Game Five of the Stanley Cup Final had an unusual Caps shoutout Thursday night. Three rows from the glass, a Caps fan, wearing red pants and a blue blazer, held his own personal protest at PPG Paints Arena. Dressed in a white t-shirt with the message FIRE OVECHKIN, the fan proudly displayed a sign that read CAPS FAN TURNS PENS FAN. During the Pens 6-0 win, the fan stood up and held the sign up towards the glass, garnering attention on NBC’s national telecast.
According to Suds C., who is the commissioner of the Rockville DCHL co-ed hockey league, the fan’s name is Todd Elling and he’s a 37-year-old personal injury attorney in Gaithersburg. In his free time, he’s also a scoring winger in the highest level of the DCHL’s ball hockey league.
Video: Corey Denson
“He is a very nice and quiet guy,” Suds said. “My first thought was that he really will not go through with it to the level that he did. I thought it was a ploy just to get attention. But then I realized he was being serious.”
Elling was spotted by Puck Daddy’s Greg Wyshynski on the concourse during the game and explained why he flipped his allegiance to the Capitals’ biggest rival.
“Look, it’s not that Ovechkin is a bad player. He’s a great player. The problem is that he’s not a leader. And because he’s not a leader, you have the Washington Capitals doing everything they can to buy a Stanley Cup for the last decade plus, and it’s not happening. It’s not happening because Ovechkin can’t lead the team. Just don’t put the ‘C’ on him.”
Is this an Ovechkin specific protest?
“It’s an Ovechkin protest and it’s a Capitals protest, until they trade Ovechkin,” he said of Ovechkin, who suffered a leg injury in the previous round of the playoffs and was demoted to the third line by coach Barry Tortz against Pittsburgh. “We’re gonna blame an injury? Is that what we’re doing? And if we’re gonna blame an injury, coach Trotz … why would you have him out there if he’s so injured.”
Elling tells RMNB he paid $2,200 for the ticket and was bombarded with requests during the game to take photos with Penguins fans.
“I did it because I feel that Caps management is so blindly in love with a great, but flawed player,” Elling said. “The team is wasting their cup window. I do not want to give up on the team, but if they do not trade Ovi or at least strip him of the captaincy, they will never get over the hump.”
Ovechkin, who is the greatest player in franchise history and arguably the greatest goal scorer of his era, has four years remaining on a 13-year, $124 million contract he signed in 2008. Recently, GM Brian MacLellan shot down rumors that the team wasconsidering a change on who wears the C.
“He’s our captain,” MacLellan said. “He’s been a big part of this franchise over the past number of years. It’s nothing we’ve talked about recently.”
But until that changes, the Capitals will have one less longtime fan.
Photos: Todd Elling
Listen, guy. We have to talk. pic.twitter.com/Xg5DppepbG
— Pam Chvotkin (@reddusfoximus) June 9, 2017
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