The above Comcast SportsNet piece recapping the Caps-Rangers 2009 playoff series is incredibly well done, and brought back lots of great memories. Because I have the memory of a drugged-out cicada, I had forgotten just how many ridiculously fun storylines there were.
(Yes yes, real fans only care about what happens on the ice, not all the off-ice drama. But these series are too long. Drama keeps me going.)
My only complaint is the introductory quote from Bruce Boudreau — ”welcome to the circus” — actually came after the Rangers series was finished, and referred to the upcoming tilt with the Penguins. But it just as easily could have referred to the Rangers series, which featured:
* Alex Ovechkin being asked to leave the Rangers bench area at Madison Square Garden before their Game 3 morning skate.
“Ask me a question about the game, not that [bleep],” John Tortorella said when asked about the incident.
“I just [wanted] Tortorella [to get ticked] off -- and he was,” Oveckhin explained. “Because they afraid of me,” he added, when asked why he was made to leave.
* Also before Game 3, Bruce Boudreau declined to discuss his lineup decisions.
“i’m getting ready for my first playoff game against the Rangers,” Donald Brashear then wrote on Twitter.
“I don’t even know what Twittering is, so I don’t think I’d be upset,” Boudreau responded, though he pretty clearly was.
* After Game 3, Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom did an NBA-style leap into each other on the deserted MSG ice — something they had done after most Caps wins that season — and were greeted with jeers and a couple of beer bottles.
“I heard the crowd was yelling at us, but it was nothing against them, it was just a thing we have,” Backstrom told me.
* The pinnacle: during Game 5, a bearded fan exchanged taunts with Tortorella at Verizon Center, prompting Torts to throw a water bottle.
“Because of the way the glass is installed, the patron sitting behind Coach Tortorella (the gray-haired, bearded man in the white T-Shirt) could literally scream into the coach’s ear,” GM Glen Sather wrote to the NHL.
“Hockey is hockey, and rowdy fans are rowdy fans, and things happen at the games. It’s just part of the deal,” the gray-haired fan, Ron from Nevada, later told me.
* Meanwhile, Matt Bradley somehow became the team’s offensive star in the Game 5 win. This led Brooks Laich to nickname him “Wesley,” as in “Snipes.”
* Torts’s replacement, Jim Schoenfeld,said that center Brandon Dubinsky was bit on the arm by Caps defenseman Shaone Morrisonn during a Game 6 scrum.
“Dubinsky had to get a tetanus shot because he was bit on the arm in a scrum, I don’t know what effect that will have on him, so his status remains in question,” Schoenfeld said. Dubinsky later showed bite marks to reporters.
* While Morrisonn wasn’t disciplined, Donald Brashear was suspended six games for a Game 6 headshow. Meanwhile, someone called ESPN, claiming to work for the Washington Post, and said that Mike Green would be suspended for Game 7, which ESPN then reported.
* Game 7. Caps fans came outfitted with posters and signs and hats making fun of Tortorella — “Don’t Water Bottle Me, Bro,” was my favorite — plus ponchos.
“We can’t swim, and we fear for our clothes,” Tom Bush, one of the fans, told me.
* The day after he turned 21, Semyon Varlamov helped the Caps win Game 7, and was rewarded with a locker room shaving cream pie celebration.
“To be honest, I couldn’t have had a better present for my 21st birthday,” Varlamov said. “Thanks to the team.”