Caps Outsider reflects on how Dennis Maruk came to Washington.
Those were the days.
On April 5, 2008, the Washington Capitals completed the highly improbable, and what some considered to be the totally impossible, when they beat the Florida Panthers, 3-1, to win the Southeast Division championship. After a 5 year playoff drought, they were headed for the post season under the direction of their new head coach, Bruce Boudreau.
Thomas Boswell, sports writer for the Washington Post wrote:
“A Capitals story that shamed most hockey fairy tales, a dream that seemed almost too silly to speak for months, came true in the pandemonium of Verizon Center on Saturday night. A team that was the worst in the NHL on Thanksgiving Day, but climbed and clawed all winter, finally reached the playoffs on the last day of the season with a 3-1 victory over Florida.”
And that’s how the Caps did it. They climbed and clawed, and they never gave up. That’s called effort—consistent effort. So, it’s been truly disheartening for Caps’ fans today to witness the display of roller coaster effort by their Caps. Fans have listened to a multitude of sports announcers repeatedly express the obvious in a variety of synonymous adjectives. Basically, they broke down and appeared to give up, even when they still had a healthy chance.
Let the finger pointing begin. Whose fault is it? The coach and his ‘creative’ lines? The GM? The captain? The Young Guns, minus one, who don’t quite possess the firepower and reckless abandon that made them a collective threat? It doesn’t really matter. Everyone has their opinion, but what’s done is done for this season. Mathematically eliminated.
Former Capitals coach Boudreau commented on the reaction of the fans on that fateful night back in 2008.
“The fans in the building were so loud,” Boudreau said. “They were as starved as the players were.”
Fans are starving now, but will have to wait until the 2014-2015 season to see if the Caps will ease their playoff hunger pangs. Maybe the Caps should take a walk down memory lane and read the old news clippings laced with the positive adjectives that were once used to describe them. Words like determined, decisive, convincing, and motivated speckled newspapers and flowed freely from the mouths of sportscasters everywhere. If they need to refresh their memory and can’t find those old newspapers, they can drop by my house. I have every single one.
The Caps, somehow, need to find their way back home to determination and consistency. It might be a difficult road with many twists and turns but Caps fans will be there when they return. And I’ll be organizing my newspaper clippings in my Caps Scrapbook leaving the last page blank for the day they finally win the Stanley Cup.
Once a Caps fan, always a Caps fan.