Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Game Seven: Flyers 3 - Caps 2 (OT)


The problem with dreams is, sooner or later, you wake up.

The awakening from the dream of a long Stanley Cup tournament run came at 6:06 of the first overtime period last night as the Capitals lost game seven to the Philadelphia Flyers, 3-2 on a power play goal by Joffrey Lupul. And in the end, those are the only numbers that matter...Flyers 3, Caps 2.

There are probably those who will dwell on officiating, whether opportunities were squandered, or whether the hockey gods just don’t much like the Capitals.

You won’t find that here this morning.

This team owes no one anything. Ask yourself, if you were sitting down to Thanksgiving dinner last November 22nd, and as you were taking turns giving thanks for your blessings, your crazy uncle said, “I’m thankful that we live in a town where the hockey team is going to make the playoffs,” would you have been tempted to file commitment papers?

They gave us one helluva ride…

A 37-17-7 record after Thanksgiving.

A season for the ages from Alexander Ovechkin

The “young guns” stepping up in a big way to make this their team – Ovechkin, Alexander Semin, Mike Green, Nicklas Backstrom – after the club lost its captain, its top center, and a top-four defenseman to injury for more than half the season.

An unexpected year from Brooks Laich, who wasn’t even supposed to be here…or at least the thinking went last summer.

A hockey lifer with a twinkle in his eye finally getting a chance to coach behind an NHL bench, and grabbing that chance by the throat to be considered a potential coach-of-the-year candidate.

A roll of the dice by a general manager with the nickname, “The Undertaker,” to bring hockey royalty, a few sheets of sandpaper, and goaltending insurance to the club for a stretch run that will be remembered long after the handshakes of this series are forgotten.

A sea of red replacing a desert of empty seats.

The experience of sound taking form and substance.

Four teams remain in the fight to represent the Eastern Conference in the Stanley Cup final. The Capitals are not among them. Congratulations to Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Montreal, and the New York Rangers. The Stanley Cup tournament being what it is, we’re sure they’ll put on a great show.

Thoughts will turn to next year (and what Caps fan can’t wait for that?) and, inevitably, who will and will not return. There will be a time for thinking about that, but this morning isn’t that time.

Nope, this morning we’re sad at the result, but not disappointed in this team. Unlike past heartbreaks, when the Capitals team that lost did so as underachievers, this one fought tooth and nail for two months without a hint of quit in them. They grew before our eyes and came within an eyelash of giving us another two weeks (or, who knows…more) of memories. Although it’s small consolation to the players, coaches, staff, and fans of the club this morning, they achieved far more than anyone had a right to expect as we were sitting down to Thanksgiving dinner last November, and for that…

Bless you boys.


25 comments:

Anonymous said...

Well said, sir!

Bruce said...

Well said, Peerless!

toughhockey said...

Very good Peerless!

(ghost of) toughhokcey

Anonymous said...

My sentiments exactly!

Hooks Orpik said...

Well put, Peerless, sorry for your elimination. Congrats on a great season of blogging to you too.

Dave UK Caps Fan said...

Amen brother

Anonymous said...

Very well put--what a ride!

FrankM73 said...

Beautiful!

Anonymous said...

I've been following the Caps since ....1974!!! And I've seen OK teams and some that were better and worse. But I've never seen a CAPS team with MORE HEART! The last couple months they have been tremendous to watch! The series with the Broad Street bullies you could seem the team and individuals grow. Disappointed? OK -- but VERY proud of the team and VERY proud to be a CAPS Fan - atic!!! The Wolfman Jack

Edster said...

Well said and well met.

~Mark said...

Perfect sentiment. Not much more to say today.

Goat said...

This is the first time, in my memory, that a Capitals playoff series has ended with more of a somber yet hopeful attitude, rather than most of us being livid with the Caps themselves.

That, by itself, may signal the dawning of a new era.

KraziJoe said...

Nice words. I will say that I did not mind losing, I just wish that the officiating was a little more consistent.

Mike said...

Well said.

Stokley said...

Thanks for making my work day go by a bit quicker each day with your great writing Peerless. I'm disappointed but so proud of our team. The atmosphere last night was incredible and greater things are to come.

LET'S GO CAPS!!

Navin Vaswani said...

damn, what a beautiful post. and what a bright future.

"bless you boys" indeed.

well done.

Katie said...

Beautiful. Tears to my eyes because it is all so true.

Bumperhead said...

Thank you for your terrific posting and summing up the season in such beautiful prose. While I hate to lose, I am glad that this team fought through all the roadblocks they had and learned something about themselves. They CAN be winners no matter what the circumstance. They have nothing to mourn and everything to be proud of.

Anonymous said...

Caps suck. Go fuck yourself Caps fans. Way to litter the ice with trash after you were beaten. And this blog is gay like something Art from Extreme Skins would write.

Anonymous said...

Very nice Peerless. You have covered my sentiments to a "T". This season was a success considering where and how we started and how and where we finished. We will have to regroup again and I look forward to next season.

Paymon

exwhaler said...

Awesome post, fjc.

The loss was bitter, but that feeling doesn't go toward the team. It was amazing watching these guys this year, especially at how quickly they grew up in the playoffs. From where they were on Thanksgiving 2007, I don't think anybody could have hoped for the season they finished with. There's hope in Mudville (now, if they could just go fix that ice...)

norske said...

Yes, that's it exactly. After the Massive Choke of 2003, which actually made me welcome the firesale when it came, this has left me with pleasant feeling of anticipation. I can't wait until next season!

Bela said...

Thank you for the great post!
Beatiful season, great effort, great team.
Love those boys!

breed16 said...

Thanks for a great season of blogging Peerless. Please don't slow down this offseason, I don't know what I'm going to do with myself all day at work. And no, actually working is not an option.

The Peerless said...

navin...I can't take credit for the "bless you boys" line. That one is from when I lived in Michigan eons ago, and it was the phrase of affection applied to the 1984 Detroit Tigers. It's stuck with me ever since.