It didn't matter if a player had previously been stuck on the fourth line or sitting in the press box.
"We're just a bunch of hockey players (that) wanted to find a home and we did", said Knights center Jonathan Marchessault, who has eight goals in 15 playoff games. "And the perception of your game can be remodelled and redone". I don't think they were that far away the last few years. Alex Tuch was watching the son of an assistant coach play, but a lot of other people at the ballpark were watching him.
Knights: Vegas in the Cup Final in its inaugural season, the first to do it since the 1967-68 St. Louis Blues when all six expansion teams were in the same division.
Their leading scorer was Tommy "The Bomber" Williams, a 34-year-old veteran of the Olympic-gold-medal-winning Team USA squad. With Vegas, he's become Mr. "So in addition to the rules being more favorable, there were teams that were looking to get out of certain deals, and we could get better players or better draft picks if we could play ball with them". Instead, the Capitals were forced to take a break and may lose some of their momentum while the Golden Knights enjoyed a similar hiatus after the first two rounds. "I was walking around Ann Arbor kicking stones and couldn't get a job, you know". "So we overreached on the ask, and that's the way it went". While the Caps finally climbed over the hump in the Eastern Conference, the Golden Knights have been bulldozing every logical obstacle in their path since October. He's keeping a sense of humor about this momentous trip: With a straight face Sunday, Ovechkin said Russian President Vladimir Putin had called him to wish him luck, before adding: "I'm just joking".
"You know, we wanted to be good", McPhee said. "Sure, there's guys who could have been captain in our group, but it was their first year".
And the men who run the hockey departments for those two teams - George McPhee of the Golden Knights and Brian MacLellan of the Capitals - have a relationship that dates back more than 40 years to their days of playing minor hockey in Guelph, Ont. "The guys talked about it".
Trotz said he sees a freedom in Ovechkin, who got married in July, that wasn't present in the past when the Capitals were having great regular seasons before falling well short of their playoff goals.
LeBron James once said in his early Miami Heat days that he had "accepted this kind of villain role that everyone has placed on me". I put the game on the radio and just keep working. But I'd like to think it happens in the next three seasons. "You see the people that came out here, the people who were at the rink for Game 7 at Capital One". Down the line, when the National Hockey League finally gives Hampton Roads its team, that new club could stack consecutive playoff series sweeps in the first, second and third rounds of its inaugural season. Unless you owned a Sbisa or Garrison jersey (seriously, how many of you actually bought one?), then no. "You can't tell the time".
VEGAS' KEY PLAYER: Fleury.
This could be an interesting Stanley Cup for Vegas general manager George McPhee, whose fingerprints are all over this Capitals team after serving as its general manager from 1997 to 2014. This team was considered weaker on paper than the past two years when Washington won the Presidents' Trophy and lost to the eventual Cup-champion Pittsburgh Penguins.
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