What have we done to earn the ire of the hockey fates?
Here’s a sobering thought: I’ve never seen the Caps win in person. Not against the Flyers in 1996. Not against the Kings at the home opener in ’00. Not when they lost in round 1 of the playoffs to the Penguins in ’01. Never.
It’s a fact: Russian Machine Never Breaks is bad luck for the Washington Capitals. We’ve tortured ourselves over whether to disclose these sad facts to you, but in light of our attending tonight’s game with the Ottawa Senators, we feel we must let you know: We are cursed.
Exhibit A: Washington Capitals vs. Pittsburgh Penguins, 5/13/09
My first hockey game since the lockout was a big one. The Capitals were tied in the series with the Pens at 3-3, but they were plagued by injuries and exhaustion. RMNB associate Stevie K and I bought our tickets and rocked our red, only to be subjected to one of the most elaborate beatdowns in playoff hockey history. The Damned Penguins won 6-2, ending the Caps season and continuing a win-less streak that began in my childhood and continues to this day.
Exhibit B: Washington Capitals vs. New York Rangers, 10/8/09
For the second home game of the season, Stevie K and I decided to spread the poison around once more. We thought it fitting to see the Caps face off against their playoff opponents from a few months back, the Rangers. The Capitals looked solid, especially Jose Theodore’s lightning-fast glove hand, but they had little heat in front of the net. The beginning of the third period found Nick Backstom scoring his first goal of the season on a flukey dump-in from the red line. But then Gaborik went on a two-goal spree, and the Caps day was done. I had once again caused a loss.
I decided to take a break from attending games to focus on writing for this site and also not going broke, but that didn’t stop my luck from continuing.
Exhibit C: Washington Capitals @ Montreal Canadiens, 2/10/10
The duel that ended the Caps winning streak naturally involved a Canadian team. After all, the national disposition of Canada is diametrically opposed to excellence in all forms. But before you attribute this loss to the Capitals’ sloppiness or weakness against Canadian teams (save ends), look at this tweet:
So here goes.
Ladies and Gentlemen of the Internet and Affiliated Series of Tubes. I, Russian Machine Never Breaks Dot Com, do hereby apologize for spreading my evil kismet and jinxing the Capitals of Washington, who, being of an unrivaled hockey-playing calibre, would surely have bested the Canadiens of Canada had I not interfered. My shame is infinite. May Ted have mercy on my soul.
Signed, Peter Hassett
Exhibit D: Hershey Bears vs. Adirondack Phantoms, 3/21/10
My wicked karma had by this time spread to Blogodaccio Ian Oland. On the occasion of the Caps’ farm team’s match with the Phantoms, he made the poor decision to see the action in person. The Bears had not lost at home for the previous 24 games, an all-time record, but one that our black curse was eager to destroy. Not only did Hershey fall 4 to 3, but a PUCK HIT A BABY. You can call this a horrible accident, a freak occurrence, but I call it raising the stakes. The jinx is ambitious, and it will not rest until the every team in the Washington Capitals family shares the fate of the New Jersey Nets.
Tonight, two of the Russian Machine staff will be in the house as the Capitals host the Ottawa Senators to sixty minutes of puckball. The past few outings have dismal for the team, and the pre-playoff doldrums leave them with little incentive to perform. Several players are out with injuries, including the team rabbits foot Brooks Laich, along with Boyd Gordon, Scott Walker, and Brendan Morrison. Playing instead is the team’s medical marvel, Quintin Laing, who will consider tonight a success so long as none of his vital organs are ruptured. The team’s foe is Canadian, and as such, gains combat advantage until the end of the encounter.
But those are not the problem. I am the problem. I bring with me my black cloud of pity, and it rains the tears of children. Along with Ian and Stevie K, I will be sitting in section 106, aisle X. People sitting in the upper bowl may have the happy fortune to pour soda on my head, and I will not be undeserving.
To the fates and the furies, I throw myself at your mercy. My nigh-unbeaten Evil Ovi t-shirt worn defiantly, I intend to watch my team win, dammit! I will eat my twelve-dollar Papa Johns pizza. I will attend some sort of Saturnalian rite known as a “tweetup” at the first intermission. I will applaud The Horn Guy. I will pump my fist when Alex Ovechkin scores his first and third goals of the night (I’ll be in the bathroom for the second). I will rock the red. I will unleash the fury.
NOTE: Our twitter activity will be light tonight, and our recap will be late or non-existent. To anyone coming to the game, please come say hi. We’re really very friendly and we haven’t had a “rage blackout” in nearly a week.