I should be mad. Angry. Furious even.
The Capitals season ended tonight in large part due to what I think was a horrific non call in the second period. The on-air commentators were stunned that the officials allowed the goal after the Flyers Patrick Toresen took Caps’ goaltender Huet out of the play by body checking Shaone Morrison into him. Sami Kapanen had the whole net to shoot at and didn’t miss. The NHL quickly trotted out an
excuse justification for the call, but what else are they going to say. “Yep, the officials blew the call. It only decided game 7, no big deal”?
As I said, I should be pretty upset. Especially after what sounded like a poorly called game four (no comment from me – I didn’t see the game).
However, I can’t help but think back to the last Friday in November when the Caps had the worst record in the league @ 6-14-1 and had just promoted their minor league affiliate’s coach to the big leagues. If you had told me then – almost exactly five months ago – that the Caps would go 37-17-7 over the remaining 3/4ths of the season, win the division in their last game and take battle back from a 3-1 series deficit to force a game seven, I would have wondered what you were smoking.
This season has been a gift for Caps fans and I’ve relished the few games I’ve gotten to see, even the one that sent us home.
Furthermore, even though they lost, these playoffs are a promise of future success. I tell my kids all the time that the only way to get good at something is to work hard while you’re bad at it. Playoff hockey is no different. Most of the Caps had little or no playoff experience going into this series and it really showed thru the first three games. But they kept at it and played much better over the last four games of the series. They went 2-2 in those games, but the two losses went to overtime. A little more luck (or better officiating) and the Caps are headed to Pittsburgh instead of the golf course.
Speaking of Pittsburgh, look back at the Penguin’s performance in the playoffs last year. Like the Caps, Pittsburgh is loaded with young talent that were thin on playoff experience. Also like the Caps, they went home after the first round. However, unlike the Caps, they only managed one win against an Ottawa team they had beaten three times down the stretch in the regular season. Furthermore, when facing elimination, the Penguins laid a goose egg. However, as much as I hate to complement the Penguins, things are very different this year. Here’s hoping the early playoff exit has a similar effect on the Caps.
Bumping around my music collection for a song that captured my mood, I came across Getting Better from Tesla’s debut album.
All that rain, outside my window
But I’ll live on I know
Its gettin’ better every day
Soon the sun will shine, through my window
When it’s gonna come
You know I really, couldn’t say
But I know, it’s gettin’ better every day
Swapping “season” for “day” kills the rhythm and rhyme, but it captures how I feel.
Thank you Washington Capitals for a great season. I look forward to many more to come.
Thank you Bruce Boudreau for jumping in the deep end unafraid and turning this season around.
Thanks you Washington fans for turning out in such force. Who would have thought the Verizon Center would be considered “most electric arena“?
Finally, thank you to Ted Leonsis for enduring the criticism, for turning Washington DC into a hockey town and for ensuring I’ll be able to wear my #8 Ovechkin jersey until my kids are in high school.