Capitals Analyst: Vindication For Ovechkin

Alex Ovechkin is, at long last, a champion

After Hours with Amy Lawrence
June 08, 2018 - 10:06 am

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After years of coming up small in the biggest moments, Alex Ovechkin is, at long last, a champion.

Ovechkin and the Capitals beat the Vegas Golden Knights, 4-3, in Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Finals on Thursday to capture the first title in franchise history.

“I had the biggest lump in my throat,” former Caps winger and current NBC Sports Washington analyst Alan May said on After Hours with Amy Lawrence. “I had tears in my eyes. I know what this guy has been through. He’s played with so much heart and so much passion. He wears his heart on his sleeve. I’ve never not seen him try to be his best in the game. He’s not a guy that’s shallow and thinks about a legacy. He’s always a guy that tries to seize the day and live in the moment.”

Ovechkin, perhaps the best player in hockey over the last decade, had been vehemently criticized for his playoff performance – or lack thereof. 

His 2018 run should atone for that. 

The 32-year-old scored 15 goals in the playoffs, leading the Caps to series wins over Columbus, Pittsburgh, Tampa Bay, and Vegas.

“To see all the attacks that he’s taken over the years that I believe were unfounded and unfair and just so much criticism that other players who were so much less than and who have given so much less than just escaped all of that, to see this guy, the vindication of a captain and a leader who really willed his team into these Stanley Cup Finals – and then to lead the playoffs in goals and go out there and give it his all, to pick up that trophy, I knew it was going to be special,” May said. “You saw how much emotion that there was even before he got there, and he shared it with his team. The moment with Nicklas Backstrom was one I will never forget the rest of my life.”

May, 53, played for the Capitals from 1989-94.

“As a player, you play for multiple teams and there’s always one that really sticks to your heart and gets inside you,” he said. “For me, it’s the Washington Capitals. It was a dream come true to play in the National Hockey League and to come back as a TV personality as one of the analysts for the last 10 years and to see all these really, really, really good hockey teams fail and be favored in the summer to win the Stanley Cup and none of them go through and lose a lot of ugly different ways in the playoffs – to see this team of guys that weren't counted on even to make the playoffs, it’s incredibly gratifying to see them come together as a team in every sense of the word in every way possible a hockey team can get it together. I’m stunned, I’m shocked, and I’m on top of the world, to tell you the truth."