When I was growing up, there was a park at the bottom of the hill below my house. It's called Clair Park, and it's still there, as a matter of fact. A few of us spent hundreds, probably thousands of hours there, playing roller hockey in the summers, sledding and having snowball fights in the winters, and making chlorine bombs whenever we had enough bottles, rubbing alcohol, and chlorine pucks. If you're reading this and you're 12, I suggest giving it a try. The hockey and sledding, not the chlorine. I would never EVER suggest that someone does that. Of course, it's fun, scientific, and amusingly dangerous, but seriously kids, DON'T do it.
No, definitely do it. It's awesome.
One day, as we walked toward the park with our hockey stuff, we saw what appeared to be a man sleeping in the grass by the park. He looked to be in a bad way. We assumed he was a homeless person, which doesn't really make sense in Upper St Clair. Four years of college have taught me that he was just hung over.
The point of this story is that this guy was a lot like the Washington Capitals. The night before, around 10 p.m, he thought he was the king of the world. The beer or cheap vodka was coursing through his system, and he could do anything. He could even successfully convince that hot chick in the corner to go home with him. By 11, everything had gone south.
He walked up to the girl, and introduced himself in a slurring voice, and offered her a shot or two. She obliged, and the two hit it off nicely. They probably began making out, oblivious to the fact that everyone else around them was laughing at the guy. They knew something he didn't.
The guy realized that he just couldn't get home that night, so he and the girl slipped off to his friend's room to engage in some "extracurricular activity". At 11:45, he felt something odd, and realized something was wrong. This woman was a transvestite.
The fellow ran out of the room screaming, fell, smacked his head on a table, and vomited uncontrollably on the floor, a cascading flow of partially digested vodka and pizza, coloring the kitchen floor a vibrant shade of reddish gray. He then stumbled out of the house, walked across the street, and fell asleep on the grass at the park, a place that reminded him of an easier, more carefree time.
The Washington Capitals are that guy. Every year, they seem to believe they stand a chance at winning the Stanley Cup. They do well until it counts, as everyone around them laughs, knowing that the inevitable will arrive, and they will fail to achieve success. More often than not, the transvestite from the story ends up being an unbeatable goaltender such as Jaroslav Halak or an overpowering offense led by Sidney Crosby. Rinse, wash, repeat. It happens every year until finally, the Capitals fall asleep on the proverbial grass at the park, or in their case, a golf course in Northern Virginia.
But not this year. This year, they just suck.