Simple Facts

This year, the Tampa Bay Lightning were a better team than the Washington Capitals. One could argue that they were better than any team on ice, save for the Calgary Flames, but that has yet to be determined. Don’t hate, don’t be bitter. Why? Just because.

I have a few problems with Catherine’s comment on my post about the Tampa Bay Lightning going to the Stanley Cup Finals.

This isn’t a “my pain was then worse than yours is now” kind of post. It’s a “give credit where credit is due” kinda’ post.

She is a 6-year, hardcore Washington Capitals fan. I am also a 6-year Washington Capitals fan. The only two differences between us are that I’m kinda’ hardcore when it comes to the Caps (when the Bolts aren’t in town), yet have a bloodletting-worthy loyalty residing in Tampa.

At one point, she says, “Tampa has earned their spot in the Cup Finals…”, yet later she says, “it just ain’t fair dammit!” Fair? As if Karma laces up the skates on any given night?

Catherine is in a hard place right now. During the majority of the last six years, the Caps have been a force to be reckoned with. Nowadays, they suck. Welcome to a Lightning fan’s nightmare, Catherine. At least Pittsburg was worse this season, and the Caps may not have to suck hind tit two years in a row (or lose more than 50 games in a season… um… four years in a row).

She says:

It just pisses me off to no end that Tampa has had everything go their way this year. From having next to no man-games lost to injury, to playing sub-par teams on their way through the playoffs, it just ain’t fair dammit!

Tampa has had everything go their way this year because they’re a solid club. Shaky at times–think after the all-star break–but get done what they had to get done. Fewest man-games lost to injury this year because of Tortorella’s conditioning program and/or on-ice philosophy? Your call.

Playing sub-par teams? Caps are in the SE, as are the Bolts. Weakest conference considered, Bolts didn’t do too poorly last year… made the second round of the playoffs… so maybe earned a tougher regular-season schedule this year as compared to last. Caps reaped the same SE-suckage schedule.

Islanders? Please. Montreal? Give me a break.

Islanders? “Please” granted. Montreal? Beat the Bruins (who I was afraid the Bolts would have to face). Swept Habs, faced Philly, who beat the Leafs, who beat the Senators, who were my pick to win the East.

How are these sub-par teams?

Maybe Philly was a bit worse-for-wear at the start of the series, but they layed the ever-loving, motherfucking smack down on the Lightning with physical play in more than two games this past series, so that they were “beat up” means jack shit.

I can only imagine what long-time Caps fans are feeling, watching a 90’s expansion team be so successful while our own franchise is mediocre year after year and then implodes in a blaze of ignominy.

Long-time Caps fans are more pissed that the Capitals coaching staff and management have made bad decision after bad decision, the results of which have mired the Capitals franchise in something less than mediocrity. They’re not really all that pissed about the Lightning.

They realize that the Caps are doing now what the Lightning strugglingly did a few years ago. The Caps are in a “rebuilding” stage. And can come of rebuilding a team?

Stanley Cup Finals.

Tampa Bay Lightning are fucking proof of that.

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2 thoughts on “Simple Facts

  1. Gee Gary, didn’t mean to get you so worked up; I was just trying to explain my conflicted feelings about Tampa’s success. I am happy for my friend that his team is finally doing so well. But I am mad because that same team caused me a lot of pain last year and thus can never really be fully forgiven. And to see that team do so well makes me pissed. Sorry if that’s totally illogical or whiny or stupid, but that’s how I feel. Fandom is not a logical thing in the first place, and the feelings it generates do not follow at all with my normal personality. The real me would not feel this way, but the “fan” me does.

    As for Tampa “earning” their spot, well of course they did. They are an excellent, excellent team. And of course, that pisses me off because I want them to fail because I hate them for causing me pain. Childish? Absolutely. But hey, many fans are childish when it comes to their sport and I guess I am one of them. Hatred of an opposing team is one of the things that makes hockey fandom great in my opinion.

    Only one thing I take issue with in your response:

    “Fewest man-games lost to injury this year because of Tortorella’s conditioning program and/or on-ice philosophy?”

    Perhaps. But more likely: pure luck. Tampa has been extremely lucky this year with injuries, and even moreso in the playoffs. I’m sure that whatever conditioning program they use is great, but you can’t tell me that it’s so much better than that of other teams that it completely prevents injury. Look at what happened to Marco Sturm. Chases after an icing and ends up breaking his leg and dislocating his ankle. No amount of conditioning is gonna prevent that. The Lightning simply haven’t had any of those freak injuries and that is because of luck. And of course, I don’t want them to have any luck because I hate them (see previous paragraph).

    You should be happy that your team is hated now. It means they’re good. Now everyone can pay for all those years of making fun of them. And Tampa fans can reap the rewards of being loyal to a bad franchise for so long. Caps fans are now in Tampa fans’ previous boat. The Caps suck. They are gonna suck for a long while, most likely. And even with Ovechkin, it’s going to be a bitch to be a Caps fan (like it ever wasn’t?). And I’m sure that Gary will make sure that I know the Caps suck. I guess it really just comes down to the green monster. I am totally jealous that I have not experienced any kind of playoff success with the Caps, and now will not do so for a long time.

    So be happy Gary. Don’t worry about the hurt feelings of a sad and bitter Caps fan. Just know that I will be hating life if Tampa wins the Cup, but that I will also acknowledge that they will have deserved it, no matter how much it pains me to say so.

    Catherine :-)

  2. P.S.

    You misunderstood my “sub-par teams” comment. I was not referring to regular-season games. I don’t buy that “SE division teams get off easy” mantra. It simply isn’t true. I was referring to their playoff competition. A charge that was leveled, by the way, at the Caps during their march to the Cup Finals in ’98.

    Catherine :-)

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