After yet another year of the Washington Capitals falling short of expectations in the playoffs, captain Alex Ovechkin set a simple goal at the start of the 2017-18 training camp.
“We’re not gonna be suck this year,” he said.
Well, the unusual prediction worked. Despite losing key defensemen, the Capitals won their division for the third year in a row. In the playoffs, they overcame a 2-0 deficit in the first round, beat the nemesis Pittsburgh Penguins in the second round and won Game 7 in Tampa in the conference final. With a five-game victory against the expansion Vegas Golden Knights, playoff MVP Ovechkin got to lift the Stanley Cup for the first time in his career.
He repeated the “suck” phrase, adding an obscenity this time, at the team’s championship parade.
So what’s Ovechkin’s goal for the Capitals in 2018-19?
“Not suck back-to-back,” the new dad said with his typical grin at the start of camp.
And back-to-back isn’t out of the question, even though it has been done only twice in the last 25 years.
The team is mostly intact, losing only forward Jay Beagle and backup goalie Philipp Grubauer. Coach Barry Trotz left, but top assistant Todd Reirden replaced him. The team managed to lock in key defenseman John Carlson and spark plug Tom Wilson long term and even brought back veteran defenseman Brooks Orpik after a circuitous route.
But the Capitals will have to deal with a short offseason filled with lots of partying and the fact that every team is gearing up to beat them.
Ovechkin, though, said motivation is no problem.
“When you taste it, you want it more and more,” he said.
Source : https://www.usatoday.com/story/sports/nhl/capitals/2018/09/14/alex-ovechkin-not-gonna-suck-prediction-follow-up/1307360002/