No One Cares About Penguins-Capitals Games Anymore

caps pens

The Pittsburgh Penguins and the Washington Capitals used to be a big deal, but that was a long time ago. It’s over now– Caps vs Pens is just #anothergame. When the world’s best playmaker, Sidney Crosby, faces off against the world’s best scorer, Jason Chimera Alex Ovechkin, all we can muster now is a yawn.

I can’t even remember the time Crosby and Ovechkin scored matching hat tricks in May of 2009. I have just the vaguest memory of comparing Alex’s three Hart Trophies to Sidney’s one, or comparing Sidney’s Stanley Cup and Olympic Gold to Alex’s really hot and altogether delightful fiancée. I couldn’t recall the Snowvechkin game if you dropped 75 inches of snow on me. And would someone please give me a quick refresher course on the time or seven the Penguins knocked the Capitals out of the playoffs over the last 25 years?

That’s my attempt at a counter-counter media narrative. I’m doing the sarcasm thing again, sorry.

Despite less-than-earnest protestations to the contrary, Penguins-Capitals is still the biggest thing going. And for the first time in eons, Crosby and Ovechkin will meet while the former is healthy and the latter is sick unbelievable))).

Rather than being cynical at the media hype, we should be grateful that we’re so lucky as to witness a good game between these teams again.

The Pens-Caps rivalry has been a big deal since the salad days of the Patrick Division, but I think I can pinpoint its apex: May 4, 2009. Game 2 of the quarterfinal round.

Alex Ovechkin scored a hat trick. Sidney Crosby complained about all the hats on the ice, then he scored a hat trick of his own. The Capitals survived a late-game barrage from the Pens to take a 2-0 series lead.

Thank goodness RMNB wasn’t around for me to write a recap– the text would have just been whatever gibberish my leaking bodily fluids depressed on the keyboard.

The Caps ended up losing the series in game seven (I was there; it sucked). By the way: when that game happened, Tom Wilson had just turned 15 years old. He was already taller than you are now.

I can’t imagine a game between these two teams will ever be that big again — especially considering everything that has happened in the years since. Crosby suffered a concussion or two in early 2010, missing large chunks of the next few seasons. Ovechkin’s team abandoned its passion for offense within 18 months, retreating into the miserable depths of Hunter hockey at the end of 2011. The NHL’s binary stars faded.

But Crosby recovered. And under the tutelage of the other A.O., Alex Ovechkin has had a resurgence of his own. The Penguins and Capitals are now one and two in the Metropolitan Division. This is good for fans. This is good for hockey.

On Wednesday night, Verizon Center will be flooded by fans in black and gold. They know it’s a big game. But please look closely at those fans. Some of them will be your own people, Caps people, who just happen to be wearing RMNB Deadguins shirts. Ya know, like this:

(Anytime, Witter! P.S. please buy a Deadguins shirt, made with care by Ian and Rachel. Moar shirt money = moar GIFs.)

If the Penguins best the Caps [turns around three times, spits, curses], Penguins fans will do what they always do: flock to the steps of the American Art Museum to celebrate and infuriate.

pens fans here

They know it’s a big game.

Should this happen, Capitals fans will surely remain the kindhearted and gracious people they always are. They will smile politely, mutter something under their breath, doff their Caps in deference, and then hit up PQST or Iron Horse for a cold, cold beer. Anything but Yuengling.

Even if this game weren’t for the division lead, even if it weren’t rivalry night, even if it weren’t between two former Patrick Division teams finally reunited under the Metropolitan Division’s banner and between two great players back at the top of their games, it would still be a big deal. Now it’s just a humangous big deal. Don’t believe the un-hype.

I have a feeling a good share of our readership will be attending Caps-Pens tonight. They know it’s a big game. If you’re one of them, and you’re rocking an RMNB Deadguins shirt, send us photos. If you see someone else wearing one, high five ‘em and then send us a photo. Basically, send us a photo no matter what; we need to know how you’re getting down. But no matter what, make sure you check twice before dismissing someone in black and gold. That could be your dude right there.

I leave you now with the very best Dave Steckel vs Penguins moment.

No, not that one. This one:

Best.

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  • Marky Narc

    Any game where there are baskets of kittens on the line is an important one for me.

  • Jack Conness

    Seeing the Dave Steckel goal is killing me. I am hoping the Caps can go on a killer playoff run this year. Wouldn’t that be great? I can only hope…maybe this could be the year.

  • FStreetFaithful

    Man, Jason Chimera looks slow. Oh. Nevermind.

  • yv

    Several years ago, while walking on F-street after Caps lost to Pens in the spring, I saw a group of very attractive young girls/women in Pens jerseys walking along the road and showing all signs of jubilation. The car with open windows passed them full of young men in Caps jersey and who usually will die to get attention of such girls. Instead, I heard group shout of bi-word. Girls shouted back. And you know what this means – this is a rivalry!

    btw, director of Traktor Chelyabinsk says that Kuzya’s injury is not serious, not shoulder but a soft trapezoid muscle contusion, that seems already healed, and he probably will not miss a single game.

  • Matt

    I forgot how much I hated Crosby’s garbage goal hat trick.

  • Michael Reschly

    Regarding moar shirts, I’d be much more likely to buy one of there were *long-sleeve* t-shirt options for toddlers/kids.

  • Catherine__M

    Superstition backwards!

    When you treat something that you want to happen as fait accompli but whose outcome is not yet guaranteed (like, ahem, having three frequently injured players all healthy at the same time for opening day) THEN you have to go undo the tempting of fate.

    But we don’t want the Pens to win, so you don’t have to undo anything. You’re not tempting fate because you don’t want it to happen. So stay inside, it’s cold out there today :)

  • Shawn Murphy

    “By the way: when that game happened, Tom Wilson had just turned 15 years old”
    MIND BLOWN

  • Max Duchaine

    “Danger” Dave does it again.

  • BetweenThePipes420

    NHL dot com match-up lists Scott Stevens as the Caps “Most Famous Alumnus.” Agree? Seems like it should be someone most famous for their time with the Caps.

    http://www.nhl.com/ice/news.htm?id=692359&navid=DL|NHL|home

    Also, wonderful photo at the top Peter. Bravo.

  • BetweenThePipes420

    “very attractive young girls/women in Pens jerseys”

    How much had you been drinking that day?

  • stacyh13

    Can’t wait to see tonights game! My little man is such an Ovi fan. . .he’ll be copying his moves next time he’s on the ice!

  • 5manfront

    Caps vs Pens? Definitely too much violins…

  • Toronto Caps Fan

    The dueling hat tricks game is my favorite Ovi memory. If the Caps can’t achieve the ultimate goal of winning the Stanley Cup this year (cue grumbling about possession numbers) a great consolation would be eliminating the Pens from the playoffs.

  • JenniferH

    Go Caps!

  • standarsh

    Sigh I miss Steckel

  • bskillet

    I hate Pittsburgh, Rangers, Flyers, Isles, Devils, Jackets etc…..2 points tonight will put us back where we belong.