The Washington Capitals are a team with personality


Photo courtesy of Flickr/Teka England

Alex Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom share a laugh at practice

Zack Shapiro, Online Arts & Entertainment Editor

Most sports coverage centers around athletic performance, recaps of games, depictions of great goals and analysis of upcoming match-ups. But this year, the Washington Capitals deserve more than the standard sports coverage. D.C. has been blessed with a team brimming with great personality and good hearts. Here is a recap of the Capitals’ greatest off-ice moments:

1. Eric Fehr writes a children’s book

Washington Capitals forward Eric Fehr decided to write a picture book about fitting in and the problems of bullying, titled “The Bulliest Dozer.”

“It’s about a bulldozer…who’s a bit of a bully at school,” Fehr said in an interview with the Washington Post. “And he learns that it’s not what he wants to do at the end. Pretty good story line I think.”

Before his book was available to the public, Fehr left a copy in each of his teammates’ locker room stalls. Their responses were just as hilarious as you would imagine.

“I don’t know if this is a joke or not,”said defenseman Nate Schmidt.

“You’re an author?” said forward Jason Chimera. “How much you get for this?”

“So he legit wrote this? Something must be off,” said Goaltender Braden Holtby.

Luckily, Fehr was not phased by his teammates’ less than enthusiastic reaction.

“The guys were showing they were able to read,” said Fehr. “I was impressed. I think this will be perfect for them.”

2. Tom Wilson and Michael Latta take Costco

This year, leading up to the Winter Classic, the Capitals players were followed around by camera crews, capturing some amazing moments. At one point in the series, two of the Capitals youngest players, and best friends, Tom Wilson, age 21, and Michael Latta, age 23, show viewers around their apartment. The pair opened their refrigerator to reveal three unopened bottles of ketchup.

“[Latta] went to Costco and we got the best ketchup deal in the entire world,” said Wilson. “Three for one!”

The segment only grew funnier as the pair revealed that they call star Capitals center, Nicklas Backstrom, “Dad,” and talented defenseman Mike Green, “Uncle Greenie.”

3. Caps fans “correct” Wikipedia

This one doesn’t actually involve Caps players, but instead the team’s clever fan base. This season the Washington Capitals played the Boston Bruins three times without allowing a single goal. After this unheard of feat, Caps fans vandalized the Bruins’ Wikipedia page, changing the team’s owner to Braden Holtby, the Capitals’ goaltender.

Later in the season, the Caps found themselves locked in a playoff series with the New York Islanders. The Islanders were playing their final season at their historic stadium, the Nassau Colosseum, before moving to a new stadium in Brooklyn. This meant that if the Caps eliminated the Islanders from the playoffs, it would be the final game the team ever played at the Colosseum. When the Caps defeated the Isles in an action packed game seven, Caps fans took it upon themselves to change the Nassau Coliseum’s Wikipedia page so that it read, “closed by the Washington Capitals.”

Finally, when the Caps found themselves playing the New York Rangers in the second round of the playoffs, the Rangers’ official Twitter account removed all capital letters from their page (no caps, get it?). In response, Caps fans ravaged the Rangers’ Wikipedia account, converting all of the text to capital letters.

4. Alex Ovechkin takes disabled 10-year-old on a date

This season, Alex Ovechkin has really stepped up his game with charity work. While hosting a private skate for 60 disabled children, Alex Ovechkin was asked out on a date by Ann Shwab, a gutsy 10-year-old with autism. Ever the gentleman, Ovechkin accepted.

A few weeks later, Ovechkin met Shwab in the Capitals’ locker room, handing her a bouquet of flowers. He went on to show her around the locker room and facilities on a date documented by local website Russian Maching Never Breaks. He introduced his teammates and even head coach, Barry Trotz to his, “new girlfriend.” He then allowed Shwab onto the Caps bench during warm-ups later that night at Verizon Center, fist bumping her as he stepped onto the ice. He then gave tickets to Shwab and her family so they could watch the Caps glide past the Hurricanes with a 5-2 victory. After the game, Ovechkin ended the night by taking his date out to dinner.

5. Alex Ovechkin’s Allstar draft antics

Every year around the NHL season’s halfway mark, the league holds an Allstar game between the sport’s most talented and elite athletes. The best players in the world are then drafted into two teams in what is called the Allstar Fantasy Draft. Being one of the game’s most elite players, Ovechkin is one of the first players picked in the draft, something most would consider a huge honor.

However, this year Ovechkin didn’t want to be picked first, he wanted to be picked last. Ever since the Allstar game was first introduced, the last player picked won a free car, this year a new Honda Accord. For some reason, Alex Ovechkin, who already owns over 10 unbelievably expensive (and sometimes illegal) cars, decided that he needed to add a Honda accord to his collection.

In a pre-draft interview Ovechkin was asked if he would be upset if he was not the first pick in the draft, to which Ovechkin responded, “I want to get picked last, I need a car.” Ovechkin from then on only gave interviews (several throughout the night) with a paper held over his face on which he scribbled a message begging to be picked last. He even went on to interrupt other players’ interviews to plead his case. The NHL Network, which broadcasts the event, ate up Ovi’s shenanigans and his quest for a car became the major storyline of the night. Unfortunately for Ovi, the conspiring captains purposely picked him 3rd to last, so that he sat and watched as the final two player were each awarded their own Honda. Ovechkin was devastated.

After the draft, the biggest question was why Ovechkin wanted the car so badly in the first place. The team captains who ruthlessly broke Ovi’s heart admitted they had no idea why he wanted it. In an interview with after the draft, Ovechkin revealed that the car was not for him, but that he wanted to donate it to Ann Shwab, the autistic girl who he took out on a date. Ovechkin decided that winning the car would be more meaningful to Shwab than just buying the car himself. In response, Honda gave Ovechkin a free car after all, and Shwab could not have been happier.