Dear Hockey Gods:
I am writing to ask for your help. I realize that my beloved Caps are one of your favorite whipping boys, but I plead to you to show mercy to the players and our fan base. This series against the Rangers wasn’t supposed to turn out like this. We weren’t supposed to outshoot the opponent 3-2 and control play in all four previous games only to find ourselves down 3-1; we weren’t supposed to hit numerous cross-bars, give up fluke goals and have a former MVP goalie take a night off. I ask for your mercy and for you to lift the curse you’ve placed on the Caps. I am asking that the better team wins tonight’s game and any remaining games on the schedule. But, please please please, no more fluky, unlucky goals against us.
I acknowledge that you’ve shown us mercy before: saving our once-pathetic franchise from the trash heap in 1982; possessing the Montreal GM’s mind and soul and forcing him to trade us Rod Langway; allowing us to leapfrog Pittsburgh to draft Ovechkin in 2004; and witnessing last year’s miraculous playoff run coupled with Carolina’s late-season meltdown all come to mind. But when it comes to the playoffs, you’ve given us very little. Sure, the 1998 Stanley Cup run was great….a BS toe-in-the-crease call saved our series vs Boston, and the fluky losses of the top 3 seeds left us with home ice throughout the remainder of the Eastern Conference playoffs. I haven’t forgotten your generosity. But while 1998 was a nice distraction we were never serious Cup contenders that year. And for that one wild ride you’ve left us with excruciating, unbelievable playoff heartbreak that only few franchises in all sports can rival. Those include:
- Garbage 4OT goals against us in our own building (1986, 1996);
- Dirty players (Pat Verbeek) taking out our best defenseman (Langway) in Round 2 (1988);
- Pucks going in off player’s heads and from behind the net while our goalie remains frozen (1989 - thanks Pete!);
- Sustaining injuries to our top two offensive producers – and essentially giving ourselves zero chance to compete - in the Eastern Conference semi-finals (1990);
- The constant and comical blowing of 2-game leads (1992, 1995, 1996, 2003);
- Watching the lionization of average opposing goalies (too many years);
- Seeing the NHL award the Penguins Games 2 and 3 at home (2000) even though we were the #2 seed;
- Witnessing in astonishment a dubious 5-on-3 called on us (IN OVERTIME!?!) in a pivotal Game 3 (2003);
- Watching the refs award a baloney goal to the Flyers in Game 7 (2008), weeks after they took one away from us for the same play;
- Watching the refs miss multiple blatant interferences as the opporisng team walks in and scores (2009);
- Seeing a harmless shot nowhere near the net inadvertently hit a Caps stick and go in (2009)
I truly believe that in the end things even out, but I ask of you to allow things to even out sooner rather than later. It’s been 25 years of bitter pain for us. I know it can be done. After all, your cousins in baseball eventually turned the tide for both the Red Sox and White Sox. Plus, I’ve seen your benevolence in action as you have allowed towns like Raleigh, Anaheim and Tampa to lift the Stanley Cups over their heads. All I’m asking is that you be fair to us. If the Rangers are to win this series, please let it be because the Rangers earned it tonight, Sunday or Tuesday, not because some other force gave it to them. They've had enough freebies.
Thank you for your time! And I hope the clouds are extra soft today!