Once Again, Next Year May 13, 2012Posted by CapitalSpirit in Uncategorized.
This one really hurts.
The Capitals had the lead with less than a minute to go in Game 5, and lost. Had they held that lead, they’d almost certainly have been in Newark by now for the Conference Finals. Instead, they fell behind, put themselves behind the 8 ball, and essentially gave away their season. Once again, all we’re left with is Next Year.
The team which scored first ultimately won every game of the series. The Capitals knew this; and yet, before one hundred seconds had elapsed in Game 7, the Rangers scored seven-hole on their first shot of the game. The Capitals never recovered. Once again, all we’re left with is Next Year.
Plenty of fingers will be pointed, by fans and professionals alike. This, after all, was supposed to be The Year. We had the talent, in spades. With Coach Hunter behind the bench, the Capitals suddenly became a team that could skate with anyone, and that even dispatched the defending Stanley Cup champions–on the road, no less. This should have been our moment. And yet, once again, all we’re left with is Next Year.
The Capitals will come back Sunday and go their separate ways. For some, it may well be the end of their time in Washington; for others, it may well be the end of their playing days. 25 teams had already been relegated to their own respective offseasons; and now, despite all the early promise and late hope, the Capitals will join the ranks of the 2012 also-rans. And now, once again, all we’re left with is Next Year.
In hindsight, there were a lot of fun moments. There was that game against Detroit that the Caps won 7-1. There was that shutout that we got against Pittsburgh in January. And Joel Ward’s Game 7 OT winner will be another one of those special moments we Caps fans will look back on down the road and say, I remember where I was when I saw that. But for now, once again, all we’re left with is Next Year.
We’ll be seeing live Caps hockey again in another four months or so. For now, there’s what’s left of the playoffs: a couple of first-time Stanley Cup contenders out west, and a New Jersey Transit series in the East. It is playoff hockey, after all. And even though I’m not particularly in love with either the Kings or the Coyotes, I suppose a first-time Finals team is worth rooting for. The Olympics are coming up in a couple of months; the Nationals aren’t half bad this year; and if I end up jonesing for a visit to Verizon Center over the summer, there’s always the Mystics. For the NHL, there’s the awards show; draft; free agency; the usual offseason comings and goings that always make every fan base believe that Next Year has finally arrived.
I have family I should visit; touristy spots in DC that I haven’t seen in a long time; Russian lessons I can take; more and more, so I won’t be bored these next few months. Not having the Caps around to cheer for is going to suck, but life goes on.
But why is it always Next Year with the Capitals? When will Next Year finally be This Year?
This Year won’t be 2012. Once again, as the Capitals come home to clean out their lockers and go their separate ways, it’s Next Year.
Once again, Next Year.
With our city’s Stanley Cup dreams yet again lying in ruins, that’s all that’s left to talk about.
WHAT MIGHT HAVE BEEN!