First, let me make this clear up front - that's now 4-0 for "my" teams with me in the house. Nats 2-0, Caps 1-0 and Richmond Revolution 1-0. Boo-YAH. After going winless for so long in 2009, I'm going to puff out that chest.
Now on to the real point: Wow. Holy Moly. Sweet Mother. WOW.
It's not too much of a reach to say yesterday ranks among my all-time Top 10 days. Maybe top five. The baseball game was a lot of fun because, as I've made clear, I'm a major Livo Fanboy Looser and he pitched a pretty OK game. The MASN folks, as expected, did a major job taking care of us wretched denizens of Mom's Basement. Shout out to Todd Webster and Kristen Hudak for setting that up.
But as great as it was, it was NOT the highlight of the day. I may have to change the name of this here blog to NationalsCapitalsFanboyLooser. Very tempting, though I'm not sure I can handle another obsession. The one I have is borderline killing me - and I don't have room for more hats, shirts and other knick knacks. Nor the money.
In my previous life, I saw a lot of really cool stuff. I saw Francisco Cabrera drive that stake through the Pirates' heart back in 1992 in Atlanta. I did two Olympics. I could go on.
I saw the Zimmerman Walk Off of 2008 on Opening Night.
The Caps game may have been the coolest thing I've ever seen or done.
I went with my "krew" - blog correspondent Ryan Sonner, Michael Phillips and Shawn Fenner. Michael, who some of you may know from his days at Nationals.com, is some sort of ticket magician and he came up with amazing club level seats. So the company was good and the view was exceptional.
The game was incredible. Here's a news flash, picked up quickly by a guy at his first playoff game and first NHL game of any kind in six years: Backstrom is really good. In case you missed THE moment.
I love baseball, love to be at the park but it is way more low-key. Hockey is one of the few sports where live may be better for viewing than TV. You can see so much more of what happens, you can follow the puck a lot easier for some reason. Pretty much every time I see a goal on TV, I ask is it in? Didn't have to ask any of the ELEVEN times it went in last night (three by Backstrom and he would have had my Nats hat had I worn it).
I suspect all teams do this but I have no basis of comparison. All I know is the Caps do a pretty remarkable job of working the crowd, creating a tremendous atmosphere. Of course, the way the game developed and turned out helped. If it was 4-1 Habs late in the third, I suspect the buzz would have been pretty much gone.
Ah, but it wasn't. It was 4-1 Habs at one point and 6-5 Caps at the end. The wait between the end of the third period and OT was excruciating. I took a walk around the concourse. I told my buds if OT went too long, they'd have to drag my fat, dead ass out of there. Ryan said, "You can't blink at one of these games." It was his first live NHL game of any kind.
So they dropped the puck, paid a brief visit to the other end. Backstrom came flying down the ice. BAM. Game over. He had a window about as big as a mail slot and he drove that biscuit right through. The place went nuts.
So now that I'm some kind of expert, let me offer my analysis: The Caps need to go into Montreal tomorrow and snap their heads off. Two or three quick goals, remind those Habs that fun time is over and win this thing 4-1.
Goalies? Well, that's a tough one. I understand the move my new favorite coach made last night. He said on the postgame that the energy drained right out of his bench on the second goal. They were soft but Theodore didn't get much help. I can't put them all on him. Do you come back with him or just stick with Varlamov, in which case you better hope Varlamov is nails from here on out because Theodore is Capital-D Done.
I'm in too deep already. Somebody throw me a rope.
Aw, hell with it. When's the next doubleheader?
To answer a question in a comment on my previous post about gear, uh, ah, can I plead the fifth? My wife reads this blog.
I have no Caps stuff. That must change. I've added only two Nats hats this year, my annual St. Patrick's Day hat and the new BP hat. I usually buy a new white hat every year but did not this year. My daughter gave me an e-Bay gift card for Christmas and I used it on a Nationals picture frame (for a picture of us at the game) and a Nationals calendar.