Well, that was an ending I didn’t see coming. Not so much that the Caps lost; it was the final game in a series where three games went into overtime and only one game was decided by more than a single point, so losing was always a possibility. No, it was the utter collapse that surprised me. As Brian so aptly said as we were leaving the Verizon Center, it was pre-season hockey in a game seven. (Eileen’s reaction is here.)
Tomorrow, we may know more about why — there are reports now that a huge number of guys were injured, including defenseman Tom Poti, who has apparently played the entire series on a broken foot (ow!), as well as Ovie, Alexander Semin, and Mike Green. The last two are not surprising at all — Semin and Green have really been off their games this series, and Green’s whole “I had to switch to a different kind of stick” excuse just seemed too lame to be believable.
Though the end was disappointing, it was still an amazing season. Those of us who stayed ’til the end (read: not the bandwagon fans) started our standing-O at two minutes left in the game. Obviously, we’re all sorry to be out of the playoffs, but think about it — in a season and a half, the Caps gone from the worst team in the NHL to repeating Southeastern Division champs and made it to game seven of the semi-finals for the Eastern Conference. That’s pretty damned impressive. And our team is still so young — we have plenty of time to build. The Stanley Cup will be in the Nation’s Capital soon enough.
So, Washington Capitals, thanks for all the great hockey, and see you in October. Let’s go Caps!