We’ve heard it all winter long. Redskins fans should leave the dark side and cheer for a winner. The Washington Capitals were a better team with a better roster, a winning record (some strange points thing), the game’s most prominent star and the area’s most popular owner. All the ingredients needed to win a championship in a title-starved region.
I ain’t no hockey fan; didn’t grow up with it and am not invested in the team. But I did steal a peek at the Caps at the end of the regular season and first round playoff games. I was pulling for them to win out because of what it would mean to area sports fans.
I wanted the caps to be the example of a team with a blueprint to win championships. That the Caps lost to the Tampa Bay Lightning was no surprise. Uncertain outcomes are what sports are all about. But, to be swept…!
Shocking performances and crushing disappointment, those are things I can empathize with. Thus, I feel badly for the Caps and their fans.
One thing I detected listening to sports talk radio in the lead-up to the NHL playoffs was a air of presumption of winning the Stanley Cup, or to make the finals, at least. The Caps have better reason to expect that than a certain other prominent team in the area, but don’t do that. Fear of losing is more motivating than presumption of wins.
The lightning won with the middle of their roster. Their role players did better than our role players. That tells us something about how to build a roster.