By Rodger M. Wood
It’ll be another long summer, my family’s 36th straight, without a Stanley Cup winner. Will the Caps ever fulfill our impossible dream? Can we last another year to see what their fortune will be in 2012?Yes! Our poor Capitals let us down again, but not without trying. Four fluky goals, a few bad calls, defensive amnesia and our fate was sealed in Tampa, 5-2. The Lightning foe stuck four straight times to sweep the 2011 Stanley Cup semifinal playoffs four games to none.You can blame the loss on Coach Boudreau for being outfoxed by first year Tampa coach Brian Boucher, or on Caps stars, Alex Ovechkin, Niklaus Backstrom, Alexander Semin, or Mike Green’s lack of mental and physical toughness or for reverting back to “run and gun” hockey again, or to the immaturity of John Carlson and Karl Alzner, or veterans Scott Hannan or Jeff Schutz’ play on the blue line, but the bottom line is Tampa worked harder and wanted to win more than the Caps.There will probably be a scapegoat for the Caps loss this summer, but I remember a boxing match I lost in my youth, which taught me a big lesson in life. My younger opponent asked me that night when we were getting our hands taped before the fight not to hurt him too badly. Shortly afterwards, I walked down the aisle to the ring, cocky confident, waving and performing for my brothers, dad, friends, and a few attractive women in the stands. I had no doubts I was going to win the match, maybe even by a knockout. But after my opponent and I got our instructions and the command “to come out fighting” from the referee, I didn’t put my guard up right away. My “frightened” opponent sucker punched and broke my nose in the first seconds of the match. I held onto him until my head cleared, fought as hard as I could the next four rounds, but still got my butt kicked royally.Did my history repeat itself for the Caps? Did they let their guard down, get sucker punched, and have their royal butts kicked just like I did many years ago!