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DON’T FORGET TO VOTE! King of Baltimore Sportstalk continues…

Posted on 21 April 2009 by Nestor Aparicio

Hopefully, by now you’ve seen some of the video or heard some of the interviews and auditions or read some of the great blogs we’ve been featuring here at WNST.net over the past two weeks as the “Coors Light King of Baltimore Sportstalk” competition rolls on this week via our blogosphere below.

With the Orioles, the NFL Draft, the Caps and the Stanley Cup playoffs, lacrosse, golf and many other sports blossoming here in the early days of spring, there’s PLENTY to write about and watch for our prospective crew of 27 entrants into the KOBST parade of talent. (Yes, we had 54 actual applicants and only 27 have actually “followed through” with the energy to participate! We’ve already eliminated half of the original “field.”)

Many folks have inquired regarding how the competition will work, and although there are several spots on the website with the rules and voting regulations, I just wanted to reiterate that voting for the “Top 3” bloggers will end on Thursday evening.

We will announce the “Top 3” on Friday morning. Over the weekend the remaining candidates will have a chance to blog for four more days through the NFL Draft and on Tuesday at 2 p.m., I will announce the remaining second-round contestants on “Limited Access.”

We expect about a dozen second-round contestants to make it through.

We will bring back the survivors for another more thorough audition and segment the week of May 4th.

Our semfinals will be held at Donna’s Tavern in Dundalk on Wednesday, May 13 and the championship will be at Padonia Station in Timonium on Wednesday, May 27.

Don’t forget to read your favorite blogs and vote for the best!

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Rangers deal Orioles and Caps bad losses

Posted on 15 April 2009 by Nestor Aparicio

A touchdown and a field goal and the Orioles would’ve been right back in last night’s endeavor at The Ballpark in Arlington. For the third time in as many series, the Orioles imploded in the final game, getting their pitching officially battered by the stout Rangers in a 19-6 drubbing. They’ll have the day off today before battling the Red Sox four times over the weekend at Fenway Park.

Meanwhile, earlier in the night the Caps gave up an ugly third-period goal and failed to capitalize on their power play, losing to the “other” Rangers 4-3 at Verizon Center. Game 2 is set for 1 p.m. on Saturday afternoon.

Below are my notes from an evening “Rocking the Remote” with the O’s and Caps:

10:37 p.m. — If you’re going to lose, why not do it in legendary style? Ian Kinsler has just tripled to complete the cycle. It must be something about the Rangers, these blowout games. It’s 15-4 in the 6th inning. At least it’s not 30-3. Not yet, anyway…

10:27 p.m. — Jim Palmer just said Chad Moeller has “put the wrong fingers down” too many times this year. And he’s now heading toward 0-3 as the starting catcher. Palmer said he’d be better if he caught Jeremy Guthrie every night. I agree. Moeller just drilled one over the centerfield fence.

9:57 p.m. –Hendrickson, Liz…does it matter at this point? It’s 12-3 in the 5th inning. No need to recount the meltdown. But we all know the pitching sucks. But, even nine runs down, with the Rangers band of arsonists it’s hardly over.

9:49 p.m. –Hendrickson is nearing 100 pitches. He’s gotten 11 outs and has allowed five runs and the bases are loaded.

9:37 p.m. — Bummer. Nothing worse than losing Game 1 at home. Final: Rangers 4, Caps 3.

9:34 p.m. –Craig Lauglin just said “Sean Avery has some screws loose!” That’s pretty funny. Even if this outcome isn’t looking positive. The net is empty…

9:28 p.m. — The Caps’ powerplay is not getting it done tonight. The Rangers have taken some dumb penalties and the door has been ajar all night, even when they were down a pair of goals. They need a miracle. It’s the playoffs. Don’t wanna lose this one, not at home!

9:26 p.m. — Caps on powerplay, down a goal…with 5:00 left. They’re losing 4-3. It’s a doubly whammy from Rangers tonight.

9:22 p.m. — Hendrickson has come unglued. Three runs are in, Birds are behind 4-3 in 3rd inning. Two outs in the 3rd inning and Hendrickson’s pitch count is nearing 70. Yikes! At least he escaped with a nice pitch to Saltalamacchia.

9:20 p.m. — UNLEASH THE FURY!!!!!!

9:18 p.m. — Third period power play and the Caps don’t land a shot. En route outta the box the Rangers take the lead on Brandon Dubinsky left Jeff Schultz’s pride at the blue line. Wow, probably the biggest goat horns on one player I’ve seen in a while. That was just bad, bad defense.

P.S. This “beard-a-thon” looks like fun. Lots of fun if the Caps can get outta this hole!

9:14 p.m. –Caught the replay of the Ian Kinsler shot. Man, he’s good! Makes me long for Matt Wieters. It’s the third inning and Mark Hendrickson is still pitching. At least we’re en route to a “quality start.” Well, maybe anyway. Better than last night anyway…

Caps have a power play. Pass the remote!

9:04 p.m. –The Verizon Center has come to life! They’re killing Henrik Lundqvist from the roof. Alex Semin scored and the place has gone bonkers. Good to hear the noise!

8:45 p.m. –Kris Benson hasn’t improved. Adam Jones has. Benson just walked in a run with two outs and the bases loaded. The Orioles are up 3-1 in the 2nd.

Want some comedy? The Orioles official website says: “Cagey vet Hendrickson, O’s looking for sweep” I have a lot of adjectives (and perhaps some adverbs) to describe Mark Hendrickson. Cagey would not be one of them. His lifetime ERA is 5.05. His WHIP is 1.45. Perhaps “savvy” at business but not cagey on the field. Hey, he’s still collecting a multi-million dollar Major League Baseball check, so he’s doing something right. Must be great to be lefthanded!

8:36 p.m. — The New York Rangers have quelled the crowd at the phone booth. Mark Hendrickson has already given up a run. Ian Kinsler is a fantastic baseball player. The Caps are down 3-2 and working on some momentum after Viktor Kozlov’s late goal.

8:17 p.m. — Now I’m watching the Orioles. They’re wearing “42s” on their backs with no name. Everybody is. I forgot all about it (or maybe they did a crappy job of promoting it?) They’re also up 2-0. Leadoff walks are bad news, Kris Benson!

8:14 p.m. — Sixty nine seconds. (Something funny there…insert joke!) That’s how long the Caps had their 1-0 lead. It was a whirlwind! The game has taken on a different energy since Ovechkin’s goal and the subsequent follow up from ancient Scott Gomez.

7:59 p.m. — Here’s where it gets interesting. Caps-Rangers are revving up the second period. O’s are about to do first pitch with the “other” Rangers in Arlington. I have a feeling hockey is going to have a “little” more energy. Ha!

7:50 p.m. — I just flipped over to MASN2 for some pre-game from Peter’s boys and the first thing I heard was Rick Dempsey talking about a torn “rotor” cuff. Aye, yi, yi…

7:43 p.m. — The first period is always a “feeling out” kinda period. The Caps had a pair of early powerplays and netting one might’ve been a good idea. The Verizon Center is a sea of red. The crowd has been “less than rowdy” — which kinda shocks me since it’s the playoffs because usually the crowd is at a fever pitch. I hear the cheap seats roaring, but near the glass people look a bit subdued.

It’s 0-0. Nothing really exciting, unless you consider Sean Avery doing stupid stuff a treat. Hasty hockey. Quick first period.

7:35 p.m. — Tonight IS Opening Day for people like me. It’s a rough decision night and a tight grip on the remote control will be necessary in 25 minutes when the Caps are in the second period of what figured to be a war with the Broadway Blues over the next two week and the Orioles bring out their THIRD broom of the season and the season is only nine days old.

Pinch me…it feels like 1989 all over again, only I have the ability to share this with you via a live blog all night.

Given my history with emotional April hockey/baseball games, this oughta be fun!

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Ovechkin Injured In Practice

Posted on 04 March 2009 by Alex Thomas

According to a report in the Washington Post, Washington Capitals superstar Alex Ovechkin, the NHL’s leading goal scorer, was injured this morning in practice after taking a hard slap shot off of his right foot. Ovechkin limped to the bench and was helped to the locker room.

Despite reports from the team that the injury is not serious, The Great Eight was seen smashing hockey sticks on the way to the locker room in frustration. That is never a good sign from an injured player, so this is certainly something to keep an eye on.

The news is only getting worse for the Caps. After beating the Bruins in overtime on the road, they are now fighting a two game losing skid after getting blown out by Florida and Carolina in back to back games.

Overall, the Caps are amidst one of their best seasons in franchise history; they currently sit comfortably atop the Southeastern division.

At this point, the question is not whether or not they will make the playoffs. The big questions are: (1) can this team stay healthy throughout the post-season and is the Ovechkin injury serious? And (2) is Jose Theodore good enough between the pipes to lead this team to the Stanley Cup?

Despite giving up at least five goals in the last two games, the Caps defense is sound and their offense is one of the best in the league. Caps fans need to keep an eye on the health of Ovechkin and look to see if Theodore heats up heading into the playoffs.

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Ovechkin Scores Two in Caps Win

Posted on 26 September 2008 by Ed Frankovic

Caps Sweep Home and Home with Carolina

Alexander Ovechkin had two goals, including one on a penalty shot, and an added an assist as the Washington Capitals defeated Carolina, 5-2, before 13,266 at the Verizon Center on Thursday night in the Caps preseason home opener. Despite the fact that this was a preseason game the Great #8 didn’t fail to entertain adding numerous body checks, several of which were on Carolina defensemen Dennis Seidenberg, to go along with his three point night. The win completed a home and home preseason sweep of the Hurricanes by the Caps (Washington won 4-1 on Wednesday night in Raleigh).

The Caps came out slow giving up 15 shots in the first period, including two power play goals, as the Hurricanes raced to a 2-0 lead. The Carolina goals were the result of some big rebounds given up by rookie goalie Michal Neuvirth but after that he shut the door and made 24 saves on the night.

“I thought [Neuvirth] was a little shaky at the beginning and then just settled right in…the other team worked really hard and its difficult sometimes, there isn’t a lot of Carolina Hurricanes on the forward list out there…so they’re working hard and we’re taking it easy a bit because human nature says we don’t even know half of their guys…but we stayed the course and eventually played a little better as the game went on,” said Caps Coach Bruce Boudreau.

The #1 star of the game was given to Christopher Bourque, son of Hall of Fame defensemen Ray Bourque, who had a goal and an assist but was a big factor in the first four Caps goals (it was his pass that set up Ovechkin’s initial near breakaway that led to the penalty shot that tied the game at two in the second period). Bourque, who is 22 years old and was taken in the 2nd round of the 2004 NHL entry draft by the Caps, is improving.

“I thought he was good…the little guy looks like he found that step and I’ve asked him to find that extra step and he looks pretty quick…one thing about Chris is he’s always competed hard his whole life and he does that and I thought he was very solid tonight,” said Boudreau about Bourque.

Michal Nylander, with two goals, also turned in a strong game coming off missing the second half of last season and the playoffs due to shoulder surgery. Washington needs a good year from Nylander, especially when they are paying him $5M for this season. When asked about #92’s shoulder and if there are any doubts about him being recovered Boudreau said, “No, it’s good….Nyles should have gotten one of [Viktor Kozlov’s] assists last night so in my mind he has four points in two games…you know he had 89 points or something the year before he got hurt..he’s got a lot of pride and is fighting his way saying I’m gonna show everyone how good I am again.”

There was more encouraging news on the night as team captain Chris Clark played 14:29 of ice time providing two assists and got into a scrap with Canes defensemen Tim Conboy in the third period. Clark missed almost all of last season with numerous injuries.

“It was fun, a little bit of everything tonight, some checking…everything was there for me tonight to test,” said Clark on the game and then on the fight with Conboy he added, “you have to get into one eventually so we’ll start now.”

I asked Chris Clark about the heightened expectations this team will face and if as a leader he is talking to the team about what to expect, especially given that he has experience going to the Stanley Cup Finals as a member of the 2004 Calgary Flames team that lost to Tampa Bay in Game 7.

“We pretty much have our whole team back and we didn’t win the last game of last year but it feels like it since the season ended up on such a high note. The guys are trying to remember that run and thought about it all summer so it is something we are just trying to continue,” started Clark, “There is a lot of expectation, you know it is great, we haven’t had that the last three years here.  It is something and it is fun because we have to live up to those expectations…we have the team to do it…once the season starts, once the grind gets going, guys will figure it out. You know we have a lot of guys who have won, Feds (Sergei Fedorov) has won two cups, so he is the guy who should be talking about it but it is something definitely that will be coming up later on.”

Despite the fact that Carolina fielded a mostly minor league roster tonight the Caps appear to be off and running. The team is fun to watch because of its offensive minded and up tempo philosophy.

Other Notes: Defensemen Mike Green logged 25:51 of ice time and had 1 assist in the game. Tom Poti played 20:14 of ice time that included a great defensive shift where the Caps killed all 73 seconds of a two man advantage for Carolina. Caps Goalie Darren Machesney stopped the only three shots he faced in the third period but got the win since Washington scored three times in the final period. Boyd Gordon was 11-6 on faceoffs for Washington. Ovechkin had four official hits and eight shots on goal. Despite being outshot 15-9 in the first period Washington outshot Carolina 30-29 overall. The Caps play their next three preseason games on the road: Saturday at Boston, Monday at New Jersey, and Wednesday at Philadelphia. The Hershey Bears, Washington’s AHL farm team, opens training camp on Friday (September 26th).

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