The Importance of Multiple Championships

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Posted April 11, 2019

(Caps Outsider)

While the Caps winning the 2017-18 Stanley Cup will forever be etched in our memory, I believe years from now, when reflecting back on this era, only having the one will prove to be bittersweet.

Over the past 11 years, the Washington Capitals didn’t build a consistent winner, have the best goal scorer of a generation, and win the Presidents’ Trophy three times just so they could win one Stanley Cup. Since 2007-2008, when the Bruce Boudreau led the Caps to their first playoff berth in the Alex Ovechkin era, the Capitals have the best record in the league, seven points ahead of the Pittsburgh Penguins.

On this list, which starts in 2007-2008, eight Stanley Cups have been won between these teams:

So if the Penguins and Blackhawks each won three times, it almost seems silly that the Caps haven’t won more than once. Meanwhile, the two-time Cup champion L.A. Kings are 17th on this list.

Another reason multiple championships are important: It proves that – in any given championship year – the team didn’t just benefit from an absurd number of lucky bounces and fluky plays, as opposing fans might say. The Caps certainly did get those bounces last year. That’s not to say they didn’t deserve it, but the second championship will erase any doubt. When the Kings won as an 8th seed, I thought it was a fluke. When they returned to the Conference Finals, then won another Cup, they proved that they weren’t just a one-year-wonder.

I’m even sure some players, specifically Ovechkin, might feel added pressure to win multiple championships as he will otherwise be compared to colleagues, like Sidney Crosby and Patrick Kane, who have three each. It might be unfair to any individual player, but championship totals are a thing that people compare when discussing the all-time greats.

Now let’s compare it to other sports in this area. The Washington Redskins won three times in ten years. The Baltimore Orioles (sorry Nats) won three in 17 years. The Capitals, with only one, have had much better teams in those stretches than the Orioles or Redskins. Meanwhile, the 1978 Washington Bullets… now I think you get my point.

Winning the Stanley Cup last season was a fantastic, but the Washington Capitals have the DNA to win multiple championships and can’t let any more playoff series in the coming years end in early-round heartbreak.