You can’t swing a dead cat these days without smacking a news story or an opinion column about the Capitals lacking the (choose one or more) defense, goaltending, intestinal fortitude, coaching, or leadership to win a Stanley Cup.
If Bruce Boudreau isn’t on the hot seat, then Alex Ovechkin is trying to wipe the stain of an “annus horrilibis” out of his memory or is the subject of a “project.” If Mike Green isn’t being judged unworthy of being a Norris Trophy finalist forevermore, or as a defenseman who can’t play defense (or even offense when it matters), then Alexander Semin is being floated as trade bait (or is that Tomas Fleischmann?) for being a no-show in the playoffs.
Folks don’t seem to like Alex much these days, or Ted, or George, or Bruce, or anything wearing a stylized eagle in red and blue.
The Caps lack that certain attractive hook that recent Stanley Cup champs have had. Detroit had the whole “elegant excellence” thing. Chicago had the whole “original six team brought back to life” vibe. And Pittsburgh had, well… Sidney (even if it was Geno’s post season). The Caps have no history of winning, play in a city that even reasonable people can't stand these days, have players who might like to have too much fun for some. They are too “rock star,” too millennial, maybe even too European (or maybe too much the wrong “European,” since it didn’t seem to hurt the Red Wings) for the old school types. More than a few people seem beside themselves with glee over the stumbles – individual and as a group – that befell the Caps last season.
Well, if there is anything that should motivate a club, it is the sort of thing that puts a chip the size of a boulder on their shoulder. Nothing beats having insults – subtle or explicit – shoved in one’s face as a motivator. And the Caps certainly haven’t lacked for them in this off-season.
So enough of this nice guy horse hockey. @#%$ ‘em! Maybe read or listen to some of the commentary and take a page from the line Colonel Nathan Jessep spoke at the end of “A Few Good Men”…
“This is funny. That's what this is. This is... I'm gonna rip the eyes out of your head and piss into your dead skull! You f***ed with the wrong Capital!”
Or Gunnery Sergeant Hartman in “Full Metal Jacket”…
“You little scumbag! I got your name! I got your ass! You will not laugh! You will not cry! You will learn by the numbers. I will teach you! Now get up! Get on your feet! You had best unf**k yourself or I will unscrew your head and shit down your neck!”
Everybody's cranky. Check out Twitter or Caps message boards, and you'd think the Caps were a lottery team in waiting. Even the brain trust seems cranky. Alex had a bad year? Mike Green isn’t Rod Langway? Alexander Semin is missing in action? The bloom is off Bruce Boudreau's rose? Media types taking their shots to sell a book? Yeah, well, we got two words for those guys saying that, and maybe the Caps ought to be thinking it, too, every time they take the ice…