Tuesday, October 7, 2008


Many, many times at Caps games, I've heard the question asked about the "whoop whoop" that cascades from the crowd when former Caps have the puck. (And you should hear some of the answers I've heard) So I thought I could help clear this up a bit.

Ironically, this tradition didn't begin with a former Cap, but with one of our own. None other than Hall of Fame defenseman Larry Murphy. And the original jeer was actually a "whoops".

Opposing teams all had the book on Larry Murphy, who was a finesse player rather than a banger. So the recipe for success was to dump the puck into Larry's corner, then send a player crashing in on the forecheck. This would occasionally cause Murphy to lose his nerve and the result would be "Whoops... gave the puck away!"

The sarcastic jeers from the DC faithful escalated exponentially when Murphy returned as an opposing player and "poof". A tradition is born.

Now I can hear some of you reasonable people wondering aloud "Wait, the fans were doing this to their own Hall of Fame player?"

Please.... never let petty accomplishments like that get in the way of a good sarcastic taunt. In fact, cruel treatment of our own defensemen is almost a part of Capitals culture! (Isn't that right, Milan?)

OK, now that we've got that cleared up, here a handy guide to using whoops in today's NHL

How to Whoop a former Cap (Volume 1)

First rule: Only defenseman get whooped. If you're whooping Jeff Halpern- you're committing a faux pas.

Second rule: Insanely physical players are exempt. If you were whooping Scott Stevens back in the day, I would have politely asked you to "fut the shuck up!" It's never a good idea to taunt a guy who might bludgeon one of your own if provoked.

Last rule: Use it on worthwhile players. If you're whooping Lawrence Nycholat- you're probably taking the tradition to the very extreme. Even a guy like Steve Eminger is a bit below the threshold of whooping. (Although, considering that he's a Flyer, I'm willing to let him hear a few)

So with these guidelines in mind, here is a list of whoopable former Caps:

Sergei Gonchar
Brendan Witt

Long list, huh? Let's just hope we never need to use it on Mike Green!


Reed-CK said...

I thought we were "whooping" Eminger not Halpern.

Michael Eason said...

At the time this was posted, Halpern and Eminger were on different teams, so the distinction made more sense. It was definitely Emmy who was hearing it last game and not Halpern.

joecct said...

The Cheer began in Section 128 of the old US Air Arena. As the blogger has said, Murphy had a hard time in his defensive zone.

It began as "Muph Alert!! - AAAK!" Then just "AAAK", then "OOPS", then finally "WHOOPS!!"

It was only done while Murph had the puck in the defensive zone. Once he lugged the puck into the neutral zone or passed it, the "Whoops!" stopped.

We also noticed that Larry never held the puck for long once the "Whoops!" cheer started.

As a side note, the year Murph was a 2nd team all-star, the cheer was discarded. He was having a banner season on all zones.