What a great New Year's Day!
"Why is that?" I hear you cry.
Well, I'll tell you.
Some folks watch a lot of football on New Year's Day. The Rose Bowl, for instance. I, however, watch hockey -- the Winter Classic, to be specific.
The Winter Classic is a regular old NHL game, except that it's played outdoors and has a lot more pomp and circumstance attached to it. This year, my Washington Capitals hosted the event. They built the hockey rink between first base and third base at Nationals Park.
This game is great no matter who is playing. We watch every year. The Caps played in the Winter Classic once before, in 2011 in Pittsburgh. (We won!) But this year... well, I mean, it was a home game! At Nats Park!
Objectively, our chances didn't look great. We were playing the Chicago Blackhawks, one of the best teams in the NHL. Even we had been playing very well recently, the Hawks were on a real hot streak.
Also, consider the fact that only one home team had ever won a Winter Classic.
But we were hopeful nonetheless.
The introductions, the anthem, the F-16 flyover -- really great! And the team got off to a great start, with both Eric Fehr and Alex Ovechkin scoring goals. Alas, the old adage of a two-goal lead being the most dangerous lead in hockey proved true, and by the time the third period started the score was tied.
Oh, that third period! As time wound down, it looked more and more like the game would go to overtime. But then, with the Caps on a power play, after Ovi had his stick slashed out of his hands, with 12.9 seconds left to play, Troy Brouwer slammed a rebound past the Blackhawk's goalie and the ballpark went nuts.
So did two very happy Caps fans in Eagleville, Pennsylvania.
Twelve point nine seconds later, those same two fans stood on their balcony in the freezing cold and chanted as loud as they could...
C-A-P-S Caps Caps Caps!!