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Madison Bowey, Jakub Vrana share interesting pregame ritual

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USA TODAY Sports

Madison Bowey, Jakub Vrana share interesting pregame ritual

T.J. Oshie likes to wake all of his teammates on the behind with his stick during warmups. Braden Holtby has his whole focus routine. Madison Bowey and Jakub Vrana like to...hold hands?

Professional athletes are known for having strange superstitions and rituals. Capitals rookies Bowey and Vrana are no exception. But theirs is unique in that it involves one another and is not a solitary practice.

Whenever Bowey and Vrana take the ice, whether it be for pregame warmups or before each period, they always come onto the ice together holding hands.

"He's always going in front of me and I go behind him and we kind of like hold the hands and just try to shake and skate on the ice together," Vrana said after a practice.

"It's like our game ritual or something."

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When the Capitals come onto the ice, they walk single file from the locker room. Bowey is always in front of Vrana and the two are always holding hands with Bowey extending his hand behind him to the following Vrana.

You can see the two taking the ice hand in hand in here before the team's game against the Florida Panthers:

Anything to get an advantage, right?

"We're pretty good buddies off the ice," Bowey said. "Obviously, we've been together for the past two, three years now. It's I think just kind of something that we just are kind of going with right now."

This is not the first year the two have been teammates. They played together the past two seasons with the Hershey Bears in the AHL. Clearly, they developed a bond during that time, but this isn't a ritual they brought with them from Hershey. This is something new they came up with in Washington.

"One game we were just trying to get each other going a little bit and I lent my hand out and he gave me a little high five," Bowey said. "Now it just kind of carried on a little bit longer."

"He wanted to give me high five so from beginning we just do the high five," Vrana said, "And then lately I was like holding his hand and he didn't let it go and we just skate in the ice together."

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This new ritual has now carried on for several weeks. For a while, it was working. With only one point for Vrana in the past 13 games, however, Bowey admitted they may need to change things up.

Vrana, however, sounds committed.

"We just think it's funny, but we do it every time."

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Alex Ovechkin and wife Nastya Ovechkina welcome baby boy

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NBC Sports Washington/USATSI

Alex Ovechkin and wife Nastya Ovechkina welcome baby boy

After lifting the Stanley Cup just over two months ago, something else very exciting has happened in Alex Ovechkin's life.

Saturday morning, Nastya and Alex Ovechkin welcomed their first child, a baby boy named Sergei, after Ovechkin's late brother. 

Ovi spent this week practicing at the Florida Panthers' facilities with other NHL players living in the surrounding area.

After the Cup's visit to Moscow, Nastya and Alex settled down at their apartment in Miami, staying put and preparing for the birth. 

The couple were married two years ago but didn't hold an official ceremony until July of last year. The celebration was as lavish as you'd expect.

She revealed her pregnancy shortly after the Cup victory, and has kept us up to date on life this summer via Instagram. A few weeks ago, the Ovechkins graced HELLO! Russia magazine, showing off Nastya's baby bump among their glamour shots.

💛 @aleksandrovechkinofficial #hello #hellorussia @hello__ru

A post shared by Nastasiya Ovechkina (@nastyashubskaya) on

Congratulations to Ovi and Nastya, and all our best wishes for health and happiness!

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Capitals draft pick admits he is...a Flyers fan

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Capitals draft pick admits he is...a Flyers fan

Say it ain't so.

Mitchell Gibson is the first goalie the Capitals have drafted since Ilya Samsonov in 2015, but they may be thinking twice about their selection after a recent shocking interview.

Gibson spoke with a local Philadelphia CBS station and revealed that both he and his family...are Flyers fans.

Insert dramatic music.

"I think my family will always be Flyers fans in their hearts and I guess I will be a little bit," Gibson admitted, hopefully with guilt in his voice.

Gibson was selected by the Caps in the fourth round of the 2018 draft, but clearly the scouts did not do their homework. It's as if Gibson grew up a hockey fan in a place like Phoenixville, Pa. (about an hour outside of Philadelphia) without anticipating the future that he may one day be drafted by a rival team like Washington.

Shame, shame.

The young netminder tried to make up for his horrifying admission later in the interview.

"The Capitals are definitely treating me well right now so I would like to be their goalie," he said.

A likely story.

Gibson is only 19 and set to begin his first collegiate season at Harvard in 2018 so at least there is still time for Gibson to overcome his shameful past. And hey, it could always be worse. At least he's not a Penguins fan.

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