The Washington Capitals have swept themselves right out of the playoffs. As we all know, the Stanley Cup Playoffs pit two teams against each other in progressive rounds, with one team being eliminated in each series. This year, however, to give the Caps a chance, the second round saw the Caps face only themselves.
However the results were eerily similar. Caps out in the second round, although this year, they swept themselves four games to none. An impressive feat by any team made even more so by the fact that they faced no opponent.
Wait just a second. I'm getting word in that the Capitals did, indeed, face competition in this round. In fact, that team is now being identified as the Tampa Bay Lightning.
While the sarcasm meter may be a bit high in the above paragraphs, if you read the newspapers, watch the NHL analysts, or read the sites around the web, it appears the Washington Capitals simply flushed the toilet and sucked themselves down the drain. The Bolts had very little to do with it, reading what I have read.
Sure, there is mention of a couple guys named Martin St. Louis and Vinny Lecavalier, but it sounds more like Alex Ovechkin, Alexander Semin, Nicklas Backstrom and Mike Green simply lost rather than being beaten. There is little mention of Dwayne Roloson winning seven playoff games in a row now, all at age 92.
This happens in the NHL. When teams that are major marketing targets such as the Caps, Red Wings, Blackhawks, or Penguins are knocked out of the playoffs, the attention is on how they lost not on how their opposition beat them. It is understandable with the media machine pushing the teams that get the ratings, and now those ratings generating fans want to hear about their team, and not the team that won.
The problem is, it does nothing to acknowledge the victors, and it does nothing to soothe the belief that hockey cannot work in non-traditional markets. It makes sense from a Caps angle, if you are writing for Japer's Rink or one of the other fine Caps blogs out there. However, at some point, the Bolts need to be given some credit somewhere.
For the love of everything holy, the Tampa Bay Lightning just swept the Washington Capitals. With the firepower the Caps have, France would surrender to them; and yet the Lightning played their system, shut down the big guns and did the most important thing in professional sports.
With all of the focus going to why the Caps lost, how could they possibly lose, who is to blame for their loss, and what fall out there will be from their loss, it is necessary to take a moment to credit the winners.
Or, you know, do what Ted Leonsis did and simply acknowledge that while there are issues with the team, the Tampa Bay Lightning out played the Caps at every turn. That is the story here. Not that the Caps lost, but rather that Tampa Bay won.
Congrats to the Bolts and their fans on a well-earned sweep of a very dangerous Washington team.
Photo credit: AP
Photo credit: AP