In the interview, Brooks speaks at length about his fan allegiance (split between the Orioles and Expos), how his struggles in the postseason extended to youth baseball, and his totally appropriate adulation of Cal Ripken.
FREDERICK, MD – On the eve of a pivotal game between the Pittsburgh Penguins and Ottawa Senators in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, fans of the eliminated Washington Capitals finally chose their allegiance. ”If Bylsma doesn’t play Marc-Andre Fleury, he’ll be squandering the Pens’ chance at the Cup,” said 24-year-old die-hard Caps fan Steve Neuschwander of Monrovia, MD. “I mean, I know his playoff save percentage has been under 90% for the last few years, but that just means he’s due.”
Neuschwander, wearing a custom-embroidered KOLZILLA Caps jersey and smelling vaguely of stale Keystone, continued, “You put your trust in Flower; he won’t let you down.” Holding one hand to his chest and the other to the sky, Neuschwander proclaimed, “I want the Penguins to win this as much as anyone, and they’re not gonna do it without MAF.”
Caps players seem to love America’s pastime. Some of them prefer a game of catch over the traditional pregame soccer kickaround. Some of them are filthy Blue Jays fans. Brooks Laich is a fan as well, and on Monday he threw out the ceremonial first pitch before game between the New York Yankees and Baltimore Orioles at Camden Yards. Laich also got an extensive tour of the O’s clubhouse from All Star closer Jim Johnson, a noted New York Rangers fan.
“He said ‘Just don’t bounce it,’ which is what everybody said,” Laich recalled Dickerson as saying. “I said ‘I’m gonna bring it in there’ and he goes ‘YES! Finally somebody’s gonna throw it! Bring the heat!’”
“It was awesome!” added Laich. “A lot of people asked me ‘Are you gonna be nervous?’ You’re used to preforming in front of people — maybe not in this environment but it was more exciting.”
Upon hearing that, RMNB immediately sprung into action, contacting our sister publication across the pond, News of the World. Our brother-from-another-mother Jimmy Murdoch put us in touch with some folks, and voila!– we have recovered this conversation between Oates and Ovechkin.
It was mid-March and Karl Alzner was on the Internet. Like most twentysomethings, he looked up silly videos on YouTube to kill time. He stumbled across one from early last year — it was of Peter Dill, a basketball player for Seton Hall. Dill scored a single basket in his two years playing for the school, but he did get very excited when his team scored. Alzner played the clip for Mathieu Perreault.
“The guy would just go crazy, pretend he had Thor’s Hammer and he’d be smashing the ground,” Alzner told me Saturday afternoon. “Perry, I could just see his eyes, like ‘this is awesome!’”
“We should do that after we win games,” Perreault responded.
A group of superstar athletes, including Washington quarterback Robert Griffin III, signed for fans at an autograph show in Chantilly, Virginia last week. Also appearing at that show were two men, one named after the other. Washington Capitals forward Brooks Laich and Baltimore Orioles great Brooks Robinson signed autographs, and at the end of the event, they finally met.
A few days later, Laich posted a photo of the two on Twitter with the caption, “Special honor for me to meet the man I was named after, Orioles HOF 3rd baseman Brooks Robinson, absolute class act.” That made Capitals and Orioles crossover fans very happy.
Laich told Dan Steinberg of the Washington Post about the experience. “A lot of times we see fans who are sort of awestruck meeting us; for me, that was the reverse side of it.” Laich said he called his dad right after meeting the “Human Vacuum Cleaner” to tell him about the experience. Laich said meeting the baseball Hall of Famer was on his bucket list.
There comes a time in a teenager’s life where the dream of becoming a star athlete dims and must be replaced. At the age of sixteen, that’s what happened to Toronto native Peter Wilson.
“I really fell in love with writing when I was in grade 11,” Wilson, who played hockey competitively as a kid, explained. “I had a really great literature teacher who took me under her wing and showed me some really cool books. I found writing to be really fun and therapeutic.”
In college, Wilson continued to explore literature and challenge himself, just like he did on the ice with hockey. When his passion shifted away from the ice, Wilson dropped gloves with a new opponent: the competitive field of writing.
Hockey players are accustomed to terrible nicknames; they’ve got a lot. The current iteration of the Washington Capitals includes Patsy (Aaron Volpatti), Crabber (Joey Crabb), and Carly (John Carlson). Now we know Steve Oleksy‘s too, though he won’t be happy with RMNB once his teammates read this. See: Oleksy’s lifelong nickname isn’t Stevie O (as head Adam Oates called him); it’s Binky. And we’ve got the story behind that.
“When I was younger, I was sick and I was in the hospital quite a bit,” Oleksy told me recently. “I called my pacifier my binky, and every time I started crying the nurses would tell my mom to put my binky in. She started calling me that, and then the kids at school caught on, and it just kind of grew with me.”
I saw this on eBay and I just had to have it. Capitals Sport & Decor, a memorabilia shop at Dulles Town Center, sometimes hosts signings with Washington Capitals players. They put up some of their extra signed merchandise up on eBay, and that’s where I unearthed this gem. It’s a signed 16 x 20 photo of Capitals defenseman Jeff Schultz checking Sidney Crosby down to the ice. Schultz’s signature is at bottom. To the left is an inscription that reads, “Hows the Wood Sid!”
On Saturday night, Orlov was finally back in action– playing for the Hershey Bears against the Norfolk Admirals. Less than a minute into the game, Orlov hoisted the puck over the glass, earning a delay-of-game penalty. Not the start he was loooking for, but — as he tells RMNB- Orlov was just happy to be back in action.