Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Some thoughts after Game Seven

First of all, you can read my recap for DC Sports Box here.

But here's some things that couldn't go in the legit piece:

I was 14 the last time the Capitals won a playoff series. A freshman in high school. That seems like a long, long time ago.

I was hoping the self-proclaimed Maven, Stan Fischler, would come out and say, "Wow we must not be all that good, because I spent the last two weeks saying how weak the Caps were and now we lost to them. Sorry!" But no...

Simeon Varlamov (Semyon next year?) tripped a little bit going out the door from the bench to the ice before the third period. I thought that was a bad sign, and remembered that when I was a goalie in high school and college hockey I would always get embarrassed when something stupid like that would happen and inevitably give up a weak goal. I guess that's why I'm clinging to memories of an adult league roller hockey championship and he's a 21-year-old dominating in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Text message from my friend Will right after the game: "Best 4 mil ever"

Is it odd that the only people I wanted to gloat to were the Caps fans who, after Games Two and Four, were saying things like, "Stick a fork in us, we are done."

When we found out about the Hurricanes' amazing comeback on the Devils, I was in the makeshift press room on the Wizards practice court sitting right next to "Puck Daddy" Greg Wyshynski, who is a Devils fan. Even in the celebratory atmosphere of Verizon Center I felt bad for the guy. Maybe because we've all been there at some point, but also probably because I have a soft spot for the Devils since my brother grew up a fan (he's since converted to the most exciting team in the NHL). That feeling vanished when I remembered that the Devils have been around eight less years than the Caps, yet they've been to six Eastern Conference Finals, four Stanley Cup Finals and have won three Cups. (The Caps, of course, are at 2, 1, 0 in those categories.) Also, let it be known that with the Devils up 3-2 with six minutes left, Wyshynski said something to the effect of, "Great, that just means Marty will give up another freaking goal with .2 seconds left." Ouch.

The end of the Devils-'Canes game wasn't shown on Versus in our area. I really want to find someone who was in the arena to confirm that Carolina's 3rd and 4th goals DID actually happen. Until I have this confirmation, a small part of me will always believe that the NHL made a call to the Prudential Center after the Caps won, and that there are 17,625 people wandering around North Jersey in a haze confused as to why all of a sudden the scoreboard clicked from a 3-2 Devils lead to a 4-3 Devils loss without anything happening on the ice.

My first reaction on finding out the Caps are playing the Penguins in the second round: "I don't think I have enough hate left in my body for a Pittsburgh series."


Bruce Boudreau: "Welcome to the circus."

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Why even play the games?

It's over. Read it and weep.
(h/t to Japers' Rink)

Clearly, the Capitals are "paper tigers" who can't hack it in postseason play.

Don't question it. This guy can't be wrong.
Just as clearly, Alex Ovechkin is staking his claim as the Alex Rodriguez of hockey. Sure, he's great at putting up gaudy numbers, but he's as un-clutch as they come. I know he led the league with 24 third-period goals, but he also led the league in empty-netters, and those five gimmes with the net yawning more than negate his 10 GWGs.

And boy did he have a major letdown last night. Just ask Mr. Fischler. Alex the not-so-Great got over 26 minutes of ice time and all he could manage were two lousy assists, 13 shots on goal and six hits? Weeeeeeeeeaaakkkkk. This clown'll never hoist a Cup if one of the league's best defenses can make him such a complete non-factor.

The scariest part is that the Rangers did all this without Chris Drury in the lineup. When Drury comes back, there's no way the Caps are ever within one goal of the Rangers, save for the opening faceoff. I mean, this guy put up almost identical numbers to BROOKS LAICH (except at the bank, where Drury destroyed Laich by $5 million this season). Can you imagine the Capitals even bothering to take the ice if Brooks Laich was out with an injury? No you cannot. Because they'd never do it. Good thing Laich has been healthy enough to participate in every game of '08-'09. But that's just proof of how tough this Rangers team is.

Meanwhile, Rangers head coach John Tortorella is working some serious wizardry behind the bench, making Bruce Boudreau's game plan look like a little kid's drawings on the paper table cloths at Rocky Run. MISMATCH. We're talking about the winningest American-born coach in history. A veteran with a stellar .517 points percentage for his career. How could greenhorn Boudreau ever have hoped to compete with those kinds of credentials? (Boudreau's .661 points percentage honestly doesn't mean jack because of the small sample size.)

I know Wednesday night was just one game, but it's a microcosm -- a 60-minute example of all that has gone wrong and is destined to once again go wrong for Washington's hockey team.

Stick a fork in this series, it's done. Sorry we had to find out this way.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Caps-Rangers Series Preview: Multimedia Style

My fellow DC Sports Box Capitals beat reporters have collaborated to do some serious previewing of the Capitals-Rangers first round playoff series that starts tonight.

The article is here as a set of mini-articles by myself, David Nichols and Abram Fox.

I covered the offense, defense and special teams numbers, David covered the goaltenders and Abram took on the player matchups, including Sean Avery vs. the Caps' young guns.

Once you're done reading that, load this up and listen to almost 33 minutes of me and Abram talking about the series and what we expect to see.

Or you can search for DCSportsBox in the podcast directory on iTunes and subscribe so you'll never miss another episode.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

ESPN has no idea how the NHL Draft Lottery works

Either the people who run's Streak for the Cash have absolutely no clue how the NHL Draft Lottery works, or they wanted to give everyone a "freebie" today.

When trying to figure out which match-up to pick to extend my amazing streak (currently at 1 consecutive correct picks), I came across a very strange option:

SftC also provides a handy link to this explanation of how the NHL Draft Lottery works, which they apparently failed to read.

The Islanders have a 25 percent chance of being selected in the lottery, the Avalanche have a 14.2 percent chance, and the Thrashers have a 10.7 percent chance.

That adds up to 49.9 percent. Pretty much dead even, right?

Wrong. Because the question isn't which team will get selected in the lottery, it's which team will get the #1 pick. And there's a big difference.

Below the list of percentages on the link that SftC proviedes, the NHL explains that a team can only move up four spots in the draft order. That means that only the worst five teams in the NHL this season (Islanders, Lightning, Avalanche, Thrashers and Kings) have a shot at getting the #1 pick, while the other nine non-playoff teams can still have their name drawn but would only move up four spots.

So even though the Islanders only have a 25 percent chance of having their name drawn in the lottery, they still have a 48.2 percent chance of getting the #1 pick because if the Coyotes, Maple Leafs, Stars, Senators, Oilers, Predators, Wild, Sabres or Panthers have their name drawn (combined chances: 23.2 percent), they will not move ahead of the Isles and the Isles will still get the top choice in the draft.

So the prop really should have been "Who will get the #1 pick in the draft: The Islanders OR Any other team." Or it could have been, "Who will be SELECTED in the NHL Draft Lottery: Islanders/Avalanche/Thrashers OR Any other team."

As is, the odds of one of the three teams they listed getting the #1 pick is a whopping 73.1 percent. The only teams they didn't list that COULD get the #1 pick are the Lightning (18.8 percent) and the Kings (8.1 percent).

Apparently the Streak for the Cash players don't have the same reading comprehension issues, as almost 98 percent of them have picked the Isles/Avs/Thrashers option. Now watch the Lightning get picked and screw everyone over.

Wednesday, April 08, 2009


Go read that. Then the title of this blog post will make sense.

Basically, Nationals President Stan Kasten went on Philadelphia sports talk radio and wooed the hell out of Philadelphia fans, all but begging them to make the three hour trip down I-95 to root against the team he runs.

Here's a quick excerpt if you're lazy:

"Hey, you've got an opening day hat!" Kasten said, when asked about any giveaways on Monday. "It's a Nats hat, which is ok, but we do feature for sale many Philly hats in our store, so come on by."

Good gracious me on the tombstone of Walter Johnson, really? You're going to say that on Philadelphia airwaves? "We do feature for sale many Philly hats in our store?" That's not being tone-deaf, that's deliberately going out of your way to play everything in E-flat when you're living in a D-major city. I'm trying to think of a more blasphemous thing a D.C. sports executive could say. Yup, still trying.

That's not all of it. That's not even close. You really need to read Steinberg's post at the Bog.

I think Bog commenter JDB1 sums it up best:
wtf wtf wtf wtfw wtf wtf wtf wtfw wtf wtf wtf wtf wtf wtf wtf wtf wtf wtf wtf wtfw wtf wtf wtf wtfw wtf wtf wtf wtfw wtf wtf wtf wtf wtf wtf wtf wtf wtf wtf wtf wtfw

At best I carry a passive interest in the Nationals, but as a Caps fan who has endured a LOT of "fan takeovers" and, fresher in memory, an Orioles fan who has been verbally accosted by drunken moron Red Sox fans yelling about Fenway South, this has got to cut deep.

For non-Nats fans, let me try to make this relate:

Could you imagine if George McPhee went on ESPN Radio 1250 in Pittsburgh and said the Caps would be selling MALSBY jerseys at FanGear in Verizon Center?

Or if Andy MacPhail went on WEEI in Boston and said, "Yeah it's T-Shirt Tuesday so everyone'll get a bright orange shirt, but don't trip ... we's got mad pink hats in the Orioles Store, yo!"

Image from
(Don't ask why imaginary Radio MacPhail speaks in broken '70s jive.)

You get where I'm coming from. This. Is. IN. SANE.

Sure, Stan. You can secretly hope that the Phillie Phanatics show up in droves just to fill your coffers, but don't send them a "save the date," a written invite AND provide the goodie bags.

WTF, indeed.