WASHINGTON — New Jersey Devils left wing Miles Wood always knew he would make it to the NHL.
Maybe it was his pedigree and the fact that his dad, Randy Wood, played professionally from 1986-1997. Maybe it was the hard work he put in as an amateur, which led him to start as a freshman at Boston College.
And maybe, just maybe, a snub by budding Washington Capitals star Alex Ovechkin helped put him over the top.
It was 2006 and an 11-year-old Wood sent Ovi, his idol, the star’s card and a message. In his note, he told the future Hall of Famer that he wanted the card signed and returned. He warned that if Ovechkin didn’t comply, he would check him the first chance he got when he made it to the NHL.
Ovechkin did not return the card, and Thursday was the first time the two met on the ice, as Wood and his Devils traveled to D.C.
The story made its rounds in the New Jersey media, finally reaching Ovechkin, who responded appropriately:
Wood had no such plans to take it easy, telling the media before the game that he hoped he and Ovi were matched up on one another. Wood got his wish but did not exact his revenge on the ice. So Ovechkin tracked him down after the game:
Wood was very gracious about the meeting. “That was sick,” he said of meeting Ovechkin. “That’s awesome. It was really nice of him to do that.”
“That was sick,” he said of meeting Ovechkin. “That’s awesome. It was really nice of him to do that.”
And the decade of waiting did not diminish the magnitude of the meeting either.
“When I was in warmups I looked over at [Ovechkin] and we smiled at each other type thing,” Wood said. “That was good to see him out there. He’s huge in person, so that’s something I learned.
“That was a dream. I’ve looked up to him since he’s been 18 years old. I still watch his highlights all the time. It was fun to be out there 3-on-3 [in overtime] with him. … It was all good fun. It was fun to watch him play out there live.
“Of course I looked up to my dad, but seeing [Ovechkin] highlights as a kid and still to this day they’re something special.”
Now that the awe is out of the way, perhaps the sparks will fly when the two teams meet again on Saturday afternoon at the Prudential Center.