The Wait Is Over!!!!!
Well, the flood waters have receded from last weekend’s steady rains and after what seemed like 2 straight months of rainfall, we even had some sunshine this week, as another season of Valley League Baseball got underway. I did something Sunday that I would not have done 99 times out of 100, except that my son’s graduation at James Wood High School was going to happen, (pardon the expression) come “hell or high water.” I made the decision to drive through rising water that was rushing across the roadway in order to get him to the ceremony. As the afternoon wore on, I had to get a bit creative in planning a return route back to the mountain on which I reside. The best advice is still “turn around, don’t drown.”
Anyway, congrats to all the grads out there!
Speaking of congrats, the Washington Capitals are the Stanley Cup Champions for the first time in their 43-year history after Thursday night’s 4-3 win over the upstart Vegas Golden Knights! It’s been a long road since their inaugural 8-win season of 1974, a road filled with many potholes in the form of bad “puck luck”, not living up to expectation, early playoff exits, and in recent years, the Pittsburgh Penguins.
The Caps this year flew under the radar and weren’t burdened by the aforementioned high expectations. Not many expected the Capitals to go far this year, and there were some that didn’t even think they would make the playoffs. This year’s Capitals team didn’t bear the extra weight of a President’s Cup, or the expert’s predictions of a Stanley Cup Title. They simply stayed out of the spotlight while winning the Metro Division title.
Still, when the post-season began and the Caps fell behind 2-games-to-none to the Columbus Blue Jackets in the opening round (both losses coming at home), a good portion of the jaded, red-clad fan base said “here we go again.” Up stepped Captain Alex Ovechkin who guaranteed victory in Ohio, and promised that they would come back to DC tied 2-2.
That’s exactly what happened, as coach Barry Trotz inserted Braden Holtby at goal, and the “Great 8” played like a man posessed. The Caps got past the Jackets, then eliminated their old nemesis Penguins, in six games, no less. In the Eastern Conference Final, playing with house money, the Capitals fell behind 3-games-to-2, before blanking Tampa Bay in the final 2 games of the series to advance to only their second Stanley Cup final ever.
And, of course, the rest is history. Down a game after losing the opener in Vegas, the Caps won the final 4 games of the Stanley Cup Final. The so-called Hockey Gods and “puck luck” were finally on the side of Washington.
As I watched Ovechkin and Company hoisting the Cup last night, names of the past came flooding back: Langway, Beaupre, Pivonka, Bondra, Kolzig, Hunter, Ciccarelli , and others. They all share in this 43-year ride to the top. As Jerry Garcia said, “what a long strange trip it’s been.”
That’s it from the Booth. Until next time CONGRATULATIONS WASHINGTON CAPITALS, 2018 STANLEY CUP CHAMPIONS!!!!!!!