Chris O’Meara/AP Images

Way back in 2006, an 11-year-old boy sent a letter to his favorite hockey player, young Caps superstar Alexander Ovechkin. The letter contained a hockey card, and a self-addressed stamped envelope, and a note to Ovechkin. No, not a note—a threat.

As the boy’s father recalled, it read

“If you don’t sign this and send it back to me, when I make it to the NHL, I’m going to give you a big body check.”

Ovechkin never sent it back. So that boy did what he promised: He went and made the NHL.

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Miles Wood, New Jersey’s rookie winger, was in the lineup as the Devils traveled to Washington last night. And the only reason you are not reading about Ovechkin’s severe injury this morning is that he understands discretion is indeed the better part of valor.

Ovechkin caught wind of Wood’s story, and before the game had this signed photo sent over to the Devils’ dressing room.

“Take it easy tonight,” indeed. The Devils won 2-1 in a shootout, and Ovechkin survived, and afterward threw on a bathrobe and wandered over to meet Wood.

“Sorry about the card,” Ovechkin told Wood.

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There’s a lesson here for all you kids out there. Athletes are very busy, and simply can’t get around to signing everything. So if you really want an autograph, the only sure move is to threaten them with bodily harm. And it can’t be an empty threat, either.