ARLINGTON, Va. – The major topic of conversation this week surrounding the Capitals has centered on the players’ differing opinions on a controversial situation and whether that could potentially divide the locker room. No, I am not talking about the visit to the White House. The controversial situation is of course how the players feel about the Carolina Hurricanes’ Storm Surge postgame celebration.
“Just like the White House stuff, everybody has a different opinion,” Brooks Orpik said. “I think you should respect everyone's opinions so if someone says they don't like it, then that's their opinion. Doesn't mean they're wrong, but if someone likes it then good for them.”
After a win at home, it is not uncommon in any arena to see the players raise their sticks to the crowd in salute. The Hurricanes decided to take that one step, or five or six steps, further this season with pre-planned, intricate celebrations after each home win.
“[Williams] is a very funny guy,” Jakub Vrana said. “He can really take the group, put the group in a good mood, you know? With some good jokes. I can see him starting this up.”
The first celebration was simple enough. After Carolina’s second home win of the season, the team led the crowd in the Skol Viking clap and then the players all jumped into the boards. Since then, things have gotten a tad more…elaborate.
The Storm Surge stands in stark contrast to the infamously buttoned-up culture of hockey and as a result, opinions over Carolina’s new tradition vary wildly.
Opinions over the Storm Surge also seem to be mixed within the Caps’ locker room.
“I guess they do whatever they want,” Andre Burakovsky said. “It's not something that I would like to do when we're winning, I can tell you that.”
“I think it's fun,” Chandler Stephenson said. “I don't have any opinion on it, but I think it gets fans involved and the players. It seems like they really enjoy it. That's their thing that they like to do and some of them are pretty funny to see.”
While you would expect objection from some of the more “old school” type of veterans, support was not universal among the younger players.
“They can obviously do that if they want to, but I don't know if I'm a big fan that,” Vrana said.
“[The fans] have to come to see hockey,” he added. “They have to be excited just to watch their team play. I don't know. I'm not in their team or in their situation so I can't really judge anything, how it is actually. I don't really know what to think about it.”
The Caps will look to avoid becoming the latest victims of the Storm Surge as they play in Carolina on Thursday in a rematch of Tuesday’s contest in Washington. That should bring a bit of extra motivation for those players who do not like the Hurricanes’ postgame shenanigans as there is a simple way to avoid it: Win.
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