Back on April 28, right after Washington Capitals owner Ted Leonsis took control of the Washington Wizards, Washington Mystics and Verizon Center from the estate of Abe Pollin, I came up with a list of items that he needed to deliver on. Rather than update that old post, I figured I’d start with a fresh one. Keep in mind that championships are the primary deliverable, but what follows below are things that he has direct control (or close to it) over:
1. Fix the Capitals winter classic sweater
A patch with the Capitals script just isn’t doing it, go all the way with the throwback or not at all. This may be on Reebok, but regardless it is their best interest to fix this cheap looking sweater. My full explanation: Reebok messes up Winter Classic Capitals sweater
2. Better ice conditions at Verizon Center
Turn down the thermostat for hockey games! The Capitals are a young, fast team and sloppy ice negates that advantage, not too mention is dangerous. Remember all of those groin injuries a few years back? Soft ice was likely a factor. There have not been as many complaints as of late though, but let’s never have them again.
The initial reports are that this is happening.
3. Red, white and blue Wizards uniforms
First off, Leonsis is not changing the name to back to Bullets and he wasn’t ever going to because of the respect he had for Pollin. You may recall that Pollin no longer felt comfortable with Bullets after so many shootings, including Yhitzak Rabin.
The colors changing back to the original Washington Bullets red, white and blue is a forgone conclusion, the only question is when? Does Leonsis do it immediately or wait until the team is close to turning the corner like he did with the Capitals? I think the Wizards have bottomed out so much that they will do it as soon as possible, the team really needs a reboot. I have a prototype in mind too…
The Mystics should be red, white and blue too.
Last week, it came out that the Wizards will be in red, white and blue starting next season. Ted, I have some design concepts in mind
UPDATED 05.11.2011: Yup, new red, white and blue uniforms delivered.
4. Improved food stands in Verizon Center
The one thing that Nationals Park has over every other sports venue in D.C. is the selection of food vendors, especially ones with a local connection. Yes, Ben’s Chili Bowl needs to be in Verizon Center, but places like Hard Times Cafe and other favorite local eateries ought to be as well and not just for the club seats.
Oh and get them up to code too.
5. NHL All-Star game and/or NHL Draft
When I interviewed Leonsis back in 2006, he said that they had not pushed for the NHL All-Star game because they “did not own the building.” Well, he owns it now, get those events in D.C.
6. Appropriately colored seats
I’ve never understood why Verizon Center has purple seats since there has never been a purple team to play there. When the seats get redone, they ought to make them blue or red or both. Maybe put a Caps logo on one side, Wizards on another, Mystics and Georgetown on the ends. Signage around the arena should reflect the teams colors as well.
Given that Leonsis is painting the stairs red, this is probably a matter of when, not if. How about some sort of red, white and blue pattern, Ted?
7. A Manute Bol/Muggsy Bouges statue
After Manute Bol died I came up with a great idea — how about putting the famous photo of Manute Bol (7 foot 7 inches tall) and Muggsy Bouges (5 foot 3 inches tall) on the side of the building. Then I got to thinking, why not go even further and put a life size statue of the two of them.
8. All HD broadcasting
I put this at the bottom because I’m still using a CRT television, so it isn’t specifically important to me. It sure is important to other people though.
9. D.C. Winter Classic should be in D.C., not Baltimore
Baltimore was discussed as a possibility for the Winter Classic the Caps will host. That’s just stupid. FedEx Field in Landover, Md. (across the Capital Beltway from the old Capital Centre site) would be okay I suppose, but it is hard enough to watch a football game from the top of that stadium, much less hockey. Ultimately, Nationals Park is the place for the Caps to host the Winter Classic do it due to modern facilities, no other events around then and location. Oh and there is the matter of one of your minority owners, Mark Lerner, owns the Nationals with his family. Plus, the logo could use a curly W
Take down the Mystics attendance champions banners
Leonsis announced he was having the attendance banners removed on May 7.
P.S. Winning the season/post-season series with the Devils, Flyers and Penguins is good too, since I win La Coupe Hauxer when that happens.