Washington Capitals: Stanley Cup worth long celebration

It is fine to continue celebrating your Washington Capitals first Stanley Cup championship. The team, city and you deserve it.

The Washington Capitals waited 42 years for their first Stanley Cup.

Go ahead, celebrate as long as you want.

For those of you who remember those harsh nights at the Capital Center back in the mid-1970s, redemption is yours. If you snuck a radio under your pillow to listen to Rod Langway, Mike Gartner and Bobby Carpenter in the 1980s, buy that extra bottle of bubbly.

If you still have nightmares from the 1998 Finals, toast Olaf Kolzig and tip a glass for Peter Bondra too. The Cup belongs to Washington and those memories of Alex Ovechkin lifting the greatest prize in sports will never fade. For eternity, 2018 will go down as the year your Caps won it all.

Soon—when the hangovers clear and that precious Cup makes the rounds—thoughts will turn to the season ahead. Washington holds the 31st pick in the NHL Draft on June 22. John Carlson faces an uncertain future. Barry Trotz is now a hot name on the coaching carousel. Worry about that next week.

This week, the first Father’s Day where a Cup is a shared gift, belongs to celebration.

Washington’s 28th time in the playoffs was the charm. A journey littered with doubt and heartbreak along the way ended on a rink in Las Vegas of all places. Yet, the city of luck is the perfect backdrop for the Caps fortune to change forever. The doubts you might have had versus Pittsburgh and Tampa Bay are gone. Forever.

When Lars Eller scored in the middle of the third period of Game 5 to put the Caps in front 4-3, that was it. Sure, you had chomped those fingernails down to the quick by the end, but you will remember exactly where you were when the final horn sounded and Gary Bettman handed the Cup to Ovechkin.

A rare moment in time you want etched.

Almost 700,000 of you filled downtown Washington during the week for the championship parade. That is roughly the estimated total population for the entire city.

Yes, folks who could not explain how the offsides rule worked in March became fans of hockey for life over the course of the Stanley Cup playoffs. For all the hardships life throws at us, you get that rare moment of pure joy filling you with ecstasy.

In October—when those Washington Nationals are hopefully on their own championship run—the city will pause one more time to raise a banner. Anyone attending a game or a concert at Capital One Arena will get a permanent reminder of what happened in the Spring of 2018.

Hold on to that feeling as long as you can, Washington Capitals fans. Those tears of joy never go away.