The Madden Curse. The Sports Illustrated Cover Jinx. The Curse of the Bambino. The Tiki Curse (no, not that Tiki, but the Vincent Price version). All examples of supposed supernatural forces negatively affecting athletic performance.
This past December, thanks to Dallas quarterback Tony Romo's very public canoodling with Jessica Simpson, football fans added another hex to the list - The Girlfriend Curse. Simpson's pink presence at a late season game was seen by some as the reason the Cowboy QB had the worst outing of his career in a 10-6 home loss to the woeful Philadelphia Eagles.
Now the question is raised locally - do Caps fans have reason to fear a Girlfriend Curse of their own?
The other day, the Alex Ovetjkin blog shared a Sovetsky Sport interview with Capitals superstar Alex Ovechkin's new girlfriend Katja, which FanHouse followed up with the darling picture below (and others), and video evidence of which Agent Steinz brought us.
But since Katja first arrived in D.C. - February 7, according to the interview - Alex's on-ice game has cooled off as his off-ice life has heated up. Four times in six games since the two met in person Ovechkin has been held off the scoresheet (after having been held pointless in four of his previous 22 games) and he has had a minus rating in each of those whitewashes (after having been on the wrong side of zero in that stat only four times since December 15). As a result of his first three-game scoreless drought of the season, AO has been caught and passed in the NHL scoring race by Evgeni Malkin and the Hart Trophy front-runner's Caps have won just twice in the six games after having won 10 of their prior 14 games.
One of sport's all-time wise men, Burgess Meredith's Mickey Goldmill, famously warned his prized pupil to quit chasing tail, as "[w]omen weaken legs." Casey Stengel, another of athletics' great thinkers, took a slightly different point of view when he noted that "[b]eing with a woman all night never hurt no professional [athlete]. It's staying up all night looking for a woman that does him in" - and scientists seem to agree.
So while Ovechkin's new-found love and this little bump in the road in his otherwise phenomenal season may have curiously coincidental timing, and given the wisdom of the The Old Professor and actual science, I'm not ready to attribute the latter to the former - there is no Girlfriend Curse plaguing Number Eight (after all, Ovie has already proven impervious to such superstitious triflings). But if we see Katja sporting one of these with her man's name and number at some point in the near future, I may be forced to reconsider and side with ol' Mick.