WASHINGTON, D.C. — When a team embarks on the type of playoff adventure the Washington Capitals are currently enjoying — one that galvanizes, inspires and rocks a long-suffering fan base — the athletes are often asked if they are able to truly soak it in, how their success on the ice seeps outside the rink and spills into the streets.
Fearing highway traffic, the two hopped on the Metro near their neighbourhood in Virginia and rode the rails to Capital One Arena in cars jammed with shocked supporters.
“It was great. It was actually really easy for us to get down there,” Oshie said Sunday. “The fans seemed very excited but were also very respectful and kind of just wished us luck along the way. The closer we got, the more fans got on, and it was cool. It was cool to see.
“I think we actually got on some TV or someone was doing some type of simulated Caps march and we happened to be walking right behind the march, so we might be in some type of pump-up video or something, but it was cool. It was fun. It was a different way. I’ve never gone that way before. Pretty simple.”
Several photos and videos of the players popped up on social media via their adoring fan base, and Oshie and Niskanen gracefully posed for pics en route.
Holy Hockey! Look who was on my metro car!!! @TJOshie77 on his way to @CapitalOneArena! And Matt Niskanen, too! #ALLCAPS #StanleyCup #ThisIsASignFromTheHockeyGods @NoVa_Caps @russianmachine @Capitals @wmata pic.twitter.com/od8lEQ73YT
— LET'S GO CAPS! (@danadaniello) June 2, 2018
Hesitant to outline their exact route, Niskanen dropped one clue. They rode either the WMATA’s Silver or Orange line.
“Niski has done it a couple more times than me. That was actually my first one to the game,” Oshie said.
Several blocks of downtown D.C. were barricaded off for a well-attended outdoor fan party, headlined by Sting and Shaggy, so Oshie and Niskanen opted to mix with the proletariat.
Ironically, when they reached the dressing room, teammates told them the drive downtown was one of the easiest yet.
The scene outside Capital One before, during and after the home side defeated the Vegas Golden Knights 3-1 in Game 3 was a joyful and boisterous one.
Familiar faces came out of the woodwork to rock the red: Pat Sajak, Kenan Thompson, Olaf Kolzig, Joe Gibbs, and Wonder Woman herself.
The Capitals delivered the first home victory for a Washington-based sports team in the championship round since May 20, 1979, when the NBA’s Bullets bested the SuperSonics.
A foreign substance is wafting in the air here: optimism.
“There’s a lot of pride in this D.C. area. In past failures, you’d feel a lot of anxiety even before you started the playoffs. I think we’ve gotten past that as a group. We’ve gotten past that, hopefully, as a community,” said coach Barry Trotz, now two wins from glory.
“I think it’ll galvanize all the city and all the other sports franchises in this area because there are some good ones. And I know the baseball guys are watching us.”
Hockey players can be superstitious creatures. The pressing question, then, heading into Monday’s Game 4: Will the boys ride the Metro again?
“I don’t know. We haven’t discussed that yet,” smiled Oshie, glancing at transit pal. “We will see.”
— LET'S GO CAPS! (@danadaniello) June 3, 2018