April 29, 2010
(Ed. Note: As the Stanley Cup Playoffs continue, we're bound to lose some friends along the journey. We've asked for these losers, gone but not forgotten, to be eulogized by the people who knew the teams best: The fans who hated them the most. Here are Pittsburgh Penguins bloggers The Pensblog, fondly recalling the Washington Capitals. Lead image by Pensblog graphics ace Stephen S.)
By The Pensblog
Good afternoon, everyone.
And to Rock The Red, Capitals Kremlin, Japers' Rink, On Frozen Blog, Eric, Ted Leonsis, and all other Capital dignitaries, we wish to extend to our deepest and most heartfelt condolences.
You were taken from us too soon.
The 2009-2010 Washington Capitals leave us with so many memories.
54 wins. 381 goals. Suspensions. Annoying goal sirens
Not only did they win the Presidents' Trophy, they ran away with it. It was under their tree at Christmastime.
They also had some unreal winning streak which featured several multi-goal comebacks.
Ted, we recall a blog post that you shared with the world on a cold February day:
"We have won 11 in a row. A franchise record.
We are now first in the East. We are TEN POINTS ahead of New Jersey who is in second place.
We are first in our division, 25 points ahead of our nearest competition.
And we are now FIRST in the NHL with 82 points.
We are first in the NHL in goals scored. And first in a bunch of other team and individual stats.
For just today we have arrived.
We don't have miles to go before we sleep.
We have arrived. Savor it. Enjoy it."
"History Will Be Made" videos jumped the Shark a couple weeks ago, but this video tasted so good. Oops. Did we say Shark?
Unfortunately, in many cases, death leaves us with far too many questions.
Some of the questions will eventually be answered. Some will float away into the ether.
...since Mike Green spent a chunk of his time Tweeting Tweets, running a slick website, and appearing in Geico commercials, did he forget to practice playing defense? To gear himself up for another playoff year? To get a respectable haircut? He won't have time to partake in any of these activities this summer, since he will spend the time in court, trying to refute claims that he has done irreparable damage to family of James Norris.
- Bruce Boudreau wouldn't want you to remember him as the coach that sabotaged his entire season by pulling the goalie that backstopped the Capitals to a 17-0-2 record down the home stretch; the goalie he said he wouldn't pull. What kind of people would we be if we brought up the insane, irrational mood swings that Bruce went through? Or his benching of Tomas Fleischmann, a 20-goal scorer in the regular season, for a hapless Scott Walker in Game 7? But alas, we have to thank Bruce. Because no matter how high he jumped, his lowest points were always the best to point and laugh at.
- It would be easy to point out the faults of GM George McPhee for not upgrading his team at all at the trading deadline.
That, last year, George saw firsthand what the makeup of a Stanley Cup champion consists of and didn't take notes.
- It would be easy to point at Joe Corvo for telling Dan Steinberg of DC Sports Bog, in reference to the Montreal series, "As long as we play average defense we can score enough goals to beat anybody."
- We'd say something about Semin here, but we're not sure he even played in the series.
- And honestly, what kind of eulogy would this be if we didn't mention the guy who puts the 8 in ELIMINATED, Alex Ovechkin?
Now, everyone has shortcomings, and Capitals fans can attest to the fact that they have an inferiority complex. As Penguin fans, we are swarmed with Crosby-whiner-diver-sucks-crybaby static on a daily basis from every corner of the NHL. It was fun to deal with back in 2007, but as time has progressed, the Crosby-Ovechkin argument has becoming the most stale, boring, monotonous debate in professional sports.
Ovechkin is one of the most entertaining hockey players to play in the NHL. But why were we more captivated by Montreal's P.K. Subban in Games 6 and 7?
Was Ovechkin still thinking about the shot he passed up in Game 7 against the Flyers in 2008?
Or Marc-Andre Fleury stoning him on a breakaway in Game 7, setting the tone for that particular game?
Washington fans are now left with the emptiness that only raising a meaningless banner to the Verizon Center rafters can bring.
In a few moments, the final shovels of dirt will be placed into the grave, and this book will be closed.
The lasting image of the Capitals season will be Ovechkin's lack of influence over his teammates.
His inability, as a captain, to get his teammates to play at his level of intensity.
His inability to get his team to believe.
We like to think the last thing that went through Ovechkin's head was to wonder how the hell Jaroslav Halak got the best of him.
We hope that when Ovechkin shook Halak's hand, it was shaking with the same ferocity Ovechkin had noticed in Game 2.
We hope the Capitals fans look forward to beating the Penguins in a meaningless NBC afternoon game next year.
We hope the golf course is as green as it's been in the Capitals' players dreams.