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This is what the Caps group-text each other all day long

Oh, just your normal, goofy text thread among friends. (Katherine Frey/The Washington Post)

Since I first learned about the existence of the Capitals’ group text several weeks ago, I had a few questions about the Caps’ group text. I can’t say I really know the answers to my questions. But here are the answers to some questions, anyhow.

Why do the Caps have a group text?

This is a standard NHL thing, for planning purposes. Manager of team operations Rob Tillotson uses the group text to send schedules and meal times and bus times to the roster. After the recent shooting near the Capitol building, Tillotson sent an alert that players might encounter unexpected traffic en route to Verizon Center. Stuff like that. Pretty boring, really.

So this is just pretty boring, really?

Well, not really.

“It all starts with that,” Michael Latta said. “Rob will send out a text, and someone will chirp someone, and it just goes off. Like 20 percent is actual serious stuff, and the rest is just messing around.”

Caps got the leader (and class clown) they needed in Justin Williams

For example?

Well, the Justin Williams dancing gif, to use one example that you likely already know about. Not long after Williams danced to “Cotton Eye Joe” during a road game in Ottawa, John Carlson — who didn’t make the trip — posted the gif to the group chat.

It was waiting for us on our group text for after the game,” Karl Alzner told the Junkies. “So we had it to laugh at right away.”

When I did that ‘Schminute’ thing [for CSN] the other day, someone will put that in there,” Nate Schmidt said. “And then I’ll get toasted in the dressing room. The guys will give me grief.”

“Just like you’re texting the boys, a group of friends,” Latta said. “Videos, anything, if you see something funny just put it in the group. If someone does a funny thing, put it in the group. It’s just like any kind of group, but it’s funny.”

Caps are more hybrid than heavy heading into the postseason

Washington Capitals reporter Isabelle Khurshudyan explains how the team has changed in the past year and how that could affect its playoff chances. (Video: Thomas Johnson/The Washington Post)

Could you make a possibly unwieldy attempt to turn this into a metaphor for team closeness?

Sure.

“After last game, we get off the plane,” Alzner told a few of us earlier this season. “And we’d just been with each other for 24 hours straight, hanging out every second of the day. We get off the plane, and all of the sudden a group text starts, and it goes on for about six hours. That’s just the type of group that we have. We just enjoy being together.”

More?

“I played in Milwaukee, and we kind of had one,” Latta said. “Not like this one, though. Our group text is hilarious. It’s going every day, constantly. Guys are getting chirped in there. I feel bad for some of the guys with wives at home; their phones are blowing up and their wives are probably like, ‘What is going on, who are you texting?’ It’s like, ‘Oh, I’m texting the boys.’ ‘You were just with them all day!’ But I think that kind of speaks to the team we have this year.”

Now how about some cold water on this charming tale of camaraderie.

Every team has a group chat,” Daniel Winnik said, not long after joining the Caps. ” I think they’re all kind of goofy and funny.”

Okay fine, so give us some charming tales of the Flyers and their charming group chat.

Please see www.philly.com/philly/sports/flyers.

Rude.

You know, the amazing thing about the 2016 sports Internet is there’s really no reason Washington-based journalists need to cover Washington-based sports. Many of my closest blogging pals do a phenomenal job covering the Caps without ever leaving their proverbial basements. The reverse, clearly, is also true; Washington sports Internet writers can write — and write well — about sports news across the country. So as The Post turns its focus to acquiring larger and larger bundles of humans with clicky fingers, geography should be swept away in favor of online metrics, and we should merely cover the teams with the largest internet interest. The Cowboys. The Warriors. The Ohio State University. The Yankees. Heck, the Jaguars probably have a larger fan base than the Capitals. So, knowing that, why are we flinging bodies into Caps playoff coverage this week?

I don’t know. Why are you?

I don’t know either. Home subscribers, I guess. The thing is, my interest in sports is not really an interest in sports so much as it is an interest in living in Washington and communing with Washingtonians. And sports are a part of that, and the part I happen to cover for a living. And if you eliminate my geography, I would care about sports not at all. I’m not interested in writing about the Warriors, or the Spurs. Sorry, I’m just not. I think about sports 73 percent of the time, and 99 percent of that 73 percent pertains to Washington sports. This is what binds me to you, dear reader, but not to Joe Red Shirt in St. Louis. But from a clicks-generation standpoint, this is just not logical. And it will be a problem some day soon, for either The Post or for me. Just wait, and remember that I warned you. Anyhow, I’m also not interested in the Flyers group text. Sorry. I’m sure it’s charming though.

That’s okay, you’re probably not really interested in the Caps group text, either.

Well, true, but I like some of the stories. Like when Schmidt told Isabelle Khurshudyan that he fell asleep with 12 minutes left in the Villanova-UNC game, and the buzzing of the group chat woke him up in time for the ending.

“In years past, it stayed pretty much to [logistics],” Tom Wilson told me. “This year it seems like there’s a little bit more kind of fun and stuff going on in there. If important stuff’s going on, like a national championship, you see guys kind of piping up and chirping back and forth and stuff. It’s just fun stuff. I can’t give you too much information; obviously it’s private. But it definitely kind of keeps everyone in touch. You’ll wake up from a nap one day and you’ll have 40 texts on your phone because the guys have been going at it.”

“Oh yeah,” Alzner said. “You wake up sometimes in the morning, it’s like 35, 40 texts.”

About what?

“Just whatever,” Alzner said. “You probably don’t want to know. Well, you DO want to know probably. We talk about great TV shows and how much we love doing housework and stuff like that. Just banter back and forth. …Usually one guy says something and then everybody jumps in on it, and then someone else will start something and then we all jump in on that.”

Do Mike Green and Joel Ward and Troy Brouwer ever show up and ask to unsubscribe?

“You take those guys off, obviously, because there’s team stuff,” Alzner said. “But we have a couple of old [chats] with them still on it, so that’s fun to see.”

Do any players just refuse to participate?

“I’d say that there’s maybe five, six guys that don’t usually add in a whole lot,” Alzner said. “Everybody else adds in quite a bit.”

And who writes the most?

That’s a good question,” Schmidt said. “Who dishes out the most? … I’d probably say Ovi. He gets at the guys a lot. He just puts in stuff that he thinks is funny.”

Describe Ovechkin’s texting oeuvre.

“He’s the most absurd texter, maybe,” Wilson said. “He says the funniest stuff.” 

Emoji?

“It’s not even emojis,” Schmidt said. “It’s the parentheses stuff, you know what I’m talking about?”

Oh sure hahaha)))))))). Wait, do guys get kicked off the chat when they get demoted to Hershey?

Dunno.

Where did John Carlson get the gif of dancing Justin Williams?

Dunno.

Why would you think anyone cares about this?

Dunno.

When do the actual games start again?

Not until Thursday. Sorry. But I’m sure someone online has said something about Cam Newton.

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