This week a band of clever Caps’ fans on the team’s message boards designated this Friday night “Mirrored Shades for Marty Night” at Verizon Center. The Caps host the New Jersey Devils then. Devils’ netminder Martin Brodeur apparently made enough of a stink about Alexander Ovechkin’s tinted visor from last season to help get it banned this past summer. By a 29-1 tally prior to the season the league’s GMs voted to ban the visor — the lone dissenting vote coming from GMGM.
There’s nothing earth-shattering in the impact or implication of the GMs’ decision, but Brodeur’s fuss invites precisely the good-natured ridicule planned at Verizon Center Friday.
Sherry Ross of the New York Daily News offered the lowdown on MirrorMess earlier this season:
Martin Brodeur, the hockey fan, liked the distinctive look that Alexander Ovechkin’s mirrored visor gave the league’s top rookie last season. Martin Brodeur, the goalie, didn’t like that he couldn’t see the whites of Ovechkin’s eyes.”
As the matter heated up a bit in the press this fall, Brodeur backpedaled, taking pains to suggest that he had no formal role in the furor. Still, he made plain to the Daily News‘ Ross what had him so upset about AO’s visor:
I said it wasn’t right because my game is watching an athlete, and especially when it gets to a shootout, it makes it tougher for me if I can’t see his eyes.”
And some French Canadians wonder why the rest of the hockey world regards them as whiners!
Anyway, the fun starts early Friday night at the rink. The Caps Road Crew is helping out with the distribution of mirrored sunglasses fully an hour before faceoff. Fans in Verizon Center sections 104 and 105 plan to be seated in shades by 6:25 — just in time to greet the Devils as they emerge on the ice for pre-game warmups. But our sense at OFB is that this prank is going to expand well beyond those two lower bowl sections. For starters, Verizon Center allows any ticket holder to watch warmups in the lower bowl, potentially swelling the number of pranksters.
The organizers of ShadesScheme have marketed the mischief enough so as to secure donations for sunglasses through PayPal, and some message board veterans have pledged the purchase of boxes of dozens of the eyewear. Later this season, a contingent of Caps’ fans, joined by the Caps Road Crew, will travel to New Jersey by bus for a Caps’ game there, and again they’ll be in shades. And we’re only about the fourth or fifth blog mentioning it.
At OFB, we commend these fans for their creativity — for well organizing a harmless prank that’s chock full of home rink spirit. We say to them: your future’s so bright, you gotta wear shades.