Ovechkin: We have to play better
It’s fair to say that with eight seasons of pro hockey under his belt, Joel Ward has been involved in his share of locker room pranks.
On Saturday morning in Dallas, the Capitals’ veteran right wing inadvertently pulled one on himself.
At 9:27 a.m., after enjoying breakfast at the Omni Hotel, Ward found himself in his own real-life episode of What Would You Do? Trapped inside a bathroom stall and unable to unlatch the lock, Ward sent a text to Capitals teammate Karl Alzner.
“Basically, it said, ‘I’m stuck in the washroom, can you come get me?’” Alzner recalled on Monday, still smiling at the incident, which was documented here and here on Twitter. “I walked in and there he was, just poking his head over.”
Ward said that when he locked the stall door, the latch spun all the way around, keeping the bolt in place. Before long, a few other teammates, including John Carlson, were in the restroom, enjoying the spectacle of their teammate being trapped inside the stall.
“At one point it was just a photo shot gallery,” Ward said. “I think they were laughing at me. Karl was good about it. He kept me company while we were waiting for help. He sang a few songs to me and told me to sit tight. I told him I had nowhere to go. We just listened to toilet flushes the whole time.”
Ward joked that the Dallas S.W.A.T. team could not have freed him, but with the team bus scheduled to leave the hotel at 10:15 for the club’s morning skate, someone had to think of something. That’s when a hotel maintenance worker slid a step ladder under the stall.
At 10:11 a.m. Ward climbed up on the ladder and wedged himself through a narrow opening above the door, “Supermanning’ himself into the waiting arms of Carlson.
“It took a little bit of convincing to get him out,” Alzner said. “It wasn’t an ideal situation. Once he did get over, that was 210 pounds teetering on that door. It was awkward, but he made it.”
Ward gathered his belongings and rushed to make it onto the team bus by 10:15, where he was greeted by applause and plenty of good-natured ribbing.
“The Big Cheese couldn’t squeeze himself out of there,” defenseman Steve Oleksy said. “I don’t know, maybe he didn’t want to crawl under and mess up his suit. He likes to dress to the nines.
“That’s something that doesn’t happen every day. It’ll probably be a long time before he lives that one down.”
By the time Ward finished the team’s morning skate, his phone was filled with text messages, including one from his mother, who asked if her son had survived his bathroom experience.
Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin called Ward’s experience “a funny situation,” adding, “I’m glad he’s still with us and not in the toilet.”