Andre Carter hits the road with the Caps
I've gotten accustomed to seeing D.C. hockey players at college basketball games and NFL games and MLS games, D.C. NFL players at hockey games and golf tournaments and NBA games, D.C. NBA players at baseball games and WNBA games and boxing fights. No big deal.
This, though, is a new one: a Redskins player embarking on a two-state, three-day, two-game road trip with the Caps.
"Love my Caps," Andre Carter wrote on Twitter, by way of explanation.
Ok, it's a bit more complicated than that. Carter's three-year old son, Quincy, transformed into something of a hockey fanatic after the 2010 Winter Olympics, when he became fixated on the sport. Carter -- who lives in the Bay Area in the offseason -- took Quincy to a Sharks game that winter, and it was all over. Kid loves hockey. Like, more than football.
Then there's the friendship between Carter's wife and Jeff Schultz's girlfriend, which came out of a charity event the two did together in the D.C. area. That led to the two men trading tickets to home games, and the two couples having weekly lunches, and a cover shot for Hail! Magazine, with Schultz in a Skins helmet and Carter holding a hockey stick.
And so, when Carter looked online and saw that the Caps were going on a West Coast swing in February, he figured why not. Phoenix was just a one-hour flight away. Anaheim was easy. The family was going to wrap things up with Thursday night's game in San Jose, but "we were a little too burnt out," Carter told me over the phone. "We're getting too old, not too much energy left."
The Coyotes game was a loss, of course, although Quincy ran into Alex Ovechkin in the team hotel and got a fist bump. The Ducks trip, though, was a huge success. For one thing, there were Caps fans everywhere, and they appreciated Quincy's handmade half-Schultz, half-Erskine creation, which includes both men's names and numbers. For another, they visited with both Erskine and Schultz after the game, when little Quincy attempted to impress Erskine by punching daddy. And then there was the insane 7-6 Caps win, which Carter celebrated by lifting his son into the air as Quincy shook his crazy jersey.
"Goal!!!!!!! Kiss my grits ducks," Carter tweeted during the game. "Good fight John. Knock his head off!!!!!!" Carter wrote during an Erskine fight. "Hat trick!!!!!!!!!" he wrote after Alex Semin notched the game winner.
"I didn't have a hat with me, or I would have thrown my hat in," Carter told me. "By far one of the most exciting games I've ever attended."
He said a few Caps fans recognized him and asked for photos, but he really wasn't there to think or talk about the Redskins.
"It was all about hockey man," he explained. "The football season's over."
And, of course, Carter's tenure in D.C. could be over as well. The pass rusher has said many times that he's better suited for a 4-3 formation, and after the past season he said he'd be surprised if he comes back to Washington. Which begs the question, will he still be a Caps fan if he's no longer a D.C. athlete?
"Of course. Of course. Of course," Carter said. "One, they're a great team to watch. And I've had an opportunity to meet some of the players. Of course I'll remain a fan....Being around fans, there's a lot of love man, a lot of unity. So much camaraderie going on. It was great, being there in Anaheim and seeing the Caps win."
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