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Taking a Lesson from the Capitals

Apr
30
Posted by Kevin - Filed under: Comments & Thoughts
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If you’re a Washington Capitals fan, the last couple days have probably been pretty tough to handle after their first-round exit from the playoffs after being up three games to one in the series.  While surfing through the latest hockey headlines online, I came across a question from Dave Hodge on TSN.ca titled Does the Caps’ Loss Make Mockery of Regular Season.  The question is an interesting one – one which I’m sure will stir up some debate and emotional responses (especially from the Caps’ fans).

The Capitals who were this season’s President’s Trophy winners were pegged by many to win the Stanley Cup this season.  Instead, they’ve emptied their locker room, and are finished for the year.  When I read the question posted on TSN.ca, I stopped and thought about it for a while.  My initial reaction was it seemed like a pretty negative way to pose the question of the relevance between the regular season and playoffs.  I believe the Caps’ loss does NOT make a mockery of the regular season, but instead presents us with several great lessons/reminders.

  1. It doesn’t matter how good you were yesterday: Now, that’s not to say the Caps shouldn’t be proud of their accomplishments during the regular season, but it’s obvious they were not able to take the momentum and success they had accomplished previously and build on it to become a better team.  This is not to take anything away from Jaroslav Halak (who has actually been a HockeyShare.com customer!), he played amazing and should be credited.  Halak took the opportunity he was given and performed.  Life lesson…never stop growing.
  2. Just because you have every advantage, doesn’t mean it will be easy: Finishing first in the regular season affords you some luxuries.  The Caps not only had home ice advantage, but also got to play the lowest seeded team (Montreal).  Don’t underestimate teams – even if you’ve had success against them in the past.  The beautiful thing about hockey is every game starts tied!
  3. Play like you have nothing to lose:  Montreal played like a team with nothing to lose when they went down three games to one. You could see players making an extra effort, sacrificing their body to make a play…generally going the extra mile.  As they saying goes, “nothing is more dangerous than a cornered animal.”  Montreal was cornered and had no choice but to fight for their survival.
  4. Don’t stop believing: I’m sure more than one Hab’s fan figured it wasn’t worth watching the 5th game, thinking their season would be over shortly.  I’d venture to guess the same may even be said for the 6th game.  The important thing however is that the players and coaching staff never stopped believing in themselves.  It could have been easy to give up and “throw in the towel” – especially when you’re up against some of the best players in the NHL.  Kudos to Montreal for sticking with it and overcoming a huge obstacle.

I think series like these are what makes hockey such an amazing sport.  There is so much parity in the league now, teams can’t afford to take even a single day off this time of year, or they may be packing their gear the next.  Regardless if you share my views on Hodge’s question, one thing is for sure…playoff hockey is fun to watch!


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