Caps feel bad for the city
Like I wrote on Tuesday, it's been a bad 12 months for D.C. sports. Reader John says it's even worse if you extend it to 13 months:
5 teams, 4 fired head coaches, 3 last place divisional finishes, 2 fired general managers, 1 deceased owner.
Yeah, that's bad. As D.C. Landing Strip noted, the Celtics, Red Sox and Bruins all won on the same day this week. The equivalent D.C. trio hasn't accomplished that feat in more than four years.
Anyhow, the Caps recognized that this was a bad time for the city, and that they were supposed to provide a postseason respite, and that they didn't.
"I think it was ingrained in everybody that we were going to win," Bruce Boudreau said last week. "This was our year. It finally got to the point, and we wanted to say that the culture in Washington was thinking hockey and everybody you see on the street was talking about this is your year. We're more upset that we have so many great fans that we wanted them to continue to be happy. We wanted to win it for them as much as we wanted to win it for us. So we're disappointed for the whole area because we've grown this into a hockey area and we want it to stay that."
"I feel bad for the city right now, for D.C.," Nicklas Backstrom said. "The fans have been supporting us all year and we can't do better for them."
Then there's the owner, Ted Leonsis; during an appearance on Sirius XM's NHL Home Ice this week, he said "the life and air was sucked out of this city with this loss, and it made the pain doubly felt."
Leonsis also taped an hour-long interview with C-SPAN's "Q&A" program just before Game 7; the interview will air this Sunday at 8. Some of this you've read before, but it was still interesting to see his thoughts on "how important a sports team is to the psyche of your community," as he put it.
"Suddenly, when the Redskins [won] on Sunday, Monday there's a happy day in Washington, D.C., that our team has been doing so well," Leonsis said. "And I think that's a big responsibility. I don't just want our team to make the playoffs, I don't even want our team just to win a Stanley Cup, I want to make millions and millions of lifelong memories between fathers and sons and mothers and daughters. I want immortality for our team, you get your name etched in the Stanley Cup. Nothing brings a city closer together than a winning sports.
"And I grew up in New York in the '60s, I'm an only child and my dad used to take me to the Jets games. And I remember the Jets winning the Super Bowl with Joe Namath, and my dad and I watching that game on TV and hugging and crying.
"And now we fast-forward 40 years, my father passed away a couple of years ago. And last November, the Colts and the Jets were playing again in the playoffs. And on the NFL channel, they were running that Super Bowl. And I was on the treadmill exercising and I was watching the game, and I had to get off the treadmill, the memories of me and my dad, my growing up, holding his hand walking into that stadium just came flooding back to me. And it was very humbling because that's the business I'm in. I'm in a business when you own a sports team, where you can create a memory that 40 years later, to make a grown man cry.
"And so I view owning a sports team - it's a public trust. You have the psychological well-being of millions of people in the palm of your hand. And I think it's no different than being a politician that being a mayor - I was mayor of my town in Florida for a while, and you feel that you're there to represent a large collection of people and hold the mirror up to them. And that's what I think owning a sports team is all about."
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