Alex Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom were peering around a door connecting the Capitals' locker room to a players-only area on the other side, looking mischievously in the area where rookie center Marcus Johansson shortly would be speaking to the media following the team's morning practice at KCI. Indications were they had something planned for Johansson's 20th birthday.
When the first-round pick in last year's draft walked into the locker room and began taking questions, Ovechkin emerged from an entrance behind Johansson and presented his face with a towel covered in shaving cream.
"Happy birthday," Ovechkin said, laughing.
Johansson needed a few moments to recover from the ambush, but not even shaving cream in his eyes could diminish the good news he received yesterday about making the opening-day roster. Johansson, who won two medals with Sweden in the World Junior Championships and was captain of this year's team that won the bronze, beat out Mathieu Perreault for one of the final roster spots.
"Not too bad, actually," Johansson said when asked if his pupils were stinging. "I think I had time to close my eyes before, but my ear is pretty full."
Meantime, forward Andrew Gordon, who did not make the final roster, cleared waivers and is eligible to be called up from Hershey without being subjected to re-entry waivers. Gordon could be recalled and sent down until he spends 10 games or 30 days in the NHL, at which point he would have to go through waivers again.