Tag Archive | "Penguins"

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Theodore Leads Caps Over Pens in Shootout

Posted on 25 March 2010 by Ed Frankovic

If Jose Theodore continues to play like he did on Wednesday night, then the Washington Capitals and their fans have a date in June with an engraver. #60 continued his dominant run with his 19th straight contest without a regulation loss (17-0-2) as the Caps rallied from a 2-1 third period deficit to knock off the defending Stanley Cup Champion Pittsburgh Penguins for the third straight time this season, 4-3, in the shootout. Theodore made 39 saves and after giving up goals to Kris Letang and Sidney Crosby in the gimmick, he shut the door as Alexander Ovechkin, Alexander Semin, and then Mike Knuble beat Pens goalie Marc-Andre Fleury like a rented mule to send the crowd at the Verizon Center out into the streets of DC to celebrate. The Capitals victory takes their overall record to an astounding 49-14-10 (108 points) and their magic number for clinching the Eastern Conference is just three points. In the race for the President’s Trophy they now have a nine point lead over Chicago, who has a game in hand, and a 10 point lead over San Jose. For the season, Washington is now an incredible 27-4-4 on home ice.

Here are the highlights, stats, quotes, and analysis from a contest that definitely felt like a playoff game:

Theodore was brilliant tonight, especially in the first period when he made 17 saves, many of them on quality chances. His pad save on Ruslan Fedotenko was just one of the many outstanding stops he would make on Wednesday. The Laval, Quebec native has not lost in regulation to the Penguins since Jan. 3, 2006, when Theodore played for the Montreal Canadiens. Theodore was 3-0-1 last season against Pittsburgh and is 3-0 in 2009-10. In the words of the great Joe McGrath, Theo “Owwwwwnnnnnssss” the Pens.

“[Jose Theodore]‘s playing great. There are three goals against and they had 42 shots, eerily similar of a playoff game that we would have played them last year where they would out shoot us. I thought below the circles we didn’t clear out well enough, but [the Penguins] were a determined gritty bunch tonight. That’s why they were the Stanley Cup Champions,” said Caps Coach Bruce Boudreau on the play of his goalie, his team, and Pittsburgh.

Mike Green was outstanding tonight. #52 (1 assist) fired a blast off of a super Eric Belanger feed that set up Eric Fehr’s 21st goal of the season to give the Caps the lead in the 3rd period and he logged 25:02 of ice time, the most of any Capital. Green is super offensively and he now has 17 goals and 54 assists in 68 games to lead the NHL in scoring by defenseman. He is incredibly talented at bringing the puck up the ice, “a one man breakout” as Boudreau calls him, and he is good defensively. “Game over Greenie” was +3 on Wednesday and is now +33 for the season so for anyone who thinks the guy is a liability in his own end, I suggest you print this blog, then fill it with more of the stuff you’ve been smoking, light it, and take some more tokes.

Washington’s penalty killing unit was tested heavily because they were whistled for five infractions and all were good calls (more on the referees coming up). Pittsburgh’s only tally with the man advantage came on a super play by Crosby, who set Bill Guerin up for a layup. But the Caps would break even on the night on Pens power play chances as Semin scored a highlight reel shorthanded goal skating around Letang like he was an orange road cone and then abusing Fleury with a wicked top shelf blast. It was a Harlem Globetrotters type of play and the video of that one should be laid down with “Sweet Georgia Brown” playing in the background as audio. Boudreau said afterwards that he has seen a recent trend upwards in the performance of his 25th ranked penalty killing unit.

“I thought we killed penalties great tonight. We made one mistake and we end up with the wrong guy out there [Crosby] on a two on one. The zone time, over the last 7 games, has been cut down very significantly and that is really important. It’s a good sign,” added the 2007-08 Jack Adams Trophy winner.

Now to the officials, Paul Devorski and Ian Walsh, if you want to call them that (I prefer zebras, especially tonight). I cannot argue with any of the calls made against the Capitals, HOWEVER, if they are going to whistle those infractions on Washington then they need to be consistent and call the same thing on the Penguins. These two “clowns” did not do that in this one, fueling fire to the anti-Caps bias that many who Rock the Red feel exists. If Jeff Schultz is going to be called for holding Crosby then the hold/trip on Ovechkin in overtime needs to be whistled as well (there was also a Penguin trip and cross check on the Great #8 that was overlooked earlier in the contest). In addition to that inconsistency, right before Semin was called for high sticking Mike Rupp, #17 clearly hooks him, yet the result is a Pens power play. Then after Tomas Fleischmann tripped Letang in the neutral zone, #58 blatantly interferes and cross checks Fehr before the whistle is blown yet once again only the Capital is sent to the sin bin. There is NO WAY the power plays in this contest should have been 5 to 1 in favor of Pittsburgh! Boudreau was not going to criticize the zebras, because it would cost him money via a fine, however he did not like that his club took five penalties.

“Five penalties is too many. That’s 10 minutes in the box. That means the lines get all skewed and you’re sitting guys that you don’t want to sit for 10 minutes. That’s two games in a row and its stick penalties so that’s something we have to cure,” finished Boudreau on the lack of discipline his team showed overall and with their twigs.

There is no doubt Ovechkin, who is very physical and plays on the edge, is an intimidator. Even the great #87 is no match for the power and force of Alexander the Great and in two instances on Wednesday #8 flat out abused Sid the Kid in the corner. In the first instance Crosby just bailed out and let Ovie have the puck and in the third period the two time defending Hart Trophy winner easily took the Canadian Olympic hero off the puck with a strong shoulder check.

Other guys who stood out for Washington were rookie defenseman John Carlson (17:39), who rang the post at least once in pursuit of his first NHL goal and his partner Shaone Morrisonn, who was physical and had nine hits. Carlson, who is only 20 years old and was drafted late in round one of the 2008 NHL Entry draft, is making a strong case to stay up with the big club for the playoffs. I had a chance to chat with #74 after Wednesday’s tilt:

WNST: Does Wilkes-Barre (Pens AHL team) bring their forwards down on the forecheck the same way Pittsburgh does?

Carlson: Yeah, I think that both of our teams, like Washington and Hershey and Wilkes-Barre and Pittsburgh, both of their systems are pretty much identical so its a little bit more comfortable for me knowing what is going to happen in little situations like that and it is one less thing you have to worry about. So it was a fun game.

WNST: Pittsburgh’s forecheck seems different than some of the tactics of other recent Caps opponents who tend to back off of an aggressive forecheck and seek to trap them in the neutral zone. Is that the case?

Carlson: Yeah, it just that every different coach has his different style and we got great players here and everyone tries to shut them down in different ways.

WNST: What is it like on the bench in these Caps-Pens games?

Carlson: It’s crazy, it’s always a crazy environment here [Verizon Center] but with Pittsburgh coming in it is a little bit more of a rivalry and you can definitely tell in the intensity of the fans and just the overall feel of the building.

Notes: The faceoff battle was tied at 28 a piece….the Pens played without Evgeni Malkin (foot) and Sergei Gonchar (Ovechkin flu) while the Caps were without Brooks Laich (face), Boyd Gordon (back), and Scott Walker (knee). Healthy scratches were John Erskine and Tyler Sloan for Washington and Eric Godard for the Penguins. Next up for the Caps are the Carolina Hurricanes on Thursday night at 7pm from Raleigh. The Canes, who have played very well in the second half of the season, seem to finally be figuring out that all their good play is doing is ruining their chance at the top overall pick in the 2010 NHL Entry Draft. Carolina, at one point, was battling Edmonton for the worst record in the league but now currently resides in 27th place. The bottom three clubs have a shot at the top pick in the draft (Edmonton, the Islanders, and Toronto are the current bottom three but the Leafs pick is held by the Boston Bruins).

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Top 10 Baseball Distractions

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Top 10 Baseball Distractions

Posted on 22 March 2010 by Glenn Clark

Honorable Mention-Tennis: Sony Ericsson Open (Monday 7pm from Miami live on Tennis Channel); Golf: Tavistock Cup (Tuesday 12pm from Windermere, FL live on Golf Channel), PGA Arnold Palmer Invitational (Thursday & Friday 3pm live on Golf Channel, Saturday & Sunday 2:30pm live on NBC); Bowling: PBA GEICO Mark Roth Plastic Ball Championship (Finals Sunday 2pm from West Babylon, NY live on ESPN); Womens’ College Basketball-WNIT: Maryland vs. Providence/ODU (Thursday 7pm Comcast Center), Women’s NCAA Tournament (Tuesday, Saturday & Sunday-coverage live on ESPN & ESPN2); MISL Playoffs: Baltimore Blast @ Monterrey La Raza Game 1 (Friday 7:35pm from Monterrey, MX streamed live on B2liveTV.com), Game 2 (Monday 7:35pm from 1st Mariner Arena streamed live on B2liveTV.com); AIFA: Richmond Raiders @ Baltimore Mariners (Sunday 4pm 1st Mariner Arena)

10. Alicia Keys (Wednesday 7:30pm 1st Mariner Arena, Thursday 7:30pm Verizon Center), Bon Jovi/Dashboard Confessional (Monday 7:30pm Verizon Center), Ben Folds (Wednesday 7pm Rams Head Live, Friday 8pm 9:30 Club), Mr. Greengenes (Friday 10pm Rams Head Live), Julian Casablancas (Sunday 8pm Rams Head Live), All Mighty Senators (Friday 7pm Recher Theatre), Him (Saturday 7pm Sonar Baltimore), Dan Band (Saturday 8pm 9:30 Club)

So….your boy will be headed down to the Arena Wednesday night to see Alicia Keys. No truth (yet) to the rumor that there is already a restraining order in place. BUT….she’s DELIGHTFUL.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TJXH3MUlrW4[/youtube]

Going to see Bon Jovi is a good idea….if this is 1992. Is this 1992? If it was, Bon Jovi would still REALLY be good….

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

Between Alicia Keys and Ben Folds coming to town this week, I’m starting to think maybe I should have never given up on piano lessons. I thought it would make me a nerd. Apparently I wasn’t familiar with EVERY.OTHER.SINGLE.THING.ABOUT.MYSELF.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=34u_3Z9_LUw[/youtube]

And if you’re a fan of The Hangover, Wedding Crashers, or naughty language in general (and really, who ISN’T a fan of naughty language in general. I’m looking at you, father); maybe the Dan Band is for you. However, the Dan Band is very much NSFW. But what is anymore, really?

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

9. NBA: Bobcats @ Wizards (Tuesday 7pm from Verizon Center live on Comcast SportsNet), Wizards @ Pacers (Wednesday 7pm from Indianapolis live on Comcast SportsNet PLUS), Wizards @ Bobcats (Friday 7pm from Charlotte live on Comcast SportsNet), Jazz @ Wizards (Saturday 7pm from Verizon Center live on Comcast SportsNet)

I looked at the ‘Zards roster the other day. I’m reasonably certain I could have named more current Harlem Globetrotters than ‘Zards. Apparently Shaun Livingston AND his ACL play for them now, and he knows how to dunk the basketball….

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G9cFfySB6Do[/youtube]

You know who else knows how to dunk the basketball? James White….

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pA4L-_Wic78[/youtube]

Frankly, I’m surprised the Wizards haven’t just signed him and decided to go AND1 style at this point. I mean, what the hell else are they doing???

8.  NHL: Penguins @ Capitals (Wednesday 7pm from Verizon Center live on Comcast SportsNet & NHL Network), Capitals @ Hurricanes (Thursday 7pm from Raleigh live on Comcast SportsNet), Flames @ Capitals (Sunday 3pm from Verizon Center live on Comcast SportsNet)

I truly didn’t think there could ever…..EVER….be anything about the Caps that I’d like….but G-III is apparently out to prove me wrong…..

caps

Also, I’m not sure if you noticed this over the weekend, but the NCAA Hockey Tournament had their own “Selection Sunday”, and are you aware of who is opening the Tournament against Michigan???

bemidji

Let’s go Beavers!!!

7. Maryland Spring Football Opens (Tuesday-1pm news conference from Gossett Team House streamed live at UMTerps.com)

You know which Terps player I’m most looking forward to following during Spring ball?

Josh Portis.

(Edit from GMC: In all seriousness, Ralph Friedgen should REALLY consider naming an award for Spring performance after the former Florida transfer. I’m STILL convinced he’s going to break out at some point.)

Meanwhile, the biggest college football-related story of the spring has something to do with Lane Kiffin beating Natalie Gulbis in Esquire’s “Sexiest Woman Alive” voting. It doesn’t matter who wins that matchup really; as there is NO CHANCE the Cricket team from Panama doesn’t win the whole thing…..

panama

6. NFL Annual Spring Meetings (Tuesday & Wednesday from Orlando coverage at WNST.net & live on NFL Network)

Apparently the overtime rules are the hottest topic this year in the land of Walt Disney. Well, whose brackets are most busted are probably the HOTTEST topic, but the overtime thing is the hottest football-related topic. Oh, and the whole CBA thing. But who really cares about that, right?

And while we’re on the topic of Orlando, let’s just go ahead and get this out of the way. This is the final kiss from the Disney World episode of Boy Meets World. Every girl my age thought this scene was about the kiss…but every dude my age knew DAMN WELL that this scene was about Topanga’s dress.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A0XDFD2fDjk[/youtube]

Every sex-related lesson I received as a youngster was a direct result of something Topanga wore.

5. College Lacrosse: Maryland @ North Carolina (Saturday 2pm from Chapel Hill, NC live on ESPNU); Johns Hopkins @ Virginia (Saturday 12pm from Charlottesville, VA live on ESPN2); Towson @ Loyola (Saturday 12pm from Ridley Athletic Complex live on AM1570 WNST & WMAR2); Roanoke @ Stevenson (Saturday 1pm Caves Athletic Complex)

Unlike when the schools met in College Park for a hoops game a blizzard ago, the Terrapins and Tar Heels are actually playing a game that is MEANINGFUL for both schools. With that in mind, here are some of my favorite Maryland-UNC memories….

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KBJFBaOmmyA[/youtube]
[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XwfLa-PmqpY[/youtube]
[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KiK8fJLe_yo[/youtube]
[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KP9iRLGoYzA[/youtube]
[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KiK8fJLe_yo[/youtube]
[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kbjQsVR1vyw[/youtube]
[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HztHUxmCq_I[/youtube]

There are plenty…PLENTY…more, but I think you get the point.

4. “The Blind Side” available on DVD/Blu-Ray (Tuesday), “Hot Tub Time Machine” opens in theaters (Friday)

Let me get this straight. Jesse James is married to Sandra Bullock….

bullock

And slept with some chick named “Michelle Bombshell”?

bombshell

But Sandra Bullock adopted Michael Oher! And bought him all those clothes! And won an Academy Award! What the hell?!?!?

Oh, and I’m all in on the “Hot Tube Time Machine” thing (Language NSFW)….

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vTn7h00EKCg[/youtube]

But I’ve been all in on Craig Robinson before….

And for no particular reason, here’s video of Robinson singing “Creep” by Radiohead. It’s a gift, really….

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

3. NCAA Tournament Sweet 16: Butler vs. Syracuse (Thursday 7:07pm from Salt Lake City live on CBS), Kansas State vs. Xavier (Thursday 9:37pm from Salt Lake City live on CBS); Washington vs. West Virginia (Thursday 7:27pm from Syracuse live on CBS); Cornell vs. Kentucky (Thursday 9:57pm from Syracuse live on CBS); Tennessee vs. Ohio State (Friday 7:07pm from St. Louis live on CBS); Northern Iowa vs. Michigan State (Friday 9:37pm from St. Louis live on CBS); St. Mary’s vs. Baylor (Friday 7:27pm from Houston live on CBS); Duke vs. Purdue (Friday 9:57pm from Houston live on CBS)

Boy…this whole thing felt a lot more exciting a couple days ago, huh?

Those of us who didn’t pick Kansas will clearly be rooting for the teams we DID pick to win now. Well, at least SECRETLY rooting anyway. (Yeah, I picked Syracause; but I don’t know if I’m REALLY rooting for The Orange; or just sorta quietly hoping they might win maybe.)

I guess most of the rest of the country will be rooting for Cornell or Northern Iowa. Which is fine, as long as they’re also rooting AGAINST Duke. That’s just about all that matters at this point.

You know, until we get to this part…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wwSaPaubcS0[/youtube]

(Edit from GMC: I already have chills, even though I know I’ll have to watch highlights of freaking Korie Lucious. GOD the NCAA Tournament is great. And for the record-in my “second chance” bracket, I DO have St. Mary’s reaching the Final Four.)

2. WWE: WrestleMania XXVI (Sunday 7pm from Glendale, AZ live on Pay-Per-View)

Look, WrestleMania hasn’t been QUITE as great since they abandoned the TLC matches….

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4PfGCXUOL24[/youtube]

…but this is still freaking WRESTLEMANIA we’re talking about. You know, the same event where THIS happened at the Pontiac Silverdome some 23 years ago…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SwjzSZg1B9Q[/youtube]

And before we move on, I will make sure I throw in a picture of WWE Diva Maryse. You guys freaking owe me….

maryse

1. Mixed Martial Arts: Shogun Fights II (Saturday 6pm 1st Mariner Arena), UFC 111: Georges St. Pierre vs. Dan Hardy (Saturday 10pm from Newark live on Pay-Per-View; screened on big screens at AMC Owings Mills and AMC Columbia), Strikeforce Challengers (Friday 11:45pm from Fresno, CA live on Showtime)

If I were you, I’d be watching some MMA this weekend. Since I’m me….well….I’ll be watching some MMA this weekend. For a number of reasons, too.

1-Shogun Fights is going with Heavyweights in the Main Event. LOVE THAT. No word on whether or not “The Blob” will be included.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Las6RXJKTLE[/youtube]

2-Strikeforce may not have any of their stars (Gina Carano, Bobby Lashley, Dan Henderson, Fedor Emelianenko) on their Challengers cards, but they do have Lavar Johnson-who is fighting just 6 months after being SHOT at a Fourth of July BBQ. Is he a good fighter? No idea. Is 50 Cent a good rapper? No idea. But as Dave Chappelle said… “HE WAS SHOT NINE TIMES!!!”

3-As much as I’m looking forward to Georges St. Pierre and Dan Hardy Saturday night, I’m looking forward EVEN MORE to Frank Mir and Shane Carwin. Those dudes are MANIACS…

mir
carwin

Flexing my mic muscles since 1983…

-G

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Top 10 Baseball Distractions

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Top 10 Baseball Distractions

Posted on 31 January 2010 by Glenn Clark

For the week starting Tuesday, February 2nd-Monday, February 8th

Honorable Mention
-Women’s College Basketball: Georgia Tech @ Maryland (Friday 8:30pm from Comcast Center live on Comcast SportsNet), Virginia @ Maryland (Monday 7pm from Comcast Center live on Comcast SportsNet); Exhibition College Lacrosse: Maryland vs. Loyola, Cornell, Drexel (Saturday 12pm from College Park), Villanova @ UMBC (Saturday 1pm from UMBC Stadium); Bowling: Chris Paul PBA Celebrity Invitational (Sunday 2pm from New Orleans live on ESPN); High School Basketball: Loyola @ John Carroll (Tuesday 3:30pm), Joppatowne @ Edgewood (Tuesday 6:45pm), Calvert Hall @ Archbishop Spalding (Tuesday 7pm)

10.  Citizen Cope (Thursday 8pm & Friday 9pm Recher Theatre), Virginia Coalition (Saturday 8pm 8×10 Club), Lil’ Wayne “Rebirth” available on CD (Tuesday), “Zombieland” available on DVD & Blu-Ray (Tuesday)

Not ONLY did Cope sell out two more nights at Recher (after he sold out 3 straight last year), but this year he’s coming ahead of a new CD, “The Rainwater LP”. I think it might be good……

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z0Zfp0bTQJs[/youtube]

In case you forgot, Citizen Cope WAS the guy that told us about George from Baltimore….wasting his money at Pimlico….sorta like Rick from Reisterstown…..

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HMJjkO8ESL4[/youtube]

And I will ALSO be at the Virginia Coalition show Saturday night, because 8×10 is just about the best place….IN THE WORLD….to see a show, and because I love me some Virginia Coalition…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tl-nlYkHpto[/youtube]

But seriously, do the internets have no better video of “Walk to Work” than this???

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZJFLPWBJK5k[/youtube]

Also, I’ve been looking forward to the new Weezy stuff for a while…..

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lTurfn7vvCk[/youtube]

And while I didn’t get to see Zombieland, I heard good things….

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5_DYIUNYs84[/youtube]

9. Lingerie Bowl VII (Broadcast Sunday at halftime of Super Bowl via LFLUS.com)

For the record, I do not believe that the reason Anita Marks was let go by CBS Radio was because she intended to play quarterback in the game.

(Edit from GMC: Look, you make your own “that’s because they want pretty girls in the game” joke. I’m not going there. I think she’s a very pretty girl. And I can’t believe you’d say such a thing.)

This is really the bottom line here. Whether they’re playing football or cross-stitching, I’m pretty sure I’d be watching just about ANYTHING these ladies would be doing…..

lingerie

8. PGA: Northern Trust Open (Thursday & Friday 5pm live on Golf Channel; Saturday 3pm & Sunday 2:30pm live on NBC. All golf from Pacific Palisades, CA)

I’ve never watched The Golf Channel, mostly because apparently all they ever show is golf. If they showed something else-like horse racing, college soccer or even Jersey Shore re-runs, I would have probably watched before.

However, word is that Win McMurry will be joining the Golf Channel. I might watch……

mcmurry

…but probably not, because I’m guessing they’ll still be showing golf.

7. NBA: Wizards @ Knicks (Wednesday 7:30pm from New York live on Comcast SportsNet), Wizards @ Magic (Friday 7pm from Orlando live on Comcast SportsNet), Hawks @ Wizards (Saturday 7pm from Verizon Center live on Comcast SportsNet)

I heard a rumor that the ‘Zards might be interested in trying to trade Gilbert Arenas in the offseason if they can’t void his contract. This made me think about who they might be able to get in a deal…..

penberthydare
oliversimpkins

Yeah, some good deals on the table there….

6. NASCAR: Daytona 500 Qualifying (Saturday 1pm from Daytona live on FOX), Budweiser Shootout (Saturday 8pm from Daytona live on FOX)

Oh yay! NASCAR is back!!! Someone….somewhere….is excited.

I’m sure you’re all wondering who it is that I’m picking to win the Winston Cup this year (Edit from GMC: It’s called the Sprint Cup now?!?!? Why didn’t they tell anyone???), so I thought I’d let you know. I’m picking Lightning McQueen!!!

mcqueen

5. NHL: Capitals @ Bruins (Tuesday 7pm from Boston live on Comcast SportsNet), Capitals @ Rangers (Thursday 7pm from New York live on Comcast SportsNet), Thrashers @ Capitals (Friday 7pm from Verizon Center live on Comcast SportsNet PLUS), Penguins @ Capitals (Sunday 12pm from Verizon Center live on NBC)

I am a fan of Dan Steinberg’s work with the DC Sports Bog, unlike the teams in DC he covers (like the Caps)-that I am not a fan of. Last week, he pointed out that Glory Days has been forced to give away 100,000+ wings due to a promotion that involves the Caps scoring 5+ goals in a game.

wings

Which gives me a great idea for how the Orioles can re-connect with the fanbase! How about “Free Wings every time a starting pitcher allows 5 or more runs in 5 or less innings?!?!?!?!?”

4. UFC 109: Randy Couture vs. Mark Coleman (Saturday 10pm from Las Vegas live on Pay-Per-View)

Don’t get me wrong-I love Dana White as much as anyone, but I’m not really 100% on this one. I mean, aren’t these guys like a combined 247 years old???

Seriously, were these guys not available???

rickles
rooney

3. National Signing Day (Wednesday- Live coverage on ESPNU & CBS College Sports during day); University of Maryland recruiting celebration (Wednesday 5pm Riggs Alumni Center in College Park)

As a reminder, if you stop by to see one of these prep athletes’ press conferences at a local high school-keep this in mind…..

jailbait

2. College Basketball: Maryland @ Florida State (Thursday 9pm from Tallahassee live on RAYCOM Sports/WNUV 54 locally), North Carolina @ Maryland (Sunday 2pm from Comcast Center live on Comcast SportsNet locally, Fox Sports Net nationally); Florida A&M @ Morgan State (Saturday 4pm Hill Field House), Bethune-Cookman @ Morgan State (Monday 7:30pm Hill Field House); Towson @ Drexel (Tuesday 7pm from Philadelphia live on The Comcast Network), James Madison @ Towson (Saturday 4pm Towson Center); Vermont @ UMBC (Saturday 3pm RAC Arena), Maine @ UMBC (Monday 7pm RAC Arena); Bethune-Cookman @ Coppin State (Friday 7pm from Coppin State Physical Education Complex live on ESPNU), Florida A&M @ Coppin State (Monday 7:30pm Coppin State Physical Education Complex)

I can’t even begin to explain how much I don’t like North Carolina.

I don’t like Dean Smith. I don’t like Roy Williams. I don’t like Michael Jordan. I don’t like Jerry Stackhouse. I don’t like Rasheed Wallace. I don’t like Vince Carter. I don’t like Brendon Haywood. I don’t like Sean May. I don’t like Raymond Felton. I don’t like Tyler Hansbrough. I don’t like Larry Drew.

But there is one guy I despise even more than any of them……

ram

WHY THE HELL IS THEIR MASCOT A RAM?!?!?!?!?!? You can say what you want about my mascot being a turtle, but AT LEAST IT MAKES SENSE!!!!!!!

That’s why you name the team after something that you can actually have a mascot for.

“Tar Heels.”

How stupid is that???

(Edit from GMC: Please spare me the “that’s not funny because the kid who was their mascot a few years ago died in a car accident” stuff. It’s the mascot I have a problem with.)

1. Super Bowl XLIV: Colts vs. Jets (Sunday 6pm from Miami live on CBS)

This is a simple case of good vs. evil. If you’re rooting for Indianapolis, please NEVER TALK TO ME AGAIN.

I will (of course) be rooting for New Orleans, partly because this gal will be too……

saints

Flexing my mic muscles since 1983……

-G

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Caps Win Over Pens Sets Comcast Single Game Ratings Record

Posted on 22 January 2010 by Ed Frankovic

Comcast SportsNet Mid-Atlantic posted all-time record ratings for regular-season Washington Capitals coverage – earning a 3.3 household rating and a 6.5 rating in the key Men 25-54 demographic – during last night’s (Jan. 21) road game against the Pittsburgh Penguins.

The National Hockey League’s premier rivalry attracted an average of 88,000 combined households in the Washington (76,000) and Baltimore (12,000) markets during the Capitals 6-3 win over the Penguins. During the third period, the game earned peak ratings of 4.2 in Washington and 1.5 in Baltimore, which equates to 113,000 combined households.

In the key demographic categories of Adults 25-54 (4.3), Men 18-49 (5.9) and Men 25-54 (6.5), Comcast SportsNet was the highest-rated television network in the Washington market during last night’s game and ranked second among Adults 18-49.

Last night’s record viewership shattered the previous single-game high for a Capitals regular-season game on Comcast SportsNet, set on April 5, 2008 against the Florida Panthers. The overall household rating eclipsed the previous mark by 32% and the 6.5 rating registered in the Men 25-54 demo was an increase of more than 117% over the previous record. Among Men 18-49, last night’s 5.9 rating broke the previous high by 64%. 

Through 46 games on Comcast SportsNet this season, the Capitals household ratings have seen a 15% increase compared to the same time-period last season and an increase of 149% versus 2007-08.

COMMENT: The Caps are no doubt a regional team in this area, as evidenced by these ratings. I applaud the hockey fans of Baltimore for supporting a club that has its best chance ever to win a Stanley Cup in 2010. I think every Baltimore sports fan would agree that beating Pittsburgh in ANY sport is always entertaining and fun! Also, kudos to the Washington Capitals organization for having the vision to reach out to the Baltimore sports fan.

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Top 10 Baseball Distractions

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Top 10 Baseball Distractions

Posted on 18 January 2010 by Glenn Clark

Honorable Mention-Women’s College Basketball: Miami @ Maryland (Thursday 7pm Comcast Center), Duke @ Maryland (Sunday 8pm from Comcast Center live on Comcast SportsNet locally/Fox Sports Net nationally); Boxing: Steve Luevano vs. Juan Manuel Lopez (Saturday 9:45pm from New York live on HBO); High School Basketball: Carver @ Perry Hall (Tuesday 5:15pm), C. Milton Wright @ Aberdeen (Tuesday 6:45pm), Edgewood @ Havre de Grace (Tuesday 6:45pm)

10-Jeff Dunham (Thursday 7:30pm Verizon Center), Cheap Trick (Saturday 8pm Rams Head Live), Cheech & Chong (Saturday 8pm Meyerhoff Symphony Hall), George Strait and Reba McEntire (Friday 7:30pm 1st Mariner Arena)

Yeah, so, these guys are pretty funny……

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ndaXQeRPO0g[/youtube]

And these guys are ABSOLUTELY one of the most underrated bands in American history….

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=th370QmFtk8[/youtube]

And while I have NO interest in seeing Reba, I’ve needed an excuse to post this little piece of SNL brilliance in a blog….

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rg85BxArn7M[/youtube]

9-Maryland State Cheer & Dance Championship (Saturday 8am 1st Mariner Arena)

Look, if the people involved in this competition looked like this, this would be Number 1 on the list…

cheerleader

But since I’m PRETTY sure the people are involved are going to look more like this…..

cheer

…..so only Ray Bachman will be excited.

And NOT because he’s a pedophile-his girl coaches cheerleaders, so he’s sorta been forced into their world.

You guys are sick.

8-College Football: East West Shrine Game (Saturday 3pm from Orlando live on ESPN2)

OH MY GOD IT’S NFL DRAFT SEASON!!!!!!!!!

Maybe you guys aren’t as big of Draft nerds as I am, but you should be. I mean, what if Blair White completely goes off on Saturday? Could he be a Baltimore Raven next season? Holy crap I’m excited.

Maybe even more excited than when we stopped near Columbus for food Friday on the way to Indianapolis and I managed to find this……

greek

Wow.

7-Golf: Bob Hope Classic (Wednesday-Friday 3pm, Saturday & Sunday 4pm from La Quinta, CA live on Golf Channel)

Oh, Bob Hope…..

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UgUlWIq3b3w[/youtube]

Wait, did I just put Golf on this list? GOLF? There better be a Tiger Woods whore picture coming….

HEY! Here’s Loredana Jolie!!!!

loredana

Everything is better now.

6-NBA: Mavericks @ Wizards (Wednesday 7pm from Verizon Center live on Comcast SportsNet), Heat @ Wizards (Friday 7pm from Verizon Center live on Comcast SportsNet), Clippers @ Wizards (Sunday 1pm from Verizon Center live on Comcast SportsNet)

Since the ‘Zards stink, I have an idea of how they can still make our WNST bus trip to DC entertaining. I think Flip Saunders just channel WWE Champion Sheamus and put Mark Cuban THROUGH A TABLE……

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OMotWBNkb3c[/youtube]

Of course, it’s not quite as good as when the Dudley Boyz used to put 80 year old women through tables…..

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2jgt95pDXuM[/youtube]

5-NHL: Red Wings @ Capitals (Tuesday 7pm from Verizon Center live on Comcast SportsNet), Capitals @ Penguins (Thursday 7:30pm from Pittsburgh live on Comcast SportsNet and NHL Network), Coyotes @ Capitals (Saturday 7pm from Verizon Center live on Comcast SportsNet)

Ugh. I don’t even root for the Caps and I feel bad for them for having to go to Pittsburgh. What an awful place.

I mean seriously, what the hell is THIS?!?!?!

pitt

Have you heard the story about how people have gone to see the movie Avatar and then gone into depression because our world isn’t like Pandora? Pittsburgh is a lot like that. People go there and immediately don’t want to kill themselves anymore because they realize life isn’t so bad.

And since we’re talking about Avatar, here’s a picture of Zoe Saldana. Don’t say I never did anything for you.

oe

4-Soccer: Team USA vs. Honduras (Saturday 9pm from Carson, CA live on Fox Soccer Channel), Baltimore Blast @ Milwaukee Wave (Saturday 7pm streamed live on B2liveTV.com)

Can things get worse for the Red, White & Blue? First Charlie Davies, then Oguchi Onyewu, now Clint Dempsey? Who the hell is gonna be left to play? Soccer Dog?!?!?

soccerdog

3-Tennis: Australian Open (Tuesday 3am & 9pm, Wednesday 3am & 11pm, Thursday & Friday 3am & 9pm, Saturday 3am & 10pm, Sunday 3am & 7pm, Monday 3:30am & 9pm live on ESPN2; Tuesday-Monday 7pm live on Tennis Channel. All tennis from Melbourne, AUS)

Thank god Andy Roddick is still around, because I was about ready to give up after Maria Sharapova was eliminated.

Of course, my all time favorite Australian Open eye candy remains former champion Mary Pierce…..

pierce

And no, it’s NOT just because she was engaged to Roberto Alomar….

2-College Basketball: Longwood @ Maryland (Tuesday 8pm from Comcast Center live on Comcast SportsNet PLUS), NC State @ Maryland (Saturday 6pm from Comcast Center live on ESPN2); Northeastern @ Towson (Wednesday 7pm Towson Center), George Mason @ Towson (Saturday 4pm from Towson Center live on MASN); New Hampshire @ UMBC (Thursday 7pm RAC Arena), Boston U @ UMBC (Sunday 1pm RAC Arena); Delaware State @ Morgan State (Saturday 4pm Hill Field House), UMES @ Morgan State (Monday 7:30pm Hill Field House); UMES @ Coppin State (Saturday 4pm Coppin State Physical Education Complex), Delaware State @ Coppin State (Monday 7:30pm Coppin State Physical Education Complex)

Heh. You said “Longwood.”

Oh, North Carolina State. Remember when your fans were SO EXCITED to see Sidney Lowe replace Herb Sendek? How’s that worked out for you???

You know, other than no longer having a coach who looked like he was from Whoville……

whowho

1-NFL Playoffs: AFC Championship Game: Jets @ Colts (Sunday 3:30pm from Indianapolis live on CBS), NFC Championship Game: Vikings @ Saints (Sunday 6:40pm from New Orleans live on FOX)

Unlike the rest of Charm City, I’m really NOT rooting for Rex Ryan, Bart Scott, Jim Leonhard, etc. You see, they play in New York-and that’s where the Yankees play. That being said, I would never……EVER…..root for the Colts. Ever. So I’ll be rooting for both teams to lose.

In the NFC, I actually really still dig Brett Favre, so it’s hard to root against him. BUT, Heather Rothstein roots for the Saints…..

rothstein

So…..WHO DAT?!?!?!?

Flexing my mic muscles since 1983……

-G

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Laich, Ovechkin Lead Caps over Flyers, 5-3

Posted on 17 January 2010 by Ed Frankovic

The despised Philadelphia Flyers came to the Verizon Center on Sunday afternoon hoping to get revenge for the 8-2 drubbing the Washington Capitals put on them back on December 5th at the Wachovia Center. They would not as the Caps knocked them off again, 5-3, to take the season series 3-0-1. Brooks Laich broke out of a huge scoring slump to tally twice, including a beautiful shorthanded goal that made it 4-2 in the third period, and he also added an assist on Alexander Semin’s power play goal to give Washington a 3-2 advantage in period two. Jose Theodore (30 saves) gave up a shaky first goal but after that was very solid between the pipes for the Caps. This win improves Washington’s overall record to 30-12-6 and moves them back into first place in the Eastern Conference with 66 points. This is the latest in the season Washington has been #1 in the conference. The Capitals have won three in a row and are 6-1 since Alexander Ovechkin (1 goal, 1 assist) took over as team captain.

Let’s get right to the highlights, quotes, and analysis:

Laich (2 goals, 1 assist) apparently had an afternoon film session with Caps Coach Bruce Boudreau and the 2007-08 Jack Adams winner pointed out some things for Brooksie to improve upon, like getting to the net. Well it worked, #21 scored Washington’s second goal by burying a Tomas Fleischmann rebound from three feet away, next it was his screen and tip of a Mike Green point blast that led to Semin’s tally, and then he made the play of the game stripping Flyers captain Mike Richards of the puck while shorthanded, went in alone, and made Philly goalie Ray Emery look stupid, beating him upstairs to make it 4-2. That individual effort, from the hardest working Cap, really cemented this contest for Washington.

“He is a very intense young man and sometimes he tries to do too much. We just looked over his video, his shifts, his goals and we saw if there was anything we could find that he was doing different. I was so happy when he scored. He takes everything so personal and you will never find a guy who cares as much as Brooks Laich and that is why I am so happy for him to get the two goals. Even if he went 20 games without a goal, I would still have confidence and believe in him,” said Boudreau about the guy who is typically the first one on the ice and the last one off of it at practice.

“[Coach Boudreau] said to get back to being determined, keep skating, using your assets, go the net and good things will happen. He was coach of the year for a reason. He’s such a smart guy. He’s got his hands all over the game. You just trust his word and tonight I got some rewards from it,” added Laich on the coach who helped turned things around for Capitals hockey from the minute he was hired on Thanksgiving Eve of 2007.

Semin (1 goal, 1 assist) seems to play some of his best games against the Flyers and Sunday was no exception. #28 made a tremendous stick check on girly hair man Scott Hartnell along the right wing boards to set up Fleischmann for the shot that led to Laich’s first tally. I don’t think there is a more talented player in the league at taking the puck away from an opponent by lifting his stick from behind. Semin also had a tap in goal that would have been the game winner if not for a late Danny Briere power play tally. Semin’s game seems to have really elevated since his Russian comrade Ovechkin took over the captaincy.

As for Ovechkin, it was another two point night and he scored for the first time in six tries in his career on an in game penalty shot (and that got the fans at the VC free wings!). The Great #8 froze Emery (17 saves) on his attempt and he easily roofed it by a goalie that is average, at best, in my opinion. Ovie also made a super play to set up Mike Knuble for Washington’s first tally outworking the Flyers in the corner and throwing the puck on the Philly netminder, who bobbled it like a bad shortstop, allowing #22 to slam it home to tie the game at one. I only had one complaint against the Alexes today, and that was to shoot the puck more, especially on a weaker goalie like Emery. The two of them are so good, unselfish, and unfortunately too cute at times and need to just unleash their shots when they have an opening. Many times the quick release with a rebound is the best pass.

Speaking of complaints, I know the Flyers outshot the Caps 33-22 but the main reason was because they received five power plays to just one for Washington (the Caps also were awarded Ovechkin’s penalty shot). What game was Dan Marouelli and Kelly Sutherland watching? The roughing call on Tyler Sloan was embellished and much less than what the underachieving Braydon Coburn did to Semin in the neutral zone in the second period. And as Caps video producer and emergency bench door opener, Brett “Stretch” Leonhardt, tweeted during the second period, the shift where Hartnell and Sloan went off for roughing could have resulted in five minors alone being called on #19. Hartnell should have been called for a rough to the head of Tom Poti, at a minimum, 30 seconds before the actual coincidental minors were whistled. The power play the Caps received was the result of an OBVIOUS hold of Sloan by Jeff Carter yet Philadelphia CSN reporter Tim Pinaccio whined about it two times on Twitter describing the call as HORRIBLE. Hey Tim, that one was even a penalty pre-lockout buddy. Boudreau didn’t specifically single out the referees for the lack of calls but if you closely follow this quote about the Caps offense you can read between the lines as to what Bruce is hinting at.

“We have three lines that can score, and the 4th line creates the momentum so the other lines can score…they are very valuable. Eventually it is going to stop, we are not going to score 5 goals every game. I don’t know [why we are scoring so much], but it is not because of power plays, if we start getting some more PP’s maybe we will continue to score at that clip,” added Boudreau. Maybe this anti-Caps bias coming from Canada is getting to the zebras too??!!

The Flyers carried the early play and Theodore should have had Carter’s wide open wrister from the top of the left wing circle that went five hole on him. But after that I couldn’t fault #60 for the two other Philadelphia goals and he made numerous key stops in a game that was close until the Ovechkin tally.

“I was really secure with him today as I was the last game and in Florida as well,” commented Boudreau on his goaltender.

As for the slow start, Boudreau had the following to say on that issue.

“You start with a penalty, and then two penalties, and a 3-on-1 we don’t convert on, maybe we weren’t as sharp out of the gate as we would have liked to have been, or maybe they [Philadelphia] wanted it really badly. I watched their warm-up closely and they had their game faces on like it was a playoff game. I am sure they wanted to make amends for the last time we played them and they came out really hard,” added Boudreau on a contest that seemed to have post season intensity.

Getting out of the first period tied, was something the coach felt boded well for his club.

“We weathered the storm, that is why I thought after it was 2-2 after the first period, I felt good and knew we would be better,” Boudreau said.

“I think it’s a three o’clock game and we were kind of sleepy and they were more fresh and they got a goal. It’s good for us we bounced back in the second period and our power play worked,” added Ovechkin.

As for the defense, they started shaky but steadily improved. Shaone Morrisonn (+2, 20:13 of ice time) had his best game in at least a month and Tyler Sloan (Even in 15:51 of ice time) was better too, but I still don’t rank him ahead of Karl Alzner. Perhaps the mention by Boudreau on Saturday that #27 might be back up with the Caps as soon as this week got the attention of those two guys who had really been struggling? Also, defenseman John Carlson played his best game at the NHL level, even though he will almost surely go back to Hershey tomorrow so he can participate in the AHL all star game. #74 was +2 in 15:51 of play and was strong on the puck all afternoon.

“I think every game is physical, but definitely I think Philadelphia and Toronto are two of the top physical teams and any time you can get in a game like that and stand up and feel pretty good out there it’s a good boost of confidence,” said the Team USA World Junior Championships gold medal winning hero, who I believe could very likely start next season with the Caps in the NHL.

“Our much maligned defense played pretty steady, I thought,” finished Boudreau, taking a shot at the critics who tend to point at the back line as the weak point of Washington’s squad.

Flyers coach Peter Laviolette felt his team made too many mistakes on Sunday and that was the difference in the game.

“Some of the early goals were tough. We missed an assignment and there was a rebound, back door. That hurt. There was one that hit a skate and went right to somebody; it’s tough to cover that. If we go into the third period tied, we might win it and get out of here with some points. We talked about it before the game. We can’t turn it over. They are dynamic in transition and you’ve really got to pay attention to the puck,” added the 2006 Stanley Cup Champion coach of the Carolina Hurricanes.

Today was a good measuring stick for the Caps by beating a hungry Flyers team but now the stakes increase with tougher opponents for Washington. The Caps will face the 2008 Stanley Cup Champion Detroit Red Wings on Tuesday night at the Verizon Center and then travel to Pittsburgh to take on the 2009 Stanley Cup Champion Penguins.

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Top 10 Games of 2009

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Top 10 Games of 2009

Posted on 17 December 2009 by Glenn Clark

I used to love how ESPN would put together their list of the “Top 10 Games of the Year” and air it as a SportsCenter special on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, New Year’s Eve, etc. A year ago, I put together my own list for the first time a year ago, and thought it would be fun to go right back to that well. I purposely left out the “Honorable Mention” section; so it is very possible I missed an absolute classic.

10-NCAA Men’s Ice Hockey Championship: Boston University vs. Miami Ohio (April 12 Verizon Center Washington, DC)

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6-At13ZliXw[/youtube]

Bemidji State might have been the story of the Frozen Four; but the Championship game was pretty amazing. Trailing 3-1, the Terriers pulled their goalie late in the 4th quarter, and managed to close the gap to 3-2 with under a minute left in the game. Unbelievably, they managed to tally a tying goal with 19 seconds to play to send the game into overtime; and eventually won the title in OT.

9-UFC “The Ultimate Fighter” Season 9 Finale: Diego Sanchez vs. Clay Guida (June 20 The Palms Las Vegas, NV)

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x4h0kUIU2qU[/youtube]

Are you kidding me???

diego

These maniacs beat the TAR out of each other for 3 rounds in an absolutely BRUTAL MMA war. There is really no doubt that this was the Fight of the Year in Mixed Martial Arts OR Boxing, even if it didn’t have the impact of a Lesnar-Mir or a Pacquiao-Cotto.

8-NHL Stanley Cup Finals Game 7: Penguins @ Red Wings (June 12 Joe Louis Arena Detroit)

penguins

No matter how a game plays out, Game 7 is always exciting. Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Finals is monumental. But a Stanley Cup Finals Game 7 with the drama of Wings-Pens is absolutely epic. The build-up (rematch of the Cup finals from the season before, quest for Sidney Crosby’s first Cup, Wings dynasty, etc.) was intense; the 4th quarter flurry that was stopped by Marc-Andre Fleury was heart-stopping.

7-The Open Championship (July 16-19 Turnberry Resort Ayrshire, Scotland)

cinkwatson

Admit it. There was golf on, Tiger Woods was irrelevant-and you watched anyway. The British Open tends not to register with me because it’s ugly to look at, involves brutal golf and is played too early in the day for my liking. BUT-I watched. I watched every hole on Sunday in fact. Part of me watched because I couldn’t wait to text Drew Forrester and say “If a 59 year old wins one of your most significant events-what you are doing probably isn’t really a sport.” But as I watched, I was captivated. The drama was amazing, and Stewart Cink proved to be a deserving champion.

6-ACC Lacrosse: Maryland @ Virginia (March 28 Klockner Stadium Charlottesville, VA)

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KesWW9FPFd8[/youtube]

Making this game even more significant was the fact that it was seen nationally on ESPN2. There might not have been games as long as this one was….say….EVER, but there were arguably games that were played at just as high a level during the season (including the National Championship game and Towson/Hopkins for sure). However, those games may not have had the impact of this one-as it was played on a Saturday afternoon on national TV, a time that is traditional for sports viewing across the country. Maryland fans will say they got “screwed” by a bad whistle, and they might be right.

5-FINA World Championships Men’s 100 Meter Butterfly (Aug 1 Rome, ITA)

[dailymotion]http://www.dailymotion.com/video/xa19tw_phelps-100-butterfly-4982-wr-rome-0_sport[/dailymotion]

The entire week of the World Championships leading up to this race in Rome were kinda weird. Swimmers continued to wear the soon-to-be-banned scientifically advanced swimsuits, which made Michael Phelps (wearing his older Speedo suit) appear to be mortal. It also allowed Milorad Cavic to start flapping his gums about the world’s greatest swimmer, and set up for a classic. Phelps was up to the task, beating Cavic in world record time in what was the moment of the year in the world of swimming.

4-NBA Finals Game 4: Lakers @ Magic (June 11 Amway Arena Orlando, FL)

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CkqjNJs2hNc[/youtube]

When the ball ended up in Derek Fisher’s hands at the end of this game, was ANYONE surprised these teams went to overtime? He’s starting to move into Robert Horry territory. The NBA Finals may have lacked the atmosphere and intensity that a LeBron James-Kobe Bryant matchup would have provided, but Game 4 was thrilling nonetheless and turned into a series changer.

3-Big East Tournament Quarterfinal: UConn vs. Syracuse (March 12-13 Madison Square Garden New York, NY)

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7aaf-fHdTlA[/youtube]

If this had been a more significant game, there would have been NO DOUBT this would have been #1 on this list. The game itself was thrilling from start to finish, with Jonny Flynn and Andy Rautins playing hero for the Orange. Watching this game on a Thursday night, it was particularly disturbing because I just couldn’t bring myself to go to bed before it ended at 1:22am, knowing I had to be up just a couple hours later for my Comcast Morning Show duties.

2-Wimbledon Gentleman’s Final (July 5 All England Lawn & Tennis Club Wimbledon, ENG)

wimbledon

NO ONE thought Roddick-Federer would provide the drama of Federer-Nadal a year earlier. Maybe it didn’t, but it certainly didn’t fail to captivate. A 16-14 5th set would make a Taylor Dent-Vince Spadea match interesting; but it made Federer’s pursuit of Pete Sampras’ career slam record that much more surreal. This was undoubtedly the greatest single match performance of Andy Roddick’s career-which will ultimately be defined by not being quite at the level of Federer and Nadal.

1-Super Bowl XLIII (February 1 Raymond James Stadium Tampa, FL)

43

You saw the game. I don’t need to explain why this is number 1. Mostly because if I have to say one more nice thing about Pittsburgh I might vomit.

Flexing my mic muscles since 1983….

-G

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Caps Have Cup in Mind as Training Camp Set to Begin

Posted on 06 September 2009 by Ed Frankovic

Hockey is officially back starting tomorrow, September 7th as Washington Capitals rookie camp opens and then is followed by the veterans joining the action on Saturday, September 12th at Kettler Ice Plex in Ballston, Virginia. The Caps, who have made the playoffs the past two seasons as Southeast Division Champions, are looking to avenge last year’s second round seven game series loss to the eventual Stanley Cup Champion Pittsburgh Penguins and get their hands on the cup themselves next June. As I blogged on many occasions during last season, the Caps became legitimate Stanley Cup contenders in 2008-09 and this year they appear to be even closer to reaching their goal. The Capitals continue to be a young team, led by soon to be 24  year old Alexander Ovechkin (9/17), and should mature even more this season as superstars in the making Nicklas Backstrom and Mike Green are about to embark on just their third full season in the league.

Caps GM George McPhee has put together a very solid team that is deep on defense and Coach Bruce Boudreau’s aggressive style is exactly the type of system that fits the personnel McPhee has assembled. In short, this is a competitive and exciting team to watch and Caps tickets will continue to be tough to obtain.

So after losing an ultra close series to the Penguins and watching them host Lord Stanley’s Cup, just where do the Caps stand now in relation to the rest of the league? Well, I had a chance to catch up with an NHL scouting director recently to get his take on the off-season and he made a point of saying that he thinks that the Penguins and the Detroit Red Wings have lost ground since the Stanley Cup Finals. He felt that the departures of Rob Scuderi and Hal Gill on defense would hurt Pittsburgh and said Detroit is an aging team with shaky goaltending (but they still have Nicklas Lidstrom, Henrik Zetterberg, and Pavel Datsyuk). He also criticized the moves made by the Chicago Blackhawks (he is not a Marian Hossa fan and going with Cristobal Huet in net is risky) and felt that the hiring of Brent Sutter as head coach in Calgary would really help them considerably.

So given that the Pens needed seven games to dispose of the Caps and Washington has improved despite forwards Sergei Fedorov and Viktor Kozlov heading to Russia (but McPhee added Mike Knuble and Brendan Morrison) you could make an argument that the Caps are the favorites to win the Eastern Conference in 2009-10. I’m sure the Boston Bruins, Philadelphia Flyers, and Carolina Hurricanes (along with the defending champs) would beg to differ with that statement. For Washington to win the East they need to have the every day mind set that they are the team to beat and conduct themselves accordingly, starting this week in training camp, so that when April comes around they are ready to roll and not endure the bumps they faced early in last seasons playoffs (lost 3 of the first 4 opening series games to the Rangers).

It is a long way until April but as I alluded to above, everything the Caps do now sets the stage for the playoffs in April so here are some of the things I will be watching closely this next month in preparation for the start of the regular season:

1. Goaltending Battle – Back during development camp in July Boudreau announced that Jose Theodore, who has one year left on his current contract, was his #1 goalie heading into training camp. 21 year old Simeon Varlamov stole that job from #60 in the playoffs last spring and he is clearly the netminder of the future for Washington. In addition, 21 year old Michal Neuvirth led the Hershey Bears to the Calder Cup (AHL Championship) in June and is in the mix. Also up and coming is 19 year old Braden Holtby who looks to play in Hershey this year after a strong junior season in Saskatoon in 2008-09. By the way, Varlamov, Neuvrith, and Holtby all take the ice on Monday, September 7th when rookie camp commences.

2. Top Six Forwards Cohesion – Boudreau routinely shuffled his lines last season often putting Ovechkin and Backstrom with Alexander Semin when he needed scoring. Will that be the top line or will Knuble with the Great #8 and Backstrom work better while Semin plays with Morrison and either Tomas Fleischmann or Brooks Laich on the second line? Boudreau has mentioned he would like more stability with his top six forwards.

3. Which 7 players on D make the team? – The Caps have a lot of NHL caliber defensemen starting with Green, then you have veteran Tom Poti as the likely #2 defensemen. After that it gets interesting. Brian Pothier, who is an unrestricted free agent following this season, claims to finally be healthy and in shape and seeks to become a top 4 defensemen but he will battle the likes of 20 year old Karl Alzner (turns 21 on 9/24), Shaone Morrisonn, the much improved Milan Jurcina, the physical John Erskine, 23 year old and former 2004 first round pick Jeff Schultz, and 19 year old potential star John Carlson. That is 9 guys clamoring for 7 slots and as we all know, competition typically makes guys get better, so this will be fun to watch.

Other interesting stories will be:

- The return of team captain/forward Chris Clark, who claims to finally be healthy again. Can he regain his skating ability and scoring touch (he had 30 goals playing with Ovechkin in 2006-07)?

- The progression of Fleischmann (19 goals in 2008-09), who improved despite battling a severe case of pnuemonia last season. Will the 25 year old become a consistent top 6 forward?

- The impact that the loss of Donald Brashear will have on the team. Do the Caps need a tough guy? Can Matt Bradley and Erskine handle that role? Or will a potent power play be enough of a deterrent to other teams?

- Can forward Chris Bourque finally make the Caps or will he be traded? Bourque may get caught in a numbers game in DC.

- Will 2008 first round draft pick Anton Gustaffson make it through training camp without getting injured?

- How close are young guys like Matthieu Perrault (21) and Oskar Osala (21) to becoming the call ups of choice from Hershey this season?

We will see how things unfold these next several days and weeks. If you want to get out to Kettler and catch the practice sessions they are FREE and OPEN to the public. Click to get the complete team roster and training camp schedule. As always, please drop me a comment if you have a question or something to say about the Caps.

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15-7-0

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15-7-0

Posted on 15 June 2009 by Glenn Clark

You get props:

1. Brian Roberts, Ty Wigginton & Brad Bergesen

Yo Forrester-consider me OFFICIALLY off the Derek Lowe bandwagon. You mean to tell me the greatest pitcher in the history of the world can’t beat the Orioles on a day when they’re not even trying to win???? And to think-you thought the Orioles should have paid him to have him on their team. We’ve got Bergesen Forrester! And Uehara! And…..Jesus Christ I can’t remember the other guys on this team. But they didn’t suck Saturday and Sunday! Thank God!

And as a note to “Warning Track Power”: I really enjoy your fervor and all; but having to hear THIS song at every game might well end up being the death of me. The team is horrible. You put Ryan Freel in the song. Just sing a song about how it’s been forever and it would be nice for them to not suck every now and then. In fact, the hook is catchy. But do I HAVE to be reminded of who the players are?

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hFwlKt9LX84[/youtube]

2. Anna Nordqvist & Brian Gay

nordqvist

I’m not trying to say she’s hot; but when your choices are Nordqvist and say, Christina Kim…..

kim

….it’s not a particularly difficult choice. The LPGA Championship might not be coming back to Havre de Grace; but we’ll always have the memories. (Editor’s note: Upon review, I apologize for not realizing that no one has any memories of this event.)

Brian Gay won the Golf Tournament Classic in Memphis this weekend too. I will give you 5 seconds to giggle about his name.

(Pause)

Can’t you just grow up already?

3. Cain Velasquez, Rich Franklin, & Ray Mercer

Congratulations to Velasquez and Franklin for big wins in Germany. But the story of the fighting weekend HAS to be Ray Mercer’s knockout of Tim Syliva; which ranks amongst the more hilarious knockouts I’ve ever seen.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LNZARnHMOdo&feature=player_embedded[/youtube]

I swear to God my 7 year old cousin would probably have offered more resistance than Tim Sylvia did. And if I remember right, this fight was supposed to be a boxing match; but after he wouldn’t have been allowed to get a license, Sylvia was able to have it changed to a MMA clash. This is actually more embarrassing than the time I had my pants pulled down in 8th grade in front of the very attractive Emily Hancock only to have it revealed that I was apparently the only person in my entire middle school who was still wearing tighty-whities. Did I say that happened to me? I meant my cousin. It was really embarrassing for me him.

4. Miguel Cotto

Cotto beat Clottey Saturday night at Madison Square Garden in a fight that no one was more interested in than Bob Haynie, but yet Bob Haynie was unable to see it. Reminds me of the time I was really looking forward to seeing Maryland play at Duke but nobody told the Terps they had a game scheduled that day.

And apparently Floyd Maywather hurt himself and had to postpone his fight with Juan Manuel Marquez from July 18 until September. Hopefully he will remember to reschedule his July 19th retirement party as well.

5. Michael Phelps

Or as I like to call him “The gift that keeps on giving.” In the pool at the Santa Clara Invitational; Phelps was mediocre at best. But does anyone really care about what this guy does in the pool? First of all, he showed up at the event sporting this Jake Plummer imitation….

phelps

…..and then we found he wrote a CHILDREN’S BOOK. Chapter 2: “Kids, make sure no one has a cell phone camera.”

BUT IT GETS BETTER!!!!!

phelps

You know, after seeing this, I now think I might have to change my mind about my decision to not advance work on ANY of book ideas. Making matters worse, the other guy whose name is at the top of the book-Alan Abrahamson-is a legitimate journalist who covers Phelps for NBCSports.com. I put in a request to interview Alan Abrahamson’s dignity about the book; but of course found out no such thing existed.

6. Jim Miller, Tim Bascom, and Brett Bordes

The Orioles also promoted all the good pitchers in the organization and demoted all of the ones who weren’t major parts of their plans. Somehow Mark Hendrickson remained with the big league club.

7. Andy Murray & Tommy Haas

This is a picture of Tommy Haas’ girlfriend Sara Foster. I will leave you alone now with your thoughts.

foster

8. Phil Jackson

Congratulations to Jackson on setting the new all-time record by winning his 10th NBA Championship. And to think, none of it would have been possible without Will Perdue…..

will

9. Torii Hunter, Albert Pujols, & Ronny Paulino

These guys LOVE the longball. Jolts. Jacks. Round trippers. Moon shots. Four baggers. BLEACHER….CREATURES!!!!

Elsewhere in baseball, fired their hitting coach Gerald Perry in an attempt to improve their offense. You would have thought that trading for Brian Roberts would have helped……

Was that a low blow?

10. Michal Neuvirth & Andre Giroux

So they couldn’t get a team past the Conference semifinals in the NHL Playoffs, and now they won’t even be able to claim a Calder Cup. What the hell does Canada have anymore????

hortons

11. Josh Wicks & Machel Millwood

DC United and Crystal Palace USA were winners this weekend. That’s nice and all; but it CLEARLY isn’t the biggest story in soccer. The biggest story in soccer is somehow…..Paris Hilton?

paris

…..who reportedly hooked up with the world’s most expensive soccer player, Cristiano Ronaldo. I say “reportedly” because journalists are actually covering this breaking news story. I didn’t spend every day of my high school career trying to get into the University of Maryland School of Journalism for nothing, friends.

12. Jim Tracy

Don’t look now, but after a managerial firing; the Colorado Rockies have won 11 straight games. I say don’t look now because if you’ll look, you’ll probably notice that we’re still only talking about baseball. I’d say this was an exciting streak; but I’m not a great liar. Although, MLB.com apparently is….

mlb

……as this picture from Sunday’s win was accompanied by the caption “The skies were ominous, but the mood in the stands at Coors Field was festive.”

What the hell part of that picture is “festive”? The part where some people are pointing at something but some people aren’t? It’s a freaking baseball game!

13. Cougar Town

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2HLhOrQuy9U[/youtube]

This will almost undoubtedly be the worst television program not only in the history of ABC, but in the history of television. But it the only lasting part of this television program is the image of Courtney Cox we see at the 2:52 mark of this trailer; this show has served its purpose.

14. Hons

Some cities brag about their beautiful weather, near perfect air quality, and/or championship sports teams. In Baltimore, we have……the best beehives?

beehive

Of course, they one-upped themselves at this year’s HonFest; as they figured out a way to show off the OTHER thing our beautiful city has to offer, by creating the Guinness Book of Records’ World’s largest crabcake…..

crab

The crabcake is rumored to have been just enough to feed Ray Bachman.

15. Dogfish Head “Aprihop” IPA

dogfish

As you may have heard, I’m a bit of a beer snob. This is another delicious brew from the fine people at Dogfish Head, who have given us such classics as “Punkin Ale” and “90 Minute IPA”. I generally approve of just about everything Dogfish Head does; mostly because I tend to approve of beer in general. The beer is brewed with apricots, hence the very clever name “Aprihop.” This marked a much better choice than their other idea….”Dogfish Head Beer made out of Apricots for people who started drinking fruity beers instead of getting laid in high school.”

You got lucky…..

1. Mark Martin

The last time I gambled on fuel strategy, I ended up on the side of 695 dumping out a gallon of milk so Barry Aparicio could give me a ride to Royal Farms to get some. Things didn’t work out as well for Jimmie Johnson; meaning the math his crew chief Chad Knaus did to determine he could make it didn’t work. Of course, anything that involves math isn’t a sport. In fact, anything that involves math is nothing more than something that should just go away.

2. Marc-Andre Fleury

fleury

Nothing like a well placed crossbar to ruin Nicklas Kronwall’s would-be tying goal and give those inbreds in Pittsburgh another major championship. Thanks for that Detroit. And I’ll say this again; it’s probably best that teams in Pittsburgh are good. Because if I had to live in that WRETCHED place and root for crappy teams, I’d be happy there were 400 bridges to pick from.

3. Alex Rodreguez & Willy Aybar

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y5xjQUMhN9Y&feature=player_embedded[/youtube]

I’d be angry that A-Rod got lucky and had Luis Castillo drop his pop-up Friday night; but it really couldn’t have happened to a more deserving guy. (Editor’s Note: Apparently, this good fortune could have happened to ANY other human being on the face of the planet and they would have been more deserving.)

Aybar had a double go off 3rd base to help the Rays sweep the Nationals; which is really just like rubbing salt in the wounds at this point. Manny Acta might get fired soon; or he might not. Would anyone really even care???

4. Jim Calhoun

Is it wrong of me that when I heard Jim Calhoun broke 5 ribs and collapsed; I was thinking in my head “Yes, yes, thank God yes!!!!!” But apparently Calhoun is actually going to be okay; and is looking forward to visiting with some of his current and former players this summer. At Leavenworth.

5. Adam Eaton

How in God’s name is this guy still employed???? He got his first win with the Colorado Springs Sky Sox, as he hopes to work his way back to the big leagues to join the red hot Colorado Rockies. Obviously he won’t because he might be the worst pitcher in the history of ever; but at least he gets to hang with this guy while he plays with the Sky Sox…..

fasano

6. Viewers of the KOMU News whose Friday night viewing suddenly became more entertaining…

[vimeo]http://vimeo.com/4965587[/vimeo]

Why the hell doesn’t this type of thing ever happen when Jayne Miller is on location???

jayne

7. Bonnaroo attendees

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tVknE8aPgIM&feature=channel[/youtube]

3 hours of Bruce Springsteen, two sets from Phish, a surprise set from Jimmy Buffett, Beastie Boys, etc etc etc??? That’s good and all, but you know how I spent my weekend??? Cleaning up my apartment and trying to get rid of the mildew smell after my dishwasher busted shooting water through the tile into my bathroom. Which lead to this classic text from my roommate….

“If I had to guess how deep the water was, I’d say 8 feet. But I’m not a mathematician.”

Now who had a better weekend?

You’re a zero…….

Good looking people at my apartment complex’s pool

pool

Look, I mostly avoid the pool. Not because I don’t like pools; but mostly because I don’t have the time. But I went to the gym Sunday (save the snickering); and I thought “you know, maybe I should jump in there quickly for a pool shower.” If you don’t know what a pool shower is, you never lived in Arizona. In Arizona it is so hot that you feel the need to take 8 showers a day if you spend more than 5 minutes outside. It had been a while since I had the chance to enjoy a good pool shower; so I decided to hop in Sunday after going to the gym. Of course, my visit to the pool was brief, mostly because there were 5-6 girls and 3-4 dudes that were WAAAAY too attractive to be hanging out at our pool. Go somewhere else people. Chubby dudes who can barely swim shouldn’t have to put up with something like that.

-G

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Hershey Bears Calder Cup Champions; Penguins win Stanley Cup (Updated)

Posted on 12 June 2009 by Ed Frankovic

The Hershey Bears are the Calder Cup Champions after knocking off the Manitoba Moose, 4-1, in game six of their series tonight in Winnipeg. Hershey blitzed Moose goalie Cory Schneider for three goals in the first period and never looked back. Rookie goalie Michal Neuvirth, who won the Jack A. Butterfield trophy for AHL playoff MVP, made 24 saves to get the win.  Andrew Gordon, Chris Bourque, Alexandre Giroux and Keith Aucoin scored for Hershey. Congrats to the Bears and the Washington Capitals organization!

Revenge is a dish best served cold if you are a Penguins fan tonight as Pittsburgh held off a furious Red Wings rally to win the Stanley Cup in exciting fashion, 2-1, to avenge last season’s Stanley Cup Finals loss to Detroit. Hockey fans will be watching the incredible Marc-Andre Fleury save on Nicklas Lidstrom with one second left for years to come. Evgeni Malkin was the Conn Smythe Award Winner for Playoff MVP but in my mind, the Pens aren’t anywhere without Sidney Crosby (who was injured in game 7 and barely played after that). Crosby carried this team in the first two rounds, especially against the Caps, and he goes against the opponents best defensive group every game while Malkin gets the second unit.

In Detroit tonight, defenseman Brad Stuart is wearing the goat horns for taking the first penalty (slashing Malkin), then giving the puck away that allowed Maxime Talbot to make it 1-0 Pens, and then pinching at the blue line to set up a two on one for Pittsburgh that they, of course, scored on (Talbot again). I’ve been saying this all playoffs and will say it again – the Penguins are about as good a team as I’ve ever seen at converting two on one breaks.

Btw, please check out my on air discussion with Nestor today in the WNST audio vault (http://wnst.net/wordpress/section/audio/) for my pre game thoughts on the NHL and AHL finals.

For Caps and Baltimore sports fans it was tough seeing Pittsburgh win another trophy but given that the Caps lost two contests in OT to the Pens before bowing out in 7 games should make you and the entire Caps organization realize that they are very close to their first ever Stanley Cup victory. With some salary cap room freeing up from the Viktor Kozlov and Sergei Fedorov departures (and hopefully a Michael Nylander release too), Caps GM George McPhee should finally have some cap space to make the moves he needs to put Washington over the top. There is lots of talent in this organization in the NHL, AHL, and ECHL (the Caps team down there, the South Carolina Stingrays, won the Championship as well).

The NHL Awards show is next week from Las Vegas (Alexander Ovechkin should win the Hart Trophy for MVP and Mike Green is up for the Norris Trophy (best defenseman)), followed by the NHL draft the week after in Montreal (June 26 on Versus), and then free agency begins on July 1 so the NHL off-season will start fast and furious.

Congrats again to Coach Bob Woods and the Hershey Bears on their championship!

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