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The second-most popular Caps jersey


(Photos by Toni L. Sandys - TWP)


Who has the second-most popular Caps jersey? Great question. I've had several good reasons lately for asking the same thing.

* If I were asked to name the five most popular D.C. sports jerseys six months ago, I'd have absolutely included Gilbert Arenas and Clinton Portis on the list. So it seems like there might now be an opening or two. And with the Caps the area's only winning team, I think it's time for a second Caps name to join this list.

* I was on an elevator at the Caps' practice rink recently with someone who works with the team. She told me that during a recent practice, a woman was frantically searching for her lost son. She told everyone that he was wearing an Alex Ovechkin jersey. That wasn't much help. For the sake of lost children, we need to diversify our jersey choices.

* Along the same lines, I was at the rink on Monday when a young boy lost his jersey. He came to the press room to ask for our help. I asked whose name was on the jersey. You guessed it. Not a very unique identifier. The boy was weeping. Won't anyone think of the children?

* The NHL Shop recently released its list of the league's 10 best-selling jerseys, and while Alex Ovechkin was No. 1, he was the only Cap on the list. (Detroit and Pittsburgh both had multiple entries.)

* And then there's the longtime complaint lodged by my friend Steve, a Rangers fan in D.C., who insists that the ratio of superstar-to-supporting-cast jerseys inside Verizon Center's stands is unusually obscene, and that this is a sign of fan-base weakness.

Anyhow, all this had me wondering whose were the next best-selling jerseys. So here's the list of the Top 5 sellers at the KCI team shop since September. First, try to guess, in order, in your mind. Good luck.





1. Alex Ovechkin. Shocker, no?

2. Nicklas Backstrom. And this was a surprise, though it's a fine choice. I'd have bet money that Mike Green would rank second.

3. Mike Green. Hurt by Swedish embassy purchases or what? I suppose "19" might be more slimming than "52."

4. Semyon Varlamov. Not the next Russian I'd have guessed, though he probably earns points for assumed longevity in this market. No fun to buy the jerseys of guys on one-year extensions.

5. Brooks Laich. The ultimate sleeper. Truly the jersey of the blue-collar D.C. Caps fan, if such a person exists. Note: collar not literally blue.

(I'll be damned, the collar actually is blue. Whoops.)

By Dan Steinberg  |  January 19, 2010; 9:38 AM ET
Categories:  Caps  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Gilbert becomes a non-entity
Next: Antawn Jamison's championship dreams

Comments

Actually, Steinz, the collar IS blue.

Posted by: HowdyDCU | January 19, 2010 10:16 AM | Report abuse

Backstrom was my easy choice for 2nd, then I am surprised Semin was not next. I guess people think he may be the odd amn our at contract time. Then Green and Varly. I think most people expect him to be here for a long time playing at a high level, but goalies are always a shakey proposition. Afte that it is a crap shoot. I guess Laiche being a close friend of Green helps him. If Flash signs a contract extension and keeps improving as he has the last few years he will soon be in the top 5 as well.

Posted by: dbrine1261 | January 19, 2010 10:18 AM | Report abuse

I have Erskine and Jurcina. I figure I'll break down and get a Backstrom olympic jersey this year.

PS If anyone wants to sell me an Ivan Majesky sweater for cheap, I'm your guy!

Posted by: false_cause | January 19, 2010 10:28 AM | Report abuse

Don't discount fans' wariness of purchasing a sweater that says "SEMIN" on the back of it. That said, I would've guessed that 28 was in the top five. I like the Laich love, though. (Say that five times fast.)

Posted by: Scott_in_Shaw | January 19, 2010 10:29 AM | Report abuse

Wow, false_cause. You should head to pro shop and see if they'll make you a Mironov or maybe a Kwiatkowski.

Posted by: HowdyDCU | January 19, 2010 10:38 AM | Report abuse

I'm pretty Sure Scott_In_Shaw's analysis of this sticky subject is correct.

Seems like an interesting question for further Bog investigation- just how bad are sales of the 28 sweater?

Posted by: Fozzie1 | January 19, 2010 10:56 AM | Report abuse

I don't know. I'm saving up for an Ivan Ciernik.

Posted by: false_cause | January 19, 2010 10:59 AM | Report abuse

Mine's a Backstrom jersey.

Posted by: JohninMpls | January 19, 2010 11:02 AM | Report abuse

I do my best to support the supporting cast. I have a Steckel jersey and Knuble and Varlamov T-shirts (not to mention a Sloan Hersey Bears T-shirt). I also have a Brashear jersey but don't feel comfortable wearing it since he's with the Rangers now. Maybe after he retires, then it will be "old school."

Posted by: slowser | January 19, 2010 11:02 AM | Report abuse

I'm with your friend Steve (which makes me a little sad, since he is a Rangers fan) concerning the correlation between gear purchase and fan-base strength. The amount of Caps gear available in general now is nice compared to just a couple seasons ago. However, there is a lack of variety within the abundance. There is an entire team (even beyond Green and Backstrom). I'll confess that I'm I am a nose-in-the-air sort of fan, but I'd say 70-80% of the current "fan"base will not be here at some point in the future when the team (eventually) struggles a little. And all that Ovechkin gear will go missing too.

Posted by: marigold13 | January 19, 2010 11:03 AM | Report abuse

I don't know if the superstar to other jersey ratio has more to do with a weak fanbase or the awesomeness of Ovechkin... I mean he is a superstar that is so sweet that he literally gives you know other choice but to buy his jersey. His has to be the first jersey purchased by any fan, no?

Posted by: nford2 | January 19, 2010 11:04 AM | Report abuse

false_cause -- you could save a few bucks on letting and get a Jason Doig jersey. I know I'd be jealous.

Posted by: Jeff_ | January 19, 2010 11:04 AM | Report abuse

stein, tell your boy steve, that empty seats and unsold tickets are a sign of fanbase weakness, not wearing the jersey of your favorite player.

you might remind him that, unlike the rags, the caps went through a major redesign of their jerseys a few years back, including color and design. as a result, fans plunked down their cash for the new jerseys. fan weakness would be wearing your ron duguay rags jersey for the 300th straight time because you cant think of another ranger who's name you'd want on your back. i'm willing to bet there are a fair number of messier jerseys to be seen at msg. worse yet, gretzky blues.

caps fans i'm sure are tired of plunking down cash for a jagr or jim carrey jersey only to see that player leave in two years. no chance anyone else wears number 8 ever, so it's a safe bet.

if the rags ever had a player who was far and above the best player not only on their team but in the league, i'm sure that MSG would be full of them.

stupid argument that smacks of jealousy...

Posted by: dcsportsfan1 | January 19, 2010 11:05 AM | Report abuse

I've worn a Semin jersey for a couple of years now, so I guess I'm helping the team. :^)

Posted by: ccCapsfan | January 19, 2010 11:19 AM | Report abuse

Any chance I can get a Boudreau jersey? Not a Leafs jersey but there has to be something I can wear to support the coach. I'd really rather not wear a suit -- any other suggestions?

Posted by: dino_ciccarelli_fan | January 19, 2010 11:27 AM | Report abuse

When a jersey costs as much as $380 for an authentic why would anyone not buy the guy with the ten year contract extension?

Posted by: tylerdurden1 | January 19, 2010 11:28 AM | Report abuse

Hmmmm in our household:
Backstrom
Ovechkin
Semin
Federov
Lepisto
Clark

So I'd say we spread the love around to supporting crew..even though some have been traded and/or moved on.

Posted by: hawk1009 | January 19, 2010 11:36 AM | Report abuse

I've got my Semin jersey sitting next to my Joe juneau, Craig Berube, Jim Carey, Jaromir Jagr, Rick Tochett and Pat Peak jersies.

Go Andrew Brunette!

Posted by: sa11231 | January 19, 2010 11:50 AM | Report abuse

Erskine here. If Chimera keeps playing at this pace, he will be my next...

Posted by: AreYouKiddingMe1 | January 19, 2010 12:12 PM | Report abuse

I wear my black Calle Johansson #6 with pride.

Posted by: arnoldturner | January 19, 2010 12:33 PM | Report abuse

While there are no official stats on such a thing, from what I've seen in other teams around the league, it would seem the Caps have a large group of custom-named jerseys by comparison.
So maybe that's where the diversity comes from since a lot of fans who have some years on them aren't wearing the old colors.

(Walking around the concourse, while I'll see Hunter, Kolzig, Bondra, Ciccarelli, Iafrate, Witt, Ridley, Stevens and the like, I'll also see MVP, God, Jizz, Unleash, Fury, Goat etc too.)

Posted by: Grooven | January 19, 2010 12:37 PM | Report abuse

I've worn my Matt Bradley jersey to every game this year. The Pride of Stittsville.

Posted by: GMB73 | January 19, 2010 12:44 PM | Report abuse

Don't forget they recently overhauled the jerseys after the disasterous black and blue years. People naturally went for Ovechkin as the team's biggest star at the time.

That said, I have a Green jersey.

Posted by: VAPuck | January 19, 2010 12:45 PM | Report abuse

@dino_ciccarelli_fan , we bought my mom a personalized BB jersey for her birthday last year, using the # 00. Yeah, I know that belongs to Slapshot, but it works, and she loves it :)

Posted by: gumball83 | January 19, 2010 12:49 PM | Report abuse

@hawk1009 - I hope you didn't spend too much money on the 91 sweater with the misspelled name ;-)

Posted by: Scott_in_Shaw | January 19, 2010 12:50 PM | Report abuse

i have a custom CAPS jersey that reads CROSBY

Posted by: sa11231 | January 19, 2010 12:52 PM | Report abuse

@dcsportsfan1 "stein, tell your boy steve, that empty seats and unsold tickets are a sign of fanbase weakness, not wearing the jersey of your favorite player."

You mean like the empty seats and unsold tickets the Caps experienced not four years ago when the team sucked? Yeah, that's definitely a sign of fan-base weakness, and the Caps have one of the weakest.

The jersey thing is true, too. Go to the arena of a more established franchise and you'll see jerseys from nearly all players on the home team's roster, including the backup goalie and the enforcer.

Four years ago, I was at Fado before the Sabres took on the Caps. A guy walked in with a Caps jersey on and he got booed. He was the only Caps jersey amidst a sea of Sabres sweaters.

It's not to take anything away from the Caps -- they're a great team and it looks like it will stay that way for a while. Still, when the team eventually heads back to the bottom of the Eastern Conference standings, the attendance will suffer a precipitous drop, too.

Posted by: Incredulous2 | January 19, 2010 12:54 PM | Report abuse

Intresting. I wonder how much those rankings would change if you took into consideration local store sales? Maybe all the die hard Semin and Green fans are suburbanites and do their shopping at Dicks or Modells? PS. I would venture to bet most Laich jerseys are sold to ladies (Just an observation).

Posted by: zalesmc | January 19, 2010 12:58 PM | Report abuse

20 years ago very few people were wearing caps jerseys or any jerseys to a game. just look at older pictures where you can see fans in the background ie yearbooks, calendars, media guides.Now it seems like 70 percent are wearing jerseys, with a small percentage of that wearing game worn jerseys as well.I don't think anyone should question fans on their jersey choice. And since i wear a different game worn jersey to each game (65 and growing), i really could care less what anyone thinks of my choices whether they be current style, most recent style, old school, minor league, or baltimore, or whatever else is populating my closets at home.

Posted by: colezig37 | January 19, 2010 1:09 PM | Report abuse

Pathetic argument to claim that fans are weak because most people have Ovie jerseys. Is support for golf weak because most new fans (i.e., anyone under 30) root for Tiger? Were Bulls fans a sorry lot because they all had Jordan jerseys?

Ovie is the best player in the world and the type of player that comes around in a sport once per generation. Of course most people will buy his jersey, me included. How does that make for weak fans? It doesn't. It's an argument made either out of jealousy or by an old grizzly hockey die-hard who doesn't appreciate people that are new to the sport and "didn't suffer during the bad times."

Get over it and embrace the fact that Ovie and the current Capitals team are creating a new generation of diehard Caps fans with every under 15 kid that is now watching them, and wearing an Ovie jersey.

Posted by: Section104 | January 19, 2010 1:09 PM | Report abuse

I have an old school Hunter in white (which had been Scott Stevens and Reggie Savage before they left), and a Varly in the new skool red.

My son has Theodore and, wait for it, Mathieu Perrault! Damn good five games around his birthday killed me. Hope he's back soon.

Posted by: WebberDC | January 19, 2010 1:09 PM | Report abuse

@section104 "Get over it and embrace the fact that Ovie and the current Capitals team are creating a new generation of diehard Caps fans with every under 15 kid that is now watching them, and wearing an Ovie jersey."

I'll get over it when I see you in the stands when the team is in last place. I'm guessing I won't see you there.

"Is support for golf weak because most new fans (i.e., anyone under 30) root for Tiger? Were Bulls fans a sorry lot because they all had Jordan jerseys?"

Yes. And Yes.

Posted by: Incredulous2 | January 19, 2010 1:11 PM | Report abuse

It's fun to watch other teams' fans whine about the "weakness of our fan base" or whatever. Often times they even have anecdotal evidence to back it up!

I just love it because it stinks of jealousy. At this point, that's all they got, and I use their sweet, sweet tears for fuel..

Posted by: VTDuffman | January 19, 2010 1:11 PM | Report abuse

"I'll get over it when I see you in the stands when the team is in last place. I'm guessing I won't see you there."

---

Who is your team, Incredulous? I couldn't help but notice you didn't volunteer that bit of information.

I'm sure I could *never* go back in your teams history and find a drop off in performance that correlates to a drop off in attendance...

Posted by: VTDuffman | January 19, 2010 1:13 PM | Report abuse

Perhaps DC denizens figured out that wearing the jersey of anyone with a short-term contract means that in a year or so you'll be wearing the name of another team's player. If I ever buy a jersey it'll have my own name on it.
New Yorkers of course know everything, so keep that in mind.

Posted by: pgeagle | January 19, 2010 1:34 PM | Report abuse

@VTDuffman My team is the Sabres. You'd have a hard time finding a drop off in fans anytime since 1970.

http://www.sabresfans.com/Attendance.asp

Posted by: Incredulous2 | January 19, 2010 1:53 PM | Report abuse

@VTduffman Jealousy, eh? Have you checked the standings?

Posted by: Incredulous2 | January 19, 2010 1:54 PM | Report abuse

Three years ago, I was in a bar in Buffalo; I booed every person that walked in the door- because I was in Buffalo.

Posted by: jamesacarroll | January 19, 2010 1:55 PM | Report abuse

Due to the current CBA, contracts matter when it comes to fan purchases. My mom wants a Bradley jersey, but she doesn't want to spend that kind of money on the jersey of a player who might not be with the team in a few years.

Posted by: JohninMpls | January 19, 2010 1:56 PM | Report abuse

Gee, Dan....

Since my "episode" during last years playoffs with the Rangers, I have purchased signed Ovechkin and Backstom Jerseys that are now proudly hanging on my game room wall. I'm thinkin' I should buy one that has "Beer Chucker" on the back since I'm gonna be back there for a game in April. Good stuff....Fun article....

Ron (the gray-haired bearded man in the white t-shirt)

Posted by: carsonblues | January 19, 2010 2:05 PM | Report abuse

While these numbers are ranked in order of how the sales have been this season, I think if you were to do a count at a particular game (not that you would want to), I think Semin would be high up there. His jerseys might not be selling much this year due to longevity uncertainty and other players emerging this year and last, he has definitely been one of the more popular jersey purchases over the last four seasons besides OV. I actually see more Semin jerseys than Laich at games, but that may soon change if the sales keep the same trends.

Posted by: TheRealDuffman | January 19, 2010 2:06 PM | Report abuse

@VTDuffman My team is the Sabres. You'd have a hard time finding a drop off in fans anytime since 1970.

Really now?
1995-96
League Average 15,986
Buffalo Sabres 13,848

2002-03
League Average 16,591
Buffalo Sabres 13,776

Both of which followed less than stellar performances in previous year. Taht only took about 5 minutes of looking.

Posted by: goldgun003 | January 19, 2010 2:23 PM | Report abuse

^^ should be @Incredulous2

Posted by: goldgun003 | January 19, 2010 2:24 PM | Report abuse

Sabres

2003: 27-37-10, avg. attendance 13,776 - 27th out of 30 in the NHL

2004: 37-34-7, avg attendance 15,290 - 20th out of 30 in the NHL

I didn't even have to go back 5 years to prove my point. So, I'm sorry you were saying?

Posted by: VTDuffman | January 19, 2010 2:28 PM | Report abuse

And yeah, I checked the standings. Not only do the caps have more points than the Sabres, they are 2 and 1 against them this year.

Again, you were saying?

Posted by: VTDuffman | January 19, 2010 2:32 PM | Report abuse

The Buffalo/Toronto Bills? Yuk Yuk Yuk.

Posted by: jamesacarroll | January 19, 2010 2:37 PM | Report abuse

@vtduffman "And yeah, I checked the standings. Not only do the caps have more points than the Sabres, they are 2 and 1 against them this year. Again, you were saying?"

The Sabres are in first place in the Eastern Conference. The Caps and the Sabres have 66 points -- but the Sabres have a game in hand.

Posted by: Incredulous2 | January 19, 2010 2:45 PM | Report abuse

@vtduffman Furthermore, in this "renaissance" for the Capitals, they were still behind the Sabres last year.

Posted by: Incredulous2 | January 19, 2010 2:48 PM | Report abuse

"Furthermore, in this "renaissance" for the Capitals, they were still behind the Sabres last year."

---

In attendance? No kidding. You have a bigger barn than we do. Sold out is the best we can do, and 18,227 (or whatever) is the best we can do.

You're missing the point though. I wasn't comparing Buffalo's attendance to Washington's. *You* were trying to assert that attendance dropoffs were unique to the WAS fanbase, and *Not* a behavior exhibited by the fanbase of your particular team of choice.

5 seconds of googling proved you completely wrong on that, and your move to attendance comparisons was predictable. Buffalo fans are "fairweather" just like Caps fans, and the numbers back this up.

You would be wise to gracefully accept defeat and leave the thread. KTHXBYE

Posted by: VTDuffman | January 19, 2010 2:53 PM | Report abuse

1995-96 was the year after the lockout. Attendance was down significantly league-wide.

So the Sabres' worst year, in a small market town, is 20th out of 30 teams? What's the Caps, in a major market?

Posted by: Incredulous2 | January 19, 2010 2:59 PM | Report abuse

"So the Sabres' worst year, in a small market town, is 20th out of 30 teams? What's the Caps, in a major market?"
---

Read much?

The Sabres' worst attendance is 27th out of 30.

Why are you continuing to press this issue? It has been proven that your teams' fans are equally as "fairweather" as ours. At worst, they could be classified as "ever so slightly less fairweather" than ours.

But, you came in here pretending that BUF fans were all hardcore, and would NEVER stop going to games when the team is no good.

This has been disproven usings these things called "facts." Please accept it. You are starting to look pathetic.

Posted by: VTDuffman | January 19, 2010 3:06 PM | Report abuse

@VTduffman These are our worst years. Please provide the Capitals' worst years for attendance. I surmise that they are far worse. I don't have time to search for Capitals attendance numbers whilst I do my job. Got one?

Posted by: Incredulous2 | January 19, 2010 3:12 PM | Report abuse

oh, the good old days of Cap fandom: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/11/05/AR2005110500917.html

Posted by: Incredulous2 | January 19, 2010 3:16 PM | Report abuse

Washington Capitals
01-02: 16,493 (36-33)
02-03: 15,787 (39-29)
03-04: 14,720 (23-46)
05-06: 13,905 (29-41)
06-07: 13,929 (28-40)
07-08: 15,472 (43-31)
08-09: 18,097 (50-24)

Correlate much?

Posted by: Incredulous2 | January 19, 2010 3:24 PM | Report abuse

"These are our worst years. Please provide the Capitals' worst years for attendance. I surmise that they are far worse. I don't have time to search for Capitals attendance numbers whilst I do my job. Got one?"

---

What point are you *not* getting? PLease be specific. I am NOT comparing attendance between WAS and BUF....

I am contesting your point that Buffalo fans do not drop off in attendance when the team performs poorly. A quick google shows that this is indeed the case, and when the Sabres perform poorly, attendance drops off.

Therefore, you were wrong. Your fans are equally as "fairweather" as ours. The numbers back this up.

Also, for the record, over he last 10 years, BUF's lowest attendance of 13,776 was lower than WAS's 13,905. This is not a significant difference. All these numbers do is *FURTHER* back up my point that your fans are equally as fairweather as ours.

Come on, you came in here talking smack about "fandom," and didn't bother to do your homework before running your mouth. You've now been smacked down with actual facts over and over again.

Again, there is something to be said about making a graceful exit.

Posted by: VTDuffman | January 19, 2010 3:28 PM | Report abuse

There's only one replica I'd buy (I have multiple jerseys) and that would be a Sidney Crosby minor league jersey.

Posted by: gbooksdc | January 19, 2010 7:32 PM | Report abuse

I have a few with names, but I always wear jerseys without names to games. I prefer supporting teams instead of players at games. I'm like that with all sports although I occasionally will bring out a personalized jersey for a special occasion. For example, I had a Jaime Moreno jersey when was taking the all-time MLS goal scoring lead.

Posted by: sitruc | January 19, 2010 10:11 PM | Report abuse

Does this include tshirts also? I'd have thought green at #2. personally, I go with 8 and 19.

I don't think Semin has the best name to be wearing on your back. I like the guy, just sayin.

Posted by: AdamCr | January 19, 2010 10:51 PM | Report abuse

@dbrine1261 - Laich is very popular among the female fan contingency.

Also - I wish Semyon Varlamov (Семён Варламов) had been around when Alexander Semin (Александр Сёмин) first started with the league. Note the ё letter? That's "yo" - so "Semin" should really be transliterated "Syomin".

Much more acceptable, yes?

Posted by: irockthered | January 20, 2010 8:49 AM | Report abuse

Wow , I would've never though Semin was not in the first 5... very surprised Varly was in.

Posted by: guer_j | January 20, 2010 9:42 AM | Report abuse

I'm pretty proud of my Quintin Laing jersey.

Posted by: GMUCAPS | January 20, 2010 11:13 AM | Report abuse

"caps fans i'm sure are tired of plunking down cash for a jagr or jim carrey jersey only to see that player leave in two years. no chance anyone else wears number 8 ever, so it's a safe bet.
Posted by: dcsportsfan1 | January 19, 2010 11:05 AM"

Very astute observation. When my wife and I went out to buy jerseys a few years ago, that was our thinking exactly. We came back with a 19 and a 52 in the firm belief that these two players would be around for a while. Glad I didn't get a 17.

Posted by: Wiley_One1 | January 20, 2010 12:55 PM | Report abuse

Hmm I would of guessed in order: Ovie, Green, Backie, Semin, Brooks...

I'm a college kid, currently, and mine is one of Brooksie. I looked at the roster when I bought my new red one(I had a Black and Gold Kolzig one from my childhood) and I said "hmm I could go with what everyone wants, the superstars, or someone a little less known." At the time I was between Federov(because he's such a classic player, and a damn good one) and Laich (because on many other teams a 20goal 50 points getter would be a lesser star and not a guy fighting to be in the top 6 every night). Ultimately I knew Feds only had 1 year and might not come back and I'd rather invest in a Jersey I knew would be there for a while to come.

So count me in at no 5!

Posted by: breaklance | January 20, 2010 2:25 PM | Report abuse

Let's not forget something important here. Ovechkin is signed on for a decade. If you're going to drop $150 for a jersey, wouldn't it be nice to know that you wouldn't have to do it again next season, or the year after that?

As posted above - your first jersey HAS to be an 8. After that, if you have the cash to keep going, then you go for a Backstrom, or a Green.

BTW, Green probably isn't 2nd because so many folks got his sweater last year.

Posted by: GrimReefa | January 20, 2010 8:27 PM | Report abuse

@ hawk1009

Hmmmm in our household:
Backstrom
Ovechkin
Semin
Federov
Lepisto
Clark
----------
LOL @ the "Federov". Be careful wearing that in public... might end up on the yahoo jersey fouls page!!!

Posted by: fricknoutstandin | January 25, 2010 1:35 PM | Report abuse

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