It’s hard not to sound like an amateur here. There are expectations when committing a game to print. We must write with a detached, sober tone befitting the excellent journalistic standards demanded by our audience.
Well, screw that noise. Tonight’s game deserves hollerin’, and hollerin’ is what we will give it. It’s not often that the Caps get a chance to redeem themselves against their biggest rival. It’s been only eight months since Washington sputtered out in that notorious game 7, and the memory is still fresh in our minds. But like Ray, Egon, and Venkman before them, the Washington Capitals have exorcised the ghost of that loss in tonight’s stunning 6-3 game. Vindication is the word you’re looking for.
Look. We’re not going to sugarcoat it, we freakin’ hate the Penguins. A vengeful, angry hate. As a small lad, I vividly remember staying up until 3AM, only to watch Petr Nedved score a 4OT goal against the Capitals (shown below) which subsequently knocked my favorite team out of the ’96 playoffs. Did I cry all night and not sleep? Did I fail a test in middle school because of this?
Ugh. Take it down!
Sadly, It’s not just one singular event that has scarred me this bad. The Caps have lost in the playoffs to the Penguins 7 of 8 times including last year’s horrible Game 7 which Peter wrote about last night, and mentally I’m just completely jacked up because of this. Maybe the players aren’t. But I am. I remember 2 years ago, I went to see a Caps Pens game at the Verizon Center. What happened? The Caps jumped out to a 4-1 lead (scored the first three goals) and lost to them in a shootout 5-4. Did I start wildly punching a Verizon Center chair in anger when Crosby sealed the game with his shootout goal? You bet I did. Did I boo him everytime he touched the puck because I thought the NHL was giving him preferential treatment over Ovechkin? Damn straight.
Well now since I’m considered an adult (barely), it’s time to be more mature. However, that does not apply to our readers. A few days ago, I asked our fans to send us their Anti-Pens artwork, and boy did they respond. Below the fold, check out some of what was sent out way. Remember, laughing and trying to humiliate our opponent is meant to be a therapeutic way of letting out our anger. And no, this probably isn’t work appropriate – so beware!!!!
Springtime was magical. Puck fans watched with rapt attention as the Capitals overcame a 3-game deficit to beat the Rangers, and we felt like we were living in charmed times. “Could this be the year the Caps actually do it?”, we would whisper to ourselves in quiet corners. The team never looked better than it did during those last four games against New York, and we wondered how far it could go.
We would gather at our friends’ houses, donned in red, and we would cheer the team from afar. Tickets were just too darn expensive, so we’d need to pick our game well. Not attending wasn’t an option. The team was too good to miss. Semyon Varlamov had risen from obscurity to become the Kerri Strug of goalies (that is, lithe and successful). The trifecta of Semin, Ovechkin, and Backstrom had turned D.C. into a veritable hero city. Mike Green and his ever-shrinking mohawk was weaponeering his defense. And a young team rallied around its senior Russian, Sergei Federov.
So when the Caps moved up two games over the Pittsburgh Penguins in the conference playoffs, we knew it was our time. We would secure tickets to the Caps Stanley Cup finals. But everything started to go pear-shaped, and we began to worry if such a series would arrive at all. The Pens snatched the next two games, and we were in a pickle. My friends and I advanced our schedule and procured tickets to the tentative game seven of the Pens-Caps series.