Thursday, May 14, 2015

Here we go again, or maybe not

Once again the Washington Capitals have failed to make it out of the second round of the Stanley Cup play-offs. Even after an incredibly bold, even a little crazy prediction by their captain Alex Ovechkin that they were guaranteed a win in game 7 over the New York Rangers (really sick of that team and their goalie who's second in my mind to Braden Holtby), they went to overtime and lost 2-1. Heartbreaking to D.C. fans but maybe it wasn't such a bad loss.

Don't get me wrong, I was as crushed as any self-respecting Caps fan should be and I had done every superstitious thing that I could have done - lucky tee-shirt that I wore during game 7 against the Islanders, same flannel shirt, Caps quilt out on my bed, I didn't even watch the game because I had watched game 6 in which they lost. But to the fact that everyone is claiming that they lost even after the 'guaranteed win' sentiments from Ovi, which yes by the score on the board at the end of the night they lost, however I feel as they did win.

Hold up! Before you go of on some rant about the only win that counts or is real is the one on the score board at the end of the night. Let me explain.

This season the Caps had yet another new coach. I was quite fond of Adam Oats but I understand why they parted ways. They started from scratch with new coaches, some new players, and a new mind-set. They wanted to make the Verizon Center a place to be feared. A place that teams would dread playing in. Barry Trots wanted to change the teams whole mind-set, yes celebrate a win but move on to the next game, sure a loss hurt but use it for fuel and move onto the next game.

So here are the ways that the Caps won:

1) They made the Verizon Center a place teams dreaded. No, I don't have any ins with NHL teams but I have heard fans talking, a bonus of people watching. Fans of the L.A. Kings to the Boston Bruins, even the two teams they played in the play-offs, made it clear they hated playing in D.C. which is a stark change from past seasons. Now fans hated the fact that they had to play in D.C., because it meant they would have to work for a win if they were going to get one. No easy win was going to come out of D.C.. The Caps were by no means the best team in the NHL, but they play way above their ranking most if not all nights in the Verizon Center. So I have no idea if on the team level the opposing teams felt the same way their fans did but their fans sure hated the Verizon Center.

2) They played like they wanted the Cup. Sure they've wanted it in past seasons, but this team, this season, looked like they could win and contend with any team they may come across in the hunt for the Cup. The 2014-15 Caps were the best team I have seen on the ice of the Verizon Center wearing the home jersey in years.

3) They finally had a starting goalie who stood tall and was reliable. Holtby, Holtbeast, the Bearded Beauty, what ever you want to call him, was the best player all season on the ice for the Caps. So many games came down to him. So many games could have ended differently if he hadn't made that one stop. Yes, the rest of the team stepped up and played some of the best hockey D.C. has seen in years, however Holtby carried the team on his shoulders to the play-offs. Even Rangers fans are commending him on his play in the final game of the their post-season. A few even wanted to buy him a drink. One Rangers fan commented on the Caps Facebook page that he wanted to buy the whole team drinks because they played hard and had earned his respect. If that doesn't scream we won than I don't know what will.

4) Last season the Caps missed the post season. It was hard but expected. They didn't play well. They didn't have a drive. This season they came storming back to the play-offs and made it known that they were a team to be reckoned with. They were a changed team and a team that wanted the Cup. The Caps put all of the NHL on notice that they were back and wanted the Cup.

So in my mind Ovi, you were right. You and your team, including your wicked awesome coaches, have won. And I don't care what others are saying about when are the "next years" going to stop? When is it going to be too late for our greats like Ovi, Holtby, and Backstrom? There is next season. Forget the Rangers. They can go back to New York. The Caps should use this as fire. They may have 'lost' but they have won. They have a gigantic opportunity next season with Trots leading them to become great, to reach a point they haven't been in so long. So I will look forward to next season, next year, next play-offs. Because it will be their year to take. Next time we will face the challenge and win.

Monday, November 25, 2013

A Party In Boston

Boston has earned the right to party like madmen. The 2013 Red Sox have won the World Series. If you are a Boston fan stop here now to go celebrate! You guys deserve it. It took work and it wasn't easy facing the reigning champs, the St. Louis Cardinals. I had called it from the beginning of the season, then again I always say my teams are going to win it all. That shows how much I actually pay attention to stats in baseball. Boston, enjoy this victory and try not to be too rowdy, people might talk.

With what seems like every possible sport under the sun being played right now, it's hard to know what to pay attention to. I would watch football, just not the Redskins. Somehow the Redskins are not as good as they were last season (gasp). RGIII isn't as good as everyone thought he was going to be. My reasoning: RGIII found a time machine went to his second year player self, brought him back to last season to make a great rookie year but now since he caused a rip in his own timeline he now is actually playing his rookie year this year instead of last year. Ok, I might have gone off the deep end with that one but hey, it sounds way better than what the reality is. The fact is that Griffin isn't as good as he's been cracked up to been. Sure he's a decent player but come on, look at how he's playing, and look at the talent just sitting there on the bench waiting for his turn. Kirk Cousins is just as talented if not more so than Griffin. If the Redskins want to waste time trying to get RGIII back to how he was last year fine, that's their business. But I hope they bear in mind that with every loss the fan base is shrinking. As of writing this post the Skins are 2-5.

Now the Steelers aren't doing much better, they have the same record as the Skins (2-5) but I don't have any ideas on what's happening in Pittsburgh. It's just not happening. Plain and simple, nothing is happening. They need to pull it together if they want to have any hope of making the playoffs. But considering how the rest of the league is looking at the moment, it could be any one's game. It's just a big ball of confusion. They'll figure it out, they always do.

New England is honestly in a league of their own. Not because they have some amazing record, but because of the record they have with the players they have. With several of their key receivers missing, they are still pulling out wins. They are 6-2, again not entirely sure how they have kept such a decent looking record.

Oh and hockey's happening. But let us ponder the whole RGIII time travel theory.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Nerve Wreckers

If you happen to be a New England sports fan, of any sport, be it baseball, hockey, or football, you might be needing some anxiety medicine. Now the Bruins haven't crossed the line into heart-stopping action quite yet but the hockey season is still young, it could very well happen. The Red Sox won their game with a grad slam Sunday night. I didn't see said grand slam because I wasn't watching the game for two reasons: 1). I was watching the Redskins loose pitifully to the Cowboys (more on that game further in the post) and 2). I can't stand watching baseball on TV. Final Score of the Red Sox game: Boston 6 - Detroit 5.

If you didn't see or hear any thing about the Patriots game you are either very lucky or don't care about them. It came down to the last 11 seconds. Literally. This isn't some drama crazed person writing here. It came down to the last play with 11 seconds left. The Saint had been down, but with Drew Brees leading the charge they came back. They were still down, so they tried an onside kick. It went their way for once. But the Pats defense dug in and refused to let the Saints into the end-zone. So they settled for a field goal. They weren't done yet, once again they tried an onside kick. This one bounced and was recovered by the Pats. The player looked like he wasn't going to let the ball go ever. He knew that time was running out and that they needed this chance to make up the difference. Brady and company ran out onto the field only to get right back off due to Brady being intercepted on the first play of the drive on a pass meant for Julian Edelman. Back onto the field came the Saints; they didn't make any progress. So with 1:30 left in the game Brady marched his team up field running no huddle plays and converting on a fourth-down (with 23 seconds remaining). And down it comes. Brady spikes the ball to stop the clock with 11 seconds remaining. Brady takes the snap, they have to score here other wise the game is lost. He fires a perfect pass to Kenbrell Thompkins for 17 yards and the touchdown. Stephen Gostkowski kicks the extra point. The Pats are up 30-27, leaving 5 second for the Saints to pull off an upset. If there had been more time we might have gotten another touchdown. The ball was fumbled by the Saints; recovered and returned by the Pats for a touchdown after time had run out. Final Score: New England 30- New Orleans 27.

Something happened over the week five bye in favor of the Steelers. Whatever was said or changed is working. They beat the Jets in New York (technically New Jersey). Even with a home field advantage the Jets couldn't keep the Steelers from pulling out their first win of the season. Final Score: Pittsburgh 19 - New York 6.

The Redskins were not as productive as the Steelers had been during their bye week. They came out waving the 'we got this' flag going into the Cowboys game and left  waving ' we need to work on a few things'. At this point they need to work on a few more things than 'a few'. They came into the game 1-3 (Dallas was 2-3). They might have had a chance after the Cowboys the previous week had suffered a devastating lost to the Denver Broncos. But no, the Skins let the Cowboys use the drive and determination gained from the last loss to push past the faltering Skins. Honestly, when will the Skins learn. Be aggressive. Make bold plays. Follow through, and for crying out loud do something about your defense! Granted the offence isn't that much better but it's getting there, ever so slowly. Final Score: Dallas 31 - Washington 16.

Thursday, October 10, 2013


A quick update on the post I put up a few days ago. As of posting 'With one last loss', the Boston Red Sox hadn't played. Later that night they won their seat into the next round of the MLB postseason. They made nice use of ski goggles. You can see a few photos of their celebrations on their Facebook page.

On a sadder note, Steeler fans now have to hope for the best with the rest of football season. Their distraction in the Pittsburgh Pirates has ended as they were eliminated last night. Meaning that the St. Louis Cardinals are moving on. Is it just me (and it very well could be considering I might be the only one who cares) that the Cardinals are one of the most annoying teams once they get in the postseason? I mean it's not just the team, the fans can be bad too. Worse than a Boston fan.

Any hockey fans reading this (and are unfamiliar with the MLB postseason) and are like, "But they only played five games they can't be done yet." They can (and are) because the MLB has it right, it's best of five not seven like the NHL (well until the Championship Series for the AL and NL, and the World Series roll around. Then it switches over to best of seven). Things move along so much faster this way (again, up until the Championships and World roll around. Then they go on forever).

Is this still the preseason?

It's week 6 of the 2013 NFL season, and the teams are separating out into good and bad. The first 3 weeks almost looked like the preseason still, no clean wins and losses that shouldn't have happened. A good number of teams looked like they were playing second string players. Some teams still (cough, cough Redskins and Steelers, cough cough) look like they're finding the roster.

The Redskins had bye this past week, meaning they didn't lose. They're 3rd in their division with a win-loss record of 1-3. So much for the great return of RGIII. He doesn't look so great. The way number 10 has been playing, he looks like a rookie. Maybe he used a time machine to travel to from the future last season to make a great debut, but now time has caught up to him and we're now getting his rookie season. It's not all bad news for the Skins. If they win on Sunday, and the Cowboys, Eagles, and Giants lose, then the Skins will be at the top of their division because everybody else in their division sucks just as much as they do.

The Steelers also had bye this past week of football. They aren't doing so well, somehow the Skins are actually better than the Steelers. The boys from Pittsburgh are at the very bottom of their division, with a 0-4 win-loss record. Or maybe a loss-loss record because that seems to be the only thing they can do at the moment. I really want to see them start winning, but really? 0-4? That's just sad. They even had a chance to make a tally in the win column when the played the winless (at the time) Vikings in London. But no, even then they couldn't pull out a win. The bright side? The Pittsburgh fans still have the Pirates to cheer for (see previous post you're not sure who these Pirates are).

Thank goodness for New England, at least in my world. They have gone without some of their top receivers and the ones they have are still adjusting. The reliable targets for Brady have left the team (darn Welker. Why do you have to help Payton win?? I'm glad you're having more fun, but really? Denver?) or are injured, like Gronkowski (who might play Sunday's game). They've pulled out four wins in the first five games, finally falling last week to the Cincinnati Bengals, 6-13. Brady just couldn't find a reliable guy to throw the ball to, but if you look at the previous four games you'll see that those wins were hard earned. In particular the 30-23 win against the Atlanta Falcons. It came down to the last play of the Falcons' last drive in the last minutes of the game. The Pats had the lead; after two on-side kicks (one recovered by the Falcons, the other by the Pats. The player who recovered the ball for the Pats held onto the ball like his life was solely dependent on keeping that ball. Which in a Belichick run team, his spot on the roster could have depended on that play). The security of a ten point lead went away when the Falcons scored a field goal after the first on-side. The Pats recovered it the second time but the Falcons dug in and the Pats were forced to punt. Taking the poor ball hostage, the birds from Atlanta marched up the field making a last ditch attempt to score, but it was just not to be. It was too amazing and reliving to put into words. Just go look at this picture to understand. Next up for the Pats are the unbeaten New Orleans Saints.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

With one last loss

The baseball season for most people in D.C. is now over. The Nationals had been looking like they might make up for the horrid start to the season by barely making it in to the MLB postseason. But those hopes are now dead. The lost one too many games and now get to sit and watch others play. Or sulk; either one works.

One team that I'm willing to bet no one, and I mean even their biggest fans, never saw coming. Even thought it came like a freight train. The Pittsburgh Pirates have made it in the postseason. You are reading that right. How, I haven't the faintest idea. A good team, manager, and coaching staff might have helped get them there. Even so, who predicted this one? Other teams to qualify: Boston Red Sox (Not that much of a surprise), Tampa Bay Rays, St. Louis Cardinals (not a surprise at all. What is surprising is that the Pirates are showing them up in some games), Oakland Athletics, Detroit Tigers, Atlanta Braves, and  the L.A. Dodgers.

The NHL has begun again (pause to celebrate). The lull of summer baseball that goes on forever ends into a frozen battle field of hockey teams. Baseball may still be happening but for some fans, like me, is taking a backseat to hockey (not to mention that my favorite team didn't make it to the postseason). The Capitals started the season off by facing the defending Stanley Cup champions, the Chicago Blackhawks, in Chicago. Really? We couldn't start with an easier team? I would have been nice to ease into thinks, new players and all. But no. We started with Chicago, then home for the Calgary Flames, and back out to Dallas to play the Stars. Why does Dallas have a hockey team, it's kind of weird. They don't play again till tomorrow night. So you have time to wash your favorite jersey, hop on one foot, find a rabbits foot, rub some lucky puck, or whatever it is you do because they're playing the Carolina Hurricanes. Whoop.

In random sports news, the Oracle Team USA won the American Cup back in September. Beating the predicted winner, New Zealand.

Oh, golf is still happening.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

IAAF World Championships

The IAAF World Championships are in progress right now for track and field. They're being held in Moscow, Russia. The same country as the 2014 winter Olympics are going to be held next year. I happened to turn on the TV and saw briefly some of the men's decathlon. The decathlon for those who have never heard of it before (I hadn't until the London games last year) is an contest containing ten events : 100 meters, long jump, shot put, high jump, 400 meters, 110 meter hurtles, discus throw, pole vault, javelin throw, and 1500 meters. It's held over two days, five the first day and five the second, depending on how the competitors place scores are given to them. So after all events the guy with the most points wins. Ashton Eaton, who won gold at the 2012 games in London, won gold Sunday in Moscow with a score of 8809. There were three other Americans entered in the decathlon, Trey Hardee, Jeremy Taiwo, and Gunnar Nixon. Hardee and Taiwo did not finish;  while Nixon who lead for part of day one fell too 13th with 8312 points. Pretty good for Nixon who was at junior worlds last year.

Usain Bolt is still the fastest man in the 100 meters. In the finals there were four Jamaicans, two Americans, a British guy, and a Frenchmen. That sounds like the beginning of a bad joke.. Bolt had hard competition with American Justin Gatlin. Leaving the blocks Gatlin seemed to have the lead but Bolt surged a head. Only a .8 second difference between them finishing, compared to the .10 second gap between second and third place.The Jamaicans finish 1, 3, 4, and 5. The other American came up in the back in 6 narrowly beating the Frenchmen by .02 of a second. The 200 meters finals took place last night and Bolt took home another gold.

Sadly American sprinter, Allyson Felix is out; possibly for the season. During the 200 meter dash, rounding the turn Felix began to hop before falling to the track in agony. She had torn her right hamstring. Ending her hope of meddling at Worlds. Felix had planned to race in three events, the 200, 4x100, and 4x400. The injury is sever, but is it season ending? Possibly but she'll just have to wait and see. I feel bad for her, at worlds feeling good about the race about to hit her stride when this happens. I hate to see any athlete out because of an injury but when it happens at such a major event, on a world stage, it sucks even more.

For a link to the IAAF site for more information click on the link under the 'League Pages' in the side bar.