The 2018-19 Caps are dead and gone, forcing us all to reckon with a grim reality and an impossible question: who do we support now?
Look, I’m going to be straight with you. What isn’t there to love about the Colorado Avalanche? Setting aside the fact that they have one of the most dynamic and exciting teams to watch play in the NHL — and you can fight me on that one — they’re also a complete and utter delight off the ice.
We mic’d up Tyson Barrie…
And it went nothing like we expected.
— x- Colorado Avalanche (@Avalanche) April 23, 2019
Their captain, Gabe Landeskog, frequently looks. like. that. Landeskog made Erik Johnson and Tyson Barrie fight for his love through their knowledge of Sweden. Erik Johnson owns several horses, including one named for his captain, Landeskog, and also one called Biz Nasty. They have the second-hottest Wilson in the NHL. Landeskog and Barrie wrote each other Valentine’s cards and read them to one another. They gave rookie Tyson Jost — who is color blind — corrective glasses, and I defy you not to cry about it.
In fact, just follow their social media, which is the best NHL twitter account by a long, long way. They have a helpful thread for any other bandwagoners, and are posting playoff polaroids while they’re still in the race for the Cup.
Oh, and they also gave Philip Grubauer a new home and love him just as much as the Caps did, which is everything that he deserves and more.
Runner-up: The Dallas Stars. I kind of just want Jamie Benn and Tyler Seguin to have nice things? Especially after all of that nonsense with Jim Lites earlier in the season. Plus, they have team cow. (I refuse to accept that it was an April Fool’s joke. It was REAL TO ME.)
— b. (@youripides) April 25, 2019
Runner-up: The Capitals DON’T @ ME I’M NOT OVER IT YET. (But when I am over it, if the Sharks take the series, I’ll be rooting for Jumbo Joe Thornton and Brent Burns because of that time they were naked in ESPN’s The Body issue and also because they deserve it.)
For my team, I want one that’s provided some crazy drama this season but are also mega-talented and have maybe been underperforming until the right time. So who better than the Dallas Stars?
Since Jim Lites came out with his “f*cking horse-sh*t” comments in December, the Stars went 24-17-3, and rookie head coach Jim Montgomery successfully prepped his team against one of the best home teams in the league in the Nashville Predators. Tyler Seguin, Jamie Benn, and Alexander Radulov have been clutch, Ben Bishop is finally giving Dallas the goaltending it so desperately needed (remember the combo of Kari Lehtonen and Antti Niemi??), and John Klingberg has been a superb role model for rookie defender Miro Heiskanen.
On top of all this, they may or may not have a TEAM COW, which screams legitimate bandwagon. Add some horses in the back, and I’ll gladly come aboard.
GOT THE HORSES IN THE BACK pic.twitter.com/g6Qut8Po0J
— Dallas Stars (@DallasStars) April 11, 2019
Runner-up: San Jose Sharks. I just want Joe Thornton to win a gosh darn Cup and go out Ray Bourque style for sentimentality. How can I root against Caps west??!
I bandwagoned the San Jose Sharks hard when they made it to the Stanley Cup Final in 2016. They immediately became my west coast team and I’ve been supporting them since. This is a very easy pick for me, and while I can make an argument to support mostly every player on their roster I will make it simple and pick Joe Thornton.
Jumbo isn’t getting any younger and his time to win a Cup is dwindling but that isn’t the only reason why you should root to see that beard hold up the Cup in June. This season, Thornton became only the seventh player in NHL history to score 400 goals, have 1,000 assists, and play in 1,500 games. He has torn his ACL in both knees, and he is still a freaking rockstar.
For anything, the Sharks have to win one for Jumbo. And, maybe we will even see him score four goals.
The Sharks have reminded me of the Caps for a long time, especially when it comes to things such as overdramatic playoff flame-outs. They deserve a year where all the bounces go their way for once (like it did for the Caps last year), so I’m going with San Jose. Plus, I’d really love to see Thornton finally win the Cup.
Runners-up: Colorado and Boston (I GUESS) because of Grubi and Jojo, respectively.
I know, I know. They just ousted the Caps, but I still really like this team.
Maybe not so much Martinook and Foegele, boo on their asses, but definitely Aho, Williams, and Hamilton. The Canes generate so much offense that they are fun to watch even when they’re not mugging for fans after the final buzzer. And don’t get me wrong, I liked the storm surges too. And as skeptical as I was about Rod Brind’Amour last summer and how much hiring smacked of Oilers-style nostalgia, he’s got a real system in place. Plus his boys are in darn good shape. There’s just so much creativity and aggression and talent on this team; I’d like to see them succeed.
— Carolina Hurricanes (@NHLCanes) April 25, 2019
Runner-up: Columbus Blue Jackets. I love how Jarmo freaking went for it at the deadline. NHL GMs are usually rewarded for being conservative and punished for being bold. A change there would be welcome.
As many of you know, I’m a masochist. If the Washington Capitals aren’t going to win the Stanley Cup, I like to embrace the Full Pain Scenario. Many of you likely picked up this character trait of mine in years past when I picked Filip Forsberg’s Nashville Predators to defeat the Martin Erat-less Washington Capitals in the Stanley Cup Final year after year. And this season, I have a new bandwagon team: the New York Islanders.
The New York Islanders on paper aren’t very good. They’re Tavares-less, their goalies seem meh, and they pay more money for fourth-line players than other teams do for top six talent. But somehow, Barry Trotz has gotten this rag-tag team of misfits to use their speed and adhere to his system almost better than the Capitals did during most of last year’s regular season. The Isles were slated to miss the playoffs. They almost won the division. It’s crazy.
The thing I’m impressed with most is the goaltending. If the Islanders’ performance in net wasn’t evidence enough, Mitch Korn is one of the greatest hockey coaches (head or assistant) of all-time. He deserves to be put in the Hall of Fame in his first year eligible.
I’m rooting for Barry Trotz. I’m rooting for Mitch Korn. I’m rooting for the New York Islanders to win the Stanley Cup. Imagine how painful that’d be. The Caps let their Stanley Cup-winning coach out of a contract, and he wins it all during the next season while his team with better talent flames out in the first round. It’s like a Disney movie but reverse.
PS – While I’m rooting for Barry Trotz now, I’m NOT rooting for #BarryTrotz. This is an important distinction.
So that’s two for the Sharks, two for the Avs, one for the Stars, and Peter and Ian both being dummies.
Where do your allegiances now lie?
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