The Washington Capitals are one win away from the Stanley Cup right now, so it’s high time we got some bandwagon fans to back up those of us fortunate or unfortunate enough to be of the Washington, D.C area. Bandwagon fans take a lot of shit for only knowing the biggest stars on a team, and having a shallow understanding of the team history. This makes me the perfect person to write this guide, because after spending over half my life in the D.C area (ages 0-13 and now 26-31) I have a shallow understanding of the team’s history that spreads back to the early 90s and mostly only know the biggest stars on the team. I am not a hockey person, but I am occasionally adjacent to hockey people and enjoy spectacle so all of this extremely is my jam. Come on the journey with me.
Some of you may be wondering why I waited this long to write this guide, given that the Stanley Cup playoffs have been going on for some time. This is thing #1 to learn about being a Washington Capitals fan; failure is ALWAYS an option. After their decisive (some might say excessive) 6-2 defeat of the Vegas Golden Knights on Monday night to put them up 3 games in the series my brother texted our family message with “Really looking forward to the amazing three game rally the Golden Knights are about to go on.” That’s the kind of team this is, and the expectations the fans have. They’ve been a great team for years that never made it to the Stanley Cup playoffs, typically losing to the Penguins or the Rangers on the way to the finals. Even with the Caps up by four in the last game, I know people who were probably ready to tear their jerseys up and eat them when the Knights got a second point. We hope for the best but anticipate the worst.
But who specifically should you be rooting for? The obvious star of the team is Alex Ovechkin, a first round draft pick from 2004 who is a delightful carb-loving Russian man-bear and scored his 600th goal back in March at a game I attended. He’s an institution with the Caps. But if he’s not your speed (hardly anyone is HIS speed) then we have some other options. There’s actual American Hero T.J Oshie who may be coming to a metro card near you after taking the notoriously unreliable DC metro to Game 4. He is also pretty adorable. You know what else was adorable, that little girl who wanted the hockey puck, right? Well, coincidentally that was the Cap’s Brett Connolly insisting that she get her puck. Keelan there was at Game 4 and got to see Connolly score the last goal of the game.
There’s a whole bunch of other great players, Nicklas Backstrom the Swedish center who can make passes that look like magic, Braden Holtby who made an unbelievable save in Game 2 to hold the win for the Caps, Evgeny Kuznetsov is an upcoming star with a bottle of Fuck Off pills in his locker, Tom Wilson is trying to fight the entire NHL team by team, or Devante Smith-Pelly who has PREEMPTIVELY rejected an invitation to the White House. Which really says something for someone who already lives in the area.
There’s a lot to root for! At the same time I almost feel guilty trying to get people on board given the possibility that all of this could go sideways at any time. But at least we’ll all be watching it go sideways together. Besides, we’re Pajiba. #ALLCAPS is what we do.