ARLINGTON, Va. -- The parades and parties have long since ended for the Stanley Cup champion Washington Capitals, but on Wednesday at Capital One Arena, there will be one more emotional moment: the raising of the Stanley Cup banner before their season opener against the Boston Bruins (7:30 p.m. ET; NBCSN, TVAS).
"It is going to be a very exciting moment, a very special moment," captain Alex Ovechkin said of recognizing Washington's first championship in its 43-season history. "The atmosphere is going to be unbelievable. The people are going to be happy. Some might even cry. It's all about the Cup, it's all about this team and this organization, how we did it. We share it with all the people who live in Washington."
The Stanley Cup will be in the arena, and the crowd will get to salute the players in person for the first time since the parade June 12. That was five days after Washington won the Cup by defeating the Vegas Golden Knights in Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Final in Las Vegas.
The Capitals received their championship rings in a ceremony at a Washington steakhouse Monday. Forward T.J. Oshie and his wife, Lauren, showed the ring to their two young daughters Tuesday. Oshie joked that his younger daughter, 2-year-old Leni, almost broke it right away. The ring quickly was put back into its box.
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"It was bright. It was shiny. It was really cool," Oshie said. "When you grow up, you really only think about the Cup. And even when we got here, I didn't know what the ring ceremony was. You kind of forget about it, really. What an amazing job (owner) Ted [Leonsis] did and the amount of rings he bought for everyone that was involved. The ring's amazing."
Ovechkin said he would wear his ring to the arena Wednesday to show the fans. "I hope I'm not going to lose it," the forward said.
It will be a busy day for the Capitals, who will skate at their suburban Virginia headquarters in the morning. At 4 p.m., there will be a red-carpet event in front of the arena, where players will arrive, pose for pictures with fans and escort a lucky few into the arena. An outdoor viewing party will begin at 6:30 p.m. across the street from the arena, and the banner-raising ceremony at center ice is set for 7:15 p.m.
"It's going to be crazy, I think," center Nicklas Backstrom said. "A lot of [emotions]. It's been a long time. The organization's been waiting a long time for this. And it will sit there forever. For all the fans out there, for the organization, for us players, it's a special moment for sure. Let's enjoy it and then get ready for the game."