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A sampling of what sports columnists and reporters are saying about the first Stanley Cup championship in Washington Capitals history:

"Alex Ovechkin is a Stanley Cup champion" is a phrase that repels a decade of criticism about his desire, his effectiveness and his leadership in the postseason. Every unfair maligning of his effort. Every "choker" label that was applied to him. They all vanished into rapture the moment he laid hands on hockey's Holy Grail.

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The Capitals were a resilient bunch. They lost the first game of the Stanley Cup Final and then won four consecutive game against a Golden Knights team that had looked nearly invincible all season and postseason.

Baltimore and Maryland sports teams congratulate Caps on first Stanley Cup

It hasn't been that long since a championship parade was held in Baltimore, but it's been more than 25 years for D.C. Maryland teams and schools hit social media to congratulate the Caps on their first Stanley Cup.

For a moment they were all kids again, big, sweaty, jubilant kids, living the moment they had played out in their minds in backyards and on rinks from Minnesota to Moscow and all points between. The Washington Capitals raced off their bench Thursday night to hug one another and simply yell when they couldn’t find the right words, celebrating the burial of the franchise’s sorry playoff past and the end of a playoff run that had nearly ended almost before it began.

First Stanley Cup means long-suffering Capitals fans need not suffer any longer

After decades of heartache, tears of disbelief, joy, relief and happiness for longtime Capitals fans.

There they were, Alex Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom, each with his hands eagerly smearing the Stanley Cup that they held over their heads at T-Mobile Arena. Having been teammates on the Washington Capitals since 2007, this was the precious moment they sought for more than a decade, a moment that always eluded them.

As it turned out, winning hockey’s Holy Grail, is much more difficult than anyone imagined. In 2010, 2016 and 2017, the Caps iced the best team in the regular season and entered the playoffs as the No. 1 seed. Three times the curse of the Presidents’ Trophy had other ideas. Interestingly, this WASN’T supposed to be the year. The two-year window was supposedly closed.

This was supposed to be a transition year.

Instead, it became THE year ...

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