ESPN’s Tony Kornheiser and Michael Wilbon discussed the Capitals during Monday’s episode of “Pardon the Interruption,” and the former Washington Post columnists managed to get through the entire segment without further shaming D.C.’s sports fans.
Wilbon, who referred to D.C. as a “minor league sports town” in the wake of the celebrations and sense of accomplishment that followed the Capitals’ second-round triumph over the Penguins, did caution against looking ahead to a Stanley Cup Finals appearance just yet. With Washington leading Tampa Bay two-games-to-none in the Eastern Conference finals, Kornheiser is already plotting bus routes to Las Vegas and Winnipeg.
“The Washington Capitals, my team, continued their amazing road play in the playoffs [Sunday],” Kornheiser began. “They beat Tampa Bay 6-2 to go 7-1 on the road. They scored five unanswered goals in the second and third periods and they’re so much bigger, physically, than the Lightning players that they cannot be moved away from the goal. Wilbon, you’re calling this series over, aren’t you?”
“Noooo,” Wilbon said. “Noooo. Noooo. The Capitals lost the first two games at home to Columbus, didn’t they? They wound up winning the series. So Tampa is not capable — the ‘ning is not capable, a team that has Stanley Cup Finals experience is not capable — of that? Tony, just a little side note. Yesterday, at my house, one of the Mother’s Day presents from little Matthew to his mom — a Capitals jersey. A Capitals jersey. And it wasn’t Ovi. I think it was Backstrom. … But Tony, you can’t count this over. Look, it seems like there’s a completely different spirit that the Capitals have now, but you know how quickly these series change.”
Kornheiser does know. He chronicled many a Capitals playoff collapse during his years as a sports columnist at The Post. Two years ago, he expressed hope that the franchise would finally give him reason to retire his “choking dogs” label for the team. And why is this year different?
“They have luck,” Kornheiser said Monday. “They never had luck before. The other team’s hitting the post and they’re getting it in. C’mon Mike, this would be the biggest choke job in the history of the Washington Capitals if they lost.”
“And they’re not capable?” Wilbon asked.
“Listen, they’re going to win the Stanley Cup,” Kornheiser said. “This is their year. They finally have luck, they’re strong. Ovechkin, he’s not going to be Sidney Crosby, but he’s going to get one, and that’s really important. They’re killing it on the road.”
“I hope you’re right,” said Wilbon, who evidently isn’t rooting against the Capitals and endless misery for D.C. sports fans the world over. “You get one in hockey, you can get multiple. If they can get this one, it changes the narrative completely and utterly. But you’ve got it in the win column already. Wow.”
If Kornheiser’s prediction comes true, perhaps Wilbon could borrow his wife’s new Capitals jersey to wear on set.
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