Not just the undoubtedly packed game-watching schedule (how late can YOU stay up?), but the Capitals tendency to take a series to its limit. It seems crazy — I know I crave as much hockey as I can get — but the Capitals have to play the minimum number of games. Sweep if possible! Luxuriate in the free week, when game 6s and 7s are happening, and the winning team staggers tiredly into the next round. There’s nothing as blissful as watching, say, the Bruins and the Maple Leafs fight out a game 7 while you’re comfortably into the second round.
Or so I assume. I wouldn’t know, because the post lockout Capitals seem totally incapable of playing fewer than 7 games in a series, unless of course it’s to get swept. This is a problem.
Last year, the LA Kings took their series in 5, 4, 5, and 6 games. The year before, the Bruins went 7, 7, 4, and 7. In 2010, the Blackhawks won in 6, 6, 4, and 6 games. Even the beleaugered Bruins managed to sweep a round in there. The Kings certainly benefited from their restful first rounds, especially in comparison to the Devils, who had to play a 7 and 6 game series earlier.
The Caps style of hockey has been exciting, not just because of their dynamic and high-scoring games, but also because of their penchant for scoring fast then lazily allowing the game to tie, or inability to step on the gas until the third period. Hockey itself is exciting. The playoffs are deliciously exciting. We don’t need them to be artificially, unbearably exciting.
The only person who would benefit from the Capitals interminably dragging out their playoff run would be Ted Leonsis, because the more games we host, the more money he makes, from tickets, merchandise, concessions, even down to the parking passes under the Verizon Center. But think of it this way, Teddy: you can jack up the price on everything the more rounds we play!
Time to break the Boudreau Curse. Time to win in fewer than 7.