavsson stopped 30 of 31 shots in the Condors victory.

Bolts and Islanders both win, which is bad news for Bruins

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The New York Islanders and Tampa Bay Lightning each had to work overtime to decide their separate games, but when they ended, both clubs were victorious.

And that makes things even more interesting in the Eastern Conference wild card race.

With their shootout win in Pittsburgh, the Islanders tie the Bruins in points but take over the final playoff spot for now with fewer games played. The Lightning, despite an abundance of injuries all season, are just a point back of Boston and New York.

Nikita Kucherov scored the winner for Tampa Bay against the Red Wings. He’s up to 38 goals, which is second most in the league behind Sidney Crosby, currently at 42 goals.

Sellers leading up to the trade deadline, and without Steven Stamkos since the middle of November, the Lightning are in the thick of this race, even if others may have counted them out.

“Once again, people counted us out,” defenseman Victor Hedman told the Tampa Bay Times. “But we showed a lot of character. And we’re right back in it.”

The Bolts don’t play again until Monday, when they host the Chicago Blackhawks — only one of the hottest teams in the league.

Meanwhile, Saturday’s busy slate of games includes a showdown between the Bruins and Islanders. For Boston, it’s a chance for redemption after a particularly costly third period against Tampa Bay on Thursday.

What is wrong with the Sharks?

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Not that long ago, the San Jose Sharks appeared well on their way to winning the Pacific Division title.

On March 14, they had a seven-point lead on both Anaheim and Calgary. Gone is that advantage. Not only have the Ducks surged back into the fight for the division, but the Sharks have lost five in a row and are having a terrible time of late creating any offense.

The Ducks defeated the Jets on Friday, moving into a tie with the Sharks at 91 points.

San Jose’s struggles hit a new low Friday with a 6-1 loss to the Dallas Stars, a team with its own flaws and nowhere close to a playoff position.

At one point midway through the second period, the Sharks trailed the Stars by four goals and had only six lousy shots on goal. During this skid, San Jose has scored only five goals.

Earlier this week, members of the Sharks said they weren’t terribly worried about this losing streak. The losses, they had said, were in close games, which is true: San Jose lost three consecutive one-goal games.

“When I look at the losing streak, we dominated some of those games for long periods and found ways to lose. You never like to lose, but I’m not that concerned,” Sharks coach Pete DeBoer told CSN Bay Area. “We’ve got to obviously end it. We’ve got to get healthy. I don’t see a bunch of symptoms of a team that can’t get this fixed pretty quickly.”

This, however, was a blowout. Adam Cracknell recorded the hat trick, pushing his single-season career-high in goals to 10.

The performance at one point forced DeBoer to take a timeout, in which he expressed his displeasure.

Making matters worse for the Sharks: Defenseman Marc-Edouard Vlasic left the game early in the third period and was put under further evaluation. He didn’t return.

The Sharks visit the Nashville Predators on Saturday.

Halak and the Islanders defeat Penguins, move into wild card spot

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Quite a hockey game between the New York Islanders and Pittsburgh Penguins on Friday.

It offered plenty to enjoy — Phil Kessel‘s dominant but unfruitful shift in overtime, a combined 86 shots on goal between both teams, a showcase of skill from the likes of John Tavares and Sidney Crosby, and two strong goaltending performances from Jaroslav Halak and Marc-Andre Fleury.

Josh Ho-Sang, who wears No. 66, which is just fine in the eyes of Mario Lemieux, set up Brock Nelson‘s goal in the second period.

The Islanders and their fans probably aren’t hung up on style points at this juncture of the season. They just care about wins and points in the standings, and those are exactly what New York accomplished with a 4-3 shootout win in Pittsburgh.

Anthony Beauvillier and Tavares scored for the Islanders in the shootout. Halak made 37 stops, including a game-saver in overtime off Matt Cullen. Halak trapped the puck, which was right on the goal line, between his legs on a chance from in front. The play was reviewed but no goal.

The win gives the Islanders 82 points, which is the same total as the struggling Boston Bruins.

However, the Islanders, with one game in hand on the Bruins, take over the final wild card spot in the East for now.