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Great Playoff Teams and Donuts

April 27, 2011

A seldom discussed advantage of shacking up with a lady, even one that loves sports, is that occasionally you’ll get a piece of sports wisdom that your unprecedented understanding and belief in the cardinal rules of professional athletics don’t allow you to see.

“Really, I just want us to play the losers.”

The losers, indeed. Of course, when given the choice of who to face in the playoffs, you’d much prefer the team that didn’t just win a hard fought series. You also hope chocolate frosted is still there when you show up late to the box of Dunkin in the office. Great teams and powdered jelly donuts tend to withstand the test of time. Unfortunately, these are facts of life.

Despite our best wishes, the Caps are stuck in the Eastern Conference semis with the three strongest teams left alive. The big story lines definitely would have been getting some payback against Montreal or Pittsburgh. Wasn’t to be. Instead, we have Tampa, which holds some terrible playoff history for the Caps, and for me.

Taking a trip down memory lane to the Spring of 2003, I was nearing the conclusion of my proud freshman year in College Park. In 2003, fortunately for Dune, Joe and I, it wasn’t so cool to be a Caps fan, so we very easily were able to snag tickets to the now infamous Game 3 of the Caps v. Lightning first round matchup (in fact, the game, embarrassingly, wasn’t even a sellout even though the Caps had won the first two games down in Tampa).

As the game neared it’s thrilling conclusion, we bravely ventured into the lower seating bowl to grab a closer view of the action, and luckily caught Brendan Witt sending the game into overtime. Shortly after the start of the OT, though, the Caps found themselves two men down, and Vinny Lecavalier put the Lightning ahead for good, later going on to win the series rattling off 4 straight wins.

The refs needed the safety of the glass to protect themselves from the debris that rained down on the ice. I should have taken similar precautions as a 32 ounce carbonated beverage drilled me in the back, let loose from the upper level.

I learned two lessons that night.

  1. There are certain advantages to the cheap seats. Namely, safety from flying cokes.
  2. Never underestimate hockey teams from cities that are strangers to winter weather.
Regardless, Tampa has plenty of dudes that know nothing but winter, so it should be a tight, tension-filled series. I can happily report that while they shut us out twice during the tough midseason stretch of the season, we did outscore them 18-6 in the other 4 games we played.
So, ya, we can’t play a team that limped into the second round. However, we can play a team that we know plenty about, that looked sure to knock us off our perch as a three-time defending division champ, only to crumble badly down the stretch. I think the boys in Red cruise after a slow start, and take us one step closer to making this oil painting a reality (courtesy of Mister Irrelevant and Puck Daddy).
Juan’s prediction – Caps in 6.
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2 Comments leave one →
  1. The Metz permalink
    April 28, 2011 7:17 pm

    I think your blog was biased toward Dunkin’ Donuts. What about Krispy Kreme?

    Chocolate frosted and jelly are the obvious leaders, but what about Boston Cream or the Strawberry Frosted? What about the often neglected, yet simple and delicious French Cruller? Maple frosted or Marble Frosted might not be as common but have their strenghts. I think Blueberry Cake is one of my least favorite flavors.

    • April 28, 2011 7:23 pm

      Because while Krispy Kreme provides a quality donut, this is America, and America is about choice and diversity. You can keep your box of homogeneous, yet delicious, breakfast treats to yourself. Where I come from, we eat a blue-collar assorted donut box that expresses everything we know and love about this land.

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