Fate of Franchise rides on Game 7 Result

Sports and Bets — May 10, 2017 at 4:47 pm by

As I even type that headline, it seems outrageous that I’m putting this much stock into a second round game, but I am. Being a lifelong Capitals fan, this may be the biggest game in franchise history.  A second round playoff game, but that’s where we are.  The result of tonight’s game in the Verizon Center can send the franchise of the Capitals in two very separate directions.

Unless you don’t follow hockey or you live under a rock you already know the story, but quick refresher. The Capitals as a franchise have only played in one Stanley Cup Final, a 4 game sweep to the Detroit Red Wings.  Since Alex Ovechkin has been a Capital he has never seen his team advance past the second round.  No matter how many times I say that or hear it, it still boggles my mind.  One of the greatest goal scorers/players in NHL history has never played in a Conference Final.  It’s also not like the Capitals haven’t been a good team in this stretch with Ovechkin.  The Capitals have made the playoffs 9 times since drafting Alex Ovechkin.  In those 9 playoff appearances only once have the Capitals not finished higher than 4TH in the conference standings, 3 times winning the President’s Trophy.  The Capitals have been one of the most consistent and successful teams in the NHL in the last 12 seasons.  Call it what you will but for some reason this hasn’t translated into postseason success.

What Happens if Caps Win? Well first there would be a huge sigh of relief.  The job is not done with still 8 more wins to hoisting the Stanley cup but at least for now the Caps won’t have to answer the same questions.  Why can’t you guys get past the second round?  Also beating their arch rival by coming from 3-1 down in the series is the type of comeback that can springboard you the rest of the way.  Baseball fans will remember 2004 when the Red Sox came back from 3-0 down in the ALCS against the hated Yankees and won the AL pennant.  It’s an epic comeback no matter who it was against but the fact it was against New York made it so much sweeter.  Same thing here for the Caps, coming back from 3-1 is a big comeback, but making that comeback against the defending champs and a bitter rival, that’s huge.  This won’t silence all the critics, just like in any sport you are judged by championships.  The Caps still need to play in the Stanley Cup but getting this monkey off their back may get them there.

What Happens if Caps Lose? Oh boy, where to begin with this one.  You could make the argument that if the Capitals don’t win the cup this season it might be a while before they do.  If the Caps lose again failing to advance past the second round, there will have to be a lot of soul-searching.  What more does this franchise have to do to get a cup?  They have made trades, switched head coaches, signed free agents, will they have to blow the whole thing up?  Speaking of free agents, there are some key players that will become free agents following this season.  T.J. Oshie, Justin Williams, Daniel Winnik, Kevin Shattenkirk all unrestricted, Evgeny Kuznetsov and Andre Burakovsky are restricted, and that’s just to name a few. This roster will look very different in 2017-18.  Losing this Game 7 may finally be the straw that breaks the camel’s back; it would be tough to recover from this mostly because I’m not sure what the answer would be to get them over the second round hump.

So there it is, one game, this one game can send this franchise in totally different directions. Caps fans will either rejoice being closer to a Stanley Cup than they’ve been since 1998.  Or it will be unfortunately the same old story and the wait will continue…….aren’t sports fun??

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