It’s that time of year again, when we can sit back, sip eggnog, greet friends and family – and offer up a tongue-in-cheek ‘review’ (a.k.a. ‘roast’) of the Washington Capitals remarkable CD ‘Capitals Tunes: Volume 2.’
By Glynn Cosker
DCpuckDrop Managing Editor
There’s an old saying in hockey: “never let Matt Niskanen sing.” And, that tradition is admirably upheld in the Washington Capitals’ exclusive holiday songs collection for 2017. The melodies and medleys found in this year’s festive CD will immediately make you yearn for Christmases long ago – like in the 1860’s, before the invention of recorded sound.
— Washington Capitals (@Capitals) December 17, 2017
The Washington Capitals are back where they belong – atop the NHL’s Metropolitan Division. They have the league’s top scorer in Alex Ovechkin and one of the league’s best goaltenders in Braden Holtby. Missing from this year’s campaign, though, is an auto-tuner; and it’s abundantly clear three songs into their holiday CD.
Capitals Tunes: Volume 2 is best played after plugging in your most trustworthy noise-canceling headphones – and then entering whichever room in your house has the CD playing. There is a bit of holiday cheer for everyone in this record. The first track features the Capitals’ forward Brett Connolly and his moving rendition of “Silver Bells.” He does a great job of hitting all the high notes, even though they were actually meant to be low notes.
If Frank Sinatra were alive today, the crooner would take Braden Holtby aside, shake his hand, and insist that the great netminder never sings again. Ever! That said, Holtby’s “Let It Snow” is head-and-shoulders (and turtlenecks) above the other tracks on the CD.
Meanwhile, forward Evgeny Kuznetsov does his best with “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year.” However, without any pitch, tune, tone or rhythm, it’s hard to recommend the track for anything other than disrupting the opposing teams’ practice sessions.
One of the highlights for me on this CD is hearing the Caps’ other goalie, Philipp Grubauer, completely nail the lyrics of everybody’s favorite carol “Joy To The World.” My mind drifted back to when I was six – when I would also sing “Joy To The World, mmm-mm-mm-mmmm.” It was a holiday tradition in my house.
And, then there is Devante Smith-Pelly and his tuneful ditty “Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas.” Rumor has it, the Caps’ forward can actually read sheet music. This may be true, but the sheet was likely upside-down for his recording session.
The Capitals solo artists shine for sure – and they are reminiscent of the greats: Presley, Pavarotti, and McCartney. That’s Arthur Presley, Bob Pavarotti, and Melvin McCartney – none of whom have ever made a CD, but I hear they’re good at poker.
And, then there are the duets. Jakub Vrana and Alex Ovechkin cheerfully belt out “We Wish You A Merry Christmas” – to the tune of some other song – but they each get an A for effort; as do John Carlson and Dmitry Orlov for their gentle cooing of “Jingle Bells.” Each duet proves that team-mates can come together to do anything – no matter how hard [it is to listen to them]. Incidentally, if you get this far along into the CD, then it’s clear that Uncle Ben has spiked the eggnog.
If the Capitals’ compilation CD wasn’t enough, customers are also treated to a bonus solo CD: Tom Wilson Sings Xmas. A word of caution on this extra treat though … there is a disclaimer under the cover art which warns of explicit lyrics. Wilson does great on his 10 songs, but sadly missing is his new classic, “All I Want For Christmas Is Joe Thornton’s Two Front Teeth.”
So, there it is. If you’ve never heard the Washington Capitals players sing – you’re luckier than most people. In all seriousness though, this is the best CD ever produced by a sports team; in the NHL; named the Washington Capitals; coached by Barry Trotz; in 2017. Yes, the absolute best. Since it’s completely fake though, please don’t rush out to buy it.
Happy Holidays! And, thanks to the Washington Capitals players for being really good sports.