TAMPA-The first rule about The Hot Lap is: you don’t talk about the Caps’ morning skate hot lap.

Or at least you don’t say much about it.

What the heck am I talking about? Watch this:

It’s become a thing in these playoffs—and the Caps’ players have embraced it.

Here’s what we do know:

*The Hot Lap only occurs for morning skates on the road.

*Jay Beagle initiated it in the first round, likely because he grew tired of waiting for the ice to freeze thoroughly following a cut by the Zamboni.

*Alex Ovechkin seized it from Beagle prior to Game 6 in Pittsburgh, presumably because the team lost Game 4 at PPG Paints Arena.

The Hot Lap has been performed by Ovechkin ever since…and the Caps are 2-0 in those games.

So, of course, he did it again Sunday prior to Game 2 in Tampa.

As much as we’d all like to know more about this tradition and its origins, those details probably won’t be forthcoming. 


Superstitious hockey players are usually loath to discuss their superstitions.