No, Caps Fans Shouldn’t Feel Better that the Penguins Won the Cup (Part 5)

By
Posted June 12, 2017

Gee fellas, aren’t you glad that the Penguins won? (Caps Outsider)

The same old story happened Sunday, as the Pittsburgh Penguins won a Stanley Cup, several weeks after dusting off the Washington Capitals. Immediately afterward, some Caps fans (re)started the conversation about whether losing to the eventual champion makes the playoff loss somehow ‘better.’

While it’s a fair question sometimes, like if a 4th seed lost to a 5th seed, which then goes on to win the championship, there’s little vindication for any player to lose at all, no matter which round, especially when expectations are high. When it happens two years in a row, let alone in all five of an arch-nemesis’s championships, it’s virtual torture. It’s like losing a fist-fight over your one true love and having to watch your enemy ride off into the sunset. And then it happens four more times. You’re not thinking: “Well, I’m glad lost to the eventual winner instead of one of those other losers!”

Why is there this obsession with trying to prove you’re second best when losing in an early round?

Some folks have also convinced themselves that beating Pittsburgh would’ve made the path wide open for them to win any of these recent championships. Don’t be so sure. This year, Ottawa put up a great fight in the Conference Finals, taking Pittsburgh to 7 games. The Predators weren’t pushovers, either, as a blown call in Game 6 proved to be a major difference-maker. So, if the Caps beat Pittsburgh – this year, last year, or any other year – would they have simply won the championship? Probably not. The Caps weren’t going to run away with a Stanley Cup by merely outlasting the Penguins. At least two other great teams (once three) stood in their way, none of which couldn’t have also ended the Caps’ season.

Perhaps if the Capitals continuously lost Conference Finals in 7 games, only to watch their opponents sweep their way through the Stanley Cup Finals, might the ‘what-if’ scenario sound more plausible. But so long as second-round losses to the eventual champions keep happening, don’t be so sure the Caps are the second-best team in the playoffs. As if anyone really cares about that, anyway.