Saturday night found the Capitals playing for their lives in a loud, crowded stadium in the middle of the Big Apple. It was Game 7 and do or die for both the Caps and the Rangers, eyeing a spot in the semi-finals of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. From what I saw of the game (the second two periods) it didn’t look pretty for the away team from D.C.. It sadly seemed as though the Rangers were playing with the upmost confident in a game resembling “Keep Away.” This was not how I wanted to see my Caps go.
But it turned out that the #1 seeded Rangers had too much stamina for the Caps, and although the score was a close 2-1, in the end, the Caps couldn’t silence the teeming and hyped up MSG stadium. In unfortunate Capitals fashion, the squad could not get past the second round for yet another year to add to the history books. And that was the end of the Capitals’ 2011 – 2012 season.
The Caps loss however, was apparently the beginning of the D.C. hockey news. For those of you who have not yet heard, the Caps’ coach, Dale Hunter is not returning to head the team next year. It might come as a shocking disappointment to the casual fan, but many die-hards saw it coming. Ever since Coach Hunter got the job last fall, there was speculation that if he wasn’t the man to bring Washington the Cup, then he’d be dismissed from his duties. Sure, that might be big boots to fill, but ultimately we do it for the Cup.
So now what? What will become of the hometown hockey club? Tomas Vokoun is looking to Europe, the Caps are coach-less, and once again Cup-less. Will General Manager George McPhee (GMGM) want to rebuild the team once more? Can we muster up another fist-clenching, thirst-quenching, spirit-raising season and post-season? So many questions, and now that we’re out of the playoffs, so much time to decide where to go from here.
But Capitals hockey aside, the playoffs are still on. And the two teams I was secretly cheering on (aside from the Caps, of course) are still in the running: the New York Rangers and the Phoenix Coyotes. Don’t get me wrong- while I may have been cheering on the Rangers secretly, I was still 100% for the Caps to win that series, but hear me out. Two of my favorite former Capitals players are on other teams in the playoffs currently: Steve Eminger on the Rangers and Boyd Gordon on the Coyotes.
Now that the Caps are out of the post-season, I’m focusing on these two loves of mine. My ideal situation would be for the finals to be against these two teams. For these two former Caps to be back on the ice together would be fantastic. And if anything, it might show the Caps that they were wrong to trade those two great players away to a team that could very well win the Stanley Cup. Boy, would that show the Caps.
So while the Caps obviously have some questions to answer, I’ll be focusing my hockey post-season energy on Boyd “Gordo” Gordon and Steve “Steve-E” Eminger. May the best former Capital win, and here’s to hoping you both see each other in the finals! (If not, there’s always this former Capital’s brother…)