Yeah, Vegas isn't truly a 'great' hockey city but it is a big city desperate to have professional sports teams to follow. Their run to the final this year is great locally for the sport and certainly for growth of the fan base in the desert since they are the first pro team to arrive. Like you say, early success will fill the building. It'll be interesting to see how they go next season. They have a decent core and a lot of draft picks and cap space.
As for the Caps, last night was a dream. They were so committed in the 3rd period to getting the deficit back and going on to win. This group in this playoff run have been so special. Never gave up, stayed aggressive throughout and found the mentality and guts to win through. To close out all 4 rounds on the road was amazing. I'm so happy for Trotz to finally win the cup. So happy for Ovi and Backstrom; their hug after the end was my favourite moment. So many years they've had to face disappointment and questions about leadership and effort.
Last summer I was so down on the team, so tired of not getting it done, not getting past the Pens, not getting out the 2nd round, reading all the articles about how the Stanley door had shut, how they should think about firing Trotz, trade Ovi, take away the captaincy, blow it all up and start again. I wasn't even that excited when the season started.
We had an average start but still got it together enough to win the division. We started the playoffs poorly; the game 3 lucky bounce double OT goal in Columbus basically ignited the whole run and Kuznetsov's OT winner in Pittsburgh was probably the most important goal in Caps recent history as it took the monkey off the back of the team and they played so free after it.
Man, what a year!!!!! What a playoff run! What an end! I've gone 20 years as a fan waiting for that to happen! Amazing! I'm now off to buy a ton of merchandise to celebrate. Who knows when it'll ever happen again?