As we all know, the Capitals have a huge presence in the digital community. Even their owner has a blog....Here's some samples of what they're thinking in the aftermath of yesterday's decsive and anti-climatic Game 7:
Now all the hyperbole about this great series and the final showdown between these two exciting teams and their two superstars, Crosby and Ovechkin, was melting away.
It was slush by the first minute of the second period, when 38-year-old Bill Guerin put in Pittsburgh's third goal of the game. Two minutes later, Kris Letang put the Penguins on top 4-0, and the storybook playoff run had turned into an ugly Grimm Fairy Tale.
But having watched him [Crosby] up close for seven games, seeing his economy of movement outside the crease, his feistiness in the corners and his uncanny knack for delivering the puck perfectly for an on-rushing teammate, he gets the nod as a more important player in a seminal game at this juncture of his career.
A mea culpa is in order. No matter how good Ovechkin was the past week and a half, he wasn't as complete and versatile as Crosby was with the season in the balance. Sid the Kid has won seven playoff series and will soon play in his second Eastern Conference finals and possibly second Stanley Cup finals.
The Great Eight is awesome and the most original, organic and exciting player in the game. But in 21 riveting playoff games, his team is 1-2 in Game 7s, and last night the Capitals were at least a year away from their first Cup finals in the Ovechkin era.
The player who most had an impact on the series was Sidney Crosby. I was one who tossed darts and daggers his way in his first three seasons in the league. I didn't think he was much of a leader, and he struck me as being a second-tier goal-scoring threat. This spring, and especially in this series, he announced himself great in both respects. He has obliterated talk of being the "second-best Pen" or in any way unworthy of representing the NHL and all it should stand for. I was awestruck by his dominance down low. He really didn't showcase much his brilliant passing -- he was too busy scoring goals. The Caps would do well, beginning this summer, to address the conspicuous dearth of piss-n-vinegar brutes on the blueline who might dislodge Crosby from the comforts he enjoyed all around Varlamov's crease the past two weeks.
When you step back and look at this series Pittsburgh was the better team and deserves to get the chance to defend it's Eastern Conference title. This loss will sting and it will linger with the Caps for quite a while.
From a big picture standpoint, you hope the team will reflect on how well it performed, month after month, from the regular season into the postseason. Sure there are changes to be made and decisions to ponder, but hopefully one poor performance tonight won't cast a shadow over the ground this team has gained this year. They will be a contender next year and I believe for many years to come.
The better team won. There is no other argument to be made here, not after a 6-2 pasting of the Caps by the Pittsburgh Penguins in a Game 7 that never matched the pre-game hype after the first few minutes. The Penguins showed considerable resiliency of their own, having come back from an 0-2 deficit in games, having lost a tough overtime decision in Game 6, and having lost their best defenseman for almost three full games, yet they still came out on the long end of the seven game series.
The Penguins were deeper, stronger on the puck, more aggressive, and more able to impress their will on games. That they won this series is no fluke, not the product of officiating or bad bounces. They were simply - and ultimately - better.
I know it feels worse because of how it ended. It feels worse because of who it ended against. Tonight's game wasn't about officiating or bad ice or anything else that could serve as an excuse. Tonight's game was about determination; who wanted it more, who was willing to give more to get it. Tonight the Penguins simply wanted it more.
It'll hurt for awhile but we can still reflect back on what has been and look ahead at next season with hope. Because every step forward is another learning experience for this team. Every rung of the ladder they climb is progress.
(This guy has been preaching that the series has been rigged for days by the NHL...."Nut" is appropriate for his username...)
To give you an idea of how bad the officiating was tonight folks, the Caps couldn't even get a sympathy call/token Power Play tonight. Four penalties called on the Caps. None, zip, zilch, nada, zero, nothing called on the Penguins. If that is not indicative that the fix was in tonight, then nothing else will. The 6-2 score just provides cover because the Caps would have had to play out of their minds to win this game, and even then that may have not been enough. The Penguins played like a team that knew it could do just about anything it wanted, the Caps played like they were afraid to take another penalty after the first two penalty calls.
I finally found [Caps season ticket holder Pat] Sajak, down by the glass. I explained to him my problem--I needed to file something for page 2 of the sports section in Thursday's papers, but I needed to send it by 7. It thus couldn't really be about the game. I needed him to help provide a quote for the losing team, whichever that team was. And Pat Sajak has plenty of experience counseling people who have lost.
"Boy, that's tough," Sajak told me. "On the show, we try to tell them that 10 years from now, their friends aren't going to say, 'How much did you win," but they'll ask what was the experience like. I'm sure this would be little consolation to the players, but I would say to them that they have participated in one of the most memorable experiences of playoff hockey, that it's something people will remember for years."
W or L notwithstanding.