Alex Ovechkin has logged more cup-carrying time than a Seattle barista. John Carlson earned a contract worth just about $1 million for every point he scored last season — and he led the NHL’s defensemen in scoring. Evgeny Kuznetsov played the Stanley Cup Final with a shoulder injury suffered in Game 2 and still birdmanned his way into burgeoning superstardom with a playoffs-high 32 points in 24 games.
These are heady times for just about everyone connected to the Washington Capitals, except maybe for Barry Trotz — and even the coach who quit after guiding the Caps to the Stanley Cup landed a deal in New York for double the money he was making in Washington.
The long-suffering Capitals grabbed their first Stanley Cup in June. After watching their team finish first or second in their division nine times in 10 seasons without advancing past the second round of the playoffs, long-suffering Caps fans are grabbing Caps hats — and jerseys, and T-shirts — by the fistful.
But true connoisseurs want more. For amateur players and collectors interested in knowing what their favorite pros use, here’s a breakdown of the Washington Capitals’ equipment choices.
All About Ovi
For the seventh time in his career, Ovechkin led the league in goals, this time with 49. He also won the Conn Smythe Trophy as playoffs MVP. He did so repping CCM gear for the first time since 2011 when he switched to Bauer after playing CCM from 2005 on.
His Ribcor Trigger ASY isn’t a wildly popular stick — according to player use stats compiled by geargeek.com, it is well down the list of CCM models in play in the league — but it is billed as a quick-loading, light stick for goal scorers. Expect his Jetspeed FT1 gloves and Super Tacks AS1 skates, both of which debuted last season, to boom in popularity. Meanwhile, his classic-style Vector V08 helmet is far and away the most popular model in the NHL, being worn by 28.7 percent of the league’s players.
The spotlight looks good on Kuznetsov, who in his fourth full season had career highs with 27 goals and 83 points before that spectacular playoff run. When it comes to gear, he tends toward the familiar.
Kuznetsov’s stick, the Bauer Vapor 1X Lite, is neck-and-neck with Warrior’s Alpha QX, both used by more than 14 percent of NHL players, as the league’s most popular. His Bauer Vapor 1X 2.0 skates are even more popular, worn by more than 30 percent of the league. Bauer’s most popular helmet, the Re-Akt (22 percent) is his headgear of choice, while he goes with CCM’s most popular glove, the HG12 (9 percent).
The 28-year-old defenseman led the league’s blue-liners with 68 points, then added to the post-Cup celebration by signing an eight-year, $64 million deal. He averaged a career-high 24:47 average ice time. He’s a man of divided loyalties — a CCM Jetspeed stick and Quicklite gloves, but he goes with Bauer for skates (Vapor 1X 2.0) and a helmet (4500).
The Old Warrior
Nicklas Backstrom, second only to Ovechkin in Caps tenure, notched his seventh 70-plus points season in 11 years with the club. He’s also a bit of an outlier in Washington, as the only player on the team who brandishes the NHL’s most popular stick, Warrior’s Alpha QX. He also uses a Warrior helmet (Covert PX2) and gloves (Covert QRL).
Equipment Grab Bag
- No single gear item is more popular among Caps players than Bauer’s Vapor 1X 2.0 skates, worn by 13 players on the roster. All told, 18 players to suit up for the Caps in their Cup season skated on Bauer blades.
- Nine players wore the Bauer Re-Akt helmet.
- The most popular stick in the dressing room is the Bauer Supreme 1S, used by seven players on the roster.
- The Warrior Covert QRL and the CCM HG12 are tied as the most popular glove, worn by five players each.
You’d have to say the Caps are a Bauer team. With the exception of gloves, where half the team favors CCM, Bauer dominates their choices. Bauer leads in sticks (54 percent across three models), skates (75 percent across three models) and helmets (54 percent across four models).
Author bio: AJ Lee is Marketing Coordinator for Pro Stock Hockey, an online resource for pro stock hockey equipment. He was born and raised in the southwest suburbs of Chicago and has been a huge Blackhawks fan his entire life. AJ picked up his first hockey stick at age 3 and hasn’t put it down yet.
Check out www.prostockhockey.com!
Photos by: Rob Carr/Getty Images (Ovechkin), Gregory Shamus/Getty Images (Kuznetsov), Harry How/Getty Images (Carlson/Backstrom). Featured image courtesy of Sports Illustrated.