CapitalsConvention (8 of 24)

Photo: Chris Gordon

For the second time in three years, there will be no Caps Convention this summer. This time, ostensibly, the reason is so that the Caps can devote time and money toward preparations for the 2015 Winter Classic, which the Capitals will likely host at Nationals Park. The news was first reported by Alex Prewitt of The Washington Post.

“This season we are thrilled to be hosting the 2015 Bridgestone Winter Classic on Jan. 1, 2015, and have many exciting events and experiences planned around the event to help celebrate our fabulous fan base,” a Capitals spokesman told The Post in a statement. “Due to this big event, we will be focusing all of our efforts on the Winter Classic and will not hold a Caps Convention.”

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Photo credit: Chris Gordon

On June 13, 2008, Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin launched his clothing line with CCM. The lifestyle apparel, which featured a fancy number eight logo (that hinted at the Kremlin), was available for purchase online, in stores, and at Kettler Capitals Iceplex.

Three years later, Ovechkin cut ties with CCM and signed a six-year equipment deal with Bauer and an undisclosed meg endorsement deal with Nike. I assumed a new line of Ovechkin lifestyle clothing would be coming. For two years, it never did.

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CapitalsConvention (2 of 24)

Wes Johnson kicks off the event. (Photos by Chris Gordon)

As Saturday evening wound down, the streets around the Walter E. Washington Convention began to fill with Metropolitan Police cars. The President was coming. He had missed, though, the main event in the building that day, the 2013 Capitals Convention. Ted Leonsis unveiled the already de-veiled 2015 Winter Classic, players engaged in slightly uncomfortable yet humorous hijinks, and there were many, many panels about many, many things.

Below, take a look at my photos from the day.

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Sorry Penguin. (Photo credit: @ZackkShapp)

[Editor's Note: Two years ago, we debuted a t-shirt parodying the Pittsburgh Penguins. Rachel Cohen did the illustration and Ian Oland turned it into a shirt. It has become one of our top sellers and even appeared on an episode of CRL. At the Caps Convention on Saturday, reader Zack S. endeavored to get his shirt signed by the entire Washington Capitals team. Zack was kind enough to summarize the players' reactions for us. If you want your own shirt, you can buy it here in our t-shirt store.]

My dad and I were given VIP tickets the night before the convention by a friend who worked for Verizon. I was running around trying to find something to have the players sign and I thought how funny it would be if we got the players to sign a Deadguins shirt.

If you have never seen the VIP room at Caps Convention, it’s just a bunch of tables with some sandwiches and drinks put out, and most of the players come by to eat lunch or just hang out there between appearances downstairs. It’s a really cool setup because some of the guys will actually sit down and talk to you.

Most of the players were confused at first when I asked them to sign the shirt, thinking that I was asking them to sign actual Pittsburgh Penguins regalia, but most of them laughed once I told them what it was.

Reactions ranged from, “HELL YES!” by Jason Chimera to Peter Bondra shaking his head and saying, “Aw, come on.”

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While Alex Ovechkin is easily the most celebrated player on the Washington Capitals, someone else was the star of Caps Con.

Everyone say hi to Ovie the Bulldog.

On the top floor of the Walter E. Washington Convention Center, Ovie’s human parents, Mike and Kim Robertson, set up shop with their leashed and well-behaved pup, greeting Caps fans on their way down to the convention. He made lots of friends.

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On a normal day, Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin can shoot a puck at 100 terrifying miles per hour towards the net. Caps Con was apparently not a normal day.

Participating in the 2013 Caps Convention, Ovechkin, despite his status as a world-famous athlete, stayed  down to earth, playing street hockey with kids (more on that later) and displaying his skills on the hardest shot machine.

“When he came up, there was a lady about to shoot,” Caps intern Q’marth Ghaemi excitedly told me in an interview. “She turned around right before she was about to hit the puck, sees Ovechkin, and just totally freaked out.”

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Cooking with Paige, Kate, and Mike. (Photos by Chris Gordon)

[Ed note: At Capitals Convention on Saturday, friend-of-the-blog Kate Hudson was selected to participate in a cooking competition with Mike Green. The first thing they made was a brie and strawberry jam sandwich. I’ll let Kate take it from here.]

When the schedule for panels came out, my friends and I knew we had to see Mike Green cook. I didn’t know what that would entail, but there we were, waiting for Greenie to struggle to bake something.

I was sitting with my friends Roxy and Katie waiting for the thing to start. They were asking for volunteers to help the chef and Green compete in an epic grilled cheese cook-off. Katie kept saying that I needed to cook with Greenie because that would be hysterical. So I stood up and was like “PICK ME, PICK ME” and Elliot pointed to me and told me I was the helper. I actually was like “Wait, me?” and Elliot was said “Yeah, you!”

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Yep. (Photos by Chris Gordon)

There were some wild panels at this year’s Capitals Convention. My friend Kate cooked with Mike Green, George McPhee talked about getting verbal abuse about trades from teenage girls, and Ted Leonsis… well, I guess that one wasn’t so weird. The best one of all, though, was the ping pong tournament between pairs of Caps players. Taking part: Karl Alzner and John Carlson, Marcus Johansson and Nicklas Backstrom (aka Team Swede), and Mathieu Perreault and Troy Brouwer (Team Sexy Legs). Team Sexy Legs you ask? Well, just take a look at Troy’s outfit. I will never look at my thighs the same.

In the end, Team Swede won all their games, taking the tournament crown. Below, take a look at my photos.

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The Brouwer Rangers and Troy Brouwer

The Brouwer Rangers showed up to this year’s Capitals Convention on Saturday. Being the first Caps Con in their new dubs, the duo made an entrance: they met Alex Ovechkin, took silly photos with cardboard cutout Caps players, played street hockey, and signed autographs for fans (!!!). The highlight of their day, though, was taking a posed photo with their savior, Troy Brouwer.

Brouwer, who is a huge supporter of the two, smiled big and put his fists up with the Rangers in solidarity. I’m getting the feels just looking at this pic. It’s perf.

View all our 2013 Capitals Convention posts.

Photo credit: Chris Gordon

In addition to the Kids Press Conference hosted by Karl Alzner and John Carlson, I also attended the “I Made It To The NHL” panel at the Caps Convention on Saturday.

Dennis Wideman and Mathieu Perreault sat down for an hour and answered questions about what it was like to finally see their dreams of playing in the NHL come true. There were a lot of great moments. One such example was when Perry was told by a fan at the podium that there are group of ravenous Caps supporters out there that refer to him as “Perreaultcho-Cinco,” a nickname inspired by Patriots’ Wide Receiver Chad “Ochocinco” Johnson. Perreault, confused and honored all at the same time, responded with a huge grin and a shrug: “I don’t really follow football that much.” Sigh.

Dennis Wideman also shared many interesting stories from his career including the one day he roomed with Brooks Laich. Below the jump, check out some highlights from the panel courtesy of my flip cam.

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