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Celebrating the Stanley Cup with the fans meant everything to the Caps

Celebrating the Stanley Cup with the fans meant everything to the Caps

The Washington Capitals won the Stanley Cup on Thursday and the party went non-stop all the way to Tuesday's parade.

One of the best aspects of that party has been the team's genuine desire to share the celebration with the fans. On Tuesday, the Capitals victory parade gave them the opportunity to open up the party to the hundreds of thousands of fans who filled the streets and the National Mall.

"There's a love affair between the city and the players, it's so fantastic," Barry Trotz said to the media.

"It's been a long time since we had a championship here in this city," Nicklas Backstrom said. "To be able to after all these years to bring it, it's great."

The team rode through the streets of Washington with their adoring fans lined en masse on either side throughout the parade route. As the team arrived at the stage on the Mall, a throng of red-clad fans awaited them stretching as far as the eye could see.

"I couldn't see the end of people from the stage," Tom Wilson said. "This is home, this city has made us feel so welcome. It's unbelievable to give back the least we could and just celebrate with them."

The postseason heartbreak of recent years was not just felt by the players. There were many fans who lived and died in the stands and watching from near and far.

But just as the team was able to get over the postseason hump, so was a home crowd that approached every playoff game with a sense to trepidation. The difference in the atmosphere at Capital One Arena after Washington's win over the Pittsburgh Penguins was a noticeable one and the players credited the fans with helping them finish the job and bring home the Cup.

"It takes every piece of the city, it takes every piece of the team," Wilson said. "You don't just win a Stanley Cup. It's the hardest thing maybe in sports to win. Just to see the atmosphere, see everybody out here, and to celebrate with each other because everybody earned it."

"These fans have lived through a lot with us, too," John Carlson said. "We're all in this together."

And that was why Tuesday's parade was so important. 

Despite all the years of heartbreak and the team failing to live up to its lofty expectations, the fans kept coming back hoping things would be different. When the team needed that boost from the crowd to help carry them through four grueling rounds of playoff hockey, Washington was there for them helping to push to the team on.

The Stanley Cup will mean a lot to Alex Ovechkin's legacy. It likely saved Trotz's job. It cemented Braden Holtby's place as the team's No. 1 netminder after a difficult season. It validated the oft-criticized Brooks Orpik's place in the lineup. It turned Michal Kempny into a top-four defenseman.

But despite all the individual benefits that come with winning the Cup, the team has never lost sight of the fact that they also won this for the fans and the city they play for.

"It's sort of a life-changing moment for every one of these players and their families and myself and hopefully for the fans who had to endure a lot of time," Trotz said. "We're glad to bring a championship to Washington."

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Barry Trotz on his future in Washington: 'We'll get something done'

Barry Trotz on his future in Washington: 'We'll get something done'

In a day full of celebration, Barry Trotz nearly added one more reason for Caps fans to celebrate.

The Capitals head coach and pending free agent stopped just short of saying he would be coming back next season after Tuesday's parade, but hinted strongly he will be back behind Washington's bench next season.

"We'll talk," Trotz said. "We're going to enjoy this with the players. I love the players, I love D.C., my family loves it here. We'll get something done."

This is in line with the types of things Trotz has been saying since winning the Cup.

On Saturday at the Nationals game, Trotz said, "I'm part of this organization."

Trotz's future after this season became uncertain when he entered the season on the final year of his deal without a contract extension. If the team saw this year as a "prove it" year for the head coach, he did just that in leading the Caps to its first Stanley Cup.

Settling on a new deal for the head coach will be the team's top priority heading into the offseason. But for now, everyone is just having too much fun.

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For a single day D.C. was in utter chaos and then it remembered how to party

For a single day D.C. was in utter chaos and then it remembered how to party

Sirens blared and people wandered without purpose. The same look on each face, rare in a set of chaos, was a smile from ear to ear.

The streets got so congested that simply walking a block felt like Beltway gridlock. But nobody cared.

The police cheered and threw T-shirts into the crowd. It seemed like every spectator drank beer and many others enjoyed more recently legalized substances. The scent was constant throughout the crowd.

The vibe was more Mardi Gras than midterm elections. And it was amazing.

It’s been 26 years since DC held a championship parade for one of its own sports teams, but ends up, the city remembered how to party quite well.

The Capitals won the 2018 Stanley Cup, and with the win erased a long title drought and brought unseen joy to Washington.

Block after block after block saw unbridled joy. Nobody cared they couldn’t move. Nobody cared pretzel carts found absurdly inconvenient parking spots.

Everyone cared that Alex Ovechkin hoisted the Cup.

Everyone cared that the Caps won.

Everyone cared that DC won.

And that, more than anything else, carried the day. It was a tremendous result for the Caps, for the city and for the hundreds of thousands of people that attended the parade.

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