Normally I don't do this kind of thing but I saw the Capitals on television a week ago and it hit me. Now, I usually would wait for the other person to make a move, but I thought to myself, not this time. I'm not going to let another potential soulmate pass me by as I stand there looking off longingly into the distance.
Not again. Not with you. This time is going to be different.
So, hi! I’m Kyle, and by extension we’re Sharks fans everywhere. I got your info through a friend and did some Facebook creeping. I hope that doesn't make me seem crazy, but I really had to talk to you. The more I found out about you, the more I realized I had to send this message to Caps fans.
I've rambled enough, and to be honest I'm not very good at this. My palms are sweaty because I’m nervous. But, here goes nothing.
I think we were made for each other. I think we are meant to be together.
If you want to give up and think I'm just another crazy representative of a fanbase looking for something special, that’s okay. I understand. But I think you should keep reading, and hear me out.
To be honest, I didn’t just notice you a week ago. I've kept an eye on you all season, but who can blame me? Look at that roster. Ovechkin. Holtby. Kuznetsov. Backstrom. Niskanen...I could go on.
In fact, I’ve kept an eye on you before this season. It seems like every year recently I have noticed you out there on the East Coast making noise. I’ve come up with a few points on exactly why I feel so strongly about you. Lists are for BuzzFeed and ClickHole, and not the greatest thing to receive from a secret admirer, but I think it will help me illustrate why I feel this way.
1) I know the heavy weight of being a perennial contender. It's not easy being this good every year, it takes a lot of work and some people just don't understand the stress. They think "oh there goes the Capitals, they have it so easy, I wish my team was like that."
But what they don't understand is how much being at the top weighs on your conscience. You tune into every game expecting a win. You know the regular season is kind of meaningless because you will only be judged on the playoffs. You know who else knows this?
The Sharks know the torture of having to live up to such lofty goals every. Single. Year. These other fans, they don't know what it's like. They are good for a bit, bad for a bit, they wallow in the middle. They don't know what it's like to be expected to be in the Finals every year for a decade. We have this in common, we can share the burden and the stress together.
2) We both know winning the President’s Trophy means less than the time it took me to write this sentence. We can be honest with each other. The President’s Trophy is dumb. It's a silly award that just makes you insecure. "Oh, you won the President’s Trophy? Well you MUST win the cup now!" Is what other fans say and that's just not fair.
Nobody remembers who won this trophy. San Jose has won it in the past, but do I remember which year? No, and you know why? Because it added undue pressure and we watched the Sharks flame out in spectacular fashion. You guys saw your team win the regular season and what good did it do you? Nothing! We have the ability to communicate with each other openly about things like this dumb trophy. It's part of any loving relationship’s rock solid foundation, and I like that we have this in common.
3) Crashing out of the playoffs and coming up short of the Stanley Cup Final year after year. We’ve done this every year except 2016. You’ve done this every year except 1998. It's almost like it is part of our DNA.
I've seen you hit the second round and then sputter to a quiet end a bunch now, and I wish I reached out sooner to help you through the ordeal. To be honest though, it is hard to come to terms with knowing that it's playoff time and our teams are most likely going to wrench our hearts out real good. We both come in clear-eyed, full-hearted, and thinking we can’t lose.
By the end, we are battered and skidding into tee times quicker than we thought. We need each other for these moments. It's not healthy to be alone, depressed and sad in your own bubble. We could, nay, should, be there for each other. We need to lift each other up and whisper sweet nothings like "next year is our year" to each other. We need to be each other's rock when the times are tough every spring.
4) Ovi and Jumbo. Joe and Alex. 8 and 19. A generational passer and a generational goal scorer. Both these guys are surefire first ballot Hall of Famers. Yet both men are unfairly maligned.
Chokers. Not leaders. Can you win the big one with them? Trade rumors. Our superstars get the shaft, and get it often. I know what it's like to watch the pain flow across Jumbo Joe’s face when the playoff bell tolls. It's probably the same look Ovechkin gets when he knows it's time for handshakes. A young Thornton played the playoffs with broken ribs once. Wasn't good enough. Ovi took a low bridge (legal or not, it was low) in the first round but was there playing through an obvious injury. Wasn't good enough. Our beloved stars are eerily similar. We have this as a bond.
Those are just the big things too. There are other smaller things that only enforce that we are meant for each other. Devastating power plays that hinge on Ovi and Burns dropping bombs. Failed deadline acquisitions. I took note of Kevin Shattenghost against Pittsburgh. We once traded for Bill Guerin and I'm still not sure if he actually stepped on the ice that year.
You guys have the worst season ever. We have the second-worst. That's not coincidence, it's something bigger. We both hate Pittsburgh. They've done bad things to us and we need to hold each other tight so that pain goes away.
There's so much here; so much for us to connect and bond over. We are one in the same. There are already cute nicknames ready to go! We are Caps West. You are Sharks East.
Don't get me wrong. I know the sting is still there only a week after such a tough exit. I may have even reached out too soon. But in time, our relationship will grow.
You don't often meet someone who seems like the perfect match, but I think it’s just happened. The Sharks and Caps forever connected. One day we could meet in the Cup Final, and we'll know that we were there for each other, building each other up to that moment.
So I hope in a couple days I hear back from you. Maybe get some coffee? Or a drink, a nice gin and tonic on a patio maybe. I think this could be the start of something beautiful and you know what they say.
Misery loves company.