WASHINGTON (AP) — Nicklas Backstrom dreamed about the road less traveled.
Driving down Constitution Avenue on his way to each home game since his NHL debut in 2007, he imagined the street lined with overjoyed Washington Capitals fans.
“It always popped up in my head that one time we’re going to have a parade here, and finally that day is here,” Backstrom said.
It all becomes reality Tuesday when Backstrom and the Stanley Cup-champion Capitals give the city its first parade for a major pro sports team since the NFL’s Redskins in 1992. The parade is 26 years in the making for Washington sports fans who endured long, lean years of heartbreak.
“I don’t think anyone doubted what this city would do,” longtime Nationals infielder Ryan Zimmerman said. “It’s just a matter of getting there and having the ability to do it. They definitely held up their end of the bargain.”
Tens of thousands gathered for viewing parties of road playoff games on the way to the Capitals’ first championship since beginning play in 1974. They camped out on the streets to watch on giant video screens — the kinds of scenes more germane to presidential inaugurations in this town than sporting events.