Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Respect is the Watchword

It’s always fun to see how fans in other cities react after playing the Caps...well, at least it is after a win. After a loss, you couldn’t pay me to go on the opposition’s message boards or read their press clippings in depth. But when the Caps pull off a win like they did last night, I like to check in with the other side.

Oddly enough, the Ottawa message boards are full of frustration and anger today. Weird, right? I mean, they go from being one of the top teams in the league and a lock for the Stanley Cup to being beaten by previously lesser teams like the Caps, and people are upset? Crazy Canadians.

Today’s threads featured such headlines as “Fire Murray”...“Trade Alfredsson”...“Kill Gerber”...

Okay, maybe not that last one, but you get the gist.

Anyways, as I was infiltrating the enemy camp I noticed that overall people didn’t seem to have that much anger for the Caps. Most people acknowledged that Ottawa stopped playing after the first and the Caps outplayed them during the last 45 minutes. There were a few whiners, as there are on any message board (“the Caps got lucky bounces...” “did you see all those penalties they didn’t call on Washington?” etc.) but for the most part it was respect for the way the Caps played and horror at the way their own team played.

About half the people posting before the game assumed the Sens would break their losing streak in a building they have basically owned for the last four or five years; the other half were either exercising cautious optimism or had paid attention to our boys’ progress so far and gave the win to the Caps.

It all sounds very familiar – I don’t mean the frustration with an underachieving team (been there, done that). It’s the respect given to the Caps throughout the league, and this year it’s not just respect based on being a hard-working team; now we’re a hard-working team that can win. Just check out the TSN.ca power rankings that have moved us up to 13th overall (yeah, baby!), up from 15th last week and even lower than that last season.

Respect...it's more than just a butt-kicking Aretha Franklin song.

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