Why I’m Rooting for the Washington Capitals

The Stanley Cup Playoffs are upon us which only means one thing for New Jersey area fans: Ignore the Islanders existence and hop on a bandwagon somewhere else. Fortunately, there’s five new playoff matchups and a lot of underdog potential to root for. I however, am not taking that route.

Somewhere between watching Alex Ovechkin go on a three-month bender and seeing the magic of a city get their first Stanley Cup win, I’ve sold myself on wanting to see it again if my team isn’t in it.

Why Them?

To be fair, none of my brackets (except for the one aptly titled “Dream Bracket”) feature this outcome. I’ve got the Tampa Bay Lightning going all the way every time.

I’ll admit fully to hopping on the Caps bandwagon easily and adopting them as my second favorite team, despite being in the same division. There’s just something very exciting and likable about the squad this team has put together the past few season.

I’m a sucker for a good storyline in sports and watching them go back-to-back, beating their former head coach Barry Trotz along the way, and Ovechkin inching closer to Sidney Crosby in playoff success seems like the perfect one to me. I know in a season where there is a lot of fresh blood to root for, picking the reigning champs seems boring but this team is anything but boring.

Why They Can Win

Why not? I think if the Capitals knew Ovechkin saying they were going to “not suck” was all it took to win a Stanley Cup, they probably would have done it a lot sooner. Either way, the Caps have built an empire atop the Metro Division, despite the adversity they’ve faced over the years with some of the league’s superstars.

Ovechkin himself was challenged with the buzz that he was getting too old and drinking, probably straight vodka every day all summer was going to hurt him this year, but he shot back with his eighth 50-goal season. This garnered him second place in that stat behind Gretzy. He led the league in goals with 51, and only missed one game due to suspension for not appearing in the All-Star Game. (Consistently giving the finger to the NHL is another great reason to root for him too).

Behind him, their team is equally stacked. Tom Wilson scored a career-high 40 points despite missing 17 games due to suspension as well. He effectively shut everyone up about how he was unworthy of his $31 million, six year deal.

Goaltender Braden Holtby had an average year for himself, with 32 wins and a .911 save percentage, but considering this time last season he was fighting for a starting spot in the playoffs against then-backup Philipp Grubauer and he rose to the occasion. It’s safe to say he thrives under pressure.

At the very least, if winning means we get to watch TJ Oshie chug beer through his shirt all over DC again, then the Caps have my vote.

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