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Later this evening, most of us will be watching the Capitals’ season opener. And coincidentally, we’ll also be watching one of our most fierce competitors celebrate their Stanley Cup Championship season, on their home ice and in front of tens of thousands of their fans – oh, and also televised nationally to millions of viewers around the world. You may ask, could there be a worse way to begin a new season – or, you could ask yourself: could this possibly be the best way to get our season started?
— Washington Capitals (@Capitals) October 12, 2016
Yesterday, I was watching Coach Trotz speak with the media just before heading up to Pittsburgh. And he spoke about the season opener and the “festivities” that would be going on prior to the start of the game. He shared that those “festivities” would last about 30 minutes. When I heard 30 minutes – I just sort of stared at the wall in my office and thought about those 30 minutes in time and what those moments would feel like to our boys, our beloved team – a team that has tried so desperately to bring home the cup, the Stanley Cup and all that it signifies as well as the iconic Stanley Cup banner that will be raised and hanging above the ice in PPG Paints Arena as they play their season opener – a vision I’m sure they’ll see when they take to the ice and that will be forever ingrained in their minds.
And, I was also thinking about us, their fans – and how much we feel their pain. And then my eyes shifted off of the wall and back onto the Coach and his words…he went further to say “…there is no way I’m going to have the guys sit out there for a half hour. We will recognize what they are doing. We don’t want to be disrespectful in any way.” And then he said “We will do it in our own way.” And it was those words that kept being repeated in my mind. “We will do it in our own way.” Those words completely changed my mindset about the “festivities”, and my mind and my thought process shifted.
I believe that these thirty minutes in time may be among the most significant thirty minutes in the entire 2016-2017 season. For just a minute, envision yourself in the locker room during those 30 minutes of time. And think about what is happening – try to feel the energy, to me, it feels overwhelming. Think about what our players are certainly hearing and I’m sure there is a vibration in the building that is moving through their bodies. These emotions will fire the adrenaline through their veins. Think about the sense of connection as a team they are all feeling. Finally, have great faith in our Coach who is going to use these thirty minutes to the absolute best of his abilities and know that when our boys take to the ice there is going to be a drive, a desire and a fierceness of competitiveness and a desire to win that we may have never seen before!
Sometimes, what many think are unachievable dreams can and do become reality from the most unfortunate of circumstances. I now look back to when my heart sank deep into my chest several months ago as I heard the news that our season opener would be against the reigning Stanley Cup Champions. Now I believe this random unfortunate coincidence just may be among the best things that could happen for the Washington Capitals this season.
In several hours, when I watch the “festivities” unfold, my eyes may be on the Pittsburgh Penguins and their fans, but my mind and my heart are going to be in the locker room with our boys and my desire and my dreams for our team to bring home the cup, have never been stronger.
Let’s Go Caps! #WillOverSkill
By Beckie Reilly