Mostly, I hope the Legend who selflessly and at no small personal sacrifice answered George McPhee’s plea back in autumn leaves the Chinatown rink this evening savoring unique triumph, as the bench leader of the crest for which he too often, as Capitals captain, endured springtime disappointment.
The Washington Capitals have never vanquished a defending Stanley Cup champion from the postseason, and I hope they do so today. If they do, I hope Dale Hunter makes his way over to Bugsy’s for a couple of victory beers this evening. They’d be on the house.
I hope Hockey Washington similarly gets to savor an all too elusive triumph in this nutty and nails-gnawing time of year. It would go a long way to purging the memory of a regular season we’d rather forget.
I hope Coach Hunter wears his red necktie today, the one given to him by the Capitals owner when he arrived in the autumn, and I hope beginning tomorrow we see a run on red neckties at all of Washington’s clothiers.
I hope the boys don’t have to pack their bags again for another charter to Boston. Including the postseason they’ve won four out of five games in TD Garden, but asking them to triumph again, for a third consecutive time there, in a game 7, seems a very tall order.
I hope Zdeno Chara, whose 27 minutes yesterday seemed like 47, is especially fatigued for today’s faceoff, which arrives about 20 hours after game 5’s conclusion. Similarly, I hope 38-year-old Tim Thomas is feeling his years from the short turnaround time. Conversely, I hope 22-year-old Braden Holtby feels spry like someone his age typically does, no matter the duration of his labor.
Around 5:45 this evening I hope to hear John Walton scream a victory call that reverberates about the arena rafters as only his can.
It’s been a remarkably competitive and ferocious showdown between Alexander Ovechkin and Zdeno Chara in this series, and given the struggles and scrutiny our captain has endured the past two years, I hope he realizes triumph today, and earns a new level of respect about the league. To that end, I hope he plays a lead hand in victory today.
I hope in a victorious post-game presser the coach looks out among the media throng and sees the Washington Post’s Mike Wise and asks a pointed question of the scribe. (He won’t, whereas, were I in his position, I would.)
I hope Mr. Leonsis has his entire family in his box today, and that the man who’s invested so much fortune and so much of his heart into making this a better sports town realizes, in the company of his loved ones, a brief moment of supreme satisfaction.
I hope today the Capitals get to rewrite a bit the largely sorry legacy that is their postseason narrative.
I hope simply, as a native, hockey-loving Washingtonian: I hope for more hockey in spring. At this point in the calendar we who’ve long followed the Capitals know better than to expect. Instead, we hope.