Saturday, September 30, 2006

Caps Back on WTEM

Well, mostly....

After spending all of last year on WTNT, the Caps have officially moved back to WTEM. As in the past, when WTEM decides to carry something else, the Caps will move to a sister station, this year being WTNT.

While it is nice that WTEM will attempt to force Brain Mitchell and John Thompson to talk about the Caps at least once week along with having Thompson do his show from the Phone Booth before a Caps game once a month, neither one of those guys are well versed in hockey and the rest of the station seems to hate hockey and their fans.

I understand that the economics of the game right now precludes any attempt to take the Caps elsewhere on the radio dial (like say, WTWP where the Nats reside or WJFK where the Redskins used to be) and this is a smart move for WTEM. With Dan Snyder starting his own all Redskins all the time radio station, WTEM has stiff competition in that department now. It can't hurt WTEM to actually cover some of the other teams in the Washington D.C. Metropolitan area. Of course, should Snyder's experiment fail (which I doubt it will), there's no doubt that WTEM will return to the all Redskins all the time format.

Now if we only could do something about Steve Kolbe...

Friday, September 29, 2006

Caps Cut Two More, Kono Retires.

Dave Fay seems to be happy with the muscle left in Caps camp after Tomas Fleishmann and Jeff Schultz were sent to Hershey. Both guys got caught in a numbers crunch behind veterans. Fleishmann with the returns of Alexander Semin and Richard Zednik and Schultz with the move of Ben Clymer from the wing back to the blueline and the late addition of John Erskine.

Two more cuts are scheduled to be made now, provided that George McPhee decides not to help out teams in salary cap jail. Maybe something to read into or maybe not, was that Kris Beech was at the Nats game on Wednesday night with other members of the team. Beech wasn't scheduled to be there and was filling in for Donald Brashear. I don't think the Caps would have him doing P.R. like that if he wasn't going to make the team, but I could be wrong.

(Going off on a rant, maybe next time I'll remember to check the batteries in my camera so I can take more than two pictures after spending a half hour trying to warm the batteries up and rotating them in the camera to coax more power out of them. I blame my cold for the stupidity...)

And finally, unlike Zednik, Cap fans won't have any cheerful returns for Steve Konowalchuk as Konowalchuk announced his retirement today. Kono was hard working player and certainly would have been at home with the type of the team that the Caps had last year. It was disappointing when he couldn't participate in the 2002 Olympics in his hometown of Salt Lake City, but his 13 year career is nothing to be ashamed of.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

A Farewell to Frank

The (Com)Post says Frank Robinson will not return next year as manager. A lot of hay has been made about Frank being voted "worst manager" in baseball by the players for two years in a row in a secret Sport Illustrated poll. But let's not kid ourselves; the Nats haven't had much of a chance at winning since they moved to D.C. The farm system was destroyed before they left Montreal denying the team a chance to build from within, to say that MLB ran the team on the cheap would be very, very generous to MLB which cost the team vital veterans and any chance at building depth, and to top it all off Frank had to sheppard the team not only through potential contraction, a move, but the embarrassing roller coaster ride of MLB selling the team.

Personally, it doesn't matter to me whether or not Frank comes back next year as manager of the Washington Nationals. Clearly Jim Bowden and Stan Kasten do not believe that Frank is the type of manager who can handle a young and developing squad and I am fine with that. I would be fine with them deciding that Frank is that type of manager and keeping him around. But let's hope that now that the decision has at least been leaked (if not totally made) that the Lerners, Bowden, and Kasten do the right thing this weekend and give Frank the goodbye to baseball that he's never had. After 51 years in the game and all he's done (2 time MVP, 12 All-Star games, AL Triple Crown, World Series MVP, the first black manager of a MLB team, 586 home runs w/o the benefit of steroids or bandbox ballparks like Citizens Bank Park and Great American Ballpark, and over 1,000 wins as a manager just to name a few) Frank deserves to have a proper retirement ceremony.

Some have criticized Frank for the way he "burned out the team", especially the bullpen, last year. But I have a different take on that. Frank knew that the team was coming into a new city. Frank knew that the team had to build a fan base, and quickly. The best way to do that is to win. And that's exactly what Frank did last season. He made the moves to win games early on in the season that most managers wouldn't bother with because it could cost them down the stretch. There's 162 of them, you can't and don't really want to win them all. But Frank helped to guide the team into first place in the NL East anyway. RFK Stadium was rocking and the town was all caught up in a pennant race until the last few weeks of the season. When the Redskins opened up training camp last year, the story was buried inside The Washington (Com)Post’s Sports section and when the Nationals took to the field on October 2nd, 2005 for their last game, they received a standing ovation from the 36,491 who shunned the Redskins-Seattle game at FedEx field to be at RFK. The fans were appreciative of the team who were finishing up at 81-81. Frank Robinson was the reason for that. Frank Robinson is an instantly recognizable name in the game of baseball and Washington could not have asked for a better face of the franchise in their first two seasons.

So if for no other reason, the Nationals should honor Frank for helping to rebuild baseball in Washington. It would be the classy thing to do.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Enough About T.O.

Look folks, if this was a serious suicide attempt, Terrell Owens would still be in the hospital. He wouldn't have been released. Can we please stop this soap opera?

A.O. Fights

What was Donald Brashear brought in for? A.O. got into his first NHL fight last night. Seriously, why is A.O. dropping the gloves? One of the nice things about this team last year was that everybody stuck up for each other. When that scumbag Ryan Whitney of the Pittsburgh Penguins speared A.O. in the gonads (or when anybody else took liberties with A.O. or any other Cap for that matter) the players held a team meeting in that scumbag's face. While it is nice to see A.O. standing up for Jakub Klepis, that isn't his job and I think I am on fairly safe ground saying that A.O. is the last player we want standing up for a team mate.

Oh and if anybody cares, the Caps beat the Flyers 6-1 in yet another penalty filled contest. (So much for cutting down on the penalties.)

I respect that Glen Hanlon wants to hold Brashear from playing the Flyers until the games really count, but the guy can't protect the star player from known thuggish teams unless he's on the ice. If Brashear sits, then A.O. sits too. This is preseason; the Caps don't need to ring up injuries to their star players they the Redskins did with Clinton Portis and Shawn Springs.

In other news, the much ballyhooed broadband video broadcast of the game last night never happened. Also, as you heard here first, A.O. will not only throw out the first pitch tonight, he'll take batting practice and sign autographs along with Matt "Omar" Bradley, Brashear, Captain Chris Clark, Steve Eminger, Jamie Heward, Brian Pothier, and Brian Sutherby.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Season Previews Part II

Today's contestant is Michael Rushton of the Sports Network:

Here we have another writer who is downright offended that the Caps did not go out into the free agent market and attempt to purchase every single big name UFA on the market. He is also blissfully unaware that Ben Clymer is attempting to move back to his natural defenseman position.

But the most damning comment of his is his quip about low budget and low ticket sales. First of all, the Caps aren't anywhere near the salary floor. Secondly after "The Goal", the smallest home crowd the Caps played in front of was 11,021 (vs. the Islanders on Monday March 6th) in 17 home games. In the 25 games before "The Goal" the Caps played in front of crowds smaller than 11,021 five times (one of those being against the Islanders). Admittedly, "The Goal" came after the Redskins season ended. But the trends were clear; the Caps weren't drawing much until A.O. put an end to the rookie race. The Caps have been promoting A.O. since then and while the on-ice product won't live up to some people's standards, the Caps should be selling more tickets this year than last.

After all, they brought back fan favorite, Richard Zednik too.

But my real question, who has ever heard of The Sports Network? If their editors are this bad, no wonder I've never heard of them.

Two More Down, Four To Go

The Caps held practice yesterday in Hershey before leaving for Philadelphia for tonight's preseason game against the Flyers. Before departing Hershey, the Caps left behind Pete Vandermeer and Chad Wiseman.

The roster is now down to 27 players so at least four more cuts will be made. Something tells me that McPhee is going to make a move before opening night to acquire a player from a team in salary cap trouble.

And there's also confirmation that outside food and drink are no longer allowed into the Phone Booth. "Industry standard" and "safety concerns" my left foot. It is about $$$$$. If you want to goose your concession sales, how about serving food that people want to eat and charge prices people can afford? I understand the rationale behind the $7 beer (they don't want people getting drunk, driving away, and then suing them for negligence) but what is the excuse for the $4 hot dog, $5 French Fries, $3 pretzel, and $6 nachos?

A Fitting Metaphor?

Maybe if this was earlier in the season.

Just be glad that nobody was hurt though.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Sunday Smorgasbord 9-24

  • First and foremost, Get Well Soon and Speedy Recovery Wishes go out to Nats First baseman Nick Johnson who suffered a horrible season-ending injury yesterday. But let’s not forget about the other half of the collision. Austin Kearns was hustling for the ball just as hard as Nick was. Austin wasn't hurt physically, but he was emotionally distraught afterwards and that can be as bad as any physical injury. Let’s hope he's back to normal soon as well. Johnson will be out for 3 to 4 months.
  • The Nats forged at least a split today in their series with the Mets in New York. Now at 68-87, the Nationals are 25 games out of first place in the NL East with 7 games left to play. The Nats are 14 games back of the NL Wild Card. Only the Royals, Devil Rays, Cubs, Pirates, and B.O.'s have worse records than the Nats.
  • Congratulations to D.C. United who last night wrapped up the Eastern Conference Regular Season Title with an ugly 4-3 win over the New York Red Bulls. Coach Peter Nowak rested Jaime Moreno by bringing him off the bench in the second half. United went ahead after Moreno entered the game. However they again lost their composure as Facundo Erpen was the latest D.C. United player to receive a red card. D.C. is now only playing for the MLS Supporter's Shield and their magic number for that is now down to 3 points. Chicago and Dallas joined D.C. in the playoffs this weekend with their victories. Nobody has been eliminated from the playoffs yet, but D.C. cannot face Chicago until the Eastern Conference Finals on November 4th. That match up would take place at RFK Stadium should both teams advance past the first round.
  • Maryland Head Coach Ralph Friedgen said he would rather win ugly than lose playing good. And by all accounts, that's exactly what they did winning 14-10 over Florida International. Reading the message boards, it seems as though the Terps were not too inspired to be playing the Panthers. Looks as though it is going to be another long football season in College Park.
  • And speaking of ugly, the Redskins 31-15 win over Houston was exactly that. The game would have been in the "laugher" category had the Redskins not committed so many penalties. While it is good for the Redskins to get the win, they need to get some discipline and they need to remember they beat a team too stupid to draft Reggie Bush. Looking on the bright side, Clinton Portis looks to be 100%. It is amazing how one player can change the whole persona of the team. How much do you want to bet that Mark Brunell's 22 consecutive completions (a new NFL record for a single game) were due to the running of Portis and Ladell Betts? Now if the defense can get Shawn Springs back, it would be interesting to see just how much damage this team could do.
  • On Friday the Caps continued their parade to the penalty box but won 5-4 in OT in Pittsburgh. Today Caps only gave up 5 power plays in Hershey but but still lost 3-1 to New Jersey. Since my last posting, Caps cut Chris Bourque, Frederic Cassivi Maxime Daigneault, Eric Fehr, Timo Helbling, Jamie Hunt, Quintin Lang, Lawrence Nycholat and Dave Steckel. All of these players were sent to Hershey. There were some who thought that Fehr might crack the opening night roster, but with Richard Zednik and Alexander Semin the Caps don't have much space for wingers on the top two lines. Playing Fehr on the fourth line would have been a waste. And speaking of Semin, he was written up today in both the (Com)Post and the Times. Good job guys...
  • And finally, this week the Nats season will come to a merciful end. Tomorrow night they wrap up their series and the road schedule with the Mets in New York. They then come home and play a three game set starting on Tuesday night vs. the Phillies. As previously mentioned, A.O. throws out the first pitch on Wednesday. The Nats then welcome the Mets into RFK to wrap up their season with a weekend series starting Friday night. D.C. United travels to Houston to play the Dynamo on Saturday night for their last regular season road game. The Terps enjoy a bye week while the Redskins face the Jacksonville Jaguars at home on Sunday in a 4:15 pm kickoff. The Caps will wrap up their preseason schedule by playing the Flyers in Philadelphia on Tuesday night, then hosting the Flyers on Friday, and then hosting the Carolina Hurricanes next Sunday afternoon at 1 pm.
  • As always, please send all comments, complaints, criticisms, questions, suggestions, and bad jokes to "capsnut" over at gmail dot com. If I remember to check the inbox, I might just read what you send. If I can upgrade my video card, I'll do a review of NHL 07 and might just respond to your e-mail.


Friday, September 22, 2006

A.O. To Throw Out A First Pitch

On Wednesday September 23rd 27th, the reigning NHL Rookie of the Year, A.O. will be throwing out the ceremonial first pitch at the Nats vs. Philadelphia Phillies game at RFK Stadium.

The game starts at 7:05 pm but A.O. will take the mound at 6:45 pm. You can get your tickets here.

A.O. A Dancing Fool?

Well, as I said Wednesday night, Donald Brashear didn't do his job. Sorry, I don't buy the precaution stuff because Alexander Semin was down for a ten count and practiced yesterday. Why was A.O. held out? We were told that Clinton Portis would be ready for the regular season and heaven only knows what is going on with that one.

Anyway, in other news, Princess feels he belongs.

I came across this piece from Fox Sports the other day. I find it interesting that they pegged Dainius Zubrus as the most likely Cap to be moved. Personally, I think Richard Zednik is the most likely trade bait. Like Zoobbie-doobie-doo, Zed is in the final year of his contract. Zed also makes more $$$$$ and is older than Zoobbie-doobie-doo.

Plus the Caps have already traded Zednik once. We're still waiting on that imminent Zubrus for Hrdina trade...

Thursday, September 21, 2006

More Schadenfreude

Jagr doubtful for the opener. Of course, this is only news for us because the Caps open their season vs. the Rangers on October 5th at MSG.

Though this is more schadenfreude for other Caps fans because I am not nearly as bitter about his stint in Washington as some are. Jagr wasn't the first star player to be revolted by the idea of playing hockey in Washington. He was only the first star player who was revolted by the idea playing hockey in Washington to actually play hockey in Washington.

Considering the amazing amount of pouting he has done in his career, I no longer feel any hatred towards him, I actually pity him.

Preseason Game Wrap-up

The Local Yokels:

(Com)Post: Olie Kolzig thinks we can make the playoffs. Times: Dave Fay is having flashbacks to last season.

From the Other Side:

Tampa Tribune: Denis dazzling (uh, yeah..., they don't even know who scored on them...)

Final Thought:

YAWN! Though it does look like outside food and drink is no longer allowed into the Verizon Center. Apparently this is a "safety concern", could somebody please show me where Al-Qaeda has threatened a sporting event anywhere in the world?


Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Schadenfreude Moment

Malkin temporaliy hospitalized.

I have to say, when I first heard about this I laughed, I laughed even harder when I was told that it was his own teammate who took him out. I guess the grizzled old vets in Pittsburgh are laying down the law early this year. (Ok, yes, that was a cheapshot)

People forget, Malkin had questions about concussions and overall durability heading into the 2004 draft. I was also told that Malkin's face was bloodied from a possible broken nose. I haven't seen any highlight packages yet so I don't know for sure if this is the case.

Yes, I admit I want to see Malkin fall flat on his face. I want to see him put there by players on other teams in a clean fashion. I am tired of the Malkin worship that has been occurring before he even stepped onto NHL ice. It was approaching the level of absurdity that accompanied Secondary Assist Sydney Crosby (TSN Headline, Crosby Farts!). But stuff like "He's trying to keep his spirits up" isn’t a good sign about this player.

In all honesty, this makes me treasure the player the Caps have (and took instead of Malkin) in A.O.

Preseason Game Post-Mortem

Don't expect a lot of great insight in this post-mortem. First of all, it's pre-season the intensity of the game tonight was severely lacking. Tonight's game made mid-December Intra-conference games look downright exciting. So there wasn't much on the ice to get my attention. Secondly, I freely admit to spending most of the time catching up with my buddy TIMM-MAHY! whom recently went into business for himself and has been traveling a lot as a result.

Ok, the Caps lost 3-2 in overtime. It's preseason, so what?



  • Our Power Play still needs work. Rumors of a renaissance are greatly exaggerated.
  • The Penalty Kill also needs work. I like the idea of A.O. on the PK, but at the end of it to catch tired and pressing players, not in the middle.
  • A.O. took a shot to the knee in the third period. I thought Donald Brashear was supposed to prevent these kinds of things from happening? A.O. shook it off and didn't look too much worse for the wear.


  • Dunderhead NHL players still haven't figured out the "new rules" yet. A ton of penalties were called.
  • Not only did Brashear fail to protect A.O. from a cheapshot, he also failed to provide his obligatory preseason fight for the fans.
  • Idiot fans behind me copying what few jokes I was willing to let fly too often. Bad jokes are funny once a game, not 15,000 times.
  • Grizzly Adams still sitting behind me, a least he too was quiet tonight because it was preseason.

I don't have much else to add. I picked up my season ticket holder gift tonight and was pleasantly surprised to see that it was an honest to goodness A.O. hockey stick. If I was retarded enough, I could tape the thing up and play hockey with it. It was also hand signed as comparing the autograph with other A.O. stick you could see minor variations in the writing.

I was also made aware of a rumor that outside food and drink are no longer allowed into the Verizon Center. I cannot confirm this as I was a retard and left my soda bottle for the game in the refrigerator at work. However, if this is the case, I will have to register my objection and ask the The Boss why. Because per Doctor's orders, (or at least my interpretation of them) I no longer drink caffeinated and fully sugared soft drinks anymore. The Phone Booth does not offer these types of beverages.


D.C. Sports Chick Might Not Want to Read This...

Doing opposition research for tonight's game, I came across this.

D.C. Sports Chick has been on a rampage against pink for awhile now. At least the Ning aren't playing the Caps that night. As I said before, I don't see why this is such a big issue, if you don't want to buy it, you don't have to. And I agree, that A.O. jersey is ugh-lee.

One final thought or two, maybe the reason why the WNBA doesn't offer pink jerseys for their female fans is because females are already playing the sport. You might want to girly-up a Clinton Portis jersey, but there's no need to do that with Alana Beard. Of course, I've never been to a Mistakes game, but I can tell you that the Washington Freedom (the now defunct women's soccer team) wasn't well known for having a girly-girl fan base. I'm not saying anything but I would think that a camouflage jersey and maybe WNBA team logo combat boots would go over better than a pink jersey would.

Preseason Game Preview, Caps vs. Ning

I'll do a preview of tonight's preseason game simply because it is the only preseason game I am attending this year. (Work commitments prevent me from attending the others)

Washington Capitals (0-0; 0 points) vs. Tampa Bay Lightning (0-0; 0 points):

Verizon Center, Washington, D.C. 7:05 pm. No known TV. Tampa Radio: WDAE 620 A.M. (There might be a stream on the Caps Website, but this is a preseason game people, I'm only going because I have season tickets and I have to buy these games. Please, it is nice outside right now, maybe a little cool, but don't sit hunched over a computer listening to Steve Kolbe of all people...)

Tonight the Caps and the Ning both play in their first preseason game. The Caps are returning to game action for the first time since April 18th, 2006 when they beat the Ning 4-1 to close out their 2005-2006 season.

What The Natives Are Saying:

(Com)Post, Times,

Open Source Intelligence:

Tampa Tribune #1, Tampa Tribune #2, St. Pete Times #1, St. Pete Times #2, (How sad is it that the Tampa papers have more info on the Ning than the D.C. papers have on the Caps?)

What do I expect tonight? Not a whole bleepin' lot. Last year during the preseason, the Caps had issues taking penalty after penalty after penalty after penalty and not being able to kill them (and getting to the rink on time, but that's a different story). Tonight's Caps roster includes; A.O., Richard Zednik, Alexander Semin, and Donald Breshear. The Caps look to be playing to the home crowd tonight. Also in a rare move for the first preseason game, both team's starting goalies are scheduled to play the whole game. If the Caps win tonight, great, if not, so what?

Also, in addition to the players cut yesterday; Trevor Byrne, Michal Neuvirth, Louis Robitaille, and Stephen Werner were also cut.


Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Caps on TV

Comcast SportsNet releases schedule.

Once again all 81 Caps games will be available on TV. Comcast is producing 79 of the games with NBC and Versus covering the remaining 3 games. 56 of the 79 games will be on CSN DC, with 13 on WDCW (the old WB 50) and 10 for CN8 (which I finally got this past weekend)/NewsChannel 8.

Camp Cuts, Round One

As I mentioned in today's first posting, per Dan Steinberg: Francois Bouchard, Daren Machesney, Patrick McNeill, Oskar Osala , Sasha Pokulok, and Matt Stefanishion.

No really big surprises but I thought that Pokulok would have gotten a slightly longer look.

Why I Canceled My Subscription to The Hockey News Part II

A.O. THN Yearbook article.

Now, if you don't live in the Greater Washington D.C. area and/or don't obsess over A.O. and the Caps from wherever you might be, this article is a decent insight into the player off the ice.

However, for the fans of the Caps and A.O., nothing in this article in news. There's actually a bit of misinformation. (A.O. didn't really joke about trying to bribe the police; it was a real incident that his translator had to help him out of during training camp last year.)

But this is the problem with The Hockey News. For $51.48 you get blurbs of articles that mostly contain information that serious hockey fans are already aware of.

New Power Play Unit

Should be no surprises here.

Of course, considering just how bad our penalty killing is, I would hope that our top Power Play unit would be able to look good. I'm more interested in how they do against better competition.

You'll also notice that today is the first cutdown day. There shouldn't be any surprises in there either.

Monday, September 18, 2006


B.O.'s bugging out of D.C.

Thanks to the D.C. Sports Bog for the good news. I am somewhat surprised that this didn't happen much, much sooner than this as B.O. Owner Peter Angelos had always maintained that is was a "fiction" that there were any baseball fans in D.C.

In any case, good riddance to bad rubbish.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Sunday Smorgasbord 9-17

  • Nats take two of three from the Brew Crew. Last night, Alfonso Soriano joined the 40-40 club with his 40th stolen base. The ownership today presented Soriano with a plaque commemorating his accomplishments this season. Let's hope they also present him with a worthy contract offer. Now at 65-84 with 13 games left in the season, the Nats are 25.5 games back of the Mets who still can't wrap up the NL East Title. The Nats are 13 games back of the L.A. Dodgers for the NL Wild Card. One Nats loss or Dodgers win and the Nationals will be eliminated from the playoffs. Only the Devil Rays, Royals, Cubs, Pirates, and the B.O.'s have worse records than the Nationals.
  • Still no word as to the status of Frank Robinson for next season. The Nats need to make a decision soon. This will allow them time to have a proper send off for Frank should they decide not to bring him back next season.
  • Earlier tonight, D.C. United lost their composure and the game to Chicago Fire 1-0. Bryan Namoff and Joshua Gros were ejected and will miss the next game. Now 14-4-10 D.C. still needs just one point to secure the Eastern Conference title. The F.C. Dallas loss to Real Salt Lake last night makes D.C.'s magic number for the MLS Supporter's Shield 6 points. D.C. is still the only MLS team to secure a playoff spot and no MLS team has officially been eliminated from the playoffs.
  • The only news out of Caps Training Camp right now is a big Happy 21st Birthday Greetings today to the reigning NHL Rookie of the Year, A.O. For those so inclined, (which I am not), Idiot in the Morning from DC101 will be holding a birthday party for him after the Caps preseason opener versus Tampa on Wednesday night. (I think I'll pass, that's a school night).
  • I'm getting this post up earlier than I have in past weeks because of the Skins vs. Cowgirls game tonight. Since the Iggles choked one away to the Jints earlier today (at home too!), the winner of this game tonight joins a three-way tie for first in the NFC East.
  • And on that note, the Nats this week welcome the Braves to RFK for a three game set that includes a make up from April 22. After a day off on Thursday, they finish out their road slate in New York vs. the Mets next weekend. D.C. United has all week to heal before the New York Red Bulls come into RFK on Saturday night. And in case D.C. needs any additional motivation/emotional boost, United will celebrate the 10 anniversary of their 1st MLS Cup from 1996 this Saturday night. The Caps open up preseason play by hosting the Ning on Wednesday night at the Verizon Center. The Caps then head to Pittsburgh for a game vs. the Penguins on Friday night. The Skins will travel to Houston next Sunday to face the Texans and the Terps will try to overmatch Florida International on Saturday at Chevy Chase Bank Field at Byrd Stadium.
  • As always, please send all comments, complaints, criticisms, suggestions, questions, and birthday greetings to "capsnut" over at gmail dot com. If I have some free time, I could read your e-mail, if the weather is comfortable, I could respond.


Saturday, September 16, 2006

Brashear on the Third Line?

Dave Fay thinks so.

That folks is scary.

Earlier this week I asked why didn't the Caps move Ben "What A" Clymer to the blueline last year? Today we get the answer; Hanlon didn't know Ben well enough last year. That presents a host of problems. CW says that a coach would do a little bit of homework on a player before starting to use that player, especially in the major professional ranks.

In other camp "news" this morning, the (Com)Post goes to the DUH! file to tell us that Kris Beech is getting his last chance.

Friday, September 15, 2006

The First Shot Has Been Fired

Rooskie Court Rules Against Malkin

That shouldn't be much of a surprise. Now they will seek to have that enforced in the United States. They could also file an original suit in the U.S. This isn't over by a long shot.

Season Previews Part I

Our first contest to get fisked for their preview of the upcoming Washington Capitals 2006-2007 season is Robert Picarello of Fox Sports:

Bob has some interesting things to say about the Caps. He says that Captain Chris Clark is somebody to watch on the team. What, see if he can build on his career year last year? I think the players to watch for this year are Richard Zednik and Alexander Semin. They are the ones more likely to take pressure off of A.O. than Clark is.

But the upshot is, the Caps will be worse this year than they were last year. Bob says that the Caps will not only bring up the rear in the Southeast, but they will also finish last in the Eastern Conference. While I don't think that this team has enough to make the playoffs, they need a lot of things to go wrong for them to finish worse than last year.

EDIT:Contestant #2 for today comes as from no name has been attached.

Here you get a rather basic rundown. They take a pot shot at Olaf Kolzig. Has Olie's game slipped? I think so, but some of his problems last year weren't exactly all his fault. Somehow though, I don't think the blueline will miss Mathieu Biron very much. I'm a bit miffed that everybody seems to gloss over the return of Zednik and Semin. While these guys aren't Hall of Famers, they aren't chopped liver either. They posses enough talent to take pressure off of A.O. when they are on their games.

Time To Hit the Ice

Well puckbunnies and stalkers, if you're reading this, you need to get moving. The Caps hit the ice this morning in Ashburn. Idiot from DC 101 is broadcasting out there. For those who have jobs, live three times zones away, and/or aren't bored enough to watch practice (we're talking about practice....), here's some reading to get through the day:

(Com)Post, Caps looking for progress, Washington Times, Dave Fay doesn't seem to be too grumpy (yet), A.P. is all about A.O., the Caps own Mike Vogel barely mentions him.

That Was Ugly...

My father likes to tell me, sometimes you eat the bear, and sometimes the bear eats you. And boy did the bear eat good last night as the Terps got crushed by West Virginia last night. Two years ago when West Virginia won 19-16 in overtime there was a lot of woofing by West Virginia fans about how good they were because they had finally beaten Maryland. But Maryland had 6 turnovers in that game and West Virginia needed overtime to win at home. West Virginia was simply overrated that year. This year however, give them credit, they got 5 turnovers at home and the game was over in the first quarter as they won by 21 points.

Maryland fans should have seen this coming. Unimpressive performances against William and Mary and Middle Tennessee were warning signs. So what the offense and defense were vanilla? The Terps should have enough talent out there on the field to play conservatively and win by 30 and they didn't. As the Redskins also learned, you can play close to the vest in the preseason and perfect things in practice, but there's no substitute for game speed.

There were indications that Maryland was going to stack the box against the West Virginia offense and force the Mountaineers to throw the ball. The Terps didn't do that until goal line situations. It was believed that West Virginia was going to do the same to Maryland, but with a 14 point lead before ever taking the field, there was no need to do that.

Now is West Virginia 21 points better than Maryland? I don't think so. 10-14 points better, but not 21. Even the most partisan West Virginia fan has to admit that they got uncommon luck. Two West Virginia fumbles turned into Mountaineer touchdowns. That's not skill or talent, that's luck. Two fumbled kickoffs by Maryland, again, that isn't skill or talent that’s just luck. Maryland had nothing going right for them and they got thrown out of their offensive game plan before the offense ever took the field. West Virginia also lost their composure with a large lead. That isn't a good sign for West Virginia fans.

There were some good things for Maryland. Keon Lattimore was impressive despite only gaining 48 yards on 15 carries and the team as whole did not give up when the second half started.

Finally, a word about the whole Steve Slaton saga. Too many commentators live in the here and now. It is easy right now to say that Maryland made a mistake by spurning Slaton in favor of Morgan Green. Green prepped last year and is red shirting this year. Slaton is clearly a good player, but the Maryland staff gets paid big bucks to make these kinds of executive decisions. They've been doing it for years. Let's see what Morgan Green does on the field before we crucify The Fridge for his choice.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Hey! Let's Tinker With It Some More!

Since last year's rules changes were such an unabashed hit. The NHL decided to go back to the well.

These changes aren't as drastic as last year's overhaul of the game. And as a matter of fact, half of the new rules pertain to the gimmick of the shootout.

And in Caps related news, they sign a tweener defenseman. I can understand riding the shuttle between the AHL and NHL when he was in Dallas, but he can't stick on Long Island and couldn't find a job until yesterday?

Vote Early! Vote Often!

Vote for Testudo!

He's trailing badly vs. the GT mascot this week.

D.C. United's Playoff Schedule Set

With last night's tie in New England, D.C. United clinched home field advantage for the first round of the MLS playoffs. After the game, the MLS told D.C. that their first round home game will be Sunday October 29th at 6 p.m.. This of course accommodates ESPN2 coverage of the game and my attendance at the Maryland-Footlocker State game on October 28th. No need to worry about conflict with the Redskins, October 29th is their bye week this year. D.C. United's first round opponent has not yet been determined.

And with Colorado's defeat of Chicago D.C. United only needs a tie on Sunday in Chicago to clinch the Eastern Conference Title. Should D.C. lose on Sunday, they would only need 1 point in their final 4 games or any Chicago loss or tie. This ensures that should D.C. advance past the first round of the MLS playoffs, they will play in RFK for the right to go to Dallas for the MLS Cup on the weekend of November 4-5.

D.C. United was also helped by the Dallas loss to Chivas last night. This drops D.C. United's magic number to 9 for the MLS Supporter's Shield and international competition next year.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

And the Lucky Winner Is....

The 13th and brand spanking new Captain of the Washington Capitals is none other than Chris Clark. Official press release here. J.P. called it a week ago.

Of course what this all means is that Clark will not finish his career in Washington.

Off Season Reviews Part V

With players reporting to training camp tomorrow, ESPN once again chimes in, this time the contestant is E.J. Hradek and to add insult to injury, you have to pay to read this (which of course, I have ways around...)

It is kind of sad because it provides a slightly better analysis of what the Caps DID do during this past off season instead of what the Caps DID NOT do during this past off season.

He says that the Caps would be crazy to NOT build around A.O. (DUH!), that Brian Pothier should help the Power Play, that Richard Zednik might enjoy a change of scenery (meet the new boss, same as the old boss), that Alexander Semin should thrive in the "new NHL", and that Donald Brashear can protect A.O. provided that Brashear can avoid the stupid penalties. Hradek also praises the Caps for selecting Nicklas Backstrom and Simeon Varlamov.

Hradek wraps up with this:

I don't think the Caps are ready to compete for a playoff spot, but with Ovechkin in the lineup, they'll again be fun to watch.
Which I can't find much to argue with. This was actually a decent and sober look at the Caps. No wonder ESPN makes you pay for it...

Oh and BTW...

A.O. is back in town.

Other good news is that the Prodigal Son is also in town. So no more ugly suspensions and arguing over just what qualifies as "military service." Maybe the RSL isn't playing as hard a ball as some thought?

Ben "What A" Clymer will start the season on the blueline. Begging the question, why didn't we do that last year? It's not like we couldn't have used the help back there.

From the petty complaint department, my season ticket package finally arrived yesterday. Last year the Caps had a good idea poorly executed where they asked fans to send in their pictures to be used on the tickets. The Caps printed out a bunch of the pictures, arranged them on a table, and then took a photo of the photos on the table. I sent in 24 pictures and not a single one of them was used (but I'm not bitter...). This year's design is an unimaginative "3-D computer graphic" design. We're treated to "grid outlines" of hockey sticks, pants, shoulder pads, helmets, visors, knee pads, and elbow pads this year. To be fair, there are also similar outlines of A.O., Olie Kolzig, Glen Hanlon, and Ted Leonsis. Last year was an attempt to reach out to the fans that were put off by the lockout. I can only guess that this year's design is due to the proposed uniform and logo changes that were delayed another year.

And speaking of logo changes, the much maligned, "Buffa Slug" was not used for our games vs. the Sabres. Take it for what it is worth...

Oh and if anybody really cares, after holding a training camp long beauty pageant last year, a player will be cursed by becoming the 13th Captain in Capitals history later today. Training camp officially opens tomorrow.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Off Season Reviews Part IV

Today's contestant, (it was actually posted yesterday, but with the anniversary, I didn't want to post it), which comes from the "why do they even bother" file, is Scott Burnside of ESPN.

Once again, the masters of the obvious decry the Caps for not making big splashes in a futile attempt to make the playoffs. But since this is a full fledged conference effort, let's take a look at what was written about the one team that was actually worse than the Capitals in the Eastern Conference last year:

Pittsburgh Penguins: A year ago, everyone marveled at the retooling the Penguins had done after winning the Sidney Crosby lottery. But all those big names -- Zigmund Palffy, Mark Recchi, John LeClair, Sergei Gonchar and Jocelyn Thibault -- added up to a hill of ashes for the moribund franchise. Gone is the architect of that mess, Craig Patrick, and his successor, Ray Shero, has taken the alternative approach to team building.
Apart from returning Recchi to the fold (apparently Recchi and Crosby have made up after a midseason spat), the Penguins appear content to let their sparkling core of young players lead them where it will. Crosby remains the centerpiece of that future, but one of the big stories of the summer was the cloak-and-dagger departure of Evgeni Malkin from Russia. The Penguins hope to have him in their lineup opening night, and if they do, it might be the best one-two combinations in the NHL since youngsters Joe Sakic and Peter Forsberg lit it up in Quebec and Colorado.

That's right. Nothing about "gee, why don't the Penguins want to make the playoffs?" The Penguins did nothing to address their defensive shortcomings. The Caps at least signed Brian Potheir who will at least help the power play, (we hope). The "sparkling core" of the Penguins not only were the 2nd worst team in the NHL last year, they also couldn't pull off any AHL playoff success. The Caps affiliate the Hershey Bears took care of them and won the Calder Cup.

But then again, it is ESPN, what do we expect? They can't even get the name of our arena right.

Please Come In Off The Ledge.

Well, as you undoubtedly know by now, the Redskins lost last night.

And of course, the town is in a full panic. Listening to Dan's new Redskins station on the radio this morning on the way into work (I had been listening to the game on the radio coming home from class last night) there was a caller complaining about "bad clock management" at the end of the first half. He wanted to fire Gibbs because Gibbs "had left too much time on the clock" at the end of the first half which allowed the Vikings to get a field goal. Please.........

Because of my class, I only got to see most of the fourth quarter despite my professor's better efforts to get us out early (10 minutes to be exact). When they had to, the Redskins did a decent job of moving the football. How many times recent years with little time on the clock have the Redskins not even been able to complete a pass lettalone get a first down?

I was worried though that clearly needing a turnover, the Redskins defense didn't do anything to try to punch the ball out. No turnovers for the defense. You need those to win.

And one final thing, while this is certainly not the reason why the Redskins lost, I would like it explained to me just how Sean Taylor could get flagged for a personal foul for hitting a covered receiver who was in the air along the sideline with his helmet to the receiver’s shoulder, but the Vikings don't get flagged for a shoulder to the back of an uncovered Redskins receiver's helmet along sideline as he is coming down? If what Taylor did is a penalty, then what the Viking did (sorry, I don't have the name) is also a penalty.

Referees set standards when they make their calls and nothing drives me crazier than when those standards are wildly inconsistent. I'm not pinning this loss on the officiating, but after last year's debacle in the Super Bowl, the NFL has a real problem on their hands with their officials.

Islanders Do It Again.

After anchoring themselves with a 10 year $88.9 million contract (before the rollback) in 2001 for noted underachiever Alexi Yashin, the New York Islanders have done it again by signing soon to be 25 year old goaltender Rick DiPietro to a 15 year $67.5 million contract. I hope this thing contains some kind of out clause for both the Islanders and DiPietro, because there is no way that contract is ever leaving Long Island (unless of course, the Islanders relocate).

You really have to question the sanity of the franchise that thinks that $4.5 million will be a good price for a 40 year old goaltender. I'm also curious if the hockey media will still bash the Caps and owner Ted Leonsis for the 8 year $88 million dollar contract that they gave to Jagr in 2001? Jagr at least had the track record to justify the contract. Yashin has never lived up to his billing and has been just as big a locker room poison as Jagr over a shorter career.

Now the Islanders have two players that they can't get off their roster. The Caps were at least able to move Jagr before the lockout.

In other Islander news, they've also signed Victor Kozlov. The only reason to mention this bit of news is because our old friend Rumor Boy (who I won't even bother linking to anymore) kept say that the Caps were highly interested in him, along with about every other available free agent from Russia including the retired Pavel Bure...

Monday, September 11, 2006

Five Years Ago Today...

He played 207 games over four seasons for the Washington Capitals scoring 43 goals, tallying 71 assists, racking up 162 penalty minutes, with a combined +/- of -104. 5 of his 43 goals were on the power play and 6 of the 43 won games for the Washington Capitals, who didn't win many games during the time Garnett "Ace" Bailey played for them.

He was acquired during the 1974-1975 expansion season along with Stan Glibertson in a trade with St. Louis when the Caps sent Denis Dupere to the Blues on February 10th, 1975. He became a free agent on June 1st, 1978 and went to the Edmonton Oilers, he played only one season in the Alberta, but that one season became his best remembered because he helped to break in a new young rookie up there by the name of Wayne Gretzky. He only played 38 games that season for the Oilers and then 8 more for two minor league teams after that.

He won the Stanley Cup twice in Boston in 1970 and 1972 and he went on to become the Director of Pro Scouting for the Los Angeles Kings. On September 11th, 2001, he boarded United Airlines flight 175 heading from his home in Boston to Los Angeles for the start of the Kings training camp. The whole world watched as his flight was diverted into the south tower of the World Trade Center by Al-Qaeda hijackers. He was 53 years old.

We remember former Washington Capital Garnet "Ace" Bailey today along with the other innocent victims of the attacks on our country five years ago today. We also remember why we fight and why we MUST win.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Sunday Smorgasbord 9-10

  • Nats swept by the Rockies by a combined score of 43-27 over the four ugly games. Thankfully, I don't get MASN until Friday. Now at 61-82 the Nats are a season low 21 games under .500 and have clinched a losing record for this season. At 27 games behind the Mets, the Nats were eliminated from the NL East title earlier this week. With 19 games left, the Nats are 13 games back of the NL Wild Card leading Padres depending upon the outcome of the San Francisco vs. San Diego game currently underway. Their elimination number from playoff contention is 8. Only the Royals, Cubs, Devil Rays, and Pirates have a worse record than the Nats.
  • Nats manager Frank Robinson is anything but assured of returning next year despite stating that he would like to continue on as manager. Frank has been in baseball for 51 years and if this is his last season, Frank would like a proper send-off. Personally, I don't think it matters who manages this baseball team; they are going to be a bad baseball team for the next few years. So the question really is, can Frank develop young baseball players the way Glen Hanlon is able to develop young hockey players? If so, then keep Frank around, if not, then let Frank go. But either way, if this is Frank's last season, the Lerners and Kasten need to give Frank the send-off he deserves. It isn't just the classy thing to do, it is the right thing to do.
  • My long post on media access yesterday generated an equally long post from Eric at Off Wing. First of all let me say that I did not intend to accuse Eric of forcing me into getting media credentials. I know that this is only an opportunity available to me. I would likely sign up to get P.R.'s over e-mails from the Caps so that I could possibly get the information up on my blog about 10, 15, maybe 30 minutes before it appears on Eric also talks about a media vaccum and a thought occurred to me (which I admit is rather scary). The traditional media is rolling back on their coverage on the NHL because the support for the league just isn't there. Ted likes to point out that the NHL sells as many if not more tickets than the NBA. While the average NHL ticket is $4.73 cheaper than the average NBA ticket, CW says that the NHL better. The NHL gets beaten on TV by poker broadcasts. But my point though is this, with such a small audience to cater to, the traditional outlets could very well be willing to give that audience over to the bloggers and abandon the NHL altogether. I don't think that this is what the NHL wants. The NHL needs to reach more causal fans. Traditional media is the only way that they are going to reach that audience, not through bloggers.
  • D.C. United had a tough week, first the wheels fell off in Chicago during a 3-0 defeat as the Fire continue their mastery of D.C. in playoff situations in a U.S. Open Cup Semi-Final. So no "triple" or "double" for D.C. United this year. A U.S. Open Cup would have been nice, but an MLS Cup is the real goal and the MLS Supporter's Shield will get D.C. into international competition. By losing in the U.S. Open Cup semis, D.C. has one less game to play and that's probably a good thing as D.C. was seriously shorthanded for last night's 1-1 tie vs. Real Salt Lake at RFK. With at least Bobby Boswell and Alecko Eskandarian hanging out in the Barra Brava section, D.C. put up a good fight but couldn't beat a poor team. Now at 14-3-9 and with a playoff spot in hand with six games remaining, D.C. United's magic number for having home field advantage in the first round is 1 point. Their magic number for the Eastern Conference title is 5 points. Their magic number for the Supporter's Shield is 13 points.
  • Watching some of NFL Week #1, I think it might be safe to say that some of the scores are surprising. Whodda thunk that the Ratbirds would spank Tampa? Or that the Pats would need a safety at home to beat the Bills? The Cowgirls faded as the game went on and the Eagles beat up a team too stupid to draft Reggie Bush. I've said it before and I'll say it again, the NFL is a 17 week war of attrition. There is no such thing as a "great NFL team" anymore as on any given Sunday, one NFL team can beat another.
  • Serving up more heaping helpings of vanilla, the Terps topped Middle Tennessee 24-10 yesterday at Chevy Chase Bank Field at Byrd Stadium. The players and coaches swear up and down the street that the "wrinkles" are coming. But two thoughts, a vanilla game plan should do more than 24-10. Factor in the two missed field goals and you have 30-10. The Fridge though is in his 6th season at Maryland, how many "wrinkles" does he have left to pull out? Some of the numbers are better than last week; the defense finally got some turnovers with two fumble recoveries and one interception. But the offense still turned the ball over with one fumble and was out gained in yards 321-274. No touchdown passes this year so far for starting quarterback Sam Hollenback. I hate to say it this early, but it is looking like another tough season in College Park.
  • And finally, the Caps announced their training camp roster on Friday. 23 players can be carried on the roster so 25 of the 48 invitees won't stick around. Just looking at that list, 22 of those guys aren't likely to make the opening night roster (if you're interested, ask me I'll tell you, but it is getting late and this post is running long) so that means that there is really only three guys who could be left out in the cold who might not deserve it. Also expect McPhee to help some team to get under the salary cap (New Jersey) before opening night increasing the amount of cuts.
  • This week the Nats head to Arizona for three with the Diamondbacks starting tomorrow night. They fly back to D.C. on Thursday to open a weekend series with the Brewers on Friday night at RFK. The Redskins play a game that counts for once tomorrow night at FedEx Field vs. the Vikings. Would you believe that I couldn't sell my tickets for that game? (I have class on Monday nights or I would go myself). The Skins then have a short work week before hitting the road to play the Cowgirls next Sunday Night on NBC. As I mentioned just above, the Caps open training camp this week and hit the ice on Friday so all you puckbunnies and stalkers click here and scroll down for directions (if you haven't started camping out already). D.C. United can get home field for the first round of the MLS playoffs on Wednesday night when they travel to New England to play a game originally scheduled for July 26th but was postponed because of a Bon Jovi concert. (I agree with Dennis Leary BTW, we can't get him into a helicopter?) D.C. then travels to Chicago for a game Sunday afternoon vs. the Fire that will be on ESPN2. With two wins this week, D.C. will wrap up the Eastern Conference Title. The Terps have an even shorter work week than the Skins and they will face a real test in West Virginia against the Mountaineers on Thursday night on ESPN.
  • And as always, send all comments, complaints, criticisms, questions, and BOO-YAHS! to "capsnut" over at gmail dot com. If, in my rapidly advancing age, I remember my password and can log into the account, I might just read your message. If my attention span holds up, you could get a response.


Saturday, September 09, 2006

On Blogs, Bloggers, and Media Access

Recently Eric McErlain over at Off Wing Opinion has been talking about ways to give bloggers media access. It is clear that he's put a lot of time, thought, and work into this idea. I'm not surprised in the least that Ted Leonsis first approached him about putting this idea in action. I haven't had the time to put my thoughts together and comment on this proposal until now.

I have to say from the start that I have my doubts about this idea for many different reasons. While I appreciate the compliment that I'll help provide better coverage of the Caps than traditional D.C. media outlets, I really don't believe that to be the case. For instance, once I got comfortable in this gig, I shot out an e-mail to 16 friends and family members. Based on the reactions I've gotten so far, I have a good reason to believe that only 3 of those people are reading this blog today on a regular basis. Some of those 16 took over a month to finally check out my blog and one has flat out told me that he hasn't surfed on by because he doesn't read blogs.

However, when it comes to giving bloggers media access, the first thing that I feel I should mention is my belief that that if bloggers are given access on par with the traditional media, bloggers should be expected to uphold the same standards required of traditional journalists. For instance, let's say a blogger decides to go the Jayson Blair route and make things up. Who is going to stop them? A traditional media outlet would fire that type of person rather quickly. But who can fire me from this blog? Who can fire any blogger? Bloggers are not media types even though media types may have their own blogs.

But even if you say that this potential issue is easily handled by denying the blogger future access, you've already let the cat out of the bag. Look at Eklund (Rumor boy) for instance. The guy clearly had no contacts at the start of his blog and has turned it into a money making machine for himself. Give a blogger real access and the ability to prove that he has real access and he can really do some damage

Another potential issue is that traditional journalists know when to keep their mouths shut. But do bloggers? My buddy Sparky from Washington Hockey has been able to get media passes for Caps games in the past and he's used them. He told me once how he got media passes for when the Caps were in the playoffs a few years ago. He told me how he would go into the Caps locker room after games at the Phone Booth. He said that the players viewed him as an outsider. He said one Cap, who was a key player on the team at that point in time, was rather standoffish towards him. That particular player had a huge ice bag wrapped around him and Sparky asked him about it. The player denied being hurt at all. By the third trip into the locker room, Sparky and this player had a standard dialogue. Sparky would ask "are you going to tell me again that you're not hurt?" Player with ice bag would smile and say "yep!" If you want to know who that player is, I'll let Sparky tell you the full details. It isn't my place.

But beyond potential injury reports getting out, you have to also remember that these players have private lives. Anybody remember the Martin Brodeur self-inflicted soap-opera from five years ago now? The media that followed the Devils knew about it, but didn't report it, because not only was not newsworthy, but it was also nobody's business and they aren't in the field of embarrassing players by airing their dirty laundry. The issues that the Caps players had with former coach Bruce Cassidy (and the Sundance Kid) had to have been known by the beat writers. But that too wasn't aired until Cassidy was gone and even then, names were not attached to those who aired their grievances. Bill Clement for years talked about locker room issues with the Caps on ESPN chats. But Clement never said who or what was causing problems in the Caps locker room.

So if a blogger doesn't go the rumor boy route and make things up to gain notoriety; he or she could simply "scoop" everybody else by airing things that don't need to be aired. How is this a good thing? While "scooping" by bloggers isn't likely to happen right away, odds are that it eventually will. The temptation is too great. A person who is passionate enough to write about their favorite team from the sidelines is going to put the time into getting to know the players well enough that they trust them (much like the Caps eventually did with Sparky). That blogger has nothing to stop him from embarrassing the players and the team that they love. Sure, the team could blacklist them, but then the cat is out of the bag and in this case, all it takes is one bad apple to spoil the whole bunch.

Now if Ted were to invite me to spend a night in his Owner's box, as he has with other bloggers, I would more than likely accept the invitation but as for applying for media credentials for the same game, I don't think I ever will. Why? Well, first of all, I know I can cheer for the Caps in Ted's box. Hades, it might even be a requirement. I can't do that in the press box. Secondly, I already have three jobs and a graduate school class on my plate. This blog is recreation for me and Caps games are my release. I don't want to add to my workload for just a few friends and family. While some bloggers clearly see themselves as pseudo journalists, I don't. I'm not putting down those that do see themselves as pseudo journalists, but even once I graduate from graduate school and finally get a full time job that doesn't require me to earn other income, I simply don't want to put in the time it would require for me to build the contacts that I would need to provide better coverage than the traditional outlets do. I prefer to be the guy on the sidelines. I see nothing wrong with that.

Finally, let me close this long post by saying that I don't think that this idea will work the way some think it will. Bloggers operate in an echo chamber. I have more than 16 friends and family that I could have shamelessly self-promoted myself too. But I know that those people have no interest in sports and what I have to say about it. Only the most rabid of fans are going to read what we bloggers write and even then they may not. The one friend who told me doesn't read blogs is a big sports fan himself. Again, I am not saying that my experience counts for everybody, but I can read the Google Ad Sense stats and I get my most page impressions when Off Wing throws a link my way. Even then, I move from the "barely noticed" to the "hardly noticed" category.

Bloggers get a lot of well-deserved credit for taking down Dan Rather and his outrageously false memo story. But what got Dan in trouble was not that the memos were fake, but that Rather stubbornly denied being duped and then went for the "fake but accurate" line. Bloggers only exposed him but Rather’s arrogance took him down.

If you want a good example of how a "nontraditional media" echo chamber works, read Byron York's The Vast Left Wing Conspiracy: The Untold Story of the Democrats' Desperate Fight to Reclaim Power. It is a great example of how that echo chamber can fool you into thinking you're creating something that you aren't. And for more examples of an echo chamber, check out a blogger's comments section. More often than not, you'll find it is the same group of people posting comments. The more widely read a blog is, the larger that cadre, but the point remains. You're not reaching out to the people that you need to. That the NHL wants to reach out to their hardcore fans is great and perfectly fine. But the NHL needs to get more causal fans if they want to grow. "Preaching to the converted" will not accomplish this goal.

I welcome all comments, questions, complaints, and criticisms of this long post at "capsnut" over at gmail dot com.

OLN/Versus NHL Promo

Enjoy! (remember to click on the "play" button)

My first thought was to complain about who isn't in the promo, but then I realized that there were a bunch of NHL Superstar players who didn't get any facetime.

But we are treated to a good Secondary Syd temper tantrum...

Friday, September 08, 2006

Cheap Shot From The (Com)Post Part II

Memo to Mike Wise: If you don't know what you're talking about, then don't talk about it.

Unlike the first (Com)Post cheap shot this isn't meant to be humorous or tongue-in-cheek.

But the problem with Wise's moral preening is that Wise admits, he doesn't have all the facts:

I don't know what role Marcus Wimbush had, if any, in the fight.

His colleague goes on to say:

Friedgen said. "He was punished for violating team rules. Other than that you've got to let the judicial system square it away."...several players faced disciplinary action, including game suspensions and community service, neither Friedgen nor the university has publicly named the players involved, or stated the number of players involved in the brawl.

So does Mike Wise not even read the work of his colleagues or check in with them? Fridge said that Marcus Wimbush was punished for what he did and being 22 years old at the time of the incident, he was not breaking any laws for being in an establishment that sells alcohol at 1 am.

Is Mike Wise also unaware of the MAJOR difference between charges filed by a citizen and charges filed by a police officer? If UMD were willing to suspend Wimbush over simply being charged with a misdemeanor, how long do you think it would take for other schools to target star UMD athletes with trumped up misdemeanors?

I'm not saying that the women who pressed charges are lying or that they have an axe to grind against the University. But considering how big college athletics has become and the mindset of college students these days, I wouldn't put anything past them or some of the more rabid boosters either.

But I guess Wise wants Fridge to "make an example out of the guy." Publicly embarrassing your players doesn't endear you to recruits. College athletes are already held to a higher standard than their peers. How many girls get groped in a college bar and nothing is ever written about it in major newspapers? How many bar fights break out and only blurb at best gets run in the paper? How much underage drinking will there be tonight on every college campus?

Yet when regular students do this, nobody cares. When the college's athletes do it. It is a major story and punishment is demanded. Athletes shouldn't be given a free pass to rein death and destruction but they shouldn't be held to an obscenely high standard either.

Why I Dropped My Subscription to The Hockey News Part I

You call this coverage?

I admit, I don't even know where to begin, other than saying that this is typical of what you get for $51.48.

I've got better ways to spend $50 thankyouverymuch.

Penguins Sale Falling Through?

Sure looks like it.

This got buried by the holiday weekend and Malkin hoopla. So who is going to own the team and where are they going to play? And just who is the "secretive group from Canada" that lost out before Fingold????

What is starting to become obvious, even with Governor Ed Rendel switching course and putting Plan B on the table, is that the Penguins as a franchise are worth more as a potential relocation candidate than they are as a team anchored to Pittsburgh, even with a new arena.

One has to wonder why the NHL would step in and tell an owner that they can't move after Al Davis proved that a league couldn't stop him. One also has to wonder what kind of businessmen would take a significantly lower offer simply because that offer vows to keep the business where it is.

Why are these businessmen selling the business in the first place? If they can't make it work where they are currently located (and in this case, the Penguins clearly can't) what makes them think that somebody else could? Are all of these guys trying to doom the Penguins into their fourth third bankruptcy?

After all, we're talking about Mary-oh!'s retirement here. Mary-oh! deserves all the $$$$$ he can get from this sale because it would be a shame for Mary-oh! to become destitute because Mary-oh! has no other way of possibly making $$$$$ to live off of...

Finally, why would the NHL take an action that would devalue all of their franchises? By forcing a lower price for the Penguins, by insisting that they stay in Pittsburgh, the NHL is dragging down the value of all its franchises. That isn't smart league economics. But then again, Gary Bettman hasn't been the greatest Commissioner either.

Heward Speaks!

In a blurb in the Regina Leader-Post, which I'd link to, but it requires a paid subscription, Baby Huey basically says that he liked the rules changes in the NHL last year. He feels that the NHL now has a better game as a result and that the junior leagues will benefit as well as they are implementing some of the NHL's changes this season.

I'm glad somebody likes them. I railed against them last year and I will be doing a follow-up for here sometime, whenever I get around to it.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Caps to Bondra

Thanks, but no thanks.

And might I say good choice McPhee. #1. We've got a ton of young players who need a chance to prove what they can or cannot do at the NHL level. Bringing in 38 year old retreads that are looking for nothing more than personal records and accolades doesn’t exactly fit in with the team we're trying to build here. #2. Bondra had his chance for his swan song here in Washington last season. He had the chance to take the peace offering and spat on it. He took less $$$$$ after begging another team (in our own division BTW) for a roster spot believing that they had a chance at the Cup last year.

What this means is that the Bondra saga is finally over. At least for me it is. While I am certain that Darwin's waiting room won't ever let this die, Bondra's long awaited return to the Caps just will not happen. It is time for both sides to move on.

Those fans who insist on punishing the Caps for this are only punishing themselves because A.O. has outclassed Bondra on every level in just one year.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Oh Captain My Captain!

But A.O. doesn't want it.

My full time job picking up steam and my class starting up conspired to make me a little late to the party.

Am I the only one who thinks that there might be a little Bere Rabbit "don't throw me in that there briar patch" in this? A.O. isn't stupid, he knows that this is Olie Kolzig's team whether or not he (Kolzig that is) wears the "C". A.O. could still be named captain and I would like to think that it is better than 50-50 that he will. The (Com)Post says Chris Clark, Brian Sutherby, and Dainius Zubrus are all contenders for the Capitals death wish (I'll explain below). Clark isn't likely be with the team for the long haul, (which might be a good reason to give it to him) Zubie doesn't strike me as the leader type, and Suts has always been billed as a "future captain type."

But A.O. isn't just saying he doesn't want to be captain, he isn't even acting like one unlike some others. (Welcoming players to the team????) And being Caps captain isn't all it is cracked up to be. Of the previous 12 captains, only Doug Mohns and Yvon Labre finished their careers with the Capitals. Some were traded (Bill Clement, Ryan Walter, Dale Hunter, Adam Oates, Steve Konowalchuk), some were stripped of the "C" and then later traded (Kevin Hatcher, Brendan Witt), others were stripped of the "C" and then later released by the team (Guy Charron, Rod Langway), and one (Jeff Halpern) was allowed to walk away as a UFA.

However, the Caps find themselves in this bind because they have such a young team. It is only a matter of time before A.O. does take over the "C" and let's hope that he avoids the fate of his predecessors. But while Kolzig is still around, I think the Caps would be well advised to rotate the "C" among the team like Minnesota did a few years ago. Either that or petition the NHL to allow Kolzig to wear the "C"....

In other Caps news, the informal workouts have started so all you puckbunnies and stalkers can get back into business. And A.O. gets involved with community work.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

And the Legal Battle Begins

Malkin to sign with Pittsburgh today.

His parents are moving too. But the NHL is in for a world of hurt if they allow Malkin's contract to go through. They are standing on shaky ground legally.

And even if U.S. Courts were willing to throw out the inevitable lawsuit from Metallurg, the NHL will tarnish its reputation with the European leagues and make getting further European players into the NHL harder.

While that would make folks like Don Cherry happy, it would be a bad thing for the NHL.

Monday, September 04, 2006

Memo To Teenage Punk Boys...


Nats pitcher Ramon Ortiz lost a no-hitter in the ninth inning today. Of course the blame goes to punk in my section today who heading into the bottom of the eighth inning ignored my sage advice to keep quiet. Bozo kept yapping about how this guy and that guy had no idea what a no-hitter was. Well, the first batter of the ninth busted up the no-hitter and I made sure everybody knew to blame that guy.


Unless of course you're an idiot like that guy and you're looking to jinx it.

When Pujols hit the home run, that guy and his equally stupid friend wised up and tore out of RFK Stadium before the pitchforks and torches could be distributed...

But Congratulations to Oritz for a well-pitched baseball game and his first home run of the season. Jeers to the jerk who felt the need to jinx the first MLB no-hitter in two years.