The 2019 NHL entry draft is Friday night in Vancouver. Before we look ahead to the Capitals’ 25th overall pick and the future of the franchise, let’s look back the 2004 draft and their first-overall pick: Alex Ovechkin.
We’ve covered this draft before, but here are some new (old) pieces of information that deserve another look. The year was 2004, the TV footage was grainy, and Raleigh, NC was about to echo with the sounds of “Let’s go Caps.”
Don’t look now, but there’s someone behind you…
The Ovechkin/Crosby rivalry has been overplayed in a lot of ways, but this is just straight-up creepy. Crosby was attending the draft as part of a “Becoming Sidney Crosby” documentary for NHL Network, and was on the draft floor when McPhee called Ovechkin’s name.
Watching. Waiting. Awkwardly putting his hands in and out of his pockets. A WORTHY RIVAL INDEED.
Ted Leonsis and Alex Ovechkin have been close since before the draft, and Leonsis did his best to make the transition smooth for his foreign-born future star.
In 2004, Stephen Cannella in Sports Illustrated wrote that “As he roamed the RBC Center in Raleigh last Saturday, Capitals owner Ted Leonsis carried a handwritten note reminding him that the Russian phrase for ‘welcome’ is dobro pozhalovat.”
Caps Road Crew fans made their way to Raleigh, North Carolina to see the Capitals call the first overall pick and started chanting “Ovechkin” before McPhee even made it to the stage.
After McPhee made his announcement, Caps fans burst out cheering, and the now-familiar sound of The Horn Guy’s horn echoed through the RBC Center.
(Four-and-a-half years later The Horn Guy followed RMNB on Twitter and there was much rejoicing.)
Not even baby Ovi was safe from Don Cherry. (Make sure to turn the sound on, boys and girls and babes!)
Yeah, so he just hadn’t had much cantaloupe before and turns out he really likes them.
“The event was at 6 o’clock. Alex got there at like five of six, and all these fans are coming,” Leonsis recalled. “Alex was like the maître d’ or something. ‘Who is this guy?’ He’s like shaking everybody’s hand, ‘Thank you,’ and welcoming them and then I remember there were plates of fresh fruit and he was picking on some and he started eating cantaloupe.”
Apparently, they didn’t have a lot of cantaloupe in Russia.
“I think he ate three cantaloupe,” Leonsis said. “There was just something charming, graceful, serious and special. Literally everyone that was introduced to him that day left with, ‘That was different.’ There’s just something different here.”
Hope you all enjoyed the cantaloupe and this look back into Caps’ history!
Headline photo: NHL Network
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