The Washington Capitals recalled Brian Willsie from AHL Hershey Monday to replace Alexander Semin on the team's two-game road trip. For new Caps fans, Willsie might seem like yet another minor leaguer getting his chance in the big league, but older fans will remember Willsie as Alex Ovechkin's first road roommate.
Willsie spent the entire 2005-2006 season with the Capitals, which just happened to be the rookie season of the Capitals' franchise player. Willsie and Ovechkin roomed together on the road during that season, but Willsie left for the Los Angeles Kings during the following offseason. After four years apart, Willsie re-signed with the Caps this summer and has spent the season with the Bears.
During that season, Willsie only had 77 penalty minutes, but he earned 17 of them after defending Ovechkin from a hit by then-Pittsburgh Penguin Ray Whitney. We know that if he does indeed play this week, Willsie will have his captain's back.
Even if Willsie doesn't get to sleep in the same room as Ovechkin during this road trip, perhaps the two could share some pillow talk about Ovechkin's recent scoring woes. During Willsie's season with Ovechkin, the "Great 8" won the Calder Trophy as the NHL's rookie of the year, scoring 52 goals. This season, though, Ovechkin only has 15 through 42 games. A late-night chat with an old friend might do him so good.