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The Caps' Family and Friends Are Nervous


Not nervous. (By Toni L. Sandys - TWP)


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.")

By Dan Steinberg  |  May 12, 2009; 1:08 PM ET
Categories:  Caps  
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Comments

Finally a bunch of players that play for Washington that want to beat the Pens... Thank you Brads!!! and all the Caps... I have not heard that in 26 years of following this team... LOVE IT

Posted by: darrylrbaker | May 12, 2009 1:40 PM | Report abuse

Steckel is the game 6 hero, not game 5. He missed the empty net in OT in game 5.

Posted by: FlyersSuck | May 12, 2009 1:40 PM | Report abuse

I would like a little Ovechkin quote machine to keep with me at all times.

Posted by: boutros23 | May 12, 2009 1:57 PM | Report abuse

I am actually sad that I won't be able to see the game tomorrow night, even though I am not a hardcore hockey fan by any measure.

I guess CSN has the exclusive rights, but considering the excitement around it, I'm a bit surprised none of the local broadcast TV stations have picked it up. (Yeah, I get old-school broadcast television only, so no CSN for me. And having a one-year-old at home, no going to sports bars either. :-)

Posted by: duffin_j | May 12, 2009 2:55 PM | Report abuse

So, Dan, now that I have read your chat transcipt and have learned that you do not enjoy writing these human-interest entries about the Caps and having to communicate with "too many ESL speakers," and you feel as though this "has nothing to do with what I am supposed to be doing" -- I, in turn, no longer enjoy reading the Sports Bog.

Posted by: CapsChick | May 12, 2009 4:01 PM | Report abuse

Hmm, maybe you misinterpreted what Dan was talking about on that chat. I think he meant that what he tries to do in the Bog (i.e. human-interest stories and items of wackiness in sports) have been hard for him to accomplish with the Capitals, in part because their ESL speakers don't always give him good quotes (Ovie being a clear exception to that), and in part because some Caps players (native English speakers or not) don't enjoy clowning for the media or even would prefer to throttle the life from Dan's body than play along with his "silly sports shtick".

If you see what I mean.

Which maybe you don't.

Posted by: duffin_j | May 12, 2009 4:31 PM | Report abuse

Wow, @CapsChick, two days in a row you're mad at me. Maybe I phrased that badly--remember, I'm answering a question every three minutes--but I don't think that's what I meant at all.

The question is why my Caps material isn't as strong as my Wizards and Skins material. Maybe you never read that stuff, but it was probably better. I've never had a good idea of why that stuff was better (i.e. more entertaining), but some guesses:

* There are a higher percentage of guys I can't talk to on the Caps, or at least with any humor (Varlamov, Semin, Backstrom is reluctant to go with humor, Kozlov as well). Humor is an extremely hard thing to pull off in a second language. That's what I meant with the ESL thing.

* The "what I'm supposed to be doing" thing meant "doing different stuff from the beat writers." We already pay Tarik to do hardcore hockey stuff. I've found it easier to do the more offbeat stuff with other teams. Doesn't mean I haven't tried with the Caps, or won't continue to try.

* I don't think I ever said I don't enjoy it. I can decide to go wherever I want and do whatever I want; if I didn't enjoy this, I wouldn't have written 113 consecutive items tagged "Caps." I do find it harder to get humor/offbeat from this team, and I've said that many many times, but that's not an indictment on anything. That's just the way it is. The Caps are paid to win hockey games, not to provide blog items. I never resent them for not wanting to be goofy like Fred Smoot or Gilbert Arenas, but it does make my stuff a bit less good.

Posted by: DanSteinberg1 | May 12, 2009 4:43 PM | Report abuse

Great article. Game 6 was awesome! I was one of those fans in the crowd along with Brads family ready to have a heart attack, especially when BL21 went into the sin bin with 2 minutes left in the game. Keep up the great work!

Posted by: Tracy2117 | May 12, 2009 8:55 PM | Report abuse

I can only imagine what the families are going through. In the first period of game 6 my wife said "she wouldn't go to game 7" because it was too stressful. At home she can walk away from the game for a minute or two. Of course, my 4 yr. old son won't let her turn the game off.

Posted by: ds_kelly | May 13, 2009 9:15 AM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
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