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Top 10 Baseball Distractions

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Top 10 Baseball Distractions

Posted on 20 March 2012 by Glenn Clark

Honorable Mention: Soccer-Cuba @ US Under-23 Men (Thursday 9pm from Nashville live on Universal Sports Network), Canada @ US Under-23 Men (Saturday 9pm from Nashville live on Universal Sports), El Salvador @ US Under-23 Men (Monday 9pm from Nashville live on Universal Sports), MLS-DC United @ Vancouver Whitecaps (Saturday 10pm from Vancouver live on Comcast SportsNet); Tennis: ATP Tour WTA Tour Sony Ericsson Open (Saturday-Monday 11am from Miami live on Tennis Channel); Boxing: Friday Night Fights-Antwone Smith vs. Roberto Garcia (Friday 9pm from Pharr, TX live on ESPN2), ShoBox-Diego Magdaleno vs. Eduardo Lazcano (Friday 11pm from Tucson, AZ live on Showtime), Erik Morales vs. Danny Garcia (Saturday 10pm from Houston live on HBO), Zab Judah vs. Vernon Paris (Saturday 10pm from New York live on NBC Sports Network); Mixed Martial Arts: Bellator Fighting Championships 62 (Friday 8pm from Laredo, TX live on MTV2)

10. The Head And The Heart (Tuesday 7pm Rams Head Live), Crack The Sky (Saturday 8pm Rams Head Live); Adema (Wednesday 7pm Recher Theatre); Psychedelic Furs (Tuesday 8pm Rams Head on Stage), Phil Vassar (Wednesday 6pm & 9pm Rams Head on Stage); Gotye (Thursday 7pm 9:30 Club), Fatboy Slim (Friday 9pm 9:30 Club), The Joy Formidable (Monday 7pm 9:30 Club); Fiona Apple (Wednesday 9pm Sixth & I Historic Synagogue); Kevin Eubanks (Thursday-Sunday Blues Alley); Angelique Kidjo (Saturday 8pm Lisner Auditorium); ShamrockFest feat. Dropkick Murphys, Gavin Degraw, Carbon Leaf (Saturday RFK Stadium); The Shins “Port of Morrow” available in stores/on iTunes (Tuesday)

Here’s a truth. The Head and The Heart had one of the ABSOLUTE best songs of 2011…

Gotye is the band whose name you have NO IDEA how to pronounce but you just can’t get out of your head…

Fiona Apple once did a video in her underwear. It was awkward because 14 year old Glenn was both aroused and terribly disturbed…

I saw The Shins on Saturday Night Live a few weeks ago. I wasn’t sure I was into them. I’m into them.

9. Ralphie May (Friday 8pm Lisner Auditorium); Bret Ernst (Thursday-Saturday Baltimore Comedy Factory); Pablo Francisco (Thursday-Sunday DC Improv); “The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo” & “The Muppets” available on Blu-Ray/DVD (Tuesday); “The Hunger Games” opens in theaters (Friday); Beer, Bourbon & BBQ (Friday & Saturday Timonium Fairgrounds)

I will be at BBBBQ Saturday morning with my “Reality Check Players” partner John Collingsworth. If you intended to do something with me at some point during the day Saturday understand…well…just be prepared for anything.

I’ll be giving away a pair of tickets to Friday night on Tuesday and Wednesday on “The Reality Check.” Not sure if Beer, Bourbon & BBQ is an event for you? I have a simple question. Does this look like something you’d enjoy?

What about this?

See you this weekend.

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Ovechkin Steps Up in Motown

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Ovechkin Steps Up in Motown

Posted on 19 March 2012 by Ed Frankovic

Just when the Washington Capitals appeared to be in big trouble in the race for the playoffs, their star players finally put together a huge effort as the Caps went into Motown and stunned the Detroit Red Wings, 5-3, behind 30 saves from Braden Holtby. This Wings team set an NHL record for consecutive home victories this season (23 games) and they’d only lost on home ice in regulation four times in 2011-12.

But Alexander Ovechkin (two goals) and company had no need for history on this night and a huge first period, one in which the Caps outscored Detroit 3-0, resulted in one of the biggest victories of the season for Washington. The win keeps them in eighth place, just two points ahead of a streaking Buffalo Sabres team and four points ahead of 10th place Winnipeg. The Caps also pull within three points of the Southeast Divison leading Florida Panthers, who are in Philadelphia tomorrow night to take on the Flyers. It is hard to believe, but Capitals fans will be cheering for Danny Briere, Jaromir Jagr, and company on Tuesday night.

After a terrible first period in Chicago on Sunday night, this Capitals team looked totally different in Detroit. Washington came out skating and they drew a couple of early penalties. Ovechkin scored twice with the man advantage by moving into prime scoring position. On the first tally, Marcus Johansson gave him a sweet feed in the slot and the Gr8 went upper left top shelf. Mike Knuble then scored following a great breakout pass from Mike Green that led to some sweet passing between Mathieu Perreault and Jason Chimera before Papa Knoobs buried the biscuit setting the stage for Ovie’s 32nd goal of the season. Ovechkin fired the puck from the top of the slot but he alertly, like a basketball player, followed up his shot and went to the net for the rebound. Brooks Laich kept it alive and the Gr8 banged home the puck to give the Caps a huge early cushion.

From there it was hang onto to your seats as the inevitable Wings full court press was due to come. In the second frame they cut it to 3-1 but then Keith Aucoin buried one in front after some super work by Alexander Semin and Roman Hamrlik on the boards. When Todd Bertuzzi made it 4-2 just 36 seconds in to period three, the Wings assault ramped up even more. Dan Cleary scored after a Knuble giveaway with just over seven minutes left but Holtby closed the door and Chimera hit the empty net for the final marker.

It was an impressive victory and many players turned in solid efforts. The Caps need Ovechkin to carry them down the stretch and he did it on this night. Laich, after a subpar outing in Chicago, was excellent as 1st line center and when the Gr8 has someone playing well at the pivot position for him he can be lethal. Semin had two assists and put in his best game in weeks while Green finally looked totally comfortable on the ice. He was making great breakout passes, ended up with an assist, and was +2 in 22:52. All four of those guys, Ovechkin, Laich, Semin, and Green have to be good in the last nine games for the Capitals to make the playoffs.

Holtby got the call with Tomas Vokoun nursing a creaky groin and Michal Neuvirth having played the night before. #70 had the tough task of going against a team that creates traffic in front of the opposing goaltender better than any other club in the NHL, so kudos to Braden for staying strong in his crease and playing a big role in the Caps win. Goaltending is ultra important in hockey and Holtby delivered that on Monday night.

So the Caps come home late tonight to their own beds but will practice at least once at Kettler IcePlex before going to Philadelphia for a date with the Flyers on Thursday night. This five game road trip, that looked to possibly be a disaster after Sunday’s blowout in the Windy City, is now 2-2. They have a chance to make it a huge success on Broad Street on Thursday, but Philly is playing well, so a victory there won’t be easy.

But for tonight, the Capitals did the improbable, knocking off one of the best teams in the NHL in their own building. Good things happen when you crash the net and the Capitals stars delivered on a night when they were sorely needed.

Notes: The Caps defensive pair of Jeff Schultz and John Carlson were on the ice for all three Detroit goals. #55 did not play well while Hamrlik (+2) did, so we’ll probably see Dmitry Orlov back in for Sarge on Thursday in Philly…Chimera’s empty net goal came on the power play so Washington was 3 for 4 on the evening while the Wings went 1 for 3…Joel Ward was scratched and Jeff Halpern returned to the lineup. Halpern was 3-2 on face-offs but the Wings won 32 of the 56 total draws.

 

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Top 10 Baseball Distractions

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Top 10 Baseball Distractions

Posted on 06 March 2012 by Glenn Clark

Honorable Mention: Boxing-Orlando Salido vs. Juan Manuel Lopez (Saturday 10pm from San Juan, Puerto Rico live on Showtime); Mixed Martial Arts: Bellator Fighting Championships 60 (Friday 8pm from Hammond, IN live on MTV2); Soccer: MISL Eastern Division Final-Rochester Lancers @ Baltimore Blast (Saturday 7:35pm 1st Mariner Arena, Leg 2 Monday 7pm in Rochester); Tennis: ATP Tour/WTA Tour BNP Paribas Open (Saturday-Monday 2pm from Indian Wells, CA live on Tennis Channel); Charm City Roller Girls (Saturday 5:30pm Du Burns Arena)

10. Black Keys/Arctic Monkeys (Friday 8pm Verizon Center); Boyce Avenue (Wednesday 6:30pm Rams Head Live), Pat Green (Friday 8pm Rams Head Live), moe. (Saturday 8pm Rams Head Live), Orgy (Sunday 6:30pm Rams Head Live); Cris Jacobs Band (Friday 8pm 8×10 Club), Stephen Kellogg and the Sixers (Saturday 8pm 8×10 Club); Kindred the Family Soul (Friday 7:30pm Baltimore Soundstage); Playing for Change Band (Wednesday 8pm Rams Head on Stage); Mutemath (Saturday 7pm 9:30 Club), Young The Giant/Grouplove (Sunday 7pm 9:30 Club); Experience Hendrix feat. Buddy Guy, Jonny Lang, Kenny Wayne Shepherd (Tuesday 8pm Strathmore); Travis Tritt (Tuesday 7:30pm Birchmere); North Mississippi All-Stars (Saturday 9pm State Theatre); Bruce Springsteen “Wrecking Ball” available in stores/on iTunes (Tuesday)

The Black Keys sold out the Verizon Center. That’s amazing. I’ll most look forward to the part where the place that usually houses smelly Caps fans turns into one large Phoenix Coyotes rally…

Boyce Avenue is not an act I should ever voluntarily admit to enjoying. I should ABSOLUTELY never admit to enjoying their cover of Rihanna’s “Umbrella”…

The PFC band is fantastic. You’ll probably remember this…

Young The Giant authored perhaps the single most underrated song of 2011…

9. Bill Bellamy (Thursday-Saturday Baltimore Comedy Factory); Kevin Pollak (Thursday-Saturday Magooby’s Joke House); Todd Glass (Thursday-Sunday DC Improv); Baltimore St. Patrick’s Day Parade/Shamrock 5K (Sunday 1:15pm Inner Harbor/Downtown Baltimore); “Friends With Kids” opens in theaters (Friday)

One-I love a good St. Patty’s Day throw down a week before the 17th. In honor of that, I think I’ll make a stop at the Tilted Kilt in White Marsh after the parade…

Note: I’m aware that’s a Scotish thing. It’s late. I’m tired.

Note 2: Does it really matter anyway?

And since we’re here, I actually think “Friends With Kids” has a bit of a “watchable chick flick” feel. It also has Jon Hamm. As in THIS Jon Hamm…

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Lost Weekend for Caps

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Lost Weekend for Caps

Posted on 04 March 2012 by Ed Frankovic

Heading into the weekend the Washington Capitals were riding a three game winning streak after victories over the Canadiens, Leafs, and Islanders. On the docket were the New Jersey Devils and Philadelphia Flyers, two clubs fairly firmly entrenched in the top eight of the Eastern Conference. With both games at home, a place where the Caps have a good record, these tilts seemed to be a prime indicator of whether or not Washington could move up the standings to make a strong push for a playoff position.

With the results now in, it is apparent the Capitals are in big trouble after 5-0 and 1-0 defeats at the Verizon Center. Washington is now in 9th place, just a point behind Winnipeg and the Caps have a game in hand, but when you don’t score you can’t win. In addition, Tampa Bay has caught fire and now trail the Caps by just a point. Buffalo is also a single point behind and the Leafs and Islanders are two and four, respectively. To quote an old Far Side cartoon, “WARNING: OBJECTS IN MIRROR ARE CLOSER THAN THEY APPEAR.”

With Steven Stamkos pouring in the goals (now at 47 and counting) and the Caps struggling to score, it is pretty apparent that with each passing game this club is getting closer to golfing come April 9th. It has been well chronicled here in this blog that the Capitals have big problems up the middle of the ice that have been magnified by the injury to Nicklas Backstrom. On Friday against New Jersey that could not have been more evident as smaller forwards Mathieu Perreault, Marcus Johansson, and Keith Aucoin made gaffes that led to Devils tallies. When Dale Hunter is forced to play numbers 85 and 90 for 35 plus minutes a game there is little margin for error for the Caps to get a victory. Both are smaller centers and no NHL defensemen is going to be afraid of being hit by them when they are moving the puck out of their own end. Thus the Caps receive fewer o-zone turnovers and have to work harder to get the puck back when those guys are on the ice. In addition, their size makes it difficult for them in defensive zone coverage. Johansson and Perreault have roles, but the ones they are being asked to fill now are simply too much for their abilities.

On Sunday night, Johansson’s man tipped the puck home for the only tally, although in fairness to number 90, Alexander Ovechkin lolligagged it out to the point allowing Pavel Kubina to find Eric Wellwood in front for the re-direct. The Gr8 would pay for that lack of effort and sit most of the remainder of the second period. In the third period he appeared to take Hunter’s message in the right way and was a force. Unfortunately when he has no true offensive center it is easy for the defense to cover him and he was blanked along with his teammates. Ovechkin did have several quality chances in that final frame, but he needs to play like that every shift from here on out if Washington wants to make the post season.

Michal Neuvirth, who might not have started had Tomas Vokoun been healthy (day to day), was excellent in goal and the Wellwood tally couldn’t be hung on him. But the margin of error for the Caps is so small right now so Neuvy gets another loss when he deserved better.

There is no way around this right now, the Caps are a flawed team and that is made worse with Nicklas Backstrom out. Too much is being asked of Johansson and Perreault due to the lack of depth at center. What makes things even worse is that Ovechkin has been unable to regain his dominant form from the pre 2010 Olympic break. The Gr8 has not been so great and the Capitals need him to be to make the playoffs. He needs to do whatever he can to change things on and off the ice so that when he plays these last 17 games he is highly effective. Great players find ways to adjust their game and get better. Larry Bird used to talk about developing a new move every offseason because he knew teams would adjust to what he was doing previously. Defenses have figured out how to slow Ovechkin down. Some of that is on the personnel around him, but most of it falls squarely on #8. He needs to reach down deep and do whatever he can to change things down the stretch, otherwise he is going to hear criticism like he’s never heard before, and many of it coming from the local area for perhaps the first time in his career.

Notes: Despite Sunday’s loss Jay Beagle, Alexander Semin, Mike Green, Karl Alzner, Dmitry Orlov, Jason Chimera, Mike Knuble, and John Carlson played their rears off but the team just can’t finish right now…Ilya Bryzgalov made 34 saves for the Flyers in the Sunday shutout….the Caps play Carolina on Tuesday and Tampa on Thursday at the Verizon Center. Pretty safe to say they need to win both games otherwise you can cue up ”Trouble” by Lindsey Buckingham.

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Top 10 Baseball Distractions

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Top 10 Baseball Distractions

Posted on 28 February 2012 by Glenn Clark

Honorable Mention: Golf-PGA Tour Honda Classic (Thursday & Friday 3pm live on Golf Channel, Saturday & Sunday 3pm live on NBC); Boxing-Friday Night Fights: Joan Guzman vs. Cosme Rivera (Friday 9pm from Hollywood, FL live on ESPN2); Women’s College Basketball: ACC Tournament-Maryland vs. Virginia/Boston College (Friday 8pm from Greensboro, NC live on Comcast SportsNet PLUS); Tennis: ATP Tour Delray Beach International Tennis Championships (Final Sunday 3pm from Delray Beach, FL live on Tennis Channel), ATP Tour Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships (Tuesday-Thursday 7am, Friday & Saturday 8am from Dubai, UAE live on Tennis Channel); High School Basketball: MPSSAA Playoffs-Games include Springbrook vs. Mervo, Paint Branch vs. Kenwood, Westminster vs. Blake, Sherwood vs. Southwestern, Glen Burnie vs. Meade, Leonardtown vs. North Point, North County vs. Old Mill, Arundel vs. Chesapeake (Anne Arundel), Milford Mill vs. Aberdeen, C. Milton Wright vs. Woodlawn, City vs. Digital Harbor, Franklin vs. Patterson, Centennial vs. Howard, Stephen Decatur vs. Atholton, Annapolis vs. J.M. Bennett, Reservoir vs. Wilde Lake, Lake Clifton vs. Chesapeake (Baltimore County), Dundalk vs. Owings Mills, Randallstown vs. Douglass, Loch Raven vs. Edmondson Westside, Patterson Mill vs. Harford Tech, Elkton vs. Edgewood, Perryville vs. New Town, Bohemia Manor vs. Sparrows Point, Havre de Grace vs. Overlea, Western STES vs. Pikesville (Games Thursday-Sunday)

10. Brad Paisley (Thursday 7:30pm 1st Mariner Arena); Boyz II Men (Friday 7pm Rams Head Live), Chevelle/Middle Class Rut (Monday 6:30pm Rams Head Live); Fun. (Friday 7pm Recher Theatre); O.A.R. (Tuesday-Friday 9:30 Club); Chiddy Bang (Tuesday 8pm U Street Music Hall); Lauryn Hill (Wednesday 8pm Warner Theatre); Young Jeezy (Saturday 8pm Fillmore Silver Spring); Carolina Chocolate Drops “Leaving Eden” available in stores/on iTunes (Tuesday)

You probably don’t know how much I enjoy Chevelle. It’s fine, I’m not mad. But someone will have to accept the responsibility of passing along a few tickets my way. I don’t care which one of you takes the responsibility, just make sure it gets done.

I’m doing the Tuesday night gig from Jerry DePizzo and the boys in DC. Unlike Chevelle, you all know EXACTLY how much I love the guys from Of A Revolution…

Lauryn Hill is one of the greatest musicians in the history of the planet. This dates back to her days at St. Francis School in California…

Not familiar with Carolina Chocolate Drops? Probably about time for you to take a few minutes…

9. Tim Meadows (Friday & Saturday Baltimore Comedy Factory); Donnell Rawlings (Thursday-Saturday Magooby’s Joke House); John Oliver (Friday & Saturday DC Improv); “Hugo” available on Blu-Ray/DVD (Tuesday)

Here’s the thing. I don’t always think every comedian that comes to the area is very funny. That’s not the case with the group hitting the Mid-Atlantic this weekend. They’re all freaking funny.

“Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story” wasn’t very funny, but Tim Meadows was pretty funny in “Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story” (Language Semi-NSFW)…

You may remember Donnell Rawlings better as “Ashy Larry” from Chapelle’s Show. (Language definitely NSFW)…

John Oliver is just freaking brilliant…

I wish I had more time to watch The Daily Show.

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Top 10 Baseball Distractions

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Top 10 Baseball Distractions

Posted on 07 February 2012 by Glenn Clark

Honorable Mention: Women’s College Basketball-Miami @ Maryland (Sunday 2:30pm from Comcast Center live on ESPN2); High School Basketball: Dulaney @ Perry Hall (Wednesday 6:30pm), Towson @ Perry Hall (Friday 7pm); Baltimore Ravens Regional Scouting Combine (Saturday 1 Winning Drive Owings Mills)

10. Anthrax/Testament (Tuesday 7pm Rams Head Live), Black Stone Cherry/Cavo (Thursday 6:30pm Rams Head Live), Umphrey’s McGee (Sunday 7pm Rams Head Live); Wayne Static (Wednesday 6pm Recher Theatre); Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe Presents the Rolling Stones’ album Sticky Fingers in it’s entirety (Friday 8pm Baltimore Soundstage); George Clinton & Parliament Funkadelic (Tuesday 7pm 9:30 Club), The Darkness (Wednesday 7pm 9:30 Club), Jack’s Mannequin (Friday & Saturday 6:30pm 9:30 Club); Eric Benet (Tuesday & Wednesday 7:30pm Birchmere); The Fray “Scars and Stories” and Van Halen “A Different Kind of Truth” available in stores/on iTunes (Tuesday)

I probably enjoy Cavo a little bit more than I’m willing to admit publicly…

I both enjoy Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe…

AND I enjoy the Rolling Stones’ album Sticky Fingers. So I’ve got that going for me…

I really don’t care…at all…what you think. The new song by The Fray is freaking awesome.

9. Mike Epps (Friday 7:30pm & 10pm D.A.R. Constitution Hall); Nick Cannon (Thursday-Sunday Baltimore Comedy Factory), Alonzo Bodden (Monday 8pm Baltimore Comedy Factory); “Safe House” opens in theaters (Friday); “A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas” available on DVD/Blu-Ray (Tuesday); Wanda Sykes (Friday 8pm Strathmore); Motor Trend International Auto Show (Thursday-Sunday Baltimore Convention Center); Sex at the Zoo (Thursday 6pm Maryland Zoo in Baltimore); Wishful Drinking feat. Carrie Fisher (Tuesday-Sunday France Merrick Performing Arts Center-Hippodrome)

This is a bizarre combination of events for sure. Me personally, I’d watch Denzel Washington act his way out of a cardboard box, so I’m excited for Safe House.  Of course, there’s no way humanly possible it’s as good as Training Day (language NSFW)…

I don’t know if Eli Manning would be willing to donate his new car to the event at the Convention Center this weekend, but I’d certainly appreciate the opportunity to drool over the Chevrolet Corvette Grand Sport Centennial Edition…

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Caps Hard Work Leads to Surprising Win Over Defending Champs

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Caps Hard Work Leads to Surprising Win Over Defending Champs

Posted on 25 January 2012 by Ed Frankovic

When prognosticating Tuesday night’s Boston-Washington hockey game on paper beforehand, this looked like an easy win for the Bruins. The B’s have been one of the hottest teams in the league the last two plus months while the Capitals have been struggling to score goals. With Alexander Ovechkin out due to suspension and Nicklas Backstrom missing his 10th game because of a concussion, surely the highest scoring team in the NHL would have an easy night against the Caps, right?

Well to quote the Sundance Kid, “You figured wrong, Butch!”

The Caps came to play on Tuesday night and displayed as much effort and energy as they have all season. They battled a much bigger Boston club and in the end, the Bruins were done in by Washington’s little guys. Mathieu Perreault played the “Little Engine That Could” on this night notching his first career hat trick, including the game winner in the third period, and Cody Eakin chipped in a goal that Tuukka Rask should’ve had as the Capitals were victorious, 5-3, to improve their record to 26-19-3 and reclaim first place in the Southeast Division as a result of Florida’s 3-2 loss to the Flyers in the shootout.

There was a lot to like about this game despite the fact that the Bruins outshot the Caps, 32-23, and attempted 73 shots to just 50 for Washington. Despite the attempt imbalance, the Capitals had lots of scoring chances primarily because they seemed to develop a consistent offense to defense flow for the first time in awhile since Backstrom’s injury. The passing, after a shaky first several minutes, was much crisper and the Caps were coming through the neutral zone with some speed. The Capitals still have issues up the middle of the ice, but for the last two tilts, Perreault has really stepped up and filled a gaping hole in the pivot position by using his excellent offensive skill. You will still get the occassional MP85 defensive zone poor coverage or penalty (his trip in the second period led to the Bruins third goal on the power play) but at this point coach Dale Hunter needs to continue to take that risk because you can’t win without scoring goals. Plus, Perreault seems to have some nice chemistry with Alexander Semin (1 assist) and we saw glimpses of that in the first half of last season (before Perreault broke his nose in Carolina).

On the backend, the Caps still have some cleaning up to do. The first Bruins goal may be considered lucky to some since it went in off of Karl Alzner’s own stick but there were four big mistakes in Washington’s end before King Karl put a wicked backhander past Tomas Vokoun (29 saves). First, Dennis Wideman throws the puck up the right wing boards without checking on the position of his winger (Semin). Second, #28 gets beat to the puck by Bruins d-man Dennis Seidenberg, third, Wideman then loses Rich Peverley coming off of the boards giving Boston a two on one down low, and finally, Alzner goes to the ice to try and cut off the pass but he does it too quickly and that allows Peverley to slide the puck behind #27, who in a last ditch effort to breakup the centering feed, swings his stick around and puts the biscuit in his own net. I am a big proponent of defenders NOT leaving their feet in their own zone because, like in basketball, you give the offensive player a huge advantage. Alzner should’ve stayed on his skates there.

In addition, the Bruins second goal came on a terrible cross ice attempt by John Carlson. Sophomore Tyler Seguin picked that one off and went in easily to beat Vokoun upstairs. Carlson has been making far too many giveaways lately and needs to be more responsible on his breakouts.

Vokoun once again turned in a solid performance in goal. He is in a groove right now and that is primarily coming from the fact that the Capitals, under Hunter, have drastically cut down the number of odd man rushes they allow. In addition, #29 is in better position to stop the puck because he has a very good idea where the opposing shots are coming from. Both of those things correlate directly to a higher save percentage.

At the end of the night, Hunter’s squad overcame their defensive zone mistakes because they played with energy, effort, and passion. The Bruins are a bigger team but Washington actually out hit them, 30-16. It was a victory that many could not see coming but one thing about this Caps club is they very often seem to be able to elevate their game against the league’s elite. Perhaps Boston was a bit distracted by their Conn Smythe winning goalie, Tim Thomas, and his decision to bail on the President and the White House yesterday? Maybe. But once the puck is dropped those type of things kind of disappear, so credit Washington for a hard working win that gives them the ability to take the week off sitting in first place in their division.

Notes: Ovechkin announced today that he will indeed skip the All Star Game this weekend in Ottawa due to his suspension…Marcus Johansson returned to the lineup after his illness but only played 12:28. He did have an assist and was +2 playing left wing with Perreault and Semin…Jeff Halpern was 11-4 on faceoffs, including a big win with 30 seconds left that directly led to Wideman’s lengthy empty net goal that made it 5-3…John Erskine, Joel Ward, and Jay Beagle all played under 10 minutes. Ward needs to show that he is worth the $3M a season General Manager George McPhee shelled out for him over these last 34 games and then the playoffs. Right now he is not skating well and as a result won’t see the ice much in Hunter’s system that relies heavily on speed and skating ability…the Caps return to practice next Monday at 2pm before departing for the Sunshine State. They play in Tampa on Tuesday and then face the Panthers on Wednesday night…speaking of Florida, congratulations to former Caps radio play by play man Steve Kolbe for landing a new gig with the Jacksonville Suns calling AA baseball. I spoke with the Baltimore native and Mount St. Joes grad last Thursday night and he was excited to be back in broadcasting after his 14 year run ended with the Caps this past offseason.

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Top 10 Baseball Distractions

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Top 10 Baseball Distractions

Posted on 27 December 2011 by Glenn Clark

Honorable Mention: Women’s College Basketball-Terrapin Classic Lafayette @ Maryland (Wednesday 12pm Comcast Center), Delaware/ECU @ Maryland (Thursday 7pm Comcast Center); Boxing: Jermain Taylor vs. Jessie Nicklow (Friday 11pm from Cabazon, CA live on Showtime); High School Basketball: Gilman Bristow Tournament feat. Gilman, Mt. Carmel, Coppin Academy (Tuesday & Wednesday Gilman School)

10. Dark Star Orchestra (Wednesday 7pm Rams Head Live), Halestorm (Thursday 6:30pm Rams Head Live), Child’s Play (Friday 7pm Rams Head Live); Rusted Root (Friday 8pm Recher Theatre); SOJA (Saturday 8pm Baltimore Soundstage); Stephen Kellogg & The Sixers (Tuesday 8pm Rams Head on Stage); Matisyahu (Wednesday 7pm 9:30 Club), Drive-By Truckers (Thursday-Saturday 9:30 Club); Charlie Wilson/Melanie Fiona (Thursday 8pm Modell Performing Arts Center-Lyric Opera House); The Roots (Thursday & Friday 8pm Fillmore Silver Spring), Little Feat (Saturday 8pm Fillmore Silver Spring), Wale (Sunday 8pm Fillmore Silver Spring); The Wailers (Thursday 7pm State Theatre); Downtown Countdown feat. Carbon Leaf (Saturday 9pm Hyatt Regency); Downtown Countdown DC feat. Third Eye Blind/Dirty Heads (Saturday 9pm Washington Hilton)

I saw SOJA open for O.A.R. at Merriweather Post Pavilion this summer. Not only did I sense I would enjoy their music, I also sensed there was no possible way these guys ever used any marijuana…

You might have missed it at the end of the year, but The Roots’ “Undun” was one of the best records of the last 12 months…

This is the part of T10BD where we listen to Little Feat play “Fat Man in the Bathtub”…

Look, if I WASN’T an obsessed 3eb fan, I’d tell you that.

9. Baltimore’s New Year’s Eve Spectacular (Saturday 9pm Inner Harbor); Jeff Dunham (Wednesday 7:30pm 1st Mariner Arena); Archer Season 2 available on DVD (Tuesday); Tournament of Roses Parade (Monday 11am from Pasadena, CA live on ABC)

Just for the record, my services are available for NYE at the moment. I have no current commitments.

What services can I offer on NYE? I guess you could say I’m a bit like the moose from Family Guy…

(Continued on Page 2)

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Goaltending Still a Major Problem for Caps

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Goaltending Still a Major Problem for Caps

Posted on 13 December 2011 by Ed Frankovic

Death and taxes are two guarantees in life, but if I could choose a third one, it would be that you will have a very had time winning hockey games with poor goaltending. On Tuesday night at the Verizon Center an inconsistent Tomas Vokoun turned in another clunker and as a result the Washington Capitals were soundly beaten by the Philadelphia Flyers, 5-1.

Washington came into this contest fresh off of three days rest ready to see how their new system would match up against a team that had won seven of eight games and five straight overall. The Caps carried much of the play for the first 15 minutes or so and had the nights first two power plays. But Ilya Bryzgalov (31 saves) was extremely solid for the Flyers in net to keep his banged up road club in it and when Vokoun misplayed a Scott Hartnell shot that was slowed by Caps d-man Dennis Wideman, suddenly Philadelphia had a goal and new life.

Anyone who has followed hockey closely or played the game knows how deflating it can be to work your rear off and dominate a team only to look up and see themselves down on the scoreboard due to the guy in net. The crew that was carrying the play loses confidence and the other squad gains energy. The Flyers were a different team after that Hartnell tally and started dominating late in the opening stanza and then into the middle frame. They then scored again on a deflected point shot at the 7:23 mark and the Capitals just didn’t recover. Vokoun would yield another soft goal along with an additional deflection tally before giving way to Michal Neuvirth for the third period.

Some will call the Caps mentally weak for letting poor goaltending impact their play in this one, however, when your goalies continually give up a weak goal or multiple soft ones game after game, it drains the energy and confidence of the team. This is what is going on with the Capitals right now. Their goalies simply aren’t making the big stop when they need them on a consistent basis. It is an issue that must be addressed and Coach Dale Hunter needs to have one of Vokoun or Neuvirth take charge in goal otherwise it might be time to give Braden Holtby a shot with the big club again.

Washington had other problems on Tuesday night, they didn’t get enough traffic on Bryzgalov early on to rattle him and as a result the Russian goalie got into a groove. In addition, some of the Capitals younger small forwards, namely Cody Eakin, Marcus Johansson, and Mathieu Perreault, had trouble in their own zone with the more physically mature Flyers in the middle frame and that added to the Flyers sustained offensive pressure, that eventaully led to three goals. It might be time for Eakin to be sent down to Hershey to properly develop because he just doesn’t look ready for the NHL grind at this stage of his career.

Still, at the end of the night, this game came down to goaltending. It is very difficult to win when your netminders aren’t playing well and Vokoun was downright terrible to continue a disturbring trend for GM George McPhee’s club.

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Notes: The Caps next two games are on the road. They are in Winnipeg on Thursday and Colorado on Saturday…Jeff Halpern had the only Washington goal in the third period after it was 5-0…Alexander Semin had five hits to lead the Caps in that department…Washington’s power play went 0 for 3.

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Top 10 Baseball Distractions

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Top 10 Baseball Distractions

Posted on 18 October 2011 by Glenn Clark

Honorable Mention: Boxing-Nonito Donaire vs. Omar Narvaez (Saturday 10:30pm from New York live on HBO); Soccer: MLS-Portland Timbers @ DC United (Wednesday 8pm from RFK Stadium live on Comcast SportsNet), Sporting Kansas City @ DC United (Saturday 7:30pm from RFK Stadium live on Comcast SportsNet PLUS); College Soccer: Penn State @ UMBC (Wednesday 7pm Retriever Soccer Park); Mixed Martial Arts: Bellator Fighting Championships 55 (Saturday 9pm from Yuma, AZ live on MTV2); High School Football: Perry Hall @ Woodlawn (Friday 7pm), Dunbar @ Poly (7pm), Archbishop Spalding @ Calvert Hall (7pm); Rugby World Cup Bronze Medal Match: Wales vs. Australia (Friday 3:30am from Auckland, New Zealand live on Universal Sports), Final: France vs. New Zealand (Sunday 3pm from Auckland, New Zealand on NBC); Canadian Football League: Montreal Alouettes @ Winnipeg Blue Bombers (Saturday 3pm from Winnipeg live on NFL Network)

10. Dirty Heads/Gym Class Heroes (Tuesday 7pm Rams Head Live), Jayhawks (Thursday 7pm Rams Head Live), Ani Difranco (Saturday 7pm Rams Head Live), New Found Glory (Sunday 5:30pm Rams Head Live), Mat Kearney (Monday 7pm Rams Head Live); Mike Posner (Thursday 7pm Recher Theatre); J Cole (Thursday 7pm Baltimore Soundstage); Blind Boys of Alabama (Tuesday 8pm Rams Head on Stage), Stephen Stills (Wednesday 8pm Rams Head on Stage), Dick Dale (Saturday 12:30pm Rams Head on Stage), Little River Band (Monday 8pm Rams Head on Stage); Jason Isbell (Friday 10pm 9:30 Club), Taking Back Sunday (Saturday 11pm 9:30 Club); Wale (Saturday 7pm Fillmore Silver Spring); “Weird Al” Yankovic (Wednesday 8pm Warner Theatre), Jackson Browne (Sunday 7pm Warner Theatre); India.Arie (Saturday 8pm Strathmore); Martina McBride (Sunday 7pm France-Merrick Performing Arts Center at the Hippodrome); Coldplay “Mylo Xyloto, Jane’s Addiction “The Great Escape Artist” available on iTunes/in stores (Tuesday); Pearl Jam 20 available on DVD (Tuesday)

I’ve had my ass kicked a bit over not being more familiar with the Jayhawks until recently. They’re quite good…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KBGX_z6xuVU[/youtube]

The name Dick Dale might not mean a lot to you, but if you listen to “The Reality Check” on AM1570 WNST.net (and why wouldn’t you?), you’d be familiar with the theme to “Totally Tubular.” (Someone will yell at me for not also noting that Dick Dale is one of the greatest surf guitarists of all time. I’ve handled that now.)…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D5OHrQYwRac[/youtube]

The Sun’s Kevin Van Valkenburg introduced me to Jason Isbell (of Drive-By Truckers fame) perhaps without even realizing he had. I’m thankful.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4V_vBPaI1d0[/youtube]

I’d love to be like the rest of the world and just make fun of Coldplay, but DAMN they make good music…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1Kf_6BWcOOg[/youtube]

9. Brad Garrett (Thursday 6pm & 9pm Rams Head on Stage); Lewis Black (Saturday 8pm Lyric Opera House Sunday 8pm Fillmore Silver Spring); Paul Mooney (Thursday-Saturday Baltimore Comedy Factory); Dave Attell (Thursday-Sunday DC Improv); Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tide” and “Bad Teacher” available on DVD/Blu-Ray (Tuesday); Maryland Renaissance Festival final weekend (Saturday & Sunday RennFest Fairgrounds Crownsville)

There are few people in the world that GENUINELY make me laugh. Lewis Black is one of those people. (Language NSFW…unless you work in Lewis Black’s office of course.)

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4mCDZMWVWuc[/youtube]

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