As a native Washingtonian, these past 2 decades (since 1991) have dealt us nothing but misfortune and stupidity. Last night was a night where us fans are used to, to a fault. We are used to not coming to play when it matters. We are used to not bringing maximum effort. We are used to losing games we just can not lose. We do NOT make epic comebacks, we have epic collapses. We lose daggers….hell the term was basically coined HERE by the great Steve Buckhantz to describe backbreaking Wizards losses.
The Capitals came back from being down not just 3-0 on the road vs the New York Rangers, but also because of some little comments by Coach Bruce Boudreau, the MSG faithful were raining jeers at him and the team, while playing probably their worst 20 minutes of hockey in quite a while. No one expected a comeback…remember, we live in Washington DC. We would have been just happy with an ounce of fight and coming back home for Game 5 tied 2-2 on Saturday afternoon. But for some strange reason, this Capitals team found the intestinal fortitude, this same team who was once dubbed “Choking Dogs” by the great Tony Kornheiser almost 20 years ago for epic playoff failures vs the hated Penguins, Islanders, Flyers, you name it….this was the EXACT game we lose.
That 3rd period was one of the most exhilarating periods of do-or-die hockey I’ve seen (and I’m not a Hockey lifer here). The team played with the fire and emotion that ALL fans can appreciate, remember, I’m a native Washingtonian fan here. Im USED to losing unfortunately. I can take losing, all I (and most fans) want, is effort, and that wasn’t what we recieved from our team in the 1st 2 periods. Even as Alex Ovechkin missed a key breakaway in Overtime, I had this feeling that we would still win not because we are more talented, because we just are….but because of the reckless effort being put out by everybody from the superstars to the rookies like young Marcus Johannson who had 2 tallies in that awesome 3rd period.
Damon Jones, Lebron James, Matt Turk, Jaramir Jagr, Sean Taylor, Albert Haynesworth, The 1st 6 years of existence of the Nats, Carlos Rogers’ dropped INT vs Seattle, Jarislov Halak, Sidney Crosby etc….the list goes on and on of missed opportunities, clutch losses and wasted potential greatness. Last night was the 1st time in decades that a pro sports team in MY city looked the part of a true title contender. Now will this springboard the team of obvious talent to heights unseen or will it fall back down to “our reality”??? Stay tuned…..