Winter Olympics a tough break for red-hot Washington Capitals

Dick Ebersol and NBC Sports get to enjoy five of the Capitals' stars during the Olympics in Vancouver.
Dick Ebersol and NBC Sports get to enjoy five of the Capitals' stars during the Olympics in Vancouver. (Jack Dempsey/associated Press)
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By Mike Wise
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, February 10, 2010

We have run out of bread and milk. We can't move our vehicles. We can't move our muscles.

We are snowed in until June, people. June!

We are trapped in a Ukranian hamlet, huddled around a bonfire trying to thaw, comforted by just three things: grain alcohol, the thought of global warming and our money-in-the-bank hockey team -- Ovechkin, Semin, Backstrom and the boys, winners of 14 consecutive games.

We are fed up. We are freezing. We are "Dr. Zhivago" with a Target.

All we have left is the Caps. C-A-P-S! Caps! Caps! Caps!

But now we're face to face with the most dangerous opponent the Capitals will face from now until the Stanley Cup playoffs: Dick Ebersol, the chairman of NBC Sports. In the selfish interest of padding his Olympic programming this month, the NBC executive is about to take away our joy for 17 days.

Just so he can have the best hockey players in the world playing for gold in Vancouver, Ebersol could end up hijacking the Caps' scintillating season, without so much as delivering a mid-ice check.

Ebersol is kidnapping five of our best hockey players, including Alex Ovechkin, for 2 1/2 weeks. Beginning Sunday, he is taking them to western Canada, right in the middle of the greatest regular season in, oh, the history of North American sports. Sure, he can tell us a Canada-Russia final would be another chance to get back at Sidney Crosby and the Penguins. He can say the Olympics will further brand the NHL's superstars. From Vancouver with love, this is what Ebersol told us:

"If the prognosticators are correct and Washingtonians have the affection for the Caps you say they do, then it may be the first time in history that people inside the Beltway root for Russia."

Look, this town has not lost a hockey game in almost a month. The Caps ridiculously outscore everyone in the NHL. Just in the past 14 games, they have 24 more third-period goals than their opponents. They are on their way to sewing up home ice for the Stanley Cup playoffs, all right -- through 2015.

Did you see Sunday's bedlam -- that electrifying rally, from 4-1 down, to beat Sidney Crosby and the Pittsburgh Sequins like a Hopi drum? Win No. 14 would have been called sweet if the hockey hipsters used "sweet," which they don't. So let's just call it "sick," the term preferred by Ovechkin to connote "totally awesome."

After the Caps beat Montreal on the road Wednesday and crush their next two foes into bone meal for their 17th straight victory by Saturday, they will have tied the all-time consecutive wins mark.


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