Roughly nine months later, the first Stanley Cup babies were born, some with Capitals-inspired names such as Alex, Alexis, Braden and Lars. Ahead of this year’s title defense, the team invited several newborns conceived during Washington’s playoff drive to a photo shoot at MedStar Capitals Iceplex, where they re-created a few of last summer’s iconic images.
“Lots of great things come out of championships,” the Capitals tweeted Tuesday before sharing the results of the shoot. “Sometimes even babies!”
Braden Taylor was born March 7, exactly nine months after the Capitals won the Cup. Naturally, he posed as his namesake, Braden Holtby, and imitated the dazzling save Washington’s goalie made in Game 2 of the Stanley Cup finals.
“We could not pass this up,” Capitals fan Katie Taylor, Braden’s proud mother, said in a phone interview Tuesday. “It’ll be such a cool experience for him when he’s older."
Katie and her husband, Brandon, made the drive from their home in Fredericksburg to the Capitals’ practice facility in Arlington for the photo shoot late last month. Katie said she was nervous about how Braden would handle the bright lights after an hour in the car. The props for Braden’s shoot included a tiny goal, a furry blanket where the crease would normally be and Holtby’s actual mask and catching glove positioned nearby.
“Once they got him swaddled and in front of the camera, he just started looking around and acting cute,” Katie said. “I was like, ‘Oh, thank God!’ ”
Katie said she and Brandon learned she was pregnant July 3, a few weeks after the Capitals won their first championship.
“Surprised is an understatement,” she said. “We really just had this stunned laughter. Everyone knows how babies are made, so we were just up front about it: This is our Stanley Cup conception.”
The couple, who were married Dec. 7, began referring to their unborn child as “Stanley” before settling on Braden Levi Taylor in a nod to Holtby.
Longtime Capitals season ticket holder Jennie Unglesbee and her fiance named their little girl, born Feb. 25, Alexis, after Ovechkin.
“The whole playoffs and everything leading up to the Stanley Cup was just so exciting for us,” Unglesbee said. “She was kind of this miracle baby that we didn’t expect to have and that we found out we were going to have a couple weeks after they had won the Cup. It was just like, all right, the Caps had some sort of relation to it, so we wanted her to have a cool name. We were going to do Alex if it was a boy."
Alexis drew a dream assignment for a baby — or anyone, really — at last month’s photo shoot: sleeping with the Stanley Cup, as Ovechkin’s wife documented the Capitals’ captain doing in an Instagram story a few days after Washington won the title.
Other Capitals Stanley Cup babies invited to the photo shoot re-created Evgeny Kuznetsov’s goal celebration, “The Bird,” and Jimmy Fallon’s Cup stand from when Holtby and Ovechkin brought the trophy on “The Tonight Show” in June. All that was missing was a baby chugging a bottle through her shirt a la T.J. Oshie.
“It’s been a fun story for us to tell, so we’re happy to tell it, and the pictures were so adorable,” Unglesbee said. “Most of the babies were pretty good; they were just kind of sleeping through it. [Alexis] hasn’t been around other little babies before, so it was funny to see them all in their Caps outfits.”
The Taylors had plenty of red outfits to choose from.
“He has more Caps gear than us combined,” Katie said of Braden. “He has at least four different bibs. He’s got onesies in every age group size, and his jersey is sized out to 12 months."
Katie took the first photo of Braden in his jersey when he turned a month old Sunday. On Tuesday, she told him his recreation of “The Save” made him mildly Internet famous.
“His reaction was to do nothing,” Katie said with a laugh. “He just kind of looked at me.”
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