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PITTSBURGH – Todd Elling paraded through the concourse at PPG Paints Arena in Pittsburgh during Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Final, standing out in the sea of black and gold by wearing a bright blue jackets and red pants.
On his white shirt, a message:
In his hand was a large sign with black letters:
CAPS FAN TURNS PENS FAN
“We never win! Ever! That’s how we do! That’s how DC does!” said Elling, 37, as he posed for pictures with appreciative Penguins fans, like a politician who crossed the aisle and attended his political opponents’ convention.
Did he lose a bet?
“No, I didn’t. I’m just exercising my Constitutional rights,” he told Yahoo Sports.
Elling, a personal injury attorney, has been a Capitals fan since he was seven years old in Washington, D.C. He attended Game 6 of their series against the Pittsburgh Penguins, and left on a high back to D.C. for Game 7, where … well, like many Capitals fans, he was crushed.
And this was apparently the last straw. He’s turned in his Capitals card and has thrown his support to the Penguins, to the chuckling delight of the fans at Game 5. For now, at least.
The focus of much of his ire is Alex Ovechkin.
“Look, it’s not that Ovechkin is a bad player. He’s a great player. The problem is that he’s not a leader. And because he’s not a leader, you have the Washington Capitals doing everything they can to buy a Stanley Cup for the last decade plus, and it’s not happening. It’s not happening because Ovechkin can’t lead the team. Just don’t put the ‘C’ on him.”
Is this an Ovechkin specific protest?
“It’s an Ovechkin protest and it’s a Capitals protest, until they trade Ovechkin,” he said of Ovechkin, who suffered a leg injury in the previous round of the playoffs and was demoted to the third line by coach Barry Tortz against Pittsburgh. “We’re gonna blame an injury? Is that what we’re doing? And if we’re gonna blame an injury, coach Trotz … why would you have him out there if he’s so injured.”
So is he done with the Capitals?
“Right now I’m a Penguins fan,” said Elling.
But at the beginning of next season, is he a Capitals fan or a Penguins fan?
“Will Ovechkin be on the team?”
Let’s say he is.
“No, then I won’t be a Caps fan. I’ll be a Penguins fan.”
And with that he snapped a few more pictures with his new friends in Pittsburgh, as they clear room on the bandwagon for a Capitals fan now longer rocking the red. Well, expect on his pants.
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