Photos by Bruce Andrew Peters. This past weekend, the Caps presented the 2015-16 Red...
Introducing… Caps Tattoo Guy
Michael Lindenbaum isn’t the first fan to get a Capitals tattoo, and he won’t be the last, but he’s certainly the most prolific. His arms are covered in Caps tattoos and he’s got room for more. Check them out:
Caps Tattoo #1
What: Current logo
Location: Right forearm
Date: Labor Day weekend 2010
Story: This is the only tattoo that I have so far that has a nickname, which is “The Mistake.” There were many mistakes that were made when I had this done. For one, it was the second tattoo I had gotten done that day and it was getting late. Originally, it was going to be “COEXIST” with all the religious emblems, but my friends talked me out of that, and they said I should do a hockey tattoo because of the fact that I’m a lifelong hockey fan. I thought it’d be cool to get a Caps tattoo, but some said not to do that because of the “what if the team moves/folds?” and “what if you stop liking them?” type questions. My tattoo artist and I decided that I would have the current team logo tattooed on my left forearm. When we made the stencil, we made it too big, but it fit so we didn’t make any adjustments. When we started tattooing, it was 10 p.m. and I had a pain seizure right off the bat with the tattooing of the stencil of the “C.” It was the worst pain I had ever felt in my life. We finished at 3 a.m., and once it got bandaged up I fell asleep immediately. One month later it was CapsCon and I decided to wear my all red garb, but instead have my Xtremist 75 jersey tied around waist and have a red tanktop on so I can show off my new Caps tattoo. It was a hit as everyone including Alan May and Alexander Ovechkin asked me about it. And from that my confidence grew and the ideas for my future (some of which are now current) tattoos started to be thought about.
Caps Tattoo #2
What: 1974 team logo
Location: Left forearm
Date: Christmas 2010
Story: After debating a good two months about what I wanted to do for my next two tattoos, and because the Winter Classic was nearing I thought it would only be fitting to get the inaugural logo tattooed on my right forearm but smaller than the original on the left forearm because I have future plans (which are now under way) for the rest of my right forearm. This one was not as painful as the original Caps tattoo which was nice but it still hurt.
Caps Tattoo #3
What: The Weagle (Current shoulder patch)
Location: Right shoulder
Date: Christmas 2010
Story: Like the previous tattoo, I had two months to think about this one and I came up with a really cool idea. Originally, I was going to combine the Weagle with the previous Dome logo into one big thing but then I thought of something greater: The Stanley Cup coming out of the Dome. It will say Stanley Cup Champions, and underneath will have the years they win the Cup. But this will only happen WHEN they DO win the Stanley Cup.
Caps Tattoo #4
What: Stars with names and numbers (work in progress)
Location: Left forearm
Date: Feb. 12th, 2011/June 30th, 2011/Sept. 1st-17th, 2011
Story: “The Capitals Arm of Fame” was thought about when the Weagle and the inaugural logo were being done. I had decided that the retired numbers had to be done, but I wasn’t sure how. After a month of debating, I started doodling stars, and then a light bulb went off in my head and I inserted Yvon Labre’s last name and number. I made three more stars and inserted Rod Langway, Dale Hunter and Mike Gartner. I also wrote a list of names of my favorite players. Eleven stars were added on 4th of July weekend 2011. Five are blank and will remain so until decided upon. However, one star is reserved for the player who wins us our first Stanley Cup.
Which Caps have seen their own stars and what was their reaction?
John Erskine (he loves the tats), Karl Alzner (also loves the tats), Matt Bradley (thinks the tats are tight and gave me a fist bump for it), Matt Hendricks (thinks the tats are tight), George McPhee, Peter Bondra, Rod Langway, and Paul Mulvey. Bruce Boudreau, Alex Ovechkin, Mathieu Perreault, Alan May, and Mike Green have only seen the Caps tattoo on my left forearm as it was the only one I had at the time. No one has seen the stars tats yet, but Erskine, Bondra, and Langway know about it. Erskine thought it was awesome. Since the initial additions of the stars to my left forearm, John Carlson (thought it was cool, and asked where was his star), Michal Neuvirth (thought it was cool), Brooks Laich (thinks the tats are cool), and Jeff Schultz (had no comment) had seen them. Hendricks saw the stars and thought it was very cool as well. Hendricks was the first and only player to see the most recently updated stars which included his name and number in one and was very ecstatic about it. Neuvirth saw the most recent update to the stars (where five of the stars were colored in on 9/1/11) and he said they are looking amazing and that they are coming along very well.
Which Caps do you consider getting tattooed?
It was a must to do all four retired numbers. And I had to do Peter Bondra being how he was my childhood hero. I also felt that Olaf Kolzig was a must, too, and I strongly feel that both of their numbers need to be retired by the team. Then there are the others who I deemed worthy because of what they have contributed to the organization. John Erskine I did because he was someone the Caps signed and no one thought he would last as long as he has, and he has improved his game so greatly these past six years where he has become one of my favorite players. And Matt Hendricks you can’t deny because he is someone who is such an amazing person and the fact that he fought so hard to make it to the NHL and now he has made it making every opportunity count, you have to respect that greatly.
How many more do you plan on getting, and will you ever be finished?
I have five blank stars on my arm (there are 20 stars overall) on purpose. One star is for the person who wins the Caps their first ever Stanley Cup. The other four I haven’t decided on. If you look at my arm I have ten alumni players and five current players, so I don’t know if I want to add guys like Don Beaupre and Sylvain Cote, or guys like Karl Alzner, Michal Neuvirth, and Marcus Johansson. As for being finished, I feel that there is no true way to answer that question being how I want to do some more artistic tattoos to go with my tribute tattoo to my grandfather, but you know that if the Caps win the Cup there will always be an add-on for that. Plus, there is also the fact that maybe more players get added and I have to use my right arm to continue the Arm of Fame. But after the final ten player stars get colored in I do plan to take an extended break from getting tattoos in general.
How much attention do you get in public?
If I’m at a Caps event I wear a tank top so my tattoos are showing for everyone to see. But if I’m at a Caps practice I may show them off or I may cover them up and not wear anything Caps related except maybe for my hat so I can go undetected, because I’m there trying to get autographs from the players and just relax. And when I go out for other things, I tend to cover them up because when I’m out with my friends or when I was out with my now ex-girlfriend, I don’t want the attention because I’m with them and we want to have fun doing whatever we are doing. I can’t count how many times I’d be out with my ex-girlfriend and I didn’t cover my forearms and people would come to me when we are out on a date and it was a distraction. And the last thing I want to be while hanging out with my friends is a distraction.
How did you get your nickname (other than the fact that’s it’s an obvious nickname) and how do you like it?
I actually got my nickname when I was at Kettler getting my Matt Hendricks Winter Classic Jersey done. Matt Bradley, Alexander Semin, and Michal Neuvirth were on the ice practicing so I stuck around and watched them workout with the conditioning coach. When they were done I got Semin’s autograph on a puck that sits on my desk at work. And then Brads came off and I showed him my tattoos and he said I was a really cool Caps Tattoo Guy and gave me a fist bump. Next thing I knew, the next Caps practice I went to Karl Alzner also refered to me as Caps Tattoo Guy. And a third player who I can’t remember for some reason also called me Caps Tattoo Guy so I pretty much figured out that my nickname was going to be Caps Tattoo Guy. It was cool at first but as I think about it, I really don’t like the nickname. I’ve always been considered as an Enigma by my friends and family so I was really hoping to be known as the Caps Tattooed Enigma or something like that, but like the Rolling Stones’ song goes “You can’t always get what you want.”
What do people close to you think about what you’re doing?
I know my parents don’t like them, but I know they support me on it even though they disapprove of them. My sisters don’t care. Funny thing was, two and a half weeks after getting the first Caps tattoo, I started dating my now ex-girlfriend and she liked it and she helped encourage me in getting more and making it into what it is now. But the funnier thing is she hates hockey (all sports actually), yet she liked tracing the Caps logo with her finger on my arm. I always found that funny. As for my friends, they all love the tattoos. Some don’t like them but have warmed up to them. My one friend hates the tattoo on my right forearm, which is the first one done, because it’s too big. He actually bashes my tattoo artist for making it too big and that he allowed it to wrap around and all this other stuff. But he refuses to let me take fault for it because in all reality I was the one who said “Let’s do it!” It was solely my decision to do the tattoo the way it is and all my tattoo artist did was make the recommendation. In reality, some like it, some don’t. It’s just how it is. As too what they think in regards to them I say you should ask my friends because I talk to them about it more than I do my family being how my family isn’t big on it.
What will you do if you want to pay homage to the future stars but you’re out of room? Expand beyond your arms?
With the exception of the Cup and the years they win the Cup, I don’t see me doing much more. If a number is retired I will do that, but really this is more of a celebration of how long I’ve been a Caps fan. I’ve been a fan since I was two and being how I’ll be 25 in October, that means I’ve been a fan for 23 years. This is my way of paying tribute to those who I grew up admiring, watching, and cheering. When I get older and I have kids of my own I don’t see me getting more Caps tattoos unless they do another logo change or retire another number or win the Cup, because I think my money will be more invested in taking my kids to Caps games and getting them Caps gear and getting them started on their own hockey card collections. But yet again, “Never say Never.” Anything can change my mind. Plus, I also want to do some more artistic tattoos that could possibly make my Caps tattoos look even cooler than they are now.
Follow the Caps Tattoo Guy on Twitter at @MikeXtremist.