(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 is are the Boston Bruins bloggers from Days of Y'Orr, fondly recalling the 2011-12 Washington Capitals. Again, this was not written by us ... OK, by all of us. Also: This is a roast and you will be offended by it, so don't take it so seriously.)
The definition of insanity: Doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results … like believing an Eastern Conference Finals game will be played in Washington D.C. after the turn of the century.
Welcome to the Washington Capitals Eulogy. We would, firstly, like to welcome all the Capitals fans in attendance. If this were 2003, we're sure the room would be less crowded, but we have enough chairs that all 300 of you should be cozy. We'll have our PA announcer say something whenever we need you to cheer throughout the eulogy, just in case you're as lost here as you are during an actual hockey game. We'll try to refrain from making "Alexander Ovechkin looks like the lovechild of the Geico Caveman and Adam Sandler's boss from 'Happy Gilmore'" jokes, but just know that they're there; they're there.
Before the season began, the media always plays its favorite guessing game known as "NHL Predictions," and every season the same ole story happens. People pick the Washington Capitals to finish first in their division and either first or second in the Eastern Conference with Pittsburgh somewhere around them.
Every year, writers pat Alexander Ovechkin on the backside and immediately pencil him in for a 90-100 point season while scoring 50-60 goals and being Russia's version of Superman. Well if Ovechkin is the Russian Superman, then clearly his kryptonite is the NHL playoffs.
And every year, the same thing happens to the Capitals. Ovechkin careens himself into the boards throughout the regular season en route to a Southeast Division Championship and then chokes when the playoffs start.
2007-2008: 1st in the Southeast, Lost in Conference Quarterfinals to Philly (4-3)
2008-2009: 1st in the Southeast, Lost in Conference Semifinals to Pittsburgh (4-3)
2009-2010: 1st in the Southeast, Lost in Conference Quarterfinals to Montreal (4-3)
2010-2011: 1st in the Southeast, Swept in Conference Semifinals by Tampa (4-0)
But they're the best team in the NHL (or so everyone is told).
The beginning of the season, at least the first seven games into the season, started to prove everyone right. The Caps went 7-2 in October and Capitals fans started planning the parade to roll through DC. It was a magical time in Washington. Bruce Boudreau was still behind the bench, screaming obscenities and splattering the back of his players' jerseys with whatever condiment he ate the night before, Ovechkin was calling Boudreau a "fat [expletive]" because his coach benched him in OT for being lazy and the Capitals were beginning to play their yearly "shuffling of the goalies" game.
November 28, 2011. A day that will live in infamy. With a 12-9-1 record and a 5-1 ass whooping at the hands of a Buffalo Sabres team that was so beaten down you'd think they represented House Stark, the Capitals told Bruce Boudreau to clean out his belongings, pack up his deep freezer and hit the bricks.
It was clear that his 'fly by the seat of your husky Toughskin jeans' offense wasn't going to cut it anymore and the Capitals needed to bring structure to their hockey club. Enter a Capitals "great." A man who would not take any flak from any of his players. A man a cut above the rest in terms of the way he played the game. A man who is known to deliver an elbow to the face of adversity, should it rear the back of its ugly head.
The Capitals employed Pierre Turgeon's best friend and Sunday croquet partner: Dale Hunter.
Under Hunter, the Capitals learned to play a defensive style and crept into the playoffs while Buffalo played their favorite game of "let's pretend we're the band on the Titanic" and squandered games away. Ottawa gave the Capitals a chance to face the Bruins, since Ottawa wasn't too pleased of their 1-5 regular season record against Boston, and so the #2 vs #7 matchup was upon us.
Let's refer back to Dale Hunter for a minute. Every check he threw in his career was an attempt to concuss or injure someone, so you can see why he was so easily confused when he thought Tim Thomas tried concussing Nicklas Backstrom when Backstrom was hacking away at Timmy's glove hand post-whistle during the first round. Thomas thought to himself (with his head down, no less) "You know what? I should probably turn this dude's brain into pudding." It's not like Thomas has ever fed a forward a waffle sandwich before for trying to take liberties with him before. Just ask Chimera. And Alexandre Burrows. And Sean Avery. And Andrei Kostitsyn. And one of the Magical Vancouver Gnomes. Who knows how many other people he's fed waffles too. Every one of those was purposely intended to give Marc Savard and Nathan Horton a partner to play Mario Kart Wii with, right?
But the 7th seed, who was really a three seed that underachieved all year, took down the defending Stanley Cup Champions in seven games and took the Eastern Conference's #1 seed to the brink of elimination. Fortunately, the Rangers realized that Alexander Ovechkin can't defend himself from a cold and took it to him in Game 7.
And now, we come to the part of the eulogy where it's time to say goodbye.
Goodbye Alexander Ovechkin. Not only are you one of the Top 3 douchebags to ever don the NHL shield, but you're also going to live another calendar year without being named a Stanley Cup Champion. We would like to thank you for being the reason why the Rangers scored their game-winning, series-clinching goal in Game 7 on Saturday night. Without your lack of a defensive mind and the ability to know anything on your side of the ice, you could be playing Monday night in New Jersey instead of heading back to Russia to cut another awful rap video.
Goodbye Braden Holtby. We're not sure how the NHL will survive the next two rounds without their media darling and Hockey Jesus, but part of me thinks that it will. Speaking of survival, we're not sure that Pierre McGuire can stand between the glass and not lovingly stare at his binky anymore. Soon enough McGuire will end up on Holtby's front lawn with a radio held high above his head screaming "I JUST CAN'T QUIT YOU."
Hey, if it means we don't have to watch Pierre on TV anymore it's worth it.
We can tell you one thing, the NHL is going to miss those dressy glove saves that Holtby enjoyed doling out. He dressed those things up so much that you'd think he was about to take them to prom and then their virginity. His stick side though? That can be found in the dumpster from the prom night mistake.
Goodbye, Braden Holtby's father. Your impression of Stephen Hawking after your son lost a triple-overtime game in the second round will never be forgotten.
Goodbye, Nicklas Backstrom. In Round 1 you were suspended by the NHL for cross-checking a player in the face when the game was over. The best part about it was that you had no idea why you were getting suspended. We would make a concussion joke here, but can't since concussions are no longer funny. We can only hope that the Swedish education system is teaching their students a better way to lie since whatever one you told Shanny was awful. Also, thank you for the one goal in seven games in the second round.
Goodbye, Alexander Semin. Seriously, goodbye. Whoever is going to pay you the $6M you're making now is a fool.
Goodbye, Mike Green. We hope your offseason gig as the backup bass player for Good Charlotte works out better than your ability to play defense.
Goodbye, Dennis Wideman. It's apparent that being named an All-Star means nothing in the NHL these days because you were the second-biggest defensive liability on the ice not named Alexander Ovechkin. If you owned a bakery, we would hope that your item of the day is a turnover, because it's the only thing that you can produce on a regular basis -- tried and true.
Goodbye, Karl Alzner. Finally, you can take better care of your dogs and not have them rip your house apart.
Goodbye, Jason Chimera. You did the world a favor by giving Brad Marchand a man check. We love Brad-o over at Days of Y'Orr HQ but can you imagine him going all Duggar-family crazy and siring little "champians?" Twenty little Marchand's running around, clipping school teachers and chirping kids in the sandbox? Yikes.
Goodbye, Ted Leonsis. We're going to miss your passion and energy for Capitals hockey. What we're not going to miss is your terrible blog posts, like you're the textual version of Herb Brooks. Apparently the Stanley Cup Champions aren't the only teams not getting the calls, right? The New York Rangers, who haven't sniffed a Stanley Cup since 1994 defeated your team in seven games. We're sure you'll come out and complain about something sooner or later. Luckily your team plays in Washington so the Capitals aren't the worst franchise in the city. DC still has the Wizards...which...you own.
And, aw, how fitting. Goodbye Washington Capitals "fans." Year after year you remind us of the audience of a Shakespearean Tragedy. Forced to witness the downfall of their skilled, yet flawed heroes; powerless to stop the inevitable flood of tears that force the President and Congress to retreat to higher ground.
Your lovable screw-ups throughout the playoffs remind us that your fanbase is so green that it still pees grass between intermission. We understand that hockey can be a tough sport to grasp and there were a few understandable rule issues that troubled you. When you're new to following a sport some of the details can get lost in the fray, such as why Backstrom was suspended for a cross-check...to the face...at the end of a game...
...or when you booed because you were upset that there was no Delay of Game penalty when the Bruins sent the puck over the glass at center ice.
If you listen close enough, you can still hear Wes Johnson in his empty living room telling Caps' fans to stand up and cheer when the Rangers took a penalty because it's obvious they don't know what's going on. You can still hear that schmuck with the horn blasting out patterned blows to get the fans whipped into a "frenzy." If you really strain your eyes, you can see the "Rock the Red" signs and the shirts, and you can still hear the chants that Calgary Washington came up with.
But, alas, there's always next year when ESPN will devote 20 seconds to pick the Washington Capitals as the best team in the Eastern Conference. There's always next year when Alexander Ovechkin can score between 50-60 goals. There's always next year when the Capitals can lose in the first two rounds and then the "good" people of Washington can focus on their cherry blossoms and filibusters. There's always next year, folks.
Enjoy counting down to 8 and chanting "Ovi! Ovi! Ovi!" when there's 2 outs left in the bottom of the 7th inning during a Nationals game.
On the bright side, you still have those pretty Southeast Division championship banners!