F.P. makes the case for a Caps carryover effect on D.C. sports

Chris Lingebach
May 15, 2018 - 7:08 pm

Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

Eliminating the Penguins in the Eastern Conference Semifinal last week -- to finally reach the third round, for the first time in the Alex Ovechkin era -- has clearly had a liberating effect on the Capitals.

The Caps now lead Tampa Bay 2-0 in the Eastern Conference Final after going into Amalie Arena and dominating Games 1 and 2, and have a chance to close the series out at home, in Games 3 and 4, with a clean sweep.

READ: Metro Extends Late-Night Service For Game 3

The Nationals have shared in the Caps' playoff torment, making the postseason four out of the past six years and each time failing to advance out of the first round, eliminated by a quartet of legacy clubs, the Cardinals, Giants, Dodgers and Cubs.

Could the Caps finally getting over their second-round hump have some sort of carryover effect on D.C. sports?

MASN analyst F.P. Santangelo doesn't think it could directly impact Nats players, but in a roundabout way, maybe so.

"Is that something that you think could benefit any of the other squads in town now that that barrier has been broken through?" Chad Dukes asked on 106.7 The Fan.

"No. But here's what I do think, Chad. I think it could help the fanbase," Santangelo said. "You can relieve the anxiety of a fanbase, and as athletes, we feed off that."

"So once you kind of get that proverbial monkey off your back, maybe the Caps that are Nats fans and vice versa, everybody's kind of relaxed now and there's not that big ball of anxiety in the stands and everybody waiting for something bad to happen," he said. "And I've been here long enough now -- it's my eighth year here -- that I know exactly what they're going through. Maybe not to the extent of people that have lived here like yourself their whole lives, but I know it now and I feel it now, and I understand it fully."

"And what's happening with the Caps -- and you know I'm a big sports psychology guy -- I always felt like, and I still feel like, this will happen with the Nats," he said. "If they get out of the damned first round, then everybody relaxes and they're playing with house money, and that's what the Caps are doing now. They're having fun.

"You look at Ovi, he's skating around like a little kid right now. They got over the hump and now they're just playing hockey. It's not like, 'Oh my God. We've got this big ball of pressure on us.' So now they're good.They're good. They're playing hockey now and they've got the big monkey off their back and they're over the hump."

"And I think if the Nats ever get out of the NLDS, which I'm hoping that's soon. They've got to win the division first and get there. That's not an easy thing to do," Santangelo went on. "But the same thing will happen. That's what we've always said. If they can just win that Game 5, they'd get to the NLCS, they'd have fun, they'd play baseball and they'd probably end up in the World Series."

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