What do you do when you’re a Stanley Cup winner with a day to spare between a weekend-long celebratory bender and your team’s victory parade? Why, you take a quick trip to New York to go on “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon,” of course!
Well, not all of the Capitals made an appearance on the late-night show Monday, but two of their most noteworthy members did, and Alex Ovechkin and Braden Holtby were only too happy to help Fallon recreate the Russian star’s Saturday keg stand in which he slurped some beer from the Cup. Jockey Mike Smith, fresh off riding Justify to just the 13th Triple Crown in horse racing history, was also on hand to join the festivities.
Coming on stage after segments with guests Jim Parsons and Marlon Wayans, both Ovechkin and Holtby were dressed casually for their appearance, the former in a gray, zippered hoodie with a Nike T-shirt underneath and the latter in a denim jacket that looked far more natty in comparison. Fallon introduced them by showing some clips from the Caps’ Cup-sealing Game 5 triumph against the Golden Knights, including Ovechkin’s goal and Devante Smith-Pelly’s remarkable effort that tied the game in the third period.
Once the pair were ensconced on the couch, Fallon produced a copy of Sports Illustrated that showed a grinning Ovechkin with the Cup on its cover. Describing it as “something pretty cool,” Ovi then got a laugh by adding, “Good-looking guy, why not?”
Ovechkin, who set a team record with 15 playoff goals and won the Conn Smythe Trophy as the NHL’s postseason MVP, was asked if he felt “relieved to finally win the Stanley Cup” after 13 years in the league. “Yeah, you work so hard to get this moment, that when you reach this moment, you still can’t believe it,” he replied.
Fallon then mentioned seeing “videos of you guys celebrating nonstop — which you should.” He also congratulated Ovechkin on getting married and “expecting a child,” saying, “It’s a great year to be you.”
The host pivoted to Holtby, offering admiring words for the puck-stopping prowess of the goalie, who notched a 2.16 goals against average in the playoffs, with a .922 save percentage and two shutouts. Fielding a question about coping with pressure, Holtby cracked Fallon up by saying, “I usually just close my eyes and hope for the best.”
Holtby did not specify whether that was his approach to The Save in Game 2 of the finals, but he was quickly on to a discussion of his mother, who Fallon described as “a famous country singer in Canada.” The goalie added his father, a former goaltender in the World Hockey League, in saying with a chuckle, “They always laugh, as the years go on, they get more and more famous, and better.”
Fallon returned to the topic of the team’s marathon victory party, showing a clip of Ovechkin and some teammates frolicking Saturday in a fountain at the Georgetown waterfront. “Here’s what I like about, is that you’re celebrating with the fans — you’re not, like, on a yacht somewhere,” he said.
That provided a nice segue to Fallon saying, “I heard that you brought the Stanley Cup, and we might have a drink out of it.” Ovechkin said, “Let’s do it,” as they walked over to the famed trophy, which appeared none the worse for wear after accompanying the Caps during their raucous tour of the D.C. area.
At that point, Fallon brought out Smith, whose broad smile indicated that he didn’t mind being shoehorned into the segment. Fallon gave everyone straws and they took a simultaneous pull from the Cup, but anyone who paid attention to Ovi’s recent feats of partying — or saw the teaser photo that Fallon and team tweeted out earlier in the evening — knew that was just a prelude.
“This is taking too long, I think you know what you gotta do,” Fallon said, earning another “Let’s do it,” and he was upended by Ovechkin and Fallon for a quick keg stand. That ended the segment, leaving just one question: Who did it better? (Okay, duh, it was Ovi.)
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