Tuesday, December 12, 2006

What The Hell Happened Last Night?

It started with the Capitals debacle. But when your playoff history is littered with squandered 3-1 series leads to the Penguins you kind of have to expect things like 4-0 leads turning into 5-4 shootout losses. (But hey, at least Ovechkin converted a shootout opportunity and Crosby didn't ... sometimes it's the small victories ... aided by the fact that we're still ahead of them in the standings.)

Here's what the bloggers are saying about the loss:
"Painful" (Team Owner Ted Leonsis on Ted's Take)
"I am still amazed as to just how pathetic the Penguin Scum looked last night even as they were staging their comeback." (Caps Nut of Bleatings From a Caps Nut)
"I love Glen Hanlon, but why in the hell did he put Chris Clark on the shootout? ... How can you leave Matt Pettinger (our best breakaway guy) on the bench for Clarky? Bad move." (Gregg Kanner of Capital Punishment)
"Well, I’d write it off as the normal fluctuations of a young team, except it’s against Pittsburgh, and the Caps choked, hard-core, against relatively equal opposition. ... Worst loss of the season, and that includes the Anaheim game." (Empty Maybe of On Frozen Blog)

The bigger local story is that D.C. United traded 17-year-old Freddy Adu to Real Salt Lake.

United signed Adu three years ago when he was just 14, and it was pretty much the biggest event in the history of the MLS.

Adu wasn't the instant success that the media hype indicated he should have been, but that's why European leagues have developmental squads. With nothing of the sort in the District, Adu had to develop at the pro level.

In his time on the team, he squabbled with coach Peter Nowak about playing time and came off as a young prima donna, but it seemed like he was finally coming around. In United's playoff loss to the New England Revolution Adu looked like the most dangerous player on the squad until Nowak inexplicably yanked him from the game in the middle of the second half.

There's speculation that a European club will come calling for Adu once he turns 18 next year, which could mean that Real Salt Lake won't even have Adu for all of the 2007 season.

In the deal, United also shipped former starting goalie Nick Rimando to Salt Lake. The only live body D.C. got in the deal was reserve goalie Jay Nolly, but their big compensation is a "major player allocation," which allows D.C. to sign a fifth international player.

In MLS rules, a team is only allowed four "international" players who are 25-years-old or older, and three who are under 25. However, it does not consider a player to be international if they are a U.S. citizen or have a green card.

Since all the best players come from outside the U.S., the ability to add another international player is a big deal.

For Real Salt Lake, who has struggled in its first two years of existence, they now have Adu to go with 2006 MVP finalist Jeff Cunningham and MLS all-time leading scorer Jason Kreis.

Here's what the bloggers are saying about the Adu deal:

"I'm sad to see Rimando go ... As for Freddy, eh." (DCSportsChick of DCSportsChick)
"All six fans of the DC United are likely crying in their beers tonight. ... Adu's career in DC has been disappointing, primarily for Freddy who wanted more playing time, and for the United." (Tom Bridge of Metroblogging DC)

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