The Caps' Family and Friends Are Nervous
The Capitals all have family and friends. Their family and friends are all watching these playoff games. And while watching these playoff games, they're all feeling sort of like you, as yet another evening heads into the third period with a one-goal differential, and then into overtime. You know, half bad-quesadilla queasy, half first-day-of-Little-League excited, covered with strange science-teacher sweat spots and unusual gym-class odors, pulse racing like Paula Abdul after a staged Idol performance, nibbling nails worse than a half-starved LeBron James.
"I got a lot of, 'You almost gave me a heart attack last night,' you know?" Matt Bradley said today. "My dad and my aunt and uncle were at the game last night, so they got to see it first hand. My dad said I almost gave him a heart attack."
"I talked to both my parents after the game," said David Steckel, the Game
5 6 hero. "They were ecstatic. They were at home watching with a bunch of friends. They said try not to take this game into overtime any more, our hearts can't take it."
A minor-league friend of Mike Green's has been in D.C. from Calgary for about a week, following the series in-person.
"And he said he can't believe how stressed he is about it," Green said. "He plays, but as a fan, like watching? He said he can't take it. On the ice, you have a sense of what's going on, momentum and whatnot. And as a fan you don't really know what's going on out there."
On the ice, though, you have enough responsibilities that the nerves are forgotten. No faux-heart attacks there.
"You know what, I think it's worse for you guys," Brooks Laich said. "For us, we have control over it. We're involved in the game. But then just watching the highlights this morning, what a hockey game....Talked to my parents last night and my brother, he said he was up and out of the couch when we scored."
"You don't have time to be nervous," Bruce Boudreau said. "You're too busy thinking, 'What do I have to do to make changes, do I have to switch the lines, do I quit matching, do I continue matching?' There's not a lot of time to be nervous unless you get a lead and you're trying to go through the last eight minutes or so with a lead, and any time Sidney or any of them have the puck you're nervous."
Anyhow, nerves or not, the family and friends have been at the games. Steckel's parents went to Games 1 and 2. Bradley, as mentioned, had family in Pittsburgh; "Obviously they were very happy and they could walk out with their heads up, with Caps paraphernalia on, out of a Pittsburgh arena," he said. "I told them not to get too decked out, I didn't want them to get hurt."
Alex Ovechkin has been trying to score a nice set-up for his people on Wednesday night. Trying and failing, thus far.
"Right now I try to order box for my family and my friends and you can't find it, so probably everything's sold out," he said. "Box is problem because lots of rich people here in Washington and now they're crazy about hockey."
Laich's brother watched the game in Saskatchewan, but not for Game 7.
"I actually just booked him a flight this morning," Laich said. "He sent me a text last night saying, 'I have to come.' I booked him a flight this morning and he leaves at 5 a.m. tomorrow morning. He doesn't care where he sits. Wherever the seats are, he'll be probably drinking a beer, enjoying the game. He'll be the number one fan for sure."
Meanwhile, other people will be watching the game on television, feeling the onset of make-believe heart disease, or whatever you want to call it.
"it's fabulous for our game," Boudreau said. "I mean, we're getting media attention, our game is getting media attention that it's never gotten before, in areas that it's never been. For the casual observer, tomorrow, people are gonna be turning on the TV just to see portions of it. And we're hoping they get hooked."
(One more excellent quote: Bradley, on this series: "I think it's great for the game, but as far as it goes for us, there's no team that we'd rather beat more than Pittsburgh, especially in a Game 7 at home.")
(Fine, one more. Here's Ovechkin, when asked if he follows news about himself.
"All the time," he said. "A lot. I think, 'Wow, like, it's me.' It's good, so why not? I am who I am, so if I am in this position why can I not read news about me, what you guys write about me, what they say about me? So I love this kind of stuff.")
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