Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Feeling Blue in Paradise

This time a year ago I was in the Caribbean islands for a friend’s wedding, surrounded by white sand and crystal blue waters. I was even planning on proposing to my girlfriend on the final day. However, despite being in a virtual heaven on earth, I was sitting in a tiny bar, in front of a video blackjack machine, totally bummed out, absent-mindedly choosing hit or stand, not caring at all whether I won or lost. My favorite team, the Washington Capitals, had just been eliminated from the playoffs. I hadn’t even been able to watch the game.

It has been extremely stressful to be a Caps fan over the past five years. Tonight, they will play their 5th Game 7 during that stretch, more than any other team in the NHL, except one…their opponent, the defending Stanley Cup Champions, the Boston Bruins.

As a diehard, Capitals fanatic, I can remember each game like it was yesterday:

April 22nd, 2008- In their first playoff appearance in four years, the Caps managed to storm back from a three games to one deficit against the Philadelphia Flyers. The game eventually went to overtime before Joffrey Lupul tucked a rebound past Cristobal Huet and my head collapsed into the carpet.

April 28th, 2009- The Caps once again clawed back from three games to one, against the New York Rangers this time, and the game fell on the same night when I hosted my weekly poker game. When Sergei Federov blasted a goal with five minutes left, I celebrated so loudly, my friend across the street thought I was getting robbed.

May13th, 2009- Against the Pittsburgh Penguins, my most hated sports franchise, the Caps got embarrassed in front of a home crowd, 6-2. The following day, with my girlfriend out of town, totally alone, a bottle of good bourbon helped me discover the wisdom of country music.

April 28th, 2010- After winning the President’s Trophy for the best regular season record in the NHL, the Caps were heavy favorites to battle for the Cup. This time, it was the Caps that stormed to a commanding three games to one lead against the lowly Montreal Canadiens before completely choking. I’m not embarrassed to admit that, for the first time in more than a decade, I cried.

The Caps have faced the Bruins twice before in the playoffs. Each team has won one series. Both times the winner has gone on to the Stanley Cup finals. I have little faith the Caps will prevail tonight. My stomach churns a horrible knot and I feel on the verge of utter collapse. Time moves with sting of a thousand pin pricks until the puck drops.

Tick tock, tick tock, tick tock. 

1 comment:

  1. Big win. Ward's goal is instantly one of the biggest in team history. Up next, NYR! Let the beatd grow!