Playoffs can be a tough pill to swallow after last year’s Oilers run into the second round. I can understand if some people have, like Baggedmilk and Wanye, agreed to not watch a lick of the 2018 Stanley Cup playoffs. Least of which, the Stanley Cup Final.
Tomorrow night is Game One and I have been tasked with giving you some storylines for each team to follow along that will give Oilers fans a reason to watch this cup final. We will start you off with the Washington Capitals.
The Washington Capitals, the team that has not been able to get past the Penguins, Lightning, and Rangers in recent years, have finally done it. They have slain the dragon and made it to the Stanley Cup finals against the most successful franchise in NHL history. They are the away team with their measly 105 points in the regular season and will wear that underdog title proudly as every other team that the Knights have done so far. How can you not cheer for this team? If those weren’t enough to convince you, here’s four more:
The underdog coach
Now I know calling Jack Adams winner Barry Trotz an underdog is kind of silly, especially now that he’s at the helm of the Capitals who have one of the best teams on paper Trotz has ever coached. But here we are. Barry Trotz, the man who made something out of nothing in Nashville for all those years, finally has a cup contender just four wins away from the final goal. You can’t help but feel that the guy who has been able to do so much with so little, really deserves this assembly of players and the chance he has.
Oilers Legend: Nathan Walker
There is something to be said for the journeyman of journeymen making his way to the Stanley Cup final. Chris the Intern tells me the flight from Australia is a long one, and Nathan made that flight to get to Washington to play for them. Only to have let him go via the waiver wire this year mid-season. He was then promptly deemed the answer to the Oilers woes and added to the mix in Edmonton. As fast as he came in, he was gone. Two games in the orange and blue, over the course of three weeks forever etched his name into the hearts and minds of all Oilers fans, and then the Capitals claimed him back off waivers. His ascent into the history books is already a given as the first Aussie-born player in the NHL, but now he has the chance to add the first Australian NHL player to ever hoist Lord Stanley’s mug.
Touched the trophy
In case you weren’t aware, there is a lot of lore and much adieu about touching the Conference championship trophy. The reasoning behind it is that if you touch, acknowledge or really think about the conference final trophy, you are forgetting the real prize. The job isn’t done when you win your side of the NHL playoffs bracket. You need to destroy both sides of the bracket and sit atop it for the world to see. Right? Well:
There you have it, the Golden Knights are satisfied with just winning the West? Pfft, losers.
Ovechkin finally winning
As the Capitals have gone since their last Stanley Cup Finals visit in 1998 when they were swept by the Detroit Red Wings, so too has their captain, Alex Ovechkin. Early exit after early exit have plagued this team and it’s Russian born leader leaving many to question his leadership. Ovechkin has done well to stem that tide up until now, but will he be able to fend them off if in his finest hour he lays a big one? Watch to find out.