Like many of you, I’ve spent my summer binge-watching Capitals playoff and Stanley Cup Finals games from this past spring, reliving and soaking in every single moment. However, I was waiting for the Capitals and the NHL to release a DVD commemorating the entire run. On July 31, that DVD came out.
The 2018 #StanleyCup Championship Blu-Ray/DVD and iTunes download is available now!
— Washington Capitals (@Capitals) August 2, 2018
The film opens up with a small montage of clips from 1974 when the Capitals were an NHL expansion team. They talked about the challenges the Capitals had to endure from winning games to saving the franchise with the “Save the Caps” campaign. The film showed the last franchise high note which was their first trip to the Stanley Cup Finals in 1998. Following a sweep by the Red Wings, the scene shifts from the Abe Pollin era to the Ted Leonsis era.
Leonsis was driven to deliver a winning team for DC and the journey started in 2004 when he drafted Alex Ovechkin. It was clear the selection was the first step in turning the franchise around to what it is today and the film did a great job showcasing all of Ovechkin’s highlight-reel goals from the early days.
“It is now a Capitals town which I thought when I first arrived in 1982 would never happen,” Craig Laughlin recalls.
The commentators talked next about Nicklas Backstrom, Jay Beagle and the “Rock the Red” era and the lack of playoff success. The film showed clips from the heartbreaking losses to some team from western Pennsylvania, which I had all but forgotten until now. The scene shifted to training camp where one could tell there were still some frustration.
There was a Stanley Cup hangover in the summer of 2017, without the Stanley Cup itself and some feelings of doubt among a team who couldn’t seem to get past their playoff demons. Seemingly it was a new Capitals team filled with new faces as a few key players departed that off-season. Two of the rookie players, Christian Djoos and Chandler Stephenson, spoke about the transition to the NHL level.
The video moves forward to the Caps Opening Game and a night Alex Ovechkin did something no player had done in 100 years. He scored hat tricks in two consecutive games. He scored three goals in Ottawa and four in D.C. when the team returned for the Capitals home opener. After that, injuries and the inexperience among the youth was in display as the Capitals struggled early in the season. The film highlighted a November loss to Colorado when Trotz came in and gave a memorable speech that lit a fire under the team.
“I said a lot of things that were truthful, a lot of things that I think were very pointed,” said Trotz.
“The overall message was this isn’t working whether it’s on the coaching staff, whether it’s on the players. It doesn’t matter. We all need to be better,” added John Carlson.
“We needed to look ourselves in the mirror and see how we’re gonna have success,” said Braden Holtby. “It’s not gonna come as easy as the past.”
“And finally they grasped what Trotz has preached to them for four seasons and they bought in. As soon as a team buys in, success usually follows,” said Craig Laughlin.
It was after those words that the team started to turn the corner. They got hot in January and February. They shined on the big stage in the Stadium Series. Philipp Grubauer stepped up when Braden Holtby was struggling and they rode a wave all the way to the Metropolitan Division title. Little did we know it was the first of amazing things to come.
The film shows clips and commentary from each of the playoff series the Capitals competed in starting with the first round against the Blue Jackets, round two against the Penguins and the Eastern Conference Finals against the Lightning. Seeing all the big plays and reliving those memories will give you goosebumps!
The Capitals overcame their playoff demons. They rallied from a 2-0 series deficit to defeat the Blue Jackets. They defeated the Penguins in six games, a team that always had their number in playoffs of the past. In the Eastern Conference Finals, the Capitals went up 2-0 but dropped the next three games. With their backs to the wall, they put together a strong performance and shutout the Lightning in a combined 7-0 score in Games 6 and 7.
The clips from the Stanley Cup Finals are a little more extended on a game-by-game basis, capturing the emotion of Alex Ovechkin, the Washington Capitals team, and their fans as they ended both a franchise and a city-wide championship drought. The ending is perfect, showcasing the championship parade and Alex Ovechkin on the microphone exclaiming, “We’re the Stanley Cup champions” before letting out a euphoric “YEAHHHHHHHHHHHHH”.
Overall, it was a great film and another great opportunity to relive the incredible Capitals run to the Stanley Cup. The video is about an hour long and it includes some bonus features with extended video of the on-ice celebration, extended locker room celebrations, and extended parade footage. You can get the DVD, the Blu-ray disk or a combination of the two. Whatever option you choose it is well worth the price.
This was a special season for all of us and don’t be surprised if you find yourself crying at the end, even though you already know what happens. I know I did.