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5 AFTER 8

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Alex Ovechkin finally won the Cup last spring. Here are other stalwarts whose victory laps would spread much joy

The Great Eight understands. It took 13 seasons, nine early playoff exits and endless fusillades of criticism before Ovechkin (below) finally led the Capitals to their first championship in franchise history. Now that Ovi's Stanley Cup drought has been quenched—symbolically, but also quite literally—here are five others who deserve to join him on the other side next spring.

JOE THORNTON39, 21ST SEASON

The NHL's active points leader (1,427) is coming off a torn right ACL and MCL. But the arrival of all-world defenseman Erik Karlsson has the Sharks looking toothier than ever.

BRUCE BOUDREAU,63, 20TH SEASON

Imagining a gleeful Gabby—eight division titles, second all-time with a .654 points percentage, zero Cup final appearances—hoisting Lord Stanley as the Wild celebrate is enough to put a smile on anyone's face.

HENRIK LUNDQVIST36, 14TH SEASON

After missing the playoffs for the second time in his career, Lundqvist will backstop a prospect-laden Rangers lineup this season. While his realm rebuilds, the King continues to wait.

STEVEN STAMKOS28, 11TH SEASON

The Lightning have reached three of the last four conference finals and largely bring back the lineup that fell to Washington in seven games. After all that knocking on the door....

CANADA

A partial list of things that did not yet exist when Montreal captured its country's last Cup, in 1993: Google, NAFTA, composite hockey sticks, DVDs, Auston Matthews.

"You wait so long, you want to do it faster," Alex Ovechkin was saying, less than two days into the BAC-blasting Cup bender that emptied kegs and filled hearts around Washington in June. "But some people don't even have a chance to get so close."