Tag Archive | "capitals"

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Caps Suffer Worst Loss of Season

Posted on 27 November 2013 by Ed Frankovic

With two guys asking for trades this week (Martin Erat and Dmitry Orlov), things went from bad to worse on Thanksgiving Eve as the Capitals turned a 3-1 first period lead into a 6-4 defeat to Ottawa.

It was a terrible loss for Washington primarily due to a lack of focus and effort. There are also holes in the talent department on the back end too, but more on that later.

The Caps came out skating, something you must do against a very fast Senators club, and as a result, they had the lead and the momentum. Then Chris Neil, who is known for physical and dirty play, took a run at defensemen Nate Schmidt drawing an obvious penalty in the process. What happened next, was the start of the end for the Caps. Defensemen Tyson Strachan immediately went after Neil taking an instigator penalty, five for fighting, and a 10 minute misconduct to take the Caps off of a power play that could have put them up 4-1. It was a bad decision at the wrong time for a guy who really should be playing in Hershey.

Ottawa received a spark from the play while the Caps seemed to get their boots filled with cement. The Senators would out shoot the Caps 19-3 in the second period tying the contest up and then they dominated Washington in the 3rd period to take a 4-3 lead on their third power play goal of the game. Ottawa was flat out too fast and determined for Washington and they repeatedly went to the net for screens and deflections while many of the Caps defenders failed to get position or tie up their sticks. It was absolutely terrible defense by the Capitals. A big part of that problem is the lack of talent on the back end. Strachan, Schmidt and Alex Urbom simply aren’t NHL players at this point in their careers. This is a big reason why the Caps are giving up lots of shots night after night (Ottawa had 40 on Wednesday) and the goaltending is starting to wear out. Braden Holtby started strong in this game but he faded giving up some goals he’d like to have back. But when your defense allows too many players in front of the net and can’t consistently close gaps on the ice, your goalies are going to get lit up eventually. You also can’t score when the other team has the puck.

Therefore, it is up to Coach Adam Oates, assistant Calle Johansson, and GM George McPhee to make some upgrades on the back end. Whether it is inserting Orlov, trying someone else from Hershey, or making a trade for some defensive help, something has got to give.

The Capitals are fortunately still sitting at 12-11-2 after this four game losing streak (0-3-1) thanks primarily to the outstanding play of Alexander Ovechkin and John Carlson this season. Carlson was great again tonight throwing seven pucks on net and his individual effort at the blue line drew a penalty and then #74 tied the game with three minutes left on the ensuing face off. It’s too bad that Mike Green’s awful night (3 minor penalties and shoddy d-zone play) and Schmidt’s inability to close on a streaking Senators forward resulted in the winning goal just 64 seconds later. Green was pretty bad on Wednesday after two games where he seemed to be on the upswing. Bottom line is #52 needs a steady NHL partner to be most effective and he does not have that with this defensive crew make up right now.

There were several other passengers in this one up front. Troy Brouwer was -3 and he continues to struggle this season. Mikhail Grabovski had a poor showing as well.

As for the penalty kill, it’s dropping like a bag of wet cement lately. The Caps are losing too many face offs and they are allowing too much traffic on their goaltender. The Caps rely heavily on Karl Alzner and Carlson to kill penalties and when the team gets into penalty trouble, like it did on Wednesday, it severely impacts the Capitals ability to win the puck possession battle because their top duo spends much of their energy while shorthanded. It’s a bad situation right now with the lack of experience on the back end.

So on Thanksgiving Eve, a game that started so promising, turned into a disaster and the way Ottawa skated all over the Capitals was telling.

It was an ugly defeat from the lack of effort and focus along with a shortage of talent on defense.

Worst loss of the season for the Caps? Absolutely.

 

 

 

Comments (1)

Top 10 Baseball Distractions

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Top 10 Baseball Distractions

Posted on 26 November 2013 by Glenn Clark

Honorable Mention: Tennis-The Dream Cup Barbados (Friday & Saturday 6pm from Bridgetown, Barbados live on ESPN3.com); Running: Baltimore City Turkey Trot 5K (Thursday 8:30am Druid Hill Park)

10. The Bridge (Wednesday 9pm Rams Head Live); Cara Kelly and the Tell Tale (Wednesday 8pm 8×10 Club); Charm City Devils/The Brian Jack Memorial Concert (Wednesday 8pm Baltimore Soundstage); Herman’s Hermits (Saturday 6pm & 9pm Rams Head on Stage); Alice Smith (Friday 7:30pm Howard Theatre), Kelly Rowland (Sunday 8pm Howard Theatre); Rob Zombie (Wednesday 7pm 9:30 Club); Preservation Hall Jazz Band (Friday -Sunday 8pm Meyerhoff Symphony Hall); MGMT (Tuesday 8pm D.A.R. Constitution Hall); Brian Setzer Orchestra (Friday 8pm Warner Theatre); Michael McDonald (Saturday 8pm Strathmore); Foxes (Saturday 7pm U Street Music Hall); Billie Joe & Norah “Foreverly” and M.I.A. “Matangi” available in stores/on iTunes (Tuesday)

Baltimore is better when The Bridge is together.

I saw CCD do a tribute to Brian Jack at the Recher Theatre a year or so ago. Baltimore rock and roll isn’t as great without him.

I’m going to try to get to the Sunday Preservation Hall show. I could listen to them play Christmas tunes all month.

You know what? Same thing with Michael McDonald. Judge away.

9. Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade (Thursday 9am from New York live on NBC); Bobcat Goldthwait (Friday & Saturday Magooby’s Joke House); Donnell Rawlings (Friday-Sunday DC Improv); Despicable Me 2“, “Red 2” and “Jobs” available on Blu-Ray/DVD (Tuesday); Frozen” and “Homefront” out in theaters (Friday)

I’d be more excited about flicks coming out, but none of them are ‘The Wolf of Wall Street”. There isn’t a movie I want to see more than “The Wolf of Wall Street”.

Other than maybe this.

Also because Kate Bosworth is in “Homefront”, this photo of Kate Bosworth’s legs is relevant.

(Continued on Page 2…)

Comments (0)

Holtby Shines Again as Caps Win in Shootout

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Holtby Shines Again as Caps Win in Shootout

Posted on 07 November 2013 by Ed Frankovic

Braden Holtby is in the zone right now. The Washington net minder, who was unfairly assaulted last week by a lunatic Flyers goalie, stopped 33 shots and all three shootout attempts from a very good Minnesota Wild hockey club to allow his team to prevail, 3-2, in the gimmick, at the Verizon Center.

Alex Ovechkin notched a power play goal early on and Marcus Johansson tied it late after some hard work by Tom Wilson and Brooks Laich before Nicklas Backstrom scored the lone tally in the skills competition to push Washington’s record to 9-7.

The Capitals have a four game winning streak and now head out west to take on Phoenix and Colorado on Saturday and Sunday evenings, respectively.

Call me a glass half full guy tonight. This wasn’t a pretty victory, but the Caps did work hard against a team that does the same. Minnesota doesn’t allow a lot of shots or chances so you have to be patient against them, especially since it seems all American defensemen Ryan Suter never leaves the ice (36:51 played on Thursday night). The shots on goal were 35-27 in favor of the Wild but a closer look at shot attempts had the Caps winning that battle, 57-51.

Both goalies were good and each team went 1 for 3 on the power play. So it is no surprise that this contest ended up in extra time. It was a fairly even battle but the Capitals prevailed because they are really good in shootouts under Coach Adam Oates (4-0 this season).

Ovechkin notched his 13th goal in 14 games, but to me, the skater who has been really instrumental during this streak is Backstrom. Nicky is dominating the play when he is on the ice. He is so strong on his skates and wins the large majority of board battles. His stick handling and passing are amazing and he’s shooting the puck more. His move around Suter late in the game, lifting the puck to create a lane to shoot from, was a thing of beauty and Josh Harding had to come up big to stop that one. Ovechkin is going to get his goals and he’ll get even more if Backstrom continues to play at the high level he’s playing right now. #19 doesn’t get the credit he deserves around the league, but I doubt he cares. From talking to him over the years I know he cares most about winning.

Perhaps the biggest reason for the last four wins is the Capitals goaltending. They’ve gotten four super starts in a row (three by Holtby and one from Neuvirth). Holtby made some huge stops late in regulation when the Wild were gifted with a power play (memo to Ian Walsh: what a garbage call on Erat!) that also gave them a hard to defend 4 on 3 in overtime for 61 seconds. There is no doubt in hockey that goaltending is the most important position and #70 delivered there.

The thing to like about this win, outside of super goaltending and the play of Backstrom, was the effort. Washington played hard but the other guys get paid too so it isn’t going to be all roses every night. This club kept grinding against a stingy team and found a way to tie it up late when Minnesota usually closes those types of games out.

On the flip side, the Caps still are turning the puck over too much and do have a tendency to puck watch and not cover their opponents in their own end at times. That needs to improve. The injuries to Jake Hillen and John Erskine have put the Caps in a bind on the left side of their defense. Alex Urbom and Nate Schmidt are playing because of the injuries. I’ve liked Schmidt since his first preseason game in Baltimore but sometimes he’s in over his head in the NHL. He could use a year in the AHL to properly develop. But there are really no alternatives at this point until GM George McPhee makes a deal for a defensemen. Trades are best made when a team is going well and the Caps are certainly heading in that direction. They have a good forward in Eric Fehr sitting in the press box and Evgeny Kuznetsov likely slated to come over in the spring to play in the NHL, so McPhee has some strengths he can leverage to try and upgrade his defense, which sure seems needed if Washington wants to go deep in the post season. But it takes two to tango and there is plenty of time to make any necessary moves.

Tonight the Caps can thank Holtby and effort for a win against what appears to be a good Western Conference team. Next up are two that just may be even better.

Notes: Washington lost handily in the faceoff department, 34-25…Wilson only played 6:30 but he was a huge factor in the tying goal helping Johansson get the puck and come out of the corner to score while Laich ran havoc in front of the cage…credit Schmidt for not getting down on himself after some tough shifts. The kid played 23:53 and is learning. He had some really good shifts too, so overall he’s been impressive. It is baptism by fire for him…by the way, the Flyers lost 3-0 tonight, boy do those goons stink!

Comments (0)

Tags: , , , , ,

Bovada drops Caps’ Stanley Cup odds to 33/1

Posted on 07 November 2013 by WNST Staff

Odds to win the 2014 Stanley Cup (Teams in red have longer odds from last week, teams in blue have shorter odds, and teams in black stayed the same)

                                                Odd on 9/30                 Current

Pittsburgh Penguins                  15/2                              6/1                               

Chicago Blackhawks                 6/1                                15/2

San Jose Sharks                       18/1                              15/2

Colorado Avalanche                  50/1                              10/1

St. Louis Blues                          12/1                              10/1

Boston Bruins                           10/1                              11/1

Detroit Red Wings                     16/1                              14/1

Toronto Maple Leafs                 18/1                              14/1

Los Angeles Kings                    12/1                              16/1

Anaheim Ducks                         25/1                              20/1

Vancouver Canucks                   16/1                              20/1

Minnesota Wild                         22/1                              25/1

Tampa Bay Lightning                 33/1                              25/1

Montreal Canadiens                   28/1                              28/1

New York Islanders                    33/1                              28/1

New York Rangers                     20/1                              33/1

Ottawa Senators                        20/1                              33/1

Phoenix Coyotes                       66/1                              33/1

Washington Capitals                  25/1                              33/1

Carolina Hurricanes                    40/1                              40/1

Columbus Blue Jackets             40/1                              50/1                             

Dallas Stars                              40/1                              66/1

Nashville Predators                   50/1                              66/1

New Jersey Devils                     50/1                              66/1

Philadelphia Flyers                    22/1                              66/1

Calgary Flames                         100/1                            100/1

Edmonton Oilers                       20/1                              100/1

Winnipeg Jets                           66/1                              100/1

Florida Panthers                        150/1                            200/1

Buffalo Sabres                          100/1                            250/1

 

Odds to Win the 2014 Eastern Conference       

Pittsburgh Penguins                  11/4

Boston Bruins                           9/2

Toronto Maple Leafs                 13/2

Detroit Red Wings                     7/1

Tampa Bay Lightning                 12/1

Montreal Canadiens                   14/1

New York Islanders                    14/1

Ottawa Senators                        14/1

New York Rangers                     16/1

Washington Capitals                  16/1

Carolina Hurricanes                    20/1

Columbus Blue Jackets             25/1

Philadelphia Flyers                    28/1

New Jersey Devils                     33/1

Florida Panthers                        100/1

Buffalo Sabres                          125/1

 

Odds to Win the 2014 Western Conference      

Chicago Blackhawks                 7/2

San Jose Sharks                       7/2

St. Louis Blues                          11/2

Colorado Avalanche                  6/1

Los Angeles Kings                    15/2

Anaheim Ducks                         10/1

Vancouver Canucks                   11/1

Minnesota Wild                         14/1

Phoenix Coyotes                       16/1

Dallas Stars                              33/1

Nashville Predators                   33/1

Calgary Flames                         50/1

Edmonton Oilers                       50/1

Winnipeg Jets                           50/1

 

Odds to Win the 2014 Atlantic Division

Boston Bruins                           9/4

Detroit Red Wings                     7/2

Toronto Maple Leafs                 7/2

Tampa Bay Lightning                 5/1

Montreal Canadiens                   6/1

Ottawa Senators                        8/1

Florida Panthers                        50/1

Buffalo Sabres                          100/1

 

Odds to Win the 2014 Metropolitan Division    

Pittsburgh Penguins                  1/2

New York Islanders                    7/1

Washington Capitals                  8/1

New York Rangers                     10/1

Columbus Blue Jackets             12/1

Carolina Hurricanes                    14/1

New Jersey Devils                     25/1

Philadelphia Flyers                    25/1

 

Odds to Win the 2014 Central Division

Chicago Blackhawks                 6/5

Colorado Avalanche                  5/2

St. Louis Blues                          3/1

Minnesota Wild                         7/1

Nashville Predators                   25/1

Dallas Stars                              33/1

Winnipeg Jets                           40/1

 

Odds to Win the 2014 Pacific Division

San Jose Sharks                       3/2

Los Angeles Kings                    11/4

Anaheim Ducks                         7/2

Vancouver Canucks                   11/2

Phoenix Coyotes                       8/1

Calgary Flames                         33/1

Edmonton Oilers                       33/1

 

Who will be the Second Coach fired in the 2013-2014 Season?

Kevin Dineen (FLA)                    7/2

Peter DeBoer (NJ)                     4/1

Ron Rolston (BUF)                    4/1

Claude Noel (WPG)                   4/1

Bob Hartley (CAL)                     13/2

Craig Berube (PHI)                     7/1

Alain Vigneault (NYR)                8/1

Kirk Muller (CAR)                       17/2

Mike Yeo (MIN)                         17/2

 

Who will win Calder Trophy as NHL Rookie of the Year? (Players in red have longer odds from last week, teams in blue have shorter odds, and teams in black stayed the same)      

                                                Odds on 10/1/13           Current

Tomas Hertl (SJ)                       9/1                                3/2

Sean Monahan (CAL)                 Off the Board                5/2

Seth Jones (NAS)                      3/2                                3/1

Alex Chiasson (DAL)                 Off the Board                4/1

Mark Arcobello (EDM)               Off the Board                13/2

Nathan MacKinnon (COL)           9/2                                13/2

***Note: The rest of the players from the original list are currently off the board. If you’d like to see that list again, please let me know.

 

Who will win the 2014 Hart Memorial Trophy as the NHL’s Most Valuable Player? (Players in red have longer odds from last week, teams in blue have shorter odds, and teams in black stayed the same)      

                                                Odds on 9/12                Current 

Sidney Crosby (PIT)                  3/1                                1/1       

Alex Ovechkin (WAS)                6/1                                3/1

Steven Stamkos (TB)                 8/1                                3/1

Henrik Sedin (VAN)                    16/1                              17/2

Phil Kessel (TOR)                      30/1                              17/2

Tuukka Rask (BOS)                   40/1                              9/1

Antti Niemi (SJ)                         75/1                              16/1

Alexander Steen (STL)               Off the Board                25/1

***Note: The rest of the players from the original list are currently off the board. If you’d like to see that list again, please let me know.

 

Will Patrick Roy win Head Coach of the Year in 2013-14 seasons (Jack Adams Award)?

Yes      -300     (1/3)

No        +200     (2/1)

 

Will the Winnipeg Jets fire head coach Claude Noel during the 2013-2014 Regular Season?

Yes      -200     (1/2)

No        +150     (3/2)

Comments (0)

Tags: , ,

Holtby and Capitals Top Line Shine in Edmonton Win

Posted on 25 October 2013 by Nick Dorsey

The Capitals took it to the Edmonton Oilers once again this season. At first it was in the Verizon Center and last night it was on the road in Edmonton, but similar results. Washington defeated the Oilers October 14th 4-2, last nights final was 4-1. Similar result for the Caps, but in a more impressive team effort all together. The Caps have gained momentum from their big shootout win the other night in Winnipeg and have won both games on the road so far on the five game road tour.

For the majority of the season thus far, the Caps have been reliant on their power play unit to score their goals due to their struggles in the five on five game. That wasn’t the case last night as all four of the Caps goals came during five on five play. It opened up just under two minutes left to go in the first period when Alex Ovechkin scored his 10th goal of the season. Nicklas Backstrom won the face off and Marcus Johansson found Ovechkin for the open shot in the high slot. Alex Ovechkin has scored 32 goals in his last 31 regular season games, which is the best streak of his career. He is off to the best start to a regular season of his career, which is scary to think about since he is coming off an MVP award winning season, his third Hart Trophy of his career. While the first line was making plays, the third line which has been consistently a hard working line all season, made its plays as well.

Just under five minutes left in the second period, John Carlson threw the puck toward the net with traffic in front. Jason Chimera and Joel Ward were in front of Dubnyk when Ward got a piece of Carlson’s shot and got a deflection to go in the net. Joel Ward got his third goal of the season on the deflection and defensemen Carlson and Alzner were accredited with the assists. Washington went into the locker room after two periods with a two-goal lead on the road.

There was no let down by the Capitals offense to start the third period. Nicklas Backstrom recorded his second goal of the season on a nice tic-tac toe passing play from line mates Alex Ovechkin and Marcus Johansson. That was one minute and a half into the period, silencing the already quiet Edmonton crowd for the rest of the game. Then with just under seven minutes to go in the third period, Jason Chimera got his second goal of the season with the help of a nice pass from Mikhail Grabovski. Goalie Braden Holtby has seen his save percentage increase over the last few games as he is starting to over come his early season struggles. Last night Holtby was once again dominant, with a 31 save performance, especially in the penalty kill. It is very fortunate for a defense when your best penalty killer is your goalie and Holtby was just that last night. The penalty kill unit for Washington has been outstanding as of late, not allowing a power play goal in the last sixteen opportunities. Special teams have been a strength of this hockey team so far whether it’s the offense on the power play or the defense on the penalty kill. Last night showed the Caps are starting to become a better hockey team then just a one trick pony with their stellar power play. The Caps scored in all sorts of ways in their five on five game: in transition, traffic in front of the net and crisp passing through the slot. It is encouraging that Washington is finding their rhythm on the road and are riding a three game win streak into Calgary. The Caps begin game three of the five game road trip this Saturday in Calgary at 10pm. It will be interesting to see if they can add to this three game win streak and keep gaining momentum.

Comments (0)

Ovechkin, Holtby Help Caps Beat Jets in Shootout

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Ovechkin, Holtby Help Caps Beat Jets in Shootout

Posted on 23 October 2013 by Ed Frankovic

There’s an old saying that “there are no style points in sports.”

That absolutely applied to the Capitals 5-4 shootout victory over the Winnipeg Jets at the MTS Centre on Tuesday night.

Washington played miserably on defense for much of the night, but thanks to some timely goaltending from Braden Holtby (43 saves) and two goals from Alexander Ovechkin (NHL leading 8th & 9th tallies), the Caps grabbed a win on the first tilt of their five game road trip to improve their record to 4-5 overall.

Time after time the Caps gave up odd man rushes to a very fast Winnipeg team but somehow Holtby managed to make the big saves to keep the Caps from falling too far behind. The Jets, once they watch the film on this one, will curse themselves for not scoring more on their numerous opportunities.

Washington struggled with their first three power plays giving up a shorthanded tally and if not for #70, the Jets might have had more. Still, when Washington received a power play in the third period the man advantage finally clicked with Troy Brouwer banging home a goal off of a sweet feed from Nicklas Backstrom to give the Caps a 4-3 lead.

Naturally, on this night, some horrible defensive zone play by the top line and the Mike Green-Nate Schmidt defensive pair, led to the tying tally less than three minutes later. Green would play one more shift in the 3rd period, on a Washington power play, but after that he did not see the ice again, including the overtime session. Oates stated afterwards that the decision to sit #52 was because he was struggling (h/t to Mike Vogel for that info). The question though, is were the struggles due to a physical ailment, because Green has not looked that lethargic or played that poorly in a long time?

Offensively, the Caps did numerous good things and they generated a lot of speed going into the Winnipeg offensive zone. Marcus Johansson (2 assists) and Mikhail Grabovski (1 goal) were really flying for Washington in this one. The Capitals also had some very good fore checking shifts that wore out the Jets defense and forced Winnipeg into some costly turnovers. Rookie Tom Wilson continues to play hard, hit, and wreak havoc when he’s on the ice. Those were some of the positive things that came out of the victory.

Defensively, well, there is a ton of work to do. The Caps are far too guilty of puck watching and not moving their feet in their own zone. You could call it “road cone” defense, if you will. Defense is an effort and attention to detail part of the game. Washington has much work to do in this area, especially when it comes to looking around and finding out where your opponent is going so that you can take away their time and space. Coach Adam Oates has his work cut out for him getting some of these guys to buy in on playing in their own end. If the Capitals want to have a strong regular season and then advance deep into the playoffs, they have to improve their play when they don’t have the puck, particularly in the neutral and defensive zones.

Still, a win is a win and they don’t say how, they just count the two points for a victory during the regular season.

The Caps did not play particularly well, but they did manage to not quit, show some passion and resiliency, and earn a very big win to open up an important early road trip.

Notes: Backstrom, Brouwer, Brooks Laich, and Martin Erat scored in succession in the shootout, which the Caps won, 4-3…Washington was 1 for 5 with the power play while Winnipeg went 0 for 3 (but the Jets did have a SHG)…Oates relied heavily on Karl Alzner and John Carlson as a d-pair in this one, with both playing 26 minutes and change…Green had only 18:13 of ice time, a season low…the Caps lost the faceoff battle, 47-34 and Eric Fehr went 1-6…somehow Evander Kane only had an assist in 28 plus minutes of ice time. #9 had 6 shots on net and was all over the rink. He’s a Capital killer but Holtby denied him in the gimmick right before Erat notched the game winner.

 

Comments (0)

Top 10 Baseball Distractions

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Top 10 Baseball Distractions

Posted on 22 October 2013 by Glenn Clark

Honorable Mention: Soccer-New Zealand @ Team USA Women (Sunday 6:30pm from San Francisco live on ussoccer.com), MLS: Houston Dynamo @ DC United (Sunday 1:30pm from RFK Stadium live on NBC); Golf: PGA Tour CIMB Classic (Wednesday-Saturday 11pm from Kuala Lampur, Malaysia live on Golf Channel), Champions Tour AT&T Championship (Friday-Sunday 3:30pm from San Antonio live on Golf Channel), Sunrise LPGA Taiwan Championship (Thursday-Sunday 12pm from Yang Mei, Taiwan on Golf Channel); Boxing: Bernard Hopkins vs. Karo Murat (Saturday 9pm from Atlantic City live on Showtime)

10. Pearl Jam (Sunday 7:30pm Baltimore Arena); Steve Aoki/Pharrell Williams (Friday 4pm Merriweather Post Pavilion); The Maine/Anberlin (Friday 7:30pm Rams Head Live); Ballyhoo! (Friday 9pm Baltimore Soundstage), Butch Walker (Monday 8pm Baltimore Soundstage); War (Thursday 8pm Rams Head Center Stage); Bone Thugs-N-Harmony (Friday 8pm Fillmore Silver Spring); George Clinton & The P Funk All-Stars (Sunday 8pm Howard Theatre); John Legend (Wednesday 8pm D.A.R. Constitution Hall); Fiona Apple (Friday & Saturday 7pm Lincoln Theatre); The Blind Boys of Alabama (Thursday 7:30pm The Hamilton); Brett Dennen “Smoke & Mirrors” and Big Bad Voodoo Daddy “It Feels Like Christmas Time” available in stores/on iTunes (Tuesday)

Not to say the other things happening this week aren’t nice, but…Pearl Jam is playing in Charm City Sunday night. Here are four PJ songs to get you hyped. The first two come from our “Totally Tubular” official scorekeeper on “The Reality Check”, Bryan Powell.

The next two are from a guy who will only be seeing Pearl Jam for the fourth time in his life Sunday night. Me.

9. Baltimore Beer Week (Tuesday-Sunday events throughout Charm City); Halloween Lantern Parade and Festival (Saturday 3:30pm Creative Alliance); Anthony Jeselnik (Saturday 8pm Modell Performing Arts Center at The Lyric); Jim Gaffigan (Thursday 8pm Cole Field House); Cheech & Chong (Thursday 7pm Lincoln Theatre); Janeane Garofalo (Saturday 8:30pm The Hamilton); Jeff Ross (Sunday 7:30pm Sixth & I Historic Synagogue); Tony Rock (Thursday-Saturday Magooby’s Joke House); The Conjuring“, “The Way, Way Back” and “The Internship” available on Blu-Ray/DVD (Tuesday); Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa” and “The Counselor” out in theaters (Friday)

I’m all in on Beer Week, but if no one brings me any of this (by far and away my favorite Pumpkin Beer), I’ll cancel Beer Week myself.

Oh hey look, here’s a random scene I found from the movie “The Counselor”. TOTALLY AT RANDOM!

(Continued on Page 2…)

Comments (0)

Caps Take Step In Right Direction With Convincing Victory

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Caps Take Step In Right Direction With Convincing Victory

Posted on 14 October 2013 by Ed Frankovic

The Washington Capitals got a much needed 4-2 victory over the Edmonton Oilers on Monday night at the Verizon Center to push their overall record to 2-4. This was a game the Caps had to have to get things turned around in the right direction after three defeats in a row. Alexander Ovechkin notched the game winner scoring his sixth goal of the season and he added his third assist of the young campaign too, which gives him nine points in six contests.

Braden Holtby stopped 28 shots, many of which were key when this tilt was close for the first 30 minutes, and delivered the best goaltending game of the year for Washington. When a team is struggling, like the Caps have been in the early going, you need a goalie to step up and turn in a top notch performance, Holtbeast did just that on Monday night and he was a major reason the Capitals won the game.

The offense rose from the dead in this one against a weak Oilers team as Brooks Laich, Troy Brouwer, and Joel Ward all got their first tallies of the season, with Ward’s and Brouwer’s both coming on the power play. The Caps were 2 for 3 with the man advantage and were also 3 for 3 on the penalty kill. When you win the special teams battle by a +2 margin, you often win the game.

Still there are issues that need to be worked out. Edmonton really carried the play in the first period using their speed to put Washington back on their heels. The Caps seemed a step slow and they also were not moving the puck well at all. Too many passes were going east-west and in players skates. In addition, the Caps were not moving their feet and were caught reaching with their sticks in compromising positions. The Oilers were able to strike first after a neutral zone turnover and some poor coverage by the first line, once again. Down 1-0 and having trailed for most of the season, the Caps were in a sticky spot.

Fortunately, Steve Oleksy was skating well on the ice and paired with Nate Schmidt, they were arguably the best Caps d-pair in this affair. Shortly after Edmonton tallied, Oleksy alertly jumped on an Oiler turnover in the offensive zone and fed Laich for the game tying goal and that play seemed to get the giant piano off of the Capitals back. The team suddenly found their legs and started to exert more pressure on the Oilers defense.

With the Caps skating well in the middle frame, the Oilers got into penalty trouble and Washington sandwiched two man advantage tallies around Ovechkin’s sweet goal in the slot with Nicklas Backstrom screening (3 assists) goalie Jason Labarbera (16 saves). Marcus Johansson had his best shift of the game to help set that one up with some hard work on the boards and earned his 100th NHL career point in the process.

Coach Adam Oates and his team should feel some relief after getting this victory without having to sweat too much at the end. The offense came alive and that seemed to lead to an increased confidence level for Washington. Anyone who has ever played hockey, at any level, but especially in the NHL, will tell you that confidence is the most important part of a team’s game. The Caps seemed to finally get some confidence on the ice on Monday. The passing still needs to be crisper and the players have to realize that keeping their wheels moving is so important to their success. When they go back and watch the tape of this one, that should be evident.

Next up is an important affair against the Rangers at the Verizon Center on Wednesday night at 8 pm on the NBC Sports Network. The Caps need to start winning Eastern Conference games and especially those in their own division at home. They also would like to get some payback for losing to the Rags in the playoffs last spring.

Notes: Shot attempts were 48-45 in favor of Washington…the Caps won the faceoff battle, 28-26…Oates was able to spread the ice time around with the 3 goal third period lead. John Carlson led the team in ice time at 21:35 while Tom Wilson was the lowest at 8:02. Martin Erat had 11:50 and played well…Schmidt was very solid in 19:13 of ice time on the back end. #88 skates well and continues to improve.

 

 

Comments (0)

Top 10 Baseball Distractions

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Top 10 Baseball Distractions

Posted on 08 October 2013 by Glenn Clark

Honorable Mention: Golf-PGA Tour Frys.com Open (Thursday-Sunday 4pm from San Martin, CA live on Golf Channel), Champions Tour SAS Championship (Friday-Sunday 2pm from Cary, NC live on Golf Channel), Sime Darby LPGA Malaysia (Thursday-Saturday 12am Sunday 12:30am from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia live on Golf Channel); Preseason NBA: Brooklyn Nets @ Washington Wizards (Tuesday 7pm Verizon Center); Boxing: Timothy Bradley vs. Juan Manuel Marquez (Saturday 9pm from Las Vegas live on HBO PPV); High School Football: Perry Hall @ Woodlawn (Friday 7pm), Gilman @ Loyola (Saturday 12pm), McDonogh @ St. Frances (Saturday 5:30pm Utz Field Patterson Park)

10. Avenged Sevenfold/Deftones (Tuesday 7:30pm Baltimore Arena); Zac Brown Band (Sunday 6:30pm Jiffy Lube Live); The Wallflowers (Friday 8pm Wolf Trap); Motion City Soundtrack (Wednesday 7pm Rams Head Live); Sick Puppies (Saturday 8pm Baltimore Soundstage); Eddie Money (Thursday 8pm Rams Head on Stage); Lee Brice (Friday 8pm Fillmore Silver Spring), Atlas Genius (Sunday 8pm Fillmore Silver Spring); Mint Condition (Sunday & Monday 8pm Howard Theatre); AFI (Tuesday 6pm 9:30 Club), Soul Asylum/Fountains of Wayne (Wednesday 7pm 9:30 Club), Ra Ra Riot (Friday 8pm 9:30 Club), They Might Be Giants (Saturday 8pm 9:30 Club); Buddy Guy (Tuesday 7:30pm Birchmere), The Gourds (Friday 7:30pm Birchmere); NEEDTOBREATHE (Wednesday 6:30pm U Street Music Hall); Doobie Brothers (Saturday 8:30pm Modell Performing Arts Center at The Lyric); Hanni El Khatib (Sunday 8pm Rock N Roll Hotel); Tim Reynolds (Monday 7:30pm The Hamilton); Janelle Monae (Monday 7pm Lincoln Theatre); Stone Temple Pilots with Chester Bennington “High Rise”, Cage The Elephant “Melophobia”, Alter Bridge “Fortress”, Korn “Paradigm Shift” and Panic! at the Disco “Too Weird to Live, Too Rare to Die!” available in stores/on iTunes (Tuesday)

If someone wants to offer me a late invite to see ZBB Sunday night, the answer will not be “no”.

Oh man, I totally feel like Forrester should have asked me to go see Ra Ra Riot Friday night by now. I get stoked.

I assume that like me, the rest of you put this Doobie Brothers video on at least once a month while sipping a ginger ale on a coach in your tank top and boxers. Right?

Chester Bennington is not Scott Weiland. I want this thing to be okay, but we all know it isn’t.

9. United States Sailboat Show (Thursday-Sunday Annapolis City Dock); The Gathering: Food Truck Rally (Friday 5pm Baltimore Museum of Industry); Maryland Renaissance Festival (Saturday & Sunday RennFest Fairgrounds); Robert Kelly (Friday & Saturday Magooby’s Joke House); Captain Phillips” and “Machete Kills” out in theaters (Friday); The Hangover Part III“, “After Earth” and “The Purge” available on Blu-Ray/DVD (Tuesday)

Sofia Vergara. Boob guns. Danny Trejo. America.

Also, I have no doubt that Captain Phillips is amazing. But there is no way it is greater than this Tom Hanks classic, or as we all know it-the greatest motion picture of all time. (Minor NSFW language.)

By the way, Brian Baldinger was great in “Catch Me If You Can”.

(Continued on Page 2…)

Comments (0)

Turnovers Doom Caps in Chicago

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Turnovers Doom Caps in Chicago

Posted on 01 October 2013 by Ed Frankovic

It’s only one game, but a pattern seen in the Washington Capitals pre season continued again in the season opener in Chicago on Tuesday night: turnovers. The Caps did a lot of good things in a contest against a super Blackhawks team, including scoring three power play goals, but they were just too careless with the puck on too many occasions and it cost them at least a point in the Windy City.

Washington took a 4-3 lead early in the third period after two Mikhail Grabovski deflections (#84 had a hat trick plus an assist), but then a Connor Carrick offensive zone miscue led to the tying goal before another turnover in the defensive corner by the Caps allowed Johnny Oduya to score a deflected goal off of Braden Holtby’s glove. It was one #70 would like back and it was tough to see that one cost Washington the game after Holtby made several ten bell saves in period two to keep his club in it.

One thing is for sure, this Capitals team is going to be exciting to watch. Grabovski was all over the ice and his addition seems to mitigate the loss of center Mike Ribeiro to free agency. The Caps have several lines that can score and there were stretches where Washington tilted the ice in their favor. The power play, run by coach Adam Oates and Blaine Forsythe, was great up until late in the game when the Caps had a 5 on 3 but couldn’t convert. Grabovski played below the goal line on the first unit and he really helped open things up for the others. 

But the theme of the game, and what led to a 0 point night, was Washington’s struggles in their own zone. The Caps positioning was bad and they repeatedly failed with their clears. Carrick and Jack Hillen had a rough night as the 3rd defensive pair but several others on the back end gave the puck away too much. Eric Fehr did some nice things at center, but he had his struggles positioning wise when it came to playing defense. The good news is that can be corrected with more reps for #16 at the pivot. The team turnovers are correctable too, but as stated in Sunday night’s blog, the defense is a little shaky and is the weakness on this hockey team right now.

You can bet that Oates and company will adjust going forward. Also keep in mind that Washington won’t be playing the defending Stanley Cup Champions every night. Chicago has a great hockey team and the Caps were in position to win in the third period. That’s encouraging, but there is lots of work to be done for the Capitals to get where they want to be. The offense looks really good, but you have to be able to play in your own end. It will be a work in progress on the back end.

Notes: Alex Ovechkin had 9 shots on net and netted a goal and an assist…rookie Tom Wilson only played 6:40 against a very quick Hawks club…Chicago was 1 for 4 on the power play but their first tally was just seconds after Fehr’s minor expired. The Caps were hoping to improve their PK this season but it got off to a rough start…Washington lost the faceoff battle 31-29 but they did win several in a row late when they had the five on three advantage (Backstrom won most of them)…the final score was 6-4. Marian Hossa was awarded a goal late when he was ruled to be tripped en route to the empty cage…the Capitals open their season at the Verizon Center on Thursday at 7 pm against the Calgary Flames.

PROGRAMMING NOTE: I will be on with Drew Forrester on The Morning Reaction at 7:25 am on Wednesday. Listen Live at WNST.NET

 

Comments (0)