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:
— Brendan Witt (@Whitemooseranch) October 1, 2013
(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.
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: