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The Caps Make Beautiful Music

When I entered the Caps dressing room yesterday morning, 50 Cent's "Just a Little Bit" was on the Magic iPod. Designated team DJ Matt Pettinger immediately took control of the situation, putting "Somebody's Watching Me" on the stereo. And just like that, we were back in a hockey dressing room.

"Leave this, leave this," Steve Eminger said, happily. But Pettinger wasn't satisfied and picked up the iPod again.

"What are you doing, dude?" Eminger said, unhappily.

This time Pettinger settled on "Far Behind" by Candlebox, and other Caps saluted the old-school choice. A few minutes later D.J. Petty went back to the '90s with "Shimmer" by Fuel, as various players attempted to egg Shaone Morrison into making a huge contribution to the team fund in the event of a win over the Bruins, since he was a first-round Boston pick.

I mention all this because of the following dialogue that came out of my Brent Johnson goalie mask investigation, which was apparently already conducted by some astute Caps fans who also have links to pics of the helmet for those who didn't see page 2 of today's sports section. Maybe the astute Caps fans also already have copious threads and audio files concerning what sort of music the Caps like. If so, apologies.

Anyhow, Brent Johnson, you'll recall, pays homage to Led Zeppelin, his favorite band, on his newest mask. Which led to this.

Me: So do you listen to Zeppelin before games?

Johnny: I mean, if it comes on I love it but I don't think it's a huge favorite in here. Guys like the edgier kind of house, trance music in here.

Bryan Muir: We have certain young people that have changed the era of music a bit. There's a constant battle that goes on with that iPod.

Me: Between what?

Muir: Like he said, the dance, techno, trance, hip hop to rock.

Johnny: Metallica, Megadeth, Tool, Anthrax, Danzig.

Me [to Muir]: What's your preference?

Muir: Country.

Me [mind reeling]: Are you serious or joking?

Johnny: No, he's serious.

Me: What do you like?

Muir: Some of my artists, you're talking? Tim McGraw, Brad Paisley, Toby Keith a little.

Johnny: Dixie Chicks.

Muir: No, I'm not a big fan of the girls, there's only a couple girls I like. Not a fan of Toby Keith, he's a little too....

Me: Patriotic?

Muir: Yeah. I like being patriotic and everything, but he's a little....

Me [To an approaching John Erskine]: Dude, do you like country music?

Erskine: Yeah.

Me [mind reeling]: You do?

Muir: Yeah, he's more of the Tool, Megadeth....

Erskine: I'm everything.

Muir: He's everything.

Me [bizarrely off-topic, to Muir]: Do you like [Erskine's] tats?

[Lengthy aside: Erskine has some crazy tats wrapping around both upper arms and shoulders. All sorts of tribal symbols and skulls and one large gargoyle in front of a cityscape. I asked for their meaning, but he just said he gets stuff that he thinks looks cool. He hasn't gotten any new tats for about two years.]

Muir: Hey, whatever floats your boat man. I like tats but I don't have the [intestinal fortitude] to get 'em.

Me: Do you think they're common in the NHL? You know, like every guy in the NBA has one....

Muir: I think they're common. I mean, I don't think they're as open as to where they put them [as NBA players]. I mean, I could go through how many guys have tats: one, two, three, four, five....

Johnny: Five or six.

Muir: There's seven guys that have tats on our team, but you'd never know, right? They're little ones that are kind of symbolic. [Motioning toward Erskine.] This guy, he's an artist. He's an artist with his body, so you see them.

Erskine: Greeny's just as bad. [Referring to the since-vanished Mike Green, who was earlier discussing his own tat plans.]

Muir: Yeah, Greeny's got "IRISH" up the side of his body, and he's getting a full sleeve done.

Johnny: I don't know why he got "IRISH" when he's Swedish.

Me: [Confused].

[They were joking about the Swedish thing. Anyhow, I returned to the country music discussion.]

Muir: I mean, I don't like to listen to country music too much before a game, because it's not, it doesn't pick you up that much. I mean, I like this kind of stuff before a game [gesturing toward the Magic iPod, which was now playing Tool].

Me [to Muir]: What do you think of his new helmet?

Muir: I think a helmet's like a tattoo, man, it's indicative of what the goalie's like and his personality. I think it's pretty cool, it symbolizes what he likes.

Me [to Johnny]: So what's your second-favorite band?

Muir: He's a music guru, so he likes everything man.

Erskine: Paris Hilton.

Johnny: No.

Muir: Yeah, his second favorite artist is Paris Hilton.

Johnson: Best band ever? No, it would be The Beatles.

Muir: He's a true connoisseur of music, though [as Matt Bradley enters the room]. We had Oasis's "Wonderwall" on, and the comment came out that they were better than the Beatles. So we've got a guy like Brads who likes Oasis....

Johnny: Oh, and Enrique Iglesias.

Muir: Brads, we're talking about music, come tell him your favorite song. And maybe give him a little lip sync. Put it on and give him a little lip sync.

Brads: Nick Lachey?

Johnny and Muir [in unison]: Enrique!!!

Muir: He likes one of Enrique's song. It's kind of a tradition, because we always win when he plays it, so....

Me: What's the song?

Muir: Brads, what's the name of that song?

Brads [insulted]: "Escape."

Muir [apologetically]: "Escape." Sorry buddy, I didn't know.

[You know, when I post stuff like this, people tend to ask me if these guys really like each other and if the attitude in the dressing room is really fun, etc. I would say that things are pretty cheerful, from what I can tell, but the team's winning. I'm no veteran, but most winning locker rooms seem to be happy places. The players in such happy places will always say, "We're doing well because we have such great chemistry," which might be true, but I think it also might be true that they have such great chemistry because they're doing well. And people on failing teams, or people who work in failing industries with vanishing circulations, instead snipe about each other behind each others' backs.]

By Dan Steinberg  |  November 16, 2006; 11:14 AM ET
Categories:  Caps  
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