Stay angry. Believe in Yourself.
That was the mantra that the Capitals opened their 2010-2011 season with after being knocked out of the playoffs by Montreal early last year.
This season has been nothing short of extrordinary. With injuries, trades, a Winter Classic victory and now the playoffs, the Caps are still angry, and they have something to prove.
The Capitals have an interesting relationship with the Rangers, but most of it has to do with their rabid fans. In 2009 during the playoffs, the Rangers head coach, John Tortarella got angry with a fan behind the bench to the point of spraying water on him, throwing a water bottle, and taking a players stick and waving it at the fan. He was ultimately suspended for the incident and should be embarassed for life for such actions as far as I’m concerned.
When the Rangers returned to Verizon Center for the playoffs this year, the Capitals faithful were ready for their arrival.
The Capitals fans took the incident in stride. They didn’t forget, and they made a joke out of a rude incident. Mind you that Tortarella certainly couldn’t miss the message as the entire section behind their bench was filled with red ponchos. Bravo fans, bravo.
The Caps lost on Sunday in New York bringing the series to 2-1. On Wednesday night, the Caps and Rangers took to the ice at Madison Square Garden, but not before the Capitals head coach, Bruce Boudreau had some words to say.
Monday morning, Boudreau said of Madison Square Garden, “The locker rooms are horrible. The benches are horrible. There’s no room for anything. But the reputation of being in Madison Square Garden is what makes it famous. Also, our building’s a lot louder, too. So I mean, they can say what they want, but it’s not that loud in there.”
Rangers fans and media alike took Boudreau’s comments and had a field day. It was splashed on the newspapers of New York City, Twitter went bananas, and Boudreau was suddenly a terrible guy. Going into Wednesday’s night, the Rangers fans were rabid, screaming “Boudreauuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuu,” and “Can you hear us?!”
The Caps were down 0-3 going into the third period and the game pretty much looked and felt like this:
In the 3rd period, something changed. The Caps scored just moments into the 3rd period and then scored again just a few minutes later. Momentum shifted, and the crowed quieted. Suddenly, the heckling of Boudreau and the Caps stopped. It got quiet – very quiet.
When the Caps scored the tying goal with only a few minutes left in the game, it was almost like watching the fans completely deflate like balloons. Suddenly they didn’t care about Boudreau and his comments – they only cared about the win. Funny how focus changes when the game is on the line.
Over 120 minutes of hockey were played, and the Capitals came back from an overwhelming defecit to win in double overtime. In normal hockey, this is a feat. In playoff hockey, this is a herculean effort, and well deserved I might add. Both Caps and Rangers fans waited and waited and waited for that final goal, and Chimera from Washinton delivered.
It’s your turn, Washington. It’s your turn to beat rivals in the playoffs. It’s your turn to speak your opinion withour fear of retaliation. It’s your turn to win.
Craig Laughlin, a former Capitals player and now color commentator for televised games tweeted last night that Wednesday’s game would likely be the last home game for the Rangers this year and that “MSG is a dump.”
The Capitals and their fans need to talk like other fans do. It’s okay for Bruce to make some criticisms – he’s passionate about his arena and his fans. It’s okay for Laughlin to call MSG a dump – it’s not a secret that it is! These guys are lighting fires and getting fans pumped up and ready to go. Running their mouths is a lot better than throwing things at fans, or being Sean Avery. In the past, the Capitals have quietly gone about their business, minding their P’s and Q’s and going about their day.
But not now. They’re angry. And more importantly, they believe in themselves.