I wrote some sources just before the playoffs began, just before everything went up in smoke. "Maybe they need another run-down D-man or a more robust guy on the net. Maybe Ovechkin disappears under pressure. Maybe they are overrated. Maybe they will never win the cup. But enough with the talk about how they lead the NHL because of their sad separation only. They had a fabulous regular season, and that's not because of their division. "
You can ignore most of these words in this damned paragraph, which could be rewritten practically every April in the last 10 years, focus on six of them." They had a fabulous regular season. "That was in 2010. And then they had, and then it went splat because that's how things went around here: the regular seasons were funny and exciting and appreciative They hurried you because they gave you close to greatness They made you feel like something historical And then, with one hundred percent certainty, they ended up in the void, and you were left with doubts – after all, you – or at least me – thought about whether the whole thing is a kind of mirage. [Manyhavewrittenmanywordsaboutwhathashappenedinthelastsixweeksaseriesofhockeygamesthatstartedwithextremecynicism(atleastinmyhousehold)andendedwiththeoppositeHoweverbeforetheStanleyCupfinalsbeginIwanttomakethemoststupidunripeandegocentricobservationofthemallIsomehowpersonallyfeelconfidentthatthecapsarewheretheyarenowThatissuperstupidButanyway
As I've told you millions of times, I'm not a fan, neither of the Caps nor any other team. But that's not really important, because if you see enough profits from any team or enough goals from any player, or enough celebrations from any fanbase, you will invest a part of yourself in a belief. Like many of you, I've spent an absurd amount of hours reading about, writing about, and looking at these Ovechkin era capitals with this belief: they made something unforgettable.
On the way – many times on the way, in fact – I decided that they were really, really good. I decided that in 2009 when I thought they could win the Stanley Cup. And in 2010, when I thought they could win the Stanley Cup. And even in 2012, when I thought they could find their way to the Stanley Cup. And definitely in 2016 when I thought I read and write about the best team I have ever seen in any sport. I still feel like that somehow. These 2016 Capitals were really, very, very good. I wrote this. I told the people. I believed that.
Then they lost to the penguins, and I began to doubt. This doubt was perhaps a decoration; That meant I had been around long enough to inherit his hazy humor, his suffocating cynicism. At some point I stopped believing. I was not surprised when they lost to Pittsburgh last spring, even though these capitals were good too. I was convinced that they should have fired their coach last May because why the hell did not. (Okay, this part is unjustifiable.) I was waiting for this season to start scratching. When the Caps lost the first two games at Columbus last month, I was almost proud of my dead soul . Of course they would score two goals. Of course they would lose in overtime. Of course, the season would end miles from the last lap. Maybe we all missed something. Maybe we were wrong all the time.
[Svrluga: George McPhee and Brian MacLellan go back decades. Now their teams are playing for the Stanley Cup.]
So here we are. Vindicated could be the wrong word. I've used it repeatedly in conversations with friends over the past week, and it's not exactly true. But it is close. The 12 wins this spring have done more than put the caps on the edge of the story. They convinced me that the last decade was not pointless. We did not waste our time on pretenders all the January evenings, if we had read "Elmer Gantry" or "Another Country" or "Jane Eyre" or whatever great works of fiction we'll probably never read. Not only did we give away our February afternoons with NBC matinees if we could have walked, walked, or visited wineries in February. We did not mind if we read (and wrote) all these pieces about size.
It was not a fake. It was not an illusion. The last decade was real. The best era in the history of this franchise was real. Ovechkin was real – and he did not need a smart old Grizzly prosthesis – who wore Jason Arnott or Mike Knuble or Justin Williams to make it whole.
[Las Vegas, shaken by tragedy, finds an unlikely rallying point: Its first-year NHL team]
That's all silly, of course. Alex Ovechkin is not a better hockey player than he was six weeks ago. His career would not have been fraudulent if Artemi Panarin's shot had missed the post in the final minutes of Game 3 in the first round, leading Columbus 3: 0. The value of our time during all these January nights for years and years has nothing to do with 12 wins this spring. The regular season is not pointless. The entertainment value of fandom can not be tied to titles. Frankly, we're probably wasting our time, even if they win the next four titles, and we all know that.
But who cares if that's silly? Fans will still be crushed when caps lose against this expansion team, and they should be. But the doubt is gone now. It was that something was building up, though the exact blueprint – aft of an erratic regular season and a fearsome first round reliant on a bunch of rookies and some Australians in the main game of the season – looks a bit odd
Ovechkin's legacy different because of these 12 victories. The legacy of the Rock the Red era is different too. All these times we called the caps fabulous and really thought it was true? Well, we were not crazy. We were not wrong. And there is something satisfying about it, no matter what happens next.
Read more about the capitals:
You know it as Lovettsville, Virginia. Until the Stanley Cup is won, it will be Capitalsville. 19659015] Alex Ovechkins and Nicklas Backstrom's long joint journey reach the Stanley Cup final
The capitals should be favored over the Golden Knights for the Stanley Cup final
The capitals go into the Stanley Cup final  Capitals fans unleash the joy: & # 39; I want to get everyone up here right now & # 39;
Mike Milbury on Alex Ovechkin: & # 39; You can not say enough about him & # 39;