John Feinstein of The Washington Post wrote Tuesday that “The Capitals made a mistake Saturday night” by choosing to only unfurl last season’s Southeast Division championship banner from the rafters before the home opener, rather than “slowly raising” it. I don’t think it matters too much which way the banner was unveiled but, in this situation, I lean much more toward the side of having a somewhat quick celebration as the Caps chose to do (it’s also important to note that the celebration was not overly subtle either, with the Caps taking a few minutes to thank the fans and show a video with highlights from last season before dropping the banner).
If this had been the Caps’ first division title in years or the future
looked cloudy, then maybe you do it up and make it a bigger deal. But in this case, I say celebrate quickly and get on with the business at hand by doing something like scoring a goal just over a minute into the game and earning the victory up for grabs that night.
Anybody who has been following the Caps’ rebuild closely and who knows the organization’s approach to things should not have been too surprised by the way they unveiled the banner. Their coach has talked about not enjoying victories for too long when there is the next game to focus on, their owner speaks often about not getting “too high with the highs or too low with the lows,” and both he and their general manager have talked about building a team that will provide a lengthy window of opportunity to compete for the Cup—in other words, they aren’t into sacrificing the long-term goals for short-term gain.
The Caps are an organization that has their eye on the prize and staying focused means making every effort possible to not let distractions get in the way; over-doing the celebration of last year’s accomplishments, several months after everyone had already enjoyed the process of earning it, was one possible distraction they could control and I think they handled it well. The games to-be-played and the points up for grabs in the coming season are what’s on everyone’s minds now, much more than the very-much-appreciated ones already in the books.