Alex Ovechkin was interviewed before the Capitals-Penguins Wednesday night rivalry game on TNT and it was magic. El-Bashir, who covers the Capitals on the beat for The Athletic, also has a side gig as an analyst and reporter for TNT and has covered Ovechkin since the beginning of his career.
On El-Bashir’s final question of the interview, he surprised Ovechkin with an inquiry he received from Sidney Crosby.
Crosby asked Ovi who would be their linemate if they played together 😂
Who would you wanna see between Sid and the Great 8? pic.twitter.com/kPHhELWTfC
— NHLonTNT (@NHL_On_TNT) November 10, 2022
This is how the conversation went.
Tarik El-Bashir: I got a question from Sidney Crosby himself. So this is Crosby talking: ‘Everyone always asks us about playing each other, but what if we were line mates? Who are you taking as a third player?’
Alex Ovechkin: Are you sure he say that?
Tarik El-Bashir: Yes, I am sure.
Alex Ovechkin: Okay. He probably wants Mario Lemieux. He probably. If we play together, I probably take Brash, Brashear.
Tarik El-Bashir: Why would you take Donald Brashear?
Alex Ovechkin: Well, we need some protections, you know. We need some freedom out there. So if somebody going to touch us, you know, it’s not going to be fun.
Brashear, one of the most feared fighters in the NHL during the early 2000s, spent three seasons in Washington from 2007 to 2009, racking up an astonishing 36 fights and 396 penalty minutes.
General manager George McPhee signed Brashear away from the Philadelphia Flyers after Alex Ovechkin’s rookie season in 2005-06. McPhee thought other players were taking liberties with Ovechkin.
“We’re not running a Sunday school,” McPhee said in July 2006. “There were some times [last season] when some defensemen on other teams went after Alex a little bit. And there were a lot of times when Alex ran over other teams’ defensemen.”
The funny part is, Ovechkin never seemed to think he actually needed Brashear’s protection. Former Capitals assistant and now Minnesota Wild head coach, Dean Evason, shared this story last season with reporters.
“There were some days when we had Donald Brashear here and guys were taking runs at him, like crazy runs at him,” Evason said of Ovechkin. “He’s the best player and Brash would go, ‘Ovi, you want me to look after you.’ And he says, ‘No, no. I’ve got it.’”
Evason continued, “And he would just go out and be more physical than the people that were trying to be physical on him.”
So perhaps Ovi thinks Sidney needs Brashear’s protection? Or maybe Ovi just really admired how fiery Donald was. Whatever the reason, the Capitals captain made a great pick. He’s had a lot of teammates over his career, but Brashear is definitely one of the most memorable and beloved.
RMNB is not associated with the Washington Capitals; Monumental Sports, the NHL, or its properties. Not even a little bit.
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