Offseason Watch: It’s Almost Over

The Washington Capitals have a chance to end our long national one-season-long nightmare tonight.

During Game Four, Washington Capitals fans started to get a little, uh, confident. There were lots of “we want the Cup” chants as the clock wound down. After years of underachieving Caps teams, one can understand the enthusiasm after three straight wins.

And you can call me paranoid or superstitious, it’s fine. But last year, my local USHL team (shout-out to the Chicago Steel) was clinging to a one-goal lead and about three minutes away from winning the Clark Cup on home ice. The crowd started a “we want the Cup” chant.

Reader, you’ll never guess what happened next.

(The opposing team scored two goals in around two minutes, including one by Nashville Predators top prospect Eeli Tolvanen, and the Steel lost the game. I’ve seen a lot of hockey games go south quickly in truly heartbreaking fashion but this one might be near the top of the list.)

On the one hand, I respect the confidence. On the other, I’m fully prepared to hide under a pile of blankets and go “la la la I can’t hear you” for a little while.

My own paranoia and juniors hockey-induced trauma aside, though, you don’t need to be much of a stats person to see the way this series is swinging. (If you do like stats, though, Dom Luszczyszyn of the Athletic has a good breakdown here of what makes this Caps team different from past iterations.)   And either way, we could get to witness history tonight. Either the Caps — well, you know — or Vegas could defy all odds (again) and jumpstart an attempt to come back from the brink.

Sheng Peng, longtime friend of the blog, has a look at what it might take for Vegas to make a comeback. The Golden Knights have looked frustrated against the Capitals, struggling for the first time in the post-season to get quality shots on net. Meanwhile, the Capitals have excelled at blocking shots coming their way, and in going the other direction, have been getting much better looks at the net than the Kings, Sharks, or Jets managed to get.

So, what’s it going to be? Is Washington going to seal the deal tonight? Or does Vegas live to fight another day?

Things To Read, LA Kings Edition

Some changes in the front office for the Kings: Nelson Emerson has been promoted Director of Player Personnel, Glen Murray has been promoted to Director of Player Development, and Richard Seeley is now the General Manager of the Ontario Reign. Emerson was previously the Director of Player Development, Murray previously served in other roles in Player Development, and Seeley was the head coach of the ECHL’s Manchester Monarchs for the past three years.

Our boys need some votes in the NHL Fan Awards.

Watch out, Jack Campbell. Chrissy Teigen’s gunning for your job.

Things To Read, Everyone Else Edition

Caps fan, temporary or otherwise? Fans all over are posting about their watch parties for tonight’s game. [ RMNB ]

Only one team has ever come back from a 3-1 deficit in the Final: the 1942 Toronto Maple Leafs. Going to go out on a limb and say we’re never going to see a game quite like this one again. [ NBC Sports ]

The NWHL’s Metropolitan Riveters and the SDHL’s Luleå Hockey/MSSK will play three games in Luleå, Sweden in September. As champions of their respective leagues, this is being billed as the first Champion’s Cup. [ The Ice Garden ]

The Athletic is running a series of articles focusing on hockey’s diversity, or lack thereof, including this piece from hockey analyst Chris Watkins about the NHL’s struggle to break the color barrier, and this piece on Chicago Blackhawks forward Anthony Duclair, who hopes to return to Chicago and work with local youth this coming season.