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And this year's hockey season has been full of storylines and drama. Bill Simmons, the ESPN Sports Guy, talks about it in this post on ESPN's Page 2 talking about how he swore off being a Bruins fan for years and then finally, with this playoff series between the Bruins and their archnemesis-in-his-eyes Montreal Canadiens, he was hooked and back watching the greatest game on ice. ... however it happened, the Bruins mattered again. From being down in the depths of "Oh are they still around" back into basic level chatter.

I can say the same of the Washington Capitals around my office this year. Bill talks about calling his dad who he described as one of the few who never really left. For me, it was realizing my coworkers had trips to see the Wizards and Nationals in the works that got me activist about it. I stirred up the right people to get a group going to see the Caps and presented it as a fun night out. Putting my money where my mouth is, I had signed up for a four-game plan back in December and said "Here's a few games I should be able to make and then the last game of the season. Why not, it's a Saturday." With my ticket package I got 2 free Caps baseball caps, and I immediately started mixing them into my rotation of office hats. For me, the hats with the business attire is kind of a signature thing. May not be completely formal businesswear, but it suits me and is certainly distinctive. I'll look for a Capitals tie or button-down shirt or something for next year for those days with customer meetings where hats are a no-no.

Game by game, people took notice. I would hear comments like "Looks like your Capitals are turning it around." The office trip to see the Capitals play resulted in another victory, and the water cooler was abuzz. As the season wore on through March and the the team worked their way up in the standings, I got more and more questions in the hallways or after meetings. Usually it was people who wanted to know if I thought they'd make it. My answers were guarded optimism. I knew it would take help, and when that help came through the last week of the season I was thrilled. The last game of the season became a must-have ticket for a must-win game and the Verizon Center was electric with cheering.

Ted Leonsis and the front office team of the Capitals is getting many deserved accolades for assembling a squad that has been resilient and even resurgent at the right time. It's a hockey triumph all its own and a good story that even casual fans are taking notice. The lockout and the serious overhaul of the team lineup ... both sent hits to the ticket sales I'm sure. And now, on the day of Round 1 Game 7, people around my office have asked me if I'm going and tell me details of goals and hits from this past week's action.

I saw a little of the same thing with the Baltimore Ravens when they put together a solid 13-3 season back in 2006, but it's different with the football situation. My office is in DC and it is a Redskins town, and the NFL is in a much different situation than the NHL. It seems like even the media is starting to come around and start talking about hockey more and more. When you can combine winning, drama and good storylines I think journalists can smell it.

My office is just one example of how the atmosphere around hockey in DC has changed. I'm sure Ted's happy there are butts in seats, but there's a whole different dynamic around town from six months ago. Win or lose tonight, this season's a victory. If the Caps miracle ride continues, it only gets better. But either way, I'm sure I'll hear about it in the morning.

- Pookah

PS: Still working on that color revamp.

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