2004: 'The Foundation of the Capitals was set'
As you can tell by the overflowing crowds at the Verizon Center, the remarkable rise in sell outs, and the huge increase in TV ratings for the Washington Capitals, these are good days for the Washington Capitals. There are three factors that I attribute this resurgence in popularity of hockey in DC and love for these Washington Capitals.
FIRST, many older or previous Washington Capitals fans that went to the wayside because of the lockout of 2005 or lost interest because of the poor performance of the franchise from 2003 through 2006, are returning to the fold. Many are returning. Or shall we even say --- many are climbing back aboard the the bandwagon. And that is fine, because we love to fill the bandwagon.
SECOND, Great 8 has inspired --- inspired men, inspired youth, inspired women, inspired many. He IS the best hockey player in the world and he is the face of the franchise and the best of Washington, DC. He is the new face of the NHL, the best of the NHL, and droves of fans pack arenas around the nation when Great 8 visits.
RB Clinton Portis is not at the level of Ovechkin. Jason Campbell isn't either. Nor is Santana Moss. Nor is Laron Landry. Get the point? None of these guys are at the level of superstar status that Ovie has risen to. He is the best in the world at his sport, he is the incredible goal scorer that twists eyes and minds with his acrobatic netters. He inspires many because of his fun-loving, prankster type character and personality, and his joy and passion for the game and the the sport of hockey that shines brightly every time he takes the ice. There is no Washington Redskin like him. Not even close. Any comparison would be insulting to what Ovechkin has meant to the city that houses the Nation's Capital. Gilbert Arenas is the best the Wizards have to offer. He too has that incredible flare in his personality and the zing for humor and fun. Arenas, one could argue, at one point was rising to the Ovechkin level, but injuries have tanked the Wizards' star status. Its hard to build that allure when you're not on the court. The Nationals --- we aren't going there.
THIRD, the Caps are gaining a ton of NEW Capitals fans and NEW hockey fans. That is the best news of all. Whether it is the winning, Ovechkin, the excitement of every player on the roster, the engaging, energetic style of play the Caps bring to the ice, or maybe even the fact that Washington, DC is simply hungry for a winner, the Capitals fan base is growing at a nice pace. I can assure you of that myself having converted three non previous hockey fans, to hockey and the Capitals.
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