The Stages of Grief of Caps Fans

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Posted April 1, 2014
Caps saluting the crowd. (Caps Outsider)

A photo not taken Tuesday of the Caps saluting the crowd which was NOT booing them. (Caps Outsider)

The Kübler-Ross model, aka DABDA, is the five stages of grief, which often applies to how people emotionally handle tragic situations. It can also describe what Caps fans are currently going through. These five stages are:

  1. Denial
  2. Anger
  3. Bargaining
  4. Depression
  5. Acceptance

The most positive of Caps fans have been in Denial for years now. While not every trade or signing was wrong, collectively it hasn’t produced results. Granted, the Capitals showed many signs of life this season, with just about every victory renewing our optimism that more are to come. Then a sad reality hit Verizon Center during Tuesday’s disaster of a game against the Dallas Stars.

The most pessimistic of Caps ‘fans’ have been calling for GM George McPhee’s head all season, and constantly pointing out problems with the team, particularly the defense. These are the same folks who are suddenly quiet when the Caps go on a mini-run, like earning 5 out of 6 points  on a trip to California last week. Regardless, there’s plenty of Anger during the losing skids that set the team back this year.

The Caps Bargained at the trade deadline. While getting rid of Martin Erat and Michal Neuvirth were fine moves considering the circumstances, Caps fans felt a renewed sense of optimism after acquiring two-time Stanley Cup winner Dustin Penner and one-time Cap killer Jaroslav Halak, not to mention welcoming the arrival of  Evgeny Kuznetsov.

With the season winding down and the Caps needing to play their best hockey of the season, they played their worst (except for the first period, according to Adam Oates). Caps fans quickly felt the Depression soak in.

“If somehow we make the playoffs and we play like this who are we kidding?” Oates said after the game. This is true. Even if the Caps do make the playoffs and get bounced in the first round, the team has still made no progress.

Here, depression and anger mix, as fans have already paid good money for their tickets to watch the team fall off the ledge. The Caps get booed off the ice, and the players themselves understand why.

It’s blatantly obvious now – this team stinks. Acceptance. Changes are coming. We have a long offseason to wait, and then we watch these changes get made. Then, we’re back to optimism. We’ve come full circle.

Go Caps.

Ben Sumner
Ben Sumner is the editor of Capitals Outsider and a contributor for Gunaxin.com. He also works for The Washington Post and contributes there when he gets a scoop.
Ben Sumner
Ben Sumner

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