Hockey Mom joins AO fans around the world to wish the Cap's shining star a very happy 24th birthday and let's celebrate by bringing home a win in tonight's pre-season contest against the Buffalo Sabres. The big guy continues to pile up the accolades after winning D.C. Sportsman of the Year for his second consecutive award, which was presented at the Greater Washington Sports Alliance's annual Sneaker Ball (another toast to GM George McPhee for winning the Sports Executive of the Year honors). And in a pre-birthday Duschesne Cup blowout, Ovechkin led his scrimmage team (on a line with Nick Backstrom and Mike Knuble) to a 9-5 victory over Team B yesterday, assisted by a solid performance from Jose Theodore in net.
Yes folks, the leaves are starting to change and hockey season is finally here! HM watched some of the pre-season action between the Toronto Maple Leafs and Boston Bruins last night, complete with some scoring from Leafs rookies Nazem Kadri and U of Vermont star Viktor Stalberg. Did I mention the five (yes, five) fights in that game? Rookies on vets, vets on rookies - everybody was throwing down. I was even waiting for Leafs GM Bryan Burke to come down from the rafters and get in the action! Ahhh, how I've missed the sounds of a great hockey fight over this long dull summer (with the exception of the pseudo hockey fights taking place in my living room between two 13-year olds - no comparison to the real thing)!
So our boys will finally see some action tonight with the puck dropping at 7 p.m. at HSBC Arena. The Sabres lost some power on the blueline with the retirement of one of my faves Teppo Numminen and the trade of Jaroslav Spacek to the Canadiens so it will be interesting to see how the Sabres' D performs this evening. We'll have to wait and see which rookies get a jersey and how Gabby will structure his lines for this first outing. All I know is that Ovie-Backstrom-Knuble line from this week's camp is a very "good thing" (stick tap to Martha Stewart).