By Katie Adler
For former Capital Devante Smith-Pelly, the team’s 2018 Stanley Cup win is never far from his mind. He spoke with Alan May and Alexa Landestoy last Thursday on NBC Sports Washington, reflecting back as we near the five-year anniversary of that magical run for the Cup.
“I’ve watched all those games front to back so many times,” Smith-Pelly said. “It’s actually crazy.”
“That team was just special.”
WARNING: DSP’s account of the @Capitals 2018 Stanley Cup run might bring a tear to your eye 🏆😭 pic.twitter.com/mNlYujU74e
— NBC Sports Capitals (@NBCSCapitals) March 23, 2023
Smith-Pelly emerged as a hero in that 2018 run, scoring seven big goals–including the game-tying goal in Game Five of the Stanley Cup Final to help propel the franchise to their first-ever championship. He spoke fondly of his teammates, emphasizing the top-to-bottom skill of the 2017-18 roster.
“That team was just special,” he said. “I mean, obviously, the big guys, they do their thing. They’re going to contribute and get their goals, but you know: Chandler Stephenson, Jay Beagle, Brett Connolly, guys like that just chipping in and being able to contribute in those big moments, that’s what I’ll never forget.”
May noted the impact of Smith-Pelly’s goal, a tenacious play that saw DSP fall over as he scored. He then asked, “How many times a day does that go through your mind there, hoisting the Cup?”
“A lot,” Smith-Pelly responded. “I mean, I have a lot of pictures in my house. Pictures on my phone, pictures on my Instagram, everything, so I’m reminded all the time. That special feeling honestly doesn’t go away. It’s been years now, but every time I see that goal I get a little goosebumps.”
DSP announced his retirement from professional hockey in December, following an 11-year career in the NHL, AHL, and KHL. In retirement, he has returned to Washington on several occasions. In February, he dropped the ceremonial first puck for the Capitals’ Black history celebration, where fans welcomed the beloved former player back to DC.
His appearance on the pregame broadcast came on the Capitals’ Women in Hockey Night, honoring the 50-year anniversary of Title IX’s passage.
Besides his clutch on-ice contributions, Smith-Pelly has regularly spoken on his experience as a Black player in the NHL, serving as a role model for young players. He continued to emphasize the impact of representation on growing the game in his return for Black history night.
“Obviously, winning is special but winning in this area with this demographic and stuff is huge,” he said last month. “If you saw the parade, a whole different bunch of people – black kids, black parents, stuff like that – which to me is important. I think it’s important in growing the game, and getting new people involved.”
It’s good to see you back in Washington, DSP!
Headline photo: Ian Oland/RMNB
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