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Break On Through To The Other Side

10 May 2018 Views From The Booth Sports


Winchester Printers

Greetings from the Booth!

It’s all about baseball now at Shenandoah University, as Kevin Anderson’s 31-10 Hornets are the only team still playing a Spring sport.  SU is about to open play in the loaded 4-team ODAC Tournament this weekend.  The nationally-ranked number 18 Hornets will play number 3 and top-seed Randolph Macon (Friday), and will have to run the gauntlet to get to Region play, as 13th ranked Roanoke and Virginia Wesleyan are also involved in the double-elimination affair.  It’s possible the strong ODAC could also have an at-large representative, but as they say, “win and you’re in.”

Speaking of baseball the Washington Nationals have suddenly righted their ship and as of this writing are 20-18, after an 11-16 start.  The MLB season is a marathon, not a sprint, and when the Nats finally get the likes of Daniel Murphy and Adam Eaton back into the starting lineup, should be right in the thick of a much-improved NL East.

“THE DEMONS HAVE BEEN EXORCISED!!!!!!!”

That incredible call by Washington Capitals play-by-play man John Walton pierced the DC-area airwaves Monday night , as a 20-year wait came to an end. The Caps finally won a second round NHL playoff series, made all the sweeter because they did it against their old nemesis, the Pittsburgh Penguins.  The Caps were 1-and-9 against the Pens in their previous 10 playoff series, and even when Washington took a 3 games-to-2 series lead against Pittsburgh over the weekend, we cynical DC sports fans were bracing for the inevitable heartbreak.  The surreal sight of Evgeni Kuznetzov’s series-winning overtime goal in Game 6 meant that the Caps would play for a conference title for only the second time in franchise history and the first since 1998.

To refresh your memory, in 1998 the Furby was all the rage, Frank Sinatra died at age 82,  the surnames Clinton and Lewinski were forever linked, and the movie Titanic  won 11 Oscars, and the final episode of Seinfeld  aired.

Oh, and the Washington Capitals were swept in the Stanley Cup Finals by Detroit.

It would be impossible to list here the crazy bounces of a puck, the overtime goals, and the number of hot goaltenders that the Caps have been on the wrong end of over the years.  This time might be different because for once, Washington has the hot goaltender in Braden Holtby.  Clearly Philip Grubauer was the better goalie in the regular season and earned the starting nod in the playoffs. But after the Caps wend down 2-games-to-none to Columbus in the opening round, Coach Barry Trotz made a move, and Holtby has clearly been the difference. A team can ride a netminder a long way…

And let’s not forget “The Great 8”.  Alex Ovechkin has played with a sense of urgency in this post-season that we haven’t seen before. Maybe he senses that his chances at Lord Stanley’s Cup are becoming fewer and fewer.

Unlike their previous President’s Cup teams, this group of Capitals wasn’t expected to do much  in 2017-18, and maybe they like it that way. Some teams perform better when they’re flying under the radar…

But there is still work to be done.  The series win over the Penguins had no trophy presentation at the end. The Caps are only halfway home as they begin their series with a physical Tampa Bay Lightning team.  As unchartered territory awaits, we Capitals  (and ‘Skins, Nats, and Wizards) fans know that heartbreak looms around every corner…and hope is something we save for “next year.”

Until we meet again in the Booth, GO CAPS & GO HORNETS!

RW


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