The 2018 Stanley Cup Final has ended with the Washington Capitals finally ending their long history of suffering with a four to one series win over the Vegas Golden Knights who were experiencing a complete “Cinderella Story” type season. These two teams put on one hell of a show for five terrific games and now we can look back on this Final since the dust has settled.
Alex Ovechkin is finally a champion
1,124 games are all it took for Alex Ovechkin to finally lift Lord Stanley. Cementing himself as one of the greatest players in NHL history, he can finally say he is no longer a part of the no ring club and is greeted by many of the other greats in sports history that have won a championship in their respective leagues. For a long time, Alex Ovechkin was destined to go down in history as one of the greatest hockey players ever to not have his name engraved into Stanley’s silver. This weight is now off of his shoulders as he has lifted a new weight. The weight of the Stanley Cup.
Vegas is a hockey city
It was kind of evident that this was already known throughout the season and postseason but the overwhelming amount of support that the Vegas population gave their Golden Knights was incredible. Beginning the season with a tragedy, Vegas was brought together by hockey. The city’s first professional sports team to be a part of the “big four” (NBA, MLB, NFL, NHL), the Vegas Golden Knights healed this community the best it could and the fans supported them right back. I have a strong feeling the dedicated and strong people of Vegas gave the Golden Knights every push they needed to be the third team in all of professional sports to make it to the Final in their inaugural season.
The Capitals needed the pressure taken off
It seemed like every year since 2009 the Capitals were one of the favorites to win the Stanley Cup and every year since 2009 they failed miserably. Disappointment after disappointment, the one year that the Capitals are truly considered just another team in the race, they win it all. Although the Capitals won their division, they were simply seen as just another team and it seemed as if no one really had faith in them anymore. Going down 0-2 against the Blue Jackets in the first round, another early exit seemed inevitable. And then the magic started happening. Winning four straight games against Columbus, then finally exercised their demons in Pittsburgh, defeated the Lightning who were arguably the most solid team in the postseason in a thrilling seven games, to beating what seemed like an unstoppable Golden Knights squad. Washington flew under the radar straight to their first Stanley Cup.
Vegas should be proud of what they’ve accomplished
This Vegas team will be back next year and based on their salary cap and draft picks available, they will be even better. If this year was only the foundation of a future to come, then the other 30 (soon to be 31) NHL teams should be shaking in their boots. This Capitals team just had the momentum and made the right plays at the right time. However, the Vegas Golden Knights shouldn’t be dwelling on this Final loss for too long. They should be extremely proud of everything this team has done this season and to say this season was a disappointment is just plain stupid. The Golden Knights will be back and I don’t think anybody in their right mind could say that this group in Vegas are just a bunch of pretenders or one hit wonders.
The NHL is more competitive than ever
For the first time since 2007, two teams competed in the Stanley Cup Final for their first Stanley Cup Championship. The Capitals had choked time and time again in the past and it seemed as if they would never win the Cup. Going to the Final twenty years prior, they didn’t even win a game as they were swept by the Detroit Red Wings. The Golden Knights had played just 102 games total and they made it all the way to the Final in their first year of existence. The NHL is unpredictable, competitive and that isn’t only evident from this Final. Although four teams have won the past eight Stanley Cups, including this season, the last three Stanley Cup Finals have seen Vegas, Nashville and San Jose compete in their first Stanley Cup Final. The NHL has remained competitive throughout the years and the 2018 Stanley Cup Final has proved to the world that it just keeps getting better.