On September 26, the Washington Nationals were officially eliminated from the MLB Playoffs. The Washington Wizards are struggling through the season with more losses than wins. And the Washington Redskins, after having a surprisingly successful regular season, making the playoffs, and teasing District sports fans with the question “Could this be the year?”, were promptly eliminated from the playoffs in the first round. All hope of a championship coming to DC now lies with the Washington Capitals, and they are proudly representing that chance on the ice.
The Washington Capitals are having a historically good season, not just for DC but for the entire National Hockey League. They are at the top of the Metropolitan Conference and have the most points in the league by far. All other teams, from the speedy Dallas Stars to the reigning Stanley Cup Champions Chicago Blackhawks, are looking towards the Caps and shaking their heads. This success has not gone unnoticed. The Verizon Center, home of the Capitals, has sold out every single game this year.
One Wilson sophomore, Leif Aiken, has been closely following the Caps all year. He says that the team is “definitely something special. They keep getting compared to the 09-10 Caps, who were the best team in the league, but were eliminated in the first round, but this year I think we are a more complete team.”
Aiken says that the reason this year’s Caps are so good are because they are led by All-Star Alex Ovechkin, and also have players like young Evgeny Kuznetsov and Olympic Gold Medalist T.J. Oshie. He thinks that this completeness is something that has been missing in previous years.
Another long time Capitals fan, boys varsity soccer coach Sal Caccavale, has been following the caps for years now. As a season ticket holder who goes to 90% of the games, he says that there is a special vibe at the Verizon Center. “You get the feeling that we not only want to win every night, but more importantly are looking forwards to making a deep run in the playoffs.”
Caccavale attributes much of the Caps’ success this year to their goaltender, Braden Holtby, who was selected to represent our conference in the NHL All-Star game in Nashville. Holtby has been so dominant this year that he is on pace to have the most single season wins in NHL history.
Not all Wilson students, however, are as enamored with the Caps’ success. Although junior Innes Mackay, a Boston Bruins fan commends the Caps for their teamwork and performance, he says that when it comes down to the playoffs the Bruins have the crucial experience necessary to make a run at the Stanley Cup. “If the Playoffs started today, and the Caps and Bruins were against each other, I am extremely confident that the Bruins would be able to advance.” Despite these bold words, the Boston Bruins are currently 10 wins behind the Caps in the standings.
As the Washington Capitals start the final third of their dominant season, all eyes now turn towards the playoffs. As DC sports fans know all too well, this time has not boded well for the city in the past. With that being said, the Washington Capitals are the most complete and prepared team to represent the District in their hunt for a championship.