There was a lot of eye-candy on display last night at Teatro Goldoni, a rather elegant restaurant on K Street here in D.C.
The Hart Trophy. The Art Ross. The Pearson. The Richard Trophy. Something called a "Hart-tini." Alexander Ovechkin's Dolce and Gabbana belt buckle. And more than a few absolutely stunning women; to the point where a conversation between a few red-blooded American males is interrupted by a simultaneous "whoa" followed by a simultaneous "yeah" before finishing with a "what were we talking about again?"
One of those women at the party, thrown by the Washington Capitals with Capitol File magazine in Ovechkin's honor, was also on Ovie's arm at the NHL Awards on Thursday night: Elena Alyonka Larionov, the daughter of Russian hockey icon Igor Larionov. She's an aspiring singer who tried out for "American Idol" and earned a "golden ticket" at auditions in Omaha.
Japers' Rink has a bunch more on Larionov, asking if Ovechkin is planning on a "wonder spawn." Like I said last night: If he and Elena Alyonka Larionov reproduce, the world will finally be blessed with an Ovechkin that can never be accused of not passing the puck enough.
The night was Ovechkin's, and he was reveling in it. Hell, the day was Ovechkin's too, starting with his receiving the key to the city from Mayor Adrian Fenty and telling the crowd, "I have a key for the city. And I'm the president this day in the city, so everybody have fun - and no speed limit."
Washington Capitals owner Ted Leonsis gave a nice tribute to his star player at the party last night, reminding the crowd that Ovechkin remains dedicated to bringing the Stanley Cup to the District and about what he means to the city. "It's a long, long time since Washington D.C. had a most valuable player for a professional sports league. The last was Joe Theismann, I believe, in 1982," he said.
Before the party got really swinging, I had a few words with Ovechkin about the NHL Awards, the launch of his streetwear label and hockey in general.
He didn't watch but one game of the Stanley Cup finals, which is pretty much in keeping with every other player I've ever asked about watching the finals. In Ovechkin's case, seeing the Russians and Crosby play on the stage he hauled ass to try and reach probably wasn't high on his to-do list.
Remember that stunning brunette that modeled his streetwear? Yeah, he's got no clue who she is either, as she was hired for the event without any Ovie input. Not that he minded. "That was nice. She was hot," he said. Meanwhile, Japers and I debated whether Streetwear Babe was more Mini-Angelina or Mini-Megan Fox.
When told he finished ninth in voting for the Lady Byng, Ovechkin made it clear he doesn't fancy himself a "gentlemanly" player. I then told him that there was only one voter from the Professional Hockey Writers Association that didn't have him on their Hart Trophy ballot. I asked if he had any suspects. "Maybe Tarik?" he said, a joking reference to Tarik El-Bashir of the Washington Post.
(Tarik told me that that the Washington Post actually has a policy against their writers voting for awards that could, in theory, give athletes they cover bonuses. So cross him off the list.)
As for his amusing but self-conscious speech at the NHL Awards, Ovechkin said "it was my mistake to read it (off the paper). It's better if I just say it. All I have to do is say thanks." There you go: Next season, Ovie's free-stylin'.
I noted the Hart Trophy over in the corner and asked him if it was heavy. Ovechkin said it definitely was heavier than he'd thought it would be, and told me that I could hold it if I wanted to.
I declined, telling him that I was sure touching the trophy would jinx any chance of me winning the award in the coming years ...
It was a killer good time last night, so thanks to the Caps and Capitol File for that. Hart-tinis (MVP tastes like orange liqueur). Celebrity sightings, like former Georgetown basketball coach John Thompson; former Capitals like Rod Langway and Peter Bondra; the aforementioned bevy of rather amazing women in rather adventurous cocktail dresses.
And yours truly, Japers, Mike "Ordered Chaos" Rucki of On Frozen Blog, Tarik El-Bashir of The Washington Post, Corey Masisak from the Washington Times and Brian McNally of The Examiner finding a nice quiet corner to have a drink (or 10) and talk hockey. Even if many of our conversations were interrupted by a simultaneous "whoa" followed by a simultaneous "yeah" before finishing with a "what were we talking about again?"