For What It’s Worth

Posted April 26, 2012

Mike Knuble with the puck in overtime. Credit: Greg M. Cooper-US Presswire

Over the years, I’ve made sure to watch every minute of every Caps playoff disappointment. So I’ve been there for Straka, Nedved and Sid in 2009. I’ve been there for Marty St. Louis in 2003 and 2011. I was there (by proxy) as a small boy for Lafontaine in 1987 and I was there as a big boy for Jaroslav Halak in 2010.

I watch all these things, no matter how much they hurt to watch, so I can remember how good something like last night’s win feels in relation to where we’ve been as a fanbase, and what makes it “worth it” to follow this team and this game. It’s Matt Hendricks, who no one else wanted a couple years ago, who came here on a tryout and won a job, scoring a big goal. It’s Joel Ward, addled by the demands of a hefty contract, potting the series winner. It’s Mike Knuble, looking old and feeble, scratched for most of the year coming up with a Klassic Knuble Play that led to Ward’s goal. Seeing the joy on their faces and how well they represent the community and the pride they make us all feel is why I’m willing to make sacrifices in time and money to see them play.

I was remarking to my wife last night about how all the old “Houses of Horror” for the Caps, like the Igloo, and the Spectrum and Brendan Byrne Arena and whatever version of MSG the Rangers used to play out of, are now gone (and like a case of the Clap that you can’t get rid of, somehow the Coliseum survives). Maybe that’s a sign that the Ghosts are finally all gone too. Maybe this is finally our year.

Last night’s game was certainly a good start. Now let’s celebrate, but remember that there’s still a lot more hockey to play and get ready for Round Two.