A few weeks ago I was riding high. Not so much on the fact that the Capitals were on the way to sealing the deal (the "deal" being the Southeast Division) against the Jets, but that we had defeated the dreaded Bears from Boston. You might think I was taking pleasure in giving the business to our favorite "Maine-iac," or perhaps my good friend Matt from "Bah-sten." No, I was especially thrilled to be able to harass the crap out of my neighbor, Christian--a 10-year old kid. Christian is a conflicted little child--he constantly wears a Detroit Red Wings tee shirt while rooting loudly for the Bruins. Every time he sees me, it's all about the Washington "Crapitals!" So, for the 27 April game, I bet Master Christian $1 and when we beat Boston 3-2 in OT, like I child, I ran outside and made Christian cough up my buck!! But I gave him a chance to win it back by betting him $2 that the Bruins would lose in the playoffs, and that the Caps would win.
I haven't seen Christian in a week, I have his $2, but I think he's waiting to ambush me (...I gotta watch my back!)
However, it was during that April 27th game that Zeb and I traded texts and twits and emails over how horribly Zeb felt the zebras called the game. From my perspective, I thought they were all good calls--Zeb felt they were inconsistent and untimely. I didn't (couldn't, wouldn't) see his point then, but I think I do now.
In his summary blog of the first round of the playoffs, Brent wrote: "The Capitals were robbed by the officials with the Rangers having a two-to-one ratio of Power Plays. Even though the Rangers PP looked horrible, having to kill off a penalty can cause problems with your own team. Caps fans have every reason to be upset at the NHL and it's officials."
I couldn't agree more. I'm not going to grouse, bitch, moan, groan, or complain--I want to believe the refs are human and make mistakes. But I readily admit that there is something to be said for consistency in officiating. In the picture to the left, you clearly see nine (9) Rangers on the ice, and on this very play, the refs did call a penalty for too many men on the ice---ON WASHINGTON!!!! No, I'm not kidding and this is not hyperbole. They gave the Rangers the PP and the Caps went on to lose Game 3 and the rest is, well, history.
As for the Caps' season, I'm not bitter, just bitterly disappointed that the Caps do, in fact, seem to have "choke-itis." But I am nonetheless proud of my team and I remain a loyal homer. The Washington Capitals are a 39-year old NHL expansion team; they've made the playoffs 24 of those 39 seasons (61%). Eight times they won the division. Ten times they advanced past the first round; only twice did they make it into the semi's, and just once to the Stanley Cup where they were trounced by the high flying Red Wings.
Oh well...I guess it's time, once again, to sing the Washington, DC, Unified Sports Team Fight Song:
"I know all there is to know about the crying game; I've had my share of the crying game..."