Fans were on hand to send the team off before they fly across the country to play the Vegas Golden Knights. Game 1 of the finals is Monday evening in Las Vegas.
More than 6,000 fans came to Kettler Saturday, a team spokesman told The Washington Times, a sizable increase over a normal practice.
Team owner Ted Leonsis was present, wearing an Alex Ovechkin jersey and distributing free T-shirts among fans.
Ted Leonsis tossing t-shirts in the crowd because why not? pic.twitter.com/ZbgAG3Wzsx— Matthew Paras (@Matthew_Paras) May 26, 2018
T.J. Oshie was expecting a “decent turnout,” but the number and the passion of the fans were “awesome” Saturday, he said.
“This is crazy. Nothing I’ve ever had before,” Oshie said. “It’s awesome to see how into it they are, how much they care and how much they want to be a part of it.”
Oshie was one of the first players to hit the “Capitals rink” at Kettler after the team warmed up on the “Arlington rink.” He said he wasn’t as surprised by the fans’ presence as he might have looked.
“I gave a shocked look, but we could hear them,” Oshie said. “They were making the walls shake in here when guys were walking out, so it was pretty cool.”
John Carlson marveled at how both sides of Kettler were “completely jammed.”
“I think (fans) were waiting for the end of practice but they didn’t know when, so it was funny, they kept cheering after every drill. Which is great, the support, we always appreciate it,” Carlson said. “It was special. I’ve been here a long time and nothing’s been that special to me.”
And coach Barry Trotz called it “a great reception.”
“Our fans have been fantastic through thick and thin, but I wasn’t surprised at the turnout,” he said. “I knew there’d be a great turnout here. … I really appreciate everybody coming out tonight and supporting us this afternoon.”
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