The Caps have won the Presidents’ Trophy and they’ve got the merch to prove it. None of this should be a surprise, yet why do I feel so uneasy?
Maybe it’s the idea that crates of these shirts have been sitting in storage in the bowels of Verizon Center for weeks as the Caps’ winsome attitude eroded. What if a couple cardboard boxes of beefy tees were stacked in front of Philipp Grubauer’s stall on Saturday? What if proximity to these alone was what caused Grubi to put up that .862 save percentage?
Oh, that’s a harrowing thought.
Does the mere existence of the Men’s Washington Capitals ’47 Red 2016 Presidents’ Cup Flanker Locker Room T-Shirt comprise a jinx? Can you even jinx a regular-season title that we’ve all seen coming for three months? Is unfair of me to associate this lovely shirt commemorating an important accomplishment with the specter of suffering to come?
Yes, Yes, and No are the correct answers.
This 60/40 poly-cotton blend brings with it a temporary reality distortion field. For now you will think you look cool (you actually do) and that you’re supporting a team that is great (you are and they really are).
But something tells me it won’t last and that something is called people on Facebook. They say that this shirt will one day make you feel queasy, like when you ate five deviled eggs and drank two cans of Dr Pepper at your family’s Easter Sunday.
What if the Capitals lose – dramatically, as they are wont to do – in the playoffs? What will this shirt mean to you then? How will this image make you feel in late June?
And who the hell even is this guy? He looks like if Steve Dangle skipped leg day for a year and bought Aveeno skin lotion by the crate. That squinch– is it confidence or smugness? Is it the look of pride comething before a fall?
We’re all gonna look like jerks if this goes bad, and it’s all we can think about: that 16-team, winner-take-all tournament starting a couple weeks. Fifteen of those teams will leave empty handed and itchy-faced. Why are we so certain the Caps will be among them?
Heck, I don’t know, man. Chill out, me.
Look at what they’ve accomplished. They’ve been positively dominant.
Kill your anxiety. For now. Kill it. Stuff it deep down. Down where you memorized how many shots Semin took without scoring in 2010 (44). Down where you stored the number of goals Michal Neuvirth allowed the Bolts in 2011’s four-game sweep (15). Down where you keep the penalties Mike Green got in the second period of game seven last year (a tripping and a cross-check, 3 freaking minutes apart wegwwefwegbh4egweg).
Alright, stop. Let us not spoil this Good Thing. The Capitals have won the Presidents’ Trophy. They are the most successful team in the regular season. Bravo. Sincerely.
This title is not a curse. Eight of the Caps’ 29 predecessors have gone on to win the Stanley Cup. That doesn’t sound like much until you consider that 435 other teams went to those playoffs and just 21 out of them brought home the Cup.
The trophy and shirt doesn’t mean the Caps are cursed. It doesn’t mean they’re choking dogs. It doesn’t mean they’re not built for playoff success. It means they were real good this season. That’s all.
I’m gonna try to enjoy it. Maybe I’ll feel embarrassed over this six months from now. But maybe I won’t. That’s sports. Let’s do it.
Russian Machine Never Breaks is not associated with the Washington Capitals; Monumental Sports, the NHL, or its properties. Not even a little bit.
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