It’s not too often that a city can boast the greatest player in their respective sport plays for the home team. But, Washington, DC can make that claim — the world’s best hockey player, Alexander Ovechkin, plays for our hometown Washington Capitals.
Alex showed off his amazing skills again last night with a last-second goal that tied the game 5 – 5 with the NJ Devils. They did lose the game in OT, but they earned a point. After a fairly slow start (for him), Ovechkin has been on fire lately as the Caps have played great hockey and reclaimed first place in the Southeast Division.
I first met Alex on his second day in the U.S. One of my mentors, Ted Leonsis, who’s our Vice-Chairman, Emeritus at AOL and majority owner of the Capitals, pinged me a few summers ago and said his new number one draft pick had just arrived in the U.S. and he wanted to show him some cool things to do in the U.S. So, on his second day here, we took him to Baltimore to see the Ravens play the Redskins (pre-season game).
We did our best to explain the rules of the NFL to him. Since he grew up in Russia, he had seen very little NFL action. At half-time, I took him from the suite down to the field so he could do an interview on Comcast SportsNet as well as witness the fast-paced, hard-hitting action up close. He was extremely impressed with the size, the speed, the trash-talking and the physicality of NFL players.
Ironically, he brings the same type of action to the ice. Not only is he a great scorer, but he’s extremely hard-hitting and a good passer. It should be a great joy for DC natives to be able to watch “Alexander the Great” for many, many years to come. A recipient of the Art Ross, Rocket Richard and Hart memorial trophies, it’s amazing to watch him in person.
Ted and his terrific partners deserve a great team for their commitment to the community and for providing a young up-and-coming team on the ice. Fortunately, they’ve already started drawing well — the Verizon Center has been packed. It’ll get more crowded, fun and action-packed in the winter months.
Let’s go Caps!