The Washington Capitals, Nationals, Redskins and Wizards have all had a great week. Each team has added a glimmer of hope to the city in less than seven days. Washington D.C. is not known for their sports teams and fans often have a hard time rooting for any one team because none of them ever seem to be good.
This week, however, it seems as though the tides have changed and D.C. sports fans will maybe, just maybe, be able to be proud of their city’s sports teams.
The Washington Capitals shocked the Boston Bruins (2-1) in overtime in last night’s Game 7 of the NHL eastern conference quarterfinals. It is the first time the Capitals have advanced to the second round of the playoffs when they didn’t win the division since 1998, when they lost in the Stanley Cup Finals to the Detroit Red Wings.
Throughout the series with the Bruins there was plenty of controversy that the Bruins were playing somewhat dirty, taking the Capitals out of their normal form of play and looking more to retaliate than score goals.
In the last two games of the series, the Capitals settled down and relied on the stellar play of 22-year-old Braden Holtby, who had 31 saves in the win. It was those saves that took the game into overtime and allowed Joel Ward to be in the right place at the right time to score and put the series away for good.
The Capitals will have the opportunity to get some much needed rest as they await the winner of the Florida Panthers and the New Jersey Devils series. If they can continue their success well into the second round, the Stanley Cup will be within their reach.
The Nationals' story is a little different—they have over 100 games left to play, but have revamped their pitching rotation and it has proven successful thus far in the season. They have the best record (14-4) in the National League and are one game short of tying the Texas Rangers for the best record in the MLB.
Stephen Strasburg leads the way with an ultra-low 1.08 ERA and two wins. Ross Detwiler, Craig Stammen, Gio Gonzalez and Ryan Mattheus also have two wins under their belts.
The Nationals batting average currently stands at .241 which is .41 better than their opponents this season.
Yesterday, they got a dominant win against the San Diego Padres, 7-2. Jordan Zimmerman got the win but also helped out in the run column. Both he and Tom Gorzelanny batted in runs for the Nationals. They are the first team to have two pitchers bat in runs since 2008.
So far the season looks bright for the Nationals, but there is a long way to go. The biggest factor for the Nationals success is how healthy the team can stay overall. The pitchers have to continue pitching well and get consistent run support. It also wouldn’t help if the pitchers continue this trend of contributing to the RBI.
It’s been nearly 20 years since Washington Redskins fans have been this excited about a single player before he has even been drafted. The hysteria started when the Redskins swapped spots with the St. Louis Rams in the NFL Draft to move up for Robert Griffin III.
He has yet to even get into camp and fans all over the city have RG3 gear from shirts to socks; if it has three roman numerals on it, fans are likely to buy.
With the hope RG3 brings, it gives fans a reason to actually be optimistic about games this year. While no one should expect a ring this year or next, most fans would be pleased with a two to four game improvement over the next two years.
The Redskins aside from Robert Griffin III will need to have another solid draft to help solidify and add depth to many positions on the team. With the free agent acquisitions and second year players such as Roy Helu, Leonard Hankerson and Jarvis Jenkins, the Washington Redskins could be looking at a promising team for years to come.
The Washington Wizards have long been D.C’s least successful professional sports team. Even
the addition of John Wall couldn’t salvage the hope for more wins. The Wizards even got new uniforms, but every time they played it was a constant reminder of who they really were.
However, after a dismal season, the Wizards are looking to finish strong tonight against the Miami Heat by capping their season off with six consecutive wins. It will not be easy but will not be as hard since the consensus is the biggest stars—James, Wade and Bosh—will only see limited minutes since their playoff position is already set.
Though the Washington Wizards will start their offseason early again for the fourth straight year, finishing with six wins will be beneficial for next season as they hope to finally pull all the young pieces together to at least compete in the East.
There you go D.C. sports fans! The one week out of the year you can be proud of all your major sports teams at the same time. D.C. is not on par with the elite sports cities yet, but if they can have more weeks like this more often, they shouldn’t be that far away.