After years of frustration, near-misses, and heartbreaks, the Capitals finally won the Stanley Cup in 2018. As the team romped through Las Vegas with the Stanley Cup, the team decided to take a moment to share their happiness with a former teammate.
Drunk on success and probably a few beers, the Capitals dialed up Justin Williams on FaceTime to share their joy and exhilaration with him. Williams recounted the 4 AM call from his former teammates in a recent article on the NHL website.
After he departed the Caps for the Canes as a free agent in the summer of 2017, Williams said he never rooted for another team to win as badly as he did the Capitals.
“That team has just been so good for so long and to see them finally win — albeit I would have loved to be there and I was jealous I wasn’t — I never really openly rooted for another team as much as I did with them,” Williams said.
Williams was a large part of the 2016-17 Capitals roster, which dominated the regular season and won the President’s Trophy. The team eventually suffered a heart-wrenching Game Seven loss against the Pittsburgh Penguins. To date, that is the only Game Seven loss suffered by Williams (8-1), who is nicknamed “Mr. Game Seven” for his clutch scoring in elimination games.
Tom Wilson spoke of the effect Williams’ veteran presence had on the team, even after Williams left.
“Even though we didn’t win when he was here, he brought a lot to the table,” said Wilson. “It didn’t happen that year, but it instilled that in the locker room and left that impression even after he was gone on how you act, how you play. We didn’t get a bounce those years, but we went on to [win]. For the young guys, for everyone, I think learning from him was huge.”
Williams said his former teammates called him around 4 AM. Assuming he was staying in New Jersey for the off-season, that was around the time when the Caps and their families were eating a quick dinner at the Mandarin Oriental.
This was right before Alex Ovechkin famously paraded the Cup through the MGM Resort on the way to continue the party at Hakkassan nightclub.
— Alex Price (@AlexAtJazz) June 8, 2018
Williams is now trying to bring that winning spirit to Carolina, and it’s working. The Canes are currently third in the Metro, and are having fun in the process with their Storm Surge and Bunch of Jerks t-shirts.
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