With the Sabres out of the playoff picture for 2008, I really don’t think I can just not watch hockey … so I better pick another team to root for.

I’ve always had a soft spot for Washington DC. Since the fifth grade, preparing for a field trip to “the district,” I’ve learned so much about DC and have really grown to love the place. I try to go there every few years to look around and do all the touristy stuff. It’s a strange place because on one hand it’s very steady and constant … and yet at the same time, there’s always something new.

I’d love to some day live there … or more to the point work there. Very few people actually “live” in DC. Most live in Northern Virginia or Maryland. I’m kind of partial to Manassas in Fairfax County Virginia. In fact, before moving back to WNY about a decade ago, we looked into the possibility of moving there. And considered it again when I was let go from Greater Niagara News. Unfortunately, the cost of living there has skyrocketed since I first fell in love with it. You used to be able to move to DC and then make money. Now you’d better have a bank roll first, or they won’t even let you in.

My favorite sports teams are from Buffalo (Sabres and Bills) and Cleveland (Indians). I’ve long thought that I should learn to love the Capitals since they’ll one day be my “home town team” – at least according to my long-term life plan. And when MLB introduced the Nationals, I thought the same about them. I don’t think, however, that I could ever root on the Redskins.

But the fact of the matter is, I usually root for “my” team until they eventually remove themselves from contention (as is always the case) and then I stop rooting.

There is a Sabres game tonight, although because they’re now removed from post-season contention, it’s fairly useless. But I’ll be watching … and rooting for the boys in Blue and Gold. And I’ll be watching the out-of-town scoreboard as well, hoping that the Caps get at least a point, vaulting them into the playoff picture.

Funny, actually. If the Caps win tonight, they’ll be the 3rd seed in the East. And if they lose … they’re out. The way the NHL does the seeding is screwy in that the division leaders are seeded 1-2-3 no matter what their point total is.

So I’m rooting on Washington tonight … and hopefully for the next several weeks. And some day, maybe I’ll root from the Kettler Iceplex.

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