18 April, 2014

Ain't No Party Like a 'Vechkin Party

Ovechkin practices his mind-reading (Photo: Mike Rucki)
WASHINGTON, D.C.–Alexander Ovechkin is a machine. On the ice and off he constantly gives his all, to the delight of Capitals fans and lovers of hockey everywhere.
Yet even Ovechkin looked a bit tired on Friday night at the party in his honor at chic D.C. restaurant Teatro Goldoni. Given his recent schedule, that’s no surprise. When asked what his favorite part of Thursday night was, he replied, “Finally going to sleep,” and seemed at least half-serious. Still, Ovechkin gamely posed for photos and gave a bevy of interviews — he even dedicated 5 minutes to an impromptu blogger roundtable consisting of me, Greg “Puck Daddy” Wyshynski, and Jon “JP” Press.
Wyshynski mentioned to Ovechkin that one of the 134 voters did not give him a Hart vote despite each voter picking their top 5 candidates, a revelation that seemed to surprise him as much as it surprised us earlier. After some consideration as to who the ‘hater’ might be, Ovechkin jokingly replied, “Um… maybe Tarik?” Tarik got just as good a laugh out of the joke when we relayed it to him later in the evening.
Washington Capitals owner Ted Leonsis summed up Ovechkin’s attitude perfectly as he addressed the festive crowd early in the evening: “On the way home I asked Alex what he thought about the awards. He said he’d trade them all for one Stanley Cup.”
The best “frozen moment” of the evening was seeing three decades’ worth of great Capitals together. Rod Langway, Peter Bondra, and Alex Ovechkin could arguably be considered the best Caps of the 80s, 90s, and 2000s respectively. Seeing Bondra and Langway celebrating Ovechkin’s quad-fecta of awards warmed my Capitals heart.

Rod Langway, Alex Ovechkin, and Peter Bondra (photo: Mike Rucki)

Phil Pritchard was there as well, the Hockey Hall of Fame Resource Centre Vice President and Curator — better known to hockey fans as the white-gloved caretaker of Lord Stanley’s Cup. Engaging and friendly to all, Pritchard too looked a bit haggard as he watched over the four awards. Yet his passion for hockey’s precious metal was always clear.
These trophies, unlike the Stanley Cup, don’t travel with the winners for the most part. Rather than Ovechkin escorting them to Moscow, for instance, Pritchard had an 8-hour post-party drive to bring the hardware back to the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto. The trophies will return to the D.C. area for opening night of the 2008-09 season and likely for a visit to the Capitals’ training facility at Kettler some time during training camp.
I remembered to bring my Ross replica trophy for a photo op with the real thing — these detailed replicas were sold at Canadian McDonald’s locations in 2003; I picked up the Ross in Halifax. Six of the trophies had replicas that year and, according to Pritchard, the plan to make replicas of the remaining trophies the following season was derailed by the lockout.

I shall call it... Mini-Ross

I also have a Stanley Cup replica ready to pose for a similar photo in DC with the real Cup… hopefully soon.

Later that evening, as Pritchard carefully loaded the trophies in to customized cases for the long journey home, I snapped a few photos:

Mr. Pearson, your car is ready (photo: Mike Rucki)
Mike Rucki with the Art Ross Trophy

As you might imagine, the festive atmosphere and star power of the evening drew many beautiful young Washingtonians dressed to impress.

It was a lovely evening

Before I end with a few more photos, on behalf of OFB I’d like to extend heartfelt thanks to the Washington Capitals for including us in this event. Ted Leonsis, Kurt Kehl, Nate Ewell, Sean Parker, Mike Vogel — they and all the rest were gracious hosts, and just plain fun to B.S. with about whatever came to mind. We’re lucky to be part of a hockey community where such down-to-earth people are running the show.
And as always, thank you to all OFB readers (particularly during the past few days of technical glitches). It’s incredibly gratifying to have such passionate and knowledgeable readers, and we will continue doing our best to bring you ever-improving Capitals coverage in seasons to come.

Alex Ovechkin and his loot
Three Decades of Great Capitals (photo: Mike Rucki)


  1. TJ wrote:

    You lucky SOB’s :)

    15 June, 2008 at 8:23 pm | Permalink
  2. puddin_an_semin wrote:

    yeah I have to admit I am a bit jealous that you guys got to hang out with the trophies and some legendary capitals! Thanks for sharing, it takes some of the sting out of missing all the festivities!

    15 June, 2008 at 8:30 pm | Permalink
  3. Leslie wrote:

    Very cool – thanks for sharing the pics and the scoop on the festivities!

    15 June, 2008 at 9:05 pm | Permalink
  4. Ben wrote:

    I hate you.
    Love/hate you.

    15 June, 2008 at 9:10 pm | Permalink
  5. billd wrote:

    who is the beauty on the left?????

    15 June, 2008 at 9:16 pm | Permalink
  6. billd wrote:

    not Langway, the young lass in blue

    15 June, 2008 at 9:17 pm | Permalink
  7. Teka wrote:

    I think if I were in that close contact with the awards, I’d be more interested in asking one of the metal-wranglers how on earth they got their jobs… my history/museum degree is dying to get one of the jobs at the HHOF.

    15 June, 2008 at 9:28 pm | Permalink
  8. NS2NOVA wrote:

    Any time you guys need another photographer, just let me know. Cool night.

    15 June, 2008 at 9:29 pm | Permalink
  9. @ Teka,
    Pritchard grew up an avid hockey fan (no surprise as he’s from Ontario). He started working for the HHOF about 20 years ago; you can read more about him here:
    @ billd, I believe she was a representative from Capitol File Magazine, one of the evening’s sponsors.

    15 June, 2008 at 9:42 pm | Permalink
  10. uncatim wrote:

    Thanks for the great pictures & welcome back!

    15 June, 2008 at 10:05 pm | Permalink
  11. pepper wrote:

    You look marvelous!
    But is that really the Hart Trophy sitting naked on the sidewalk!?
    The three decades shot really is special.

    15 June, 2008 at 11:11 pm | Permalink
  12. JMoney wrote:

    I read that AO was getting fresh with Larionov’s daughter – if so that’s been the most effective way to get back at the Wings for 1998 yet…
    Great to see RL and PB and the group shot as well, I grew up watching those guys.

    16 June, 2008 at 2:32 am | Permalink
  13. hockeygrl76 wrote:

    I am soo jealous! That looks like it would have been so much fun!

    16 June, 2008 at 8:39 am | Permalink
  14. vt caps fan wrote:

    Just plain old jealous.

    16 June, 2008 at 8:59 am | Permalink
  15. Gmann wrote:

    Yay!! My favorite fix returns and is full of good stuff!! Echoing sentiments of others posting previously, I envy you. I want to drink your milkshake – drink it up!!!

    16 June, 2008 at 11:22 am | Permalink
  16. Tom Longo wrote:

    What?!? No pictures of the hottie that was seen draped on Ovechkin’s arm, Elena Alyonka Larionov? You’re recently married so I’ll let this one go.

    16 June, 2008 at 11:34 am | Permalink
  17. John wrote:

    Excellent stuff! And congrats to you guys! You’ve earned it!

    16 June, 2008 at 12:57 pm | Permalink
  18. DrCapsFan wrote:

    JMoney: LOL!!! I almost spit my water all over the computer at work.. Funny stuff.
    I have to blow up that picture of Ovi with #12 and #5. The thing gives me goose bumps just looking at it. Great stuff!!

    16 June, 2008 at 1:29 pm | Permalink
  19. 20 June, 2008 at 8:00 am | Permalink