Nearly every NHL player has a collection of hockey pucks. Pucks that produce milestone goals for example, are often fetched from the net, handed to a team trainer and appropriately marked and labelled for keepsake purposes.
Alex Ovechkin has collected hundreds of pucks, many of which he displays in his two personal museums.
One puck Ovechkin does not have, however, is the puck that was used in the final moments of the Capitals 2018 Stanley Cup triumph in Las Vegas.
The puck is no doubt a significant piece of memorabilia from the biggest moment in franchise history. Yet, it’s not behind glass at the Hockey Hall of Fame or in a display case at Capital One Arena.
The whereabouts of the Cup-clinching puck is hardly some great mystery, but I stumbled upon the answer by happenstance early this season.
In discussing the Stanley Cup win with veteran Brooks Orpik last fall, I brought up something I noticed from the broadcast booth the night of Game 5.
The game was scoreless through the first 20 minutes, but as the teams retreated to the dressing rooms for the first intermission, I noticed that Orpik picked up the puck and brought it with him into the room.
Months later, I asked him if that was accurate.
“The puck at the end of the first period? Yeah, could be. Maybe the puck at the end of the game too, I’m not sure,” Orpik said with a sly grin.
“So you took the puck at the end of the game too?” I asked.
“I don’t know. Maybe. I’m not saying I don’t have it.”
Orpik was being coy and it wasn’t really the purpose of the original talk.
I stored it, though, and brought it up again today as the Capitals held their exit interviews following a premature end to the 2018-19 season.
Orpik didn’t want to share too many details, but he confirmed that he in fact has the Cup-winning puck. He doubts too many people know this, but he greenlighted this story and said folks can rest easy that the puck is in a good place.
It is safely stored, he said, in his offseason home in Massachusetts.
Orpik said it’s one of many pucks he collected the night they won the Cup (including the puck at the end of the first period).
Stanley Cup clinching pucks have apparently been tough to track over the years, but the Capitals puck is in good hands.