At my first job in the DMV (DC-MD-VA metropolitan area), I had a female coworker who was a diehard Washington Capitals fan. The job was an hour from DC. Pam was in her 40s and lived near our office. Pam worked either 6 am to 2 pm or 7 am to 3 pm by choice. I preferred the good ol' 9 to 5.
On occasion, I would walk into the office in the morning and Pam would be at her desk looking exhausted. Come to find out Pam was going to the Capitals home games. She would drive two hours after work, due to traffic, and after the games, up to an hour and a half to return home. That April was particularly rough on her. The Caps made the playoffs but eventually lost in overtime of game seven at home. Pam was there to witness the heartbreak.
The heartbreaks kept on coming:
2007–08 Lost series to Philadelphia Flyers, 3–4
2008–09 Lost series to Pittsburgh Penguins, 3–4
2009–10 Lost series to Montreal Canadiens, 3–4
2010–11 Lost series to Tampa Bay Lightning, 0–4
2011–12 Lost series to New York Rangers, 3–4
2012–13 Lost series to New York Rangers, 3–4
2013–14 Did not make playoffs
2014–15 Lost series to New York Rangers, 3–4
2015–16 Lost series to Pittsburgh Penguins, 2–4
2016–17 Lost series to Pittsburgh Penguins, 3–4
Not being a huge hockey fan, I'd attend an occasional preseason/regular season game and watch the playoffs on TV. Every year was the same. The Caps would have a good regular season but they kept losing very close series in the playoffs. Until this year.
After trailing 2-0 to the Columbus Blue Jackets in the first round, the Caps came all the way back and won the series 4–2. In the second round, they faced their arch-nemesis the Pittsburgh Penguins. I'm not sure how many fans truly believed that the Caps could get past the two-time defending champions. But they did, winning the series 4–2. In the conference finals, the Caps went down 3-2 to the Tampa Bay Lightning and it looked like the season might end like all the others. But au contraire, the Caps fought on, literally. Tom Wilson got into an epic fist fight with Braydon Coburn in game 7. Both Wilson and the Caps came out victorious!
The only team left standing in the Caps way were the newly formed Vegas Golden Knights. That's right, not the Las Vegas Golden Knights but just Vegas. Vegas in general always sounds more dramatic than it really is. It was the same with the Golden Knights as they only managed to win one game in the series.
By winning game five, the Washington Capitals became the champions! It didn't take me long to think of my ex-coworker Pam and imagine how happy she is. The Caps held a parade yesterday in DC and I managed to stop by for a bit.
After twenty five years, Washington DC can again call itself a city of champions!