Courtesy of the Caps Media Relations Staff, below is the press release on the most popular person in DC being named team captain:
Washington Capitals left wing Alex Ovechkin took the ice for tonight’s game against the Montreal Canadiens wearing the captain’s ‘C’ on his sweater, introducing him to the Verizon Center fans as the 14th captain in club history. Vice president and general manager George McPhee and head coach Bruce Boudreau made the selection and Boudreau informed his team of the decision this morning.
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 Capitals’ captain following Clark’s trade to Columbus last week.
Midway through his fifth NHL season, Ovechkin has already distinguished himself as arguably the greatest player in the league today. Each of the past two seasons he has won the Hart Trophy and Lester B. Pearson Award as the NHL’s most valuable player as voted by the media and the players, respectively, becoming the first player since 1997-98 (Dominik Hasek) to win the Hart in consecutive seasons. He has also captured back-to-back Maurice “Rocket” Richard Trophies as the league’s top goal scorer and won the 2006 Calder Trophy as the league’s rookie of the year in a landslide vote.
Ovechkin is just the second player all-time to be named to the NHL First All-Star Team in each of his first four seasons in the league, joining Montreal goaltender Bill Durnan (1944-47), and has played in three NHL All-Star Games. He was recently named to his second Russian Olympic team.
Off the ice, Ovechkin has embraced the Washington, D.C., community and shown a commitment to the city and the franchise. He is in the second season of a 13-year contract, the longest in Capitals history, that he signed January 10, 2008.
Since 2006 Ovechkin has purchased eight Capitals season tickets as part of his Ovi’s Crazy 8s program and donates them to Most Valuable Kids to be distributed to underprivileged children and soldiers in the area. He has made multiple visits to Children’s National Medical Center as well as area schools and rinks and has hosted a beautification project at a D.C. junior high school. He was the spokesman for the Capitals’ holiday toy drive last season and the Honorary Chair of the 2006 Caps Care Classic. In his spare time Ovechkin regularly cheers on his counterparts at Washington Wizards, Washington Redskins, Washington Mystics and Washington Nationals games. He received the key to the city from Washington, D.C., mayor Adrian M. Fenty in June 2008, the day after becoming the first major professional sports MVP in Washington, D.C., in 25 years.