Washington D.C. has been a football town since Vince Lombardi coached the Redskins years ago, but the Washington Capitals have been aiming to stake hockey’s claim in the District.
With the Redskins starting to struggle as they have been in the last couple years, the Capitals have their chance in the spotlight to gain more followers.
The reality has been no matter where the Capitals stood, the Redskins always attracted the fans regardless of their level of play. That is evident of a sports franchise that ranks at the top in sales and season tickets. It is mind blowing how a franchise has a season ticket waiting list as long as it is for a team that consistently underperforms. Every season the team paints a picture of a deep playoff push into the Super Bowl. All at the behest of an egotistical owner who overpays for players and conducts his team as a fantasy football owner would.
The Redskins’ are more content with making money and kicking loyal fans to the curb. It really is astonishing to see the Redskins stadium filled to capacity every Sunday, and they have to watch a team blow leads or not play cohesive as a unit.
As we transition to the Caps, they are going in an entirely different direction.
Back in days when the Caps were wearing white home jerseys with the eagle on the front, the arena on any given night was as filled as a Vanessa Carlton concert. There wasn’t much on the ice besides guys like Chris Simon and his glistening locks fighting routinely.
Until Ted Leonsis took over the franchise.
The Capitals made their only Stanley Cup appearance and now are on the verge of Stanley Cup glory. The team has a young core, makes good on and off the ice decisions, uses draft picks responsibly and has a positive outlook on everything.
The Capitals are run like a great business should be.
The current Caps team, under Bruce Boudreau, has a knack for dramatic and astonishing performances. There have been more come-from-behind victories and team filled efforts. Another thing they have different than the Redskins is home grown talent in the form of draft picks and superstars.
Who would take any Redskins player over Alex Ovechkin, Alexander Semin, Nicklas Backstrom, Mike Green, and “Captain America” John Carlson?
This season is showing off the Caps ability to play their best hockey when it matters. They tend to give up the first goal of the game at a 58 percent rate. However, the next group of stats speaks for itself.
After giving up the first goal, the Capitals are 8-3, have outscored opponents 42-19, and won every game of those that went to overtime: four.
In the 11 games that the Caps have given up the first goal, Semin has had 17 points, including two hat tricks and Ovechkin has contributed 16. The Caps have only lost one of six games that required overtime or a shootout.
In the third period, the Caps have scored 27 goals and only given up 11. Another interesting stat is the Caps’ two highest scoring games, seven goals against New Jersey and Calgary, have happened when the opponent scored first. Also, in both games the Caps scored six straight goals.
It remains to be seen where both of these organizations will go.
The Redskins brought in Mike Shanahan for five years, and Boudreau will lead the Capitals for the foreseeable future.
The Caps sit on top of the NHL and the Redskins are struggling near the bottom of their conference.
In the next five years we can revisit the state of both franchises, but for now the Capitals are winning the hearts of the capital of the United States.