While Alex Ovechkin is standing by his guarantee that the Washington Capitals will beat New York in Game 7, Rangers coach Alain Vigneault delivered what can be interpreted as a not-so-subtle jab at such promises.
“We need to let our actions do the talking,” Vigneault said, per the New York Daily News’ Pat Leonard.
Which is fair because that’s really what this will come down to. This pregame banter is the appetizer, but it will only be memorable in the context of what happens in Game 7. If Washington wins then Ovechkin’s promises will likely be credited with motivating the team. If Ovechkin in particular has a strong game then it could be seen as the biggest performance of his career, in part due to his overall lack of playoff success.
That lack of favorable postseason results is probably at least part of the reason why Ovechkin’s statement has attracted so much attention and why Washington has perhaps gotten more attention than New York. Ovechkin is one of the best players of this era, but he hasn’t been able to lead Washington to the Stanley Cup. He’ll turn 30 in September and hockey fans are wondering when or if Ovechkin will ever win it all.
He’s not the only superstar fighting for his first championship though. Rangers goaltender Henrik Lundqvist has been further than Ovechkin in the playoffs, but the result is the same. Lundqvist is 33 years old and hasn’t won the Stanley Cup yet despite an otherwise tremendous career.
Both players have a chance to achieve their ultimate goal this year, but one of them will be forced to start from scratch yet again with a loss on Wednesday.
Lundqvist: "I don’t think anything about what people are saying, opponents are saying. It doesn’t really matter, & I don’t really care."
— Brett Cyrgalis (@BrettCyrgalis) May 12, 2015