Your Stories from Caps Convention

Alex Ovechkin laughing at Caps Convention

Photo by our very own Kyle Mace.

Saturday’s Caps Convention featured appearances from all sorts of celebrities in the Caps universe. Neil Greenberg’s photos testify to that. But there’s all kinds of gritty, street-level stories that the plutocratic inner circle of RMNB could not see from our rarefied heights. That’s why we asked you, the huddled masses, to share your experiences. Thanks for your participation, everyone. Your fictional check is in the fake mail.

Follow us past the jump to get the scoop on:  D.J. King’s prize fighting techniques, Caps vs. kids, Semin vs. Ovie in a giant vat of pudding (Yeah, I dunno either), Mike Green’s chivalry, Alzner’s short shorts, Rachel Cohen’s superb Ovie poster, Neuvi bored, and a heckuva lot more.

Kids Presser: “What do you like most about Bradley?” Video, submitted by Meredith J.

marcus-and-perry-floor-hockey2
Marcus Johansson and Mathieu Perreault play with kids, submitted by @itallfallsdwn


Report and video by @itallfallsdwn

CapsCon featured much of the usual: panels, autograph signings, merchandise sales, 12-year old girls asking for Brooks Laich’s phone number, screaming girls chasing Ovechkin while Nate Ewell played his harried bodyguard. One of the more, say, endearing things we came across was Marcus Johansson and Mathieu Perreault playing “street” hockey with a bunch of kids for well over a half an hour. (One might say it would have been difficult to tell Perreault from the actual kids playing, but it was pretty easy, as he clearly had more hair than them.) One of the things that stuck out to me, at least, was how even when playing with kids half their age (well, mostly), the two centers retained their on-ice habits. Perreault was running around, heckling the kids to shoot, high-fiving when his team scored a goal, harassing the goalies, flirting with the (adult) females … Johansson, on the other hand, maintained the calm demeanor that is apparently genetically coded into all Swedes, pitched in when necessary, and encouraged the kids. Some of the kids were actually fairly good; the goalie on the right side stonewalled Matty and his team a few times, which apparently led to Matty booing in his face. I particularly enjoyed the kid who relentlessly stick-tapped if he didn’t have the puck, which likely reminded Matty of his long-lost French Canadian soulmate, Francois Bouchard. Both Matty and Marcus seemed to genuinely enjoy themselves — as Matty’s goal celebrations can attest to — and hopefully the kids did as well. Thanks to those two for spending so much time playing hockey with the kids, and for being classy guys.


D.J. King and the art of single combat, video submitted by Meredith J.

Report by Bridget, @ikeastan

Caps Con, the crowning jewel of Hocktoberfest, arrived on the perfect weekend this year: fresh off five straight preseason wins, the players and the fans were all in great spirits. For me, apart from getting to meet some of my favorite Caps, the panels were definitely among the highlights of the day. Some things were to be expected–approximately five hundred jokes at Sidney Crosby’s expense, and Ovi taking the lord’s name in vain within the first five minutes of the Kids’ Press Conference–but others came as welcome surprises.

For example, Eric Fehr’s favorite animal is the giraffe, because it reminds him of Jeff Schultz. Also, if Ovi could fight anyone in the league, it would be Semin. I hope I’m not alone in thinking that this needs to happen now, on videotape, in a giant vat of pudding [Ed. note- If this happens, RMNB wants the exclusive].

In the Standing Up for Your Team panel, D.J. King’s encyclopedic knowledge of NHL opponents’ fighting styles was truly impressive. Coming to America was probably my favorite, though, with Fleischmann and Varlamov’s hilarious personalities really shining through while Backstrom flirted with ladies of all ages, and Arturs Irbe gave extremely thoughtful, articulate responses to questions about everything from international hockey to where to find good Latvian food in D.C. (answer: knock on a Latvian’s door around dinnertime). Plus, Arturs revealed that he used to be addicted to Spongebob, which in itself was worth the price of admission.

The vendors and giveaways were also neat, particularly since I managed to score a life-sized Ovi poster which, posted appropriately in front of a window, will surely scare away any intruders. All in all, it was a great day to be a Caps fan and one that made anticipation for the coming season all the sweeter.


Report and photos by Elyssa K.

Elyssa with Mike Green

I was seriously giddy and nervous all day. I hardly ate anything, and I had to drink a Sprite a few hours before photo time to settle my stomach. After getting signatures from Brads and Johansson, I went to check in with my friends Dave and Stacey.  A woman came up to us and asked if we’d like her wristbands. We gladly took them, and I went to get Chim and B. Gordon’s signature with Stacey while Dave went off to get one from Greener. Stacey and I whipped through our line and went to go see Dave get his jersey signed. Of course, when he went up, he told Green that his girlfriend in the white knit hat (me!) was about to get her picture with him and asked if we would he wave or something to freak me out. Embarrassed, I tried to hide, but Stacey pointed right above my head. Green gave a little wave from the table.  So now I was even MORE nervous standing in line for my photo, but when I stepped up onto the platform Green smiled and said, “Nice to meet you,” and shook my hand. The picture turned out perfect.  Right before I left, Green said, “I was supposed to wave at you,” and I had my official geek out moment. I quickly said something intelligent like, “You did! I saw it!” and rushed off the platform. Totally perfect day :oD

Dave with Olie

Dave very rarely splurges to spend money on himself, so when I saw that Kolzig was going to be at the convention, I was determined to buy him a photo ticket whether he liked it or not-and I did ;o) Olie is one of his favorite goaltenders and an icon, so I may have been more excited than he was, but I wanted Dave to have a special moment at the Convention, too, since Stacey and I were getting our photos taken with our loverboys. This is one of the few pictures I’ve ever seen Dave smile in and I seriously think it was just the magic of Olie the Goalie. Seeing my goaltender up there next to one of DC’s greats was something I’ll definitely never forget, especially since Olie was nice enough to sign Dave’s jersey as well!

Brooks Laich with Stacey

After getting Elyssa through her photo with Green, it was my turn to start really getting excited. Brooks had eluded me so far that day, but he was signing autographs right before the photos, so I stood and watched him at the table until he walked right past me in line. Elyssa stood off to the side taking pictures on my camera as I moved forward in line and as I walked up Brooks gave a little grin and said, “Hey, I know that hat. It looks nice.” Just like Elyssa with Green, I was a bit starstruck, but managed a “Yea, thanks!” as I walked off stage. I swear I could die a happy woman after that 30-second moment with him!


Photos from long-time reader and supporter @Dukefn

ted-leonsis-caps-convention

Majority owner, Ted Leonsis, addresses the crowd at the start of Caps Convention.

andrew-gordon-karl-alzner

Andrew Gordon and Karl Alzner’s short-shorts playing hockey.

gordo-scores-on-6-year-old

Andrew Gordon demonstrates excessive celebration after scoring on a 6-year old. Also, Alzner’s shorts.

Sasha Speaking Fluent English on the Phone

Eavesdropping on Alex Semin’s phone call, featuring fluent English that gets quieter the nearer you get.

nick-backstrom-stalking

Stalking Nick Backstrom like it’s my job!  Which it’s not. But security staff does carry photos of me around.

ovi-is-all-smiles

Ovi is all smiles. Until he finds you digging through his garbage can at 5 am in the morning.

ovi-perry-signing

Ovi signs autographs, while Perry doodles Led Zeppelin logos on his Trapper Keeper.

ovi-perreault-signing


Report by Rachel Cohen (now an RMNB staffer!)

The
 day
 could 
be 
described 
as 
“exhausting,” 
“amazing,” 
and 
perhaps 
even 
“holy
-crap-I- can’t-
believe-
this-
is-
happening-
to-
me.” 
I 
arrived
 at 
the 
Washington 
Convention
 Center 
Saturday
 morning 
with 
my 
family, 
having 
no 
idea 
what 
the 
day 
had
 in 
store.
 As 
soon
 as 
I 
walked 
through 
the 
convention 
entrance, 
lights 
flashing 
and 
Guns N’ Roses’s “Welcome
 to 
the 
Jungle” 
blasting, 
my 
face 
lit 
up,
 and 
that
 smile
 never 
left 
my 
face.

After 
hearing 
Ted 
Leonsis 
welcome
 the
 crowd, 
the 
majority 
of 
the 
morning
 was
 spent 
just 
walking 
around, 
exploring
 the 
convention 
floor. 
There 
were 
all 
sorts of 
different 
displays
 set 
up. 
One
 of
 the 
largest 
was 
on 
the 
Original 
Six 
teams
 of 
the
 NHL:
  
ranging
 from
 modern‐day 
equipment 
to
 goalie 
pads
 that 
looked
 twice 
as 
old 
as 
I 
am!
 Another 
display 
was 
a 
locker‐room
 setup 
featuring 
the 
equipment
 of 
several 
Caps 
superstars, 
and
 the
 organ
 that plays
 during 
games.
 There 
was 
also 
a 
place
 where
 you
 could 
take 
your 
photo 
on 
a
 Zamboni and 
play 
games
 like 
a 
slap‐shot 
challenge 
and
 street 
hockey.

After the Winter Classic uniform unveiling, I 
had 
to 
leave 
the 
main
 stage
 area 
very 
quickly
 since 
I 
had
 a
 ticket 
to 
take 
a photo 
with 
Semyon
 Varlamov! 
Meeting
 Varly 
face‐to‐face 
was 
so 
cool.
 We
 shook
 hands, 
exchanged
 hellos, 
and 
after
 the
 photo, 
told 
each 
other 
to 
have 
a 
great 
day.
 His 
English 
has 
gotten 
quite 
good,
 he’s
 learning 
very 
fast. 
I
 was
 also 
taking 
a 
photo 
with 
Olie 
Kolzig 
later, 
so 
to 
pass 
the
 time, 
I 
went 
over 
to 
the 
street
hockey 
area 
to 
watch 
the 
kids 
play. 
Shortly
 after
 I
 got
 there, 
I
 heard 
a 
very 
familiar 
voice 
ask 
us
 something 
(I 
can’t 
remember 
what).
 Standing
 right 
behind 
me 
was 
Coach 
Bruce 
Boudreau!!! 

It 
was 
such 
an 
unexpected
 and
awesome
 surprise. 
We
 talked 
for 
a 
couple 
minutes,
 shook 
hands, 
and 
snapped 
a
 quick 
photo 
before 
I 
had
 to 
go 
get 
in 
line 
to 
meet 
with 
Olie 
Kolzig.

Seeing
 Olie
 in 
a 
Caps
 jersey
 again 
was 
one
 of 
the
 best 
things
 I
 saw 
all 
day.
 Godzilla
 was 
the 
player 
that 
got 
me 
into 
watching 
the 
Caps 
and 
hockey 
when 
I 
was
 younger.
 When 
he 
left 
to 
Tampa,
 I
 was
 devastated. 
Seeing 
him
 in 
Caps 
colours, 
back
 here 
in 
DC,
 and 
talking 
about 
how 
he 
will 
always 
consider 
himself 
a 
Capital 
for 
life
 brought
 joy 
to 
my
 heart.

The 
autograph
 session 
I 
had
 been 
designated
 for was 
soon
 after. 
They 
don’t
 announce 
what
 players 
are 
signing 
where 
until 
20 
minutes 
before 
the
 session
 starts;
 it’s 
a 
mystery
 until
 then.
 When
 they 
put
 the 
names
 up
on 
the
board, 
it 
took 
two
 letters 
to 
realize 
who 
was 
going
 to 
be
 at 
my 
session. 
Those 
letters: 
O‐V. 
My
 reaction:
 RUN,
 RUN 
TO 
THE 
LINE 
AS 
FAST 
AS 
POSSIBLE. 
So 
I 
did 
(though
 with 
the 
crowd’s pace, 
it
 was 
more 
like 
a 
power‐walk).

I’m 
an 
illustrator 
who 
loves 
to 
draw 
signs 
for 
Caps 
games, 
so
 the 
item
 I
 had
 for 
Ovi 
to
 sign 
was 
my
 sign
 for 
this 
year: 
a 
comic‐book 
style 
interpretation
 of 
Alex
 as 
“The
 Russian 
Machine.” 
I 
was 
nervous 
the 
whole 
time 
I 
stood
 in
 line.
 What
 would
 Ovi 
think 
of
 my
 drawing? 
Would 
he 
like
 it? 
Would
 he 
not 
care?
 Would 
he 
say
 anything?
 That 
hour 
felt 
like
 days.
 Finally,
 it 
was
 my
 turn 
to 
go 
meet 
The 
Great 
8. 
I
 carefully 
placed
 my
 sign 
on 
the 
table,
 saying 
hello 
and 
telling 
Ovi 
I 
drew 
that
 picture 
myself. 
His 
response?
 He 
gives 
me 
his 
signature with a 
wide 
grin 
and
 says,
“It’s 
very
 nice.”
 I
 left 
that 
autograph
 table 
ecstatic 
beyond
 imagination.

My
 day 
ended
 with
 the
 blogger’s
 panel,
 hosted
 by
 the 
guys 
who 
run
 Japer’s
 Rink,
 On
 Frozen 
Blog, 
and
 Off‐Wing
 Opinion.
 It 
was 
very 
interesting 
hearing 
them
 talk 
about 
how
 blogging 
has 
gotten 
so 
large,
 running
 a
 blog,
 and
 how 
hockey
 benefits 
from
 bloggers.
 I
 learned
 a
 lot 
from
 them, 
it 
was 
a 
great
 panel 
(plus
 the
 RMNB
 shout‐out 
from
 On 
Frozen 
Blog
 was 
quite 
awesome
, too).

Caps Con 
2010
 is 
a 
day
 I
 won’t 
forget. 
Like I 
stated 
before, 
words 
can’t 
really
 describe 
everything
 I
 felt 
that
 day. 
But 
if 
I 
had 
to 
just 
choose 
two 
words,
 I’d 
take
 them
 right 
from
 the
 mouth 
of 
the 
Russian 
Machine 
himself:
 “Very 
Nice.”

Rachel Cohen and her Russian Machine sign

Alex Ovechkin signing Rachel Cohen's Russian Machine Sign

rachels-sign-sharpened

Photos by Dennis Kan


Report by Lindsey N.

lindsey-with-calder-cup

Lindsey: RMNB Spy

If there were to be one word that encompasses Caps Con, it would be magical. Simply magical. Where to start?

The Winter Classic throwback jersey is so much nicer than I assumed it to be. It looks pretty sick compared to the horrific powder blue they have in Pittsburgh.

The panel discussions were riveting and sometimes hilarious, and I so luckily scored front-and-center seats as to awkwardly catch eye contact with the players when they looked bored (namely Neuvirth, who resorted to peeling the label off his water bottle & checked out mentally after the first five minutes). The beloved Andrew Gordon also made mention of Ian Oland and RMNB after prompted by an audience member; although he said he may hold off on contributing to any more entries until playoffs citing something around the lines of, no one wants to hear about a Tuesday. Lies. We totally do. Neuvy, Alzner, and Gordo also discussed the high emotions post-win for the Calder Cup and Gabby had to call them out on how low-key they made it sound. Considering they were in Canada and all were of legal drinking age, it’s safe to assume that it was a party none of us can compare and none of them remember.

It wasn’t all just eye candy, I did get some fantastic tips and ideas on hockey pranks from Steckle (Green hardly contributed, it’s safe to say he isn’t one of the best pranksters) and Brett Leonhardt definitely wins best panel interviewer award- he’s actually funny. My autograph pass scored me a meet with Brads & Johansson (Mojo) although Bradley couldn’t have written anything more endearing than what is on Peter Hassett’s jersey. I did, however, make a joke about the somewhat unusual spelling of my name and said “thank you” in Swedish to Mojo. Again, my awkwardness probably got the best of me. It was simply overwhelming to be in a place I can only describe as hockey utopia.

It was seven straight hours of geeking out, but the best part probably had to be a completely unmonitored and very shiny Calder Cup just begging for love; if it didn’t weigh 30lbs I probably would have made a decent effort to jack it from the Convention center. I mean, it was just sitting there in all of its gorgeous Hershey glory.

The Caps Convention was like Christmas: if your family consisted of thousands of Capitals fanatics.


Report by Jen S.

I arrived at the convention entrance on the dot of 10:00 am (a little later than I’d intended because of the vagaries of the Metro) and went directly to the Ask the GM panel room to take a seat in one of the front rows. This panel consisted simply George McPhee answering questions from moderator Nate Ewell and various audience members. The GM was charming, warm, smiling, and — most surprisingly — candid. (He was rarely evasive, and only once did he refuse to answer a question outright, explaining that the league had advised team personnel not to discuss the topic.)

After that panel I had some time to see the main hall, which seemed mostly to consist of lines — people waiting for photos, for games, for food.… Moving to the convention center enabled the organizers to improve on last year’s event, but there were still some glitches — notably a lack of soundproofing between the two panel rooms, and a failure to separate and identify the queues that snaked throughout the main hall. I got away from the lines to watch the unveiling of the Winter Classic sweater, and then I spent a bit of time in the shop deciding which Winter-Classic-themed item I should buy.

The first part of my day seemed to consist of always being wherever Caps players weren’t — which was honestly OK with me. I did find them eventually, though. The highlight of the day for me was the Calder Cup Champions panel featuring RMNB favorite Andrew Gordon alongside Karl Alzner, Michal Neuvirth, and Bruce Boudreau. Though more willing to share his thoughts than in 2009, Neuvirth was still far quieter than any of the other guys at that table. There was a lot of entertaining back-and-forth between the players, when asked about some of the challenges of AHL travel, and the coach, who called them “soft” in comparison with his minor-league days. “You ride in a sleeper bus,” Boudreau said. “We had whisky, and cards, and that was it!”

I ended my day at the very fun Locker Room Stories panel, a.k.a. the “Make Fun of Matt Bradley While He’s Not Here to Defend Himself” session. I had honestly hoped that long-tenured trainer Greg Smith would be more talkative, but I still enjoyed hearing the stories from Mike Green and Dave Steckel — egged on by moderator Brett Leonhardt.

For the most part the convention ran smoothly, sessions were entertaining and informative (or at least one of the two), and everyone was in a good mood. My overall impression is not just how much I appreciate this team’s management and players, but also how much I appreciate my fellow fans. No matter where I found myself, the person next to me was happy to strike up a friendly conversation about our shared love for the Caps — or, really, anything at all. I knew that we’re the best fans in the league, but I didn’t necessarily expect to find proof in such a big and occasionally chaotic crowd.


If you made it down this far, good on you!  We’ll have even more tomorrow: a special story about how Olie Kolzig is a great guy.

  • Jessica

    *jealous*

  • http://twitter.com/lindseynotlohan Lindsey

    Photos & captions by @Dukefn are priceless. Thanks for the exhaustive editing, Pete.

  • http://make-lemons.com michelle

    an awesome read , especially for those that didn’t attend.

    does anyone know the question that GMGM refused to answer? (or the topic?)

  • Neil – RMNB

    Big props to our readers. What an amazing job you did.

  • http://www.japersrink.com J.P.

    Bravo, gents. Bravo.

  • DukeFn

    Lindsey, the captions weren’t mine…must give credit for humor where credit is due. A couple were rooted in the file naming conventions I used, but RMNB made for the funnies.

  • http://twitter.com/mcawful mcawful

    Also jealous.

    I’d have been arrested for twirling Backstrom’s hair, so it’s all for the best.

  • Jen

    The question that GMGM couldn’t answer had to do with the possibility of a lockout.

  • Elle

    Haha! Loving the Semin creepin picture.

  • breaklance

    So jealous,

    If I went I’d of had to prepare cards so I would remember what to say to the players cause otherwise I might not even get out a thank you from being too happy.

    That and posed as a child so I could play street hockey with some of the guys (which really wouldn’t work considering I’m 6’2 and have a goatee”)

  • Lisa

    Thanks RMNB. Shared your post with some who weren’t able to attend and they were wowed. I was there but it was great to experience it again.

  • http://make-lemons.com michelle

    Thanks Jen!