Pre-game pump-up sessions are nothing new in the world of sports. The few minutes before a game reserved for getting a player’s mind “right”, and for getting fellow teammates pumped for a contest. The sport of hockey is no different. Teams usually take a minute or two in the hallway, just before they take the ice. But the Washington Capitals’ orchestration, under the leadership of conductor T.J. Oshie, just may be rewriting the standards for hockey pump-up sessions.
T.J. Oshie has brought a lot to the Capitals organization including leadership, scoring, and even the “Stanley Cup Stand”, to name a few. He has also instituted new pre-game warmup routines that may require their own intermission, if they keep expanding at the current rate. While many other teams and players have pre-game rituals, Oshie and the Caps’ pre-game pump-up routines have evolved into something uniquely theatrical and a must-see for any hockey fan.
Oshie has implemented new unique pump-up rituals with several players in the Capitals starting lineup, but it all started with he and captain Alex Ovechkin. The two began these routines and over the last few seasons, have recruited teammates to join in on the sessions to pump up the team before games.
The pre-game routines have become much-anticipated and reflects the energy that Oshie brings, both on and off the ice, each and every night. Add in Ovechkin’s enthusiasm for the game and pure emotion he plays with, and you have a display of pure confidence and motivation involving two of the Caps’ most valuable offensive players!
The original routines traditionally started off with Oshie and Ovechkin going through three high fives and a chest bump, followed by Oshie moving on to Devante Smith-Pelly for two, gripped chest bumps followed by a recent addition to the antics.
A New Twist
At some point last season, top defenseman John Carlson joined in on the fun by adding his own twist to the theatrics, by making sure the captain’s cup was “in order”, by giving the area below the belt a few forceful taps with the butt of his stick. Take a look for yourself:
Next up, this gem from the middle of last season. I’m sure you’ve seen it by now, as the pump-up session ends with Carlson giving Ovechkin several…..cup checks? Also, take note that even Carlson tagged Ovi in our Instagram comments for him to take a peek.
The pregame Cup check evolved into adding additional players such as Andre Burakovsky among others.
As the season went on, the pregame routine became quite an impressive choreography that included almost all of the Capitals’ starters.
From the Stanley Cup Final against the Vegas Golden Knights. Ovechkin has added “are you ready to F*****n rock and roll?”. Oshie, who never backs down from the chest thumping in these pregame rituals, looks sincerely terrified after this particular bout:
And today’s version of 2018-2019:
I can’t wait to see what Oshie and his orchestration of pre-game theatrics come up with next. Stay tuned.
By Jon Sorensen