After so many years of near misses, the Washington Capitals finally have their names on the Stanley Cup.
The 4-3 win over the Vegas Golden Knights sealed the deal for the caps as they took the series 4-1.
And predictably the Conn Smyth winner was Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin.
“It meant everything. I think this moment, we waiting a long, long time,” Ovechkin said. Since day one, [Caps owner] Ted [Leonsis], I was at that house. We just kind of met the family. We were swimming in the pool. He told me, like, one day we’re going to win it. It was the first year. I don’t even know what the team is.
“I knew he wanted it so bad. This organization want it so bad. It’s nice to be part of it. It’s nice to be in this organization all 13 years, 14, whatever. It just was – joy. Was tough time, but we fight through it and we get result.
“Now I’m going home to our family, our fans. It’s just something special, you know. I don’t know. I’m just very excited and I’m very happy right now.”
And now Ovechkin’s journey’s complete. The sniper’s career was littered with near misses in the second round and conference finals, including a number of Game 7 losses.
Going into this series, that doubt was raised, especially since they were playing the Cinderella Golden Knights, who were shocking everyone by making it look so easy in their first year.
“How I said before this series, I don’t think anybody was thinking it was going to be the Stanley Cup Finals between the Capitals and Knights,” Ovechkin said. “So, again, I’m always saying after every game, if we going to play the right way, we’re going to stick together, stick to the system, play smart, we’re going to get results.
“I think everybody was on same page, end up with a Stanley Cup. Everybody on the same page, everybody do the same job, to help out the team. You know, we did it.”
The win is also vindication for coach Barry Trotz, who was expected to be let go if the Caps didn’t win it all. Now his situation is up in the air.
“It was sort of a real special moment because we’ve sort of lived the same life a little bit,” Trotz said. “We had a conversation. Obviously we were down 2-0 against Columbus. We said, we’re winning tomorrow, and we’re going to go win a Cup together.
“We got a good bond. I think we have a good relationship. I was really happy for him. I’m so happy for that group, for all the stuff that they had to endure, all the things that were said about them, Ovi in particular, (Nikolas Backstrom), that whole group.
“To me, they changed all the narratives. They checked off every box. Look at every series, we were down in every series, come back in every one. It was probably fitting we were down in this game and had to come back and win.”