The Caps and the Stanley Can

October 16, 2013

(Jonathan Newton / The Washington Post)

A quick search indicates that the story of the expansion Caps celebrating a road win in Oakland by hoisting an autographed garbage can has been told zillions of times. But dangit, I’ve been writing and reading about sports in this market for more than a decade now, and it’s new to me, so maybe it’ll be new to one of you.

Yvon Labre, one of the mainstays of that 1974-75 team and a man who — as seen above — has a great laugh, was on Andy Pollin’s new SportsTalk 570 program last week, and the men began talking about that expansion team’s woes, which included an epic 37-game road losing skid.

Then, near the season’s end, they finally won on the road, in Oakland.

“The Washington Capitals won a road hockey game tonight. Honest,” read Ken Denlinger’s lede in The Post.

“Well that was pretty good, to be honest,” Labre said. “I mean, let’s face it, that was one of the longest seasons of my life. And that game, I’m not saying it made the whole year. But there were a few guys — who was it? Tommy Williams had gotten this little trashcan out of the dressing room, and he had a bunch of guys sign it. Him and a couple other guys [brought it out] in the Oakland rink, and were skating around with it. They called it the Stanley Can.”

Like, an on-ice, Stanley Cup-esque celebration?

“Yeah, that’s what they did,” Labre laughed.

Labre also, of course, talked about the buzz for the modern-era Caps.

“It’s fantastic. I never thought I’d see the day,” he said. “I think the best thing that ever happened was the building going downtown and then Mr. Pollin selling the team to Mr. Leonsis….Rocking the Red is the thing to do now.”

And really, apologies for making a blog post out of an oft-told 39-year-old story. See more at Caps Memories and Capsized.

Dan Steinberg writes about all things DC sports at the DC Sports Bog.
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Dan Steinberg | October 16, 2013