So I wrote this story for Friday’s paper about the tension, anxiety, stress and nausea Caps fans are experiencing this time of year. Please bear in mind that reporters do not assign themselves stories, but in fairness, it wasn’t at all hard for me to find fans feeling tense, anxious, stressed out and nauseous.
And then on Friday, I was on the phone with Rod Langway, and I asked if he had felt nervous while watching the game Wednesday evening.
“Not at all,” he said. “Whoever has the least amount of giveaways in the defensive zone normally will win. The kid gave up the puck, bing, bang, goal. I’ve been involved in too many of these things. It’s just another game to me.”
(Langway, by the way, is helping promote NBC and Versus’s playoff coverage. As part of this, Langway will join a Zamboni that’s been converted into an ice cream truck delivering free ice cream to fans at Union Station from noon to 1:30 on Friday. Also swag. Go eat. Langway will also be at Verizon for Game 2.)
Anyhow, Langway is secure enough in his confidence in the Caps that he wasn’t panicked about the Rangers stealing a game, or about the old curses coming back.
“It wasn’t a 2-1 game,” he said. “[The Caps] outplayed them most of the game. Hitting the posts, the opportunities the Capitals had, I thought it was gonna be like a 4-1 game. Hopefully they blow them out tonight....[The Rangers] are playing real hard as a team, but I don’t think they have the firepower to score two or three goals a game. They’re gonna have a tough time scoring two goals, I think.”
The man seemed confident. So I mentioned to him how the longest of long-suffering Caps fans still flash back to the old days, the days of previous playoff disappointments, like especially four-overtime ones on Easter against the Islanders.
“We don’t have the greatest record of winning in overtime,” Langway admitted. “I can see that game every night almost, just the situation, the way that we played. We outplayed the Islanders the whole game and we just couldn’t score in overtime....
“Believe it or not, I’ve never seen the whole game again, but I could tell you almost everything that happened. I won’t watch it. It’s too much agony. I don’t think i got out of our locker room until 6, 7 in the morning. We were just sitting there, couldn’t believe the season was over. The Islanders came over, players we had battled with, came over and talked with us. Sportsmanship, that’s more or less what it was. We had beer. No one could move. It was just incredible.”
As for this current team, Langway didn’t offer a final prediction, but he’s definitely in fan mode. I asked how he’d react if the Caps did win some June hardware.
“I’d be first in line. I’d be right here with the parade, for sure,” he said. “I’ll be very proud, like a lot of fans, jumping on the bandwagon .”