Friday, March 26, 2010

Would the Capitals want to face the Penguins in the Playoffs?

After another thrilling matchup between the Caps and the Pens, Washington has beaten their arch rivals all three times so far this season. The Ovechkin-Crosby rivalry is currently one of the best in sports and is boosting the NHL’s TV ratings. Commissioner Bettman and NBC would be salivating if they continued the showdowns in the playoffs. Washington’s 109 points currently leads the league and would be the #1 seed in the Eastern Conference Playoffs. Meanwhile, the Penguins are tied for the #2 seed, therefore if they meet, it won’t be until the Eastern Conference finals.

After the 7 game series defeat last year and decades of playoff misery at the hands of Pittsburgh, should the Caps want to face the Pens again in the playoffs to exercise demons? Or should they root for other teams or upsets for an easier route to a possible cup because the Caps are 40-10-8 against teams in the conference this year? Would a Cup feel less worthy without going through the defending champion Penguins?

Other rivalries and great players have gone through the same vindication. The Red Sox had to overcome the Yankees and the Curse of the Bambino in order to end their World Series drought. Peyton Manning and the Colts had to come from behind against Tom Brady and Patriots to win his first title after getting bumped out of the playoffs by New England twice before. Michael Jordan lost to the Pistons three straight seasons before beating them to advance and win his first title.

Does Ovechkin need to beat Crosby in the playoffs in order to hoist Lord Stanley’s Cup? Obviously, this is all assuming both teams even get that far.

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