Edmonton Preparing To Roll-Out Unwelcome Mat For Alex Ovechkin And The Capitals

The Washington Capitals two-game tour of the province of Alberta, Canada, continues tonight when they visit the Oilers in Edmonton, Alberta. In a province of nearly 4.5 million people it is estimated that about 345,000 of those are of Ukrainian descent. And it’s expected that Alex Ovechkin and the Capitals will hear from many of those during tonight’s game.

The Capitals will stand through a Ukrainian version of O Canada on Wednesday night courtesy of the Ukranian Viter Choir and Folk Ensemble. They will be spared the full Ukrainian National anthem only because of the NHL’s rule that a team may play just two anthems before a game.

Fans attending tonight’s game have also been encouraged to don the light-blue and yellow colors of the Ukrainian flag. “We are preparing to encourage fans to wear blue and yellow in support,” Oilers executive vice president, OEG communications and gaming, Tim Shipton revealed.

“We will also launch a special online auction where we will auction off the sticks and helmets with them. And we’ll also hand out Ukrainian flag stickers to our fans courtesy of the Canadian Ukrainian Congress,” he said. Additionally, proceeds from the Oilers’ nightly 50/50 draw will go towards families in Ukraine.

The Capitals had their fair share of support last night in Calgary, as the traditional ring of red rockers lined the glass during warmups.

However, Ovechkin did receive a smattering of boos each time he touched the puck in last nights game. He would also record two goals and tie Jaromir Jagr for third place on the all time goals list.

It’s anticipated that the situation will be more of the same in Edmonton, but not all  Edmonton fans will be looking to show disapproval of Ovechkin and the Capitals.

“Ach, leave the poor guy alone,” said Bob Olynyk, a legendary minor hockey volunteer of 55 years in these parts. “He’s in a Catch-22 position, you know? The poor guy lives in Russia. So he supported Putin. I mean, he was Putin’s friend. Big deal. Lots of guys supported Putin. Lots of people supported Trump!”

Olynyk added, “I mean, he hasn’t said anything. He’s just shutting his mouth and staying out of it. Why would we want to chastise someone who has done what he’s done for the game?”

According to the Twitter account Sports + Aviation, the Capitals made the 190 mile trip from Calgary to Edmonton late last night after their 5-4 win over the Flames.

It’s anticipated that the team will depart for Vancouver, British Columbia, immediately following tonight’s game where they will spend their off-day on Thursday. They face the Canucks in the final game of their western Canada road trip on Friday.

By Jon Sorensen

About Jon Sorensen

Jon has been a Caps fan since day one, attending his first game at the Capital Centre in 1974. His interest in the Caps has grown over the decades and included time as a season ticket holder. He has been a journalist covering the team for 10+ years, primarily focusing on analysis, analytics and prospect development.
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14 Responses to Edmonton Preparing To Roll-Out Unwelcome Mat For Alex Ovechkin And The Capitals

  1. Anonymous says:

    The Trump comment is why I am indifferent of Ovechkin’s political opinions. I don’t know anything about Russia or Russian politics. From my American perspective Putin is obviously a monstrous human being. I assume that many Russians support him though, including Ovechkin, and have a completely different perspective. I don’t know what they hear on the news, why they support him or what positive things they see in him. I don’t know anything about domestic Russian issues, his stances on them or why people would support or not support them. I have no idea what the arguments for or against them are. I am guessing Ovechkin and other Russians don’t think he’s a monstrous human like I do, though, otherwise they wouldn’t support him. There could also be the element of fear. Does he threaten them? Especially knowing that Ovi is a decent guy. Similarly, half our country supports Trump. From an external view he’s largely seen as horrible and maybe nearly on par with Putin (internally a lot of people think this too). But, knowing American politics and being an American I have a different perspective. It’s at the very least possible to understand others’ viewpoints and why they support him and his policies. The ability to empathize and place yourself into others’ shoes and accept that having a different opinion or viewpoint doesn’t make someone a horrible person. Also, that you don’t know everything.

    • Anonymous says:

      What the state controlled press says and what is true are two different things, in both countries.

      • Anonymous says:

        Correct. But the general public doesn’t know what is true and what isn’t. They believe what they’re hearing because they trust the source.

  2. Anyone with a brain says:

    Anyone who boos the greatest goal scorer of all time because of something he has absolutely nothing to do with is both and idiot and an ass.

    • Jon Sorensen says:

      Exactly. I mean, why did they buy tickets to the game? To see Ovi. And you bet a good number of them are secretly hoping he scores the goal to pass Jagr, so they can say they were there.

  3. novafyre says:

    Jon, some of those buying tickets won’t be there to support the Oilers but also won’t be there to watch Ovi make history (hopefully). No, they will be there to make a political statement. Instead, they could donate that money to one of the charities helping Ukraine but that wouldn’t make them feel as good about themselves. Sad. They would rather be negative than positive. Of course, Canadians as a whole have never been in Ovi’s camp. Too much Canadian-Russian rivalry hockey. (See Don Cherry as an example (btw, did you know he was once a Hershey Bear?))

    At least for one game Tom Wilson won’t be the most hated Cap on the ice.

    • Jon Sorensen says:

      Unfortunately you are probably right, Fyre. There will always be those that decide to take the negative route.

      • novafyre says:

        While I will have TNT’s video on, I will probably listen to CapsRadio24/7 instead of TNT’s announcers as I expect that TNT might focus more on the politics than the game.

        Just as ESPN was all MSG and “when is Wilson going to fight?” when the Caps last played the Rangers.

  4. Anonymous says:

    We also should consider that Ovi’s wife, kids and parents are currently IN Russia.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Many of those upset with Ovi already had a problem with him (xenophobics, don’t want to see a Russian take their revered Canadian record (Gretzky, etc.)

  6. Nick A Bontrager says:

    Edmonton is doing it too. It’s pretty disgusting. Ovechkin has been nothing but a beacon of light in the NHL and anyone who says any different is either delusional or unaware of the nuances of being a Russian citizen. I’m disappointed in us as North American nations.

    • Anonymous says:

      Ridiculous. This is the same team and fan base that welcomed Evander Kane with open arms. Hypocrites.

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