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Driving down Constitution Avenue on his approach to every dwelling recreation since his NHL debut in 2007, he imagined the road lined with overjoyed Washington Capitals followers.
« It always popped up in my head that one time we’re going to have a parade here, and finally that day is here, » Backstrom stated.
It all turns into actuality Tuesday when Backstrom and the Stanley Cup-champion Capitals give town its first parade for a significant professional sports activities workforce for the reason that NFL’s Redskins in 1992. The parade is 26 years within the making for Washington sports activities followers who endured lengthy, lean years of heartbreak.
« I don’t think anyone doubted what this city would do, » longtime Nationals infielder Ryan Zimmerman stated. « It’s just a matter of getting there and having the ability to do it. They definitely held up their end of the bargain. »
Fans deserve it
Tens of 1000’s gathered for viewing events of highway playoff video games on the way in which to the Capitals’ first championship since starting play in 1974. They camped out on the streets to observe on large video screens — the sorts of scenes extra germane to presidential inaugurations on this city than sporting occasions.
« I thought it was really cool when we were even at home and everyone was outside and going nuts and they would show that right after we would score a goal, » defenceman John Carlson stated. « I think that was probably one of the coolest moments of the playoffs for me and just seeing the support. … I think we deserve it, and so do the fans. »
It has been a very long time coming. Since the Redskins gained the Super Bowl in January 1992, the 1998 Capitals have been the one Washington workforce within the NHL, NBA, NFL or Major League Baseball to succeed in a league semifinal till this spring, a drought of 74 mixed seasons and not using a championship.
When the Capitals took the Cup into the Nationals’ clubhouse on Saturday, coach Barry Trotz needed gamers to know: « There’s no curse or anything. It’s all gone. » All they needed to do to know that was look across the previous two months to see the doubt being chipped away.
‘This is thrilling’
Nationals supervisor Davey Martinez, who texted with Trotz all through the run, bought his first actual style of Washington sports activities within the playoffs with the Chicago Cubs final 12 months when he got here out of the dugout seeing 50,000 followers in pink and could not hear himself assume as a result of it was so loud.
« Right then and there I said, ‘Hey, these people, they’re in, they love it, »‘ Martinez recalled. « This is exciting. And the city then rallied this year around the Caps. I get it. It was awesome. It was good for the city. Good for us. I know our boys were all in, they were excited about everything. I told them yesterday, ‘Let’s just keep it rolling. The city’s all-in. »‘
Washington is not a metropolis accustomed to being all-in due to the scars of so many playoff failures over time. Longtime Capitals season-ticket holder Jimmy Patterson stated followers turned reluctant to get collectively to observe video games as a result of the temper on the finish of the evening wasn’t one thing anybody needed to endure in a gaggle setting.
That’s a part of what made the general public gatherings for Game 7 of the Eastern Conference ultimate and all through the Stanley Cup Final so outstanding. Exorcising franchise-long demons by beating the Pittsburgh Penguins within the second spherical appeared to free followers to really take pleasure in themselves.
« It showed what they were capable of and shows if you get to that level, they’re going to match it or even step it up a little bit more than the actual players, » Zimmerman stated.
It’s personal id
Fans celebrating the Capitals beating the Penguins led ESPN’s Michael Wilbon — a former Washington Post columnist — to name D.C. a « minor league sports town. » It’s not the primary knock on Washington, although 14 years of enjoying baseball within the metropolis has given Zimmerman some readability on explaining that it is not Boston, Chicago, New York or Philadelphia, and he does not assume it must be.
« This is such an interesting city because not many people are from here, so it’s hard to be a Boston or a Chicago, » Zimmerman stated. « That’s a generational sports activities city. So it is nothing in opposition to [Washington]. They should not be like that. They don’t have any cause to be like that.
« A lot of these people move here for work in their early to mid-20s or come here even later than that and they adopt a team. This is what happens nowadays: Everyone compares everything. Just let it be. Let it be what it is. We have great fans and obviously if you make the playoffs and get to a Stanley Cup finals, you have really great fans just like any city would. »
Thousands of followers are anticipated to observe the parade, from 17th to seventh on Constitution. Trotz has been fascinated with one thing like this since he arrived in 2014.
« You start thinking about, ‘Well, what would it mean?’ and then you think about a possible parade on one of the most famous streets in all the world, really, and it’s sort of now coming into play, » Trotz stated. « It’s going to come true. »
Note: « Previously Published on: 2018-06-11 18:32:11, as ‘Capitals’ parade a long-awaited likelihood for DC sports activities followers to have fun