(Preston Keres/The Washington Post)

Barry Svrluga’s story on the Caps’ rite of spring — that being the annual heartbreaking playoff loss — brought out some insightful comments from readers about their history rooting for the team and how they’re coping this time around. There were also some not-very-insightful comments, and a good range in between. Not everyone’s ready to get over this one, it seems.

There was also more optimism than one might expect to see from a fanbase whose team just got blown out in Game 7. That’s part of the “Hope” stage, which replaces the traditional “Bargaining” stage from the Kübler-Ross model (everyone at least seems to agree that there’s no do-over round in the NHL).

So here are the five stages of grief for Caps fans:


Okay, I’m in conspiracy mode tonight. And, if not a conspiracy, then we have a real problem with the captain of the team. I believe the reason the Caps lost this series could be one of or a combination of three things:

1. The NHL (led by Gary Bettman) desperately needs the money. Therefore, they gave the big market New York teams every bit of help they could to keep them playing past the 1st round. The Islanders couldn’t get it done, so they had to step it up for the Rangers. Thus, the officiating debacles in several of the games, notably those in New York.

2. The refs needed the money during the lockout. I’m assuming they weren’t earning anything while the league was shut down–unless they were working games in the minor leagues or elsewhere. So, who do they blame?!? One of the ringleaders of the lockout, none other than Teddy himself. What goes around comes around. …

3. I’ve said this ever since Ovie arrived on this team: We brought in a Russian superstar player who has more allegience to his home country than the Caps and the NHL. Given the choice, he would rather go play for his motherland in the World Cup. Every year, his production in the playoffs is non-existant (the last 5 games this time around). And, then the next morning after they’ve once again lost to a lower seed in humiliating fashion, he says “You know, I woke up and decided I still want to play hockey. I think I’ll hop a flight overseas to play for Russia.” …


The officiating in NY was the worst one sided BS i’ve ever seen in hockey. Someone needs to check their bank accounts to see if they have made any LARGE deposits lately, cuz that’s what it looked like.



I created a Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/FireCapsGMGM


Trade ovi while hes worth something because looks like hes very slow on the ice. Ovis remarks after he lost about a conspiracy is down right idiotic and shows how much of a cry baby he is. The caps lost because he did not show up to play at all



Been watching since 1974, but I’ve given them every break I could. I’ll continue to watch the games, because I guess I’m stupid. What I will not do is give them my faith. The Caps will have to earn that. I’ll start believing again when I see one of them raising the cup, and not one moment before. I encourage all fans to make them earn your respect and your dollars. The fan base is nothing to jerk around, and maybe this organization needs to see that.


With the possible exception of the Caps losing winable playoff series, there are very few slam dunk bets in life. Thanks for never failing to deliver boys.


I moved to DC in 1974. I’ve watched the Caps for a long time. I,personally, gave up on them about 5 years ago. When they went up 2 games on the Rangers my youngest son asked if I thought they would get past the them. I know history. I said they didn’t stand a chance.”This is the Capitals, They’ll blow it. Count on it”.


Ted can say all of his regular hyperbole, as he does year after year. Bottom line, he has a team that has sold out the season for next year, so it really doesn’t make him have to do anything. He might do some window dressing, getting a player here and there, but in effect nothing will change. Until this group learns how to address adversity on a regular basis, and some of the core guys get moved, nothing will change. To expect anything to change with this same group is lunacy. There is a a great chance with the new alignment that the Caps won’t even make the playoffs. But, of course, they can raise another Southeast conference champion banner next season. Yay.



I’ve been a Caps fan my whole life. But my enthusiasm has dulled considerably in recent years. This was the first season since moving up here in 2007 that I didn’t get Center Ice. I caught very few Caps games this year. I took the loss a lot better last night than previous letdowns.

It’s really gone from me being a diehard fan to just simply preferring that the Caps win, but not being terribly bothered if they don’t. There’s a lot less emotion involved. I’m happier. I sleep better.

I didn’t think that would ever happen.


Two points: First, I enjoy ice hockey, including the Caps, just as I enjoy watching the Redskins, Nats, United, and other sports teams and events. But that said, it’s just a game and needs to be held in that regard. There are far more important matters in my life, and I presume in yours. Second, my relationship with all Caps players, and with all professional athletes at this level, is molded by the fact these athletes are often paid immense sums of money. As such, I have a right to expect them to win — nothing less. When they fail to deliver results, their wealth means I owe them nothing else, along the lines of unreserved hometown forgiveness. Again, it’s time to move on.


I’m 31 and have been a fan for as long as I can remember. One of my earliest memories about anything is a Caps-Rangers game at the Capital Centre. This team is in my blood.

So here’s what I’m going to do: I’m going to try to avoid hockey if possible (saw a guy in a Pens jersey at Target earlier, and was instantly miserable) for a few weeks. Maybe I’ll be ready to watch the Stanley Cup finals. Come September, I’ll be ready to once again let my guard down and await the inevitable gut punch that will follow in 7-8 months on the off chance that, just this once, it doesn’t happen. I will keep doing this every year, because that’s what fans do.

P.S. Shout out to all the Caps fans who are, like me, also diehard DC United fans. Dust yourself off from this sudden disaster in time to see a slowly unfolding disaster that has many months to go!



Im not just a Caps fan to win. I was born in this town, raised with the love of hockey. I love the sport, the ice, and arena. I love the Chinatown food, beer and nasty commute in and out each game. I feel like a part of the family with other fans, and we cheer together and lose together. We care, and win continue to care until we win the Cup, and the 1st will be so sweet. In a town of transplants, I would rather be a loser Caps fan, then a transplant from NY, Philly, Pittsburgh or Detroit, clinging to my hometown team through a TV screen. I love live hockey, and I love my city. The Caps are my team…..we will get our shot, and thats why I keep coming. You have to believe…..I believe in my family, and I come to games for much more then wins….it is a part of my city…..it is a part of me.


“Don’t Stop Believin'” — Journey didn’t sing that song for nothing. Red Sox fans didn’t give it up all through those decades, Cubs fans aren’t giving it up. They’ve had it way worse than Caps fans. Besides it’s like deciding to divorce your spouse two hours after having an argument. Knee-jerk reactions just don’t pay.


38 seasosn. I went to the very first one, a preseason game with my dad (I was 3).

I now live in Boston, and Boston fans know heartbreak. 86 years of it. The worst choke in AL history just two seasons ago. And 39 seasons without a cup.

So yea, suck it up and support our team. When we finally hoist that cup, it will be that much more rewarding.

And hey, we’re not Toronto.