As the Caps and the various media types trickled out of Verizon Center after Thursday’s practice, it was impossible not to notice the irrepressible Alex Ovechkin. On the eve of playing in his 100th NHL game, Ovechkin was rattily attired in black track pants with side stripes as wide as F Street, fire engine red sneakers, fire engine red t-shirt. And a blue necktie, which, as we all know, is quite a good look when paired with a t-shirt.
So Ovie, what’s up with that?
“It’s Russian style,” was the reply.
Not exactly. But I’ll tell you what is Russian style.
Nate Ewell, the Caps’ crack director of media relations, was talking to Ovie after practice this morning. Nate was running down the lengthy list of media “obligations” for Ovie for the upcoming week. “So and so wants to talk to you Friday, and these guys are sending out a crew on Saturday. You’ve got a 4:30 call on Monday with this radio station and an interview with this guy from this city after practice on Tuesday.” There are often multiple demands/requests for the 21-year-old winger’s time every day. So it’s not an insignificant list.
Ovie soaks it all in. Then he says, “I have question for you.” Now it’s Nate who is doing the listening. “Can I meet the Crazy 8s? I want to meet them and shake their hands.”
Ovechkin created “Alex Ovechkin’s Crazy 8s” just prior to the season. It’s a program where he donates eight season tickets to every game to Most Valuable Kids. MVK in turn distributes the ducats to underserved children and area soldiers.
It’s a nice enough gesture to want to share tickets and the Capitals/hockey experience with those less fortunate. But the guy “gets it” so well that he actually wants to go one better, and have the ticket recipients come downstairs to meet him after the game.
That’s Russian Style.