As Stephen Strasburg gets set to take to the mound tonight to face the Pittsburgh Pirates, Caps fans are undoubtedly reminded of a night back in October of 2005, when their franchise savior played his first meaningful game for them. That game - like so many that followed it - was memorable from the first shift:
For the first time in 550 days, the Washington Capitals played a game that mattered at MCI Center. And it began with a bang, thanks to Alexander Ovechkin.
On his first shift, the future star of the Capitals threw a body check so hard it dislodged the support between two pieces of plexiglass along the end boards, causing a three-minute stoppage of play -- not that the fans minded.
Ovechkin set the tone with that crushing check, then scored two goals in Washington's 3-2 victory over the Columbus Blue Jackets, the Capitals' first regular season home game since April 3, 2004.
Alex Ovechkin's debut was a memorable one and a sign of the great things to come (even if Michael Wilbon managed to get a shot in on AO for not converting a breakaway). After the game, Ovechkin described his first NHL game:
"I feel excellent," he said in the jammed dressing room after the game, that in itself a rarity for the Caps. "We win game, [my] first game in NHL and we win. So I feel very good. When I go out to ice for first time, I was a little bit nervous, all people screaming, it's amazing."
With any luck, Stephen Strasburg feels the same way tonight. And with any luck Stephen Strasburg does for the Washington Nationals what Alex Ovechkin has done for the Washington Capitals. Best of luck,Strassy.
Update: For more on AO's first game, head over to CSN Washington.