On January 5, 2010, Alex Ovechkin walked out of the Verizon Center tunnel with a new piece of fabric on his jersey. After the Capitals traded Chris Clark in late December, Bruce Boudreau named Ovechkin captain before Washington’s game against the Montreal Canadiens.
Since then, Ovechkin has experienced many ups and downs. And has had to deal with a lot of criticism. But in June 2018, Ovechkin silenced all his haters when he led the Capitals to their first Stanley Cup. He became the first Russian to ever captain a team to the promised land.
Sunday, the Capitals will face the San Jose Sharks at Capital One Arena. It will mark Ovechkin’s 10th anniversary as captain.
And for all the doubters out there, Ovi has only one thing to say: “Suck it. We did it.”
— Washington ☃️ Capitals (@Capitals) January 4, 2020
Do you remember the day you were named captain? You came out with the C on your chest against Montreal.
Alex Ovechkin: “Bruce and George called me up because I think Clarkie get traded and said ‘We don’t have a captain.’ And Bruce said, ‘You gonna be our next captain.’ He tell it in front of whole team and the whole team was pretty excited, pretty happy. It was lots of smiles and claps and lots of congrats. It was a pretty big moment for me and the organization and for the rest of us.”
How have you evolved as a captain?
Alex Ovechkin: “I think the first couple years were hard because obviously my English was not that good. Sometimes I try to say something or explain something, the guys tried to help me out. But I have lots of experienced guys in the locker room that help me out. I watch how they talk and how they react to certain things. It was helpful.”
There were a lot of veteran guys here. Now you and Nicklas Backstrom are the elder statesmen.
Alex Ovechkin: “I think me and Becky been together since Day 1 he become a Caps. When I became a captain, I think he get an A right away on his chest. Me and him together been such a hard times and good times also. I think all the pressure came through captaincy. How’s it in the locker room? How you show your character on the ice? It’s tough, but I gets lot of help from my team and the organization as well.”
Was winning the Cup your best moment as a captain? You became the first Russian captain to win it.
Alex Ovechkin: “Yeah. There was lots of people say, ‘This organization, this guy never gonna win.’ So I say, ‘suck it. We did it.’ I was the first captain to win it and raise it.
“I think we improve a lot with this group of guys. It’s been since Day 1 – Carly, Holts – we have lots of situations that were hard situations because you never know what’s going to happen, right? But we stick together and that’s the most important thing. When we won the Cup, it’s a relief from our shoulders and the organization as well.”
When he retires in 2029, this should be the T-Shirt. #SuckItWeDidIt
— Dominic Seibert (@DomJSII) January 4, 2020
Headline photo via @DomJSII
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