Ovie

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader became a hockey fan early. As he’s surely noted here before, he became a hockey fan long before he became a baseball or football fan. He became a fan because he could go to games when he was young. The Capitals were so bad that he had easy access to cheap tickets. He bonded with the franchise. He’s been a Caps fan ever since.

This is not to say that he’s always been a hockey fan. Over the years the sport appears to have done just about everything it could to implode. He would watch finals games on tv. If there was nothing else on - he’d watch the Caps.

That started to change the year before last. Then last year you Maximum Leader got pumped up again about the team.

This year he bought a partial season ticket plan.

He is on the bandwagon.

One of the key reasons for his change of heart is Alexander Ovechkin. If you haven’t seen Ovie play, you have missed the most entertaining and exciting player that the NHL has to offer. Your Maximum Leader hasn’t seen a player stir up this much excitement since Wayne Gretzky used to come to town (with Edmonton).

You should take a moment to read the good piece on Ovie that ESPN has put up. Alexander Ovechkin: The Puck stops here. A taste:

Ovechkin’s transformation of Washington has been remarkable because DC puckheads are not accustomed to voting with their wallets. “Let’s be honest,” says Caps legend Peter Bondra. “Washington is not Hockeytown.” No wonder: When it first joined the league in 1974-75, it finished 8—67—5 with a 1—39 road record. Rod Langway, one of only four Caps Hall of Famers, arrived in 1982 from Montreal, where, he says, “18,000 people knew my entire life.” In DC, he adds, “it took two years for people to know me.”

Now, a Russian has turned the Verizon Center into a hockey mecca. During the playoffs, media from as far away as Edmonton and Europe were regulars at morning skates. Ovechkin has even reached across the sports aisle to appeal to the bases of other teams. “Alex has the confidence of the fans and the city,” says Hoyas hoops coach John Thompson III. “He has enthusiasm and cares about what he’s doing. He’s gonna make us win games.” Note the use of the word us. The Caps have Capitalized on Ovechkin’s dedication to a Washington rarity: trust.

Your Maximum Leader is excited. He is excited about the Caps in a way he hasn’t been since the trip to the Cup finals a decade ago. (In fact, he is more excited now because in the cup run you got the feeling that the Wings couldnt’ be stopped. And in fact they could not be stopped.)

If you didn’t see the Caps come back from a 0-3 deficit to win against the Penguins last night, you missed some great hockey. He hopes to see a lot more great hockey this season.

Carry on.

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