Archive for the ‘NHL’ Category

ESPN the Magazine trashes Washington D.C. as a sports town

October 3, 2012

ESPN The Magazine’s Howard Bryant just trashed Washington, D.C. as a sports town. It’s too much to go into, but the article is pretty weak. If you want to read an article about D.C. as a sports town by a Washingtonian, see http://bleacherreport.com/articles/914880-washington-dc-not-just-a-redskins-town-but-a-great-sports-city.

Also see an article about D.C.’s top stars: Robert Griffin III, Alex Ovechkin, Stephen Strasburg, Bryce Harper, and John Wall:

http://bleacherreport.com/articles/1349641-dcs-top-stars-rg3-alex-ovechkin-stephen-strasburg-bryce-harper-john-wa

Washington Capitals: The most futile playoff team in the history of American sports?

May 9, 2012

The Washington Capitals have made the playoffs 23 times in 29 seasons. That’s the good news. Now here’s the bad news:

The Caps are the most underachieving, unlucky team in the history of North American sports. Name a team that has failed to live up to its seeding in the playoffs more often than the Caps. You can’t.

The Caps are like Sisyphus, who in Greek mythology, according to Wikipedia, was a “king punished by being compelled to roll an immense boulder up a hill, only to watch it roll back down, and to repeat this action forever.”

Caps fans are like Charlie Brown, about to kick the football, when Lucy pulls it away — time and time again. (Will Charlie Brown ever get the little red haired girl)?

If you arrived in town yesterday, you can say that the Caps aren’t the Chicago Cubs (no titles in more than 100 years) or the New York Rangers (no championships for the half century before 1994), but that misses the point. First, the Rangers did win a Stanley Cup before their drought. Second, no sports franchise has failed more often in relation to how long the team has been around. No team has more often lost as the higher seed (at least 10 times), lost more two-game series leads (seven), lost more three or four overtime playoff games (four) or lost more Game 7s (seven) than the Caps.

Now Washington is finding new ways to lose. With 6.6 seconds left in Monday’s Game 5 against the New York Rangers in the second round of the NHL playoffs, the Caps allowed the Rangers to tie the game and send it into overtime. Then just a minute-and-a-half into the extra period, Marc Staal got one past the Caps’ Braden Holtby.

The steady Joel Ward for some reason decided to hit a home run with Carl Hagelin’s head with 21.3 seconds left, earning a high-sticking penalty. Then the normally reliable Holtby did an “I’m rubber, you’re glue, everything bounces off of me, and then you score” routine.

Two games earlier, Washington fell in triple overtime to the Rangers, the fourth time in their history that the Caps have lost a three or four-overtime game.

Looking back at their history, the Caps have won a lot of regular season games, but only twice in 37 seasons have they clearly overachieved during the playoffs, in 1990 when they made it to the conference finals, and in 1998, advancing to the Stanley Cup Finals.

To read the rest of my article on Examiner.com, click here.

25 Greatest Washington Capitals, from Langway and Bondra to Ovechkin and Backstrom

May 5, 2012

Who is the greatest Washington Capital of all-time, Rod Langway or Alex Ovechkin? Where did the young guns of Ovie, Nicklas Backstrom, Mike Green, and Alexander Semin come in on the top 25 list, if at all?  If the Caps continue their playoff run in 2012, it will enhance Ovie’s legacy. The two-time MVP’s play has slipped the past two years, but he’s still one of the NHL’s most dangerous goal scorers. Without further ado, here are the links to the Top 25 Caps of all-time, based on one writer’s opinion: http://bleacherreport.com/articles/1140809-washington-capitals-25-best-players-in-team-history-from-langway-to-ovechkin and http://www.examiner.com/article/25-best-washington-capitals-from-langway-and-bondra-to-ovechkin-and-backstrom.

Washington, D.C. is not just a Redskins town – it’s a great sports city

October 31, 2011

The Caps have been the most underachieving playoff team of all time in any major North American sport, yet the games are all sold out for the third year in a row. Photo by Mike Frandsen.

Washington, D.C. may not be the best sports town in the country, but it deserves a lot more credit than it usually gets.  In fact, D.C. is an excellent sports town that supports more teams in more sports than just about any city in the U.S.

The Washington Post, a marketing machine that bores its tentacles further and further into the belly of local radio, TV, and the internet all the time, recently had the gall to call D.C. a “mediocre” sports town.

Don’t pay attention to such drivel, though, because the writers behind the series for the most part, namely Dan Steinberg and Mike Wise, have only been in town for a few years, and they overlook many of the aspects of D.C. sports fandom that make D.C. sports fans unique. Virtually none of the columnists who criticize D.C. as a sports town, many of whom live off the reputation of the once great Post, hail from the area.

D.C. sports fans shouldn’t be judged on their teams’ lack of recent championships or blamed because people want to live here. Examine the loyalty of fans through good times and bad, and you’ll find that D.C. stacks up well with almost any major city.  Washington hasn’t won a major pro sports championship in 20 years other than the four Major League Soccer trophies DC United took home between 1996 and 2004.  Yet D.C. fans are remarkably passionate in supporting their teams.

How many cities have the NFL, NBA, NHL, MLB, MLS, plus major college basketball and football? Not many.  We have the Redskins, Wizards, Caps, Nats, D.C. United, Maryland and Georgetown basketball, Terps football, and a whole lot more. Given what we’ve had to cheer for, D.C. has turned out to be a great sports city.

To read the rest of my article on Examiner.com, click here.

Washington Capitals and Alexander Ovechkin need more veterans to compete for Stanley Cup

May 6, 2011

For the fourth time in four years, the Washington Capitals did not live up to their seeding in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.  Alexander Ovechkin had 10 points in nine games, but he has been hampered by an injury all year.  The Caps’ best players are all forwards: Ovie, Nicklas Backstrom, and Alexander Semin.  But one of the problems with the Caps is that they are too young.  They need players who know how to win.  A look at the Stanley Cup champions from each of the past 10 seasons shows that all of those teams have multiple players over 30 who are either stars or major contributors.

The Caps have Mike Knuble, 38, and Jason Arnott, 36, but both have been banged up and Arnott only arrived in late February at the trade deadline.  It’s time for the Caps to make some changes and trade Semin or defenseman Mike Green for some veterans.  Owner Ted Leonsis’ extreme youth movement has led to good regular seasons, but the Caps have come up short in the postseason.  To read my article on Examiner.com, click here.

Capitals coach Bruce Boudreau’s wacky commercials: ‘I’ll need a big cup holder’

May 6, 2011

It was another early playoff exit for the Washington Capitals.  So what else is new.  It has been happening for 30 years now.  Will it happen for another 30 years?  Anyway, at least the Caps made it to the second round of the Stanley Cup playoffs before being swept by the Tampa Bay Lightning.  There is some good news.  Coach Bruce Boudreau won’t be fired, and his wacky commercials for Mercedes-Benz will continue.  To read my article on Examiner.com, click here.

Ovie leads Caps to 2-1 OT win over Islanders with game-winner

March 3, 2011

Alexander Ovechkin scored with 3:05 left in overtime to lead the Caps over the New York Islanders 2-1 Tuesday in D.C.  It was a spectacular end to end goal.  Brooks Laich tied the game up with less than a minute to go in regulation.

A couple of observations – the Caps narrowly avoided their 10th shutout of the year.  Last season they only had one.  Do teams that win the Stanley Cup get shut out 10 or more times in a year?  I don’t think so.

Second, Ovie only has 25 goals.  He had 50 last year.  This is like Michael Jordan scoring 28 a game one year and then 18 the next – a huge drop off.

Finally, the Caps got bood against the Isles.  A good sign as the fans are not just accepting being pretty good.

To read the rest of my article on Examiner.com, click here.

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2010 DC sports year in review: great regular season for Caps, not much else to cheer about

January 7, 2011

Stephen Strasburg struck out 14 in his major league debut in 2010. Photo by Mike Frandsen.

2010 was another typical year for D.C. area sports teams. That is to say, there wasn’t a whole lot to cheer about, other than a great regular season by the Capitals and some above-average seasons by local college teams.

2011 may end up being brighter for the Redskins, Capitals, Nationals, Wizards, D.C. United, Maryland and Georgetown, but first Examiner.com takes a look back at the year in D.C. sports that was 2010.

Redskins

It was a disappointing debut for coach Mike Shanahan, whose Redskins finished 6-10, losing seven of their last nine games.  Shanahan traded a second and a fourth-round pick to Philadelphia for Donovan McNabb, who had his worst season since his rookie year.

Capitals

The Caps won the President’s Trophy for the most points in the NHL during the regular season, but then crashed and burned in the playoffs, losing to the eighth-seeded Montreal Canadiens in seven games.

Nationals

The Nats finished with a losing record (69-93) for the fifth time in their six-season existence.  Rookie phenom Stephen Strasburg did not disappoint, striking out 14 in his major league debut en route to a record of 5-3 and an ERA of 2.91 with 92 strikeouts in 68 innings.

To read the rest of my article on Examiner.com, click here.

Caps-Penguins Winter Classic Preview

January 1, 2011

The Winter Classic outdoor hockey game between Alex Ovechkin’s Washington Capitals and Sidney Crosby’s Pittsburgh Penguins has been postponed from 1 p.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday because of rain.

More than 60,000 fans are expected to attend the NHL’s fourth annual Winter Classic at Heinz Field. Rain is expected to taper off in Pittsburgh during the early part of the game, which will be telecast nationally on NBC. Temperatures at game time are expected to be in the low 40s.

The Penguins have the best record in the NHL, while the Caps have won four of five games after an uncharacteristic eight-game losing streak.  Despite the losing streak, the Caps are still tied for first place in the Southeast Division with 48 points.

Ovechkin has two MVP trophies to one for Crosby, but Sid the Kid won a Stanley Cup championship in 2009 and an Olympic goal medal while playing for Canada last February.

Washington won the President’s Trophy for the best record in the league last season, which was highlighted by a 14-game winning streak.  However, the Caps’ season came to a crashing halt with a shocking upset in the first round of the playoffs to eighth-seeded Montreal.

To read the rest of my article on Examiner.com, click here.

Caps 4, Buffalo Sabres 2

November 18, 2010

Matt Bradley of the Caps scores past Buffalo goalie Ryan Miller to give Washington a 2-0 lead during Wednesday's 4-2 win over the Sabres at Verizon Center. Photo by Mike Frandsen.

The Washington Capitals rushed out to a 3-0 lead, gave up two goals in 48 seconds, and then held on for a 4-2 win over the Buffalo Sabres Wednesday in Washington.  The win avenged a 3-2 loss to the Sabres last Saturday, Washington’s only loss in its last nine games.

For the rest of the article on Examiner.com, click here.


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