This just in from my brother, Grumpy Caps fan #2
"We must rage on Suck Burnside. I hate him. He must die." Concise, eloquent, to the point. I like it. See Burnside's idiotic comment below.
"Washington Capitals: Let's review. Fans in the nation's capital wouldn't come out when the Capitals boasted Jaromir Jagr, the game's most exciting player. Now, they won't come out when the Caps boast one of the hardest-working teams in the NHL and one of the game's most exciting figures in Alexander Ovechkin. Maybe that's a sign. We're just guessing, but we bet fans in Houston or Kansas City, or even Waterloo, Ontario, would appreciate Glen Hanlon's squad a whole lot more."
Let's see... fans here wouldn't come out to support a team of overpaid underachievers with Jaromir, "Mr. Regular Season" Jagr, only the least likeable, most aloof superstar this side of Terrell Owens. The team played its home playoff games that season at the worst possible time, right smack dab in the middle of the Easter holiday, a fact that had Ted boiling about his scheduling arrangement with Abe Pollin, the owner of the arena (and the Wizards). The team lost games because the glaring weakness at defense was never addressed, which made it less fun to see the team because you knew they 1) had a bunch of hired guns that didn't care all that much (two from the dreaded Pittsburgh Flighless Devilbirds, nonetheless!) and 2) were just as likely to lose a game 7-1 as they were to win one. It's hard to get excited about a team like that.
Sideburns is right about one thing. The Caps do have the league's hardest working teams and the best hockey player in the world today. But he also has to look at this from a potential fan's perspective. Last year, the Capitals were not a good team. They were a young team that made a lot of mistakes, had a few players that were not NHL calibur, and got outskilled (not outworked) by many of the teams in the NHL. It's very difficult to attract new fans (and to regain fans still raging over the moronic labor dispute) when your team loses the majority of its games, and loses big to the better teams in the league.
I admit the attendance numbers this year have not been stellar, but to say that the Capitals are a lost cause in DC as Burnside LOVES to do is moronic. We're on 5 year plan V2.0, and I think Ted has done a great job of working to get fans to the game, with the 4 for $20 Eagles Nest tickets during last year, our worst rebuilding year. He continues to make the team accessible to the fans by doing things like moving the practice facility to Ballston, (light years closer than Piney Orchard or Ashburn) and making all practices free and open to the public. The Caps players are some of the finest ambassadors the league could ask for. They consistently stay late after practice to chat with fans, sign autographs, and generally carry themselves as well as could possibly be expected of professional athletes. Their work and generosity with their time and energy WILL pay off. The team WILL get better. And the fans WILL come. Then maybe we can tell Suck Burnside where he can stick it. Right in Houston or Kansas City, or even Waterloo, Ontario.