Shawn Springs Meets the Caps
The ending of this Caps regular season was quite a bit different from the same ending a year ago; the pent-up tension of a manic climb into the playoffs was gone, replaced by scoreboard watching and various neuroses about the next few weeks/months. Still, the aftermath was the same: standing ovations, jersey hand-outs, torrents of red, booze.
Also, over the past year, as we've written 135 times, Caps games have become a legit place to be seen--Jason Campbell was there the day before he was almost traded--and hence, former Redskins cornerback Shawn Springs was out and about at yesterday's game. Why the Caps?
"I hang with the Caps 'cause they're winners," Springs, now with the Patriots, joked with a smile. "I hang out with all winners."
Springs's trip into the back hallways was, of course, brokered by Comcast SportsyNet's Eric Shuster, who is to the corporate suites of D.C.'s sporting venues like sweat is to locker rooms. Over the course of a few minutes yesterday, Springs and his three sons met a huge chunk of the team, with the cornerback engaging in long conversations with a host of hockey stars.
He talked Boston neighborhoods with Tom Poti, swapped Ohio State stories with David Steckel, joked with Bruce Boudreau, asked Nicklas Backstrom about Sweden, and watched as his sons got their various pucks, jerseys and hats autographed.
"You're in the wrong sport, man," Springs told Donald Brashear. "You're supposed to be a linebacker or something. Come on over to football."
(Springs, like many pro athletes, says he roots for individual players and not teams. He was at just his second Caps game, but he said he will be a tricked-out fan when he eventually retires and moves back to the D.C. area.
"When I'm done," he said, "I'm gonna get an old-school Dexter Manley jersey--1986 probably--an RV and just be a fan, of all sports.")
Boudreau, being a coach, asked the corner extensive question about the NFL's offseason workout and conditioning programs.
"Good luck this year, I'll be watching," he said as he finally left.
"Thanks Coach, hope I see you in Boston," Springs said.
He said much the same to several other players, including Steckel, promising to go see them in New England this spring if circumstances dictated. "That guy's tall," added Skyler, Springs's 10-year old son, as Steckel left.
(If you're wondering whether my current job is just to follow around Alex Ovechkin as he shakes hands with other professional athletes, um, maybe? Trust me, traffic off the LeBron James item would indicate that's a solid career choice. By the way, Ovechkin totally has the NBA handshake down pat.)
"Now this guy I've been watching for a long time, great player," Springs said, when Sergei Fedorov walked by.
"Thanks," Fedorov said. "I've been playing a long time, that's the problem."
"I've got 13 years, I know the feeling," Springs said. "This guy's a legend," he told his sons, "I love it."
And, of course, they all waited around for Ovechkin to make his eventual exit, with Springs pointing out that the last time they had met, Ovechkin was wearing his goofy football helmet in Landover. Why wait?
"Because he's awesome," Skyler explained. "And he scores a lot of goals."
"He's a winner," Springs summarized.
(No, the Caps don't need validation from any other sport, and no, I don't have empirical data on this, but it sure seems like a lot more local athletes are hockey fans this year, huh?)
(Oh, and in another cross-sport sighting, ESPN 980 reports that Santana Moss was at Saturday's Wiz game, minus braids. Maybe he's waiting to grow his playoff beard.)
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