What can you say? When you’re the 2018 NHL Stanley Cup Champions, your reputation and credentials arrives before you do in any sports team review. The Washington Capitals are a professional ice hockey team based in Washington, D.C. They are members of the Metropolitan Division of the Eastern Conference of the National Hockey League (NHL). The Capitals are owned by Monumental Sports & Entertainment, headed by Ted Leonsis. From 1974 to 1997 the Capitals played their home games at the Capital Centre, in Landover, Maryland (a suburb of Washington, D.C.). In 1997 the team moved to the arena now called Capital One Arena, their present home arena in Washington, D.C.
Washington, DC, the U.S. capital, is a compact city on the Potomac River, bordering the states of Maryland and Virginia. It’s defined by imposing neoclassical monuments and buildings, including the iconic ones that house the federal government’s 3 branches: The Capitol, White House and Supreme Court. It's also home to iconic museums and performing-arts venues such as the Kennedy Center. Washington, D.C., formally the District of Columbia and commonly referred to as Washington or D.C., is the capital of the United States of America. Founded after the American Revolution as the seat of government of the newly independent country, Washington was named after George Washington, first President of the United States and Founding Father. Washington is the principal city of the Washington metropolitan area, which has a population of 6,131,977. Washington has been described as an important political capital, owing to its status as the seat of the United States federal government. Washington is one of the most visited cities in the world, with more than 20 million annual tourists.
The Capitals were founded in 1974 as an expansion franchise, alongside the Kansas City Scouts. Since purchasing the team in 1999, Leonsis revitalized the franchise by drafting star players such as Alexander Ovechkin, Nicklas Backstrom, Mike Green and Braden Holtby. The 2009–10 Capitals won the franchise's first-ever Presidents' Trophy for being the team with the most points at the end of the regular season. They won it a second time in 2015–16, and did so for a third time the following season in 2016–17. In addition to eleven division titles and three Presidents' Trophies, the Capitals have reached the Stanley Cup Finals twice (in 1998 and 2018), winning in 2018.
The Capitals have retired the use of four numbers in honour of four players. In addition, the team holds an association with a number of individuals inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame. The Capitals are presently affiliated with two minor league teams, the Hershey Bears of the American Hockey League, and the South Carolina Stingrays of the ECHL.
From 1991 to 1996, the Capitals would lose in either the first or the second round of the playoffs. They would eliminate the Rangers in the first round but lost the second round to the Pittsburgh Penguins in 1991. In 1992 and 1993, they would lose in the first round to the Penguins and the Islanders, respectively. In 1994, they won their first round series against the Penguins but lost in the second round to the Rangers. In 1995 and 1996, they lost in the first round both times to the Penguins. They would miss the playoffs in 1997, but they came the close to winning their first Stanley Cup one year later.
Then in 1998, as the Caps opened MCI Center, Peter Bondra's 52 goals led the team, veterans Dale Hunter, Joe Juneau and Adam Oates returned to old form, and Olaf Kolzig had a solid .920 save percentage as the Caps got past the Boston Bruins, Ottawa Senators and Buffalo Sabres (the latter on a dramatic overtime win in game six on a goal by Joe Juneau) en route to the team's first Stanley Cup finals appearance. The Capitals won six overtime games, three in each of their series against the Bruins and Sabres. However, the team was outmatched by the defending champions, the Detroit Red Wings, who won in a four-game sweep. That same season, Oates, Phil Housley and Hunter all scored their 1,000th career point, the only time in NHL history that one team had three players reach that same milestone in a single season.
The 2008–09 season was highlighted by the play of Mike Green (who was the third of the Capitals' three first-round selections in Ovechkin's draft year) and Ovechkin. Green led all NHL defensemen in goals and points, also setting the record for the longest consecutive goal scoring streak by a defenseman with eight games. Ovechkin won his second Hart Trophy, his second Lester B. Pearson Award and his second Maurice "Rocket" Richard Trophy. The Capitals finished the regular season with a record of 50–24–8 and a team-record 108 points, and they won their second consecutive Southeast Division championship.
They qualified for the 2018 Stanley Cup playoffs for the 10th time in 11 years. In the playoffs, the Capitals were able to come back from a 2–0 series deficit against the Columbus Blue Jackets in the first round of the 2018 playoffs, winning four straight and beating the Blue Jackets in six games. They faced the Penguins again in the second round, and this time, on May 7, 2018, they were able to beat the Penguins in the second round with an overtime goal on the road in Game 6 by Evgeny Kuznetsov. It marked the first time in 20 seasons that the Capitals made a Conference Final and the first time in 24 seasons that they had defeated the Penguins in a playoff series.
The Capitals secured a spot in the 2018 Stanley Cup Finals on May 23 after beating the Tampa Bay Lightning in seven games after a 4-0 rout at Amalie Arena in Tampa. The Capitals then faced the expansion Vegas Golden Knights and overcame them in five games, including 4–3 in the decisive Game 5 at T-Mobile Arena after Lars Eller scored with about seven minutes to go. Not only was it the Capitals' first Stanley Cup win, but it was also the first championship for a Washington, D.C. team in one of the four major North American sports leagues (the NFL, the NHL, the NBA and MLB) since the Redskins defeated the Buffalo Bills 26 years beforehand in Super Bowl XXVI.
The Washington Capitals may still be celebrating their first Stanley Cup title but they aren’t favored to successfully defend their crown in 2019. In fact, seven teams have better odds to win the 2019 Stanley Cup, according to the experts. The Capitals have hired a new head coach, re-signed John Carlson, traded Philipp Grubauer and re-signed multiple players form their championship roster in order to make a run at another Stanley Cup. It's already been a busy offseason for Washington, but they aren't done just yet, there are a few other items left on the Caps' to-do list for the summer. The Caps are in need of a veteran defenseman capable of cycling into the lineup and providing leadership for the younger players. Aside from Jay Beagle and Philipp Grubauer, however, Washington will return almost the exact same lineup for this season.
For the 2018 Stadium Series, the Capitals used newly-designed navy uniforms, honoring the fact that the game was held at the U.S. Naval Academy. The chest logo was based on the regular stylized “Capitals” logo, but shortened to “Caps”, the nickname commonly used for the team. There were also features honoring various aspects of D.C., as well as the presence of a slightly altered W logo from the 2015 Winter Classic on the pants.