In a new Players’ Tribune article, Brooks Orpik described the differences between playing with Sidney Crosby and Alex Ovechkin.
Orpik made it very clear that what sets Ovechkin apart is his eating habits.
There’s a conventional way to do things, but [Ovechkin’s] never really subscribed to it. Contrary to Sid, I think the best word to actually describe Ovi is reckless — on and off the ice. I know all the old-school hockey guys will be saying, “Reckless? What do you mean reckless?” But I honestly mean it in the best way possible. He plays the game with this level of freedom and imagination that allows him to try things other people won’t — and pull them off just about every night. Of course, it’s plain to see how his talent-level has elevated this organization for so many years, but it’s his general joy in playing the game that makes him an incredible teammate.
But also, seriously: The guy’s diet is borderline inspiring.
We have a chef here who prepares our pregame meals. Ovi always orders the same thing — Mamma Lucia, which is this pasta dish that’s like chicken parm with noodles, bread, cheese, the kind of thing you want to take a five-hour nap after eating. He makes a big display of it too. There’s no shame. It’ll be eleven in the morning, way before anyone is really thinking about eating lunch, and Ovi will walk into the dining area yelling, “Mamma Lucia! Mamma Lucia!” I don’t know. It’s weird, but it seems normal now.
Then, a few hours later, he’s outskating everyone on the ice, knocking guys on their asses and sniping pucks wherever he wants.
It wouldn’t work for some guys, but it works for him. Over the years, I’m sure people have tried to make him change, but when you’ve been as great as he has for as long as he has, why would you want to change?
Ovechkin’s heavy pregame meal was previously reported by ESPN’s Emily Kaplan in October.
“It’s a tradition from day one,” Alex Ovechkin said to Kaplan. “They have the Italian food always when we came to the rink, and it’s very delicious.”
But the meal definitely isn’t for everyone.
“[Mamma Lucia’s] is probably where everyone used to eat,” Kevin Shattenkirk said. “Ovi, being one of those original guys, still gets it delivered in. I dabbled in it one day, but it’s a little too heavy for me.”
According to Kaplan, over a third of the roster would be in on the Mamma Luccia order when Ovechkin first entered the league in 2005, but now only fellow Russians Evgeny Kuznetsov and Dmitry Orlov participate.
“Hockey changes, everyone changes. Now everybody eats the healthy food,” Kuznetsov said. “But with this, [Ovechkin] keeps it the same.”
Per Niskanen, as well as "My man," Ovechkin has grown partial to singing "Nationwide is on your side" & "Chicken parm you taste so good."
— Alex Prewitt (@alex_prewitt) April 14, 2015
Note: This is a reminder that Players Tribune articles are ghost written and earlier during the season, Patrik Laine disputed the accuracy of some points in his own article.
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