I saw a meme a while ago that perfectly described the type of hockey fan I am. It read: “Yes, I am a woman. Yes I do speak fluent hockey.”
It couldn’t be truer about what kind of hockey fan I am. I started following the sport around the 1994 baseball strike. I needed something to occupy my time. So, I found myself watching games, learning the rules, and liking few of the players.
I have always found comfort in the game of hockey in an odd sort of way. Why comfort? What’s so comforting about men smashing the crap out of each other? What’s so comforting about a bunch of guys chasing a rubber disc?
It’s the fact that these guys are playing a game. It’s as simple as that. A game. Many of the players act like they’re children, and play like that.
So when I came to the DMV about three years ago from Avalanche country, I began to watch the Capitals as a fan of the game. In these three years, the Caps have grown on me a little. By no means am I saying I’m a fan of the team, but rather I’m a fan of the sport.
With that being said though, this team has caught my attention. They are on track to do great things. They’re serious. They’re playing for keeps. Their captain, Alex Ovechkin has that same hunger.
Everyone knows how great Ovechkin is. I’ll admit, as a person who was on the outside looking in when I was living in Denver , I thought Ovechkin was a bit arrogant, a bit aloof so to speak. But, after moving here and watching the games regularly, that couldn’t be any further from the truth.
Of course I’m not the only one that was an outsider looking in on Ovechkin, and had their opinion changed about Ovechkin after watching him on a daily basis. Head coach Barry Trotz became a believer in the Great Eight as well.
“I totally miscast him from afar. Perception is reality, and my perception was all off.” Barry Trotz told USA Today in an interview last year. He’s absolutely right. Trotz also had that outside view that Ovechkin didn’t care about this team, but only about himself.
But Ovechkin bought into Trotz’s defensive system that made him a success for many years in Nashville. Watching Ovechkin this last year, it looked like he gave a damn. He was quicker on his feet, jumping up on the forecheck, and creating scoring opportunities, not only for himself but for his teammates on many occasions.
Ovechkin is still very young and heading into the prime of his career, and the Capitals have taken the steps in making sure he is surrounded by equally talented players such as T.J. Oshie and Justin Williams. Resigning Braden Holtby, Marcus Johanssen, and Evgeny Kuznetsov were steps in the right direction to get this team pointed in the right direction and to finally quiet the naysayers and finally make Ovechkin what he’s always wanted to be: A Stanley Cup Champion.
By Andrea Sobolik