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Pat Sajak Loves the Caps


Pat Sajak at the division-clinching win. (By Toni L. Sandys - TWP)


The Stanley Cup playoffs require a wide-ranging level of civic commitment. For Mike Green, that commitment was on display this morning, in the form of an early-morning mohawk. Dozens of fans will be receiving similar 'hawks tomorrow. For Pat Sajak, that commitment might involve a red-eye flight back East from a "Wheel of Fortune" taping next Friday, to make sure he can get to Verizon Center in time for Game 5.

"If the Caps don't sweep," Sajak noted. "I'm pretty well at their mercy."

Yeah, that's right, Sajak has become a hard-core Caps fan, a front-row season ticket holder for the past two seasons who attends 30 games a year and was "Rocking the Red" throughout last week's spasm of Caps passion. He grew up a Blackhawks fan in the Stan Mikita/Bobby Hull Era, adopted the Kings when he lived in SoCal during the Gretzky Era, and then moved to this area nearly a decade ago and slowly warmed to the Caps. At first he went to their games "because that was the team that was in the area, and I'm hockey fan," but as the Ovechkin Era dawned (and Sajak's son became a teenager) the attachment grew.

"I lived through Gretzky, and all those great Blackhawk players, but I've never seen anything like this guy," Sajak said. "I've seen skilled players, but I've never seen anybody with that level of skill who is that willing to be physical and mix things up. He's a combination of everything you like about hockey: he's faster than anyone I've seen, he's quicker than anyone I've seen, he's got a longer reach than anyone I've seen. I said when Ted signed him for 13 years, 'Hockey just may work here.' I'm actually planning my life around these playoffs."

(And before the most recent surge of Ovechkin excitement? "This, unfortunately, didn't seem to be much of a hockey town," he said. "You had your diehard groups, and other than that, it was mostly what I like to call 'partial sellouts.' ")

Sajak still follows the Kings, which meant for a time this year he was throwing his support behind the league's two worst teams. Obviously, that's now changed. Sajak hasn't started wearing jerseys or bellowing at the officials or breaking out the face paint--"I figure my occupation draws enough attention without pounding on the glass or painting my face," he said--but he did wear a red USO jacket all last week, and he mentioned the Caps when he guest-hosted 'Live with Regis and Kelly' this week.

(So is he the team's most famous fan? "Gee I hope not," he said. "I'd hate to think I'm the most famous anything.")

His back, of course, is facing the crowd most of the time, but he signs autographs and poses for photos and all that. Players throughout the NHL have approached Sajak at various arenas and given a welcoming tap on the glass, but it hasn't yet happened with the Caps--"maybe I'm not big in Russia," he ventured--but his front-row perch still has its advantages.

"It's a rugged game man, [players] take some hits that just kill you, but the best part is you get to see people new to the glass put their beers right there on the glass, and you just wait for them to get a lapful," he said. "I've seen many Caps' faces actually pressed against my glass. I kind of wave, and hope that nothing's broken....I've not had [Ovechkin] jump directly into our glass when he scores a goal, but I'm hoping that happens in the playoffs. I'd love to see his face mashed up against our glass."

As for these playoffs, Sajak is cautiously optimistic, saying the Caps can compete with anyone in the NHL, that "you really do have the sense that you're seeing something real special" and that "there's no substitute for a full building with everyone going nuts." Which makes one's thoughts naturally turn toward the glut of mohawks that will be in evidence tomorrow night.

"I don't plan to participate, if that's what you're asking," Sajak said. "I mean, I like the team a lot, but I do have my limits."

By Dan Steinberg  |  April 10, 2008; 1:10 PM ET
Categories:  Caps  
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Next: Mike Green's Haircut: The Video

Comments

for the love of god stop calling green's bro-dew a mohawk. all he's missing is a popped collar and a dose of the clap he picked up at whitlows.

we're about to play philly ffs. we want our guys to look tough, not like duke lacrosse players.

Posted by: bryc3 | April 10, 2008 1:24 PM | Report abuse

Great, another bandwagon fan. Let me guess....he likes the Celtics and NY Giants too, loves Obama Girl and has been heard recently saying Rock, Chalk, Jayhawk! I'm gonna poop in a cup and hide it under his seat for Game 1.

Posted by: Fushezzi | April 10, 2008 1:24 PM | Report abuse

Anne Heche is impressed with his ability to switch teams.

Posted by: qualude conduct | April 10, 2008 1:26 PM | Report abuse

bryc3 - The mohawk is referring to the fact that he got his head shaved this morning into a real mohawk. Not the old hairstyle he had.

Fushezzi - Really? What's wrong with bandwagon fans? I'd much rather have a crowd like last Saturday than the graveyard the team was playing before in late November and December. Wouldn't you?

Posted by: Arlington, VA | April 10, 2008 1:30 PM | Report abuse

Nobody that attended games last season is a fair-weather fan. My parents are season ticket holders and they told me about him attending games last season. The Caps should take all the love they can get.

Posted by: Jason | April 10, 2008 1:33 PM | Report abuse

bryc3 - I stand corrected, after seeing Mike's photos, his mohawk is weak and he should be wearing a popped collar.

Posted by: Arlington, VA | April 10, 2008 1:33 PM | Report abuse

The blog does state that he's going to shape it up before the game on Friday... Give him time... He wasn't the one who cut it. I bet by Friday at 7 it'll be bright red spiked and shaved on the sides.

Posted by: 425 Row B | April 10, 2008 1:51 PM | Report abuse

Uh, Fushezzi, Obama Girl is hot. Is there something wrong with liking her?

Posted by: Blackaces | April 10, 2008 1:58 PM | Report abuse

this is not the first time green has had mohawk, if you are really not a fair weather fan you would know that, and the other times he has had it it has been a straight classic hawk which would turn into a fo-hawk as it grows out

and pat is not a fair weather fan- fair weather fans dont get season tickets at the glass, dont support the LA kings and dont know about the "great players" the blackhawks had.

the first two posters should get there a$$es kicked for being such wankers

Posted by: Anonymous | April 10, 2008 2:01 PM | Report abuse

I'm not against bandwagoners, just find it funny who starts attending games once they get hot. But if Sajak was at games last year, I apologize.

Obama Girl is hot but not someone I'd take home to mom. More like a girl I'd take into the bathroom of a blub, the back alley or my back seat. The Obama bandwagon is getting pretty crowded though.

Posted by: Fushezzi | April 10, 2008 3:12 PM | Report abuse

Seeing as Steinberg himself mentions that Pat Sajak has had season tickets for the past 2 seasons, I wouldn't call Sajak a fairweather fan. I definitely don't think of myself as such and I've had season tickets for 2 seasons.

Posted by: SLM | April 10, 2008 4:44 PM | Report abuse

From the post it doesn't sound as though Sajak is a bandwagon or fairweather fan so I don't feel that attack on him was warranted. He's been in the area for a while, has been going to games for years, has season tickets and has a son who is a fan...

*clears throat*

Pat Sajak should have been left behind in the 90s. The one thing scarier than him attending a Caps' game is the people who actually listen to the host of Wheel of Fortune for political opinions and take him seriously. How can you look at him and not think "Can I buy a vowel, Pat?" I used to want to go on that show and try to be the worst contestant ever, but the bad people who get on the show are far worse than I could ever pretend to be. I can't believe that show is still on. I was certain it would be canceled by the mid-90s. I used to feel bad for Vanna White, but wasn't really sure she had feelings or emotions and realized she was just walking back and forth and touching the board(I remember when she actually had to turn the letters). She's about 50 and has been doing that for half her life. I'd rather work in an office than force a smile on my face while wearing evening gowns three days out of the week a few weeks a year...

I'm still hopeful that my dream of a cage match between Pat Sajak and Alex Trebek will happen one day. My money is still on Trebek although he doesn't have the mustache that would put him over the top anymore.

On the topic of bandwagon fans, they are more annoying when the team consistently has great support. I was born a Caps fan, but the Phonebooth hasn't been great for atmosphere. More often than naught, it seems emotion is frowned upon by other fans.

Posted by: sitruc | April 10, 2008 5:01 PM | Report abuse

He's a known hockey fan, attended the Winter Classic. A lot of hockey fans can't help but love Ovechkin and the Capitals, so just calling him a bandwagon jumper is less than fair. He supports the team, he likes the team, he loves the game. He's a fan.

Posted by: Shan | April 10, 2008 5:52 PM | Report abuse

There was a hysterically awkward moment about a month ago involving Pat Sajak. They showed Sajak on the big screen, one of those "show the celebrities in the crowd" moments . . . but the background music while he was onscreen was *the theme from Jeopardy.*

I can just imagine the little blue card: "A Really Annoyed Capitals Fan Who Hosted The Wheel of Fortune, Not Jeopardy"
BOOPBOOPBOOP!
"Who Is Pat Sajak?"

You are correct!

Posted by: OrderedChaos | April 10, 2008 9:09 PM | Report abuse

Where is Vanna? Now she would create some buzz

Posted by: sumplmg | April 11, 2008 11:32 AM | Report abuse

I love how the bandwagon fans are jumping all over the STHs and calling them "bandwagon fans."

Pat goes to a heck of a lot of games, and it's just recently that people notice him. Oh well, I guess he enjoyed his moderate anonnymity while it lasted.

Posted by: FS | April 11, 2008 1:11 PM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
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