The Washington Post

Kornheiser on the ‘Choking Dog’ Caps

An annual rite of spring around these parts used to be Tony Kornheiser’s attack on the “Choking Dog” Washington Capitals.

Kornheiser doesn’t write any more, of course, but he still attacks. And thus, his morning-after clear-cutting on his ESPN 980 show, which went something like this:

“The Capitals – and boy oh boy, it’s been years since I’ve been able to say this, like last year – are CHOKING DOGS. That’s what they are. If any columnist had any guts, that’s what that columnist would write in today’s paper, that the Capitals are CHOKING DOGS. And for people who thought that when the Capitals were down 0-2, that they would suddenly resurrect themselves and in this series, they’re idiots....

“They got swept. That’s unusual, because most of the time, they’re building a 3-1 lead, and then they lose 4-3. I mean, I’m not gonna go into the details of the game, because I don’t know enough about hockey to know that, and I’m not even gonna pretend to know that. But I know enough about sports to be able to say to you that essentially what the Washington Capitals have become, though not as good, are the Atlanta Braves of hockey, which year after year after year made the playoffs, often had more victories than any other team...and they won ONE World Series. They probably got to the playoffs 12 or 13 times, and they won ONE World Series....

“I’m not even asking for conclusions here. The obvious conclusion is that something happens to them in the playoffs...something happens to them in the playoffs where they gag. You’re gonna say, ‘Well, you’re going back 20 years Tony, 25 years.’ I can remember when Craig Laughlin used to talk about why they were gonna win playoff series, because they had more character than the other team, and then they lost. And Laughlin of course couldn’t fathom how they’d lose when they had all this character, and you’d say well what about the character, and Laughlin would say shut up, get out of here, stuff like that. I was standing in front of him. And I like Laughlin, but he was a loudmouth at the time....

“It’s been going on for 25 years with this team. Only once, when they got to the final against Detroit, only once did they sort of exceed expectations. And everybody in this city who wants to make the Capitals into the Washington Monument of sports, and they wear their red jerseys — and that’s fine — and they refer to everybody as nicknames — Varly and Barley and Marley and all this stuff — and they go on and on and on about how great they are for rooting for hockey in a football city, how superior they are to everybody else in this town, and why don’t you doubters and haters understand what a great team this is and what a great organization this is, these same punks, the moment that one game is lost, they panic. They start gagging.

“They put their hands around their necks and try to cough up a peanut butter sandwich, because they know what happens, because it happens every single year, like the flowers coming out. I mean, I just don’t want to be told by their fans how morally superior they are to everybody else in this town. I’m just tired of that.”

If you actually do want to read real analysis, on the other hand, check out Japers Rink calling for Boudreau’s job.

Dan Steinberg writes about all things D.C. sports at the D.C. Sports Bog.

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