Tag Archive | "Washington Capitals"



Can Dale Hunter make Alex Ovechkin a winner?

Posted on 28 November 2011 by Drew Forrester

I fired a coach once.

And I fired him for almost the exact same reason the Capitals dismissed Bruce Boudreau on Monday.

The star player wasn’t getting the job done.  And without him leading the team – both performance-wise and spiritually – there was little hope for success.

My in-season firing came in late January of 1996 when I parted company with Dave MacWilliams.  He was only a season-and-a-half into his tenure as coach of the Baltimore Spirit (nee Blast) indoor soccer team when I relieved him of his duties — even though we were 13-11 at the time.

I made the move for a variety of reasons, but the biggest issue confronting me was this: the team had stopped playing for him because the best player at the time (Franklin McIntosh) had also stopped playing for him.  My first reaction was to part company with McIntosh, but I knew the truth.  First, no one would take him…too much baggage and too much trouble.  Second, we were barely a good offensive team WITH him…we would have stunk to high heavens without him.

So as I contemplated a possible coaching move, I did so with this big thought in mind.  “Who can I bring in that will get the best out of McIntosh?”  I figured if I could find a magician to come in and do that, I’d have a chance to get the rest of the team to follow suit.

It worked, fortunately.  McIntosh initially connected with the new coach, former Blast great Mike Stankovic, and the team went 12-4 to finish up the regular season at 25-15.  There’s more to the story, actually, because Stankovic wound up suspending McIntosh for the post-season, but the decision I made in January to remove MacWilliams and insert Stankovic was the catalyst for the team’s second half resurgence.

The Washington Capitals are in the exact same situation.

Is Dale Hunter the man who can get Alex Ovechkin back on track?

If he is, the Caps can be Stanley Cup contenders.

If he isn’t, the Caps won’t contend for anything except a first-round playoff ouster…again.

Ovechkin remains a question mark because, despite his enormous wealth of talent, he’s never been able to guide his team to the Stanley Cup finals.  In fact, they haven’t even come close.

And when you make the most money and you’re the high profile player, that burden is on your shoulders, unfair or not.

At some point over the last year or so, a disconnect developed between Bruce Boudreau and Ovechkin.  Insiders say Ovechkin’s well-documented fondness for the DC nightlife was never really addressed by Boudreau, who operated on the “as long as you’re performing on the ice, what you do off of it isn’t my concern” theory.  So given his kid gloves treatment of Ovie, where did Boudreau go wrong?  Did the rest of the team take exception (see next page please)

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Capital Pitch

Posted on 15 September 2011 by Chad Lamasa

Alex Ovechkin is throwing out the first pitch at tomorrow night’s Orioles game. What does it say about me for having a modicum of interest in going to a  game for the first time all season? More importantly what does it say about the state of the Orioles franchise?

For those that don’t know, the Washington Capitals will be playing the Nashville Predators, in what is being called the Baltimore Classic, next Tuesday at the First Mariner Arena.

Ovechkin is by far the most popular player on the Caps so, it makes sense to use him to promote that game. Those of you that have read my blogs know I’m a season ticket holder for the Caps. You probably also know my distaste for what the Orioles have become.

To get me to have any interest in wanting to go to a game, they had to bring in a player from another sport, in  another city. Honestly, any of the Caps would have sparked my interest. Does this make me a bad fan? Maybe it does.

I’m sure some people will say it does. Unfortunately, I just found out about his appearance early this morning and I already have plans for tomorrow night.

If I did go, I would definitely wear something emblazoned with a Capitals logo on it. I would be going just to see the Great 8 throw the ceremonial pitch and I couldn’t guarantee that I would stay beyond the 3rd inning.

Caps owner, Ted Leonsis, has said that he modeled the way he runs the team by how the Orioles were run in the 70’s and 80’s —  With a great farm system that uses the same terminology and does things the same way from the Caps down to their lowest minor league affiliate. That way, it’s a smoother transition from one level to the next. They promote coaches from within the organization,  have great scouting, and are willing to spend money to bring in a piece where necessary in addition to using the draft to get better.

He also realizes that the fans are what he owes his success too. Fans are treated extremely well by the Capitals. Among other things,  there is no extra charge for purchasing day of game tickets; nor, are they forced to pay for a TV channel they don’t want.

Leonsis understands the importance of social media. He’s on Facebook and has reached the max number of “friends”.  He writes a great blog. He also takes into account any suggestion(s) that fans make saying, if one person is thinking something and takes the time to write him about it,  there are probably many others thinking the same thing but not voicing it.

For example, there are now shelves over the urinals in the mens’ rooms of the Verizon Center for people to put their drinks on because people suggested that.  I know that he takes the time to answer emails from personal experience.

How ironic is it that the Orioles are having someone from an organization that’s modeled on their former greatness to throw out the opening pitch and they are now the laughing stock of the league, if not all of baseball.


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An Open Letter To Ted Leonsis

Posted on 27 May 2011 by Chad Lamasa

Now that I’ve had a bit of time, to recover from the disheartening sweep, I looked back at the season and realized that Alex Ovechkin reached two significant career milestones this season, 600 points and 300 goals, placing him third all time on the Capitals list for goals and points, and fourth in assists, it got me to thinking about the people above him.


Next in line is Mike Gartner with 789 points (397 G 402 A). His number is hanging in the rafters at Verizon Center, as it clearly should be.


With 825 points (472 G 353 A), Peter Bondra tops the franchise records for both goals and points and sits third in assists.


My question is, why is his number 12 not in the rafters, alongside two of his teammates (Mike Gartner, the most recent player to have his number raised, and Dale Hunter)?


Another player on that 1998 Stanley Cup Finals team, that also is clearly deserving of having his number retired, is Olaf Kolzig. He holds virtually all of the goaltending records for the franchise. His records will probably stand longer than Bondra’s since all the goalies on our team are just beginning their careers. However, that doesn’t mean we should wait to raise his number 37 to the rafters.


I’m not sure what the criteria, to have a number retired is. Does the player have to make the Hall of Fame? Bondra and Kolzig are probably both borderline Hall of Famers. Bondra already missed on his first ballot. But even if they never make it to Toronto, that doesn’t change their accomplishments for the franchise.


Both are still extremely popular among the fans. I know Bondra is still around the area, or at least will make himself available, having seen him at the Convention and public signings as well as playing in the alumni game at the Winter Classic.


I’m guessing that since no one wears either 12 or 37 they are unofficially retired but it’s time to make it official.


I just renewed my season tickets for next season, my 3rd as an STH. I would love to have one or two of those nights devoted to these players. To see them on the ice one last time at Verizon Center would be fantastic.


The nights could be tied into their jersey numbers. Depending on the schedule, they could be the 12th and 37th games of the season. Or if they are road games then the 12th and 37th home games of the season.


It doesn’t really matter when it happens just that it does, but as far as I’m concerned the sooner the better.


I was in attendance for the Mike Gartner ceremony and that was a great night. Bondra and Kolzig deserve their turn.


With the short history of the Caps, at least in hockey terms, there is still plenty of room in the rafters of the Verizon Center. It’s not as though we are running out of numbers, they would be just the fifth and sixth out of the possible 98 available.


I’m sure I’m not the only fan that feels this way.

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When all else fails, lean on me for some great Friday Mud

Posted on 06 May 2011 by Drew Forrester

We call these “the dog days” in the world of sports talk radio.

The NFL draft has come and gone.  And this year, with no mini-camps on the horizon, the football-discussion landscape is extremely bare.

The Caps have made their predictable early exit from the NHL post-season.

The NBA playoffs are still ongoing but only 81 people in Baltimore know it and even fewer want to talk about it.

That leaves us with…the Orioles.

And that’s it.

But you know what?  I’m OK with that, because I still contend this is a .500 baseball team and they’ll continue to hover around that mark for most of the summer.  (I know, I know…”Drew, what good is a .500 baseball team?  That’s not going to take them anywhere.”)  I think .500 baseball will still give us plenty to talk and write about over the next few months while we sift through the wreckage that is the NFL lockout.  They’ll have a 7-game winning streak in there.  They’ll be within 7 games of a wild card spot in August.  They’ll always be on the edge of being out of it, but just close enough that people like me who are believers will say, “If they just sweep this series in xxxxx, they’re right back in it.”

I’ll say what I’ve said since late January about the Orioles.  If they stay healthy (and there are definitely signs – like J.J. Hardy – that “injury free” probably won’t happen) this team is FULLY capable of playing .500 or better baseball in 2011.  If the hitters hit, they have a chance to win every night.  I know they WON’T win every night…I get that, but the way they pitch, they’ll have a have a chance every night as long as those bats produce.

And next off-season, when they really ARE a player or two away (read:  a bat or two) from maybe being really good, Andy and Peter will co-sign on $200 million for Fielder or Pujols.

OK, I’m officially nuts.  That’s something an editor at Orioles Hangout would write.

Let’s just get to .500 first, then we’ll spend $200 million.

Speaking of $200 million, that’s about what I think I could fetch for Friday Mud if I could somehow start an IPO and put this up for stock sale.  I just don’t have a good venture capital guy – or gal – to lead the charge.

So here it is again, free of charge.  Consider yourself VERY fortunate that I’m not more of a go-getter or you’d be swiping your credit card right now.


>  I’m thinking somewhere “up there”, the sports gods are giving the city of Cleveland a treat. The Browns have been horrible for much of the last decade, LeBron snubbed them for South Beach and the Indians, of course, haven’t been the same since they choked away a 3-1 ALCS championship series lead in 2007.  So now, the gods have sprung the Tribe out to a 20-8 record and folks in the land-of-Cleve are suddenly excited about baseball again.  It’s all good right?  Cleveland deserves this, correct?  NO WAY.  Cleveland deserves no good fortune until the greatest travesty in that city is corrected…immediately.  If these guys RIGHT HERE don’t make the Hall of Fame, may the Indians lose 20 straight at the end of the season to blow a 15.5 game September lead.

>  OK, so we all know Roy Halladay is the best pitcher in baseball right now, right?  I can’t imagine anyone would argue that point.  So let’s argue about something.  Who’s the best “young” pitcher in the game?  And by “young”, I’m talking about 24 and under.  Who is it?  I know who it is.  For sure.  It’s THIS DUDE.  When he signs with the Yankees in a few years, he’ll win multiple Cy Young awards.  Watch and see.  (And before you check…Felix Hernandez is 25.  Gotcha.)

>  I don’t know about you, but I’m done with the lockout.  Enough with it already.  I’m starting to wonder if maybe both sides aren’t craving the media coverage they’re getting from all of this.  In a sad, twisted way, they’re both trying to win the fight by baiting the public to bite the hook thrown out by the press.  I’m sick of hearing about it, reading about it and wondering which side is really telling the truth.  Answer to that:  probably neither side is actually telling the truth.  A few weeks ago here in Friday Mud, I said perhaps Judge Judy should rule on the case.  She’d get it right.  Upon further review, I know someone else that is FULLY capable of taking this thing over and presiding over whatever mediation is needed to get the owners and players back on the same page.  THIS MAN would fix those ego-maniacs on both sides.  You can make book on that.

>  It seems like every week or so, I publish a mean-spirited comment about the Philadelphia Flyers.  A few of you who are ardent fans of both the Flyers and Friday Mud have reached out to me and asked that I “take it easy” on the boys in orange. One person even went as far as to call me “callous” in the way I poke fun at the Flyers.  I certainly don’t want to come across as callous.  So…I’ll do it.  I’ll offer a kind message to all of you who are fans of the Flyers.  It’s not easy for me to do, mind you, but if you’re a diehard fan of the Flyers, go ahead and CLICK HERE for your special thought.**

>  Did you notice Roger Goodell hugged all of the NFL first-round draft picks last Thursday?  And they weren’t quick “good to see you dawg” hugs.  They were real hugs.  They were “love you, dude” hugs.  Ahhh, but maybe there was more to it.  Our WNST staff photographer was in New York for the draft and happened to position himself on the far LEFT of the stage, where he caught the Commissioner giving the hug and then casually, discreetly slipping something into the left jacket pocket of all the draft picks.  One of them removed his sport coat to sign some autographs and the photographer grabbed the item out of his jacket pocket and took a quick photo of it.  OK, the hug thing makes sense now.  After all, THIS ITEM that Goodell slipped to his new employees is certainly vital in today’s NFL.

>  THIS RIGHT HERE is what’s important.  Learn the words.

>  Another spring in Baltimore/Washington, another playoff dismissal of the Capitals.  This time, the Tampa Bay Lightning polished off our ice-heroes in four games.  And now, naturally, people are calling for the head of Bruce Boudreau or demanding that Alex Semin be sent packing.  I’m getting lots of calls and e-mails about the Caps…”What do they need, Drew?  Please tell me.  What does my team need?”  HERE is the simple answer to that question.

>  I don’t care who you are, THIS STUFF never gets old.  It’s timeless.  The whole family gets in the act.  They just don’t make ’em like this anymore.

>  Mark Reynolds of the Orioles keeps a unique calendar on the inside of his locker, both home and away.  Some guys put pictures of their wife or kids up…some just pick a hot girl from a magazine and pin her up…others put a quote from the Bible up.  Our staff photographer snuck in and grabbed A QUICK PHOTO of what Reynolds puts up as a way to keep track of what’s going on in his life.  I hope he has 10 more blank pages for the rest of the season.

>  I googled the phrase:  “Three things you’ll never see in Danny Briere’s life” and oddly enough, here’s what came up:  THIS, AND THEN THIS, and FINALLY THIS.##

>  Anyone out there who says “they don’t make real music anymore” obviously hasn’t heard this band or THIS SONG.

The Shoot Section (where I speak the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth)

In last Friday’s edition of Friday Mud, I made a point of referencing a recent ratings drop by one of our competitors and made light of a fictitious “bumper sticker” that I thought would be appropriate to put on cars in their parking lot.  “Tom” took a moment to contact me with a rather scathing email about how he doesn’t like the fact that I took a shot at “the good people” (as he called them) at that other station who are just trying to earn a living like we, at WNST, are trying to do.  I know a lot of people in Baltimore sports radio.  Some of them I like, actually.  In fact, there are people who compete against me and WNST that I would go as far as to consider “friends”.  But that doesn’t mean I’m going to take it easy on them when we’re competing, because I’m not.  They certainly haven’t “taken it easy” on me when they’ve been competing with us.  It all reminds me of THIS SCENE from Training Day (warning: contains a few objectionable words…OK, more than a few.).  In other words, what we do, the competing we do:  “this s**t’s chess, it ain’t checkers.”  Truth?  Our competitors would love to see WNST go out of business.  That’s the way it goes.  I’m cool with it.  So when our competitors slide in the ratings, it deserves a mention.  Lord knows they’re not going to mention it themselves. And I know for sure all of our competitors have spent lots of time on the street reminding folks that “no one listens to WNST”.  It’s all good.  We’re just competing.  And it’s fun.  At least it is to me.

** – that’s about as nice as I can be to Flyers fans.  Nothing personal…

## – that image of the female is what you see when you google the words “pictures of pretty women”.  I’m merely saying Briere wouldn’t have a pretty woman surrounding him.  I’m not at all saying Briere doesn’t like women or wouldn’t have a woman around him at some point in his life.  In fact, I did a google search of “Danny Briere’s high school prom date” and this RIGHT HERE is what came up.  Whatever that means…

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Just in the nick of time, it’s Friday Mud

Posted on 28 January 2011 by Drew Forrester

Boy, oh boy, do I have just the thing for those tired, aching muscles.

No, it’s not Vicodin.

It’s Friday Mud.

On a 1-to-10 scale right now, how sore are you from shoveling on Wednesday and Thursday?

Be honest.

I was about an “8” on Thursday as I sat down to put this edition of Friday Mud together. By the time I was finished — and I had read it to myself 2-3 times — my pain level was down to a “2”.


I went from a 10 to a 2 in the span of about 15 minutes. I hadn’t felt that good in a long time.

OK, who am I kidding…I took a Vicodin.

But you should still try the exercise anyway…rate your pain right now. Read Friday Mud. Then tell me how you feel. I’m interested to know.


>  If you see Orioles pitcher Troy Patton in Fells Point, toss him a pair of your boxers and say, “Just trying to help, dude”. Then point him to THIS TIP in Friday Mud. He’ll thank you later.

>  By now I’m sure nearly all of you have picked up the latest copy of Baltimore Magazine which features “Baltimore’s own” Jen Royle of MASN as one of our city’s Sexy Singles.  Evidently Jen’s photo shoot didn’t go so well.  When she arrived at the location, the magazine staffer handed her an outfit and asked her to get dressed.  Royle replied, “But I brought something that I think depicts my style a little better.”  Fortunately, the editor wouldn’t allow Jen to wear THE CLOTHES SHE BROUGHT TO THE PHOTO SHOOT.

>  Not sure if you heard or not, but Roger Goodell told the NFL owners this week that if there’s a lock-out on March 4, he’ll work for THIS until a settlement is reached.  Within minutes of that news hitting the street, Goodell was offered a job at double that salary by THIS GUY.

>  The President of our country is perhaps the most polarizing figure this side of Merton in Indianapolis.  You either love Barack Obama or…well…you don’t.  If you’re on the fence, THIS should fix things for you.  Yep, he’s a rat fink.

>  So I like going to Google and typing in random phrases to see what pictures pop up.  For instance,  I typed the words “How stupid can you look with a cigar in your mouth?” and THIS GOOF SHOWED UP.

>  Song #8 on my all-time favorite CD is THIS GREAT SONG from John Cougar Mellencamp.  The video is pretty cool, too. Check out the three farmers in the beginning.  The dude on the left never says a word or moves a muscle — until the end of the scene when the guy on the right says “Wanna buy a farm?”.  Anyway, I think JCM has been EXTREMELY underrated in his career and to me, this song sort of best represents what he’s always been about — singing about the common man, the blue-collar guy, the worker.  I love this freakin’ song…

>  Orioles FanFest is this Saturday.  That’s the good news.  The bad news?  The club went over-budget on signage for the Convention Center.  Evidently, they ordered 1,000 OF THESE SIGNS just to make sure they get their message across. Umm…message received.

>  We’re always thinking about new marketing themes at WNST.net.  Recently we splurged and went big-time, hiring an ad agency out of Chicago to craft our new 2011 corporate message.  The ad agency met with all of our on-air staffers and then pledged to come up with a theme for each of us.  This past Tuesday, they came to Baltimore and unveiled their suggested marketing slogans for each of us.  When it came to me, the woman in charge said, “And we have GREAT news for you all. We were able to take one of our Burger King themes and just mesh it perfectly with Drew’s morning show.  That will save you time and money as we didn’t have to bill you for any of the creative or production work.  I agree with her, THIS CONCEPT fits perfectly with me and the morning show.

>  Washington Capitals coach Bruce Boudreau recently asked me to come down to Kettler Ice Rink and speak to the Caps prior to a practice.  I told Bruce, “That’s such a long drive…why don’t I just fax you down something simple and you can hand it out before the practice.  It will be self-explanatory.”  Boudreau said, “That’s fine.  Just keep it simple.”  I remarked, “It will be simple and easy to understand.”  So I faxed THIS MEMO to Boudreau.  I hope he distributed it to his team.

>  Derrek Lee recently signed a one-year deal with the Orioles and moved into a nice, quaint home up in Lutherville.  Our WNST staff photographer managed to squeeze his way past the security gate and snap a photo of Derrek’s new digs.  And you have to hand it to Lee, he’s already making plans for next October, as THIS PICTURE proves.

The “Shoot” Section (Anyone who has ever watched wrestling knows a “Shoot” interview is when the wrestler offers a real, out-of-character discussion).

Do me a favor. CLICK RIGHT HERE if you would please.  See that?  That’s what the Orioles want you to give them on Saturday at FanFest in exchange for getting four autographs from their baseball players. Understand this:  I want you to go to FanFest. I’m recommending you go to FanFest.  It’s a terrific way to get baseball in your blood in late January when there’s snow on the ground.  Go to FanFest on Saturday. OK? But under NO circumstances should you give those creeps $15 of your money in order to be graced with the signatures of four players.  And yes, I’m well aware that the $15 “fee” goes to OriolesREACH, the club’s charitable organization.  That’s awfully noble of them.  Here’s what I think you should do.  Do NOT give them $15 for those autographs.  It’s a joke.  They should be ashamed, charging people to get IN the building and then charging adults for autographs.  Disgraceful.  But I DO think you should give Nick Markakis $10 that he can use for his RightSide Foundation.  So that’s what I’m suggesting you do.  Make a $10 check to “The RightSide Foundation” and give it to Markakis or an Orioles official that you see roaming around…and tell Markakis you’d rather give HIM the money than to be bent-over by the club for four autographs of players.  You’d think the Orioles would be THRILLED to have people come in to the building and actually want to engage with their players.  $15 for autographs.  Laughable.  Don’t do it.

End of “Shoot Section”

> Karns High School squandered a huge 4th quarter lead and fell to Clinton High School last night.  It was a shocker.  It even made the headlines in the sports section.  Oh, you don’t believe me?   PROOF IS RIGHT HERE.

>  I realize it’s chic to pick on the Steelers and their fans.  I get it, I really do.  But you have to give those folks in Pittsburgh a lot of credit.  The big game isn’t until next weekend and they’ve already descended upon Dallas in record numbers, as our WNST staff photographer proves RIGHT HERE with his latest picture from the Cowboys Stadium parking lot.

>  This has no business being in Friday Mud.  But I typed the words “Girls in unique positions” and THIS PHOTO showed up. I have no idea what it is.  I pulled my quad muscle just looking at it.  Then I typed “Ben Roethlisberger on the beach” and this PICTURE was displayed.  I don’t remember having Ben having blond hair, but the rest of it looks right to me.

>  Last but not least.  Cam Cameron has come under great scrutiny since the season ended a few weeks back.  Recently he asked the Ravens chief custodian, Reverend Slappy, to paint a new catch-phrase on the front door to his office.  You might not agree with it, but here’s Cam’s 2011 PERSONAL SLOGAN.

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Better than the Monday paper: Ravens draw line in the sand

Posted on 24 January 2011 by Drew Forrester

Last Thursday was an interesting day in the history of the Baltimore Ravens.

It marked the first time the franchise openly told their fan base, “No offense, but WE will run the team if you don’t mind.”

There have, in fact, been occasions over the years – especially under the ownership of Steve Bisciotti – where the club apparently acquiesced to public pressure by making a change in personnel (Billick’s ouster is the most notable) but no such concession is coming this time around.

Cam Cameron isn’t getting fired, much to the chagrin of the Baltimore football community.

Steve Bisciotti made it clear last Thursday.  “The fans…their frustration can’t lead us to offer someone as a sacrifice for what went wrong.”

That’s code word for:  We’ll fire people when we think it’s appropriate to fire people.  The fans aren’t going to fire anyone.

Anyone who listened to me or read my work throughout the latter half of the season and particularly last week knows where I stand with regard to Cam Cameron.  I wouldn’t have retained him.  But I’m not foaming at the mouth the way lots of folks in town are…because I also believe the Ravens have “team dysfunctions” that make finding better PLAYERS more important than finding better COACHES.  I believe that.  I think the Ravens can with a coaching foursome of Harbaugh/Cameron/Pagano/Rosburg…but only if they improve their roster with 6-8 significant players who will add speed and power to both side of the ball.

Now, I’ll be fair to the Ravens for a minute while I dissect one of the major issues with the way the fans behaved in the aftermath of the 31-24 loss to the Steelers a week ago Saturday.

One Ravens executive confessed, “We were disappointed in the reaction once a few days passed and everyone had a chance to digest the season as a whole.  We expected an initial level of frustration, but it seemed to get worse as the week went on.”

I’ll agree with that statement.

On all fronts.

Personally, I thought the overall fan reaction WAS disappointing given the team’s successful season.  And I too assumed it would reach its zenith by Tuesday or so and then everyone would sip a cup of Reality Tea and slowly come back to earth.

I remember seeing John Harbaugh during the bye week – on the heels of that narrow home escape over Buffalo – and saying to him at Owings Mills, “Those people (fans) are crazy, bro.  They’re nuts.”

Turns out I was right about that one.

But I also have a pretty good grasp on why there’s been such an outcry since the meltdown at Heinz Field, and I mentioned this to a Ravens executive last week when we were discussing the fan reaction in Baltimore.

In Baltimore, there’s the Ravens.  And that’s it.

This struck me again last Tuesday night in Philadelphia when I was at the Flyers/Capitals game.  During a time-out, I broke into a discussion

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Friday Mud is better than a day at the beach

Posted on 21 January 2011 by Drew Forrester

Now what?

No more football, or at the least, no more football that we REALLY care about.  There are supposedly two games this weekend, but I couldn’t care less who wins.

Actually, I take that back.  I DO care who wins.  Back in August when Glenn and I did our pre-season picks, I predicted the Green Bay Packers would win the Super Bowl (over some team from…ummm…Baltimore).  I’d love nothing more than for Green Bay to follow through and win the Super Bowl so I can cash in on that huge wager I made in the pre-season.

Oh, that’s right.  I didn’t actually make a wager.

Well, I bet you one thing right now:  You’re gonna love this edition of Friday Mud.

It’s such a slam-dunk bet that Vegas won’t even take odds on it.

Just for fun…I’ll bet you $100 you get a kick out of it.


>  This past Tuesday night I had a little fun at the expense of Philadelphia Flyers fans.  I went to Philly to see the Caps and Flyers play at the beautiful Wells Fargo Center.  I took THIS RIGHT HERE and dropped it in the men’s urinal during the second period, then proceeded to “do my business” on the card.  I zipped up and hustled out.  At last glance, the card was floating comfortably in a urinal of …well, you get the picture.  Anyway, I playfully tweeted about my little moment of fun the next day. I thought it was funny. Evidently, Stephanie Fawcett didn’t think it was funny.  Because I want you all to see that I do, in fact, respond to my critics, here’s our e-mail exchange from Wednesday.


I was appalled at your admission that you took a Bobby Clarke hockey card and urinated on it while you were at a hockey game in Philadelphia last (Tuesday) night.  I don’t see how you possibly find any humor in doing something like that.  I was driving my 13 year old son to school when I heard you gleefully explain the story and how proud you were of this “feat”.  So please, Drew, explain to me why you would urinate on a hockey card of Bobby Clarke on Tuesday night so I can then explain it to my son.

Thank you.

I look forward to your reply.

Stephanie Fawcett, Bel Air, MD


I can explain very easily why I peed on a hockey card of Bobby Clarke on Tuesday night. Because I couldn’t find a card of Ken Linseman.



>  Our WNST staff photographer was dispatched to chase the Ray Lewis “supplement spray” story on Thursday.  He flew to Florida and started a late afternoon stake-out of Ray’s house in South Florida.  Around 6:00 pm, I got a text from our photographer.  It read:  “Didn’t see Ray today but snuck over the gated fence and took a picture of his backyard before security chased me away.  Will forward the pic soon.”  About one hour later, THIS PHOTO arrived on my phone.  Looks like Ray’s backyard to me.

>  NFL referees are very particular about being interviewed by the media.  In fact, last Saturday after the Ravens/Steelers game, I wanted to spend a minute asking head referee Jeff Triplette a few questions but he wouldn’t allow it.  I asked if I could take a picture of him for the web-site and he refused that as well.  Hey, I’m a man who doesn’t take “no” for an answer, so I waited around the corner and got THIS GREAT SNAPSHOT of Triplette as he left Heinz Field.

>  I’m not a big sports memorabilia buff, but I couldn’t help notice this ad in a local sports collectibles magazine last week. Here’s what it read:  “NFL player auctioning off authentic game jersey from 2010 season.  Worn in all 16 games plus playoffs.  In brand new condition.  No dirt marks, no sweat stains, no tears or discolorations.  Team equipment manager never had to wash the jersey.  Still in pristine condition.  $1,000 or best offer.” CLICK HERE FOR PHOTO. Yep, it sure does look brand new to me.

>  The sign that ruined Jen Royle’s entire 2010 is RIGHT HERE.

>   Never let it be said that the Orioles don’t listen to their fans.  A large number of people publicly lashed out at the team after their recent announcement that adults would have to pay $15 for autographs at FanFest next Saturday.  The Orioles issued the following statement:  “In response to the large reaction from our adult fans, we’re pleased to provide everyone with a free picture of a Mike Boddicker signed baseball.  Simply CLICK HERE and print the picture out for display in your memorabilia room or collectibles cabinet.  There is NO charge for this photo of the autographed item, courtesy of Esskay Hot Dogs.”

>  Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger has been accused of not necessarily treating women very well, but then we find out he’s actually engaged to be married in 2011.  Turns out Big Ben is a bit of a romantic.  Our WNST staff photographer caught Ben walking with his fiancee on the beach down in Florida right after Pittsburgh’s regular season ended and the Steelers had a few days off before beginning playoff preparations.  As you can see RIGHT HERE, her tan is a little darker than his.

>  Song #7 on my all-time-favorite CD actually ISN’T my favorite song from this artist.  In fact, I can probably think of 3-4 songs I like better.  But for some reason, if I could only put 16 songs on a CD and play it for the rest of my life, this is the song from LED ZEPPELIN that I’d put on the CD.  Not only would it remind me of growing up in Glen Burnie, but it would always remind me of “Fast Times At Ridgemont High” when Damone tells Ratner, “Always play side 2 of Led Zeppelin 4” and Ratner screws up and plays Physical Graffiti instead.

> Styx is our Friday Featured Artist today on The Morning Reaction.  Anyone who has been to Heinz Field has grown sick of hearing them blare “Renegade” over the speakers at some critical point during the 4th quarter.  That got to me thinking. Shouldn’t the Orioles pump in a “team song” during the games this upcoming season?  Wouldn’t that be cool?  A song all the fans can identify with in Baltimore, like the folks in Pittsburgh latch on to Renegade by Styx.  It took me a few days of sifting through iTunes, but I found the perfect song.  Really, they should just play THIS SONG in the middle of the 4th inning at all home games at Camden Yards.

> Two longtime Ravens staffers pulled me aside yesterday – independent of one another – and basically asked me the same thing…”Drew, you’ve been here a long time, have you ever seen people (fans) react like this after a successful season?”  My answer to both of them was an emphatic “No, I haven’t.”  I playfully suggested to one staffer that they should buy every season ticket holder a 13-game ticket plan with the Orioles just so they could go to the ballpark and see the other end of the spectrum.  One staffer said, “The last time we tried to work with the baseball team, they stuck us with a bill for 25,000 hats.  I think we’ll pass on working with them.”  I smiled and said, “You just lost your press pass, pal.”

>  Remember in “Major League” when Ricky Vaughn thought he was cut because there was a red tag in his locker?  Sunday, Cam Cameron called John Harbaugh and said, “Am I in?  Or out?”  John said, “Cam, we’re talking about that right now.  I tell you what, I’ll leave a message on the door of your office so when you come in tomorrow you’ll know where you stand with us and we won’t have to talk about it anymore.”  Cameron walked in on Monday and SAW THIS — and now he knows where he stands.

>  You gotta hand it to Gary Williams.  They lost by 17 Thursday night to Virginia Tech.  Afterwards, Gary lamented the team’s inability to score the easy buckets.  “I’m going to find someone who can put those easy ones away and I’m going to find that someone soon.”  The Terps announced early this morning that they’ve signed an African player who can be seen RIGHT HERE.  Well, I bet he’s better than James Padgett.

>  I love these multiple-choice questions.  Is the girl in THIS PICTURE imitating:  A) Jenn Sterger in the Jets locker room  B) Ben Roethlisberger’s girlfriend on the Steelers team bus  C) Just some girl from the internet who wants a marshmallow shot in her mouth

>  And I’ll end it with this.  The Orioles raised ticket prices for 2011.  They tried to slide it past everyone yesterday while the entire city was focused on the Ravens and their state-of-the-team press conference.  How else can you explain that they picked YESTERDAY, of all the days in January, to announce it?  Of course they did it intentionally.  That’s obvious.  That said, I just about peed myself when I read Greg Bader’s quote that “costs” have gone up.  Actually, Greg, over the last six years, if you break them down into two, 3-year segments, the team has spent roughly $30 million LESS on player salaries since Andy MacPhail took over in 2007.  Where’s that $30 million?  What “costs” have gone up, Greg?  These are the questions we’d ask if the Orioles allowed the media to question them.  Alas, you’re not allowed to ask them questions.  Here’s what Bader REALLY wants to say, but he can’t.  “Because we’ve drawn less fans over the last 5 years, we’ve generated less revenue.  We need to try and reclaim some of that lost revenue and the quickest, easiest way to do that is to raise ticket prices.”  Hey, maybe they’re raising these prices so they can store away $150 million for Prince Fielder.  Or maybe they’re just raising the prices so they can put more in their pockets.  Yeah, that’s probably it. Wake me up when the baseball team wins half of their games and they can justify charging the fans more money to see their product.  Nudge me when the baseball team allows the media to ask questions about their organizational decisions.  What a joke…

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Take your time…no need to rush through Friday Mud

Posted on 14 January 2011 by Drew Forrester

Sometime in mid-afternoon this past Tuesday, I started thinking ahead to this edition of “Friday Mud”.


I was a little worried.  My mind has been elsewhere this week, what with the Ravens having to visit Heinz Field this Saturday for a loser-heads-to-the-first-tee-and-a-long-vacation showdown with those rat finks in Black and Gold.

Tuesday night, I had NOTHING in my “Friday Mud” file.  I was concerned, wondering if maybe I’d have to put FM on the shelf for a week while I attended to more pressing matters like pacing the floor worrying about the Ravens/Steelers game.

Alas, those concerns were brief.

Friday Mud, is, indeed, present and accounted for, the way I expect the Ravens to show up in Pittsburgh on Saturday and make a fair statement about their ability to play the game of football.

I think you’ll like it.  Friday Mud hardly ever lets you down.

Just like the Ravens, I’d say.

They’re pretty reliable too.


> I spent many a night in a car or a tent at the old Capital Centre, waiting in line to see, among others, Bruce Springsteen, Van Halen, AC/DC and Journey.  Spending the night outside because you so desperately wanted great seats to see your favorite band was a rite of passage for anyone growing up in these parts in the 1970’s and ’80’s.  I didn’t know this (mostly because the team doesn’t send out press releases to WNST anymore), but the Orioles evidently put FanFest tickets on sale last Saturday morning and people actually camped out in order to make sure they got their tickets.  Don’t believe me?  Well, lucky for you our WNST staff photographer was down at the Convention Center late Friday night to snap THIS PHOTO of the gathering. I hope no one got left out.

> Upon meeting his untimely demise, a man faced his judgement day and St. Peter said, “Where did you attend college, sir?” The man remarked, “Well, I have to admit to you that I never once set foot in a college.”  St. Peter replied, “I regret to inform you that you’ll need to attend college for at least one year in Hell before we’ll allow you here, in Heaven.”  The man replied, “That seems reasonable…do they have a great college in Hell for me to attend?”  St. Peter pulled a photo out of his pocket.  “Of course they do, sir…in fact, HERE’S A PICTURE of the campus right here.”

> New Orioles relief pitcher Kevin Gregg is also a well known self-portrait artist who spends a lot of time chronicling his day-to-day life with quick drawings of himself.  As he waited in The Warehouse last week to sign his Orioles contract, he grabbed his art materials and PRODUCED THIS to show what he was thinking at the time.

> You can file THIS PHOTO under the “politely shaking hands after a loss is so 1990’s” department.  It’s OK to squirm in your seat guys.  Now…back to work.

> You know, maybe I gave Jenn Sterger a bad rap.  All winter long, I took shots at her on the air and here in FM.  I decided to give her one more chance. And in order to do that, I figured it like this:  “Let me find the woman in the industry who is widely known as “the best” and see how Jenn matches up to her.  Let me find some evidence of how they conducted themselves on the job and form my opinion accordingly.”  That, to me, was the fairest way to judge Jenn Sterger.  So you can take a look at these three pictures first — PIC #1,  PIC #2,   PIC #3.  And then take a look at these three pictures of Jenn — PIC #4,  PIC #5, PIC #6.  OK, maybe I should have come up with a better way to figure out who was the professional and who was the jock sniffer.

> New Orioles 3rd baseman Mark Reynolds recently did THIS INTERVIEW with an Arizona radio station.  It’s pretty good, actually, right up until the host asks him about “the greatest 3rd baseman in the history of the game” who played in Baltimore…Reynolds had no idea who it is (was), so he just guessed “Mike Schmidt”.  He shouldn’t be too embarrassed.  We have certain media members in this town who either talk or write about sports and Orioles baseball every single day who would have guessed the same thing.

> So, God was approached about the concept of making a “special child”.  “God, please consider this,” said St. Anthony. “Please consider making a man…in body and soul…but as dainty and soft as a rose petal…as light and airy as a cloud…as feminine as the most gentle woman could ever be.  Please make this man an athlete too, so that we might test his femininity and fragility against the toughest men in the world.”  God nodded in agreement.  “I will do just that,” he said.  “And I will give this man a beautiful smile…and make him appear as tough as a nail being driven into a board…but I’ll make him the softest, most delicate human being I can.  He will be so soft, that many people will mistake him for a woman.”  About 3 days later, THIS MAN was born and God indeed had fulfilled his promise.

> Our WNST staff photographer recently took a trip to New Zealand and caught THIS FINE PERSON playing some kind of sport.  I think she’s playing cricket, but I’m not sure…I didn’t read the story that accompanied the photo.  So even though I’m not 100% sure what she’s doing, I’ll say this:  Any athletic endeavor that requires the women to wear knee-pads seems just fine to me.

> I put on the Groucho Marx fake nose and mustache last week and made my way up to the Orioles executive offices.  The secretary greeted me and I said, “I have a 1pm meeting with Andy MacPhail.”  She said, “Oh, great…walk through this door right here and make a left and his office is there.”  I walked through the door.  “Make a left!” she yelled.  “Go left, sir!”  “His office is to the left…can’t you see the sign up above your head?”  Sure enough, THIS SIGN was right there the whole time. Left, indeed.

> I’m heading up to Philadelphia on Tuesday night to watch the Capitals and Flyers.  A friend of mine scored us a couple of skybox tickets, so we won’t have to sit down in the arena with the rest of the great unwashed, but I do have to take part in a tradition of sorts in Philly.  It’s pretty cool, actually.  Apparently when someone invites you into their skybox, you’re responsible for bringing some kind of food or drink to share with the other 10 guests.  Not knowing what kind of wine anyone prefers, I figure I’ll just give the female Flyers fans THIS SNACK for their enjoyment.

> It’s so hard to pick song #6 of my all-time best CD, because I’d really like to put 3-4 songs from RUSH on it.  But if I’m going to be true to my word and only put 16 tunes on it, I need to keep it to one RUSH song, I suppose.  And THIS SONG is, by far, one of the greatest pieces of music ever.  These dudes put out 40 GREAT songs, but this one tops my list.  True story:  I almost had my wife ready to sign off on calling our son “Geddy”.  For a moment, I thought I was going to pull it off.  But we settled on Ethan.  She’s not a big RUSH fan, obviously.

> Someone from 105.7 who is a fan of Friday Mud sent me THIS PICTURE yesterday and in the subject line of the e-mail, it read: “Lay-Up”.  I’ll say.  You can caption this one.  I’m leaving it alone.

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The NHL Needs To Fix How Goals Are Scored

Posted on 28 December 2010 by Chad Lamasa

“We have instrumentation that we put into the system called Eye on the Ice that we monitor; (it) sends us signals all the time,” NHL ice chief Dan Craig said. “Every 15 minutes we’ll log and trend it so we can graph what’s happening on any given day. And every city we go to, we have a complete weather breakdown of our area so we know what (weather) systems are coming through.”

The above quotation came from an article by Alan Robinson, AP Sports Writer, in reference to the upcoming Winter Classic being in jeopardy due to bad weather. This is fantastic technology. Which brings me to the point of this blog.

If the NHL can do something like this, why can’t they insert a chip in the puck and some sort of sensor in either the goal line or on the camera inside the net?

This arises from the fact that many goals are washed out because the ref can’t see the puck in the goalie’s glove, underneath the goalie or if it’s swept out quickly by either a defensive player or the goalie.

For those not as familiar with the rules of hockey, unlike football, it’s not a goal until the puck is completely across the goal line. So if the puck is stopped before it clears the line the goal is waived off. So, often questions arise about where the puck is in relation to the goal line.

Case in point, Mike Green’s (what would have been a game winning) goal in over time against the Penguins on December 23rd.

In the above video (which is clearly pro Penguins) you can see Marc-Andre Fleury’s glove is beyond the goal line with the puck underneath it. Even after review from the NHL offices in Toronto, the no goal stood.

I understand the ref waiving it off as it was bang bang and very hard to see at real speed. But in several of the replays I’ve seen, you can see the puck through the netting in Fleury’s glove past the line. The Caps went on to lose in the shootout thus losing a vital point in the standings.

Whether this goal should have counted or not isn’t the issue. The issue is that things like this could be avoided with some technology.

The NHL tends to be proactive with this kind of stuff. They tried the glowing puck on FOX broadcasts, maybe that was a creation of FOX Sports but I’m sure the NHL had to sign off on it.

The intention was to help novice viewers learn to follow the puck and keep up with the fast pace. Unfortunately, to the experienced viewer it was just a distraction that took your eye away from the game.

Just because that didn’t work doesn’t mean that this couldn’t work.

Every store you go in has a sensor attached to every product. If you try to leave without paying it sets off an alarm. So why can’t a sensor be placed inside the puck that would trigger the goal horn when it crosses the goal line?

Maybe it wouldn’t be cost effective to do that considering how many pucks are used over the course of an NHL season. Maybe something can be added to the cameras inside the net. There are only 60 of those (30 teams, two goals each).

Try it at a practice facility or in the Research & Development camps before the season starts, if it doesn’t work, the idea can be scrapped. But something should be done to ensure the proper call is made and not left up to judgment.

It could be the difference of a team getting eliminated from a trip to the post-season or from a series in the playoffs.

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Capitals In 7 Game Slide: Boudreau Must Go

Posted on 17 December 2010 by alanzlot10

Most of you are saying calm down amateur electronic media boy. Streaks like this happen to every team and last year the Caps won 14 in a row at one point and look what happened to them anyway.

Yes it’s true, during the long NHL season many teams endure winning and losing streaks. This one is different, this is a different kind of a team, one that is stacked with talent and the numbers inside this streak are ugly and alarming.

You know the names, Ovechkin, Backstrom, Semin and Green. The Caps have enough talent to win 40 games without anyone standing at the back of the bench telling them what to do. Instead of playing golf in late April, a change behind the bench could propel the Caps into June.

Capitals coach Bruce Boudreau has done his job and has done it well. The following comments are not meant to be derogatory toward the coach but Bruce Boudreau belongs in the NHL’s top minor league system, The American Hockey League.

He was a head coach in the AHL for parts of nine seasons and won almost 70 percent of his games there, compiling a record of 216-56-43. As an AHL player, he was one of the league’s most prolific scorers and was inducted into the AHL Hall Of Fame in 2009.

He won a Calder Cup Championship for the Capitals’ top minor league affiliate, The Hershey Bears in 2006, doing it with many of the players he coaches right now in Washington.

Under Boudreau, the Capitals have had their best three-year regular season stretch in franchise history. They are 159-68-31 during that time. So, how can I even justify replacing him, you ask?

Boudreau’s specialty is developing talent. The Washington Capitals have a ton of talent that Boudreau helped develop himself while in Hershey as the head coach. Even if Boudreau is trying to give the discipline these young Caps require, they are showing signs of no longer buying into his system.

If you watched the HBO 24/7 special then you saw what I saw, a team that simply did not respond to a coach that was putting it on the line for them. Boudreau chewed a lot of butt’s and did a lot of cursing at the Capitals and none of it worked, none of it. In fact it just got worse, following one locker room rant then Caps would go on to lose to the Rangers 7-0 last Sunday night. The loss on Sunday was their worst defeat since the 05-6 season.

With his time in Hershey and Washington, Boudreau has been around most of these players for almost seven seasons. Coaching systems as well as a coach’s message can get stale in that amount of time.

The Capitals have not started fast in the first period this season; they have been outscored 28-23 and rank in the bottom ten in the league when it comes to winning games after scoring the first goal. Seven times this year, the Caps have given up the tying or go-ahead goal after the halfway mark of the third period. Three times, they have surrendered three goal leads in the third period alone.

A head coach must have his team prepared to play. In hockey, the first five minutes are crucial. With their youth, speed and talent, the Caps should be scoring quick first period goals jumping on top of teams to start the game. Good teams must have a finishing and killer instinct in them. The Capitals allow teams back into hockey games almost nightly.

It’s time for this organization to bring in someone that has been there before at the NHL level.  Someone with a Stanley Cup pedigree. While it would be a great story if the Capitals could do it with Boudreau, it seems unlikely. His past three post-season appearances with Washington were a mirror image of past Capitals post-season collapses.

Last year, as the No. 1 seed and Presidents’ Trophy winner, Washington blew a 3-1 series lead to the eighth-seeded Montreal Canadians, losing on home ice in seven games. Boudreau is 1-3 in four game sevens as Washington’s coach. The Capitals were the  first number one seed (in NHL history) to blow a 3-1 series lead and lose to an eighth seed. Considering the miserable playoff history of this team that’s an accomplishment the Caps could have left off of the resume.

The Caps are still very young and have their two core players, Ovechkin and Backstrom locked up for years to come. It would behoove upper management to consider a few more deals at the trading deadline. Dealing one of the big names may be a must. Alexander Semin for LA Kings goalie Jonathan Quick has been rumored.

The recent acquisition of veteran defenseman Scott Hannan was a step in the right direction for this year’s post season, but a few more veterans may be needed to hoist Lord Stanley’s Cup. They must acquire a veteran goalie regardless of what GM George McPhee and Boudreau say about their young netminders.

It’s not unprecedented that a winning team fires its coach and makes a change mid season. During the 2008-09 season, the Pittsburgh Penguins fired Michel Therrin and replaced him with Dan Blysma. Blysma and the Penguins would go on to win the Stanley Cup.

The Capitals are winless in their last seven and 4-10 in the last 14 games. After being shutout just four times combined in the last two seasons, the Caps have been shutout four times since November 19th.  They  have been outscored 45-30 in the last 14 and have scored three or less goals in ten of those games. This is supposed to be an offensive juggernaut that at the very least, if losing games, should be losing them 6-5 or 5-4.

The last Caps losing steak of this nature is what brought Boudreau to town. On November 21st, 2007 the Caps lost their fifth game in a row and their eighth in nine tries. Coach Glen Hanlon was fired and replaced by Boudreau. The Caps would win 11 of their last 12 games that season and finish 37-17-7 under Boudreau, reclaiming the Southeast Division title.

Boudreau doesn’t seem to be able to motivate the Capitals. If HBO’s cameras showed me anything Wednesday night it showed me that if Boudreau hasn’t lost this team, he is very close to losing them.

I believe in order to spare a whole generation of new Capitals fans the playoff misery of the past, it is necessary to cut the head off the snake now, in mid December.

Waiting until they finish the season with 110 points and blow another playoff series wouldn’t do much good. To most diehard Caps fans, that would be another wasted season.

Replacing Boudreau now would send a clear message to the core of this team that only a Stanley Cup is acceptable. With every star player 28 years or younger, it’s definitely not too late to continue to develop and mold them. The result of last year’s playoffs isn’t acceptable, nor is being shutout four times 14 games games.

There are some talented coaches available that would do well in Washington. Craig MacTavish could do lot with this talent, he lead a talent-less Edmonton Oilers team to game seven of the Stanley Cup Finals back in 2006. MacTavish won five Stanley Cups playing for Edmonton.

Former Montreal Canadiens coach Guy Carbonneau has a pedigree Washington could use in the organization. Carbonneau won three Cups as a player and was a finalist for the coach of the year in 2008, when he led the Canadiens to a first-place finish atop the Eastern Conference.

This trend of the snake bitten playoff tradition must not continue with the Great Eight and company. It sounds selfish to write that a coach who has won 62 percent of his games for your team should be fired, but the time is now. Boudreau must go.

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