Justin Williams has more wins in Game 7s in his NHL career than the Washington Capitals do as an organization since 2008.
Williams is 7-0 since his rookie year in 2000-01 in Philadelphia. The Caps are 3-6 since 2008.
The narrative is totally perfect for Williams and Washington, who signed Mr. Game 7 to a two-year $6.5 million contract late Wednesday night. Williams had played with the LA Kings since the 2008-09 season. Washington blew a 3-1 series lead to the New York Rangers this past postseason and lost … wait for it … in Game 7.
“Well, yeah I do unfairly get asked that question quite a bit. My Game 7 record is a product of the team I played on, I’ve played on some great teams,” he said. “Guys have been able to get that little goal or get that little goal or get that little extra it takes in a Game 7 because everyone knows how important every single play is. That’s basically just a product of the great teams I’ve played on.”
Capitals general manager Brian McLellan, believed in this to some degree.
“I mean, the story line is up obviously, but he just brings the things we need that we don’t have,” he said.
Williams painted a super cute picture of why he fit with the Caps, mentioning his 6-year-old son wanted him to go to Washington. This brought back memories of Jordyn Leopold writing a note to Minnesota asking the Wild to trade for her dad Jordan – which they did.
“He even said a month ago, ‘dad, if you don’t move back to LA, I think you should go to play with Ovechkin,’” Williams said.
Added Williams that when he told his son he chose Washington, “he was all smiles. That passed the test, I’m happy about that.”
Williams said the Kings couldn't quite get a deal done with him thanks to the salary cap, though he did talk a little with them.
Look, one guy isn’t going to get Washington past the second round of the playoffs. They haven’t done so in the Alex Ovechkin era, and Ovi’s going to hit the age of 30 next year.
The signing of Williams likely means the end of the Joel Ward era in Washington. The rugged power winger also had a ‘clutch’ resume and was unsigned by the Caps as of Thursday morning. Williams is more of a speed player. Ward isn’t quite as quick, but he’s stronger on the wall.
“We’ve been in communication with his representation pretty much throughout the last few days and before that,” McLellan said. “Things can happen trade-wise or guys move out. I would say it’s unlikely now, but I wouldn’t completely rule it out.”
So in essence the Caps got rid of one guy known for a high level of playoff success and got a guy with more playoff success. And it didn’t hurt that the dude’s son wanted him to play in Washington. Free frosties for everyone!
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