Spotlight on the Stanley Cup: Emotion
Detroit Washington Advantage: Washington
A year ago after a party celebrating the Wings' first Cup win in 42 years, a limousine crash seriously injured the Wings' best defenseman Vladimir Konstantinov and team masseur Sergei Mnatsakanov. Their lives are no longer in jeopardy but the fight for Konstantinov to walk and someday maybe even play again continues. His uniform still hangs in his locker under a rock that says in English and Russian, "Believe." Each Wing player wears a patch on their shoulder with the initials of their injured comrades. The season is dedicated to them.
The Capitals can hear the fans and media predicting the fourth consecutive Finals sweep. That's all the motivation they need. They are a team chock full of veterans (Oates, Bellows, Dale Hunter) without a Stanley Cup, who may never have the opportunity to get back to the finals. Though many outside of Washington will never forgive him for nearly decapitating former Islanders star Pierre Turgeon in the 1993 playoffs, captain Hunter is a respected leader in the clubhouse and his teammates want his name on the cup (next to their own). They'll be ready.