The Tough Life of a Caps Fan

***Update x3***

Anson Carter, who the Caps traded for Jaromir Jagr lasted a total of two weeks in Washington before being traded to Los Angeles.  Mike Grier was also traded to Buffalo.  The Washington Post has a good summary of all the changes and the challenges Caps face here


***Update x2***

It looks like Sergei Gonchar is going to the Bruins not the Panthers and Michael Nylander will join him...Washington Post has the story: “Capitals Fire Sale continues


Yet another player will be traded, as I said before, with all the players cut the most offensive player on the Capitals is a defenseman - Sergei Gonchar.  The Caps have agreed to trade to a division rival, the Florida Panthers.




I just ran across Harry Pierson’s post on Ted Leonsis, the owner of the Washington Capitals, and I completely agree with him.  It’s tough being a Washington Capitals fan, it really is.   The Capitals this year seem bent on self destruction. This year alone they traded Jaromir Jagr, their #1 goal scorer in ’02-03 season, Robert Lang, their #2 goal scorer in ’02-’03 (and when traded was the #1 scorer in the entire NHL), Peter Bondra, an original Washington draftee, who finished scoring in the top 5 every season since 1994, and set franchise records for points (825), goals (472), power-play goals (137), power-play goals/season (22), game-winning goals (73), shorthanded goals (32) short-handed goals/season (6), game-winning goals (13), hat tricks (19), hat tricks/season (4), goals/game (5),  and goals/period (4).


Maybe as a Caps fan since my early teens I shouldn’t be surprised, considering that the Capitals bumpy history is lined with horrible trades decided out of stupidity or greed. Below are just some examples, I could go on and on...

  • Mike Gartner –Long time Washington Capital, traded, goes onto become 500+ goal scorer and a member of the Hall of Fame
  • Dino Ciccarelli – 500+ goal scorer, traded to Detroit 92-93, becomes their #2 goal scorer behind Steve Yzerman.
  • Scott Stevens – Washington draftee, traded, goes on to win multiple Stanley Cups including being named the playoff MVP in 2000
  • Jim Carey wins top goaltender award in 95-96, traded to Boston the next year.
  • Jason Allison, Washington draftee that starts with the Caps in ’96, traded to Boston, only to become their #1 scorer in for two consecutive seasons.

I bet the New Jersey Devils have paid for Scott Stevens high salary just by hawking replica jerseys for $75/pop.  Note to Leonsis: Just like movie theaters you don't make money off of selling regular-joe tickets, you make money off of the premium services like box seats, concessions and logo-ware.  No one will go see your team if you don't have a star.  The Washington Bullets Wizards sold out almost every game because Michael Jordan was playing even though the team didn't even make the playoffs.  


Maybe this is all part of the Caps plan to get back to their roots. In the club’s first inaugural season, 1974-75, the Washington Capitals had the worst record in the history of hockey.  This season they are tied for fourth worst in the league.  Their #1 scorer plays defense. My only solace is that Joe Gibbs is back as the head coach of the Redskins and the skins may actually finish with a winning record...


Comments (15)
  1. TJ says:

    As a fellow caps fan I am also feeling your pain. Ted Leonsis’s 5 year plan is to turn the caps into an expansion franchise. Better yet if the NHL has contraction due to the CBA I could see the Caps loosing out.

    I thnk what they did to Bondra was sad, Ill be the first to say that Bondra’s skills had decreased over the years. But thats not the way you treat "Mr. Capital".

    And now they say Gonchar and Olie are on their way out, well if that happens Im out too.

    Too bad the portland pirates are not on directTV.


  2. Jeff Key says:

    As a lifelong Wings fan living in Chicago (it’s OK, I grew up in MI), I have two things to say:

    1. Thanks for Dino and Lang. Dino was a blast to watch and I can’t wait to see what Lang does after his debut, in which he got three points. Bravo!

    2. You think you have it bad? Try being a Blackhawks fan. Off the top of my head: Hasek, Chelios, Roenick, Belfour, Amonte, etc., etc. Owner hates the fans. He HATES the fans. Home games have been blacked out (TV) for years. Ticket prices are ungodly high. Coaching situation has been an embarrassment for years. It’s sad.

    Keep your hopes up. Look at the Wings in the 80s and early nineties, then look at them the past several years. Things will turn around for the Caps someday, but in the meantime I’m going to keep enjoying it while I can. Vote Yzerman in 2004!

  3. Ron says:

    As a Rangers fan, I can sympathize. Have patience. It should get better. If nothing else, the recent play of the Caps shows they aren’t giving up. They fought hard to come back and beat the Panthers the other night. Their effort against the Lightning was solid. I’d say you have a lot to look forward to despite Leonis.

  4. Dan,

    While I know little about the NHL, I imagine that the Caps did it for the same reason that the Texas Rangers gave up A-Rod. Financial freedom. One man rarely carries a team (except in basketball), and the NHL is no different.

  5. Jeff/Ron – I feel your pain for the Blackhawks & Rangers, I’m hoping the Caps can recover and actually invest in their players next season. The scary part is that after trading four players, the bloodletting hasn’t stopped and Sergei Gonchar and Olie Kolzig may be going to Colorado and Brendan Witt may be going to Nashville.

    Thomas Boswell has a good story on the pain Caps fans feel – Hungry Fans Are Left with Just Leftovers

  6. Scott Allen says:

    It’s a tough year all around in the DC metro area. The U of M Terrapins are probably missing the NCAA tourney. The Wizards occasionaly sell tickets for $5 to fill seats. The Redskins and Orioles both had dissapointing years. On the upside, there is more parking available at the stadiums…

  7. Brian LeRoux says:

    Hey man, chin up, I never thought I’d say this: "Its great being a canucks fan!" 🙂

  8. Kevin Brew says:

    I’m a transplanted Leaf fan (now in London, England), but I empathize with you about the Caps. Toronto went through a terrible time when Balard was owner (80’s I think).

    BTW, what do you mean by "the club’s first inaugural season"? Have they had more than one inaugural season??? 🙂

  9. LOL Kevin, I didn’t notice until you pointed this out, but that’s definitely repetitive 🙂

  10. TJ says:

    Gonchar is gone. Im done with the Caps as of today. Im never going to another Caps game. This is shocking, I cant beleive it. I mean its as if they want to get rid of all of the fan favorites. I always thought Gonchar had the most potential.

    I got banned on the Caps message board for sounding off. Oh well, time to find a new team.

    Caps Suck

  11. TJ,

    While I feel your pain, my beef isn’t with the Caps as a team, but instead with the owners who seem to have no respect for fans or even their own players. I’m not sure if this would’ve happened under different management.

  12. TJ says:

    I agree with you it is the Managments fault. I still cant believe WTF is going on in DC.

    And I read some people on the Caps message board and they are like hey rebuilding is good in a coupel years we gona be good.

    But I think the point htat needs to be made is that managment is showing that they do not want to pay players who perform. So whose to say 2-3 years down the line when(and if) these prospects start to perform that the management is not going to trade them away because they want to be paid?

    I never seen this happen to a team before, totally gutted. All my fav players are gone.

  13. TJ says:

    Nice spelling…jezzus

  14. Anonymous says:

    Misery Loves Company

  15. dan says:

    I just listened to an interview with majority owner Ted Leonsis where he stated that his major concern is to create a team that the fans can fall in love with. I’m astonished. Is the goal of the Capitals’ organization not to win the Cup? I grew up in Northern Virginia and have been a caps fan since childhood but now living in New Hampshire, where Boston sports dominate, I have to listen to Boston Bruins managment promise a campionship quality team. It makes me wonder whether Leonsis even cares about being competitive.

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