Caps Hockey – DC’s Newest Bandwagon

Photo courtesy of
’090127 Alex Ovechkin’ courtesy of ‘Dan4th’

So Wednesday night saw the end of what could arguably be the best Caps season in recent history. Despite the letdown of Game 7, Caps fans – diehards and bandwagoners alike – can walk away with heads held high.

Should I remind you why?

1. Alexander Ovechkin. Every year, he gets better. From his exuberant celebrations (Don Cherry be damned) to his wide, gap-toothed smile, to his on- and off-ice passion, he is Mr. Caps Hockey. Does he still have more to learn? Honestly, yes. But he’s young, he’s talented, and he’s willing. It’s only going to get better from here, so settle in and enjoy the ride.

Photo courtesy of
‘Varlamov on Top of Crease’ courtesy of ‘clydeorama’

2. Simeon Varlamov. A risky chance taken when Coach Boudreau started the rookie netminder in the second game of the Rangers’ series, it’s proved to have paid off in spades. Don’t blame him for Game 7′s meltdown; he is arguably the main reason the Caps survived to last night’s showdown. It’s safe to say that the Capitals have found their goalie for the near future, as Jose Theodore will either see more time on the back bench next year or be waving the District goodbye over the summer.

3. Alexander Semin. Despite his ghostly appearance throughout the Penguins series, Semin has come into his own this season. He’s not at the top of his talent just yet, but he’s blossoming. While his injury earlier in the season hobbled him some, he roared back well enough to finish in the top ranks of Capitals’ scoring. And now with more playoff experience behind him, he’ll come into his own very quickly. Just like Ovechkin, settle in and enjoy the ride while the Caps retain him.

4. Winning ways. How long has it really been since Capitals hockey was even exciting to watch? Too long. Despite being stuck in one heck of a crappy division (the “Southleast”), the Caps nearly took the Number 1 seed this year and topped out at 108 points on the season. That’s nothing to sneeze at, and may well become a common occurrence for the foreseeable future.

Photo courtesy of
‘Fleischmann Sees the Light’ courtesy of ‘clydeorama’

5. Verizon capacity. Used to be easy to get tickets to a Caps game, even for marquee opponents. Now? Sellouts are common and the “Sea of Red” is a phenomenal sight, even on television. The buzz and excitement about hockey here in the District warms a hockey fan’s heart (like me), because even bandwagoners seem to at least be trying to learn about the game.

There’s very little to dislike about Caps hockey right now – except the end of the season, obviously. And yes, even though my ultimate allegiance is to a different team, I’ve enjoyed watching Caps games (in spite of Comcast’s absurd blackout rules) and the awesome resurgence of a rivalry once diminished.

Lord Stanley’s Cup will visit the Capitol in the hands of the hometown team one day soon. With this core of talent? Bank on it.

So join me in thanking the Capitals for a season very well done. And to future successes. Bravo!

Having lived in the DC area for ten years, Ben still loves to wander the city with his wife, shooting lots of photos and exploring all the latest exhibits and galleries. A certified hockey fanatic, he spends some time debating the Washington Capitals club with friends – but everyone knows of his three decade love affair with the Pittsburgh Penguins.

A professional writer, gamer, photographer, and Lego enthusiast, Ben remains captivated by DC and doesn’t plan on leaving any time soon.

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10 thoughts on “Caps Hockey – DC’s Newest Bandwagon

  1. Great write-up on an outstanding season. As a former season ticket holder during the ill-fated Jagr years I’m excited to see how the team has progressed. Each year they get better and I wouldn’t be surprised to see a cup in DC within the next 4 years.

    I’ve always wondered though how the team would have been if Ovechkin was a few years older and we had him instead of Jagr. Ovechkin playing with Bondra, Olie, Konowalchuk, Halpern, Gonchar, Johansson, Witt and others from the Wilson/Cassidy era would have been a sight to see.

    Heck, if we still had Bondra we’d have swept the Pens ;-)

  2. Well, if you really want to know, you can always load up EA’s NHL ’09 and find out. But only if I get to stack the Pens with Mario from his prime years, Ron Francis, Larry Murphy and most of this year’s team to face off with you. :)

  3. You’re on! Not that it matters in EA NHL but I want Boudreau behind the bench too. If you’re going with most of this year’s team I’ll guess we’ll have to flip a coin to see who gets Gonchar.

  4. I’d be down to form an Avs all-star roster from the past 15 years to join that league… Sakic, Forsberg, Bourque, Roy, Lemieux, Foote, Kamensky, Blake, Ozolinsch, Drury, Tanguay, Stastny, Hejduk…

  5. Please don’t judge all Caps fans by one! The Penguins clearly outplayed us and deserved the win. I salute the team and its coaches for that and look forward to more great Caps-Pens games next year. Go Caps!

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