The saddest aspect of the Washington Capitals being mauled at home in the biggest game in franchise history is not the final score, or the unceremonious end to a season of celebrations. It’s not even that the bludgeoning came at the hands of the hated Pittsburgh Penguins.
No, it’s that for all of the hope the Capitals carried into Game Seven, the sports culture of Washington D.C. will wait to exorcise its demons of postseason mediocrity.
The Capitals entered Game Seven carrying a hard-earned burden of local exuberance; the failures of the Redskins, Wizards and Nationals all seemed to flutter away when sticks hit ice.
Now, the dark reality of poor ownership, underachieving stars, and extortion of loyalties returns to cloud the minds and hearts of the Diamond City faithful.
Amidst the choruses of “this is some bullsh*t,” and “we’ll be back next year,” there is a sense that Washington D.C. will always be the home of the paper champions; a place where excuses fall in the place of ticker tape, and the present tense is a strange compilation of past tensions and future potential.
We can laud the Capitals for a season of surpassed expectations, rip them for a final game meltdown, and know that somewhere in between the two is the truest assessment of their season. Too much talent, too much youth, too many Game Sevens.
But what to say to D.C. Sports Fans? We’ll be back next year?
Around here, "next year" is perpetually right now.