Saturday, April 12, 2008

Caps fans can't agree on team history, but are enjoying season anyway

The Washington Capitals are back in the NHL playoffs for the first time since the 2002-03 season. The team had a late-season surge that helped them push past the Carolina Hurricanes and capture the Southeastern Division title, their first since 2000-01.

Though the team has played in the city since 1974 few inside and around the beltway knew they existed. Club history seems to vary greatly among fans.

Graig Quinire,34, of College Park, MD, is a die-hard Washington Capitals fan who has been captivated by the team's surprise success this year.

"The history of the club is kind of funny and interesting. They were an expansion team starting in the 1997-98 season when they went to the Stanley Cup Finals. Awesome year! Then they moved to some other city and came back this year," said Quinire, vice president of the Prince George's County Capitals Fan Club. The fan club has existed for about a week and claims 35 dues paying members.

Others don't recall the team before this season or last season. "This is the team's first year. Wait, how long has Ovechkin been here? Anyway, I've supported this team for as long as Ovechkin has been here. Which I think is this year," said Carl Gorberg,22, of Chevy Chase, MD.

Gorberg is referring to the Capitals' superstar left winger Alex Ovechkin who finished the regular season with a mind numbing 65 goals.

One fan seemed certain of the history. "They were definitely here in 1997-98 then moved to Hartford where they became the Whalers. Then in 2001 they merged with the Winnipeg Jets. They moved back to DC this season, but not until the 81st game of the year," said James Rurrent,42, of Washington.

Whatever fans define as their history the Capital seems to be enjoying the Capitals.

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