Wednesday, April 23, 2008
Caps Game 7
I got to Verizon Center ten minutes before the game. Outside the arena was bedlam as there were tons of people looking for tickets. I heard that a single seat in the upper area where I was sitting was going for $250. No chance was I parting with my ticket though. Once inside, the place was a sea of red as the above photo from On Frozen Blog shows.
I quickly called home to let Weena know I got there ok and to speak to Benjamin, who yelled in the phone "Let's go Caps!" During the anthem I was anxious, tense and nervous. Like everyone else in the building I just wanted the puck to drop and the game to begin.
It was a classic game and a great series. For the first two periods, the two teams traded goals. Nicklas Backstrom and Alex Ovechkin for the Caps, Scottie Upshall and Sami Kapanen for the Flyers.
Check out the live blog of game 7 from Dave
The Caps threw everything at the Flyers in the third period. They had sixteen shots on goal but couldn't get that third goal. Like 1988, when the Caps rallied from 1-3 down, this series would be decided in overtime. There's nothing better in sports than a Stanley Cup playoff game seven in overtime.
The record shows that the Flyers Joffrey Lupul scored a power play goal six minutes into overtime, giving the game to the Flyers 3-2 and the series to the Flyers, 4 games to 3. As saddened as I was with the outcome, the future looks bright for the Capitals and they can use this playoff experience as a building block to greater things in the future.
Except for a ten game hiccup late in the year where they didn't register a point in the standings, this Flyers team was among the top teams in the league all season. To take them to overtime in game seven was a remarkable accomplishment considering where the Caps were on 1/1/08, which was last place in their division. I would have liked to have seen them move farther along and gain more playoff experience but as Craig Laughlin, the Caps announcer pointed out, to learn to win you need to experience losing and the Caps learned a hell of a lot this round vs the Flyers.
Coach Bruce Boudreau, who I've had the pleasure of meeting after the practice I attended back in January, told the team afterwards "Thanks for the best year of my life". I'll agree, it really was a lot of fun following this team this year once he took over. Sadly, I heard on the radio while driving home that long time goalie Olie Kolzig removed his nameplate from his locker and left without speaking to reporters. I believe his time here in Washington is done. He's 38 and if he's done here, I hope he retires. I don't want to see him as a back up goalie for the Los Angeles Kings or Minnesota Wild. He's a class act on and off the ice. If this was his last game as a Capital, thank you Olie for the great memories!
Caps Owner Ted Leonsis comments were played on the Caps post game radio show last night. Leonsis stated he's going to let his emotions of the season play out and he and General Manager George McPhee will sit down and address team issues in a month. Signing Cristobal Huet, Matt Cooke and Sergei Federov are top priorities as is adding some defensive depth.
The Caps have the best player in the world playing for them in Alex Ovechkin and will be serious threats next year. I can't wait!