I can't possibly explain what happened any better than John Sexton did for the New York Times:
The buzz went dead last night, and the Rangers, although they didn't go quietly, went into yet one more tenure of springtime unemployment when John Druce, the no-name who had become a nemesis, deflected in a goal 6 minutes 48 seconds into overtime to give the Washington Capitals a 2-1 victory and the right to represent the Patrick Division in the Wales Conference final.The loss extended the Ranger curse to 50 years and Druce would finish the spring with 14 goals in 15 playoff games as the Caps would lose to the Bruins, who lost to Messier and the Oilers for the Cup. I saw all of the DC sights, and all I remember is John Druce.
Before the Buffalo series two years back, I recall Sean Avery saying he was 'thinking of reasons to hate' the Sabres or something to that effect. So why should we hate these Caps? Here are some reasons:
1. Tom Poti. Yes, he is questionable to play in Game 1 but his very existence in the league makes me seethe with anger. Poti sucks. He's terrible. Useless, clueless, terrible. That simple. I hate you Tom Poti! Love, Scotty Hockey
2. Ovechkin's celebration. Yes, he hit the 50 goal mark but it isn't like he never reached it before. Instead he jumped up and down like an idiot for the first goal against a bad opponent with a rookie goaltender. I have no problem with him going nuts jumping into the glass on big goals and all that but this was too much and frankly a disgrace to the game. The true greats of the game never celebrated like that, there is simply no need for it.
3. Washington's bandwagon fans. I went down to DC for a Ovechkin/Crosby game at the Verizon Center in December 2006. The building was far from capacity and it seemed like the majority of the fans were rooting for Pittsburgh. It was pathetic (as was the result, the Caps blew a 4-0 lead to lose 5-4 in a shootout - sound familiar?). And now being a Cap fan is in vogue? Weak.
4. Donald Brashear. Is there a lower-brow goon in the league? While Ovechkin may look like a caveman, Brashear acts like one. The neanderthal has no talent and is exactly the kind of goon who needs to be shoved out of the sport. By the way, I watched that Boston/Vancouver game and Brash was cheap-shotting Bruins all game. Instead of taking what he deserved, he kept dodging Marty McSorley and Marty just simply lost it. I'm not defending Marty's swing, I'm just saying that Brash deserved a beating and was too cowardly to take it. At least he answered the bell when Shanny came calling.
5. Hell, the rest of the team is made up of girlie men who can't fight. Ah, January 3rd, what a night that was. Not only did the captain of the Caps get knocked out by Wade Redden (!!!!) but it was also the evening of the toddler tantrum of Alex Semin.
6. Michael Nylander. If Nylander wasn't greedy, who knows what would have happened in New York last year. We may not be saddled with Gomez and Drury for eternity. Jagr might not have sulked for so long and the Blueshirts would have been in a better position in the playoffs. And they may have gone farther than falling at the feet of Penguins ...
7. Ted Leonsis. The Washington owner seems cool despite being filthy rich and he embraces bloggers. Doesn't he know that owners are supposed to be spoiled rich kids who ignore the fans, allow incompetence and sexual harassment while treating their team like an asset and nothing more?
8. Sergei Fedorov. The former Stanley Cup champion Red Wing had Anna Kournikova before she was dirty. Yeah, I guess jealousy is a good breeding ground for hatred.
9. Jose Theodore dated Paris Hilton. This isn't jealousy but disgust. Dude, sloppy seconds just doesn't come close ... gross.
10. The sheer number of possible John Druces on the current caps lineup. The underrated Brooks Laich, the underachieving Eric Fehr, the old Viktor Kozlov or my buddy Eric's pick, Tomas Fleischmann. Let's hope that none of them pick up the mantle and Druce remains a (terrible) name from the past.
I'm sure there are more reasons to hate Washington and I'm sure more will come to pass as the series starts up. As usual, I will have my postgame recaps but I won't have Peepin' Foes as you all know the names already. For the best of the opposition blogs, look no further than Japer's Rink. JP does a brilliant job on his blog and beat me to the punch on several topics, including the transaction history (ya still gotta laugh at Anson Carter for Jagr).
So let's get down to it, what's going to happen, who will win? As much as the momentum swings towards DC, the playoffs are a new season entirely and the Caps don't have the class, experience or goaltending that the Rangers do so Blueshirts in six. But if the Rangers don't at least split the first two games, the odds are not so good for a MSG miracle. But you never know, that is why they play the games and anything can happen in the postseason so let's go Rangers!!!