It is 8/19 day Washington Capitals fans! A day to celebrate the best bond in all of hockey of the brotherhood of Alex Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom. From the moment Ovechkin announced Backstrom’s selection in the 2006 NHL Draft, the two have become inseparable and it showed in the 2007-08 season when the two shared the ice for the first time.
This year is extra special because now we know the two will finish out their careers together granted Backstrom’s contract ends a year earlier than Ovechkin’s. Backstrom said at the time of his draft selection on Ovechkin:
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"“He’s a great player. I love this guy. It was amazing. He has good speed and is a goal scorer. Maybe we can do it together. I can be a playmaker to him.”"
Both players are the only two players in franchise history to play 1,000 career games, all with the Capitals. Backstrom achieved the feat to seal their fate back in April. But the best achievement the two made didn’t come on the stat sheet despite how many times they connected. The biggest one came in 2018 when the team finally broke through and won the Stanley Cup.
Ovechkin and Backstrom embraced on the ice and Ovechkin told him, “after me I give it to you baby.” Sure enough the two lifted the Stanley Cup together. They even hoisted it after landing back in D.C. A few weeks later at the NHL Awards in Las Vegas, they jumped around with the Stanley Cup in the fountains of the Bellagio.
One of the biggest signs of their bromance came during Backstrom’s contract extension. Backstrom approached Ted Leonsis and Brian MacLellan with a plan on what both players need to do in order for Ovechkin to break Wayne Gretzky’s record. It was a sign that he was a true team player.
We are lucky we get to watch Ovechkin and Backstrom for at least four more years. Maybe Backstrom inks a one year deal so the two can finish their careers together. It’s only fitting that if Ovechkin were to break the record, Backstrom would be the one setting him up. It would be poetic.
August isn’t the best month on the hockey calendar but at least us Caps fans have two holidays. There’s 8/8 to celebrate Alex Ovechkin and then there’s today, 8/19 to celebrate the inseparable bond of Alex Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom. They’re simply the best duo in hockey.