Photo: Mike Carlson, EzumeImages (Getty Images)

The Washington Capitals NHL team has an in-house chef who prepares healthy, lean meals for players before games. But captain Alex Ovechkin skips them in favor of his favorite pre-game fill-up: chicken Parmesan. According to CBS Sports, Ovechkin has for years had a standing order with Mamma Lucia’s restaurant for an order of “chicken Parmesan, pasta, Italian bread and four different sauces.”

Four different sauces! No wonder he’s captain. Ovechkin’s affection for Mama Lucia’s has been good for the restaurant’s business of late, which has been busier than ever thanks to the star’s stamp of approval. But other teammates aren’t following his lead; Oveckin is the only one who chows down on Parm before games. Writing in The Players Tribune, fellow Capitals player Bruce Orpik says “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!’ [sic] I don’t know. It’s weird, but it seems normal now.”

Ovechkin would find a dining companion in former Cubs pitcher Ryan Dempster, who reportedly ordered chicken Parm from Chicago restaurant D’Agostino’s before games. I’m not sure what team doctors would have to say about a breaded, cheese-covered pre-game meal, but we’re crossing our fingers chicken Parm becomes the new Gatorade.