Ovechkin's ceremonial 1st pitch was anything but Cup-worthy
Capitals captain asks for mulligan after sailing initial throw
Alex Ovechkin's first attempt at a ceremonial first pitch was so bad he asked for — and got — a mulligan.
"Too excited, too strong," Ovechkin said after sailing his first throw over Max Scherzer's head at Nationals Park. "I try to do my best."
Wearing a white Nationals jersey with his captain's "C" on the front and his No. 8 on the back, the Stanley Cup champion and Conn Smythe Trophy winner asked for the ball back and connected with Scherzer on his second try.
Ovechkin and the Nationals' ace embraced midway between the mound and the plate before the Washington Capitals' superstar captain picked the Cup back up again to chants of "Ovi, Ovi!"
It was fitting that after nine first- or second-round playoff exits preceded this Capitals Stanley Cup run, Ovechkin got it right on his do-over.
"What I did like is he wanted another throw," coach Barry Trotz said. "And that was sort of maybe a little bit symbolic to where he's come. Where the pitch failed. Instead of 'That's enough,' he said, 'No, give me another shot at it.' And he took another shot and did much better. So, I'm proud of him for that."
Trotz said Ovechkin's "got to work on his pitching." Sitting next to a parched Ovechkin afterward, defenceman John Carlson quipped, "It wasn't good."
"It was hard, but I think I did a nice job," Ovechkin said. "So we're all good."
Scherzer, who along with Nationals first baseman Ryan Zimmerman donned full hockey gear to fire up Capitals fans before Game 4 of the Cup Final against Bryce Harper's Vegas Golden Knights, said, "We were hoping maybe he'd shoot it." Ovechkin probably would have been better off.
Or maybe 36 hours into party time he should've handed the ball to Trotz after carrying the Cup on to the field.
"Bad pitching," Trotz said. "I told him I should throw the ball. He goes, 'I'm good at it.' That's not good."
The Capitals took the Stanley Cup through the MGM Grand and to a dance club on the Las Vegas Strip. They took it to a popular bar not far from their suburban practice facility. Then they took it to Nationals Park, where they kept hoisting it from a suite to the roars of the crowd.
Hockey decisions, their individual Cup days and change lie ahead. This weekend is for celebrating.
"We're getting days with the Cup right now," Carlson said. "We got some time to worry about the other stuff."
From Las Vegas to Washington and with more than a few drinks in between, the Capitals are acting as if they haven't been here before — because they haven't. They're the first new Cup champion since the Los Angeles Kings in 2012 and finally are atop the NHL after nine early playoff exits.
Alex Ovechkin did a keg stand out of the Stanley Cup 😂<br><br>(via <a href="https://twitter.com/tonyandjoes?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@tonyandjoes</a>) <a href="https://t.co/sCaqxLwLkC">pic.twitter.com/sCaqxLwLkC</a>—@BleacherReport
Ovechkin is taking every chance he can get to lift the Cup, whether it was coming off the plane with Nicklas Backstrom on Friday or on the field Saturday before and after his two tries at a ceremonial first pitch.
"I just Cup holder right now," Ovechkin said.
Chugging beers during a TV interview, Capitals players broke out into an impromptu rendition of Queen's "We Are The Champions" and swayed together when it was played during the seventh-inning stretch. The first Cup is bringing out the deepest emotions for the superstar captain and his teammates and coaches.
"I still can't believe it," Ovechkin said. "I think no one still can believe like we did and we are right now Stanley Cup champions. But it's great, I think. Something you will never forget."