A few weeks ago, an article for the Washington post by Scott Allen came out on how this Caps team is different than years past. I could not agree more. Yes I was not around in 1998, but believe me, I have all heard the stories. My Caps playoff disappointment book, only has a couple of chapters in it.
The first chapter, is the 2010 series against Montreal. I thought this was the year for the Caps. They steamrolled through the regular season getting 121 points to become the first non Original Six team to get over the 120 mark with 54 wins. They set franchise records in wins, most consecutive wins, points, fewest regulation losses, and highest win percentage. That team also had depth, or so we thought with 7 players hitting the 20 goal mark.
This is where I was disappointed for the first time. I thought they had it all, they ran into a hot goalie and Jaroslav Halak. If you are saying what about 2008, and 2009? First off, nobody expected us to make the playoffs in 2008. I was ecstatic that we even made it that far. Did it hurt to lose in a game 7 to the flyers, of course, however, I do not think I would hate the Flyers as much if it was not for this series. In 2009, we lost to the eventual Stanley Cup champions, so it had to happen. Did it hurt to lose in game 7 back to back seasons, of course and to Crosby just added a kick. I was not disappointed though.
The only other time I was disappointed was the 2010-2011 season where we were swept in the second round against Tampa. After we beat the Rangers in 5 games, we had time off, where just like this season, it shows how rusty you can get. The Caps did not really show up in that series. I remember just having a sour taste in my mouth after that season.
Last season, I was beyond proud of what happened. Under a new coach and new system, we were 1:41 away from going to the conference finals. We all remember what happened. Did that series hurt? Yes it did. It still does. However, I was not disappointed. I saw Trotz work his magic on this team. This season, the Caps are even using that as fuel to get back to the playoffs and win the Cup.
If you were at the game against the Penguins on March 1 you could feel the playoff atmosphere. The atmosphere outside Verizon Center was another thing. As people were waiting to cross the street cars were honking three times to the tune of “Let`s Go Caps” cheers coming from the pedestrians. This went on for a good 10 minutes. Even a fire truck rolled by and joined in. Below ground, the scene was similar. As people waited to board the metro, you could hear people screaming “C-A-P-S” and get the “CAPS CAPS CAPS” chant in response. It sounded like Ovechkin had just scored on the power play from his spot in overtime of a game 7 to beat the Rangers to send us to the Stanley Cup Final.
This team is something special, we have a great chance to win it all. We are in a new generation. No players from the 1998 team still play in the league. It is time to forget about the past. This new generation will create new history.
Join us on Twitter this playoff season @capsfansreport and watch this team blow you away. It is time to #Believe.