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NHL postgame celebrations typically involve a player of the game being given some special item that travels from player to player.
It used to be that most of these player of the game items were some kind of hat. A fedora, an old JOFA bucket, an army helmet, but teams are now getting more creative.
The Washington Capitals are one of those teams.
The team’s Twitter account unveiled the team’s post-win ritual, and it involves a giant hunk of rope, a grip strength meter, and a polaroid camera.
After a 6-4 win over the Canucks, Caps defenseman Erik Gustafsson handed captain Alexander Ovechkin what looks like the Gordian knot that Alexander the Great untied (by the way, chopping it up with his sword was cheating).
But why would the Caps pass a giant rope around the locker room all season?
Believe it or not, there’s a method to their post-game madness.
Caps’ Rope Ritual Is Dripping With Symbolism
According to The Athletic, during training camp, players had shirts that depicted the club’s screaming eagle logo holding a rope. Accompanying it were the words “I won’t let go.”
Coach Peter Laviolette said that the idea for the rope was inspired by the local fire department which donated it to the team.
As you may have guessed, the rope ties (pun intended) into a symbolic theme for the Caps season.
Laviolette said he talked to firefighters about what the rope symbolizes.
“They told me that they pull people from burning buildings or they send them down from burning buildings with it. They save lives with that type of rope,” he said.
“It’s a symbol of how important your hands are, that they don’t slip and they don’t let go.”
Once the rope gets awarded, the player of the game gets the grip strength meter (going with the grip theme), then someone snaps a photo on a polaroid camera.
Because, y’know, memories.
These rituals are the NHL’s version of the turnover chain. They’re usually goofy and light-hearted but the Caps are the first team to my knowledge that has built a mythology around it.
At this point, it’s more like a secret society ritual than a simple pat on the back for having an assist and going +2.
Follow on Twitter: @Matt_Reigle