Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Quick Hits: Capitals, Ravens, Redskins, Terps and United

Capitals owner Ted Leonsis said on his blog that the Caps will be looking at this season as a series of five-game "mini-seasons," with the goal of earning six points in the standings for each five-game stretch. (For those who don't know the NHL's point system, you get two points for a win, one for an overtime or shootout loss, and zero for a regulation loss). Averaging six points every five games would give them about 98 points on the season, which would have been good enough for 7th place in the Eastern Conference last season.

Leonsis wrote that, in business, breaking down a large task into smaller tasks with shorter-term goals "makes it easier for all stakeholders to focus on the task at hand."

The Caps have 4 points after four games, and "mini-season one" ends tonight with a home game against the Florida Panthers. Washington needs a victory to reach their goal for the first five game stretch.

The Ravens fired Offensive Coordinator Jim Fassel yesterday. Head Coach Brian Billick will take over the play-calling on offense.

Apparently Billick decided he needed to be more involved in the offense, Fassel felt Billick already had too much input, and now Billick will have all the involvement he can handle.

Billick, who may be running out of chances in Baltimore, now puts himself in a "no one to blame but myself" situation.

After jumping out to a 4-0 start, the Ravens have lost two in a row. They are off this week before going to New Orleans to face the Saints.

The Ravens offense is ranked 28th in the NFL.

The Redskins suffered a devastating loss to the previously winless Titans, so I guess I was wrong (see number 4)... There will be no escape from the "Redskins suck, my life is over" attitude in the nation's capital in the foreseeable future.

The Maryland Terrapins came back from a 20-0 halftime defecit against Virginia on Saturday to take a 28-26 win. The victory brings them to 4-2 overall and 1-1 in the ACC.

The Terps need only two more wins in their last six games to be bowl eligible, but that's eaiser said than done.

Maryland does have four home games in the second half of the season, taking on N.C. State, Flordia State, Miami and No. 25 Wake Forest at "Chevy Chase Bank Field at Byrd Stadium" (excuse me while I roll my eyes). On the road they take on No. 12 Clemson and No. 22 Boston College, so realistically you can forget about road wins.

A win over N.C. State this Saturday during Maryland's homecoming would be huge because the last five games on the schedule are brutal.

I was thinking after the Miami-FIU brawl that the Terps would have a good chance against a Miami squad that would have to be missing numerous players because of suspension, but as it turns out of the 13 players suspended, the only guy who may not be on the field for the Terps game is Anthony Reddick, who was clearly visible on TV running up and whacking a player on the back with his helmet. The 12 other suspended players will only miss Miami's epic and much-anticipated match-up with winless Duke. Convenient, eh?

Even with those players back with the 'Canes, the Terps' best chance to snag an upset win might be that Nov. 11 meeting with Miami, who, like the Terps, struggled against FIU.

D.C. United fell to the Chicago Fire, 3-2, in the regular season finale Sunday. After dominating the league for much of the season, United has dropped three straight going into the playoffs and is 2-6-5 in its last 13 games.

United Coach Peter Nowak told The Washington Post, "We give up the goals like an under-12 team," adding, "In the playoffs it's going to cost us a game, it's going to cost us a series, and we'll all go fishing."


They're still in first place and, lucky for them, they face one of the two teams they beat in the last 13 games, the New York Red Bulls, in the first round of the playoffs.

The first "leg" of the two-game series is Saturday at 2 p.m. That will be followed by another match on Sunday, Oct. 29, at RFK.

In the oddity that is the MLS playoffs, series leading up to the MLS Cup are two games each, and the team that scores more goals over the course of the two games moves on. The league championship is still only one game.

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