WASHINGTON -- Although New Jersey Devils rookie Miles Wood didn't get to hit Alex Ovechkin, meeting his childhood idol still was a dream come true.
Ten years ago, an 11-year-old Wood wrote a letter to Ovechkin requesting the Washington Capitals left wing autograph his hockey card.
Wood promised in the letter that if Ovechkin didn't sign and return the card that he would check him the first time he got the chance to play against him when he made it to the NHL. Although Ovechkin never returned the card, he made up for it by autographing a photo for Wood before facing him for the first time in the Devils' 2-1 shootout win against the Capitals at Verizon Center on Thursday.
Ovechkin personalized the photo by writing, "To Miles, Take it easy tonight!!!"
"That's awesome," Wood said. "It was really nice of him to do that."
Ovechkin took it one step further after the game, meeting Wood in the hallway between the locker rooms and apologizing.
"Sorry about the card," Ovechkin told Wood.
After walking away, Wood continued to stare at the signed picture in his hand.
"That was sick," he said of meeting Ovechkin.
Wood's father, Randy, played 11 seasons in the NHL with the New York Islanders, Buffalo Sabres, Toronto Maple Leafs and Dallas Stars. But Ovechkin, now 31, was the player Wood wanted to be when he was growing up, even wearing Ovechkin's signature yellow skate laces.
"Of course I looked up to my dad, but seeing [Ovechkin] highlights as a kid and still to this day they're something special," Wood said.
Wood, who was selected by the Devils in the fourth round (No. 100) of the 2013 NHL Draft, has four goals in 17 games this season. He also has a lifetime memory.
"When I was in warmups I looked over at [Ovechkin] and we smiled at each other type thing," Wood said. "That was good to see him out there. He's huge in person, so that's something I learned."
Wood had three hits in the game. He didn't mind that none of them were on Ovechkin. Simply playing against him was enough.
"That was a dream," Wood said. "I've looked up to him since he's been 18 years old. I still watch his highlights all the time. It was fun to be out there 3-on-3 [in overtime] with him. … It was all good fun. It was fun to watch him play out there live."