Shaun Suisham filling in on punting duties for Hunter Smith was the only in-game kicking switcheroo, but it wasn’t the only story about a guy getting some out-of-position special teams work at FedExField on Sunday. Michael Green, Nicklas Backstrom, and Alex Ovechkin of the 2-0 Washington Capitals were on-hand before pregame warmups, and the three players got in some work kicking field goals. (Capitals coach Bruce Boudreau was present as well, but skipped the kickoff competition.
“It increased my respect for Suisham,” Green — who was 2-for-2 — said of his fellow Canadian countryman. “We were at the 20-yard line, and he kicks that ball from forty, fifty yards. That’s incredible.”
Ovechkin went 2-for-3, and Backstrom made 1-of-2.
Suisham was not surprised by Ovechkin’s success kicking the ball. “He’s an explosive guy. Powerful, good athlete,” Suisham said. “Any time you have someone who’s athletic, they’ll be able to put it through the uprights when there’s no pressure.”
I wasn’t able to catch up with Ovechkin, so I posed my one crucial question about his field goals to Green and Suisham instead: had Ovechkin celebrated his successful kicks with a variation on his traditional jump into the boards?
“He gave the two hands in the air, high five to someone,” Green said. “He was pretty excited. I was pretty excited too.”
That “someone” Green mentioned? It would be Suisham. “There was an awkward high five,” Suisham said. ” I was coaching him up, and it was like I had a student that I was working with. He was legitimately excited, and I was happy for him. Not often you see Russians kicking field goals.”
Or Canadians punting. Wacky special teams all around at FedExField.
The video, courtesy of the intrepid folks at Redskins Broadcast Network, is after the jump.
(I didn’t talk to Backstrom about the pregame kicking, but he was hugely enthusiastic about being at the Redskins game. “I just loved it,” he said. “I just [became] a Redskins fan right away. It was unbelievable. To be here, like 90,000 people here, and to see the Redskins win, it’s great. Something you look forward to.” The DC Sports Bog has much more in this vein.)
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