Sunday, April 24, 2011

Game 5. We're in it to win it.

It all came down to this. Game 5. At home. With a packed arena it felt like it was do or die time. We would either win this game, win the series and sit for the next week while the Rangers would start their game of golf. Or we would lose, bring the series back to NYC, and give them some hope to keep the series alive.

For selfish reasons, I really wanted them to win this one. By winning it would mean I would get my husband for a week while the rest of the other series finished up. It meant that maybe just maybe for the next few days we could talk about something other than hockey. By winning it would mean that for just a bit, the nay sayers may shut up and actually believe in us.

That didn't mean my nerves weren't in full swing mood. The Caps came out charged and pumped. The fans were just as loud as the team was pumped. And when the puck dropped on that first period, we all knew, this was going to be a big game. To give the Rangers credit they were pumped in those first few minutes. In truth, they too had something to play for. But their steam seemed to fade out quickly, and when Green scored just minutes into the period, we let them know they were back in DC, and we were in fact a lot louder than NYC anyday. Nor wore they going to escape this town with a victory.

That goal seemed to be the doom for the Rangers. For after that, they seemed to lose their steam, quickly. If they hadn't then, Ovi's goal in the second-which was pretty sweet to see-sealed the deal. From that moment on it seemed as though they resigned themselves to the fact that they will be playing golf in the morning. It was more as if they were playing to get lucky than to win.

By the third the Caps were in full defensive mode. Sure we tried to score, but from where I sat all they had to do was hold them, play defensive and if they blew them out of the water that much more it was all just a little bonus. By this time chants of Hey Hey goodbye and Union Station were heard throughout the Verizon Center.

It was this time, just under three minutes to go in the game that I began to realize we would be winning this game. My husband would be home for Easter. He would be coming home on a normal schedule for the next week.

And I too began to yell at the top of my lungs. Not caring when the Rangers scored. I knew this was ours.

Then the final buzzer went off. The place erupted.
We were moving on.

And the Rangers are off perfecting their golf swing right about now.
Sigh. Life is good.

Well for at least a week that is.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Playoffs 2011: New York New York, the good the bad and the ugly

Sure the Caps entered the Empire State with a 2-0 lead in the series but that didn't mean we were exactly sitting pretty. Nor did it mean finishing the series was going to be anything but easy. After all, we still had to win two. And winning two, in Madison Square Garden was going to be an uphill battle.

Game 3

We shall call this this bad. Being back on home ice the Rangers were pumped. Rightly so. And they came out charging. Ready to go, the scored just about five minutes into the second, giving them the lead. Ovie would score later to tie up the game. And it looked like we had an even match. Of course with every season, comes with some controversial goal. The Rangers scored with seconds to go in the second. But did the buzzer go off before it crossed the line? After review, it was determined the time clock had expired=no goal..The Caps Nation could breath just a little easier.

But even with a little luck, the Caps couldn't pull off the win, no matter how hard they tried this game and when the final buzzer went off, we we staring at our lead cut in half.

The series was now 2-1.

Game 4

Well well well another day, another game. This one would serve to be the good and the ugly.

Lets start with the ugly. And I am just not talking about the Caps. As the Caps entered the third period down by 3, the game, to many was already over. The Rangers were sitting pretty. They had already won the game, the series tied. Right? Think again. We are the Caps, our motto this year seems to be don't give up until that final buzzer. Which explains how, after being down by 3, we soon found ourselves down by 2, then 1, and finally, tied by the end of the game. Yes, we had come back from a three goal deficit to bring the game into over time.

Ah overtime another full period of nerves and such. And all I could do is sit there and watch on my television screen hoping that by some chance we would score and win the game fast. I really didn't want the boys returning to the DC area tied.

But they didn't score, and neither did the Rangers, and so we went into double overtime. The game would come down to one goal, and who ever had enough energy to go on.

By this point the Rangers were looking tired, and while the Caps weren't looking perky themselves, they seemed to have just a little bit more steam in them. And their steam made the difference as Chimera found his way to the net, scoring big, the Caps had come back from a three goal deficit to winning the game all together and bringing the series back to DC, with a 3-1 series lead.

Game 5 is tomorrow back in DC, where we have the chance to win the series.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Keep it rolling...Game 2.

As if Wednesday's game wasn't nerve wrecking enough my mom and I decided why not, head back down to the phone booth to sit through yet another playoff game. After all, sharing tickets with the in-laws means I don't know when it may be my last game of the season.

But given the fact we won Wednesday's game 1. I went in feeling a little more at ease than I did on that day. Still these are the Rangers. And I was pretty sure they weren't going to leave quietly.

I was just hoping it wouldn't be as nerve wrecking, nail biting as it was during game 1. Just like game 1, Verizon Center was hoping, the noise in the beginning pure deafening. It was like that for the better part of the first half, it helped that the Caps were pretty dominant. And even though it remained scoreless after the buzzer went off indicating the end of the period, we all seemed pretty pumped.

Heading into the second is always dreadful with me. A couple of years ago, I even hated the second period. It always seemed to be the period that just about killed us. Still I remained hopeful that we could pull ahead and stay ahead. I watched through my hands whenever the Rangers were on the attack. Hoping, praying that we could clear it. Only breathing when they did just that.

And when we finally scored, and pulled ahead I finally relaxed. Just a bit.

Turns out, that one would be all we needed. Sure we scored in the third to make it a 2-0 lead. But that first goal dif. brought the crowd and the Caps back to life....

And by the final buzzer, we realized we now have a 2-0 series lead heading up to NY....

While we may have the two game lead.
I am pretty sure the Rangers aren't giving up just yet.

Still, bring on NY. And all the big city has to offer.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Let the race begin!

Well no one said this was going to be easy.

After all, we are the Caps, easy is not a word that seems to fit into our vocabulary.

And if last night was any indication, we are in for one heck of a ride.

My mom and I made our way down to Verizon Center early, and pumped. Ready to get the playoffs to a great start. We expected it was going to be quite a game, and one we would come up victorious on.

From the get go it was a relatively evenly matched game, though I did think the Rangers had gotten some early breaks, for we could have easily been up by three if it wasn't for that damn good goalie of theirs. Lunquist. But then again, Nuevy as he is so easily referred to as is no sloth either and is finding himself to be quite the goalie in his own right. And neither of them were about to give up anything.

When it was still scoreless come midway through the second it was looking to be a long night.

I will say if you had never been to a playoff game at the phone booth, it is insanely crazy. One can barely hear their own thoughts, and for the better part of the game, it continued to be this way.

That is until the Rangers scored, taking them up to a 1-0 game. Only thing did the crowd go alittle quiet. I mean who can blame us, this is our home. Our arena and the visiting team was up.

Things were looking a little scary, I was fully prepared to let the first game go as in the third I watched the minutes tick down...I avoided the game, paying attention to my phone, to anything other than the game and the clock. But I did look up just in time to see Ovi, score.

Or did he?

It took a minute, as the goal was under review, but in the end, it was good. And the crowd went wild again, the game tied. And as the final minutes ticked, the game tied still, we found ourselves headed into overtime,

Ofcourse this wouldn't be a Caps game without us going into overtime this season.

We waited the full fifteen minute intermission, nerves pounding. This was no regular season overtime where you were happy at times just to get a point out of it. No this was do or die the winner would walk away one up on the series, the loser down one.

And lord did I pray that winner would be us...

It took just about the full twenty minutes, or rather eighteen and some change. The Caps dominated throughout the better part of the overtime. Still both goalies were sticking to it and neither were letting anything in....until that very last ninety seconds, when Alexander Semin took reigns, fired and found the net.

Game over.
Caps up and take an early series lead.

Now, if they could only win in a little less heart attack way...

Monday, April 11, 2011

End of the regular season 2010-2011

And so this concludes another regular hockey season. If you haven't been following hockey at all, or the Caps let me recap.

The Caps pulled off some big wins during the last home stretch of the season. Not only winning the southeast division but with some help, and luck we also managed to find ourselves sitting at the top of the Eastern Conference, allowing and giving us home ice advantage to at least the Stanley Cup finals should we make it there.

Thats right, this could be the year. Then again my husband has said this for the past several years in a row now. Our journey towards the cup begins on Wednesday where we will be playing the Rangers. We should be able to win the series and advance. But then again we all said the same thing about last years Canadians. And we all know how that one turned out.

The funny thing about the whole end of the regular season, a few months ago we went through that losing streak, even myself doubted if just for a moment, that we wouldn't be making it in. That things were looking pretty bad. Twitter world went up on a buzz with thoughts that Bruce should be fired, Ovi should be benched and that the entire organization should be redone. I thankfully knew they would turn it around but so many people didn't.

And now here we are two days away from the beginning of another playoff season. I can already feel the anxiety start.

Of course making it into the playoffs does have its drawbacks as well. More so in my marriage than the team. Don't get me wrong. I love playoffs, but I know the longer they go on the longer I am a widow. The longer my husband will be traveling with them. The longer my son goes without seeing his father on a daily basis. I mean I would never wish them to lose, especially so early on. But making it into the playoffs, makes the season that much longer.

And when we lose. Yeah I lose. The household loses.

It also makes for a stressful time in the year. We have several nasty thoughts, plenty of arguments. As long as the Caps are doing well during the playoffs. -ie we are winning the series-then its all great. But when we lose. Man you better pull out some of that armor. Last year was pretty much a war zone.

So maybe just maybe this may be the year.
Because it would make for a hell of a lot better summer if they do.

So bring on the playoffs! And lets Rock the Red

Sunday, April 3, 2011

The secret guilt

About two months ago, right about the time I went into the hospital for the first time my husband Andy was offered an opportunity of a lifetime. One that he had dreamt about for most of his career with the Caps. He would be traveling with the team since his coworker and best buddy at the office decided to take a job working for the NHL itself.

OK maybe offered isn't quite the right word. Because in truth, he actually volunteered to step in while they interviewed and figured out what they wanted to do. He told them however that he wasn't too interested in taking over the position for he had a family, and a life and traveling for the away games, as well as working the home games would be too much.

But of course this was before he actually started traveling, and he soon found that he enjoyed it. He enjoyed knowing the players, having them know who he is and have conversations with them. He enjoyed seeing the other venues, the sites and the arenas that the other teams played in. Before I knew it he found himself debating whether he was going to throw his hat into the mix of names and applicants to take over his best buds once position.

During the time he was away, I was recovering from my first surgery. I listened as any wife would, encouraging him to live out his dream, because what kind of person would I be if I stopped him from at least attempting to live it out. Though all the while, I was fighting my own mixed of emotions. I was thrilled for his opportunity, and yet scared of what it was going to do to us. There are reasons, marriages in the sports entertainment world fail more often than they succeed. Him traveling would mean more responsibility for me. It meant being both a mom and a dad during hockey season. It meant I would have to learn how to be ok with not seeing my husband from August to June, hold my marriage together and still make myself happy.

A tall order if you asked me. I was afraid this would mean the end of us, deep down I was. And while my husband was trying to figure out what he wanted I began to think about what I wanted, I would still be in school, and would not be willing to give that up. I still wanted to be able to have some me time. I planned if nothing more, than in my head. Planned on for the just in case.

I recovered while he was away. And just as I was getting better. I had a relapse, landed back in the hospital and had a second surgery. Andy was on the road during the second go around. He came home the day after. With still no word he continued to do his thing, travel see me, attend the home games. But he was able to miss a week while I was in the hospital, kind of shock and a nice thing at the same time.He was also able to get away for a preplanned vacation that I threatened he would and could not back out of. We waited on word of what the company and the Caps where going to do.

And then word came. Just this week, Friday to be exact. They had chosen someone else. My husband was heartbroken. And while a part of me was thrilled that I would get my husband back, my marriage may just be saved and our family together again, at the same time my own heart broke. Did I have a part in Andy's not getting the job? Did I somehow wish this upon him? Did my recent stints in the hospital have anything to do his not getting the job? I suddenly felt extremely guilty for the whole thing....

Andy assured me I had nothing to do with it, claiming that he talked to one of the big bosses and they may still need him to travel here and there and so there still is hope. He may not have gotten the position, but it was and is not the end of the road.

Still even as I write this, I have my doubts and am feeling like one extremely guilty wife.
Because while I am a bit sad that he didn't get it.
There is a part of me that is a bit relieved as well.