Photo: USA Today
The time is here, a moment many of us have waited for for so many years. Some of us the entire 43-year history of the Capitals, others less than that. Having been a fan since the day I was born (just days after the Caps lost Game 4 of the 1998 Stanley Cup Finals), the Capitals playing in Game 1 of the 2018 Stanley Cup Finals just moments from now will be one of the most memorable moments as a fan, and in the words of Caps Head Coach Barry Trotz to the media: “Enjoy and Hydrate”.
Coming into this season, the Capitals were pegged by many to miss the Stanley Cup Playoffs after losing several key players over the offseason, as well as a down season offensively from captain Alex Ovechkin. Not only did the Capitals prove all their naysayers wrong, they won the Metropolitan Division with 105 points, and a bounce-back season from Ovechkin, who led the NHL in goals with 49, and a playoff performance that has placed him squarely in the Conn Smythe Trophy discussion as the playoff MVP.
The Capitals slayed the demons of their second round failures, a problem that had plagued this franchise throughout the Ovechkin era, and toppled the Pittsburgh Penguins, the franchise who had become the thorn in their side whenever they met one another in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. And while the Capitals are facing a very tough Vegas Golden Knights team, and nerves are at an all-time high amongst us all, it is important that we enjoy this game, enjoy this series, no matter the outcome of either. This team has done us proud this season, has proven all of their critics wrong, and most of all has enjoyed playing with each other and playing for the ultimate goal. So enjoy this experience, hydrate, and most of all, have fun. If they follow their game plan, they may just win it all.
By Michael Fleetwood