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Now that I'm over the psychological trauma from that nasty fall at the Washington Capitals Media Fantasy Camp last month, I made my way to the Verizon Center tonight to see the Caps and Nashville Predators. I would have come back sooner, but I wanted to make sure my neck had loosened up enough to safely change lanes on New York Avenue.

I had almost forgotten how much fun it is to watch professional hockey in person. The game is lightning fast and the surface is actually supposed to be slippery, unlike Citizens Bank Park last night.

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The only downside -- and it's a big one -- is that Caps superstar Alexander Ovechkin was not in the building. He had to fly home to Russia to be with his grandfather, who is hospitalized with a serious illness. Hopefully, everything turns out well. Caps officials say Alex is very close to his grandfather and there was no doubt where he should be right now. Can't argue with that.

The Caps seem to be up to the challenge of playing without him. Viktor Kozlov (that's him warming up for tonight's game at right) scored the game's first goal off an assist from Mike Green, and David Steckel answered a Predators score with a short-handed goal on a breakaway with 15:38 expired in the first period.

I know. I know. Hockey doesn't seem to be particularly big in Baltimore, but you wouldn't have known it from the deafening "O!" that went up from the crowd during the National Anthem.

Hope I didn't deceive anyone with the headline and the Koslov photo, but I was pretty sure no one would think that was me. The easiest way to tell the difference is that he's upright. If you want to look back at the previous "Schmuck on Ice" segments -- which include two embarrassing videos of me trying to play hockey -- just go down to the search tool and type in "Capitals" and all of them will pop right up. If you just want to see the incriminating official Caps video, click here.

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