Sunday, August 16, 2015

My Take on the Washington Capitals' Mount Rushmore

A big source of discussion in the past few days has been centered around an article by John Bucigross on ESPN from Friday, where he (re-)named his Mount Rushmores for each NHL team (Link:

I disagree with the four guys he chose (Peter Bondra, Olaf Kolzig, Dale Hunter and OV), as do many Caps fans. But I need to talk the talk, so I'm going to name my Caps Mount Rushmore. Still, instead of throwing names out willy-nilly, it's important to dig deeper into history.

Firstly, what exactly does Mount Rushmore represent? The real Mount Rushmore has George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Teddy Roosevelt, and Abe Lincoln. I wouldn't call these guys the four greatest Presidents in American history; I would without a doubt have Madison and especially FDR in the discussion. So Mount Rushmore isn't necessarily about the four greatest people on a team, but maybe something else entirely.

So what do these four guys have in common? For one, they all greatly influenced and expanded upon the role of the President in office. In addition, they all had very important contributions outside of their terms in President.

Based on this, I'd argue that a Mount Rushmore is more about the most influential and important players in team history, not just about the greats.

With this definition in mind, Rod Langway and Alex Ovechkin are locks. The former pretty much kept the Caps in DC, while OV completely changed the fate of the franchise.

After that, it gets murky. There are two spots left and four strong candidates for them: Hunter, Bondra, Kolzig and Nicklas Backstrom.

The least qualified person here is Backstrom. Although he's been as important as any of these other guys for the Caps, he hasn't been as influential as the others have.

The most qualified is Hunter. He was captain of the Caps for their only Stanley Cup run, scored one of the biggest goals in team history, and overall is one of the most well-liked guys ever.

That leaves Bondra and Kolzig for the last spot. Both of them are extremely popular in Caps lore and invested their entire lives into DC and the Caps.

So with influence pretty much even, we look at importance, and we come to another draw. I honestly see no way to differentiate between the two.

In the end, we unfortunately have to do exactly what I did not want to do: look at how great they were. In that sense, I will pick Bondra, who was a dangerous goal-scoring threat during the deadest of puck eras. Kolzig was also phenomenal, having won a Vezina trophy over Dominik Hasek, Patrik Roy, and Martin Brodeur, but in the end I have to give it to Bondra.

So, my Mount Rushmore is: Rod Langway, Alex Ovechkin, Dale Hunter and Peter Bondra, with Olaf Kolzig a very, very difficult cut. Hope you guys agree, and if not, let me know who you'd choose. Until next time!

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