Prior to tonight's meeting with Les Canadiens, the Washington Capitals bestowed the honor of donning the "C" to none other than the "greatest hockey player on planet Earth" (the exact words of team mate Brian Pothier), Alexander Ovechkin. The announcement came as little surprise to Caps faithful and puckheads around the globe as most saw the Great8 as one of the most obvious choices.
Ovechkin, 24, is the first European-born captain in Capitals history and the second-youngest captain in team history (Ryan Walter was 21 when he captained the 1979-80 team). The Moscow native is the sixth Russian-born player to be an NHL captain and joins Atlanta’s Ilya Kovalchuk as the only active Russians to captain their teams (Pavel Bure, Alexander Mogilny, Alexei Yashin and Alexei Zhamnov are the previous ones). Ovechkin, who has been one of Washington’s alternate captains since his second season in the league, succeeds Chris Clark as captain following Clark’s trade to Columbus last week.
Many notable hockey types and well-known former and current Capitals alike weighed in on the new captain and the extraordinary talent and personality that made Ovi a no-brainer to fill the role:
“Our team has adopted Alex’s personality, and the energy, passion and drive to win that are his hallmarks have become our team’s as well. He sets the tone, on the ice as well as off. He’s respectful to everyone and a great ambassador for our team and our sport. We look forward to him leading the Washington Capitals for a long time.”
- George McPhee
“Alex is a great player and a great choice for captain. He is the best player in the NHL and I love his combination of skill and physical play. He finishes his checks and hits hard.”
– Former Capitals captain Dale Hunter
“I think he’s got all the qualities you look for in a captain, and to see that in someone so young is incredible. He’s been a leader since he’s been here, and he leads by example. If he gets upset, you can see him start to take over a game. There’s no doubt he’s deserving.”
– Former Capitals captain Yvon Labre
“He’s the best player in the world and he’s the face of the franchise. Plus he’s a great teammate. The Caps organization should feel proud to name him captain.”
– Former Capitals captain and current Tampa Bay Lightning center Jeff Halpern
Please join Hockey Mom in proposing a toast and congratulating Ovi as the team's "official" fearless (not!) leader...