Sunday, March 1, 2009

Caps' Success is Begetting Bitterness, Lunacy

A curious thing may be developing here as the Capitals continue to slay dragons atop various division and conference standings: they are drawing some ire. It’s as if the team is supposed to be a perennial punching-bag, a franchise everyone else can comfortably turn up their noses at, and lazily bring them up as a candidate for contraction. Now that such talk can no longer conveniently be turned to whenever the team’s name comes up, some people are throwing daggers and slinging mud.

First, let’s look at Boston coach Claude Julien, and his pouting after Alex Semin beat the Bruins with a slapshot from well beyond the blue line: “I've heard them say that they're in our heads. They do a lot of talking. They're one-goal games. They could have gone either way. By all means, I don't think they scare us.” The simple fact is three out of the four games between the two went the Caps’ way. Sounds like perhaps some overreaction to Brooks Laich’s comments prior to the game about a victory over the Bruins scoring some psychological points should the teams meet in the playoffs: "Maybe they finish ahead of, maybe they don't. But now they're wondering, you know, 'We can't beat those guys.’” Maybe we wonder about Julien’s coaching acumen if he chose to complain about Laich’s apt analysis after the game instead of maybe using it as a means to try to coax his team with the shrinking first-place lead into actually beating the Caps in regulation for once.

As it is, his little rave-out after yet another loss to the Caps reminds us of Donovan McNabb’s equally insane insistence that the Eagles were better than the Redskins despite the latter’s sweep of the former in the season series. The after-the-fact bitterness in both cases illustrates the animosity our teams can expect to face as they rise (or prepare to rise) to heights the rest of the sports world seems to think they should not.

Speaking of such sentiment, by now we all know about Don Cherry’s insane Ovie-related rant. The bald absurdity of it all is self-apparent, and the motive behind it all even more so with the mentioning of poor down-and-out Sidney Crosby immediately before the Ovechkin celebration bashing began. People are on to the overrated-ness of Sid, realizing the greatness of Ovechkin, and Cherry and other Sid anointers are unable to deal with it.

It’s interesting that Cherry held up soccer players for ridicule because of some of their goal celebrations and then likened Ovehckin’s celebrations to those. We think a far more telling comparison between the two sports would be comparing this:

To this:

Now we get the analogy. Thanks, Don.

As has been pointed out pretty much universally since this nonsense hit the airwaves, the timing of Cherry’s idiocy is curious, coming at a time when Ovechkin’s star is very much on the rise and the sheen is coming off Sid exponentially as his whining, tantrum-throwing, and baffling suspension-less cheap-shotting increase (also curious that many of the Ovie clips shown have been around for at least a couple of years, and only now apparently has the outrage come forth in Cherry’s Canadian-centric mind). NHL players, at the very least, are starting to fully embrace the anti-Sid movement. Hopefully NHL marketers will come to their senses as well, and maybe even NBC will start to show a few more games not featuring the Penguins.

In the end, we at DCO are heartened by these anti-Caps developments, as it indicates that the Capitals will likely not be inundated with irritating darling-ism, such as been heaped upon every Penguins’ team since Cherry’s Messiah broke into the league and lost the Calder trophy to Ovechkin. Maybe they’ll just be allowed to go about their business bringing a Cup to DC, and to making the town a permanent residence for other trophies with names like Hart, Richard, Ross, Adams, Norris, etc.

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