Brooks Orpik wasn't kidding. Turns out, Alexander Ovechkin's appetite is just as legendary as his goal-scoring prowess.
Orpik wrote about Ovechkin and his pregame meal – which he's eaten for years – in a piece for the Player's Tribune last week, and what he described is downright inspiring.
We have a chef here who prepares our pregame meals. Ovi always orders the same thing — Mama Luccia, which is this pasta dish that’s like chicken parm with noodles, bread, cheese, the kind of thing you want to take a five-hour nap after eating. He makes a big display of it too. There’s no shame. It’ll be eleven in the morning, way before anyone is really thinking about eating lunch, and Ovi will walk into the dining area yelling, “Mama Luccia! Mama Luccia!” I don’t know. It’s weird, but it seems normal now.
Then, a few hours later, he’s outskating everyone on the ice, knocking guys on their asses and sniping pucks wherever he wants.
The media has certainly reported on – and exaggerated – famous athlete diets in the past, and Ovechkin's pregame meal seemed more like the stuff of legends than an actual ritual. After all, NHL teams now employ full-time nutritionists and chefs – joining the sports nutrition revolution seen in other leagues (the NBA's vegan movement and MLB's data-driven diets, for example).
Turns out, Orpik was dead serious.
Investigative journalism powerhouse the Washington Post did some digging and confirmed Orpik's tale – and uncovered that the restaurant's actual name is Mamma Lucia, not Mama Luccia. David Kottler – their source for this investigation – provided photos of the awe-inspiring dish.
— Dan Steinberg (@dcsportsbog) May 17, 2018
It's impressive enough on a plate – mushrooms, chicken parm and pasta are some of the finer things in life – although it doesn't provide much beyond carbs. Laid out in the take-out containers, though, it's downright terrifying.
That's two loaves of bread, a huge helping of chicken parm, an entire large container of sauce and four(!!) different sauces.
It's worth noting that this is his home game order – who can possibly imagine what he eats on the road? – which means that he's eaten it roughly 50 times per year (regular season and playoffs) for the last 13 years.
This all begs the question: what's more impressive, Ovechkin eating this exact (ridiculous) meal roughly 650 times, or his 663 career regular season and playoff goals?