I’m a big fan of the Washington Capitals, have been since high school when I stumbled onto a broadcast of a game on the radio. Over the years I have watched them grow from being a non-factor in the league to finishing this year with the best record in the league. Their team captain has played 5 seasons and won rookie of the year and two MVP trophies. This year expectations were high, they were up 3-1 in their playoff series and lost the next three games thanks to some sloppy play on their part and some ridiculous play on the part of their opponents. Below are my comments from the blog Russian Machine Never Breaks (http://www.russianmachineneverbreaks.com/2010/04/28/2009-2010-washington-capitals-rest-in-peace/):
So I’ve been stewing over this for a while and I think I figured out why this loss bother me so much. All season long my favorite team has been flying in the face of hockey pundits who said they never had a chance to win playing the style that they do, at least not a cup. Guys who have never won a cup themselves seemed to take great joy in pointing out what’s wrong with my favorite team. Even the league officials seemed to have a problem with the Caps style of play (or at least our team captain). It seems like no one outside of DC wants to see our team be successful. No trophy earned in the regular season seemed to matter, and the more successful the Caps were, the more they seemed to want them to fail.
All I wanted was for all those guys to have to eat a Stanley Cup full of crow and instead they’re going to be crowing about this all off-season long. And all next year they’ll be downplaying every accomplishment, quenching every fire of fandom as well as they can. For what? So that we can have more boring hockey? So that players will simply hand the puck to the referee a la Barry Sanders after scoring a goal?
I say to hell with that. I don’t just like the Caps because they are my hometown franchise. I like them because they play the most exciting style of hockey I’ve ever seen. I like them because most of the time they play like men possessed. I like them because they usually leave it all on the ice. They make me like hockey more, period. If that’s not going to win us a cup, well, I think I honestly can live with that. If watching Ovie do his thing, watching Mike Green go coast to coast, watching Varly and JT spike my WTF meter, cheering for players that give and give and give to their fans, pull out their teeth on the bench to keep playing, take pucks to the face and still look good, and score, score, score all season long is not going to win us a cup I think it’s a fair trade for the privilege of not having to watch some grind it out, boring, yawn-inducing, “classic” hockey that makes Don Cherry happy.
Think of it this way: in order to beat the Caps, the Habs had to be absolutely miraculous. How many times do you get to see a goalie make 53 saves? I wasn’t happy with the result, but that was some amazing hockey. To win tonight their defenders had to block, what, 41 shots? That’s ridiculous, guys had to have been flying all over the ice. That is the kind of hockey I want to see. The Caps make every game they are in the kind of game I want to see more of. That’s why I’m a fan. So I’m going to check in on YouTube every now and then, watch replays of The Goal a few times, keep an eye on the Nats and look forward to another season brought to me by the most electric team in hockey.
Until next season, I still LOVE this team.