I made passing reference a couple weeks ago to the 100 cumulative consecutive seasons that have passed since a Minnesota team in the NFL, MLB, NBA or NHL played in the championship series of its sport. There have been World Series berths, Super Bowl tries or NBA/NHL finals berths since the Twins won it all in 1991. We’re at 26 seasons of the Twins, 27 for the Vikings, 27 for the Wolves and 20 combined for the North Stars (two) and Wild (18).
It adds up to 100, and Minnesota fans like to hold up that number as a badge of misery. Even though, you know, the Lynx have won four WNBA titles in the last seven years. And even though there have been plenty of other highs in the last quarter-century.
Regardless, if you want to just stick to the “not playing for a championship in those four leagues” angle, I have news for you: Washington D.C. teams in those four leagues are on a run that makes Minnesota look like Winnerville in an apples to apples comparison.
The Washington Post has the gory, depressing and sometimes amazing details. The upshot: the Capitals, Nationals, Wizards and Redskins have not even made it to the conference finals/title game in any season since the Caps made it in 1998. Almost as incredibly, those four teams have combined to play 13 games since then in which they had a chance to clinch a berth in the conference finals. They are 0-13 combined in those games.
At least the Vikings have made it to four NFC title games since then, while the Twins, Wild and Wolves have made it to one league or conference championship series each in that span. They’re, um, 0-7 in those situations but let’s forget about that for now and focus on this:
I wish we had a real fingers-crossed foam finger so @dcsportsbog could wear one on his head tonight. Today’s cover of @WaPoExpress seems to say that this conference finals drought matters. pic.twitter.com/7sPOZrx1kg
— Gabe Hiatt (@Gabecito) May 7, 2018
Some teams have contributed more than others, but all four have contributed. Some have been more painful than others, but hoo boy a lot of those 13 have been painful losses.
It was May 15, 1998 when the Capitals beat the Sabres to advance to the conference finals. They won the next round, too, but fell in a four-game sweep to Detroit in the Cup Finals. Since then? Nada.
That said, D.C. has a chance (two, actually) to break the streak. The Capitals lead the Penguins 3 games to 2 heading into Game 6 Monday night in Pittsburgh. If the two-time defending Stanley Cup champion Penguins win, it will be Game 7 back in Washington, with the streak having grown to 14 and an entire market on edge against their chief playoff nemesis.
Tonight’s game is on NBC Sports Network if you would like to feel as though you’re watching a Minnesota team.