Behold! Alexsandr's other "We Are The Champions" painting

Did you think this would be a slow news week? Maybe an injury update here or a scouting report there, but overall an uneventful period before the semifinals. Well, you were wrong. From the Internet’s very own disreputable flea market emerges what might become the cultural moment of the hockey season.

(Are we building this up too much?)

Artist Aleksandr Reut has crafted Washington Capitals – We are the Champions!, an exquisite 40″ x 32″ oil painting on canvas. This inspired (yet absurdly premature) work of celebratory art and its partner piece are available for bid or purchase on eBay right now. Starting bid is only $5,000, so crack open those piggy banks.

A 50-something Ukranian ex-pat living in Harrisonburg, Virginia, Reut fills the daytime hours as an architect, but the muses compel him to high art. A decade-old profile from Harrisonburg’s Daily News-Record (reprinted here by brama.com) extols Reut’s passion for mixed media as a sculptor, but he tells me that it’s hockey that really inspires him.

“I used to play hockey myself,” Reut tells me by phone. “When I moved to the U.S. twenty years ago, the Capitals were my only comfort zone. Finally, they are pretty close to the Stanley Cup.”

Close, I am quick to point out, is a distance still measured at one dozen wins. But Reut’s enthusiasm does not waver.

It’s important to understand that these are images of aspiration, not celebration. “I painted those two paintings right after their loss to the Montreal Canadiens [in the 2010 playoffs],” Reut says. “I called Ted Leonsis. He really liked the idea, but he thought it was kind of premature.”

Hell yes, but we dig it anyway.

Champions depicts the Washington Capitals in a medieval setting. As knights in solemn triumph having just slain hockey’s equivalent of St. George’s dragon, they gather to in court to receive Lord Stanley’s Cup from two… — well they’re dwarfs, aren’t they? Settling a nagging question, Reut tells me the little people are part of the painting’s dark-ages milieu and don’t represent anyone (*cough* Marcus Johansson *cough*).

There’s George McPhee in academician’s garb and Bruce Boudreau as a royal clergyman (“preaching and teaching, you know!” says Reut). King Ted Leonsis himself rides a horse with his flaxen wife by his side. The Knights of the Round Puck stand at far left. There’s Ovechkin, Green, Semin, Backstrom, Knuble, and Varlamov. And, oh yeah. The President and First Lady are there, too.

“You see Barack Obama and his wife standing behind the Stanley Cup,” Reut laughs across the line, “I didn’t know about the huge reception [for the Chicago Blackhawks] yet when I painted this.”

In the background are some  of D.C.’s most striking landmarks. The Capitol, the National Cathedral and Georgetown University sit atop the hills like the mythical Camelot — warmed by diffuse, Albionic sunshine.

In the world of Reut’s art, hockey and knighthood are one and the same. He cites for me Mike Green’s recent sacrifice and urges the team to institute the title Knight of the Year to “the most noble and courageous and handsome” player on the team. Reut nominates Green for the honor, and we second the motion.

Yes, this is exactly the kind of thing we should be avoiding right now. Caps fans already have a reputation as overeager and prone to self-congratulation. But this is not that. Full of humor and fun and good will, this painting embodies what we love about each other and the team that we cheer on. This is precisely the kind of attitude that our community needs. So go put a bid in. You’ll have a beautiful painting to hang in your den and a great story to tell.

But please: lock it in a dark room for a couple months first.

More Art from Alex Reut

Thanks to @itallfallsdwn for unearthing this gem for everyone.

Appendices compiled by Ian Oland.

  • Sara BAE

    HAHAHA! these are fucking amazing! i love them soo much! :-)

  • http://capitalsoutsider.com Philip Van der Vossen

    I’m glad there was a legend, because I thought #8 was supposed to be Lisa Hillary.

  • Elyssa

    Lol why is Greener holding a bird in the second one?

  • Elyssa

    And correct me if I’m wrong but I really don’t think 8 is Mrs. Boudreau, who I’ve met and looks nothing like that. I was under the impression that it was Lisa Hillary…the hair and face look just like her.

  • http://www.calacirian.org sonja

    Those are freakin’ awesome!!!
    :D

  • ThomasTSKH

    He is damn good at recreating people’s faces. Mad props.

  • http://www.russianmachineneverbreaks.com Russian Machine Never Breaks

    @Elyssa,

    8 is Mrs. Leonsis. Lisa Hillary was my first guess, too, but the artist confirmed it for me. Plus she doesn’t have Lisa’s exposed roots. /BURN.

    -Peter

  • Paula

    @Elyssa,
    That’s a cardinal, which is the state bird of Virginia…sooooo that’s why, I guess

  • Brad

    WHERE’S NEAUVY????

  • BaerXIII

    Why does Bruce look like Vizzini from the Princess Bride?

  • PACapsFan

    Ted looks like the Party Manimal from the Preakness promo.

  • Knuble’s Knights

    We were thinking #8 was Guerin. But then we realized it couldn’t be because she wasn’t struggling through an interview with a 6-year-old.

  • Knuble’s Knights

    Also why is Knoobs the only one smiling in the whole painting? No one else is happy to have won the cup from a team of Marty St. Louises? Poor Mrs. Leonsis/Guerin/Lisa Hillary looks like she’s got a nasty case of the typhoid.

  • Mily

    Does this mean that we have to answer with an Anti-jinx? Not that I want to see a painting of defeat but this painting is getting my superstitious side tingly.

    Rachel! To the rescue!

  • bernd0g

    I’m fairly sure Dwarf #1 is actually Gary Bettman. #2 is Colin Campbell.

  • Natasha

    Oh well, only Caps fans could do that. I love us!

  • Pingback: Ride of a Lifetime | Que sera, Sarah

  • Avtopilot

    Somebody, buy it and burn it allready, please :-)

  • http://www.russianmachineneverbreaks.com Ian

    I just want to be honest. This post totally freaks me out. I just want to get that out of the way. I’m incredibly superstitious. There’s two things that make me feel better about it though:

    A.) Last year, when Puck Daddy did a post on the Pig-Nosed Toews Mural that was commissioned right before the playoffs, I was the first person to say that they were cursed to lose in the first round.

    And then they won it all.

    Maybe, this is the good juju the Capitals need?

    B.) When I made that contour outline drawing above, from left to right, the Stanley Cup ends up being #13. I skipped the number completely. I was thinking!! I hope that eliminates any and all bad vibes.

  • k4

    Anyone catch the end of the Lightning-Pens series? Panger asks Roloson if he’s knows his record in elimination games…
    Roloson: “No, I don’t and I don’t want to know so don’t tell me.”
    Pang: “Well, it’s unblemished”.

    You could see karma leaking out of Roloson as soon as Panger said that. I’ll take “Caps playing Poker” over Panger’s bad mojo anyday.

  • k4

    game* not series, but I think Panger may have just ended it for the Lightning.

  • Trapy

    I thought GMGM looked like Mel Gibson

  • pepperjack

    Little known fact, the faux-hawk was extremely popular in medieval times…

  • MadFlava

    Ted needs to buy these works of art and display them at Caps headquarters at Kettler. Maybe one day there will be a special exhibit at the National Gallery for them.

  • Ryan

    It is important to remember that the Hawks mural was painted over before it had a chance to work its joo-joo.

    This must be purchased and destroyed.

  • ilan

    if you missed it, look at the carnival themed painting and check out Ted on the bicycle wearing the knee-high caps socks. Ted if you are reading this…it looks awesome…you should wear them during round two for luck. I’ll be watching the jumbotron for them.

  • Oksana

    this is epic

  • JH

    That’s the weirdest thing I’ve possibly ever laid eyes on. The guy must have been dosing and playing “Knights in White Satin” or something to come up with this bizzarro stuff. PS: I also thought that was Lisa Hillary. PPS: No Neuvy – doh.

  • Laurie

    No offense to the artist, but has he lost his mind? It’s like kryptonite or the freaking President’s Cup. It needs to go into storage for the next 2.5 months.

  • 28ISGREAT

    Was Neuvy lost in battle?

  • Alex Reut

    Thank you all for your comments. I am glad no one took my paintings too seriously!!
    I had a lot of fun painting them and I hope I cheered you up at least a little!
    For those of you who didn’t smile and questioned the state of my mind. I am fine and really happy that you didn’t see the real stuff!:) No offense, please !:)
    For those of you who worried about the jinks . We are safe! While painting I was spitting over my left shoulder three times every 33 minutes … I spent about 130 hours for one painting -13 hour for spitting only!! Thus 130/2(approximately …) or about 65 x 3=195 times! It must have been enough for the two Stanley Cups Besides I painted it only with Penguins finest feather and down!
    And if Ted reads this I hope I didn’t cross the line and no one got offended.
    Lets’ go Caps!!!

  • Jay

    “Caps fans already have a reputation as overeager and prone to self-congratulation.”

    Um, not the long time, die hard Caps fans. The long time, die hard Caps fans are exactly the opposite. We’re very cynical, prone to a self-defeatist attitude and always expect the worst. Why? Because we been handed the high hat by the Caps and crapped on by other teams’ fans forever.

    On the other hand, Redskins fans have a reputation as overeager and prone to self-congratulation, and since the Caps bandwagon is now full of Redskin fans I assume that’s who you are speaking about. But it should in no way reflect upon the reputation of the true Caps fans who are nowhere near as self inflated as some of the “new” fans.

  • Peter Hassett

    @Jay,

    [sarcarm]Thanks for that dose of indignation and viciousness. It was very appropriate and needed in this lighthearted, self-effacing article about how good-humored we fans are.[/sarcasm]

    P

  • http://www.from-the-game.com JClasser

    You call that art? lol

  • 28ISGREAT

    Ugh – I don’t think there’s anything worse than reading/listening to self-righteous “old” fans complaining about or comparing against “new” fans.

    People get it – you’ve paid a lot of money over a lot of years to watch a team lose, many times in a near empty arena. You’ve suffered. Ok – great. Now please get over it.

    As far as I’m concerned, a fan is a fan unless you have a Caps logo tatooed on your forehead (anywhere else is standard at best, boring at worst). In which case, if you do, I will happily concede you’re a bigger fan than nearly everyone else.

    Otherwise, long suffering “old” fans with those cushy lower bowl seats are entitled to complain about just one thing – getting hit with an avalanche of hats on a hat trick.

  • http://www.russianmachineneverbreaks.com Ian

    IMO the best comment on the painting is from Puck Daddy. Commenter Slozo had this to say:

    “I am not sure how this can be construed as a jinx .. . seeing as it clearly depicts the Stanley Cup being given to the Montreal Canadiens. The clues:

    1) It was painted AFTER the Caps loss to the Montreal Canadiens. Just let that sink in, and think about it . . . good.
    2) The Stanley Cup is being given to two midgets dressed in aristocratic french style clothing, while the Capitals players and owner (and his wife) watch with indifference (they are all looking away).
    This to me is the cup being given to two of the Canadiens, probably Cammalleri and Halak, the guys that were the main reasons the Caps lost.
    3) Leonsis is on his HIGH HORSE . . . get it? The painting is filled with jokes like this . . . Boudreau as a pious priest . . . Semin appears to have goat feet and is holding the stick in an odd way upwards instead of on the ice, etc etc

    It’s all a farcical thing, meant to be a tongue in cheek depiction of the Stanley Cup being given to Monreal after their loss to them . . . heck, the Canadian parliament building is even behind them on the right.

    So, to sum up: definitely not a jinx . . . except on the Canadiens, where it worked its magic already!”

  • Bucky Katt

    @Paula In medieval art birds had Christian/spiritual connotations with different birds representing different Christian concepts or allegories. The most well known is the dove as a symbol of peace.

  • BobbyG

    Awesome paintings but I see no jinx or tempting fate or the hockey gods. As Ian said, it’s a farcical tongue-in-cheek creation, nothing more, nothing less.

    BTW, I don’t know about anyone else, but I’m itching for Round 2 to start. The Caps have rested, so I don’t want too much time to pass before they play for real again. Let them ride their momentum from Round 1 no matter who they play next.

    Speaking of which, it also seems like it’s taking forever to determine the Caps next opponent. Get on with it already. GO CAPS!

  • ExPat

    I’ve been a Caps fan since 1974 but wouldn’t pay $5 for these cartoons, much less $5,000.

  • Pingback: Video: CSN’s Russ Thaler on RMNB and That Painting

  • Pingback: World’s Strangest | Renaissance Paintings of Hockey

  • Pingback: May As Well Give the Cup to the Caps :