How Caps-Rangers is Like Wiz-Cavs
I've only covered a few best-of-seven playoff series in my blogging life, but I'm starting to wonder whether they aren't all glorious feasts filled with overflowing platters of blog-worthy developments. Some of the veteran reporters here at Verizon Center are rolling their eyes at the "off-ice distractions," and Ted Leonsis is happy we can put all that behind us, but as you might have guessed, I think much of this has been marvelous entertainment. Don't get me wrong, the hockey's swell too, but all the rest of it (minus one serious injury) helps pass the time between games, boosts the anticipation up another level or two and leads to permanent memories, which are rare to come by in this business.
I've often written about how ridiculously entertaining it was to cover last year's six-game series between the Wiz and the Cavs. This one has possibly been better. ESPN.com's Pierre LeBrun called it "a strange and wacky series," and there are some striking similarities to last year.
* Both series featured staggering momentum shifts. The Wiz, facing elimination, on the road, against an unbeatable force, somehow win Game 5 a year ago? The Caps, stymied repeatedly by a world-class goalie and facing elimination, somehow explode for nine goals in two games?
* Both series will be decided at Verizon Center.
* For both final games, the home team will be missing an offensively challenged player due to an unpopular league-mandated suspension for striking an opposing player in the head: Darius Songaila last year, Donald Brashear this year. Regardless of your feelings on the suspension, here's hoping for a few Free Donald signs, in last year's Free Darius tradition.
* Both series featured the most dominant player in their respective sports, and in both cases, that player was booed every time he touched the ball or puck in the visiting arena. (LeBron and Ovie, obviously.)
* Both series caused D.C. fans to work up huge amounts of enmity toward the visiting head coach: Mike Brown for his incessant defense of LeBron a year ago, and John Tortorella for obvious reasons this time around.
* Both series featured the D.C. team in crazy haircuts (Caron Butler shaved "Tough Juice" into his head, Ovie dyed his hair red) and mohawks (DeShawn Stevenson and Andray Blatche last year, Mike Green this year.)
* Both series featured stuff so bizarre you just couldn't believe it was happening. Last year, we had Soulja Boy sitting court-side and waving his hand in front of his head, and Jay Z recording anti-DeShawn diss tracks. This year, we have Alex Ovechkin getting kicked out of the Rangers' pre-game skate, ESPN reporting false personnel information based on a call from someone claiming to work for The Post, the water-bottle-toss and head coach suspension, the Dear Gary letter and the biting accusation.
Of course, in D.C., all that entertainment a year ago wound up as just some sad scribbles in the margins of another wasted season. But the Wizards were never supposed to beat the Cavs, so some of the joy came back. This time around, that wouldn't be the case.
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