Alex Ovechkin and the Washington Capitals are Stanley Cup Champions. Pause. Let that sink in. And now read it again. Alex Ovechkin and the Washington Capitals are Stanley Cup Champions!
It was okay to believe. Now it is okay to exhale.
Back in 2008 when the Caps went on an improbable run late in the season to win their division and then the President’s Trophy in 2010, it seemed inevitable that they would soon hoist the Cup. Then the years following were a stretch of heart-shattering disappointment, pain, playoff misery, dumb trades and trade debates, a GM change and a couple different bench bosses. After another early playoff exit in 2017, the Caps winning the Cup had become a fantasy, a dream and an infuriating league joke.
Well fuck all you non-believers because now we are the Champions!
Braden ‘Holt-Beast’ Holtby along with Julie and Jo Katz
March and early April were some dark days for Holts. He couldn’t buy a save and seemed all out of sorts. So to begin the playoffs against Columbus he was on the bench backing up Grubs. Perhaps that was just kick in the arse that he needed.
Since then, our goalie was stellar in net and played better than his Vezina trophy winning season. Some may argue that this save won us the Cup, but us Caps fans know that it’s just our boy doing his thing….and what a thing it was. That said, Julie fought off adversity and washed off all of that bad luck with Pinot Grigio and Champagne, probably much the same as the Caps.
Speaking of Champagne, it was EVERYWHERE along with tons of beer and pinot. The good souls at JoJos really embraced our crew with open arms all season including: giving the Caps games sound even when only 20 of us showed up for a regular season meet-up, for the ridiculous number of Caps party favors they provided throughout the season and for putting up with our shenanigans all year….and it’s prolly going to take them days to clean up all the booze from the ceiling.
Evgeny ‘Kuzy’ Kuznetsov and Ellery
Kuzy had more points than any other player in the playoffs and scored one of the most memorable goals in team history by beating Murray in OT of Game 6 against the Pens. He gave us a good scare in Game 2 of the Finals when a dirty hit by a Knight left him holding his left arm. Many speculated that he had broken his hand or wrist and he would be done for the series. But he returned to the ice for Game 3 at home making us all keep believing.
Ellery has probably had more beers and shots than any living Caps fan. On Thursday evening he gathered so many Caps fans to JoJos that the overspill filled up every bar on the block. The intersection of Bleecker and Sullivan Street was a sea of red that rivaled outside Capital One Arena. Those in attendance said it was glorious.
Alex ‘Ovie’ Ovechkin and the Entire Caps Fan Base
We did it. We finally won the big one.
I use the ‘we’ because he’s one of us. We drafted him as a pup and watched him do some unbelievably entertaining thing while growing up as a Cap. We were there to congratulate him each time he won the Hart Trophy and took home the Richard Rocket honors. And also there to console him and each other when things didn’t quite go as forecasted. That’s what you do when you have faith in someone you’ve embraced as family.
There’s nothing like heartbreak to make you truly appreciate the good times. And boy, does this one feel exceptionally sweet!
To all the Caps fans out there, far and wide, raise your glass and howl like an Ovie. We did it. We won the big one. And now the narrative is forever in our favor.
Devante Smith-Pelly (DSP) – scored in the last three Finals games beginning with the insurance goal in Game 3, the GWG in Game 4, and the heroic diving swat-tying goal in Game 5. He may not be interested in going to the White House, but he’s always welcome at Casa de Stewart and TSP.
Caps Defense – after a shaky start to the playoffs they quickly pulled it together and provided the support in front of the net that makes you a champion. The coaching staff get some credit here too for coming up with the strategy, but it only works if the players execute it. Thanks boys.
Game 5 NHL Official Clock Keeper – in the final two minutes of the third period, after Flower had been pulled, the scoreboard and gamecast clock disappeared and then reappeared with 15+ minutes. No one knew how much time was really remaining in the game except the clock keeping hero. He calmly coordinated with the refs and NBC studio folks to put seconds on the board and a new layer of cold sweat across both fan bases.
GM Brian MacLellan – sure, George McPhee deserves a good amount of credit for putting together the core of the team, but it was MacLellan that found quality role players like DSP, Connolly, Stephenson, and Kempny.
ALL CAPS – to every other member of the team that saw ice time during the regular season and playoffs, even that wild Australian, thank you for this!