On the one hand, a team's biggest star was suspended indefinitely.
On the other, a team's (and league's) brightest star was named captain indefinitely.
The NBA works tirelessly to distance itself from infamous pranksters and
The NHL loves nothing more than to showcase lovable personalities and generational talents such as Alexander Ovechkin.
Get used to these faces.
But who really cares what anyone else thinks? I certainly don't. After all, as fans, love for our favorite teams is usually unconditional and only increases with time. The longer you spend following a team, the more you grow to love it. Often times, the more you suffer, the stronger the bond. And, as DC sports fans, we've grown accustomed to the agony of defeat.
As is the case with every other sports junkie, my general, everyday disposition fluctuates based on the performances of my favorite teams. I win some. I lose some. My fanaticism is my peril.
Which brings me back to the Verizon Center's top dogs - and no, I'm not talking about the Mystics and Hoyas.
The Wizards and Capitals have been headed in opposite directions for a long while, and it has become a reality this year more than ever before.
Below are the results of the Wizards' and Capitals' last 10 seasons (excluding the the canceled 2004-4005 NHL season), with above-.500 seasons in green, sub-.500 seasons in red, and trends and playoff performances noted for your viewing pleasure.
[Note: 2009-2010 has been projected based on current records.]
As you can see, the Caps and Wizards have both been above .500 in the same season just once (2007-2008) in the last ten years. Coincidentally, they've both been under .500 in the same season only once (2003-2004) in that same time period.
The trend column, however, is the most troubling to me. The Capitals have improved just about every season since the lockout in 2004-2005. In the same period, the Wizards have improved just twice based on sheer numbers, but numbers don't really tell the whole story there.
2007-2008: Are two extra wins and another first round loss at the hands of the Cleveland Cavaliers an improvement? Not to me.
2009-2010: Even if you disregard the Gilbert Arenas disaster, a potential nine extra victories but still lottery-bound-and-hopelessly-over-the-luxury-tax squad will never be considered an improvement from the prior season. No matter how bad that prior season was.
What we have here is a classic case of two teams headed in opposite directions. The Capitals have a home-grown, talented but gritty, determined yet boisterous, young but adequately experienced club that is vying for their first ever Stanley Cup and the right to put DC back on the map as a respectable sports town.
The Wizards? Well, no need to elaborate...