Much has been made about this photograph of Capitals players enjoying a ride at a local amusement park as part of a season ticket holder event...
First, JP over at Japers' Rink, then Puck Daddy over at Yahoo! There might be others. The worry is that the picture is a symbolic representation of a potential decline in the Caps' fortunes this year.
I think my esteemed fellow wizards have missed an essential detail in the photograph...the Capitals are smiling. Players on a club expected to go far, but who do a collective face plant in the 82-game season would not be expressing unabashed joy in such a representation.
The Peerless is here to interpret the photo in the only way it could. Consider, the coaster (representative of the ups and downs of a hockey season) has just crested. It has reached and scaled the summit. And now, the players are expressing a certain amount of joy. As you would expect, Alex Ovechkin -- seated front left (the top line left wing) is especially exuberant, not unlike his expression when scoring goals.
Don't think regular season...think "playoffs." The picture is a representation of a team expressing joy in the aftermath of having scaled the ultimate summit -- winning the Stanley Cup. And if you need further convincing of The Peerless' interpretation, consider Jose Theodore. He still wears a mask of concern on his face, as befits the most important position on the ice in the playoffs. But he looks as if he has a hint of relief in his expression as well. Besides, the hero always gets the girl.