Five Ring Circus
It was a big day today for a handful of Capitals. A short team meeting followed this morning’s practice, and then vice-president and general manager George McPhee presented five members of the Capitals – forwards Kris Beech, Boyd Gordon, Jakub Klepis and Brooks Laich and defenseman Mike Green – with their Hershey Bears AHL Calder Cup championship rings. (Tomas Fleischmann received his earlier this season when he was with the Bears.)
A polite round of applause accompanied the presentation, and many of the rest of the players crowded around to have a look at the shiny and sparkly new hardware. The dressing room presentation would to serve as a substitute for being in attendance at the Giant Center on Oct. 21 when the rest of the Bears picked up their rings at Hershey’s season opener. The Caps had a game of their own at Verizon Center against Tampa Bay that night.
“I was hoping that our schedules weren’t conflicting so we could go there,” said Laich. “I would have loved to be there to see the banner go up, and see the guys, the coaches and the fans. It would have been awesome to be part of that. To get the ring and see the ring and put it on – I’ve never won a championship before. It’s the first time I’ve ever won one. It’s a great reminder of what we went through together in Hershey for two months. It’s definitely something I’ll keep for the rest of my life.”
Keep it, sure. Wear it?
“I don’t know what I’ll do with it now,” Laich admitted. “It’s pretty big and it’s a little flashy for me. It’s not something I think I’ll wear too often. It’s a keepsake; a memento. In the summer I’ll take it back home and leave it at my parents’ house. I think it will be more for display than an accessory for wearing. It’s a good reminder and I really like it. It’s the first time I’ve seen one. It’s a good feeling; it’s pretty exciting actually.
“Beautiful,” said Caps captain Chris Clark after laying eyes on the Bears’ rings. “They’re really nice.”
Clark earned his own Calder Cup championship ring with the Saint John Flames back in 2001. Where’s your ring, Chris?
“I was just talking to the guys about that,” he said. “I don’t know.”
“I lost it. Hopefully it’s somewhere. In between storage during the lockout and the move from Calgary to here, it’s in with a watch of mine. I don’t know exactly where they are; I’ve been looking for it for the last two months.”
Did you wear it much?
“I never wear it. I’m not a big jewelry guy. A Stanley Cup ring I might wear to special occasions, but it would be front and center on my desk.”
“I’m not a big bling-bling type of guy.”
No need to apologize for that.
If anyone out there still doubts that the achievement itself means infinitely more to the players than does the hardware, I’ll leave you with this. More than one of the five players left the building without bringing their newly acquired rings with them. One by one, they departed and then sheepishly returned to take the ring boxes from their locker stalls and cart them home. This was less than an hour after they had received them in the first place.
Clark might want to check his old stall in Calgary.