The 2015-16 Washington Capitals have won the NHL President’s Trophy but still have a tough path to the treasured Stanley Cup. They have never won the ultimate prize, but if Alexander Ovechkin has his way, there may be a celebration in Washington DC that will rival that of the Independence Day fireworks display.
The Caps will have to oust Sidney Crosby and the Pittsburgh Penguins first if they are to move on in their quest. Let’s not forget the rivalry between Sidney Crosby and Alex Ovechkin over the years as they were both welcomed into the league as 1st round draft picks, Ovechkin in 2004 and Crosby in 2005, both captains of the same team that acquired them and both winning a myriad of awards throughout their careers.
However, there is one difference and not so subtle: “Sid the Kid” Crosby has helped to bring a Stanley Cup to Pittsburgh in 2008-09 after more than a decade since the two back-to-back ones that Mario Lemieux helped to achieve in the 1990s. The Washington Capitals have never won the Stanley Cup. In fact, Washington has had only one appearance in the Stanley Cup finals, not winning a single game after having being swept by the Detroit Red Wings in the 1997-98 season. Pittsburgh has been around for only seven more years than the Capitals, and have a 3-0 advantage in the number of Stanley Cups won. Who can forget the New York Islanders who joined the league just two years prior to Washington and have won the Cup four times, amazingly just seven years after induction?
But this Washington Capitals team has a leader in Ovechkin. Last year he promised the fans a victory in game 7 of the Conference Semifinals after the New York Rangers had come back from a 3-1 deficit. The Ranger’s Derek Stepan broke that promise when he scored the game 7 winner in overtime. Now is the time for Alex Ovechkin to redeem himself, make good on that promise and bring the Stanley Cup home to Washington. But, Sid the Kid has other ideas! Having the title at the moment of youngest captain to ever win the Stanley Cup, Crosby hopes to bring some his doggedness experience that is required to endure through the NHL’s second and toughest season, the playoffs!
History has shown that winning the President’s Trophy certainly has no influence on whether your team will win Stanley Cup nor is it an automatic invitation into the Stanley Cup finals. Here is a list of former President’s Trophy winners that have went on to win the Stanley Cup in the same year, and as you can see, there were only 8 times, two by Detroit.
1. Edmonton Oilers (1986-87)
Wayne Gretzky, need I say more?
2. Calgary Flames (1988-89)
Calgary did it, maybe they knew that it was now or never!
3. New York Rangers (1993-94)
See comment under number 2 above.
4. Dallas Stars (1998-99)
Brett Hull leads the list of stars for Dallas.
5. Colorado Avalanche (2000-01)
Not just a football town!
6. Detroit Red Wings (2001-02)
Brett Hull and Luc Robitaille prove that you are never too old.
7. Detroit Red Wings (2007-08)
Henrik Zetterberg leads Detroit to its fourth cup in 11 years.
8. Chicago Blackhawks (2012-13)
The second of three since 2009-10.