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The Caps Have Won It

The War is over.

June 08, 2018 - 11:34 am

The Washington Capitals are your Stanley Cup Champions. I repeat, The Washington Capitals are your Stanley Cup Champions. The CAPS. THOSE CAPS. They are no longer the first guys to lather up with S.P.F. after an early playoff exit. They're now the last men standing. The hoisters of Lord Stanley, after out-lasting Vegas in the grittiest five game series you'll ever see.  

Shake that 800-pound gorilla off Alex Ovechkin's back. Do the same for Barry Trotz. Because the Cup is going to the District for the first time in 43 seasons, and it's going there because the Caps weren't gonna leave Vegas without it. 

THAT was an absolutely heroic effort. THAT was the war we expected -- We knew Vegas wasn't going down without a fight. Or like three fights. Hell, I think they're still mopping up blood from that absolute melee at the end of maybe the greatest second periods in the history of postseason hockey. 

Five goals, two teams trading blows. And then with 29 seconds left in the period, Reilly Smith lit the lamp. And Brooks Orpik lit up William Karlson's face.

That wasn't a bunch of guys just having a chat. Or tugging on jerseys. That was faces getting smashed. Knucks getting chucked. And two teams not about to back down.

But the Caps did what the Caps have done all season. They showed up. They showed out. And they ran down Vegas with a third period for the ages. Devante Smith-Pelly scored his 7th goal of the postseason to tie things at 3. He scored 7 goals ALL REGULAR SEASON. Lars Eller turned a Vegas turnover into the Cup winner. And they buckled down for one last Golden Knights flurry before finally getting it done. (INSERT FINAL CALL)

As great of a story as Vegas was this season -- and they might have been the GREATEST STORY EVER -- you cannot disrespect what this Caps team did this postseason. Down 0-2 to Columbus, they make a goalie change to Braden Holtby and win 4 straight. Fall behind Pittsburgh, then they run down the champ-champs in their house. And then against Tampa Bay in the conference finals, they win the first two in the Lightning's barn, lose THREE STRAIGHT, then find a way to get it done in seven, going to Tampa to do it. 

The Caps had every opportunity to CAP and they didn't. They trailed every series they played. They won a NHL-record tying 10 road games. And they went into another team's barn and packed the home team's bags for them in four straight series. 

You don't do that if you don't have all sorts of self-belief. And grit. You don't do that if you think you're cursed. And you don't do that if you don't have a room full of guys who have been there, done that, survived the wars, and come out the other side. 

Pick a story from this team. Any story. And it's gold. Ovi finally hoisting the Cup after 13 seasons, shedding that postseason rep for good. Barry Trotz, 19 years in and one of the best men in hockey, finally getting his. T.J. Oshie went 19 games this season without scoring a goal. Now he's a Stanley Cup champion. And he got to share the moment with his father, who is fighting Alzheimer's. He talked about that postgame with NBC Sports Jeremy Roenick.

If that doesn't get the room a little dusty, then you might not be human.

The war is over. The Caps have won it. The District will keep that party going straight through the parade. And they should. 

That was incredible. That was so un-Caps like. And while it would've been tremendous to see Vegas pull it off, the Caps got what they deserved: To chisel their names onto the Stanley Cup