Photo: Patrick McDermott
Alex Ovechkin’s 500th goal on Sunday was arguably one of the bigger moments in Washington sports history. And there were so many tiny, wonderful moments contained inside that one, we’re still sorting through them all.
Such as we learned that there is apparently no end to Braden Holtby‘s other-worldly talents. Not only is he currently 19-0-2 in his past 22 games, but he’s also an accomplished jumper. As Ovechkin scored, Holtby managed to jump (in all of his equipment) higher than the entire home bench, before racing onto the ice to celebrate the milestone goal with their captain.
Yeah, let’s enhance.
Just a little bit more.
GIFs by Hana Imiolczyk
Luongo can’t jump that high. That’s Vezina height.
Meanwhile, there was a somewhat calmer atmosphere in the stands, where despite preferring to watch games alone, Tatyana Ovechkina shared a sweet moment with Caps owner Ted Leonsis. Leonsis rested his head on Ovechkina’s shoulder as she wiped away tears from her eyes.
Leonsis wrote about the moment and his general affection for Ovechkin in a heartfelt blog post Monday.
I’m not only happy for Alex but also for his parents. Family is important to Alex and coming from Russia to Washington as 20 year old couldn’t have been easy. While he was pursuing his goal to play in the NHL, it was a different language, city and culture. We were a team that was rebuilding, and that first building block was Alex. He has been in the spotlight ever since. We have watched him mature, and much of the credit goes to the support he receives from his family.
After Alex scored, I visited Mrs. Ovechkin in the stands, tears in her eyes. Mr. Ovechkin was nearby, capturing the moment on his cell phone. I know they were extremely moved and proud, as was I. I think our fans – those who attended last night and others watching and cheering at home – felt a sense of pride too. We have been on this incredible journey with Alex, and he has embraced us along the way, allowing us to be a part of his history.
great moment. pic.twitter.com/YDbFJNNwYf
— Danny (@recordsANDradio) January 11, 2016
— Ted Leonsis (@TedLeonsis) January 11, 2016
Sunday night, Sports Illustrated’s Alex Prewitt wrote that the Capitals requested special permission from the NHL to have the entire team go onto the ice to celebrate Ovechkin’s 500th goal.
A few hours before his captain made history, head coach Barry Trotz ordered a covert operation inside the Washington Capitals’ dressing room. “Spread the word,” he told several veterans, adding that the mission must stay discreet. It began the previous night once the team flight landed at Dulles International Airport, when general manager Brian MacLellan called the NHL and requested special approval for a special occasion. In the event that Alex Ovechkin scored his 500th goal Sunday night at Verizon Center, MacLellan wondered, could the Capitals empty their bench in celebration without penalty? Permission was quickly granted. Word spread down the line–to coaches, teammates, even the officials. Soon, everyone except Ovechkin knew the plan.
But while that moment with his teammates was powerful and sweet, Ovechkin did not have an opportunity to do a special celebration he planned.
“I was surprised when they jumped on the ice,” Ovechkin said to CSN Washington’s Jill Sorenson. “I knew I [was] gonna do some crazy things, but I don’t have the time to do that. I just wanted to do my celebration. But as soon as I put my head up, I was like, ‘Holy sh*t.'”
Did we miss out on another hot stick-esque celebration? Now we’ll never know.
But I’m okay with that. What a perfect night.
Addtional reporting by Hana Imiolczyk.
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