Caps Win Game 7 in Beantown!
Hey folks, it's been awhile, but like Jordan wearing the #45, I'm baaaaackkk. Back and ready to talk a little hockey, specifically the Washington Capitals and the NHL playoffs, which is, in my opinion, the best postseason tournament in ALL of sports. It's March Madness on crack. It's damn near 1am on the West Coast but I'm still fired up. I'm pretty sure I've watched the highlights of last night's Capitals v Bruins game 7 on my own personal loop, via ESPN/NHL Net, about 87 times. It hasn't gotten old. It was a glorious win, especially sweet coming against a team from Boston.
Apologies (not really) to any Boston fans that read IHJJR, but beating the defending Stanley Cup champion Bruins, for me, takes a bit of the sting off of the Ravens loss to New England in January. Yes, I'm sure those of you out there from Baltimore who don't know which end of a hockey stick is up think that's crazy, and that's fine, but I stand by it. You see, I LOVE hockey. With that, I LOVE the Washington Capitals. My fanaticism for the Caps began around 1987, but even before that year, I was always aware of them mainly because of the presence of their (then)farm team the Baltimore Skipjacks. I went to a couple games as a kid, loved it, but it was darn near impossible getting the Caps on local tv back then. This was before DirecTV and sports packages and the internet (yes, I'm old), so the best I could do was wrap some aluminum foil around the old "rabbit ears" antennae, and try to get WDCA on my 13inch black and white. Sometimes the "snow" on the screen was light, most times it was a blizzard, but the audio was fantastic. So yeah, a love affair with a sport and a team began, and it's carried on through thick and thin since.
Last night's win erased so many game 7 disappointments for me. The Caps came into the game 2-7 all-time in game 7s. Many of the local/national media pundits (being nice using that term) said it was over, that the Caps would show no heart and lose another one. I can't really blame them because the 2-7 record was proof in the pudding, but for some reason, I was completely confident going into this game. I promise you, this is the first time I've ever felt this way about a Caps game 7. Those of you who follow me on Twitter saw me tweet "Caps are winning tonight. 3-1". I NEVER do that. I never call a game because I'm neurotically superstitious when it comes to my teams. The Ravens could be playing Towson University and I'd be like "Well, if they keep it close, Towson has a shot...". I just felt an overwhelming feeling of calm before the game. Not like game 6 when I felt like it was going to come back to Boston for 7. All of this being said, I was freaking out in the 3rd period when it was 1-1 and Boston had a power play the last 2 minutes of the period. I had to mute the television and watch in silence (actually I had the O's game audio on my phone as background), solely because I didn't want to hear Mike Emrick say "GOAL BRUINS! BOSTON WINS!"...so yeah, neurotic.
Fortunately, for my mental health (and the health of anything fragile that was within arm's reach), Mike Emrick did not say those words. Thanks to Mike Knuble and Joel Ward, it was the Washington Capitals that scored that goal to win that game 2-1 in sudden death OT. My Washington Capitals, whom I cheer for as loudly as I do my Baltimore Orioles, my Baltimore Ravens, my Maryland Terrapins, dug deep and showed the heart, grit, and determination that for so many years was lacking in situations like this. There is more work to do, however. More games to be played, possibly versus even more bitter rivals from the days when I fell in love with the game. Ex-Patrick Division foes like the New Jersey Devils, the New York Rangers, the hated Philadelphia Flyers, all are waiting in the wings. Two more game 7s tomorrow, their outcomes deciding who the Caps play next. I, for one, cannot wait to see what else this team can do. To quote Swayze from Point Break--"ain't it cool?". See ya in the semis!
(photo courtesy of Elsa/Getty Images)