While Blues fans watch jealously from a distance., the long-suffering Washington Capitals will finally get their parade.
"I think it's going to be much bigger than everyone is expecting," Capitals owner Ted Leonsis said. "We want to be able to say thank you to people in Virginia and Maryland and Washington, D.C. My goal is to create something that elevates and unites all of the people in our community, so people think happy thoughts about Washington, D.C."
The Capitals rallied to topple the Vegas Golden Knights 4-3 Thursday night to win the Stanley Cup Final in five games and earn the franchise its first championship.
Alex Ovechkin finally got the Cup that validates his standing as one of the game's all-time greats.
"It's just like a dream," Ovechkin told reporters. "It was a hard, long season. We fight through it. We worked so hard through all the years and we were together. It was a whole one team, stick with the system and it doesn't matter what happened, even after the (second) period, we knew we just have to push it and get the result done. That's it."
T.J. Oshie joined the long list of former Blues to help win a championship after leaving St. Louis.
"For my two little girls. I got my name on something else, so they'll know that Dad played hockey when they grow up," an emotional Oshie told the media. "For my Dad, who has Alzheimer's. His memory's slipping a little these days. I think this is one memory that I don't think he's going to forget."
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Goaltender Braden Holtby gained redemption after his baffling late-season collapse.
"Years of heartbreak, years of breaking things down and trying again, breaking things down and trying again," Holtby told reporters. "This group never gave up, and we finally did it."
Coach Barry Trotz took the Final Step in coaching career, one that will either earn him a big raise in Washington or a high-paying gig with, say, the New York Islanders.
Naturally, Trotz wants to stay where he is at. "These are my kids," he told reporters. "I mean, this is a pretty special group. We'll talk, and I'm not worried one way or another. I've been doing this for a long time. I don't lose any sleep over it."
The Capitals were supposed to take a step back this season, but instead they finally leaped forward to win their long-awaited title.
“On paper, we are not as good as we were the last two years, but there is something special about this group,” defenseman Matt Niskanen said. “We just started to click in mid-March. We worked for each other. We won battles. We were committed to do whatever it takes."
Here is what folks were writing about this:
Greg Wyshynski, ESPN.com: "Alex Ovechkin is a Stanley Cup champion. The 'but' is dead. He's no longer Dan Marino. Or Ted Williams. Or Karl Malone. He is a star player whose statistical achievements -- 607 goals, putting him 19th all time at 32 years old -- will never again be counterbalanced by the lack of a championship. This isn't to say he ever needed his name on the Cup to validate his status as a generational talent or to punch his ticket for eventual hockey immortality, no matter what his detractors might have claimed. But 'Alex Ovechkin is a Stanley Cup champion' is a phrase that repels a decade of criticism about his desire, his effectiveness and his leadership in the postseason. Every unfair maligning of his effort. Every 'choker' label that was applied to him. They all vanished into rapture the moment he laid hands on hockey's holy grail."
Mike Zeisberger, NHL.com: "First came the tears then the hug, which had been 11 seasons in the making. There they were, Alex Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom, each with his hands eagerly smearing the Stanley Cup that they held over their heads at T-Mobile Arena. Having been teammates on the Washington Capitals since 2007, this was the precious moment they sought for more than a decade, a moment that always eluded them. Until now. They exchanged words. Some were swears, Backstrom admitted. But one word cut deeper than the others. 'Finally,' Ovechkin said to Backstrom, grinning from ear to ear. 'Finally,' Backstrom replied, reciprocating the smile. Finally."
Chris Johnston, Sportsnet: "This was not the most talented Capitals team of the Ovechkin era. It arguably might not crack the Top 5. Last spring the organization was left raw by another loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins in Round 2 – their second in as many years after winning the Presidents’ Trophy. According to general manager Brian MacLellan, the end-of-season player meetings included a lot of venting. A salary-cap crunch forced him to shed veteran contributors like Justin Williams, Marcus Johansson and Karl Alzner, and fill those minutes from within. It was not a set of circumstances that left anybody believing they were finally going to get the job done . . . They had to stare some familiar demons in the face to do it. They dropped the first two games of Round 1 to Columbus and needed to win Game 3 in overtime on the road to avoid going down 3-0. (Lars) Eller scored that one and posited that it may even have been bigger than the Cup clincher he got here . . . After dispatching Columbus, the Capitals had to go back through Pittsburgh. Then they fell behind in the Eastern Conference Final, winning Games 6 and 7 to knock out the Tampa Bay Lightning. Then they dropped Game 1 in Vegas."
Kevin Allen, USA Today: "Defenseman Matt Niskanen said he'll never forget the sounds coming out of the pile of Washington Capitals players stacked on goalie Braden Holtby after they clinched their first Stanley Cup title. '(It was like) a bunch of 10-year-olds who had won their first hockey tournament,' Niskanen said. 'It was like we were little kids again.' The emotional celebration was fitting for players celebrating the franchise’s first championship in its 44-year-history and Washington’s first major pro sports title since the Washington Redskins won the Super Bowl in 1992 . . . The kid-like enthusiasm was also appropriate for the veteran Washington players who had been previously linked to several failed attempts to win the Cup. The team had never been beyond the second round in the Alex Ovechkin era before this season."
Alex Prewitt, SI.com: "The group picture had ended and his teammates were starting to scatter, but Alex Ovechkin stuck around for an extra moment of meditation with their prize. Gripping the rim of its ridged bowl, he bent over and peered into the polished silver. Staring back was the reflection of a man, 32 years old with gunmetal hair and a woolen beard, unbroken and unburdened at last. Staring back was a Stanley Cup champion. There is no telling exactly how long this party will ultimately rage, from the red-clad pilgrims who flocked inside T-Mobile Arena to the thousands flooding downtown D.C. at home. Surely days, possibly weeks, maybe months, depending on how fast liquor stores run dry. There is also no doubt that Thursday ushered the shotgun start for a citywide purge and binge of emotions … in that order. When the Capitals flung their helmets skyward and tore from the bench upon beating the Golden Knights, 4-3, more than four decades of franchise-wide frustration evaporated. Then–mercifully, thankfully, finally–it was time to be free."
"It's pressure off. Nobody is gonna talk about it. It's huge. It's not easy to win the Cup. But he truly deserves it. I didn't see many games, but what I saw, he played the best I saw him play the last 10 years, for sure."
Former NHL star Jaromir Jagr, to ESPN, on Ovechkin.