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Stanley Cup

Ovechkin tosses strike on second try at ceremonial first pitch

Capitals captain overthrows initial attempt before Nationals-Giants game

by Tom Gulitti @TomGulittiNHL / NHL.com Staff Writer

WASHINGTON -- Alex Ovechkin's ceremonial first pitch didn't go so well, so the Washington Capitals captain asked for a second one.

Ovechkin threw a strike to Washington National pitcher Max Scherzer on his second attempt, delighting the crowd at Nationals Park that came to see the Nationals face the San Francisco Giants on Saturday, but also celebrate the Capitals' Stanley Cup championship.

Tweet from @Capitals: Ready to bring the heat! #ALLCAPS #OnePursuit pic.twitter.com/HkEUNxkm8j

The Capitals won the Stanley Cup for the first time in the team's 43-season history with a 4-3 victoryagainst the Vegas Golden Knights in Game 5 of the Final on Thursday. Ovechkin won the Conn Smythe Trophy as MVP of the playoffs after leading the League with a Capitals-record 15 postseason goals.

The entire Capitals team was at the game, but as the captain and Conn Smythe winner, Ovechkin received the honor of throwing the first pitch. Exhausted from lack of sleep and 36 hours of celebrating, Ovechkin tried to summon all his remaining energy to throw the ball to Scherzer, who acted as the catcher.

And threw it over Scherzer's head to the backstop.

Video: Capitals celebrate Stanley Cup win at Nationals Park

"Too excited, too strong," Ovechkin said. "I try to do my best."

Defenseman John Carlson said simply, "It wasn't good."

 

[RELATED: Capitals joined by Nationals in Stanley Cup party]

 

Wearing a white Nationals jersey with the No. 8 on the back and the captain's "C" on his left shoulder, Ovechkin waved to Scherzer to give him the ball back for another try. The 32-year-old left-hander soft-tossed one into Scherzer's glove and pumped his right fist in celebration.

Tweet from @Capitals: Yup. #ALLCAPS #StanleyCup pic.twitter.com/wIIKqMoH1S

"It was hard, but I think I did a nice job, a good job," Ovechkin said. "So, we're all good."

Capitals forward Tom Wilson told MASN, "You give him a second chance, he'll get it in."

Capitals coach Barry Trotz called Ovechkin's performance, "bad pitching", but complimented his persistence. Trotz said it echoed Ovechkin's pursuit of the Stanley Cup, which it took him 13 NHL seasons to win.

"What I did like is he wanted another throw," Trotz said. "And that was sort of maybe a little bit symbolic to where he's come. Where the pitch failed, instead of 'That's enough,' he said, 'No, give me another shot at it.' And he took another shot and did much better, so I'm proud of him for that. And that's probably maybe a little symbolic that that ball went that way. But he's got to work on his pitching."

Video: Ovechkin and Oshie hoist the Stanley Cup at Nats game

Photos courtesy of Patrick McDermott/Washington Capitals

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