Caps’ Year Ends as Cup YearJune 10, 2018
It’s been a couple of days since the Washington Capitals won their first Stanley Cup in their 44th year of being an NHL Franchise and the partying has yet to seize and it is completely understable why. The greatest goal scorer for the past 13 years has finally checked the biggest box on his list: being a Stanley Cup Champion, and everybody in the world knows it by now. The cameras were always rolling on Ovechkin during this postseason as he provided an entire highlight reel of his reactions to the emotional rollercoaster that is playoff hockey. Whether it was Ovi in starstruck mode after Holtby’s unbelievable save in Game Two or the countless reactions of looking up to the skies after timely goals by his teammates to perhaps the best one: when his longtime teammate Nicklas Backstrom missed the empty net in the final seconds of Game Five and Ovi couldn’t believe it, probably thinking to himself, “are we really about to let them tie it with five seconds to go?” Obviously, the best reaction of Ovechkin was when he finally got to skate over to the Stanley Cup and grab that glorious trophy and lift it over his head as if it weighed as much as a feather. When you watch that moment of pure hockey porn you can’t help but get chills and imagine what that feeling must be like winning the toughest trophy in sports to win. Especially for Ovechkin who always had this asterisk above him that he doesn’t play defense, he only cares about scoring, and he will never win a Cup when he leads the league in goals and the lowest plus/minus as well. Instead, Ovechkin put all of that talk to the side during the playoffs, played a two hundred foot game all while delivering big checks, blocking shots, and of course scoring goals. Good for the crazy Russian to win it all along with of course the MVP award. It will be fun to watch him on Tuesday during the celebratory parade in our nations capital. Even though he has already thrown out the first pitch at a Washington Nationals game where he probably would have blow a .20 if he was breathalyzed (there is also a picture of him in the stands in the outfield holding the Cup over his head) , done some keg stands out of the Cup, and even slept with the trophy. What a life it is for the “Great 8,” and it is well deserved.
As for the city of Washington D.C., a city that has not been known for winning much of anything when it comes to professional sports: good for them as well. Those diehards rocked the red all day and night at the Verizon Center until the final buzzer went off and the team and the city went nuts. There truly is no better feeling than watching your favorite team win the Stanley Cup, it is truly euphoric. The entire hockey world is happy for the Washington Capitals as we all know it took them 44 years to win it all. Also, you have to be happy for Barry Trotz, the head coach of the Caps. There were talks at the beginning of this year that this would probably be his last season whether or not they won it all most likely due to the fact that ownership felt some sort of cultural change in the locker room needed to happen. He was in the final year of his contract making only $1.5 million, like really? This guy is only making $1.5 while Claude Julien is making around 4 and not even bringing the Montreal Canadiens to the playoffs? I just shook my head because it really doesn’t make sense. Barry Trotz never panicked these entire playoffs. He kept his players loose during the tightest times and even was seen doing a lap at the end of practice on the road, which became a tradition for the team during the postseason for road practices. Coach Trotz gets it, and he should get a nice new contract during the offseason too. Trotz also broke a record this offseason as the only coach in NHL history who had gone as long as he did without winning a Stanley Cup, which was 19 years: hats off to you Coach Trotz.
Just a few more tidbits for the Caps. Jay Beagle won his first ever Stanley Cup, making him the only player to win a championship in the ECHL, the AHL, and the NHL, so talk about a winner. Devante Smith-Pelly scored the game- tying goal as he was falling on his ass in Game Five, which was his seventh of the playoffs, tying his seven goals scored all year during the regular season. Hopefully DSP has earned himself another contract in the NHL. T.J. Oshie was a monster during the playoffs and seeing him getting interviewed after the game brought tears to my eyes as he mentioned that his father, who is suffering from Alzheimer’s, and can’t remember much, but this moment of his son winning the Cup he would remember forever. Brayden Holtby finally won a Cup after being one of the best goaltenders the league has seen in the last five years or so. He also found himself on the bench at the start of the playoffs due to playing poorly at the end of the year, but Coach Trotz knew he was better than how he was playing, and now he is a Champion. John Carlson, the young stud defenseman, is a free agent come July 1. After elevating his game to the next level, he will be paid nicely wherever he decides to sign (there is a spot for you in Boston John, if you’re interested!). Lastly, Nicklas Backstrom finally won the Cup after being one of the best playmakers in the game over the last decade plus. That moment Ovechkin passed Lord Stanley to him sealed the moment. Those two were the only ones who remained on the Caps from the year they were drafted, and they finally reached the top. Congratulations to the Washington Capitals organization and to the city of Washington D.C. Enjoy the parade, the social media world will be loving all the videos and pictures.
Written by Nick Gendreau