As someone who has watched the Washington Capitals from a distance, it was amazing to see their transformation as an organization during the 2018 postseason. From the Bruce Boudreau run-and-gun teams to the Dale Hunter defense-first attack, the Capitals evolved and finally broke through under Barry Trotz’s direction.
Being a Canucks fan, I am used to seeing a hockey team consistently suffer and break my heart every year. While the Canucks are not close to contending now, it is very easy to root for underdog teams who constantly struggle to break through.
Alex Ovechkin is one of the NHL’s top goal scorers and has been over the last decade. His passion for the game and willingness to do what it takes to win showed in the 2018 playoffs. Besides his natural goal scoring ability, Ovechkin was throwing his weight around on the ice and he was blocking many shots. Ovechkin displayed his leadership and it rubbed off on every other player on the Capitals bench. His love for the game is so apparent, even though he has received a lot of criticism over the years.
One of my favorite Capitals players is Tom Wilson. He is a heart and soul player, and will also do whatever it takes to win. Wilson’s biggest moment of the playoffs was when he fought Braydon Coburn. That fight sparked the Capitals bench after Coburn ripped the jersey off of Evgeny Kuznetsov. Wilson is a big-time player that is just coming in to his own, and he is a physical force on the ice.
Finally, Barry Trotz is a coach that has always been well respected around the league. He is a coach that is very good at teaching the fundamentals of hockey and he seems to always put his players first. Trotz has had to scratch and claw throughout his tenures in Nashville and Washington, but it is very nice to see a good coach that has plenty of wins get over the hump and win the Stanley Cup.
THE CAPITALS ARE BUILT WELL
The Capitals assembled a great group of core players like Alex Ovechkin, Nicklas Backstrom, Evgeny Kuznetsov, and Braden Holtby. The Capitals stars all performed and broke through the second-round hurdle. They will forever be in Capitals history for delivering the franchise its first Stanley Cup.
I hope that the Canucks can break through one day like the Capitals did, but it is very easy to support a franchise that has suffered for a very long time. It is good for the game of hockey, and will only help the sport grow and become more popular. Congrats to the Washington Capitals, and all of the fans. You deserve this moment!
By: George Foussekis