Seeking Some Soul in the South
As the Caps’ team bus slinked its way through the late-night Atlanta traffic en route to the airport after Friday’s 5-3 win over the Thrashers, the unmistakable wail of James Brown’s “I Got You (I Feel Good)” loudly blared forth from the big vehicle’s sound system. While the song was playing, the bus passed the exit for interstate 20 east to Augusta, where the ECHL rink in that Georgia town bears Brown’s name.
If you get on 20 headed west, you’re on your way towards Memphis. Seconds after J.B.’s signature song ended came the strains of another southern soul favorite, Booker T. and the M.G.’s “Green Onions.” Booker T. and his boys were the house band at Stax Records in Memphis for years.
I couldn’t help but think that BT and the MGs’ “Time is Tight” would have been more appropriate. Because time most certainly is tight for the Capitals.
Less than two weeks remain in the season, and the Caps have only six games remaining. Three of those games are on the road – the next three – and Washington finishes up with three at home. We’re in Raleigh now, where the Capitals will take on Southeast Division leading Carolina on Tuesday.
It’s funny how some Caps I talked to after Wednesday’s 5-0 loss in Chicago talked about the importance of forgetting about that game as soon as possible. So it was with no small sense of irony that I noted the postgame musings of that noted hockey philosopher Alex Ovechkin after he and his mates saved the season by storming from behind to win in Atlanta with arguably the team’s most perfect period of the season.
“We have to forget this,” he said. “It was big game, big win. But next day will be next day. We just have to play the same. We play well tonight and we have to continue that way.”
This much is true. But rather than forget it, I’d like to see the Caps reproduce that period 18 more times between now and the end of the season. I’d like their chances of getting in if they could pull that off.
Even if they did, they’d still need help.
“Teams at this time of the year are still in control of their own destiny,” observes Brooks Laich. “There are still guys fighting for spots and teams are going to play desperate and play hard and try and get all the points they can. It’s tough to watch when you sit out and you see other teams gain ahead of you because it’s out of your hands. But as long as we take care of our business I think we’ll be all right.”
If you’re headed from Atlanta to Memphis, be sure to stop in Muscle Shoals, Ala. That’s where the Staples Singers recorded “I’ll Take You There” with the renowned Muscle Shoals Rhythm Section.
If the Caps show enough soul on this last road trip through the south, it might be enough to take them “there” for the first time in five years.