Rookie hazing is the topic of the week. I’m going to try not to write about every local player who talks about it, but four Caps players were asked about it in the last two days, so it seems like a good reason to post about it.

Alex Ovechkin, when asked, said he’s not a fan of hazing practices.

“I don’t think it’s fair,” he said, via Caps Insider. “If you play three years in the league or two years in the league, and you go and tell the guy who just came to the league, ‘All right, you’re a rookie.’ I don’t think it’s fair. It’s stupid.”

Brooks Laich, in a chat with the Junkies on 106.7 The Fan on Wednesday, said that hazing doesn’t really exist in the NHL.

“In hockey, the hazing stuff in our sport has been removed,” said Laich. “That’s stuff of the ’70s and ’80s. But that stuff has been completely removed. The only tradition we have in our sport is called the rookie dinner, where on the road we all go out for a nice meal and the rookies split the meal three or four ways. And the guys get to have nice wine, or whatever. You have steak and a seafood tower. So you eat well, you eat like a king, but the rookies pick up the tab. That’s the only thing we have for rookies in our sport.”

Joel Ward, on the Junkies on Monday, confirmed the rookie dinner tradition, but said it doesn’t come close to the amount of money allegedly paid out by Jonathan Martin in Miami.

“My year I had to pay, like, eight grand,” he said.  “It was divided between three or four of us at the time.”

As for excessive abuse, Laich said that would never happen in the Caps locker room, thanks to good leadership.

“That all comes from who governs the room,” he said. “In our locker room, guys wouldn’t permit that to happen. It wouldn’t happen because we have good people governing the locker room, some of our veteran leaders.”

One of the veterans Laich named was Troy Brouwer, and in a call with Holden and Danny on 106.7, Brouwer explained.

“I’ve never been in a situation where anyone was made to feel uncomfortable,” he said. “There’s always going to be a little bit of razzing and having fun with the guys. But once it goes to a point where you’re making a guy feel uncomfortable in the workplace, then it’s unacceptable. Whether it’s in a hockey locker room or in an office, it should be the same atmosphere and the same respect toward people.”

Brouwer went on to talk about the rookie dinner, and explained that there’s usually a cap that gets put on the bill, and if it goes over the veteran guys usually throw in on the check.

“They’re professionals and deserve to be treated with respect,” he said of the rookies.

Laich agreed that the teams tries to keep things reasonable.

“We’ve got good people in the locker room that aren’t going to let stuff get carried away,” he said. “Maybe it happens in football. I can’t speak for it, I’m not there. But in our locker room, that wouldn’t happen.”



Martell Webster on the Wizards’ first win:

“Finally. We got a lot expectations for ourselves, that we hold ourselves accountable for in this locker room. It’s about time. We’re happy, but really, we should be, maybe, 3-1, right now? Yeah, we should be 3-1.”
He was told there would be wizards.


John Wall’s got blocks.

It’s Minnesota night! Redskins at Vikings, 8:25 p.m. on NFL Network, WRC (Channel 4). Wild at Caps, 7 p.m. on Comcast SportsNet. All TV/Radio listings here.
This story about the Toronto media corps explaining the Rob Ford situation to LeBron James is quite entertaining.
The Nats are holding an Instagram contest, involving a cutout Abe and your favorite holiday place to be. Details here.