Okay, so yesterday we hit you with some notes and quotes from Bruce Boudreau, Ted Leonsis and George McPhee, from Capitals convention. I am so happy you folks seem to have enjoyed that article, and I also want to thank the legendary, yes legendary Dan Steinberg, for linking to our article from D.C. Sports Bog. If I was smart, I would not have buried deep that Leonsis quote about how he, as a self-professed fat man, can categorically declare Alexander Ovechkin as having no such characteristic. But I’m not smart, I’m no Dan Steinberg, but nevertheless I hope you did enjoy our 1,600 work look back at Capitals convention.
And if you thought that was it, you are surely mistaken! Here is our look back at what was said by Capitals players at the Convention.
Notes and Quotes from Michal Neuvirth, Tomas Vokoun, Braden Holtby, Olie Kolzig and David Prior, ‘Goalies and Their Odd Ways’ Q&A Session:
The Ted Leonsis line about Alexander Ovechkin was good, but get ready for what could perhaps be the greatest comment of the entire Capitals convention. It comes from one Michal Neuvirth.
- Neuvirth, on if his mind ever goes elsewhere during the game: “Sure that’s why you have commercial breaks to look at women.” This was said without a hint of awareness and in a completely serious tone, another indication that from stopping pucks, to scoping out smoking hot women, Neuvirth knows what he knows.
- Neuvirth on if the crowd distracts him: “I hear them and they give me energy.” More reason for you to make noise Caps fans.
- Growing up Neuvirth told the crowd that Hasek was his idol. Guess who it is now? Neuvirth’s new idol is Tomas Vokoun. That’s called progress.
- Holtby’s idol growing up was Patrick Roy, for Vokoun it was Hasek.
- The best shooter Neuvirth has seen? Shea Weber.
- Kolzig and the Q&A host, Joe Beninati had a great, ‘Abbott and Costello’ like interaction at this event. Joe B: “You didn’t like to talk to people before the game. Kolzig: “No, I just didn’t like talking to you.”
Quotes and Notes from Brooks Laich, Laich’s mom Jane Laich, Matt Hendricks, Hendrick’s dad Doug Hendricks, John Erskine and John Erskine’s wife, Karie Erskine. ‘The Support it Takes to Make it to the NHL,’ Q&A Session:
This was a great panel with a lot of good one-liners and facts. I especially loved the responses from a rather striking Karie Erskine, you’re a lucky man John.
- A great moment right off that bat at this panel occurred when the women who Brooks Laich fixed her tires for, told Laich’s mom, ‘your son was like an angel for me when he did that,” a comment that generated big cheers all around. Was mama Laich shocked at her son’s legendary roadside humanity, mere hours after his team was eliminated from the playoffs? Not at all. “It didn’t surprise me at all when he did that,” said Jane Laich. Aww!
- Does John Erskine’s wife, Karie, shudder in fear when her man goes to battle? Nope. “I like it when he fights. I get into it, in the stands,” said Karie enthusiastically. “It comes with the job.”
- If you weren’t there for the context, you might have thought he was being a jerk. But jerk and Brooks Laich are just two words that don’t fit together in the same sentence. On Saturday, the Capitals convention crowd got to hear the comic styling’s of Mr. Laich. Asked what he liked best about playing hockey, Brooks eventually told the crowd all the usual lines about being able to be paid for doing something he loved. Before he said that though, Brooks had this zinger: “The money’s pretty good, maybe not for these two guys.” (Looks at Hendricks and Erskine, as the room erupted in laughter. And don’t worry, Hendricks and Erskine laughed too, all in all, they aren’t doing too bad either.)
- Hendricks told the crowd that he used to be superstitious. Today? Not so much. “Over 82 games, it becomes a heck of a lot of work,” said Hendricks.
- The very peppy Karie Erskine had this little nugget of information about her husband’s somewhat mainc pre-game routine. “Before the game, he enjoys Chesecake Factory, Green tea and loves Cliff Bar’s. He’ll go crazy if he doesn’t get a Cliff Bar. He’ll yell at me, ‘Where’s the cliff bars’? He’s kind of anal,” said Katie as she laughed. Wow, I wonder if at the very moment, John wondered if he should have reconsidered ever doing the panel. Everyone had a good chuckle though, and isn’t that what it’s all about?
Notes and Quotes from Dennis Wideman and Mathieu Perreault, ‘I made it to the NHL’ Q&A Sessions:
- According to both Dennis and Mathieu, the only thing rookies on the Capitals have, that in anyway comes close to some sort of initiation, is that they have to pay for the meal of veterans at Rookie dinner. “The young guys here have it easier then guys in other organizations,” said Wideman.
- It wasn’t here, (Washington is once again, so boring!) but Wideman has seen some great rookie pranks played on guys in other organizations. He told the convention crowd that he once saw a rookie’s car filled with styrofoam. Wideman also had stories of guys taking tires of cars and putting it on blocks. Wideman did not have any stories of any Vespa related schenanagins, least anyone decide to try to pull a fast one on Mike Green.
- On the difference between the NHL and the minors: “You’re not sitting on a bus eating subway and driving around for eight hours across the country. You can’t take that for granted. Guys who haven’t been there, they get sent down and say, ‘I don’t want to do that again,’” said Wideman.
- Perreault on his first game butterflies: “When the puck drops and first shift starts, the butterflies stop.” Perreault also said that warming up, did nothing to calm his nerves before his first game.
- Wideman on his first game: “Went to Detroit and saw Lidstrom and Yzerman and I forgot I had to warm up,” said Wideman while laughing.
Strangest fan/player interaction of the day
Fan to Perreault: “Can I call you PerraultChocinco? You know that’s your nickname right”?
Perreault: “What”? (Confused)
Fan: “You know like the football player, Chad Ochocino.”
Perreault sheepishly: “I don’t really watch football. I don’t really watch baseball either, I just like this hat.” (Perreault was wearing a Red Sox’s hat.)
- On the roommate situation, Perreault is usally assigned a goaltender. Wideman, on the other hand said he no longer has a roommate. There is a little back-story there as Wideman explained that he once had Brooks Laich as a roommate, and it just didn’t work. “Brooks is a pretty serious guy and he likes to get his sleep and I like to stay up late, so now I have my own room.” Simple enough, I guess.
- Dennis Wideman on who the hardest play to defend is: “I know you guys aren’t going to like this, but I think it could be Sidney Crosby.”
- There was a nice heartfelt moment at the end of this session as Perreault told the crowd, “I hope I’ll stay here all year.” Everyone in the crowd, including Dennis Wideman clapped.
Quotes and Notes from Jeff Halpern and Troy Brouwer, ‘Embracing your New Teammate’ Q&A Session:
- Halpern told the crowd he loved playing in Montreal, and the intense media scrutiny of the team, never really got to him. Halpern did say that Montreal is very tough for goaltenders, due in part to the fanbase having such strong memories of the past excellence of Patrick Roy.
- Halpern on the biggest difference between the hockey climate in D.C. when he left, compared to now: “There were about eight rinks in the area then, now 20-25. Used to be when you turned 15-16 you had to choose hockey or football, and the cooler thing to choose was football. (You can read more thoughts on this, here.)
Props to the Capitals organization for putting on what was a fantastic event. For myself and I’m sure many others, it was the perfect appetizer to wet our appetite for the start of hockey season.