Superstitious Caps fans ready to tilt Game 5 in DC’s favor

WASHINGTON — Are sporting goods stores jinxing the Capitals by advertising championship gear before a championship is won? Did Alexander Ovechkin set the Caps up for heartbreak by holding up the eastern conference championship trophy after finishing Tampa Bay?

Talk to hockey fans and you’ll find out that those, plus a myriad other things the fans are and aren’t doing every day are really the reason why the team either wins or lose.

Take Josh Stendeback of Arlington. He was first in line for the Game 5 watch party at Capital One Arena Thursday evening.

“I’m wearing the exact same thing I’ve been wearing the entire playoff,” he said Thursday morning.

No cutting corners, and no trips to the washing machine either.

“All the way. Socks, underwear, the whole deal. That’s what’s going to help close the door” on the Vegas Golden Knights Thursday night, he swears.

Anjali Vohra plan to wear her signature look when the puck drops Thursday night: “white jeans, Ovi jersey, and pearl earrings.”

How does that have an impact on anything?

“We haven’t lost in that yet,” she said. Duh. “Every time I change it up something goes wrong.”

She conceded she is probably the reason the Capitals lost Game 1 of the series, because she was “not wearing the right jersey. I love Holtby to death, but for some reason his jersey’s not good luck for me.”

“It’s crazy superstition, I don’t know. I can’t explain it.”

David Perez of Culpeper has been wearing the same beat-up, red hat the entire playoff run.

Staci Weltmann of Potomac says her son wears the same, smelly jersey through the playoffs. He won’t let her touch it, as silly as they both know it is.

“I don’t really think I can control the outcome of the game,” Weltmann said before then taking credit for the team’s Game 3 win on Saturday.

Some people might argue it’s silly to think that what they, or anyone else, wear matters. How and where you sit for the game is so much more important, some say.


Weltmann had four seats that were split up into two different sections for Game 3. The game was scoreless after the first period. Then they changed who sat where.

“When they switched for the second and they started winning, we did not switch back,” Weltmann said.

But the theory will really be put to the test by Greg Epstein of Potomac. He tends to watch the games at his parents house.

“My parents have had me sit in a certain spot in the family room for the last several games and I think we’re 6-0 right now sitting in the same spots,” he said. “They’re going to be sitting in their spots [Thursday night]” while he grabs a seat inside Capital One Arena.

“They’re a little superstitious that that might jinx things …,” Epstein said. “But I’m not concerned about it. The game is going to be decided based on what happens on the ice.”

Working in his favor is the fact that he was in that spot for Game 1, while his parents spent Memorial Day weekend at the beach. Thursday night will determine if he’s the X-Factor, or if they are, or if they both are, really.

“If my actions are influencing the game, then I think every single person who watches the Caps has to question what they’re doing,” he scolded.

He’s also hoping that if things don’t turn out well in Game 5, fans will question their own superstitions, or lack thereof, instead of his.

Because being superstitious is silly … except when it works, right?

John Domen

John started working at WTOP in 2016 after having grown up in Maryland listening to the station as a child. While he got his on-air start at small stations in Pennsylvania and Delaware, he's spent most of his career in the D.C. area, having been heard on several local stations before coming to WTOP.

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