By Carter Brooks
Photos by Rusty Barton and James Carey Lauder
Fresh off a Stanley Cup victory, Winnipeg native and Washington Capitals' defenceman Madison Bowey has the utmost confidence that his team will be back on hockey's grandest stage next spring.
"Now that we have that winning feeling in us, and know what it takes to get the job done, I think we can get back there and repeat next year," Bowey said in an interview with Game On Magazine Tuesday. "Our defence corps is one of the best in the league, we have a handful of veteran all-stars up front, and a healthy mix of young talent as well."
After dressing in 51 games for Washington this past season, Bowey will see his name engraved on Lord Stanley's mug for the coming 2018-19 NHL season. The former Winnipeg Monarch put up 12 assists and 24 penalty minutes in the big leagues, while also producing two goals and eight points in nine American Hockey League games with the Hershey Bears.
On Tuesday morning fellow Winnipegger Ryan Reaves of the Vegas Golden Knights - the 2018 Stanley Cup runner-up - commented that he anticipates that his Golden Knights will be able to "do what we did last year, and then finish the job in the Final," promptly fueling Bowey's fire.
"We have a really good chance of going back-to-back in having all of the returning guys that we do," Bowey responded. "With the team that we have coming back, the momentum, the confidence, and the work ethic that we found in the playoffs, it's pretty tremendous. I think we've got a good shot at doing it all again next spring."
With those bold predictions, it appears as though the 2019 season is heading directly on a crash course for a repeat Stanley Cup Final featuring the now second-year Vegas Golden Knights and the reigning champion Washington Capitals.
Although finding himself pushed down the depth chart in the postseason for some more veteran options on the blueline, Bowey still thoroughly enjoyed the season-long process of helping make his team a contender, and then a league champion.
"It really is a dream come true," Bowey said. "Every kid dreams of this feeling. I know for myself, just strapping on the skates in my backyard, I had visions of myself playing for the Cup, scoring the game-winning goal - obviously it didn't quite go like that, but to hoist it, it was really surreal and a moment I will never forget. It was a moment that will be in my head forever; it is just very powerful and special for myself and my family, with all of the sacrifices that they have made. It is a true honour."
With both defencemen John Carlson and Brooks Orpik returning to Washington for the 2018-19 hockey season, along with the emergence of Michal Kempny and Christian Djoos, the 23-year-old Bowey will certainly have some competition on the back-end. However, along with checking out his newly engraved name on the Stanley Cup, that is the second biggest thing that he is looking forward to this fall.
"To be a part of the this defensive group is awesome," he said. "My goal is to be in the lineup every night. Obviously in getting the new contract I have a lot of confidence going into the season, and I want to be in there every night, and be a big contributor. I'm going to show up at camp with all of this momentum built up from the summer that I have had - that's my goal here. I just hope to be able to help move this team in whatever direction it takes this year."