From underchievers to persevering heroes. The Washington Capitals and captain Alex Ovechkin changed the long-running narrative about their team with one series one. For a franchise that had blown 5 3-1 series leads in its history, nothing else matters other than this year. Even prior to Ovechkin’s tenure, the Caps were known as a club that just couldn’t get over the hump. As far back as the 80’s, with Rod Langway and Mike Gartner. The 90’s with Jaromir Jagr, Sergei Gonchar and Peter Bondra. That’s all history now.
The story goes from utter frustration and playoff futility to overcoming adversity like a Disney movie. And you saw that with the over-the-top jubilation from Ovechkin. He clearly set the record for most yells of joy in a postgame celebration. I thought he was going to rip the cup righ from Commissioner Gary Bettman’s hands. Good on him.
And that’s the thing. Even the most ardent Penguins fan knows that a Caps + Ovy cup win is great for the game. It heats up the D.C. vs Pittsburgh rivalry and it gives Ovechkin credibility as one of the greatest hockey players ever. Hence, it’s great for the overall health of the league and game itself.
I was talking to a Pens fan the other day and he still wasn’t over the loss to Washington. Well, can you imagine how Capitals fans have felt over the last 20 years?
Lou is the Boss
With the hiring of Lou Lamoriello as the head of the Islanders, that franchise could transform into something special. They have several pieces that could develop into long-term solutions, including Matt Barzal. I understand the firing of crazy GM Garth Snow, but why fire Doug Weight? It’s not like he was the one who brought in sub par goaltending or defense to the roster! Weight was an Islanders player, an elite player elsewhere in the league and the players really liked him. I’m not sure if this was pure ego on the part of Lou, who wanted complete control of every aspect of the team, which he did not have in Toronto, or if he thought Weight wasn’t a good coach. Either way, I hope someone checked with John Tavares before Weight was let go. Can you imagine if Johnny was slated to come back to New York, only to be upset by the loss of Weight, a coach he liked?
Matthew Ross is a sports commentator and a radio host on TSN 690 Radio in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. He’s also a contributor to ESPN 101.3 Plattsburgh/Burlington. Follow him @MatthewWords.