There came a point in time when it seemed that Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin would never win a Stanley Cup championship.
One of hockey’s most well-known and brightest stars entered 2018 having won the Hart Memorial Trophy (MVP) three times and the Maurice Richard Trophy (league’s leading goal-scorer) on seven occasions. The only thing missing that all the critics pointed towards was that Ovi didn’t have any Stanley Cup rings to show for.
However, that all changed when Ovechkin and the Capitals reached the Stanley Cup Final in 2018.
Washington took to the ice in the final against an improbable Cinderella Story in the expansion, Vegas Golden Knights. While Vegas proved it could entertain all with more than just its team’s play on the ice and with the arena’s diverse pregame show, the Great 8 showed that he too could entertain on the big stage.
Hockey fans alike witnessed the Russian captain take his game and emotional leadership to a whole another level last month when he led the Capitals to their first-ever Stanley Cup championship.
There were moments throughout the Stanley Cup Playoffs when it appeared that Ovechkin was a young teenager again when his priceless reactions on the Caps’ bench were similar to those rooting and cheering for No. 8, from the stands or their couches, to finally win what he deserved for over a decade.
Since Ovechkin entered the league in 2005, you almost felt like you grew up with the superstar and up until that moment when he first grabbed the Stanley Cup from NHL Commissioner, Gary Betman.
You could almost relate to him in the sense of all the ups and downs and adversity that he had encountered during his 13 years skating in the NHL. There were a handful of years when the Capitals were favorites to win the Cup but failed to even make it past the second round of the playoffs. It got to a point in time when even if you viewed one of the purest goal-scorers to ever lace up the skates as a rival, that you more than likely found a way to root for him during Washington’s run to this past year’s Stanley Cup Final.
Even Wayne Gretzky had chimed in on the action prior to the final’s puck drop.
The Great One was quoted in a memorable segment by NBC when broadcaster Mike Tirico sat down with the then Cup-less Ovechkin.
Yet, all the speculation was put behind him in bittersweet fashion when Ovechkin skated around Las Vegas with Lord Stanley and in a year when no one expected the Capitals to finally win.
That was just the beginning, though.
Fans were treated to Ovechkin and his teammate’s memorable and entertaining celebrations during their ventures across North America with the hardest trophy to win in all of professional sports.
How could you not root for this guy, right?