It’s that time of year, once again. The 2019 NHL Entry Draft is set to start this Friday in Vancouver, British, Columbia. But let’s be honest, any professional sport’s draft can at times have all the excitement of a five pound bag of fertilizer. A few fleeting moments of anticipation and excitement (when the Capitals pick), followed by a few more exciting moments of discovery of the new player selected, followed by long, arduous periods of waiting for the next selection. But that doesn’t mean things can’t get interesting outside of the actual Capitals selections. The Capitals have had their share of entertaining moments away from the stage during recent draft day proceedings.
This first memory is filed under the “nice try, but you gotta be nuts” category. The Boston Bruins tried to execute a trade with the Capitals during the 2006 draft so they could select “the Swede” (Nicklas Backstrom). Capitals GM George McPhee does a masterful job of not busting out laughing, and even coaxes Capitals assistant GM Ross Mahoney into acting out a “we’re considering your offer” skit that many on Broadway would be proud of. The McPhee wink is legendary.
Who could ever forget the 2014 draft when Capitals first round draft pick Jakub Vrana received a call from Capitals Captain Alex Ovechkin. Vrana’s genuine reaction of surprise and excitement when he found out Ovi was calling, and his story about getting Ovi’s autograph is pure Vrana, and priceless.
Capitals GM Brian MacLellan met wtih media following the first day of the 2018 draft last June. The big topic of discussion was the re-signing of John Carlson and the only trade of the day, which sent Philipp Grubauer and Brooks Orpik to Colorado in exchange for a draft pick. Towards the end of the six minute interview, one savvy reporter (name?), who was picking up on the Capitals master plan with Orpik, asked if there was a chance the Avalanche could buyout Orpik, and Brooks re-signing with the Capitals at a greatly reduced rate. MacLellan’s response made it clear that the Capitals had been working on just such a plan. “I think it’s legal”, replied MacLellan, which was followed by his patented MacLellan giggle. Orpik would indeed eventually re-sign with the Capitals, with the Avalanche picking up a majority of the tab. [Note: The latest NHL CBA prohibits money being involved in any trade, but in a sense, MacLellan used this loophole to bring Orpik back]. Video provided by @Capitals.
After being selected in the first round by the Washington Capitals in last year’s draft, Alexander Alexeyev FaceTimed with Capitals Captain Alex Ovechkin. Ovi mentioned it will be good to get Alexeyev to come to Washington to get on their program. Alexeyev responded with “which program is that, the fountains program?”, joking about the Capitals Stanley Cup celebration two weeks prior. Alexeyev would State after his call with Ovi, “I should have taken screenshot”.
What is your favorite Capitals draft day memory?
By Jon Sorensen