Friday, December 05, 2008

Dumbest Looking Mascot in Sports Gets Busted for DUI

Image from
Penn State has suspended James Sheep, who dresses up in a bear suit every Saturday and claims to be a "Nittany Lion," after Sheep was charged with DUI when he was pulled over on campus at 3:15 a.m. on Nov. 22.

Read more at Fox Sports.

I think they're missing the real story here: That's the dumbest looking mascot in sports.

I'm left with so many questions...

How have I not noticed this before??

Can you blame the guy for needing some of Grandpa's Pennsyltucky Cough Medicine before putting on that dopey thing?

Did someone's mom make it? Packed up the Dodge Caravan and headed to Michael's to grab the supplies?

The only thing it's missing are googly eyes. It looks like a cheap halloween costume or something for a third grade performance of Goldilocks and the Three Bears. And come on! Give the guy a scarf or something to cover up the ridiculous neck opening. Wait! He does have a scarf! COMING RIGHT OUT OF HIS CREEPY NECK HOLE!

Since I had so many questions, I went on a quest for answers. From Wikipedia, king of all primary sources:

"The mascot was the creation of Penn State senior H. D. "Joe" Mason in 1907. While on a 1904 trip to Princeton University, Mason had been embarrassed that Penn State did not have a mascot."

Thanks, "Joe." Now you can be embarrassed that you do have a mascot. And it's been traumatizing small children for 101 years.


I was covering the Caps game last night and had this SMS text exchange with a friend:

Me: They showed 2 Redskins on the screen and they got booed loudly. I'm not a fan but I'd have enough respect not to boo them in a Washington bldg. Thats s***y IMO.

Him: They were saying smoooooooooooooot for fred smoot.

Me: Hahahahahahah I am a moron.

Yeah. Awesome.

Note: The other 'Skins player was Rock Cartwright.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Alexander Semin pretty much thinks Sidney Crosby sucks...

Greg Wyshynski, who I frequently see in the press box at Verizon Center and have talked to a couple times (NAME DROP NAME DROP NAME DROP ... I'm sure he couldn't pick me out of a one-person lineup) has posted an interview with Alexander Semin, from Russian to English by way of Sovetsky Sport's Dmitry Chesnokov.

And Semin didn't hold back when it came to everyone's favorite flightless fowl.

What's so special about [Crosby]? I don't see anything special there. Yes, he does skate well, has a good head, good pass. But there's nothing else. Even if you compare him to Patrick Kane from Chicago ... [Kane] is a much more interesting player. The way he moves, his deking abilities, his thinking on the ice and his anticipation of the play is so superb.

I think that if you take any player, even if he is "dead wood," and start promoting him, you'll get a star. Especially if he scores 100 points. No one is going to care about anyone else. No one is going to care whether he possesses great skill. Let's say you put someone in front of the net and let him deflect pucks in, and he scored 50 goals; everyone will say "Wow!" and then hand him a $10 million per year contract. That's what they like here.

Yeah that's also a pretty nice swipe at North American hockey and the NHL in general, but I think us Washingtonians are willing to look past that and commend Sasha Semin for throwing some message board signature material our way.

Read the full interview here. It's worth it.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Capitals 2008-2009 Season Preview: Multimedia Style

I'm not sure if this is the world's longest Capitals season preview or not, but at over 2,500 words AND a 25-minute podcast to boot, I think Abram Fox and I really came through with a thorough look at the Caps upcoming season for DC Sports Box.

Most of the message board posters and stat geeks and people trawling the Web all day for new Caps info aren't going to learn a whole lot, but there's plenty of info for the casual hockey fan or someone not really familiar with the Caps. And the podcast includes more opinion and even some predictions for the season.

Check out the preview article here:
Capitals Season Preview: High Expectations for '08-'09

And listen to the podcast here:
2008-2009 Season Preview podcast

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Bruce Boudreau Mercedes Commercial

I'll give him credit in that it's better than the Eddie Jordan commercial (also for American Service Center) where the salesman, who somehow is a worse actor than either Jordan OR Bruce Boudreau, has to sell the Wizards coach on a Benz before the 24-second clock runs out.

For your viewing pleasure:

Is it bad that my first thought was, "We may be getting a little ahead of ourselves..."?

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

From Ted's Take: Ovechkin on ESPN The Magazine cover

Caps owner Ted Leonsis uncovered a gem for your hockey-thirsty eyes. It's Alex Ovechkin in an election-themed shot on the cover of the Oct. 6 issue of ESPN The Magazine.

I don't want to take eyes away from his blog by posting the image here (pissing off the owner of a franchise that you cover ... probably not a good idea), but let me just say it's definitely worth a click.

I especially like the teaser: "One man's plan to make Washington great again." We can save the debate over whether not the "again" part is warranted for a later date...

Check it out.


Monday, September 22, 2008

Wacko for ... Lorenzo Neal?

Today I was looking over the damage from the weekend and trying to figure out why my fantasy football team is so freaking awful despite having the "advantage" of the first overall pick in the draft, and also trying to figure out just what it was that made the Ravens offense better than the sputtering catastrophe that it's been since Trent Dilfer was unceremoniously let go.

There's the obvious answers for the Ravens -- Cam Cameron's injection of flavor into the formerly vanilla Ravens offense, Le'Ron McClain pounding the ball up the middle, and Joe Flacco playing serviceable if unspectacular football -- but I don't think that's the whole story. And there's no way to use those to explain why my fantasy football team is the Tom Brady-less Patriots to everyone else's Ronnie Brown-led Dolphins.

But I think I have found the connection. Allow me to explain.

With the first pick in my fantasy football draft, I took LaDainian "no-brainer first pick" Tomlinson. LT has gone on to earn me a whopping 15.2 fantasy points, good for 53rd among running backs. That means there are AT LEAST 20 BACKUP RUNNING BACKS who are putting up better fantasy stats than LT.

Sure, Tomlinson's fall-off can easily be explained away by the nagging toe injury that has him questionable for tonight's game against the New York Bretts, but I think that's looking at it too one-dimensionally.

What's the bigger reason for the Ravens hot start, Tomlinson's ultimate suckitude AND the demise of my fantasy football team? Lorenzo Neal.

Think about it: Which loss do you think hurts LT more? A toe is tiny. Lorenzo Neal weighs 255 pounds (476 when he was carrying Tomlinson's sorry self).

Neal has blocked for 1,000-yard rushers in 11 consecutive seasons: Adrian Murrell with the Jets (prior to the name change) in 1997, Warrick Dunn with the Bucs in '98, Eddie George with the Titans in '99 and 2000, Corey Dillon with the Bengals in '01 and '02 and Tomlinson with the Chargers from '03 to '07.

Without Neal, Tomlinson has been as useless as a toothbrush at a Steelers tailgate.

Meanwhile, Le'Ron McClain is on pace to rush for over 1,200 yards this year.



The guy was the 137th overall pick in the 2007 draft. If he rushes for 18 more yards this season, he'll match his FOUR-YEAR total at Alabama.

You might be saying, "But what about Ray Rice? He ran for almost 5,000 yards in just three years in college. Using your ranking system, why hasn't Baby Ray run for 200 yards a game like he did in college?"

Because Rutgers plays in the baby's-bottom-soft Big East. His 4,926 yards are like 14 in a real conference. Just ask Steve Slaton (wait, what?).

But honestly, while everyone else is Wacko for Flacco, I'm Nuts for Neal. (Boooo.)

Flacco's had the luxury of learning on the job because he can hand the ball off to the NFL's second-ranked run game and the D has been breaking teams' backs.

Offensive Coordinator Cam Cameron didn't really have to put Flacco to the test against the Browns (19 passing attempts vs. 44 running plays) because the Ravens were able to jam it up the middle behind Neal's blocks and it didn't matter who was carrying the ball (McClain, Rice and Willis McGahee were all right around four yards per carry).

Neal and company will have their work cut out for them when they visit the Steelers and their second-ranked run defense in Week 4.

Monday, September 08, 2008

Killing your Joe Flacco buzz

Sorry, but I had to do this:

Kyle Boller's rookie-year per-game averages (2003):

Joe Flacco's first game (Sept. 7, 2008):

Also keep in mind that Boller's stats are divided over 11 games, and in one of those games he only threw one pass and then got hurt. Without that game his averages for completions, attempts and yards per game go up about 10 percent.

Of course, the real difference is in these numbers:
Boller: 1.27 turnovers per game
Flacco: No turnovers


Wednesday, September 03, 2008

A matchup for the ages

In today's Orioles-Red Sox game, with the Orioles clearly about to squander a 4-0 lead in the 6th inning with Jamie Walker on the hill, something amazing happened.

Before Boston's center fielder came up to bat in the bottom of the sixth with the bases loaded and one run already across in the inning, Baltimore Manager "Diamond" Dave Trembley strolled out of the visitors dugout and made a pitching change that created a historic (not an historic) moment ...

That's right. As comically-named Coco Crisp came up to the plate for the Pink-hat Sox, in from the bullpen strolled almost-as-comically-named Rocky Cherry.

I'm just glad I was paying attention to MLB Gameday as the momentous occasion occurred.

Kyle Boller out for the year

The Baltimore Sun is reporting that Kyle Boller will miss the entire 2008 season with a shoulder injury.

Boller's contract is up at the end of the year so this may spell the end of the "Boller Era" -- if you can call it that -- in Baltimore.

With Troy Smith still battling infected tonsils and the only other option being just-signed 36-year-old journey man Todd Bouman, it looks like rookie Joe Flacco's going to get the same "instant starter" treatment that Boller got in 2003. And here's hoping Flacco and his incredible unibrow can put together better numbers than Boller did in his rookie year...

In 11 games in 2003, "Jesus in Cleats" compiled a whopping 62.4 Quarterback Rating while completing 51.8 percent of his passes, averaging 114.5 yards per game, totaling seven TD passes and nine picks.

But here's why I have more faith in Flacco, besides the obvious Rich Gannon/Blue Hen connection:

Adam LaRoche would be proud.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Revisiting the Nats' Quest to Avoid 100 Losses

Just three days ago I completely wrote off the Nationals' chances of avoiding 100 losses and even declared that they might skid to the finish and drop 110+.

But coming off a sweep of the fading Dodgers, the Nats need just to go 14-14 over the remaining 28 games to finish a triumphant 63-99. Granted, their winning percentage on the year is .366, so to go .500 for a month might be asking a lot.

Let's look at the remaining schedule:

Seven games vs. 59-75 Atlanta
Six vs. 73-61 Philly
Six vs. the 74-60 Mets
Six vs. 68-66 Florida
Three vs. 51-82 San Diego

The 18 games against winning ball clubs don't bode well, but if they can own the Braves and Padres and split with the Marlins, they could still get to magical win number 63.

Countdowns to make you forget about how bad your baseball team is:

1 day until Maryland Football Season Opener (vs. Delaware)
6 days until Redskins Season Opener (@ NY Giants)
9 days until Ravens Season Opener (vs. Cincinnati)*
42 days until Capitals Season Opener (@ Atlanta)
61 days until Wizards Season Opener (vs. New Jersey)
77 days until Maryland Basketball Opener (vs. Bucknell)

*If you're using this to make you feel better about your horrible baseball team, you have issues.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Pop the Champagne

The O's will NOT lose 100 games this year.

Last night's 11-3 stomping of the White Sox not only avoided a sweep, it also was win number 63 for the Orioles, which guarantees that they will not reach that big round number in losses that was talked about so much in March.

So here's a celebratory video for all of us O's fans:

Tiger Woods y'all. It's all good y'all.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Time to give up the dream

With 31 games left in the season, the Orioles are 7 games under .500. That means to break the string of 10 straight losing seasons they'd have to go a whopping 19-12 to finish the year.

With 17 of those 31 games coming against teams playing for a playoff spot (2 vs. the White Sox, 3 vs. Boston, 6 vs. Tampa, 3 vs. the Yankees and 3 vs. Minnesota), it's not looking promising.

Meanwhile, the Nationals also have 31 games left and they'd have to go 17-14 to keep from reaching the century mark in losses. That makes me feel kind of bad because I've said for a while (and may have even posted it here) that our local baseball teams couldn't possibly be bad enough to lose 100 games, because that requires a rare kind of awful.

The Rays (101 losses) and Royals (100) both did it in '06, but no National League team has dropped 100 games in a season since the D-Backs lost an impressive 111 in 2004 (the Nats can still match that monumental feat by sputtering to the finish line with a 5-26 mark ... and don't rule it out ... that's well above the pace they've been playing at for the last 16 games), and no NL East team has lost 100+ since the Marlins went 54-108 a decade ago.

Yep. Another baseball season winds up, and our local teams continue to put on quite the depressing show.

In the immortal words of Rob Schneider: "Oh no! We suck again!"

Countdowns to make you feel better:
4 Days until Maryland Football Season Opener (vs. Delaware)
9 Days until Redskins Season Opener (@ NY Giants)
12 Days until Ravens Season Opener (vs. Cincinnati)
45 Days until Capitals Season Opener (@ Atlanta)
64 Days until Wizards Season Opener (vs. New Jersey)

Sunday, July 06, 2008

Flat. Breezy.

So I was poking around Camden Chat today, and I just couldn't help but laugh when I saw this ad for MASN:

That is a flat freakin' bill. Kids in art class could use that in place of a ruler or the side of their history text book. It's INSANE.

Gotta love George Sherrill. Congrats on making the All-Star team.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Orioles Magic

This video is simply fantastic.

I think my favorite part is in the lower right hand of the screen 1:06 into the video...

As far as I can tell, the six O's in the video are Jeremy Guthrie, Kevin Millar, Adam Loewen, Adam Jones, George Sherrill and Dennis Sarfate.

Friday, May 02, 2008

Fire Marv Albert. Again.

What a complete moron.

Watch this: (Thanks I Probably Hate Your Team.)

Here's the highlights from Marv Albert's idiotic rant:
"And SOGNAILA ... throws a PUNCH ... at James, and he's GONE!"

Really Marv? He didn't even get tossed. Why not? Because it wasn't that bad.

The teams talk trash as teams in heated playoff series do. Reggie Miller describes the play fairly rationally, and then Marv pipes up again.

"And he was NOT ejected. (Replay cues up again.) Now that's a punch. That's an automatic ejection. I don't get that."

To which Reggie says, "I'm not necessarily saying it's a punch..."

Thanks Reggie. It's "not necessarily" a punch in that it wasn't a punch at all. It was the lightest slap in the history of the world, and to anyone watching with Marv turned off (there's a lot of jokes in there, I'm sure), I guarantee it doesn't look nearly as bad as Marv makes it out to be.

The fact that Songaila sits tonight is embarrassing for the NBA, and I honestly think no small part of it has to do with Marv going insane and calling for Songaila to be tossed.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Looking Ahead: Capitals 2008-09 Depth Chart

Take a look at who the Caps have under contract and who the pending free agents are.

NOTE: These are NOT meant to indicate line combos, just to show who the Caps have under contract.

Left WingCenterRight Wing
Alex OvechkinNicklas BackstromViktor Kozlov
Alexander SeminMichael NylanderChris Clark
Matt Cooke (u)Sergei Fedorov (u)Brooks Laich (r)
Donald BrashearDave SteckelEric Fehr (r)
Quintin LaingBoyd Gordon (r)Matt Bradley (u)
  Tomas Fleischmann

Shaone Morrisonn (r)Mike Green (r)
Tom PotiMilan Jurcina
John ErskineSteve Eminger (r)
Jeff SchultzBrian Pothier*

Cristobal Huet (u)
Olie Kolzig (u)
Brent Johnson

(u) = Unrestricted Free Agent if not signed by July 1, 2008
(r) = Restricted Free Agent if not signed by July 1, 2008
*Pothier is still dealing with lingering effects from a concussion he sustained earlier this year, and there's no guarantee that he will play next season and his career could be in jeopardy.

In the system but possibly close:
Sami Lepisto - D (Hershey)
Chris Bourque - LW (Hershey)

Recent Draft Choices Not Yet in the Minors, but could fight for spots:
Karl Alzner - D (Calgary, WHL)
Joe Finley - D (North Dakota, NCAA)
Oskar Osala - LW (Espoo, Finland)

See a full list of potential NHL free agents here.

See just how long everyone is signed, and for how much, here.

Who do you keep? There are some tough decisions to be made, especially at right wing and center (keep in mind, Laich and Kozlov can also play center). Also, notice the three restricted free agents on defense, including what has been their top D-pairing this season.

But maybe more of a problem than who they don't have signed is who they DO have signed... Fleischmann is on for two more years. Erskine and Schultz are definitely here for another year. Not saying they should be out, but Jurcina and Brashear are here for another year as well. If they weren't already signed, those are guys the Caps might consider replacing with upgrades on the free agent market. Those guys could also be taking a spot from someone the Caps already have that they might want to re-sign (Fedorov, Cooke, Bradley), or they might be blocking a prospect who shines in next year's camp.

So as much as the Caps might want to go out and nab a bruising, physical defender, they may not really have the option without having to pay someone NHL money to play in the AHL, or just flat out paying them to leave.

And on that topic, one name you didn't see on that list was Ben Clymer, who played all year in Hershey this season but still has another year on his deal that will count about $1 million toward the salary cap.

GM George McPhee has got some tough decisions to make in the next two months...

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Grab the Antacid: Stress Levels Run High for NHL Playoffs

I was going to do this as a long blog post yesterday, but then I realized, "Wait a second... This should be a column."

So I wrote it up and sent it in, and now it's up on DC Sports Box. So here's the first few paragraphs. To see the rest you'll need to go to the full column.

I was pretty much constantly nervous from March 10 to April 5 as the Capitals went on an improbable and remarkable run to capture the Southeast Division title and earn a spot in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, then I got a few days to celebrate and catch my breath, but now I'm nervous again.

And I mean really nervous. Gut-wrenching, grinding-my-teeth nervous.

It's not so much that the Capitals lost for the first time in over three weeks and the second time since that awful March 8-10 weekend where they dropped heartbreakers against Boston and Pittsburgh, and it's not that Philadelphia has wrestled home-ice advantage away from the Caps by splitting the first two games in Washington. It's how we got here.

Read the rest:
Grab the Antacid: Stress Levels Run High for NHL Playoffs

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Steckel back for playoffs?

Not to go into blogger hysteria over minor issues heading into the NHL playoffs, but reading Tarik El-Bashir's blog today I was excited to see that d-men Shaone Morrisonn and Jeff Schultz practiced today and look promising for Friday night's game one.

But then I also noticed this note:
"Also, center David Steckel (broken finger) has been assigned to the fourth line with Donald Brashear and Matt Bradley, so it looks like he'll be good to go Friday."

I like Steckel and am glad to hear he's ready to go, but why insert him into a lineup that's won 11 of its last 12 games, all without Stecks.

And who does this bump? Boyd Gordon? Tomas Fleischmann? Eric Fehr? I'm not a huge Flash fan and Fehr hasn't done a whole lot statistically, but the Laich-Fehr-Fleischmann line has shown a lot of chemistry, and Gordon brings good speed to the fourth line with Bradley and Brashear.

I say leave the lineup the way it's been since early March, and if things start to go south in the series, shake it up and bring Steckel AND Quintin Laing back into the fold. For now, why mess with a good thing?

Saturday, April 05, 2008

This should put everything into perspective

In case you need a visual aid to understand what's going to go down in about 90 seconds:


Friday, April 04, 2008

NHL Eastern Conference Playoff Race: 3 days left

Sorry this is late. I was in a conference all day.

Buffalo lost and is off the board. The Rangers won and are off the board. The Caps moved tentatively into 8th place but Philadelphia can change that tonight.

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Four Days Left: NHL Eastern Conference Playoff Race

Here's the updated version after last night:

*Southeast Division winner will get 3rd seed.

The Rangers can take themselves off the board in the good way (for them) if they get the full two points tonight on Long Island. The Sabres can take themselves off the board in the bad way if they get anything less than the full two points tonight in Montreal.

For a breakdown of all the scenarios that would get the Caps in the playoffs, go here.

ALSO the latest episode of the DC Sports Box Capitals Podcast is up. Click here to download it directly, or copy and paste this feed URL into your RSS reader to subscribe:

You can also subscribe through iTunes by searching for DC Sports Box in the iTunes Store.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

NHL Playoff Race: UPDATED

Since it was so popular yesterday, I decided to update my little playoff race graphic with last night's results included. That means the Devils are off the board because they clinched, but I added the Sabres so that all the teams that are still mathematically in the race are included.

*The asterisk for the Hurricanes being in 3rd is because, obviously, their 90 points isn't the third most in the conference. The 3rd seed will go to the winner of the Southeast Division. What that also means is that if Buffalo catches Washington and Carolina, the Sabres could finish with the 8th most points in the East and still not make it.

Also check out my recap of last night's Caps game (from a packed house and packed press box at Verizon Center) at DC Sports Box:

Caps Enter Tie for Division Lead with Win Over 'Canes

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

It All Comes Down to This...

NOTE: I've updated this graphic with last night's results. Check it out here.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Something funny to ponder re: Alex Ovechkin

I thought this was kind of a funny anecdote at the time, but I hadn't really thought more about it until my commute home tonight.

Last Monday (the 3rd), I was covering the Caps vs. Bruins game when the Caps won 10-2 and Alex Ovechkin scored a hat trick in the first period. In the locker room after the game, The Washington Post's Tarik El-Bashir jokingly asked Ovechkin if he was going to go get his free wings the next day from Austin Grill (when the Caps score six or more goals in a game, a ticket stub is good for a pound of wings "marinated in a dry rub and grilled" the next day at Austin Grill).

Ovechkin, funny enough, said that he was. "HA! That's funny," I thought. He does go get the wings, just like you or I would (or, at least, I would if I paid for tickets).

But Tarik reminded him that you needed a ticket stub to get one, and Number 8, dead serious, said how he had friends at the game so he will get their tickets and use them.

"Ahhh, makes sense," I thought, and that was the end of it.

But then today I thought more about it. Would he really going to go through all that trouble to save about seven bucks on a pound of wings? He makes almost $4 mil a year, and in about six months he'll be pulling down a cool $9 million. But free wings are free wings.

Here's to fiscal responsibility. Enjoy the wings, Alex.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

DC Sports Box: Caps Pick Up Goalie Huet at Deadline

Uhh ... what?

Where did that come from, Mr. McPhee?

After all this talk of standing pat and going with what they've got, the Caps have been one of the most active teams on NHL trade deadline day, adding Montreal starting goalie Cristobal Huet, Columbus center Sergei Fedorov and Vancouver forward and pest Matt Cooke.

So far I've only gotten to the Huet-for-nothing deal. Err ... Huet for a second round pick in 2009.

Check out my opinion piece at DC Sports Box:
Caps Pick Up Goalie Huet at Deadline

Still no word on what this means for the tandem of Kolzig and Johnson, although there's still a few minutes until the deadline so who knows.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

New in the Shop: Mike Green T-Shirts!

Or should I say "generic shirts of a hockey player who happens to be named Green and scores in overtime a lot." Or Grien. Or Gruen. It could be any of those. There's really no way of distinguishing.

Here's the image on the front:

But rest assured, it doesn't say "" on the front there. (It's on the back. Sorry.)

Here's where you can buy them by the dozen ... or one at a time. But why would you stop at one? Beltway Sports Shop.

You can also get these 3" x 5" stickers, which don't actually say anywhere on them:


Monday, February 11, 2008

DC Sports Box: Green's OT Goal puts Caps Over Rangers, Back into Division Lead

And just like that, the Caps are back in first place for another day. (And check out the Rangers' faces behind Green in that picture. Awesome.)

Here's the link to my recap on DC Sports Box, with some decent quotes from the locker room:

Green's OT Goal puts Caps Over Rangers, Back into Division Lead

The Hurricanes play the Bruins tomorrow night and can knock the Caps back to second, but for now the Caps are in first in the Southeast as they head into a three-game road trip that will pit them against division rivals Atlanta, Florida and Tampa Bay.

It's time for the Caps to prove that they're ready to win these "playoff-type" Southeast games and start knocking down the teams they're now trying to stay ahead of. I want 6 points. And honestly, anything less than five would be disappointing.

That's right. I'm setting the bar that high.

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Capitals in First Place

In the Southeast Division.

And Atlanta plays tonight and could take the lead with a win.

But for now, it feels good to wake up and see this:

And here's my obligatory two-games-in-one-article recap of the Caps short road trip:
Capitals Take Division Lead with Back-to-Back Wins

I'll be back in the press box for both of this weekends games, and they're big'uns.

On Friday the Caps start a 16 day stretch during which they play seven games, starting and ending with the Hurricanes. Breaking down those games, there are:

Five vs. the Southeast (vs. Carolina, at Atlanta, at Florida, at Tampa Bay, at Carolina).

Two vs non-Southeast teams that are fighting for eighth in the Eastern conference (vs. New York Islanders, vs. New York Rangers).

And four of the seven games are on the road.

If the Caps can earn nine or more points between now and February 23, they're going to be in fantastic shape heading into the last six weeks of the season.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

"Thank God we got the win, or I probably would have fought him."

Quote of the Day, Capitals Edition.

On referee Bill McCreary running some interference for the Blue Jackets by taking out Shaone Morrisonn and giving Rick Nash a clean breakaway (video below):

"It was a great hip check by Billy there. ... I don't know what he was doing in the middle, but everybody makes mistakes. Thank God we got the win, or I probably would have fought him."
--Caps Defenseman Shaone Morrisonn
Courtesy of The Washington Times, Feb. 6, 2008

Monday, February 04, 2008

Quote of the Week

"We're only going to score 17 points? ... OK. Is Plax playing defense? I wish he had said 45-42 and gave us a little credit for scoring more points."
--New England Patriots Quarterback Tom Brady
January 30, 2008


Yahoo! Sports Box Score


Sunday, February 03, 2008

DC Sports Box: Caps Dominate Everywhere but Scoreboard, Fall to Atlanta 2-0

I didn't cover last night's game. My friend and new favorite writer, Abram Fox, filled in and wrote a great article:

Caps Dominate Everywhere but Scoreboard, Fall to Atlanta 2-0

It really was a disappointing loss. The caps had so many chances and failed to score, and Atlanta only managed 13 shots and scored twice. Sometimes the better team does not win the game.

The key now is to not let this linger and to get back at it on Tuesday in Columbus.

It sucks to lose to a division opponent in a big game, but my feeling since the Caps got to .500 has been that what it would take to make the playoffs is another stretch of six wins in a row -- or winning seven of eight or eight of ten -- while breaking even in the rest of the games. That would have them finishing six or seven games over .500, which should have them right in the mix for both eighth place in the East AND the Southeast Division lead.

So you can't put too much weight on one game, as important as it seemed at the time. There are still 29 games left.

Friday, February 01, 2008

DC Sports Box: Banged Up Ovechkin Buries Four to Lead Caps to Thrilling Win


That game was something else. Every time the Caps seemed to have the Canadiens buried (3-0 in the first, 4-2 in the third), they came back, including a soul-crushing, game-tying goal with 32.6 seconds left after Guillaume Latendresse yanked a puck from under Olie Kolzig's body before the refs whistled the play dead.

And despite that, to still come back and win ... that's something.

Here's a link to my recap from DC Sports Box:

Banged Up Ovechkin Buries Four to Lead Caps to Thrilling Win

For such a dramatic game, the post game quotes were kind of disappointing. Maybe everyone was just exhausted physically and mentally.

Also, as strange as it is to say in a game where one guy scored four goals and assisted on the other, the Caps really got production from a lot of sources. Viktor Kozlov had a goal and a pair of assists, Tom Poti made a nice play on the Kozlov goal, Milan "Juice" Jurcina had an assist on a smart give-and-go with Ovechkin, Jeff Schultz made a nice play in overtime to get the puck to Ovechkin on the game winner and Mike Green had a pair of secondary assists.

Another thing I noticed during the game: Nicklas Backstrom (one assist) is becoming a hell of a two-way player. He got in deep in the defensive zone a couple times and was able to break up plays and pick Canadiens' pockets. Having him on the top line really frees Ovechkin up to take some risks and make things happen.

Thursday, January 31, 2008

Random thought from last night's Terps game vs. UVA


Can someone tell me if Sean Singletary was hurt?

It didn't really come up during the ESPN broadcast...

A bone to pick with the media, re: Plaxico's "guarantee"

By now you've probably heard, Plaxico Burress said he thinks the Giants will beat the Patriots, 23-17, in the Super Bowl.

Here is what annoys me about the media attention it's getting:

It was a prediction. Not a guarantee.

There's a difference. A big one.

Stop making this out to be Joe Namath all over again.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

DC Sports Box: Canadiens Blank Caps

Here's my latest recap for DC Sports Box.

Canadiens Blank Caps

I always feel a little silly doing recaps for road games since I don't travel, don't get quotes and don't really see anything more than anyone else watching the game on Comcast SportsNet sees, but for a startup Web site I think it's important to get as much coverage as you can.

Some thoughts that weren't in the recap:

The Canadiens are a GOOD team. They have the second most standings points in the East, and the second best power play in the entire league.

So if you're:

A) Not going to capitalize on a 5-on-3,


B) Going to take stupid penalties like delay of game penalties for shooting the puck over the glass (John Erskine ... twice),

you're going to lose to Montreal. End of story.

I'll be in the land of the free popcorn for the second half of the home-and-home on Thursday. Hopefully it goes better.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Orioles Hangout shoots itself in the foot

Someday someone is going to have to explain to me how Tony Pente and the Orioles Hangout crew gets press credentials from the O's front office every year.

Sure, it's great that they have Roy Firestone writing and posting in the forums, but if anyone needed more proof that the site's ONLY value is as a discussion board for O's fans and NOT as a reporting outlet, yesterday provided just that.

Wednesday morning I'm doing my usual Web surfing to get my sports updates, and I see some pretty surprising news: Brian Roberts has been traded to the Cubs!

Not, "We think Brian Roberts will be traded to the Cubs."

Not, "We're hearing that a deal has been finalized."

Not, "This deal is ALMOST done."

No. No disclaimers. It's done. Pack away your #1 jerseys.

Screeeeeeeeeeeeeeech. Not so fast. The same link that just a day ago said it was only a matter of time before the announcement now says "Roberts Trade Denied by Orioles" and has a lot of backpedaling to try and keep you from being outraged, because after all, Pente really really really thought it was true. And even that link is nowhere to be found on the homepage. Instead the lead story is "Trade Rumors heat up," including everyone's favorite already-been-traded second basemen.

And of course you go to the forum and everyone says COME ON NO ONE CAN BLAME TONY HE IS THE BESTEST THING EVER with a general sentiment of "Tony would not run with information he believed to be untrue." (That's a direct quote.)

Well here I go blaming Tony.

Because if you're going to cover a team and put on your journalist hat and claim you're doing real reporting and say that you're a legit news outlet, simply believing it to be true isn't good enough. You have to KNOW it's true.