Oshie’s six Cup confessions: Green suits, teasing Burakovsky

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T.J. Oshie is one of the many celebrities – NHL players included – participating in the American Century Championship this weekend, so he kindly shared some “cup confessions,” which you can enjoy in the video above this post’s headline.

(You can also stream the grassy golf action here, as today’s fun is taking place on NBCSN. Apparently Joe Pavelski is off to one heck of a start. Oh, and he heard your mean playoff-themed golf jokes. Not nice.)

Oshie’s confessions get off to a bit of a tepid start – you’re not going to believe this, but many Washington Capitals didn’t sleep the night they won the Stanley Cup, quite shocking – yet things get better. Mainly when he’s ragging on Andre Burakovsky.

As someone who can’t grow a beard, allow some sympathy for the 23-year-old:

via Getty

Anyway, it’s a fun video. If you’re more in the mood to cry than laugh, check out Oshie’s emotional comments about his father not long after winning the Stanley Cup.

The tournament is great for fans of sports stars young and old, and not just in hockey. You’ll notice names like Mark Rypien, Greg Maddux, Jarome Bettis, and Steph Curry. Sounds like fun.

If you need more hockey to go with all that golf, here’s Oshie on winning the Stanley Cup.

James O’Brien is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @cyclelikesedins.

PHT Stanley Cup Tracker: Caviar in the Cup, Red Square visit, tour of Czech Republic

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The PHT Stanley Cup tracker will keep tabs on how the Washington Capitals spend their summer celebrating

Last time in the chronicles of the Cup, Alex Ovechkin had taken the mug home to Russia, where it visited the World Cup and where Ovechkin’s dad, Mikhail, got to lift Lord Stanley for the first time.

Of course, no trip to Russia would be complete without a trip to Red Square. Ovechkin, obviously aware of this, showed up to the iconic setting unprompted with the Cup.

It’s not certain what the most expensive thing that has been eaten out of the mug bit of the Stanley Cup — cereal, expensive booze, etc., has all made its way into the bowl — but we’ll assume filling it with caviar is right up there.

Michal Kempny, fresh of signing a new deal with the Capitals, got his chance to take Stanley home to the Czech Republic.

Kempny’s hometown of Hodonin was treated to a good time in the Cup’s first foray into the eastern portion of the country.

Of course, the Cup got to ride shotgun again as Kempny head to his hometown rink for a meetup with fans and a Q&A.

The Cup wasn’t done in the Czech Republic after Kempny’s time with it, however.

Hockey’s holy grail then headed to the nation’s capital of Prague to see Jakub Vrana.

Vrana was joined by Kempny and Andre Burakovsky during his day, and also had Washington Wizards point guard Tomas Satoransky join in on the fun.

And, of course, mom and dad got their chance.

The Cup tour will take a much-needed break this week as it makes it’s way back to domestic soil. In two week’s time, Stanley will visit Minnesota and North Dakota, including time spent with Matt Niskanen and T.J. Oshie.

Lord Stanley’s itinerary can be found here.


Scott Billeck is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @scottbilleck

Highlights from Capitals’ Stanley Cup parade

After a few days of parading the Stanley Cup around the nation’s capital, swimming in public fountains, and just doing anything they can to go nuts in celebration of their first ever championship, the Washington Capitals finally had their official victory parade on Tuesday.

Based on what has unfolded over the past few days it was every bit as wild as you might have imagined it to be.

First, the National Mall with celebration sandwiched between the Capitol building and Washington Monument made for one of the coolest settings a championship celebration could take place in.

Thousands upon thousands of raucous fans made sure to pack the space.

Then the players took over.

There was Jakub Vrana, one of the goal-scorers in the Capitals’ Game 5 series-clinching win, dancing on stage.

There was a “We are the Champions” sing-a-long.

Perhaps the weirdest moment of the day featured T.J. Oshie chugging a bottle of bud light … through his jersey? 

Hey, whatever works for you, man…

Then the whole thing ended with team captain Alex Ovechkin taking the stage and repeating his promise from before the season that the Capitals were “not going to be the suck” this season.

Well, this time he said it a little more colorfully.

Yes, the Capitals and their fans are going to enjoy this summer. Quite a bit. After all of the disappointment that followed the fanbase and organization around for the past four decades they certainly earned it.

Related: Capitals congratulate Golden Knights with full-page ad

Adam Gretz is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @AGretz.

Don’t forget how great Kuznetsov, Backstrom were for Capitals

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As obnoxious as any Internet debate can be, bickering about who should win the Conn Smythe can help cement the below-the-fold stars who didn’t land the playoff MVP.

For example: it will never not boggle my mind that Chris Pronger ended his career without that award. Sure, he was a fire-breathing monster on the ice at times, but that was the point.

From a big picture perspective, it’s fitting that Alex Ovechkin won it this year after sparking the Washington Capitals’ run to a first-ever Stanley Cup. His 15 goals and 27 points were crucial to that run, and his epic celebration is leaving us hungover.

But was he truly the right choice from an objective standpoint? To my eyes, and in the mind of many others, Evgeny Kuznetsov would have been the truest choice.

So, with Ovechkin hamming it up (rightfully so) and Braden Holtby enjoying a well-deserved victory lap for “The Save” and reclaiming his spot among the elite, let’s take this moment to shine a light on another key element of Washington’s run: their two star centers.

A postseason for the ages

Again, it’s tough to deny that Kuznetsov was the real Conn Smythe winner.

He wasn’t that far behind Ovechkin’s 15 goals, as Kuznetsov netted 12. They both were tied with two game-winners in that regard.

The pivot’s playmaking was a sight to behold, as he collected almost a helper per game (20 assists in 24 contests).

It would be refreshing to see voters take especially strong work during the Stanley Cup Final into account, too. Now, Ovechkin was no slouch against the Golden Knights, generating three goals and two assists in five games. During that same span, Kuznetsov was killer, though, producing a goal and seven assists for eight points.

Kuznetsov’s 32 points weren’t just a playoff record for the Capitals and the top mark for the 2018 Stanley Cup Playoffs. That mark also stands as the most points generated in a postseason since Evgeni Malkin collected a whopping 36 points during Pittsburgh’s 2008-09 surge. (Ovechkin’s 27 points leave him tied with Sidney Crosby‘s work last postseason for ninth best during that same period of time.)

Remarkably, Malkin’s 36 points and Kuznetsov’s 32 also stand as the two best outputs since the lockout wiped out the 2004-05 season; you need to go as far back as Joe Sakic’s 34 points from 1995-96 before you’ll find a total that dislodges Kuznetsov for second place.

Praising Kuznetsov isn’t about denigrating Ovechkin, who enjoyed a run for the ages and deserves to soak in the limelight after a decade of absorbing an unfair portion of Capitals criticism.

Instead, it’s about doing our best to make sure that his magical run isn’t lost in time.

“He was unbelievable,” Ovechkin said of Kuznetsov after the series, via the Associated Press. “He makes the magic over there.”

Backstrom shows his might

Kuznetsov managed to generate point after point even though it seemed like he might miss a game or more of the series thanks to a hard hit by Brayden McNabb. That thought dovetails nicely into much-needed praise for Nicklas Backstrom.

While you only need to glance at the very top of the 2018 Stanley Cup Playoffs’ points leaders to notice Kuznetsov’s presence, Backstrom’s work was diluted by being limited to 20 games.

Despite clearly playing at less than 100 percent, Backstrom managed more than a point per contest, generating 23 in those 20 games. His assist on this Ovechkin power-play goal stood as a healthy reminder that it’s easy to scream “Cover Ovechkin’s office,” but it’s also easy to forget that the Capitals simply have the passers to make that bread-and-butter play so difficult to stop.

Seriously, acting as though it’s “easy” to stop that is the ultimate in armchair quarterbacking/defending. There aren’t many humans capable of getting that pass through an entire penalty kill unit, but Backstrom is one of them (Kuznetsov, too).

Of course, points aren’t everything. Luckily, Backstrom remained his Selke-level self during the postseason, allowing Barry Trotz to pick and choose matchups how he pleased. The Kuznetsov – Backstrom combination was instrumental in allowing the Capitals to go toe-to-toe with the Penguins’ scoring depth, the Lightning’s dangerous weapons, and the Golden Knights’ impressive top line.

For a player who suffered his own torment during clutch moments, Backstrom showed his toughness and made a real argument for how great he can be.

***

Look, we can debate Ovechkin vs. Kuznetsov all day, but they were both fantastic. The point is to recall their efforts, not to mention great work by Holtby, Backstrom, T.J. Oshie, and others. Here’s hoping this post fights the fading of such memories.

Now, let’s get back to more important matters: bickering about Chris Pronger.

James O’Brien is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @cyclelikesedins.

PHT Morning Skate: Vegas’ amazing run; Lars Eller’s historical night

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Welcome to the PHT Morning Skate, a collection of links from around the hockey world. Have a link you want to submit? Email us at phtblog@nbcsports.com.

• Despite not winning the Stanley Cup, the Vegas Golden Knights had an incredible inaugural season. (Sportsnet)

• The Washington Capitals celebrated in style last night, as they racked up a $100,000 bill at their post-Stanley Cup party. (TMZ)

• The Texas Stars beat the Toronto Marlies in Game 4 of the Calder Cup Final. This best-of-seven series is all tied up 2-2. (Canadian Press)

• The Capitals and their fans have gone through years of playoff heartbreak, but that finally all paid off on Thursday night. (Washington Post)

• The City of Washington finally gets to celebrate a major sports championship thanks to Alex Ovechkin and his teammates. (Sports Illustrated)

• Not only did Lars Eller score the game-winning goal to clinch the cup for the Caps, he also became the first player born in Denmark to hoist the Stanley Cup. (NHL.com)

T.J. Oshie got to share a Stanley Cup championship with his father, who’s been dealing with Alzheimer’s. What an emotional moment. (TSN.ca)

• Seeing the Capitals celebrate a championship victory at T-Mobile arena wasn’t exactly fun for the locals. (Las Vegas Sun)

• It’s been a great few hours for Alex Ovechkin. Not only because he’s now a Stanley Cup Champion, but also because he and his wife are expecting their first child. (Russian Machine Never Breaks)

• What does a Stanley Cup title mean to the fans in Washington? NBC Sports Washington breaks it down for us. (NBC Sports Washington)

• Up top, check out the highlights from the final game of the 2017-18 regular season. If you haven’t figured it out by now, the Capitals won the Stanley Cup.

• Young fan Keelan Moxley remembers what it was like to get a puck from Caps forward Brett Connolly before Game 2 of Washington’s first-round series against the Blue Jackets.

Joey Alfieri is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @joeyalfieri.