Tuesday, May 11, 2010

What If?

There are times when a group of friends sits around and throws out ‘what if’ scenarios that would have forever changed the world, if only they’d happened (or happened differently). The NHL’s new “History Will Be Made” ad campaign shows important moments in hockey, shown in reverse, ending with the ‘What if…’ question. Without further ado, my personal list of hockey ‘what if’s.

5. What if Esa Tikkanen had scored in Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Finals for Washington? For Detroit, down 4-2 at the time of the miss, coming back from 3 down in the 3rd period might have been too much, tying the series at one. The Caps would have momentum heading back to DC and could have put up more of a fight instead of the four-game sweep that occurred.

4. What if the Caps had matched St. Louis’s offer sheet for Scott Stevens in 1990? I have often said that if Stevens had remained a Cap for 4 more seasons, there is at least one Stanley Cup in those years. Instead, we have another 20 years of Cup failure.

3. What if Rocket Richard hadn’t punched linesman Cliff Thompson and incited the Richard Riot? The riot changed Canada, inspired the Quiet Revolution in the 60s and forever divided French and English speaking citizens of Canada.

2. What if a team other than Pittsburgh had won the 2005 NHL Draft lottery? Would the Penguins still be in Pittsburgh if they hadn’t gotten Sidney Crosby in the Draft? Would people’s opinions of Crosby be as polar as they are if he played in, say, Anaheim? Or Minnesota?

1. What if modern arthroscopic surgery had been around during Bobby Orr’s playing time? With the various knee injuries he sustained throughout his career, Orr missed many games and retired at the age of 30. If the first knee surgery he needed been performed using modern arthroscopic methods, my guess is we wouldn’t be talking about Wayne Gretzky as the greatest player of all time.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Suggestions for Success

Mr. Leonsis,

Now that you own the Verizon Center, large rats Wizards and Mystics to go along with the Capitals, I have a few suggestions that may aid in the transition from 'Successful NHL Owner' to 'His Highness, King of DC'.

-Always make sure the ice is in great shape. If this means keeping the arena 2 degrees cooler during basketball games, please make it happen.

-Change the Wizards name back to the Bullets, or at least restore the Red, White and Blue color scheme. Do this for the Mystics too. Purple and gold are so late 1990s; it reminds me of high school. It’s like purple and light blue, or teal and black… it looks dated (sorry San Jose, it is), like an old Starter jacket.

-I know it’s an expense that isn’t really necessary, but please rip out all the purple seats and replace them with bright red ones. Make it so The Phone Booth Rocks the Red, even when its empty.

-In 41 home games, section 412 was only visited one time by Red Rockers/Slapshot/Section Roulette. Just saying.

-I hear you already took down the Mystics ‘Attendance Champions’ banners. Thank you. They were sad. They made me cry.

-If you have any say in the matter, can you have CSN drop Laughlin’s voice an octave or two through some sort of filter? The high-pitched, nasal whine drives my dog nuts 41 times a year plus road playoff games.

-Please don’t try any ‘cross-sport merchandising’. If I see a Wizards/Mystics hockey jersey or a Caps basketball jersey anywhere in the arena, I might scream.

-Oh, and I know Ovechkin is Russian, but selling Caps jerseys with the Cyrillic name on the back is bad form. It’s like selling a #21 jersey in women’s sizes with ‘SEXY’ on the back. Sell what the players wear on the ice.

-The sound guy in charge of music clearly has a mullet and/or an AC/DC shirt. Every other arena plays music that is relevant to today to pump up the crowd. We play Motorhead, Metallica, System of a Down (noticing a trend), Blink 182, Blur, etc. Other teams play Arcade Fire, Weezer, Green Day, Jay Z, Gorillaz, Snow Patrol and Radiohead. 1992 Heavy Metal appeals to Middle School Me, and not many others. Including Now Me.

-I know he hasn’t been retired for long, but expediting Olaf Kolzig’s number retirement (and in my opinion, Peter Bondra’s and Calle Johansson’s as well) would be a good thing.

-Find the paperwork for letting Scott Stevens walk away via free agency and burn it in a ceremony at center ice. Clearly, this is where the ‘Caps Curse’ originated, and it should be disposed of. I know it was long before your time, but it needs to be done by someone.

-My wife would kill me if I didn’t ask for a healthy options concession stand on the 400 level. Us lowly common folk like slightly healthy food too.

-We’d also like good beer up there. That suggestion is all mine.