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Caps Fans Rock the Poncho

A few minutes before the puck dropped tonight, an anonymous young girl wandered down to the area behind the Rangers bench with a delivery.

"She handed these to me," Tom Bush later reported, "and said, 'Here, you're gonna need these. I swear to God."

Which is how six fans seated directly behind John Tortorella came to be wearing the nicest red ponchos I've ever seen at a hockey game. They were shown on the big screen, to the loudest cheers I've ever heard for cheap rain gear. And while the clouds never opened, the ponchos remained on.

"We can't swim, and we fear for our clothes," Bush explained.

"The best offense is a good defense," added Scott Tenaglia, another of the ponchoed posse.

Ted Leonsis saw the ponchos and laughed. Another fan arrived midway through the first period with another shipment of slickers. There were umbrella sightings elsewhere in the arena. All that was missing was Pacman Jones on the PA, asking Caps fans to make it rain.

There were multiple signs with targets, inviting Tortorella to make another stab at it. There were "Don't Water Bottle Me, Bro" posters, and photos of bottles with the words "Torto's Ammo." There were signs that read "Forecast: Victory With a Chance of Flying Water Bottles," and signs that referred to Water(bottle)Gate.

Behind one net, there was Kevin Kane, wearing a Capitals hat with two halves of a splintered water bottle sticking out in either direction.

"I thought it was a good form of silent protest," he said.

Nearby sat Martin Kearney, 54, of Chevy Chase. "Yeah, I'm an adult," he noted. And yet he, too, was wearing a red poncho, though he said it was surprisingly warm and he couldn't promise he'd wear it throughout the night. Of course, he was also seated a fly pattern away from the Rangers bench. Jason Campbell--also in the house--would have had trouble hitting him with a water bottle from that distance.

"It may break out with the other players, you never know," Kearney pointed out. "Or it may pour tonight on the way home. You've got to be prepared."

In the spirit of preparation, Verizon Center staffers had also stuffed the gaps in the glass behind the Rangers bench with plastic inserts. No more spritzing and spitting allegations on this night, though water bottle success was still just a hook shot away.

And there were also out of town reinforcements. Before the game, the large man in the Islanders jersey was impossible to miss, holding up a Rangers jersey bearing a non-complimentary phrase and the signatures of scores of ex-Rangers, including Caps d-man Tom Poti. It was Craig "Ziggy" Stanley, down from West Hempstead to share his Rangers' enmity with a different fanbase.

"I have no problem with the Capitals," Ziggy said. "We'll put the Dale Hunter incident behind us tonight. For tonight, we're joining forces."

By Dan Steinberg  |  April 28, 2009; 8:22 PM ET
Categories:  Caps  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Weird Caps Fans: Giant Hands
Next: Simeon Varlamov's Cream Pie


Good to finally meet you Steinz. Funny, I'm about to take a picture of these guys when I notice your shiny bald head from behind also taking their pic. Good stuff.

Posted by: Barno1 | April 28, 2009 11:22 PM | Report abuse

As I was walking out I met this Ziggy character, he was one of my favorite fans. What an amazing game!

Posted by: Ovechwin | April 28, 2009 11:58 PM | Report abuse

That Avery and Torts poster made me laugh until I work! Love the imagination the Caps fans put into tonight, even though we are classless!

Posted by: NatyBG | April 29, 2009 7:15 AM | Report abuse

Where was JC sitting? Was he into the game? I think thats great to show support to the other teams, similar to what the Caps did in the fall.

Posted by: ChillyWilly3781 | April 29, 2009 9:32 AM | Report abuse

Ziggy's an Islander fan legend... he leads the cheers against there in similar fashion to Goat here in DC. He's suffered a lot. I think he is willing to forgive the Dale Hunter incident because the Islanders won that series and despite losing Pierre Turgeon on Hunter's play, won the next round as well over the Penguins, only to lose to the Canadiens in round 3 (Some goalie named {Patrick Roy was stealling the Stanley Cup for the Habs that year, their last Cup win, by the way...)

Posted by: MikeL-Caps91 | April 29, 2009 10:03 AM | Report abuse

Hey - that's my 'Don't Water Bottle Me, Bro!" poster!!!

Sweet. :)

d-( o.o )-b


Posted by: bumperhead | April 29, 2009 10:09 AM | Report abuse

the "don't water bottle me, bro!" line is one of the funniest things I've seen in a long time. Good work bumperhead.

Posted by: Barno1 | April 29, 2009 11:59 AM | Report abuse

haha, i came up with the line, bumper was nice enough to make a sign for it and take it to the game. i'm stuck in louisiana. thanks bumper, turned out great.

Posted by: 1stpick | April 29, 2009 6:39 PM | Report abuse

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