Category Archives: Capitals

Ted Leonsis Laments The Caps ‘Heartbreak’ While Some Of His Free Agents Move Forward

Ted Leonsis, four days removed from appearing to be enjoying himself at the expense of Penguins fans, let his thoughts about the latest Capitals disappointment be known. He called the Game 7 loss “heartbreaking” in a post on Ted’s Take:

I try not to lose sight of the incredible performances we witnessed between October and early April. But the playoffs, while incredibly exciting, have been heartbreaking. We have been a good team for a number of years, but everyone knows we ultimately are judged on our playoff performance, and anything less than a Cup is a disappointment.

He went on to call the difference between winning and losing in the NHL playoffs “razor-thin,” something we dug into on Thursday in a failed attempt to make ourselves feel better. There’s really no bright side to all of this, and as Leonsis acknowledged, what lies ahead this offseason is still unknown.

T.J. Oshie, Kevin Shattenkirk, Justin Williams, Karl Alzner, and Daniel Winnik are all unrestricted free agent, and Washington may not be able to keep any of them. Two of them — Oshie and Williams — expressed their interest in remaining with the team:

And one of them, Shattenkirk, seems to already know he isn’t coming back, using “their” and “they” referring to the Caps:

This was the end of what GM Brian MacLellan in February called a “two-year window” to win the Cup. Hopefully they find a way to keep it open for at least one more less heartbreaking year

Let’s Talk About D.C. Sports’ 67-Season Streak Of Futility

Alright, let’s do the bad news first: The Presidents’ Trophy-winning Capitals lost in a second round Game 7 to the Penguins for the second straight season. It was a less-than-ideal outcome after fighting back from down three games to one.

But here’s the good news!: The loss helped extend D.C. sports’ futility to 67 consecutive seasons without one of the four major franchises reaching the conference or league finals. Thanks to Cal Ripken, we are programmed to believe all streaks are good.

The last time a team reached the final four of its respective sport was 1998, when the Capitals lost in the Stanley Cup Final to the Red Wings.

Since then it’s been a 19-year dumpster fire with playoff appearances by team breaking down thusly:

Redskins: 5
Wizards: 7
Nationals: 3 (only since 2005)
Capitals: 11

While the Wizards and Redskins have been far more futile than the Nats and Caps (they’ve had 11 and 10 losing seasons since ’98, respectively), an argument could be made the the D.C. hockey team has been the most heartbreaking.

The Capitals have made the postseason nine of the last 10 seasons, and they aren’t just backing into the playoffs. Every one of those nine seasons they finished in first or second place. They had 100+ points in six of those years. They’ve repeatedly been a dominating team that has flamed out in April and May.

But in hockey being a dominating regular season team doesn’t necessarily mean much. Since the Presidents’ Trophy started being awarded in 1985-86, only eight of the 31 winners have hoisted the Cup. That means the best team in the NHL has about a 25 percent chance of winning it all. By comparison, the NFL team with the best regular season record since 1986 has won the Super Bowl 13 times, or 42 percent of the time.

What can we learn from all this? Well, that Caps squad that was the last D.C. team to reach a conference final was a 4-seed. So, I dunno, maybe they should try being not as good in the regular season? Yeah, that’ll probably work.

Your Guide For Navigating A Huge Day In D.C. Sports

It is going to be a very big night in D.C. sports. There’s Caps-Penguins Game 7, Wiz-Celtics Game 5, and Nationals-Orioles for third screen viewing. In order to help you navigate all of this, here’s a handy guide for planning out the day.

The times are based on science, which shows that the average NHL game is 2:21 and the average NBA playoff game is 2:40.

— 3 PM. Leave work early, start drinking. You’ve put in almost a full day, and let’s be honest: Your anxiety over another D.C. sports disappointment has left you useless to your employer today anyhow.

— 4 PM. If you still have it on your DVR, re-watch the third period of Caps Game 6 and the second half of Wizards Game 4. It will fill you with positive thoughts. They can do this, you’ll stupidly think. They’re both gonna win tonight.

— 6 PM. You need to go ahead and eat something. You’ve been drinking for awhile, and once the Caps game starts, food will be the furthest thing from your mind.

— 7 PM. Turn on the Nationals-Orioles game for some pre-game distraction. Make sure you’re on MASN2 so you don’t have to hear FP and Carpenter. You’re in no mood for their bullshit tonight.

— 7:30 PM. Alright, time to flip to NBC Sports. Shit is about to get real. Pour four fingers of bourbon.

— 7:40 PM. The puck drops on Game 7. They can do this

— 8:16 PM. It’s the first intermission with the Caps up 6-0. Flip to TNT where the Wizards and Celtics have just tipped off.

— 8:33 PM. The Wiz are up big early, second period of hockey is about to start so get back to NBC Sports.

— 9:09 PM. It’s the second intermission with the Caps up 11-0. There are still about 13 minutes before halftime of the Wizards, so get back to TNT and see if Isaiah Thomas has found a D.C. fan in Boston to fight yet.

— 9:22 PM. It’s halftime of the Wizards game and they lead by 22. You have about four minutes until the third period of the Caps game starts. Use it wisely.

— 9:26 PM. The third period is underway. You’re drunk and happy.

— 10:02 PM. The final horn sounds. The Caps are onto the Conference Finals after winning 14-2. Or they lost a heartbreaker 4-3 in the final seconds. Could go either way, really. Change it back to TNT.

— 10:50 PM. The Wizards win and take a 3-2 series lead. Or they lost on a Thomas dagger. You never can tell.

— 11 PM. Go to bed, fall asleep watching the Nationals’ bullpen blow a 9th inning lead then lose in extra innings.

Ted Leonsis Was Caught Giving Penguins Fans The Business

Most Penguins fans were already seeking cover from the brutality being inflicted inside the PPG Paints Arena by the second half of the third period, but a few in the expensive seats decided to stick around. And if what was happening on the ice wasn’t painful enough, they had to endure being hollered at by Ted Leonsis:

According to Russian Machine Never Breaks, this happened right after Andre Burakovsky’s beautiful goal that put the Caps up 5-0. The conversation did seem fairly civilized, as you’d expect from a man drinking white wine in a luxury suite during a playoff hockey game.

What Becomes Of Caps-Pens Without Crosby?

Mr. Irrelevant Caps correspondent Brad Parker and resident Pens fan Ian Brinksman are back to discuss Caps-Pens! Brad asks the questions (in bold) and Ian answers (in, um, not bold).

1. What was your initial reaction to the hit on Crosby? Two minutes? Five? Dirty?

Initial reaction was disgust. The best player in the world has already lost a year of his prime to concussions. This could be the last we see of him.

I’ve since read a million takes (of both the hot and hotter variety), and watched that hit about 3,000 times. I’d say 5 minutes was the right call. Was it dirty? I don’t know. I don’t like to speculate what was in someone’s head. I doubt very seriously that Niskanen — a former teammate — wanted to put Crosby’s career (and life) in jeopardy. But did he want to pop him? Probably.

Hockey culture is terrible. It encourages fighting and boorishness. You and I have talked at length about this; I favor a ban on fighting, increased suspensions and — brace yourself — preferential treatment for star players. Say what you will about Roger Goodell (and I agree with all of it — including that he’s responsible for the eventual deaths of many NFL players), but at least he gets that football is a product and it’s a good thing to have stars showcased. Contrast that with this garbage league where the two best teams are playing in the second round, and arguably the game’s most recognizable figure is out indefinitely. That shit doesn’t happen in the NFL, and hockey is worse because of it.

I know I’m in the incredibly minority with this stuff. To that point, I hope the Pens don’t try to hurt Niskanen. They will. But I hope they don’t.

2. If Crosby or Conor Sheary miss any time, who takes their place and what impact would they have?

Josh Archibald and Oskar Sundqvist were recalled. They’re … I don’t know … fine? Look, the Penguins have had a lot of success calling up young guys over the last two years, but I can’t imagine they’ll do much of anything. I mean, what do I know? Is this what postseason despair is like?

3. How long should Hornqvist be suspended for that hit on Sheary?

Haha, dick.

4. What do Pittsburgh fans think of the Cole hit on Wilson in game 2 and Malkin hit on Winnik in game 3?

Probably liked it. See above. I don’t especially remember the Malkin hit (I was in a bit of a daze), but the Cole hit was brutal. How the referee just stood there, I don’t know. It’s a really stupid league.

5. Marc-Andre Fleury has been amazing so far. Can he sustain this level of play? If he has a bad game does he fall apart or can he recover?

He needs to. Not to be all chicken little about this, but despite the Penguins surviving both Letang and Murray going down, Crosby is just an entirely different story. Fleury needs to be transcendent if the Penguins have any hope of winning.

6. Rob Rossi wrote an idiotic “article” claiming that the Caps closed-door meeting after Game 2 was used to plan how to take out Crosby and that Ovi should be suspended for the rest of the playoffs. Please tell me that everyone in Pittsburgh thinks he’s a clown.

I mean, he’s obviously a clown. I don’t think all that highly of most sports columnists, but this was especially egregious. Click-bait, red meat for dummies, garage-league shit.

7. What do you expect for the rest of the series?

I expect the Penguins to give a lot of effort and to make it close, but it’s over. Maybe they eek out one more game, but I say Caps win out.

Bonus: I have a question for you!

Say Crosby remains out and the Caps go on to win it all. Do you think some part of Caps fans will always think there is a tiny asterisk to go along with that?

The Steelers won two championships while I’ve been alive, and both happened without having to face Tom Brady. I remember at the time some journalist saying that it will gnaw at Pittsburgh fans a bit. I thought that was stupid, and enjoyed the hell out of both victories. But now several years later, yes, that’s absolutely right. Those wins are a bit tainted.

But maybe I’m just projecting. Would love to get your thoughts.

I nearly asked you the asterisk question, but as a Caps fan I’m not even close to giving us this series, much less the Cup. But since you asked …

The Steelers analogy doesn’t work. You’ve won six Super Bowls. You might not know this, but the Capitals have never won the Stanley Cup. Ever. Not even with Alex Ovechkin.

If, by some miracle, it were to happen this year it would be one of the greatest moments of my life as a sports fan. I know Pittsburgh and the hockey media would consider it illegitimate and never let us forget how it happened. My guess is that would bug me every time it was mentioned — but I sure hope I get to find out.

I hate that he has another head injury. I’ve had over a dozen concussions in my lifetime, most long before doctors even cared about them. My doctor told my mom to stop bringing me in for them. We know better now.

Despite the fact that I dislike Crosby greatly, I love hockey and truly hope he’s OK. But none of us can change the fact that he isn’t playing tonight, and given his history he’s probably not playing again this year.

Really, all I’m trying to say is: I would much rather win a Stanley Cup with an alleged asterisk than never win one at all.

Caps Post-Game 2 Players-Only Meeting Transcript

This is so good, especially with Pittsburgh’s finest conspiracy theorists in mind, that we want to share it with those who may not see it on Twitter.

By Dave Lozo. Enjoy. And buy his book.

And in case you can’t see those screengrabs in the Twitter embed, here they are:

Update: It seems that not everyone’s comedy detector is working.

Sidney Crosby’s Injury Has The Takes Reaching A Boiling Point

After trying their very best to lose a game in which they held a 2-0 lead with under two minutes left, the Caps allowed us to hang onto the tiniest sliver of optimism by winning Game 3 early in overtime. Certainly, our souls will still be crushed later in the series, but for now, there’s hope.

Of course, that’s not the big takeaway from Monday night. The injury to Sidney Crosby is the talking point du jour, and the takes are coming in hot and heavy.

The most absurd of which comes from this guy:

This is Rob Rossi, who I’m not convinced isn’t Darren Rovell’s brother. He used to write for the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review and now pens opinions like this for something called Upgruv.com:

Makes you wonder what that closed-door meeting called by Capitals players was really about after their blowout defeat in Game 2, huh?

Not really.

If they say it wasn’t about eliminating Crosby, the Capitals are liars. And if that sounds like an unfair accusation to make of the Capitals, then please consider my decade of experience covering a sport I love and a league I really, really, really want to give the benefit of the doubt.

(Or maybe consider their coach publicly saying his players must go places they hadn’t gone before?)

Sorry, but I cannot give the Capitals, or the NHL, any benefit. And I doubt very much there wasn’t an intent to injure Crosby when this series shifted to Pittsburgh.

The plan to injure Crosby, which was devised in a closed-door meeting, worked to perfection: Give him a scoring chance, then have Ovi make just enough legal contact to cause Crosby to lose his balance so he falls directly into the waiting cross-check of Niskanen. And it looks like they’re totally going to get away with it — Nisky won’t be suspended.

But this wasn’t the only take coming from Pittsburgh suggesting the play was possibly intentional. Kevin Gorman of Triblive.com offered this:

Maybe you’d be more willing to buy [Niskanen’s] explanation if it wasn’t from the Capitals, the same organization against which Crosby suffered a concussion on a blindside hit by David Steckel in the 2011 Winter Classic, an injury that caused him to miss 63 games over two seasons.

So the evidence being used here to suggest intent on Niskanen’s part is that a guy who hasn’t played for the Capitals since that 2010-11 season hurt Crosby six years ago. There’s your smoking gun, folks.

There are still at least two games left in this series. Let’s hope everyone continues to remain calm and rational.

Caps-Pens Series Preview: Is There Any Hope?

Mr. Irrelevant Caps correspondent Brad Parker returns (!) to preview this Caps-Pens death match. He’s joined by Ian Brinksman, a Pittsburgh native and devoted Penguins fan who had the misfortune of working with Brad once. Brad asks the questions and Ian answers. Enjoy …

1. Is there any reason to think this year will be different?

Oh, god yeah. These are essentially the same two teams that met last year, only the Capitals blue line is better and the Penguins are without Letang. The Pens/Caps split their series this season, with each team winning at home. Given that 4 games are going to be played at the Verizon Center, I think they have an excellent shot. The only weakness I gleamed (from watching exactly five Capitals games this year, including three in the playoffs) is they struggle a bit against speed. With Carl Hagelin sidelined the Penguins are considerably less spry.

Finally — and maybe I’m putting way too much into this — but I think the fact the Capitals have so many impending free agents there will be a real psychic push to get them over the hump.

2. Why will this year be the same?

Even without Letang, the Penguins are still deep, fast, and dangerous. These are obviously the two best teams in the NHL. As such, the winner of this series will probably be down to a coin flip. I was also surprised at how stiff the Caps seemed to be against the Leafs. Obviously, they found their footing, but I don’t think they can play like that against the Penguins and expect to win. Also, Hagelin should be back at some point this series. He gave the Capitals fits last year, and would be a huge boon for the Penguins.

Speaking of psychic stuff, I do think the Penguins have it over the Capitals. I’m not sure how that translates onto the ice, but if this series is a coin flip, well, that could be the edge.

3. What do you hate most about Caps fans?

I’m the prissiest priss that ever came out of priss town. When I go to the Verizon Center I’m not loud, I’m not aggressive, I simply sit in my seat and (quietly) cheer on the team that I grew up watching. Even still, I get lumped in with the goons who stand on the Portrait Gallery steps. If an alien came down and witnessed my time in that venue, they’d assume my name rhymed with “bunt.”

To be a bit more serious, I do think it’s pretty bad that “your city is a shithole” is such a common refrain. I find it pompous, ignorant, and conforms to the worst stereotypes of East Coast elitism. I love D.C., I’ve obviously put my roots here, so I think the denizens of this city are better than that. Obviously, not every Caps fan does this –- just as you’ll never find me waving a terrible towel (for some reason) on the portrait gallery steps -– but it is a thing.

4. Last year the Caps moved the schedule to accommodate a Bieber concert at Verizon, this year we kept our schedule and cancelled a Chris Brown show. We deserve to win just for that, right?

Hmmm, this is a tough one. At best, this is a wash for D.C. reducing his assault charge to a simple misdemeanor. But if I can get some sort of assurance that he’ll get all his food spat in on his next visit to this fair city, yes, that’s worth like seven Caps championship parades.

5. What’s your prediction?

My brain says Caps in 7. Like I said, I think it’s a coin toss and the home ice advantage is just as good a reason as any. My heart secretly says Pens in 7, but under no circumstances will I put money on that. Considering every prediction I made in this space last year came true, get ready to exorcise those playoff demons Caps fans! (Until you get steamrolled in the Eastern Conference Finals because you don’t get to have nice things).

6. If the Caps don’t beat the Pens this year, with this lineup and Letang and Murray hurt, is there any hope of ever defeating Pittsburgh?

I mean, on a long enough timeline… sure. I do think this is your best chance over the next several years. But even if Oshie and company depart, your core is still strong (and young) enough that I doubt it’ll take that long to reload. Look at that: optimism!

A Caps Fans And A Pens Fan Walk Into A Bar …

Mr. Irrelevant Caps correspondent Brad Parker returns (!) to preview the Caps-Pens series. He’s joined by Ian Brinksman, a Pittsburgh native and devoted Penguins fan who had the misfortune of working with Brad once. Brad asked the questions and Ian answered. Enjoy watching them go snark-for-snark.

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1. Didn’t you guys suck a few months ago? What the hell happened? (Figured I’d lob you one first so you can tell us how amazing your coach is and explain how Sid saved Pittsburgh.)

The Pens didn’t suck as such, but they definitely plodded along in mediocrity. I don’t think there was much strategic difference between Mike Johnston and Mike Sullivan, but the team certainly responded after the former’s firing. Part of that transformation has to do with the coach, but it also coincided with call-ups, the trade for Carl Hagelin, and yes, Sidney Crosby waking up from his early-season doldrums and tearing the league apart.

With all due respect to Sullivan, I think the main difference in watching this team now and from the beginning of the season (and frankly from much of the last half dozen years) is its speed. How Washington deals with it will be an interesting match-up.

2. Do Pens fans hate the Caps as much as we used to hate you?

Used to? Almost as soon as the Caps finished up with the Flyers, my social media was flooded with the familiar frothy-mouthed anti-Crosby vitriol. I mean, your twitter handle is dedicated to mocking him. But in answer to your question, no, not quite.

The Caps are certainly a rival, but they pale in comparison to our cross-state friends from Philadelphia. And as you would probably guess, that’s because the Flyers actually beat us from time to time in the playoffs. So yeah, the relationship is a bit condescending, which I imagine is part of why Caps fans hate the Penguins so much. Maybe this is the series that changes that, but until the Caps actually beat the Pens in April/May that relationship isn’t going to change.

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3. It’s obvious that we hate Sidney Crosby because he’s a whiner that dives and yet is treated as infallible by the incredibly biased Canadian media. Why do you guys hate Alex Ovechkin, who is the greatest goal scorer of his generation and plays the game with unbridled enthusiasm and infectious joy?

I’m glad to see your journalistic objectivity is intact. I’ll ignore the Crosby baiting, other than to say I wish the league protected him as much as is claimed. Maybe then he wouldn’t have lost a year of his career to concussions.

Anyway, I love how Ovechkin’s description has been updated over the years from “best player in the world” to “best goal scorer!” And I think that gets at the heart of the antipathy. Penguins fans view him as a threat and a massive talent, but (rightly) view Crosby as the superior player. So as the NHL rammed their “rivalry” down our throats, our tribal instincts took over and the need to defend Crosby translated into attacking Ovi.

Personally, I like Ovechkin. I have an affinity for all Russian players; I find them endlessly amusing. I don’t like a lot of his hits as some of them can be quite reckless, but I don’t have any burning hatred for the man.

4. Which Penguin, who we aren’t talking about now, will Caps fans hate in a week?

This might be a bit obvious, but I think it’ll be Phil Kessel. If you look at his stats alone, he had a solid season. But in typical Kessel fashion, he disappeared for large swaths of the year and started to hear some of the same complaints that marred his time in Toronto. After an especially ghastly game in March, Kessel was able to muster some consistency that carried over into the playoffs in a big way.

From my very unscientific eyes, he was the best player on either team during the first round. His speed and shot created havoc for the Rangers. And apparently this shouldn’t be all that surprising, as his performance in past playoff games and the Olympics shows a man who ups his game when the stakes are high. I don’t think it’ll be long before I hear Caps fans mocking our fat, balding winger.

5. Um, that goalie you have is pretty awesome, right?

Matt Murray is one of the most highly regarded goalie prospects and he’s absolutely playing like it. Even when Fleury is finally healthy enough to play, I’d rather keep rolling Murray out unless he starts to stumble. I like Fleury a lot, but this kid has been everything we could possibly ask for and I don’t want to upset that.

6. The schedule was clearly altered because Justin Bieber is playing at Verizon Center on Friday. What’s your favorite song by the Beebs? (I know you’re kind of a hipster and will try to pretend you don’t like him, but seriously.)

My favorite moment was when Bieber thought he was sufficiently street to rap “Lose Yourself” in Detroit.

Foghatnightshiftalbum

7. Will any games in Pittsburgh be moved because of a Foghat/Blue Oyster Cult double bill?

Scheduling a Penguins playoff game on the same day as the Steelers draft is yinzerpocalypse.

8. Would fans in Pittsburgh rather see the Pens win another Cup, the Steelers win another Super Bowl, or the Pirates win another World Series?

Ooof. As much as it pains me to admit it, probably another Super Bowl.

9. You guys always beat us in the playoffs, even when we’re up by two games. Do you have any fear playing the Caps this year?

It’s funny. If someone were to show me the Capital’s record, statistics, and a breakdown of their team’s makeup — but hid the name of the team/players — I’d be incredibly nervous. But as soon as the Capitals name was revealed, I’d relax immediately. I don’t think I’m alone either. As soon as the Flyers began to make a series of it, I watched as Capitals nation began to have a collective freak-out.

Look, I should be incredibly nervous. But the Capitals remain the Bengals of hockey. Incredibly good during the regular season, hilariously inept in the playoffs. Bungles are going to Bungle, and until they change it, Caps are going to Cap.

10. Does Sidney Crosby still live with Mario Lemieux?

Ha, no. Does Alexander Ovechkin still have a tramp stamp?

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11. In your opinion, exactly how many hats should be thrown on the ice after a player records a hat trick?

In the year 1389, the Kingdom of Serbia was overrun by Ottoman forces in the “Battle of Kosovo.” Despite an obvious military defeat, the Serbs spent the next 700 years viewing this battle as the ultimate victory as Prince Lazar’s sacrifice stopped the Ottoman advance (note: it didn’t).

I bring this up only because it’s the closest parallel to your insistence on always bringing up the 2009 playoffs, where Crosby made an ill-advised statement during the Capitals’ Game 2 victory. To follow Brad on twitter (@stopthehats) is to see this event mentioned in constant, triumphant joy!

But of course the Penguins would go on to win the series and embarrass the Capitals in game 7. Why this series would be remembered fondly by a Capitals fan can only be explained by some deep, horrifying psychosis.

12. The Penguins will win this series if …

The Penguins will win this series if they continue their season-long mitigation of Ovi (zero points), and not allow the Capitals’ lethal powerplay too many opportunities.

13. The Capitals will win this series if …

The Capitals will win the series if they find a way to slow the Penguins aforementioned speed, force them to make stupid penalties, and rattle the rookie goaltender.

14. Your prediction?

I don’t think any team will dominate. I’ll say Pens in 6, but I could just as easily imagine a scenario where it goes the other way.

15. If your prediction comes through which of the following will you enjoy more: the victory or my Twitter meltdown?

Your Twitter is a master class in trolling. The only thing that makes it bearable for me is when the Caps do lose, you seem to have a complete psychotic break. I especially enjoyed the series of cryptic Prince (RIP) lyrics during the game 5 loss. I’ll enjoy the victory more, but it’s really closer than it ought to be.

Caps Fans Get The Best Return on Investment During These NHL Playoffs

Here with a guest post about this Caps’ playoff run and league-wide ticket prices is Mr. Irrelevant tickets partner TiqIQ.

It’s that time of year again — intensity picks up, facial hair begins to grow and dreams of hoisting Lord Stanley swirl in the minds of 16 NHL teams. For fans, the harrowing experience of the NHL Playoffs brings forth a gambit of emotions, from the elation of a big win to the frustration of an overtime loss. Patience is certainly tested, but one question remains; which fan base is getting the best bang for their buck during the 2016 NHL Playoffs?

Looking at secondary market data for 2016 NHL Playoff tickets provided by online aggregator TiqIQ and VegasInsider’s Stanley Cup odds for each team, it appears that the Presidents’ Trophy-winning Washington Capitals provide the best value for the greatest return this postseason. At the other end of the spectrum sit the New York Rangers, whose exorbitant ticket prices at Madison Square Garden and long odds at the Stanley Cup make them one of the worst deals in the playoffs this season.

The above graphic depicts each team’s home ticket average during the first round on the secondary market as well as their odds of winning the Stanley Cup. Perhaps expectedly, the Rangers lead the list with a whopping home average of $518.50, though at 18/1 odds leave fans paying big prices for what will likely result in an early exit. Washington Capitals playoff tickets, however, are the ninth most expensive in the opening round of play at an average price of $234.72 at Verizon Center. With 11/4 odds to win it all, the Capitals serve as the best deal through the Quarterfinals.

Such a claim is better represented through the team-by-team value index, which can be seen below. These numbers illustrate which fan bases receive the best value by multiplying each team’s first-round ticket price average at home by their Stanley Cup odds and then dividing that number by 1,000. The lower the number, the better the value, and the Capitals lead the list with a .65 rating.

Interestingly enough, while the Rangers own a 9.3 rating on the value index, they aren’t the team with the worst value from a ticketing and competitive standpoint this postseason. That honor belongs to the Philadelphia Flyers, who typically post high ticket prices at Wells Fargo Center and have the worst odds of winning the Stanley Cup at 200/1. Their 48.7 rating is far-and-away the worst value in the league. That number is certainly impacted by their first-round opponent in the Washington Capitals as well, who are clear favorites to win their first Cup in franchise history this season.

Other notable teams on the value index include the Detroit Red Wings and Minnesota Wild. Prior to being eliminated by the Tampa Bay Lightning on Thursday night, the Red Wings were second to the Flyers as the worst value in the 2016 NHL Playoffs with a 12.8 rating. That number is interesting considering the team’s continuous regular season success and record 25th consecutive playoff appearance, which didn’t seem to translate into a deep playoff run. Like the Flyers, the Wild typically own big ticket prices during the regular season and have the fourth highest average ticket price during the first round. Their 50/1 Stanley Cup odds make them the third-worst value at a 12.8 rating.

The Capitals may offer the best value to their fans, but several teams trail closely behind through the first round of play. Anaheim Ducks playoff tickets at Honda Center are the cheapest of the Quarterfinals at $145.11, and though the team has 12/1 odds at raising the Cup, they have the second-best value index with a .8 rating. The San Jose Sharks and Dallas Stars follow at respective ratings of 1.3 and 1.5.

Of course, plenty of hockey is left to play, and it remains to be seen if the Capitals have enough to win it all come June. For fans, however, they’ll gladly enjoy the ride – and the value that comes with the franchise’s potential first Stanley Cup.