Capitals ready to raise Stanley Cup banner as new season arrives

ARLINGTON, Va. (AP) — After all of their individual days with the Stanley Cup from Moscow to Minnesota, all of the fountain-diving and beer-guzzling, the parade and the diamond-encrusted rings, Alex Ovechkin and the Washington Capitals get to do something else new for the franchise: raise a banner signifying an NHL championship.

The team and its fans finally will enjoy that rite Wednesday night, before the Capitals open the regular season by hosting the Boston Bruins.

"The atmosphere is going to be unbelievable," Ovechkin said. "The people are going to be happy. Some might even cry."

RELATED: Alex Ovechkin reflects on Stanley Cup championship, fatherhood in exclusive interview with FOX 5

The Cup itself, now etched with his name, will be on the ice for the banner ceremony, which is supposed to start 15 minutes before the opening faceoff. And then it'll be time to play hockey that counts for the first time since a 4-3 victory on Lars Eller's goal in Game 5 against the Vegas Golden Knights back in June.

"Once that banner goes up, it'll be nice closure for everyone that what happened was real," forward T.J. Oshie said Tuesday after Washington practiced. "And we can start focusing on the future and trying to do this thing again."

INFO: Schedule of events for the Washington Capitals' Banner Raising Night

There will be a different coach in charge of Washington — Barry Trotz left when he didn't get the sort of contract he wanted and was replaced by one of his assistants, Todd Reirden — but otherwise, not much has changed: 18 of the 19 players who appeared in the Cup-clinching game are still around.

"The systems and stuff, it's all the same. So it's pretty straightforward," goalie Braden Holtby said about the switch from Trotz to Reirden. "Obviously they have different personalities and it's going to take some adjusting for everyone, but that almost can be a good thing in that way, because we do have almost the same roster coming back and when you have that happen, complacency can sometimes set in, just because everything's the same. That little change might help us stay fresh and stay excited about things."

INFO: Road closures for the Washington Capitals home opener

What's entirely, and inalterably, changed is the whole vibe around the Capitals, who have been around since 1974 and only once before even made it as far as the conference finals. The longtime core of Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom never had been past the second round of the postseason.

Whatever sense of doom and gloom that hung over their team for years has now disappeared.

"All the talk of jinxes and things like that," Oshie said, "people can kind of get out of their minds."

Ovechkin, Oshie and Backstrom were among the Capitals who had to sit through a banner-raising as the opponent two years ago in Pittsburgh, when Sidney Crosby and the rest of the rival Penguins celebrated a championship.

This time it is Washington's turn.

"You hear all the things going on. That's the same feeling you want to have yourself, and we'll have it tomorrow," Backstrom said. "It's a way better feeling than sitting in the locker room, just waiting for the game to start."

Notes: D Michal Kempny will miss at least Washington's first two games. He is on injured reserve after getting elbowed in the head by Blues D Robert Bortuzzo last week. ... Washington claimed St. Louis Blues F Dmitrij Jaskin and reassigned D Jonas Siegenthaler to Hershey of the AHL. ... Fs Jayson Megna and Nathan Walker made the opening-night roster. ... F Brett Connolly is expected to start against Boston in place of Tom Wilson on the top line with Ovechkin and Evgeny Kuznetsov. Wilson's hearing for his hit to the head of Blues C Oskar Sundqvist is scheduled for Wednesday.


Schedule of events for the Washington Capitals' Banner Raising Night:

10:15 a.m. │ Morning Skate │ MedStar Capitals Iceplex

The Capitals will hold a morning skate at 10:15 a.m. at MedStar Capitals Iceplex.

11 a.m. – Post-game│Team Store │ Capital One Arena

The Capital One Arena Team Store will be open from 11 a.m. through the conclusion of the game. The completely renovated space features a centrally located new entrance on F Street and the widest selection of Capitals fan gear, including jerseys, t-shirts, hats and much more.

4 p.m.  │ Rock the Red Carpet │ Capital One Arena

The Capitals will host Rock the Red Carpet event on F Street in front of Capital One Arena from 4 to 5:30 p.m.

The Capitals 2018-19 team will begin arriving in cars provided by Lexus on F Street, between 6th and 7th street NW, starting at approximately 4 p.m. with the introduction of Caps Alumni and mascots.  Players will be introduced and escorted by preselected fans down the red carpet. Upon arrival players will greet fans and pose for pictures.

6:30 p.m. │Outdoor Viewing Party │Capital One Arena

In conjunction with the Office of Mayor Muriel Bowser, Capital One Arena will broadcast the 2018 Washington Capitals Stanley Cup banner raising ceremony and home opener against the Boston Bruins on the G Street outdoor video board. Fans are encouraged to attend to watch the ceremony and the game. 

The Capital One Arena video board located above McDonald’s On G Street will broadcast live both the pregame banner raising ceremony and the game against the Boston Bruins.

Fans attending are strongly encouraged to take Metro.

7:15 p.m. │Banner Raising Ceremony │Capital One Arena

Capital One Arena doors will open at 6 p.m. The Capital One Cardholder Entrance on 6th Street will open at 5:45 p.m. Fans are encouraged to arrive early and be in their seats no later than 7:15 p.m. to witness the banner raising ceremony.

Post-game │All Fan Giveaway │Capital One Arena

Fans in attendance will receive a replica Capitals Stanley Cup® championship banner presented by GEICO upon departing the building at major exits. Distribution will begin at the start of the third period. Fans will only receive a giveaway upon final departure of the building. There will be no re-entry to the game permitted once a giveaway is received.


Road closures for the Washington Capitals home opener:

On Wednesday, October 3, 2018, the Washington Capitals will host the Boston Bruins for their 2018-2019 NHL season opener at the Capital One Arena. In conjunction with the events surrounding this game, there will be street closures that motorists should take into consideration:

The following streets will posted as Emergency No Parking for the event, from approximately 12:00 pm to 1:00 am on Thursday, October 4, 2018:

- G Street from 7th Street, NW to 9th Street, NW 
- 8th Street, NW from G Street, NW to H Street, NW 
- 7th Street, NW from E Street, NW to H Street, NW 
- F Street from 6th Street to 7th Street, NW 

The following streets will be closed for the Red Carpet ceremony, from approximately 1:30 pm to 
5:30 pm:

- F Street, NW between 6th Street, NW and 7th Street, NW

The following streets will be closed for the a viewing party, from approximately 5:30 pm to 
11:00 pm:

- G Street from 7th Street, NW to 9th Street, NW 
- 8th Street, NW from G Street, NW to H Street, NW 

Further, the public is also reminded of the announcement of the street closures currently in effect for 
the Atlantic Festival taking place in the 700 block of F Street, NW, during this timeframe.

All street closures and listed times are subject to change based upon prevailing or unexpected conditions.

The public should expect parking restrictions along the street and should be guided by the posted emergency no parking signage.  All vehicles that are parked in violation of the emergency no parking signs will be ticketed and towed.

Motorists could encounter possible delays if operating in the vicinity of this event and may wish to consider alternative routes.  The Metropolitan Police Department and the D.C. Department of Transportation also wishes to remind motorists in the vicinity of this event to proceed with caution as increased pedestrian traffic can be anticipated.

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