The Oh No :( Caps Fan
This series feels like it began when Petr Nedved was still a frisky teenager, and it's easy to forget some of the earlier storylines. Internet death "threats." Hat trick protests. Yanni. Seems like so long ago.
Then there's this one: after Kris Letang's tipped overtime slapper won Game 3 for the Penguins and set this thing on the course for seven games, one Capitals fan in particular became a 24-hour Internet star. Versus showed his open-mouth blank-eyed stare for something like seven seconds, and Pittsburgh partisans pounced. His face was set to Simple Plan's "How Could This Happen to Me" on YTMND. It was substituted for the Caps logo on The Pens Blog. Someone photoshopped him and Ovechkin together at the White House. Pens fans put his mug on their Facebook pages and e-mailed the image to their friends.
"It kind of took a life of its own there," said the fan, 27-year old Wes DeLancey. "After the game, my phone just started exploding. I had text messages, my entire inbox was filled up. They said the shock and awe look on my face after the game kind of said it all."
It turns out that Wes actually works for the team as a regional sales manager in the ticket office, and was one of the 60 or so team employees who road-tripped to lovely Pittsburgh for Game 3. It also turns out that he's married to a woman from Pittsburgh who comes from a family of Penguins fans. His brother-in-law randomly received an e-mail from a fellow fan with Wes's image attached. He became extremely popular among other in-laws, representing as he did the beginning of the Pens' comeback.
"Sort of the face of defeat of the franchise there for a good 24 hours," Wes joked. "I guess it was pretty comical. Everybody up there liked me until [Game 6], now there's just a lot of hatred."
As for the expression on his face, Wes said he looked away for a brief second, and missed the Letang goal. He was trying to watch the replay on the microscopic "big" screen in Mellon Arena, trying to see how the puck had glanced off Shaone Morrisonn, when the Versus folks caught him.
"That's where the kind of shocked look came from," he explained. "I was just trying to see what happened. I was just kind of confused. I knew it deflected, and I wanted to see where it deflected off of Mo, what happened."
Anyhow, while Wes has only worked for the team for two years, he's a lifelong Caps fan, having moved to Annapolis from lovely Erie, Pa. He actually attended the four-overtime loss to the Penguins in '96 as a fan; "probably had the same look at that game, too," he said.
Tonight, he'll wear his red suit and his red bow tie, and then just watch like the rest of us to see what happens. If the Caps lose, shock and awe will no doubt return. And if they win?
"The celebration will begin," he said. "Pure ecstasy. One big smile from ear to ear. The look of Stick it to you, Pittsburgh, pretty much."
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