At age 35, Alex Ovechkin has been slapping in goals long enough to know that today's draft picks were just old enough to skate by the time he scored his first goal for the Capitals in 2008.
Such is the case for Capitals new first-round pick Hendrix Lapierre, who like many hockey players growing up during his generation, idolized Ovechkin. His first-ever jersey sported Ovechkin on the back, and he even had a FatHead poster of Ovechkin up on his wall.
"It's an amazing feeling," Lapierre told NBC Sports Network on draft night. "Growing up, Washington was probably one of my favorite teams because of [Alex] Ovechkin, so wearing that jersey today, it feels really good. Obviously, the fact that they traded for me feels pretty good, as well."
The Capitals traded the No. 24 and No. 80 picks to Calgary to move up to select Lapierre, a gamble general manager Brian MacLellan was willing to take despite past injuries. Now, the face of the franchise is ready to welcome his new teammate to Washington.
In what must be a surreal feeling for Lapierre to get congratulated by his childhood hero, Ovechkin, on the other hand, has made a habit out of making gestures like this. Think back to 2014 when the Caps selected fellow Russian Jakub Vrana 13th in the 2014 NHL Entry Draft before he got a surprise phone call.
It's great to see Ovi making sure his younger teammates - and the rest of the 2020 draft class - feel not only welcomed, but appreciated that they now belong.