page contents The Capitals' overachieving year threatens, again, to end in doom and gloom – The News Headline

The Capitals' overachieving year threatens, again, to end in doom and gloom

When the Washington Capitals misplaced Recreation four to Tampa Bay on Thursday night time, no person within the crowd booed. No longer a one who I may listen, devastating as that loss was once. As they poured up aisles to the exits, Capitals fanatics wore equivalent crimson garb and uniform expressions, too — now not resignation, now not dejection, now not the rest in point of fact. They didn’t even glance disenchanted or displeased. They could as smartly had been strolling out of a revival of “Romeo and Juliet,” the place the tale ended simply as they anticipated, because it all the time does: Everyone you like dies.

At this level, why would a Caps fan be mad? During the eyes of affection, perhaps the one more or less imaginative and prescient left amongst them after 33 years of blinding playoff shocks, this can be remembered because the Caps maximum pleasantly unexpected season.

As an alternative, the the ones faces appeared like they anticipated The Bolts to attain past due, wreck a tie and take a two-games-to-two “lead” within the Jap Convention finals.

Are you able to lead 2-to-2? Sure, positive, in the event you’re taking part in the Caps in spring. Actually, you’ll be able to lead Zero-2 or 1-Three — even supposing you don’t understand it but. It’s came about to the Caps 10 occasions. Now, they’re simply looking to roll an “11.” Once they’ve taken a two-game lead in a chain, both 2-Zero or Three-1, the Caps are 15-43. Wonderful. Once they display they’re approximately as excellent or higher than a foe they grow to be a .259 group.

Why reply with anger or a face twisted with disgust just like the sight of a livid Alex Ovechkin smashing his stick in part at the move bar of the Lightning target after time expired. In his palms, he held a sprig as splintered as his hopes. Why maintain a stick to which you’ve taken 11 pictures however hit the goalie within the intestine, blank-range, extra continuously than you’ve come anyplace close to outside?

At the elevator to the locker rooms, Capitals GM Brian MacLlelan gestured politely for any individual to head forward of him. As soon as inside of, he rubbed his quit his face as though washing off dust, closed his eyes onerous and in short shook his head as soon as. Any ideas? “They wouldn’t be excellent ones,” he responded, politely.

Like their crowd, I now not simplest recognize the Caps’ present season however respect it — even though with a caveat. Who however the Caps will have an overachieving yr, but run the chance of getting its closing moments really feel like totally feature gloom?

Thousands and thousands of NHL fanatics imagine that whilst you win two video games at the street in opposition to a popular foe, then promptly lose two at house, you might be deader than ice shaving within the bowels of an overheated Zamboni.

I nonetheless suppose the Caps can win, placing me in a meager, unique and possibly certifiable aristocracy of the grudgingly positive. However I’ll observe that, on leaving the Caps dressing room after Recreation Three (now not Recreation four), I stated, without a excitement, to a fellow Submit reporter, “I will be able to learn a (hockey) locker room higher than I will be able to analyze a recreation. They’re going to lose once more. It’s written everywhere them.”

That night time, Caps eyes flicked, like sufferers enduring the pinpricks of laser eye surgical procedure, when requested why they are able to’t win large house video games within the playoffs — this yr or nearly any yr. “Possibly we’re a bit of extra at ease at the street,” stated Brooks Orpik. “That’s the closing piece [of the puzzle] for us,” stated Evgeny Kuznetsov.

Mins later, Barry Trotz, the primary D.C. trainer in any main professional recreation to take a group to its Ultimate 4 in 20 years, and the person whose group snapped the Penguins-Sydney-Crosby playoff hex this month, stated, “Possibly simply faux you might be at the street. The entire structures are just about the similar. They give the impression of being so much alike, proper?”

Proper, Barry.

You’re between a rock and a lightning bolt whilst you should win two out of 3 video games to play for the Cup and your large edge is also that two are in Tampa.

The 0.33 length of Recreation four crystallized the entire demons dealing with the Caps, and their very own fanatics, when they’re at house. The Caps outplayed the Bolts so one-sidedly that Tampa Bay went 21 mins with out a shot on target. Step by step, the shot counter at the scoreboard turned into a type of blood drive gauge.

As Caps’ pictures fixed, whilst the Bolts’ general slightly moved, the strain tightened as D.C. fanatics identified the indicators of Internet Shrinkage Syndrome. The more difficult you attempt to dart the puck at small holes, the extra you leave out. The sleek, talented, creative world Caps seldom convey themselves to throw random rubber on web and easily muck for greasy-goal rebounds. Annually they are saying they are going to. They don’t.

As soon as, when Tampa Bay was once now not simplest shorthanded however in need of sticks with 4 defenders however simplest 3 twigs, the Caps handed and handed, looking for absolute best, however by no means took a shot for 35 seconds as their energy play expired.

“Give Washington credit score. They driven. They driven. We had been keeping on,” stated Tampa Bay Trainer Jon Cooper. “You like the video games whilst you don’t desire a goalie since you are taking part in so smartly. However whilst you don’t have you ever’re A Recreation, you wish to have your goalie to have his A Recreation. And [Andrei Vasilevskiy] positive did.”

“Vasilevskiy stood on his head,” stated Tom Wilson, Jay Beagle, Kuznetsov and perhaps each Cap who was once interviewed. Similar phrases. Do they go out a sheet?

If the Caps had been a regular franchise, then this sequence could be seen thru two roughly-equal views. On one hand, the Caps let the Bolts regain house ice and had been crushed in Recreation four by means of a Harvard guy, Alex Killorn, scoring a slithering target, nudged between your goalie’s legs.

At the different, the Caps have obviously outplayed the Bolts in 3 video games. In idea, in the event you stay taking part in the similar manner, why can’t you currently win two-of-three, particularly because you love the street?

The Caps is also as resilient, as “other,” this yr as Trotz claims. In the event that they ever win a Cup, it’ll most definitely be in a season once they exhaust the closing wisp of hope from their oldest maximum dependable fanatics, then upward push to glory when everybody out of doors their very own room has given up their ghost — like now.

However we live, in the meanwhile, in harsh truth. On Thursday night time, the exiting crowd was once densely populated by means of gents with bald spots and white hair. The bald spots had been indicators of age. The white hair got here courtesy of the Caps.

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