Sunday, August 15, 2010
A Caps Fan Moment
Capitals fans are a curious bunch. Not so much the fans of more recent vintage, but those of us who have been around since they used horse hair in the goalie pads. And if there is one thing that binds us, it is our unshakeable belief, cured in the furnace of years of disappointment, that whatever happens to the Caps, it will probably end up being bad. Game winning goals against the Caps in a fourth playoff game overtime… twice… at home! Losing in the first round of the playoffs… 13 times in the last 27 years (the number “13” seems especially fitting). Esa Tikkanen. You folks know the drill.
But you know something? August, on top of being the deadest month of the hockey year, is also the month where hope can take root. And for Caps fans, that might mean, “it could always be worse” as much as dreams of a Stanley Cup. So with that, we went leafing through the NHL record book to see just how things could be (but likely won’t be soon) worse, like the team records of regular season futility (minimum 70 game schedule)…
-- Fewest points: Washington Capitals, 21 points in 1974-1975
-- Worst points percentage: Washington Capitals, .131 in 1974-1975
-- Fewest wins: Washington Capitals, 8 in 1974-1975
-- Fewest home wins: Washington Capitals, 6 in 1974-1975 (tied with Chicago, 1954-1955)
-- Fewest road wins: Washington Capitals, 1 in 1974-1975 (tied with Ottawa, 1992-1993)
-- Longest losing streak: Washington Capitals, 17 games (February 16 – March 26, 1975)
-- Most goals against: Washington Capitals, 446, 1974-1975
-- Highest goals against average: Washington Capitals, 5.58, 1974-1975
-- Longest road losing streak: Ottawa Senators, 38 games (October 10, 1992 – April 3, 1993)… ah, but that didn’t include “neutral site” games that season. Next in line? Uh, yeah… Washington Capitals, 37 (October 9, 1974 – March 26, 1975)
-- Most scoring points, one team, one game: Buffalo Sabres, 40 points (14 goals/26 assists) in a 14-2 win over Washington, December 21, 1975.
-- Most scoring points, one team, one period: Buffalo Sabres, 23 points (8 goals/15 assists), third period, December 21, 1975, in that 14-2 win (not a very merry Christmas for the Caps, eh?)
Then there are the land…er, ice speed records…
-- Fastest six goals scored, both teams: Quebec at Washington, February 22, 1981, 3:00 in game elapsed time. Quebec had five of them.
And the tag team records…
-- Most points, one road game, individual: Tie, Peter (4 goals/4 assists) and Anton (3 goals/5 assists) Stastny, in an 11-7 Quebec win over Washington, February 22, 1981 (nice way to celebrate Washington’s Birthday… the president, not the hockey team)
-- Most points by a player in his first NHL season, one game: The Stastny’s in that February 1981 game.
And of course, the obligatory Wayne Gretzky reference …
-- Most assists, one game: Wayne Gretzky, 7 assists against Washington, February 15, 1980, in an 8-2 Oilers win.
-- Most assists by a player in his first NHL season, one game: Gretzky (tied with Billy Taylor and himself on two other occasions)… he was a first-year NHLer in that Washington game.
So, dear Caps fans, not signing this guy or trading that guy to add another piece to or subtract one from a loaded team might be annoying, but there was once a time when the Capitals were not merely bad, they were record-setting, record-enabling, eight-day old yogurt on the counter bad.
Smile, Caps fans. Only four weeks or so to training camp.