Tag Archive | "Washington Capitals"

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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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Oriole Diversions

Posted on 20 July 2010 by Chad Lamasa

Since it’s not my job and I don’t have to talk about the Orioles every day for a living, I don’t feel bad about not watching them. Here are some things that have diverted my attention. Yes I’m stealing Glenn’s idea. Thanks Glenn.

Persons Unknown – Besides the gorgeous Daisy Betts,




this show is fantastic.

It’s the kind of show that you want to watch on DVD or DVR (after taping a few episodes). The cliffhangers every week, make you want to be able to watch the next episode without waiting a week. Originally on Mondays NBC just moved it to Saturday nights, starting this past week.

Friday Night Lights


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 Hands down the best writing on TV, one of my favorite shows.

Lego Harry Potter for the Wii –



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My son and I have played all the Lego themed games together. The games based on movie franchises, (Star Wars, Indiana Jones and now Harry Potter) follow the movies pretty closely. The Batman game was not based on any of the various movies or TV shows, but was still a lot of fun.

How about a couple sports related diversions.

Capitals Fanfest – Yeah we had to drive to Arlington, but so what? My first love is hockey. It’s kind of a shame that I’m so excited for a season that is still three months away, but that’s what happens when you have the Orioles as your baseball team.

Development camp was going on for the rookies and younger guys in the system.

Brooks Laich was signing autographs. When it was my turn he said “Time out, I want to watch this fight.” So I got to watch a fight with a Cap. That was pretty cool. Not sure who the combatants were, but they were going after each other pretty good.

If you don’t know about him, google the story about how he changed a flat tire for a fan on the way home, after being eliminated by the Canadiens in game seven of the first round of the playoffs.

Ravens training camp – Starts next week. I was already approved to take off work on August 6th, so that I can take my annual trek out there with my son and some buddies. As far as I’m concerned that’s the official end of the baseball season.

LeBron flips out on fans -Then there is this video that my friend Stan sent me. Someone has way too much time on their hands but this is pretty funny.


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Evgeny Kuznetsov

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Caps GM on Top Pick Kuznetsov: “As Long as He’s Playing at a High Level Somewhere, That’s Fine With Us”

Posted on 30 June 2010 by Ryan Chell

Washington Capitals GM George McPhee wants his team to be next year’s version of the Chicago Blackhawks, hoisting the Hart Trophy.

“Our teams are similar,” McPhee told Drew Forrester Tuesday on “The Morning Reaction.” “We’re both exciting teams to watch. If you build momentum and you get playing the way you can, you can win the Cup. And they did it, and I sure would like it to be us next year.”

All that is dependent upon how the Capitals do in this off-season to ready themselves for their schedule next season.

Last week, the Capitals may not have made a move to improve themselves this year, but a move that could bring bolster a championship squad two years from now.

The Capitals selected 18-year old Russian center Evgeny Kuznetsov, one of the top players in the Russian-European Kontinental Hockey League. He made his professional debut last year in the league and scored a total of 9 points in one of the toughest leagues in the world.

Evgeny Kuznetsov

The Capitals ranked him as the 12th best player on their board, and at 26, the Capitals jumped all over him. But McPhee reminded us that he is just a prospect and he probably wont be in a Washington uniform for at least two more years.

“From our standpoint, I don’t want 18 or 19 year old kids playing in the American League very often. For the most part, it’s a tough league and its the second best league in the world. To put young kids in there, I worry about them getting hurt and getting eaten up in that league. It’s like taking an eighth grader and putting them in 11th or 12 grade.”

“You have to be careful. We’ll let him progress at his own rate. He seems to be doing fine in the league that he’s in, so we’ll leave him alone.”

As long as he’s playing somewhere next year, McPhee is going to let him be.

“He’ll be playing against men over there. As long as he’s playing at a high level somewhere, that’s fine with us.”

They don’t have to give Kuznetsov any money now, but he has already said he is ready to sign with the Caps.

But some may question why a team that is a few pieces away from having a championship caliber team would take a flier on someone who probably wont be able to help this team for a few more years.

McPhee feels like his team only has a few holes in the lineup and they have young guys coming up soon to fill those vacancies. And he said that Kuznetsov now becomes one of those guys, and once in awhile, you have to take a flier on someone.

“He really wants to play in the NHL. Our philosophy in the draft is to pick the best player available, but you also swing for the fences and try to hit home runs and get the best talent you can get.”

And when it comes to the off season with free agents, McPhee doesn’t see the Caps being big players in free agency.

Why? For that same reason. McPhee isn’t going to sign free agents, or even guys that they got at the trade deadline last year, for 3 or 4 year deals if a young player is coming up.

“All we wanted to [do was] reinforce our lineup for the playoffs, and those players want the long term deals. Big money and long term…we’re not going to play that game.”

“I dont want to get in a situation where you sign someone to a 3 or 4 year deal and within a year you’re looking to move it because you have some kids that are ready. But you cant move it, then you stunt the growth of the kids. We drafted and developed really well, so we’ll go with those guys if we can’t get the right deals with people.”

If you look at it so far, the team looks like it is really trying to get that bad taste out of their mouth when it comes to their early playoff exit to the Canadiens. That loss still haunts McPhee and the team.

“I’m not sure we are. You learn to live with it I guess. But it was really tough. There is no shame in losing in the playoff. There is no shame losing to the Montreal Canadiens.  They’re better than people thought because they had so many injuries during the year and they got healthy going into the playoffs and they were good.”

“It’s when you get up 3-1, you have to close it out. You cant miss opportunities like that. When you’re up 3-1 in an NHL playoff series, you’ve got to win it.”

Keep tuning into WNST for more news about the NHL and the Caps! We  Never Stop Talking Sports, even if its out of Baltimore!

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Posted on 10 May 2010 by Chad Lamasa

As the Capitals, were unceremoniously excused from the playoffs by the Montreal Canadiens,I wanted to take a few minutes to reflect back on the regular season. Not in terms of  wins or losses (Ed does a phenomenal job of that) but rather my experiences as a rookie season ticket holder.
I went to four or five games during the 2008-2009 season, and dealt with a great ticket agent, for all but one of those games. The one exception was Penguins tickets that were a gift from my wife.
After we got to know each other a bit and he could see my level of passion for the Caps, he kept trying to get me to buy season tickets and I kept declining, thinking I wouldn’t be able to afford them. To his credit he kept pushing and after he laid out the options it made more sense for me to do it than to not.
I had always wanted to be a season ticket holder for something. I’d thought about the Ravens but that’s only 10 games not 43 (including preseason in both cases). The Caps have a monthly payment plan as opposed to having to pay everything up front. There is no PSL either. Not to mention hockey being my favorite sport, it was a no-brainer.
For me the season started with the Capitals Convention. The first (of what I hope becomes an annual event) was held at the beautiful, Gaylord Convention Center at National Harbor, a place so new it didn’t even come up on my Garmin. This was a fantastic event, and the few minor complaints I had, I’m sure will be ironed out in time for the second one. 
Opening night was next. The Caps opened with a victory in Boston, before coming home to play the Maple Leafs. I went with my wife and a close friend and enjoyed the 6-4 victory. It was really cool sitting in seats I knew where mine for the entire season.
The annual season ticket holder party, came about a week into the season. This event alone was enough to make me want to renew my tickets.
The best part of the season for me, was the bonding time I got with my son. He will be seven in a couple of weeks. My wife and I took him to his first Caps game ever, the 11/1 tilt versus the Columbus Blue Jackets. He was a bit apprehensive at first but started to get into it by the end of the game.
As the season progressed, he became very vocal. He did all the cheers and high fived people when the Caps scored. He has become a fan now. His favorite players are Nick Backstrom and Mike Knuble. He watches NHL on the Fly without me being home.
My ticket agent, gave me a picture of Ovechkin with the MVP trophy, and a piece of the net in which he scored his 65th goal during the 07-08 season. My son was given a framed mini jersey signed by Nick Backstrom.
Drew used this quotation from Ted Leonsis in one his blogs recently.

Leonsis: “Suddenly, when the Redskins (win) on Sunday, Monday there’s a happy day in Washington D.C….that our team has been doing so well.  And I think that’s a big responsibility.  I don’t just want (the Caps) to make the playoffs.  I don’t even want our team just to win a Stanley Cup.  I want to make millions and millions of lifelong memories between fathers and sons and mothers and daughters.  I want immortality for our team.  Nothing brings a city closer together than a winning sports team.

This is exactly the feeling I have about going to games, practices, appearances involving the Caps. I want those kinds of memories with my son. I never bonded with my dad over…well… anything really. I want to be able to look back and talk about how great the team was and how cool it was to meet Mike Knuble at ESPN Zone, etc. We’re well on our way to having those memories. Thanks to guys like Ted Leonsis, George McPhee, and all the great players.
On the final day of the season, we were permitted into the penalty box to watch the pregame warmups. We got to meet Wes Johnson. Along withbeing a great PA announcer, he seems like a genuinely nice guy. Before he had to start prepping for the game he spoke to Parker for a couple of minutes, and took a photo with him.
So even though, the end of the season was disappointing, overall it ranks right there with some of the best times of my life.

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Blog & Tackle: Tripleheader chat starts at 6 pm

Posted on 23 April 2010 by Chris Pika

It’s day two of the 2010 NFL Draft, and our Purple Haze On Draft live chat for the second and third rounds of the NFL Draft will begin at 6 pm. And, as an added bonus, we two other events going on at the same time – the Red Rocks as the Caps try to close out the Canadiens in the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs and the Orange Crush as the Orioles try to break out of a 2-14 start with the first of four games at the Red Sox.

You get all three of these events at one time in just one place: The WNST.net Live Chat room, starting at 6 pm. The WNST/WNST.net cast of hosts & bloggers will check in, and you will get the most up-to-date information from Twitter feeds for the NFL, Capitals and Orioles.

Tell your friends, and join us at 6 pm for the Purple Haze On Draft/ Red Rocks/ Orange Crush chat by clicking here.

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Blog & Tackle: Purple Haze On Draft Live Chat tonight

Posted on 22 April 2010 by Chris Pika

You know the drill if you are a fan watching the NFL Draft. Keep the remote close to flip back and forth between ESPN and NFL Network, have plenty of food and drink on hand and maybe a few football-crazy friends. Well, add opening your laptop to the list. Tonight, we will have the first of three Purple Haze On Draft live chats starting at 7:30 pm.

Purple Haze On Draft Live Chat

All of the WNST/WNST.net crew (hosts and bloggers) will be in the chat, and we will have at least 20 Twitter feeds from national media streaming in with the latest picks, trades and rumors. But most importantly, your comments are a big part of this. Let us know what you think the Ravens should do with their first-round pick, and which players you want to see in purple this fall.

Friday at 6:30 pm, we have a tripleheader on tap with the second and third rounds of the NFL Draft, the Orioles’ series opener in Boston and the Capitals trying to close out Montreal in the first round of the NHL’s Stanley Cup Playoffs. Saturday, the NFL Draft finishes up, and the Orioles take on the Red Sox.

It’s easy to be a part of the Purple Haze On Draft live chat. Just click here to enter, and starting at 7:30 pm, we will give you a new way to watch the NFL Draft with us at WNST.net.

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