WASHINGTON -- Meet Craig Brownstein, Caps fan and founder of a blog for, as he puts it, "boys who like boys who like hockey."
In 2010, Brownstein and Doug Johnson took a break from working on a different blog -- WhoMurderedRobertWone.com about a notorious Dupont Circle murder -- by going to a Capitals game at the Verizon Center.
At the game, Brownstein joked with Johnson, "Hey, you're my puck buddy." A new blog was born.
With the 2012-13 about to begin, we spoke with Brownstein about the strike, the Caps' new coach, post-season predictions and about being, as he put it, the "cheeky, gay bastards of the NHL."
The Huffington Post: What is Puck Buddies?
Craig Brownstein: We are the site for the boys who like boys who like hockey. We're North America's favorite, and only, gay hockey fan site.
HuffPost: Where are you from?
Brownstein: Rochester, N.Y. I've been living in D.C. about 25 years.
HuffPost: Are you a Caps fan?
Brownstein: Yes. Rabid.
My partner Doug was born in Detroit so he's more of a Red Wings fan. I'm one of those Caps bandwagon fans that everyone seems to adore. I got into hockey late in life, four seasons ago. After I learned how to watch the game I became crazy about it.
HuffPost: Do you think the strike is going to cost the NHL fans?
Brownstein: I think there's some hard feelings, primarily directed towards the NHL.
How do you quantify losing fans? Are they not going to buy tickets? Merchandise? Not watch on TV? It's really hard to tell at this point. Season ticket renewals didn't fall out that much, specifically for the Caps. People vote with their wallets and the effects haven't been seen.
A lot of the teams are doing deep discounts on tickets. The Florida Panters are offering tickets for $7. I don't think that's going to happen to the Caps. They're doing an open house on Thursday with an evening practice with complimentary food and discounted merchandise
HuffPost: How have you been affected?
Brownstein: As bloggers, our challenge was to come up with content during 113, 120 days of the lockout.
We started as a Caps site two, three years ago. Last season we recruited 23, 24 other gay hockey fans to write about their teams (View the complete list here).
We struggled for content but a lot of the writers helped.
HuffPost: So the strike hasn't turned you off of the Caps?
Brownstein: Still absolutely a rabid Caps fan.
HuffPost: Are you happy with our new coach?
Brownstein: I think so. Being a bandwagon fan, I had to do a quick study on Adam Oates. He was a phenomenal player, very successful coach with the Devils. He seems like a total class act. Announcing his new position as Caps coach on the same day he was announced to the Hall of Fame. He has a great backstory when he played for Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in New York. Once he started playing hockey professionally he went back to RPI during four or five summers to complete his degree. That's just a great, well-rounded guy.
Interview continues below ...
HuffPost: Are there any Caps you're going to miss?
Brownstein: We definitely going to miss Alex Semin. We were big fans. A dazzling character. Handsome as all get-out. We're going to miss him.
HuffPost: What are some of the matchups you're excited about?
Brownstein: I never had a chance to see Teemu Selanne play. A lot of fans around the league were pretty upset because of cancellations in what could be Teemu's last season. Not seeing the Ducks is disappointing.
HuffPost: Will you travel to other arenas to see the Caps?
Brownstein: It's possible we'll do a couple road trips this year.
One of the things we work on on the side is You Can Play. The other hat I wear is doing the PR and media relations for them. They're an LGBT friendly hockey group founded by Patrick Burke and Brian Burke of the Toronto Maple Leafs.
On Feb. 23, there's going to be the first You Can Play night hosted by an AHL team. We're going up to Bridgeport, Conn., for that. It'll be an informal Puck Buddys get-together. We can meet each other, many of us, for the first time. The relationships we have with our contributors is via email and Twitter.
HuffPost: Where are some of the places people can get turned onto the NHL?
Brownstein: The quickest way to get smart about hockey, other than watching it, is online and on Twitter. Jesse Spector at Sporting News, Greg Wyshynski at Yahoo! Sports, Adam Proteau at The Hockey News, Bruch Arthur of the National Post in Canada. They're amazing resources to get really smart, really fast about the game.
HuffPost: Any post-season predictions?
Brownstein: Caps all the way.
HuffPost: Who are they going to play?
Brownstein: The L.A. Kings.