Tag Archive | "washington"

This #WNSTSweet16 is “streaking” toward the heat of summer

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This #WNSTSweet16 is “streaking” toward the heat of summer

Posted on 24 June 2014 by Luke Jones

This week’s #WNSTSweet16 deals with the all-time greatest streaks in local sports history, ranging from personal accomplishments to team-wide feats at the professional and amateur levels.

More than a few readers and listeners suggested the Orioles’ astonishing 21-game losing streak to begin the 1988 season and the Washington Capitals’ NHL record 17 straight losses in their inaugural season of 1974-75, but this list will focus on the positive — even if both of the aforementioned losing slides are quite historic. Some streaks included in the list played out over only a couple days while others lasted decades, providing plenty of room for discussion and heated debate.

Some streaks are better known than others among the 16 anointed spots, but a greater emphasis was generally placed on individual accomplishments, which explains why the top six streaks come from a single athlete rather than team accolades.

Continue to next page for No. 16

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Capitals announce 2014-2015 regular season schedule

Posted on 22 June 2014 by WNST Staff

ARLINGTON, VA. – The Washington Capitals will host the Chicago Blackhawks in the 2015 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic on Jan. 1 and open the season against the Montreal Canadiens at Verizon Center on Thursday, Oct. 9, the National Hockey League and Washington Capitals announced today. The game will mark the NHL’s seventh Winter Classic and Washington’s second appearance in the outdoor game. The Capitals defeated the Pittsburgh Penguins 3-1 in front of 68,111 fans at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh on Jan. 1, 2011.

Washington is 24-15-5-1 all-time at home against Chicago, including a 4-0 win over the Blackhawks on April 11 at Verizon Center. Further details on the 2015 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic including venue, ticketing information and uniform design for each team will be released in the coming months. Every Washington Capitals full-season account holder will have the opportunity to purchase tickets for the 2015 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic. Details on ticket availability and pricing will be sent to full season-ticket holders when they become available.

The NHL also announced the 2014-15 regular season schedule for its 30 member clubs. The NHL will pause for the 2015 NHL All-Star Game, which will be held on Jan. 24-25 at Nationwide Arena in Columbus, Ohio. The Capitals will host the St. Louis Blues at Verizon Center on Feb. 1, marking the eighth time in the last nine seasons and the seventh consecutive season the Capitals will host a game on Super Bowl Sunday.

Washington has four homestands of at least three games on the schedule, the longest being a five-game stretch at Verizon Center from March 5-15. The Capitals have eight stretches of at least three consecutive road games and a season-high four-game road trip from Feb. 11-17. In addition, the Capitals will have 16 sets of back-to-back games.

Nearly half of the Capitals’ 41 home games at Verizon Center fall on weekends, which includes four games on Friday, nine on Saturday and six on Sunday. The schedule features holiday home games on the day after Thanksgiving (Nov. 28 vs. NY Islanders), New Year’s Day (Jan. 1 vs. Chicago) and Super Bowl Sunday (Feb. 1 vs. St. Louis).

Television broadcast plans will be released at a later date. All Capitals games can be heard on Caps Radio Network (flagship stations FAN 106.7 and 1500 AM), WashingtonCaps.com and on Washington Caps mobile app.

 

HOME DATES TO REMEMBER:

  • OCT. 9 – Season opener at Verizon Center versus the Montreal Canadiens.
  • OCT. 29 – The Detroit Red Wings make their first of two visits to Verizon Center in 2014-15.
  • JAN1 – Washington hosts the Chicago Blackhawks in the 2015 Bridgestone Winter Classic.
  • JAN. 28 – The Pittsburgh Penguins make their first visit of the season to Verizon Center.
  • FEB. 1 – On Super Bowl Sunday, the St. Louis Blues make their way to D.C.
  • FEB. 3 – Washington welcomes the defending Stanley Cup champion Los Angeles Kings.
  • MARCH 11 – The defending Eastern Conference champion New York Rangers visit D.C. for the first time.
  • MARCH 28 – The Capitals face head coach Barry Trotz’s former team, the Nashville Predators.
  • APRIL 11 – Washington concludes the regular-season at Verizon Center against the New York Rangers.

 

OCTOBER

THU, OCT. 9           MONTREAL              7 P.M.

Sat, Oct. 11            at Boston               7 p.m.

TUE, OCT. 14         SAN JOSE               7 P.M.

THU, OCT. 16         NEW JERSEY          7 P.M.

SAT, OCT. 18          FLORIDA                  7 P.M.

Wed, Oct. 22         at Edmonton          9:30 p.m.

Sat, Oct. 25            at Calgary              10 p.m.

Sun, Oct. 26           at Vancouver          10 p.m.

WED. OCT. 29        DETROIT                  7:30 P.M.


NOVEMBER

Sat, Nov. 1             at Tampa Bay        7 p.m.

SUN, NOV. 2           PHOENIX                7 P.M.

TUE, NOV. 4           CALGARY                7 P.M.

Fri, Nov. 7             at Chicago              8:30 p.m.

SAT, NOV. 8            CAROLINA              8 P.M.

TUE, NOV. 11         COLUMBUS            7 P.M.

FRI, NOV. 14           NEW JERSEY          7 P.M.

Sat, Nov. 15           at St. Louis             8 p.m.

Tue, Nov. 18         at Phoenix             9 p.m.

Thu, Nov. 20         at Colorado            9 p.m.

SAT, NOV. 22          BUFFALO                 7 P.M.

Wed, Nov. 26        at NY Islanders      7 p.m.

FRI, NOV. 28           NY ISLANDERS        5 P.M.

Sat, Nov. 29           at Toronto             7 p.m.

 

DECEMBER

TUE, DEC. 2           VANCOUVER            7 P.M.

Thu, Dec. 4            at Carolina             7 p.m.

Sat, Dec. 6             at New Jersey         7 p.m.

Tue, Dec. 9            at Tampa Bay        7:30 p.m.

THU, DEC. 11         COLUMBUS            7 P.M.

SAT, DEC. 13          TAMPA BAY           7 P.M.

Tue, Dec. 16          at Florida               7:30 p.m.

Thu, Dec. 18          at Columbus           7 p.m.

Sat, Dec. 20           at New Jersey         7 p.m.

MON, DEC. 22        OTTAWA                 7 P.M.

Tue, Dec. 23          at NY Rangers        7 p.m.

Sat. Dec. 27           at Pittsburgh          7 p.m.

Mon, Dec. 29         at NY Islanders      7 p.m.

 

JANUARY

THU, JAN. 1           CHICAGO                1 P.M.

SUN, JAN. 4           FLORIDA                  3 P.M.

Wed, Jan. 7            at Toronto             7 p.m.

Thu, Jan. 8             at Philadelphia       7 p.m.

SAT, JAN. 10          DETROIT                  7 P.M.

MON, JAN. 12        COLORADO              7 P.M.

WED, JAN. 14        PHILADELPHIA        8 P.M.

Fri, Jan. 16             at Nashville            8 p.m.

Sat, Jan. 17            at Dallas                 8 p.m.

TUE, JAN. 20         EDMONTON             7 P.M.

Tue, Jan. 27           at Columbus           7 p.m.

WED, JAN. 28        PITTSBURGH            8 P.M.

Sat, Jan. 31            at Montreal            1 p.m.

 

FEBRUARY

SUN, FEB. 1           ST. LOUIS               1 P.M.

TUE, FEB. 3            LOS ANGELES         7 P.M.

Thu, Feb. 5            at Ottawa               7:30 p.m.

FRI, FEB. 6             ANAHEIM              7 P.M.

SUN, FEB. 8           PHILADELPHIA        3 P.M.

Wed, Feb. 11          at San Jose             10:30 p.m.

Sat, Feb. 14            at Los Angeles       10:30 p.m.

Sun, Feb. 15           at Anaheim            8 p.m.

Tue, Feb. 17           at Pittsburgh          7 p.m.

THU, FEB. 19         WINNIPEG             7 P.M.

SAT, FEB. 21          NY ISLANDERS        12:30 P.M.

Sun, Feb. 22           at Philadelphia       3 p.m.

WED, FEB. 25        PITTSBURGH            8 P.M.

Fri, Feb. 27            at Carolina             7 p.m.

 

MARCH

SUN, MARCH 1       TORONTO                 7 P.M.

Tue, March 3         at Columbus           7 p.m.

THU, MARCH 5       MINNESOTA            7 P.M.

SAT, MARCH 7        BUFFALO                 7 P.M.

WED, MARCH 11    NY RANGERS         8 P.M.

FRI, MARCH 13       DALLAS                   7 P.M.

SUN, MARCH 15     BOSTON                  TBD

Mon, March 16      at Buffalo               7 p.m.

Thu, March 19       at Minnesota          8 p.m.

Sat, March 21        at Winnipeg           7 p.m.

THU, MARCH 26     NEW JERSEY          7 P.M.

SAT, MARCH 28      NASHVILLE              12:30 P.M.

Sun, March 29        at NY Rangers        3 p.m.

TUE, MARCH 31      CAROLINA              7 P.M.


APRIL

Thu, April 2           at Montreal            7:30 p.m.

Sat, April 4            at Ottawa               7 p.m.

Sun, April 5            at Detroit               5 p.m.

WED, APRIL 8        BOSTON                  8 P.M.

SAT, APRIL 11        NY RANGERS         3 P.M.

 

All Times Eastern

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Bovada gives Capitals 33/1 odds to win 2015 Stanley Cup

Posted on 16 June 2014 by WNST Staff

Courtesy of Bovada, (www.Bovada.lv, Twitter: @BovadaLV)

Odds to win the 2015 Stanley Cup

Chicago Blackhawks                             7/1

Boston Bruins                                       8/1

Los Angeles Kings                                9/1

Pittsburgh Penguins                              10/1

St. Louis Blues                                      121

Anaheim Ducks                                     14/1

San Jose Sharks                                   14/1

New York Rangers                                 16/1

Colorado Avalanche                              18/1

Minnesota Wild                                     20/1

Montreal Canadiens                               20/1

Detroit Red Wings                                 22/1

Tampa Bay Lightning                             25/1

Vancouver Canucks                               25/1

Philadelphia Flyers                                28/1

Dallas Stars                                         33/1

Toronto Maple Leafs                             33/1

Washington Capitals                              33/1

Columbus Blue Jackets                         40/1

New Jersey Devils                                 40/1

Edmonton Oilers                                   50/1

Ottawa Senators                                    50/1

Phoenix Coyotes                                   50/1

Winnipeg Jets                                       50/1

Calgary Flames                                     66/1

Carolina Hurricanes                                66/1

Nashville Predators                               66/1

New York Islanders                                66/1

Florida Panthers                                    75/1

Buffalo Sabres                                      100/1

Odds to win 2015 NBA Championship   

Miami Heat                                            3/1

Oklahoma City Thunder                          6/1

San Antonio Spurs                                6/1

Los Angeles Clippers                            9/1

Chicago Bulls                                        12/1

Indiana Pacers                                      12/1

Houston Rockets                                  16/1

Golden State Warriors                           25/1

Portland Trailblazers                              25/1

Brooklyn Nets                                       28/1

Cleveland Cavaliers                               33/1

Dallas Mavericks                                   33/1

Memphis Grizzlies                                 33/1

Washington Wizards                              33/1

Los Angeles Lakers                               40/1

New York Knicks                                   40/1

Toronto Raptors                                    40/1

Boston Celtics                                      50/1

Denver Nuggets                                    50/1

Detroit Pistons                                      50/1

New Orleans Pelicans                            50/1

Minnesota Timberwolves                        66/1

Atlanta Hawks                                       75/1

Charlotte Hornets                                  75/1

Phoenix Suns                                        75/1

Orlando Magic                                      150/1

Sacramento Kings                                 150/1

Utah Jazz                                             150/1

Milwaukee Bucks                                   200/1

Philadelphia 76ers                                 200/1

 

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Caps Off-Season Ahead, Potential Buyouts for Washington?

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Caps Off-Season Ahead, Potential Buyouts for Washington?

Posted on 13 June 2014 by Nick Dorsey

The most strenuous part of the NHL off-season was taken care of for Caps owner Ted Leonsis when he filled in the vacant positions at the top of the organization. Barry Trotz is now behind the bench and Brian MacLellan is the guy responsible for bringing players in to fill the players bench. Now that a head coach is in place along with a general manager, what is next for the Washington organization as the Stanley Cup playoffs is near conclusion?

MacLellan has already dealt away pending UFA Jaroslav Halak and re-upped the franchises deal with the AHL affiliate Hershey Bears as interim GM, but that is only the tip of the ice berg. MacLellan has a lot on his plate this off-season and his time to shine begins in the near future.

The Caps have tough decisions to make on veteran players that have been around the organization for quite some time now as the end of the Stanley Cup playoffs is on the horizon. Some of those decisions are whether to buy out any of the veteran players that are currently on the roster.

The buyout period in the NHL begins 48 hours after the Stanley Cup comes to a close. So if the Kings close out the series tonight in Los Angeles, the buyout period would begin Sunday and would come to an end on the 30th of June. When this time begins, there are a few names that come to mind that could be potential buyout candidates.

Brooks Laich is the most common name as the top buyout candidate on the Capitals roster. Laich turns 31 this month and still has three years remaining on a six-year deal he signed in 2011 under former general manager George McPhee. Since signing that deal, Laich has not been consistently in the lineup to earn the kind of payday he was given.

When the NHL lockout occurred during the 2012-13 season, Laich suffered groin injuries playing overseas that have kept him in and out of the lineup for the past few seasons. During the past two seasons, Brooks has only played 60 out of the 130 games because of his groin difficulties. In his 51 games played this last year, Laich produced 15 total points (8 G, 7 A), which is not going to cut it as a top six forward.

So the first decision to make that comes to new general manager Brian MacLellan’s table is should the Caps buyout Brooks Laich? If I were to make a decision or have a word in the discussion, my answer would be yes. Washington needs to move on from Brooks Laich and here is why.

First of all, if MacLellan decides to make this move, the following would occur. A buyout for Laich would mean the Caps would need to pay him two- thirds of his current salary with double the length. Breaking that down thanks to Capgeek.com, that would mean Washington would owe Brooks $8.33 million total over a six-year period. With the financial aspect of Laich’s buyout covered, here is why it is a good hockey move.

Paying Laich the kind of money he now currently earns warrants him to be a top six forward. Producing only 15 points per 50+ games played is not the kind of production you want out of a top six forward. So, lack of production is one reason why a Brooks Laich buyout is reasonable, but there is more.

The top six can be viewed as crowded with the current Capitals roster and having Laich still in the lineup can be seen as problematic. Washington has promising young prospects that need to see more ice time and having a crowded top six lineup can cause valuable minutes to diminish. Young players such as Evgeny Kuznetsov and Tom Wilson need to get within the top six rotation in order for them to grow and show what they can do at the highest level.

Kuznetsov showed a promising future last year in his small stint after coming over from the KHL in Russia. Tom Wilson also has shown great things over time playing amongst the third and fourth lines. Kuzy has his place in the top six already, but keeping Laich in the rotation keeps a guy like Wilson out of the six. Wilson is a physical player that is not afraid to hit or fight anyone on the ice and has shown glimpses of being a real good all around player.

With all that Wilson has shown, it is now time in the upcoming season to see what he can do within the first two lines. He needs to develop a better offensive game and surrounding him potentially with Ovechkin or Backstrom would do wonders for his development Increased ice time is the experience that Wilson needs and Laich could be preventing that from happening.

It doesn’t stop at Wilson and Kuznetsov as the Caps also have a promising prospect that could be trying to creep up into the roster for the upcoming season. Last years first round pick, Andre Burakovsky, is a player to watch out for.

Burakovsky spent his first year in the Caps organization playing for the Erie Otters. In the 57 regular season games that Andre got to play as left wing for the Otters, he recorded 87 points (41 G, 46 A). He also was productive in the 14-playoff games he played in Erie, finishing with 10 goals and 3 assists. This kind of offensive talent might need to find its way on to the major roster, especially for a team that struggled to score at even strength play on a consistent basis.

So with a crowded top six due to young and upcoming talent and a lack of production, it is time for the Caps to move on and buyout Brooks Laich. He is an aging player who has yet to prove he can stay on the ice consistently in the past few seasons. The young players need to be able to get on the ice and gain valuable experience that can bode well for the team in the future.

Another name that comes up as a potential buyout player is veteran defensemen Mike Green. Buying out Green would not be a good idea for the Caps due to their defense being the weakest unit on the team.

The Caps defensive rotation last year was a never-ending carousel with over double-digit defenders getting a chance to hit the ice. Green was not at his best throughout the season, but that is not all on him.

The top priority for MacLellan is to bring in another top four defensemen in the rotation. Adding a talented top four defensemen to pair with Green could help Green improve his play. Buying out a defender would leave another gaping hole for a unit that does not need any more holes.

Keeping Green is a necessity because not only brining in another top four-defensemen talent could rejuvenate Greens game, but also his presence in the offensive zone is imperative to this teams success. When Green is on the power play, he adds another element that many defenders on this team cannot. When Green is a threat to shoot from the point, it is another threat on the power play that helps free up Ovechkin. When Green is not on the ice, teams key on Ovechkin’s blast and prevent him from producing. The power play unit is a lot more lethal when teams have to account for Green as a potential shooter from the blue line.

So a Mike Green buyout is not a real good idea, especially when the depth at defense is an issue. Jack Hillen was hurt for almost the last season’s entirety and is still getting back to normal form. Dmitry Orlov has also sustained a wrist injury that he is still recovering from. So with defensive depth being an issue and with that limited depth in recovery mode, buying out Green should not be an option.

The first task at hand for the upcoming off-season for Brian MacLellan is coming in shortly and must be sorted out before the June 30th deadline. This is just the first of many decisions that “GMac” must make as the teams new general manager.

The logical move in my mind is for GMac to buyout Laich and keep Green. After that, the next move of interest is whether to keep Mikhail Grabovski in DC or let him walk in free agency. My thoughts on that move will come in a different column. Until then, it will be interesting to see what MacLellan decides to do once the Cup comes to a conclusion. Once the Cup is hoisted, Caps fans be alert because the time begins to tick on the buyout clock.

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There’s some Wizard-ry in this week’s #WNSTSweet16

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There’s some Wizard-ry in this week’s #WNSTSweet16

Posted on 10 June 2014 by Glenn Clark

I realized after getting this assignment that I had absolutely no emotional attachment to this list. I have no idea if that helped me or not in putting it together, but it’s the first list I’ve done this year that I’ve been able to put together without even an ounce of personal feeling being involved.

If you missed this week’s preview, here’s a reminder. Also of note, I did not consider anything from the organization’s pre-Baltimore history. There are no Chicago Zephyrs involved.

Here we go.

16. Bradley Beal

While only playing two seasons thus far with the franchise doesn’t place him among the franchise’s all-time leaders, the quality of the former Florida star’s first two years warrant a spot just ahead of the likes of Jeff Ruland, Charles Jones, Chris Webber and others.

(Continued on next page…)

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This week’s #WNSTSweet16 comes faster than a speeding “Bullet”

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This week’s #WNSTSweet16 comes faster than a speeding “Bullet”

Posted on 08 June 2014 by Glenn Clark

We certainly got some people fired up last week.

We’re 22 weeks into our #WNSTSweet16 celebration, and we’re a week removed from perhaps the most controversial list of the year. It’s going to be a hard act to follow. The rest of our staff is grateful Nestor Aparicio handled last week’s prep list so that we could avoid the heat-and the difficulty.

If you’re not familiar with what I’m talking about (I mean…there’s always one), 2014 marks our 16th year of serving the Baltimore community as sports media leader here at WNST.net. We’re celebrating by taking a different “water cooler” topic every week and dissecting it before declaring an “official” list every Tuesday.

We then continue the celebration by yelling, screaming, name calling and then ultimately agreeing to hug it out. Well, most of us do anyway. Luke never really gets involved with the name-calling. Actually one time he did. He said “I have to be honest, I respectfully disagree” and then apologized for such an outburst.

If you’ve missed any of our #WNSTSweet16 lists thus far this year (including Nestor’s hotly debated list from a week ago), here’s your chance to catch up. (The #WNSTSweet16 is brought to you by Jerry’s Automotive!)

Week 22: Nestor Aparicio-Sweet 16 all-time greatest local high athletes
Week 21: Glenn Clark-Sweet 16 greatest local lacrosse players of all time
Week 20: Drew Forrester-Sweet 16 most unsung Orioles
Week 19: Gary Quill-Sweet 16 all-time Maryland horse racing moments
Week 18: Luke Jones-Sweet 16 most important picks in Ravens draft history
Week 17: Glenn Clark-Sweet 16 worst draft picks in Baltimore Ravens history
Week 16: Drew Forrester-Sweet 16 greatest players in Washington Capitals history
Week 15: Nestor Aparicio-Sweet 16 games we’ve been treated to
Week 14: Drew Forrester-Sweet 16 Masters moments of the last 30 years
Week 13: Luke Jones-Sweet 16 greatest pro wrestling moments in Baltimore history
Week 12: Luke Jones-Sweet 16 local sports goofballs/personalities
Week 11: Glenn Clark-Sweet 16 local sports saints-athletes who gave back
Week 10: Nestor Aparicio-Sweet 16 events a Baltimore sports fan must attend
Week 9: Drew Forrester-Sweet 16 greatest Baltimore college basketball players
Week 8: Luke Jones-Sweet 16 Orioles who didn’t live up to the hype
Week 7: Glenn Clark-Sweet 16 most underappreciated Maryland basketball players
Week 6: Drew Forrester-Sweet 16 local sports “Heartbreakers”
Week 5: Luke Jones-Sweet 16 local Olympic sport athletes
Week 4: Drew Forrester-Sweet 16 local athletes who deserved to win a championship but didn’t
Week 3: Nestor Aparicio-Sweet 16 local sports people who “had a dream”
Week 2: Luke Jones-Sweet 16 local sports playoff moments
Week 1: Glenn Clark-Sweet 16 “debuts” in local sports history

And in Week 23, we’ve got the NBA on our mind here at WNST.

I’m in the cockpit for this week’s #WNSTSweet16 for the second time in three weeks. We’re in the throws of the NBA Finals, with the San Antonio Spurs and Miami Heat offering a couple of classics to start the series.

With that in mind, we thought this week would be appropriate to look back on the area’s own professional basketball history. Our topic this week is the “Sweet 16 best ever Baltimore/Washington Bullets/Wizards”.

Sure, that sounds like a disjointed topic title, but we have to imagine you understand why. The pro franchise that currently plays down in DC’s Chinatown neighborhood once called Charm City home-beginning their existence playing games at the historic Baltimore Arena. We wanted to recognize Baltimore’s pro history (albeit brief) and then also recognize the players who played for the franchise in Washington since there are a number of Wizards fans in our area as well.

This means that not only are Earl “The Pearl” Monroe and Wes Unseld eligible for our list, but so are John Wall and Bradley Beal-and everyone in between.

I’m struggling already with the list. There are a couple of Hall of Famers that immediately go to the top of the list-but how does the list shake out after that? There were a number of players during the Bullets/Wizards’ lean years in the District that were good for a short time, but not for an extended period of time. Where does Gilbert Arenas fit into this picture?

These aren’t easy determinations to make.

I want your suggestions. You can leave them here in the comments on this blog post or email me (glenn@wnst.net). We will be discussing the list throughout the day Monday on AM1570 WNST.net. We’d love to have you Tweet with us or discuss the topic via Facebook by using the hashtag #WNSTSweet16.

On Tuesday morning, I will unveil the “official” list here at WNST.net and then discuss it with Drew and Luke on “The D&L Window Tinting Morning Reaction” at 8am. I will then re-visit the list at 4pm Tuesday with Nestor on “The Happy Hours”.

I need to hear from old Baltimore Bullets fans and (frankly) younger Washington Wizards fans alike for this one. Who are the greatest players in franchise history? Make your voice heard!

-G

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Nationals select Ryan Ripken in 15th round of MLB Draft

Posted on 07 June 2014 by WNST Staff

Nationals conclude 2014 MLB First-Year Player Draft

The Washington Nationals concluded the 2014 MLB First-Year Player Draft on Saturday afternoon, selecting 30 players to round out this year’s draft class.

Over the course of the three-day draft, the Nationals selected 21 pitchers (seven left-handed pitchers, 14 right-handed), four catchers, 10 outfielders and five infielders.

Among the players the Nats selected Saturday was first baseman Ryan Ripken (Gilman) out of Indian River State College in Florida.

Ripken is the son of former Baltimore Orioles Hall of Fame SS Cal Ripken. The younger Ripken was drafted by the Birds in the 20th round of the 2012 Draft before passing on the opportunity to accept a scholarship to play baseball at South Carolina.

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wes_unseld

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Watching the Wizards — from a distance

Posted on 08 May 2014 by Tony Wisniewski

It’s hard not to watch the Wizards’ playoff run.

They’re young.  They’re exciting.  They’re from Washington.

This is Baltimore.  Just down Interstate-95, about 35-minutes south, is Washington.  Baltimore isn’t Washington–and the Wizards aren’t the hometown team.

For a decade, the Civic Center–Baltimore Areana/First Mariner Arena–housed the red-white-and-blue uniforms that represented the city’s NBA franchise.  And then, after the 1973 season, they whisked away to the greener pastures of the Washington DC suburbs of Landover.

And, like that, the Bullets were no longer property of Baltimore.

Though the franchise made an effort to travel to Charm City for several home-games each year, it was never quite right; almost like having dinner with an ex-girlfriend who says she’s confused and needs space, but you know she’s been sleeping with some other guy for quite some time.

On a personal level, a kid like me never knew any better.  Born in 1983,  I knew nothing other than vivid memories of Earl “The Pearl” Monroe, told to me by my basketball-crazed father.

Sure, as a kid we watched the Bullets on Home-Team-Sports (big-time throwback), and we went to any games that the team played in Baltimore–even though it was routinely against bottom-feeders like the Barkley-less-Sixers, the Laettner-led Timberwolves, or the JV team that used to be the New Jersey Nets.

Rex Chapman bombing threes over Hersey Hawkins, or Pervis Ellison going body-to-body with Dwayne Schintzius, wasn’t exactly a premier brand of basketball–but it was all Baltimore had.

As a kid, it was perfectly acceptable to run around the Bear Creek and West Inverness playgrounds with a handmade Tom Gugliotta jersey while bellowing out “Guuuuuuuugs.”

Ah, but ignorance is bliss.  As time went on, it became more and more apparent that the Bullets couldn’t really care less about Baltimore.

Even though mainstays like Wes Unseld and Phil Chenier claimed love for Baltimore and its fans who created a college-type of atmosphere, the organization decided that in 1997, it was the end of the yearly trips to Baltimore–officially closing the door on memory lane.

By 1998, the re-branded Wizards took to the court at the newly constructed MCI Center in the heart of one of the worst crime-laden neighborhoods in our Nation’s Capital.  And, even though Baltimore has been the backdrop of drug-infested war-stories like HBO’s The Wire, try and convince a Dundalkian, Overlean, or Parkvillian to venture into DC.

You’d have a better chance of convincing a Fallston girl to leave a Fed Hill bar and go to a keg-party in a Dundalk basement.

And that’s just it.  It’s not that Baltimore and its fans lost interest in the Bullets-turned-Wizards.  It’s that the franchise lost interest in its roots.

The official statements that the organization made and would continue to make if anyone still asked the question, would be that they aren’t going to keep piling into a dilapidated arena when they have a newer facility less-than-an-hour away.

But there’s more to the story than that; perhaps most importantly, it’s not the arena that the Bullets-Wizards franchise shunned, it’s the fans.

The fans of Baltimore who had memories of Gus Johnson and Elvin Hayes.  The fans who clamored to get tickets to watch a couple of games per year from obstructed view seats.  The fans who still think that the Wizards are part of Baltimore.

And that’s what it’s become.  A fallacy of what once was.

These days, as a kids who never really knew the Bullets like my dad did, I watch the Wizards and appreciate their youthful enthusiasm and the growing chemistry of budding superstars like Bradley Beal and John Wall.

But I look at them as I look at Oklahoma City’s franchise; or Indiana’s, or Brooklyn’s.

This is Baltimore.  And while it’s certainly understandable to like the Wizards and enjoy their run in the playoffs, it’s important to remember, they’re Washington’s team–not Baltimore’s.

Baltimore is watching–albeit from a distance.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Schedule set for Wizards/Pacers semifinal series

Posted on 04 May 2014 by WNST Staff

Here is the full schedule for the Washington Wizards/Indiana Pacers NBA Playoffs Eastern Conference Semifinal series, courtesy of Monumental Network:

GAME 1: Monday – May 5 – Wizards @ Pacers – Bankers Life Fieldhouse – 7pm – TNT

GAME 2: Wednesday – May 7 – Wizards @ Pacers – Bankers Life Fieldhouse – 7pm – TNT

GAME 3: Friday – May 9 – Pacers @ Wizards – Verizon Center – 8pm – ESPN

GAME 4: Sunday – May 11 – Pacers @ Wizards – Verizon Center – 8pm – TNT

GAME 5*: Tuesday – May 13 – Wizards @ Pacers – Bankers Life Fieldhouse – Time TBD – TNT

GAME 6*: Thursday – May 15 – Pacers @ Wizards – Verizon Center – Time TBD – ESPN

GAME 7*: Sunday – May 18th – Wizards @ Pacers – Bankers Life Fieldhouse – Time TBD – TV TBD

*if necessary

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Capitals trade G Halak to Islanders for draft pick

Posted on 01 May 2014 by WNST Staff

ARLINGTON, VA. – The Washington Capitals have acquired a fourth-round draft pick in the 2014 NHL Entry Draft from the New York Islanders in exchange for the rights to goaltender Jaroslav Halak, assistant general manager Brian MacLellan announced today. The fourth-round selection was acquired by New York from Chicago.

Halak, 28, posted a 29-13-7 record with five shutouts, a 2.25 goals-against average and a .921 save percentage in 52 games with Washington and St. Louis this season. The Bratislava, Slovakia, native was acquired by the Capitals from Buffalo with a third-round choice in the 2015 NHL Entry Draft in exchange for Michal Neuvirth and Rostislav Klesla on March 5, 2014. Halak has registered a 144-85-29 record in his career with 30 shutouts, a 2.38 goals-against average and a .918 save percentage.

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