Events like the Capitals’ Casino Night, which raises money for Washington Capitals Charities, are a chance for the guys to show their charming side to their fans. Alex Ovechkin played Wii bowling. Jeff Schultz was a staple at Rock Band (literally a staple – the main move he made around the room was switching from drums to guitar). Matt Bradley talked.
It’s also a chance for reporters to ask serious questions about fashion, eating, and motherly advice. As always, the guys were good sports.
There were two main areas to the event: a foyer, where silent auction items were displayed (including a Crosby jersey, where one bid was for two cents), and the ballroom itself, where the food (including a nitrogen ice cream bar), band, and most of the gambling was.
Browsing the silent auction table made defenseman Tyler Sloan our first unsuspecting victim.
The first question: which Capital has the biggest fashion budget?
“Ovi [Alex Ovechkin] probably spends the most money, or [Alexander] Semin,” Sloan said. “That doesn’t mean that he looks good.”
“There’s a big difference,” Matt Bradley explained later.
He gave an example from the Caps’ roster: “Ovie and Semin and Greenie probably spend the most, but Nicky [Backstrom] looks the best.”
American John Carlson sent the compliment back across the border briefly.
“Matt Bradley’s a very well-dressed guy,” Carlson said, then jokingly added, “I like to think of myself as pretty well-dressed.”
Sloan also made a case for himself before he turned diplomatic, first complimenting the Swedes, then praising “the European look” before finally giving Canadian Brooks Laich’s suits a shoutout.
Asking Sloan who had the biggest appetite on the team produced a very different answer.
“Jay Beagle,” Sloan said almost immediately. “He actually can eat non-stop. …He eats really slowly, so it seems like he’s always eating.”
OFB was unable to independently confirm that report, but, considering the source, we’re convinced it’s a reliable account. Bradley could only tell us that Beagle drank a lot of shakes.
Meanwhile, over at the Wii bowling station, Ovechkin was busy doing something that’s more rare than normal in his career – losing. Capitals fan Craig Seaman had donated $60 toward charity for a chance to play with the team captain and ended up beating him soundly.
“He was actually playing like Sidney Crosby,” Seaman joked. “It was kind of funny because he was really into the game, you know. You could tell he was really into the challenge.”
Seaman said he actually met his wife Deanna, also in attendance, at a Capitals game –she had a game she couldn’t go to, so she stopped him walking by and asked if he wanted the tickets. Seaman said one day he’d like to buy the actual seats off of Capitals owner Ted Leonsis.
Deanna said her favorite players are Semin, Chimera, and Knuble, while her husband chose Jason Chimera, Matt Hendricks, and Bradley.
Bradley told OFB he gets recognized only very rarely when he steps out of the house; Sloan said he may get recognized once in awhile but separated himself from the “rockstars” of the team.
“Ovie and Backstrom and Green, and they’re on commercials, they’re on TV,” Sloan said, after which, of course, I made the obligatory reference to Ovechkin’s Eastern Motors commercial.
“Would you do a commercial, if someone asked?” I asked Sloan.
“I drive a Jeep Cherokee, maybe I’ll do a commercial for [that],” Sloan said.
I also learned something else at the casino night – Boudreau should be doing way more commercials than he already is. In addition to the silent auction, there was a live auction, where if you just happened to have $10,000 lying around, you could get a one-hour private skating lesson for twenty people with Assistant Coach Bob Woods, Mike Green, Semyon Varlamov, Brooks Laich, and Matt Hendricks. You could have a wine night with the Steckels, Knubles, and Boudreaus for $11,250. There was even a Segway tour with Matt Bradley and other Capitals players.
But the funniest bidding round came for the infamous coaches’ party at Boudreau’s house. The auctioneer began the bid, but Boudreau stepped in to help him out and soon had the crowd roaring.
“The date is whatever you want it to be,” Boudreau told the crowd, discarding the announced date for the party as his wife shook her head no. He promised an epic event, complete with game-watching and a colorful vocabulary (that we’re sure could only be aired on HBO…oh, wait). He offered to throw in a few players to the invite list. He volunteered to let people to stay over if their alcohol intake made a drive home impossible.
As two bidders got stuck right around the $12,000 mark, he showed how masterful he was. He said that if each side threw in $12500 (I believe that was the final amount), they could both come with the specified number of guests. Sold.
In the midst of all this lightheartedness, we did actually ask one serious question of John Carlson. Before the Winter Classic, his mother shared with us the advice she said her father gave her and that she had tried to pass on to John: always remember who you are, aka, stay humble.
Carlson recognized the piece of advice immediately. In fact, he said he remembered hearing it from his grandfather as well.
This, of course, led to our last frivolous question of the night. What’s the piece of advice from his mom that he ignores the most?
“Probably clean your room,” Carlson said.