Some Caps fans were feeling pretty rotten early Thursday morning, and understandably so. Their team had lost home-ice advantage by falling to the Rangers in a marathon triple-overtime thriller.
And they had conjured up some bad, bad memories for the long-timers; it was the fourth Caps game to reach at least three overtimes. All four happened at home. All four were losses.
“Death. Awful. Gut punch,” professional pessimist Danny Rouhier wrote on Twitter. “For those telling me that it’s ok. No it’s not. It sucks.”
“This season could once again end with one of these nasty triple OT or more games coming back to haunt this franchise that seems to be continually tortured,” another longtime Caps follower, Ed Frankovic, wrote on his blog.
“There are no words that I won’t regret typing to describe my epic level of pisstivity right now,” wrote Goat, one of the two or three best known Caps fans, who’s been through it all. “If you’re a Caps fan, you should seriously consider leaving after the 2nd overtime. Always.”
And yet I thought back to an interview Mike Knuble had given literally 16 hours before the loss, early Wednesday morning, with 106.7 The Fan’s Sports Junkies. The emotional Eric Bickel was describing to Knuble just how agonizing it has been to watch this team play what was then 9 playoff games decided by a total of 10 goals.
“These wins and these losses are so emotional from our perspective,” Bickel said. “How do you guys handle those swing emotionally?”
“Well, we stay a little more flat-lined, a little more even, you know?” Knuble said with a chuckle. “God, as fans, every game, people have got to be at home, on the edge of their couch, just freaking out at the TV screen. I get that. But as players, how many games have we played in playoffs, nine games? I feel like they’ve ALL been the same. They’ve been carbon copies.
“I know it’s tough on the fans, but the players don’t mind it, because we know what we’re expecting every night. We know the ball game we’re gonna be in. As players, it doesn’t matter. I know what you’re saying: you win one, the fans are feeling great and planning the parade, and you lose one and it’s all over, blow everything up. But players are just much more consistent, trying to see the big picture. Knowing it’s a long series, you just keep playing.”
So maybe they’ll just keep playing on Saturday. Either way, Game 3 will be a memorable one.
(And yes, this was mostly just an excuse to post the above image of Knuble, taken from @KnublesKnights)