Many franchise fanbases feel they've had the gravest misfortunes deny their dream to watch their team win the Stanley Cup. Fans in the Vancouver, Toronto, St. Louis and Boston metropolitan areas are certainly to be envied for their enthusiasm and pitied for their team's shortcomings.
Other sports also have their fair share of snake-bitten franchises: the Detroit Lions and Minnesota Vikings can swap stories twice every year when they play each other. The Cleveland Browns can boast both a heartbreaking 1980's melodrama, starring John Elway, and the loss of their beloved original franchise, which relocated to Baltimore.
While Cleveland fans who root for those frowny Brownies can perfectly empathize with heartache, there is NO NHL franchise that has been as consistently great for the last three decades with nothing to show for it as the Washington Capitals.
They are easily the most snake-bitten (or, should I say frostbitten?) franchise in the National Hockey League.
The Capitals can be summed up fairly succinctly.
Capital regular seasons.
To add to the misery of repeated postseason failure is the knowledge that more often than not, Washington's hockey heroes have been on the verge of thoroughly beating the teams who ultimately beat them. Rarely are the playoffs a simple exit in ol' D.C.
Instead of being out-classed and ousted again and again, the Caps find new and unique ways to find defeat from the jaws of victory. They do this repeatedly. It's like staring down an alley cat. You can back it down the alley and into the corner, but who has the cajones to step in and take it out after it shows its claws and realizes it can only escape right through one's own eyeballs?
In order to fully comprehend the magnitude of the Capitals fanbase's April and May (and, ever so rarely, June) plight, I have prepared a countdown that recalls the most hear-breaking endings in the franchise's history.
After reading, please find a fan of the team, give them a warm embrace and tell them you're proud of their team's commitment to making the postseason with such regularity.
BUT BE WARNED! Don't tell them, "maybe next year." They simply know better.