All good things come to an end including Capitals sellout streak

Alex Ovechkin, Washington Capitals (Photo by G Fiume/Getty Images)
Alex Ovechkin, Washington Capitals (Photo by G Fiume/Getty Images) /

Some big news came from Scott Allen of The Washington Post (subscription required) just hours before the Washington Capitals take the ice tonight at 7 p.m. against the Calgary Flames. The Caps sellout streak in their same barn from previously named Verizon Center to currently named Capital One Arena has ended.

The streak lasted for 14 years and amassed 588 consecutive games including the Stanley Cup playoffs. There was the COVID shortened 2021 season but that didn’t count against them as nobody was allowed in the building until later in the season.

This streak began on March 5, 2009 before a crowd of 18,277 as the Capitals fell to the Toronto Maple Leafs in the early stages of the Rock the Red era. Alex Ovechkin was scratched before the game for just the fourth time in his career after he took a slap shot to the right heel.

That turned out to be a rare loss as the Caps were successful on home ice 367 times during that 14 year stretch which is good for the fourth most in the NHL.

This streak saw seven coaches and 13 playoff runs. It also included their run to their first ever Stanley Cup championship in 2018. Even when they were only allowed 10 percent capacity in remainder of the regular season in 2020-21 and 25 percent during the playoffs, the Caps had no issues in selling every ticket.

It was also the longest active streak after the Pittsburgh Penguins (also 14 years) 633 game sellout streak and the Chicago Blackhawks 535 game streak ended in the beginning of the 2021-22 season.

This honestly comes as no surprise as the Caps slipped in the standings towards the tail end of last season. It saw them finish at sixth place it the Metropolitan Division, their worst record since 2006-07, as well as missing the playoffs for the first time in nine years.

What is surprising is that during that downfall, the sellout streak remained intact for the rest of that season. After selling out Friday the 13th’s season opener against the Pittsburgh Penguins, there will not be over 18K rocking the red when the puck drops in a few minutes as we’re writing this.

There’s more factors than just the Caps underachieving last year. The economy is bad and going to games isn’t cheap. Especially Capitals games which became the hottest ticket in town when Ovi and company led them to the playoffs at the end of the 2007-08 season.

Sure there will be sellouts in other games this season. There’s some cool giveaways like a Sonny Milano chia pet and who doesn’t love to experience the game of hockey live and in person?

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But tonight when you watch the game and see those empty seats, don’t be too shocked.