John Carlson was recently a guest on Scott Van Pelt’s podcast and he told one heck of a story about Alex Ovechkin.
During a past road trip, Carlson brought the team over to one of his relative’s houses for a team dinner. Ovechkin and his, uh, juvenile palate appears to have offended Carlson’s aunt.
“My mom, my big Italian family, dinners for 20, 30, 40 people were pretty commonplace in my upbringing,” Carlson said. “Originally when they asked, ‘Oh, do you want to bring the team over?’ I said, ‘I’ll see what everyone else is doing. That would be a fun thing to have over at my aunt’s house’
“It was close to where we all were staying,” Carlson continued. “At the time, we all walked in, have some wine, have some good food. The pasta portion had just come out, and Ovi walked over to my aunt and was like, ‘Hey, excuse me, do you guys have any ketchup?’ And I can still picture my aunt’s face, the look that she gave him of just complete disarray. She didn’t even know what to say back to him.”
Carlson said his aunt responded something along the lines of, “‘Uh, we didn’t make french fries. What do you need ketchup for?’
“Obviously she was way more polite than that, but I’m sure that’s what was going through her head,” he concluded.
The Russian Capitals, and their weird affinity for Italian food, continues to be the stuff of legend. During the Capitals’ Stanley Cup run in 2018, Brooks Orpik contributed a Players’ Tribune article where he spoke about Ovechkin’s “borderline inspiring” diet.
“We have a chef here who prepares our pregame meals,” Orpik said. “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,” Orpik continued. “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?”
Fellow Russians, Evgeny Kuznetsov and Dmitry Orlov, have long been participants in the Mamma Lucia orders. Kuzy even has his own weird usage for ketchup on his Italian food.
In an interview with Sophia Jurksztowicz, Kuznetsov said his favorite food is spaghetti, steak, parmesan, ketchup, and mayo–all stirred together.
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