The Bulldog Tribune

Capital Fans Feel The Stress of Round 2

Jimmy Sanderson, Sports Editor

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What is agony? It is defined as mental pain or suffering. Synonyms include pain, torment, anguish and hurting. But you don’t need to tell a Washington sports fan what it means, they know what it means better than anyone.

For the past two decades, Washington sports teams have endured promising regular seasons, only to be let down come playoff time. This is once again relevant, because the Washington Capitals, the epitome of D.C. sports, are destroying the hearts of their fans in this year’s playoffs.

Sure, they just won the first round against the Columbus Blue Jackets, but that’s not nearly enough to satisfy any Caps fans. The first round isn’t an issue for them.

Since the 1998 Stanley Cup appearance by the Capitals, D.C. sports fans have suffered through 70 consecutive seasons without a conference championship appearance throughout the four major sports. That is the longest drought in North America.

Same song, different year.

Any casual hockey fan with literally no background knowledge of the Capitals would likely expect them to make it to the conference championship, maybe even further. They won their stacked division, have a Vezina trophy-winning goalie in Braden Holtby, and the league leading scorer in Alex Ovechkin. The plethora of weapons this team holds beyond those two players is unimaginable.

This is the case every single year. I can copy and paste the past paragraph, and write a story about last season’s failures. And the season before. Some little edits here and there, and it would make sense for nine of the past ten seasons.

The question is (and was last year), when will this constant cycle end?

Credit where credit is due, the Capitals have treated fans to ten years of victory, unlike the other teams in town.

With consistent winning comes exponential hope. The higher the hope, the more painful the letdown. And fans have been let down endlessly.

The worst part is the fact that the regular season success is continuing, but hope is… declining? The new motto around the Caps fan base seems to now be, “Disappointed but not surprised.”

Right there is the difference between the Capitals and the rest of the D.C. teams who are unable to get over the metaphorical hump, the pre-conference championship round. There is still hope of future success for the Nationals and Wizards. The Redskins can only go up from where they are now. The Capitals have had their chance at the top of the league… ten of the past eleven seasons. Our hope is plummeting.

This is not how it should be. It speaks volumes that the Capitals lost their first two games of the 2018 playoffs at home in overtime against Columbus, leading both games by two goals at one point, and not one person seems surprised. In game two, the Capitals put up 58 shots compared to the opposing 30… and lost. Again, nobody was surprised.

Yes, they did just pull of four straight playoff wins for the first time in who knows how long, digging out of a 2-0 series deficit and are advancing to the second round.

But their next matchup? The Pittsburgh Penguins, and it’s not off to a good start. Blowing a two-goal lead in the third period, the Caps lost game one 3-2. In other news, the sun rose this morning.

The Penguins have eliminated the Capitals in the second round the past two seasons, and have owned the Caps franchise ever since these two teams existed. Can you make an educated guess how the rest of this series will go?

The constant failure of the Washington Capitals franchise is hilarious to opposing NHL fans, and even Caps fans are starting to see the humor. The level of humiliation used to be unimaginable, but this team seemed to achieve the impossible.

It’s hard not to look at the talent every single season and say that this is their year. It’s hard not to be convinced by the statistics that the Caps are the toughest team to beat in the playoffs. It’s difficult to ignore the fact that we have one of the best wingers in the league, one of the best goalies in the league, and arguably the deepest bench in the league.

But we had roughly the same outlook last year… and the year before that… you catching on?

At this point, why bother even making the playoffs if you’re just going to choke every time? Save us fans the time and just tank… it’s better for our health.

However, the fans will still pack the stands, lose our voices cheering, and devote our hearts to this sad franchise. For now.

But the clock is certainly ticking… and coming back to beat the Penguins in the second round is a perfect opportunity to change the ugly narrative pinned on this franchise.

 

 

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Capital Fans Feel The Stress of Round 2