For the first time since 1991, the Washington, DC area celebrated a championship in the four major professional sports (sorry, DC United). Thanks to the Washington Capitals, my hometown area was able to have a parade celebrating a championship. While I’m a native resident of the area, I have no allegiance to any of the pro teams here. However, one of my TSFJ brothers is a fan. Carden Hedelt, writer extraordinaire and chief archrival of the oppressive construct known as pants, loves DC sports, with the Capitals being among his favorite. We’ve documented DC sports failure in a few TSFJ posts, but I wanted to interview someone who supported the teams here and get a gauge on their emotions. This was conducted over a few days because I wanted more than that euphoric feeling. I wanted Carden’s full perspective. We start after I acknowledge just how I feel about pants.
[The morning after]
JT: F*** pants. Let’s start there. Do you still have on last night’s clothes?
CH: No. I was actually responsible last night! I had one bourbon drink after the game and that was all.
JT: How did you come about being a fan of DC sports teams? Are you a fan of any other DC area sports team? If so, are there any other teams you’re hopeful to win a championship in your lifetime?
CH: I grew up an hour away from DC. I’m a Caps fan and a mild Nationals fan. I would be a Wizards fan but that seems futile. DC United aren’t worth the effort. Those are all the pro sports teams in DC.
JT: At the beginning of the season, what were your expectations around the Capitals?
CH: Middle of the playoffs exit. That’s what it had been for years and I saw no reason to believe otherwise. But that started to slide to an earlier exit because we were having goalie problems. Don’t forget, our backup goalie started in the first game of the playoffs.
JT: When did you believe the team had a real shot at winning the Stanley Cup?
CH: Going up 2-0 against the Lightning and seeing people streaming for the exits in Tampa Bay. Of course, they won the next three. The next time I allowed myself to hope was mere seconds before they won game five in Vegas.
JT: Good morning. What are your feelings on Alexander Ovechkin, especially now that he’s a champion while still a very good player?
CH: Part-time swimsuit model and full-time pal Dillon Friday told me about this phenomenon where you’ll forget that your team is the champion and then all of a sudden you remember again. Thanks for reminding me.
JT: Dillon is so dreamy.
CH: Ovechkin is so much fun and the Cup lets me continue watching him for the fun without having to worry if he joins the all-time greats without “rangz” club. He’s so much like Shaq to me. Could he have done more and was he hugely frustrating at times? Yes. Was he also hugely dominant, albeit to a lesser degree? Also yes.
JT: Was Ovi truly the team’s best player in the postseason? If so, who are some other guys who deserve appreciation?
CH: You know how much I hate “intangibles” but I do think Ovechkin diving in front of shots and skating like an insane person on defense meant something. His 15 playoff goals meant something too, but it went beyond that. There are of course other people who need to be remembered. [Braden] Holtby shut out the Lightning in back to back playoff elimination games when they were shut out only once in the regular season. [Evgeny] Kuznetsov had 32 damn points in the playoffs.
But as long as I live, I will never forget Devante Smith-Pelly. Buddy scored seven goals in the playoffs. Scored seven goals in the entire regular season. He had three goals in the last three games against the Golden Knights. That man won us the Cup.
JT: With Coach Barry Trotz no longer there, what do you expect next season to be like?
CH: I dunno, some s*** will happen? F*** next season, we’re the champs!
JT: What do you expect heading into a new season as a fan of last year’s champion will feel like?
CH: I’m probably still gonna be relaxed and unbothered because we’re the champs. Alternatively, YEET!
Poemer. 8-time Hug Champion. Pick&Roll Enthusiast. Guardian of Logic and Tact. Apocalypse’s good Brother. Collector of muted souls for Mt. Filtermanjaro.