(photo by Brian Murphy)
After stomping the Toronto Maple Leafs 6-4 in their home opener, several key members of the Washington Capitals celebrated by attending the Redskins game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers the following day.
And since they’re the biggest team in town, Coach Bruce Boudreau, defenseman Mike Green, wing Alex Ovechkin and center Nicklas Backstrom basically took over FedEx Field. Ovechkin, rocking a Chris Cooley jersey, kicked a few fieldgoals during warm-ups. Green and Backstrom (in Jason Campbell and Sean Taylor jerseys, respectively) interviewed ‘Skins players in the post-game locker room. Boudreau? Okay … well, he behaved. But what else would you expect?
Once the Caps players were done with their shenanigans, we (along with the wonderfully talented Dan Steinberg) caught up with Backstrom to get his take on the second most popular Washington sports franchise.
For starters, how did he decide to rock the Taylor jersey?
“Actually, I got Ovie’s,” Backstrom said. “I was sleeping over at Ovie’s house [Saturday] night, so I just got his jersey. I usually wear Santana Moss. He’s a catcher, right?”
Ignoring the obvious follow-up about how often these young superstars have sleepovers, we simply moved on. Does the Swedish forward get into American football?
“Yeah, I do,” he said. “I like football. I like the Redskins. I love the Redskins. I’m a Redskins fan. It’s good for the team and it’s good for the city. We should all cheer for each other.”
Were you familiar with football before you got to D.C.?
“I didn’t know a lot,” Backstrom admitted. “The rules was kind of difficult, but I picked it up and now I know everything. I really like the Redskins and what they do for the city. Hopefully they’ll be good [this year].”
You said you like Moss, what other players are you a fan of?
“I like everyone,” he said, in the most politically correct answer possible. “It’s a team sport, like hockey, so I like everyone. Campbell, Portis, Cooley … I like them all.”
Fans love seeing guys from each of the local sports teams hanging out and supporting each other. It gives a sense that the players are here for more than just a paycheck, right?
“Yeah, I think it’s good too,” he said. “I like living in D.C., and it’s great to be here. This was a great win for the Redskins, and today was perfect. To be here with the players, it’s unbelievable.”
We would have asked Backstrom which team – the Caps or ‘Skins – has a better offense, but we didn’t want to dampen the spirits in the locker room after the win. As Steinberg wrote on his blog, the day ended with Clinton Portis promising Backstrom that he would be in attendance Thursday night when the Capitals host the New York Rangers.
If this actually happens, it will be an absolute joy to hear what the always-eccentric running back has to say afterwards. Who knows? He may once again dream of being on a high-powered offense … even if it means he has to learn to ice skate.