I decided the Caps need some love (they could use some non-Ovechkin offense, too, but that is beyond my powers). MYFO sure as hell hasn’t had any Caps fans clamoring to write this post. Hextall454 lives in the D.C. area; that just means he has to read about the Caps in the sports section of his Washington Times (it’s true, Hex is a right wing nutjob Moonie). That leaves me.
What qualifies me to toot the Caps’ horn? I lived in the D.C. area from 1995-2001. I attended Caps games both at the old USAir Arena and the MCI Center. I got to know, and sort of like, Kono and Bonzai and Olie the Goalie and Calle-Jo and The Chief. After the jump, I’ll tell you what the Caps have going for them in the tenth anniversary season since their lone Stanley Cup Finals appearance.
A few years ago, I attended my high school’s 5-year reunion in Southern New Jersey. Aside from realizing you’re standing in a room with ice cold appetizers, a crummy cash bar, and a bunch of people you still have no interest in talking to, the only other thing you leave that evening with is a small booklet that serves to tell you what all your old classmates have gotten into post-graduation. As I was flipping through it the following morning, I was surprised to see that one girl with whom I graduated had scored a job working “with the Philadelphia Flyers.” What the hell?? I used a $2k collegiate research grant to put together an NHL sports marketing project, and I couldn’t even get a job in hockey! What gives?
Later that day, some buddies and I attended the annual Black Friday Matinee game at the Wachovia Center. Flyers-Islanders, if I recall correctly. As we discussed at intermission how baffling it was that this girl was earning a living from the same payroll as Jeremy Roenick and John LeClair, the Delta Dental Ice Girls skated out on the ice to launch t-shirts to the crowd, and our conversation ceased instantly. Yep, you guessed it.
That’s her on the far left.
After the jump, join me in the praising of a team who won just 22 games last year.
It’s hard to explain what it’s like to support the Toronto Maple Leafs.
It’s sort of like being a Boston Red Sox fan pre-2004…a team with a storied tradition and history, a giant fanbase, deep pockets and constant sellouts. Except your team inspires the same kind of loathing attributed to the Dallas Cowboys or New York Yankees. All the antipathy and none of the success. The team even named their fanbase “Leafs Nation”.
The last year the Leafs won the Stanley Cup (or even made it that far) was 1967. That also happens to be the last year of the Original Six. The only team with a longer drought is the Chicago Blackhawks, but they folded in 2002.
Leafs fans have put up with a lot. The possibility of Jim Balsillie buying a team, any team, and moving it to Hamilton (about a 45 minute drive from Toronto) had many people dreaming of jumping ship and supporting the Hamilton Blackberries. But still…there’s reason for hope.
So the question at hand is “why are the Islanders better than any other team in the NHL?” The obvious answer – if we are talking about on-ice performance – is that they aren’t. I can’t sit here and try to convince you that they are going to contend with the upper crust of the NHL this year. Hell, they probably won’t even compete with whatever is below the upper crust in this metaphor of mine. But what I will argue is that the Isles are a team with a very bright future, a storied past and a present that is willing to embrace the here-and-now, as well as make a little news from time to time.
Follow me after the jump and I’ll explain why.
While sitting in the Xcel Energy Center watching my Minnesota Wild get completely manhandled and outplayed in Game 3 of the first round of the Stanley Cup playoffs last April, I found myself somewhat concerned about the fate of my club. Were the Wild going in the wrong direction? Did Jacques Lemaire not “have it” anymore? I grew increasingly worried and impatient as the Wild showed nothing but ineptitude against a stronger and more talented Ducks team.
Thankfully, at the X, at least in the Club Level, they serve actual “doubles” and as I drowned myself in Citron, the prevailing feeling I was experiencing was dread. Fortunately, it wasn’t as bad as I originally believed on that warm spring day. The Ducks ended up physically dismantling every team they faced on their way to their “storied” franchise’s first Stanley Cup. So, as it is for every team in the offseason, hope springs eternal. So lace up your skates (if you have them) and join me as I attempt to prove why the Minnesota Wild are better than your team.
The Blues used to play in a building called the Checkerdome. Now their principal owner is Dave Checketts. Coincidence? I think not. The moon is in the seventh house, and Jupiter is indeed aligned with Mars. Read on for why this is the dawning of the New Age of Blues Playoff Appearances.
Why are the Avalanche better than any other pussy ass teams you may support? Two words: Joe Fucking Sakic. Super Joe returns for his 19th NHL season in 07-08 to kick some additional ass. Coming off a 100 point season, The Captain is ready to lead his collection of wily vets – Brunnette, Smyth, Lappy – and young stars – Stastny, Arnason, Budaj, Svatos – back to the playoffs where Burnaby Joe is ready to build on his already record 7 OT playoffs goals. Seven! Just think about. They don’t call him Captain Clutch for nothing. Fair warning to the Western Conference: Joe Sakic is still here in the thin air of Colorado and is pissed off about not making the playoffs, so look out for precisely placed pucks to the head of any players being bitches delivered from the stick of the man with the greatest wrist shot in NHL history. Enjoy.