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It Needs To Be Repeated April 14, 2011

Posted by CapitalSpirit in Uncategorized.

For a while, I was actually trying to convince myself that last night’s win really, really happened. I thought I was dreaming, and didn’t want to wake up.

What flummoxed me wasn’t that the Caps came from behind to win Game 1, despite some palpable angst in Verizon Center. What flummoxed me wasn’t that the Caps won an overtime playoff game. What flummoxed me wasn’t that Alexander Semin–Alexander Semin?–scored the game winner.

What flummoxed me, if you want to know, was that Alexander Semin went so totally bananas that he actually smiled.

I want to see more of that! It needs to be repeated!

Mike Vogel’s post-game write-up dutifully points out some of the obligatory playoff history; the glaring one being that the Caps are only 6-14 in series where they win the first game.

I haven’t scoured the Caps’ blogosphere or message boards, but I doubt I have to. Without even looking, I would guess that there’s a contingent of Capitals fans that’s jumping on that stat and already getting set for the sky to fall in Game 2. Given the team’s playoff history, that’s an understandable reaction.

I don’t share it, however. It needs to be repeated: I said the Caps would take the series in five games, and I stand by that. It needs to be repeated: I also said that the most important part of the series is the immediate, the now, the moment at hand. That’s a gift: it’s not called the present for nothing.

Forget the past, folks. Know it, yes. Respect it, yes. Honor those who participated in it, yes. But remember, of those 20 earlier Game 1 wins, 17 of them were authored by Capitals teams that had none of the current players on the roster. With all due respect to Caps heroes from days gone by, that is all ancient history, and has nothing to do with the team that is playing today.

Yes, the current bunch does have some playoff letdowns to atone for: Philadelphia in 2008, Pittsburgh in 2009, Montreal in 2010. I’m not disputing that. But even the 2008 squad isn’t the same as this one. The 2008 Capitals who are no longer with the team: ALL THREE GOALIES (Huet, Kolzig, Johnson), Kozlov, Fedorov, Nylander, Fleischmann, Cooke, Pothier, Steckel, Morrisonn, Clark, Jurcina, Brashear, Laing, Emminger, Lepisto. Some of the players from last year who are no longer here: Morrison, Corvo, Walker, Belanger, Theodore. And there have been some additions this year, as well.

Yes, the names on the marquee have been consistent since 2008, and some of the supporting cast has been through the past three years of playoff letdowns, as well. But with the roster turnover, and with the development of the players who have been here the whole time, I would submit that comparing this team to the 2008 bunch is not a good comparison. And the same, I must submit, for 2009.

But what about 2010? What about last year’s team? Hasn’t there been enough consistency in the past year that we should look back at Montreal and wait for the other skate to drop? Again, no. There has been an entire offseason and regular season worth of development for this year’s team, and there have been some impressive new additions since last April. So even comparing the 2010 Capitals to this year’s team is not a good comparison.

It needs to be repeated: Forget the past, folks. It’s over; it’s done; there’s nothing that can be done with it. You either ignore it, and repeat it; or learn from it, and grow. This team has clearly done the latter.

Caps fans, we need to quit expecting the worst. I’ve written about that ad absurdum, but, yup, it needs to be repeated. Enjoy the present, folks. Really. Yes, we got a bit of a scare last night, to be sure. But we also got quite a ray of hope, as our best players were our best players, and they found a way to win.

Now, about fifteen more times…it needs to be repeated.




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