Talk about Soul on Ice.
Washington Capitals forward Devante Smith-Pelly had a cool day with the Stanley Cup Monday complete with an ice sculpture likeness of him in at a Scarborough, Ontario, pub hoisting the treasured trophy.
Hundreds of fans braved torrential rain in the Toronto area to venture to the Black Dog Pub to get a glimpse of the Cup and the man of the hour.
“When I saw it start to rain, I didn’t know what to expect,” Smith-Pelly told NHL.com. “To see the line of people snaked around and down the block, I’m so excited…I mean, you want to bring the Stanley Cup where you grew up. I grew up right down the street from here and used to come here and hang out.”
Chris Stewart, a forward who skated for the Minnesota Wild and Calgary Flames last season, was among the water-logged faithful at the Black Dog.
“He’s come a long way. I’m proud of him,” said Stewart, who has 160 goals and 161 assists in 652 National Hockey League games. “He stuck it out and now he’s on top.”
The Black Dog Pub wasn’t Smith-Pelly’s only stop with Stanley on Monday. He took the Cup to downtown Toronto’s Hospital for Sick Children and showed off the trophy to family and close friends in private moments.
Capitals left wing Alex Ovechkin won the Conn Smythe Trophy as the playoff’s most valuable player, but Smith-Pelly also had a heroic Stanley Cup run.
He tallied 7 goals and 1 assist in 24 playoff games; potted a goal in three consecutive Stanley Cup Final games against the Vegas Golden Knights; netted the game-winning goal in Game 4; scored the tying goal in Cup-clinching Game 5, a highlight reel kick-the-puck-onto-the-stick and fly-in-the-air snipe past goalie Marc-Andre Fleury; and the series-clinching goal in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference quarterfinal against the Columbus Blue Jackets.
Not bad for a guy who only scored 7 goals and 9 assists in 75 games and averaged 12:21 minutes of ice time per game during the regular season and 12:02 minutes per game in the playoffs.
“There’s been some struggles,” Smith-Pelly told NHL.com. But at the same time, I’m not the first guy to go through it and I won’t be the mast. You can’t feel sorry for yourself. You’ve got to go out there and do what you have to do.”
Smith-Pelly’s playoff prowess made Capitals fans love him. And Smith-Pelly fell in love with Washington. So much so that he rejected contract offers from other teams with longer terms and more money to sign one-year, $1 million deal to return to the Capitals.
“It wasn’t worth it to leave somewhere where I’m happy and somewhere where I really want to be,” Smith-Pelly told the Associated Press in June. “The money to me personally is not that important if I’m not going to be happy somewhere else.”
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