Game 7: Washington Capitals 2 BOSTON BRUINS 1 (Overtime)



JOEL WARD!

An overtime goal wins it for the Capitals in game 7. Dale Hunter has seen this before.

Big win for the Caps, who looked like they were not going to be a playoff team for large parts of the season and now they have eliminated the defending Stanley Cup Champion on the road. That’s 4 wins, but they need 12 more.

A great night for D.C. sports too (DC Sports Bog, The Post) — Nats (14-4?!) and the Wizards also won.

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Capitals vs. Bruins game 7 tonight

It would figure that the one weeknight game of the Washington Nationals western swing is the same night as Game 7 of the first round of the NHL Eastern Conference playoffs. The Washington Capitals and Boston Bruins drop the puck around 7:30 p.m. on Comcast SportsNet. The Caps went up 2-1 and then 3-2 on Boston, but couldn’t take the series in D.C. on Sunday.

In his latest homer column, Thomas Boswell of The Post notes that after spending the weekend in New England with his in-laws, the pressure is not on the Caps and that Boston’s true nature (defending Stanley Cup champions and multiple championships in the last decade overall) can weigh heavy on the Bruins. While the Caps game 7 history is terrible, he thinks having the game up there gives the Caps a chance to advance.

Also, I meant to post these great DC Sports Bog profiles on Caps TV analyst Craig Laughlin:

Craig Laughlin, his accent, his phrases, his Sharpies

Craig Laughlin’s game notes

I figured I better do it now because in 10 hours or so, we might not care again until October.

I predicted that the Bruins would take the series in six. I’m wrong and hope the Caps take it in seven. We’ll see.

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NPR on tacos, because tacos are awesome

The California Taco Trail: ‘How Mexican Food Conquered America’NPR
NPR reporter Carolina Miranda went on a “taco tour” in Southern California with Gustavo Arellano who wrote Taco USA: How Mexican Food Conquered America. The origins of the American taco are traced through 3 restaurants — “taking a taco trip through time.”

I love tacos. There is something about seasoned meat, cheese and a few vegetables that just triggers really happy thing in my brain. Probably the MSG. I even like tacos with chicken in them. The tacos I make are probably pretty far removed from their Mexican origins, but I make no apologies. I probably still make something more authentic than the leading fast food taco chain.

Now, I can’t stand Taco Bell (tastes like soggy, shredded corrugated cardboard seasoned with MSG) but I have to salute Glen Bell for getting his “tacos” out there to a wider audience. By the way, ‘Wait Wait … Don’t Tell Me!’ staff had one of the new Doritos Locos tacos and blogged about it. I’ll confess that I have used Doritos in lieu of regular tortilla chips before.

This is the kind of post I’d use Tumblr for, but since I can’t make up my mind about whether or not I need an additional CMS, I’m posting it here. Again, because tacos are awesome.

h/t Tom Bridge

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2012 Nats vs. Padres Q&A and prediction with Jason Woodmansee

It is guest prognosticator time again! Legendary displaced Washington Redskins fan Jason Woodmansee lives in San Diego and is thus the closest to be a Padres fan that I know, online or otherwise. He’s returns to talk about the upcoming Washington Nationals visit to the Gaslamp District; last year’s Q&A. I probably should have made some Three’s Company or Joan Embry and the San Diego Zoo jokes, but there is always next season. The Friars aren’t the easiest to come up with questions for…

WFY: The Padres and Nationals have just about mirror images in their 2012 start. Were the Padres expected to be bad, mediocre or good this season? Is anybody getting alarmed by the start or are they too busy basking in the experience of San Diego living?

JW: Padres fans definitely aren’t impressed with the slow start. A guy I used to work with runs Gaslamp Ball – the SB Nation blog for the Padres. Check it out for some good angst. I’ve also anecdotally heard about people saying that tickets aren’t in demand right now, but that’s typical of just about everywhere in April. But it’s not like the subject is on everyone’s lips, like in Boston or something.

WFY: Who is a bigger deal the Padres or Chargers? Is that going to be a moot point one of these years? It seems to me that the Chargers owners must really want to be there otherwise they’d have been in L.A. 15 years ago. Of course, I have to ask how our buddy Norv Turner is doing too.

JW: Are the Chargers bigger than the Padres? Well, the NFL is bigger than baseball just about every where. I always joke that the Chargers are moving to LA at some point, but there seems to be general progress on a new stadium (although I have to say that Qualcomm Stadium has the finest corporate sponsor in all of the NFL). As far as Norv goes, I really thought that this was the year he’d get fired. Most fans were shocked (and annoyed) that he and AJ Smith (the GM) got kept on. The Spanos family are like the bizarro Dan Snyders.

WFY: Weren’t the Padres off TV for a while? As a Nats fan, I completely understood their pain.

JW: The Padres TV contract before this year was with a special channel run by Cox. It was available on cable, not not on satellite or AT&T. Since I have to get DirecTV to watch Redskins games, I was never able to watch the Padres on TV – even their ESPN games would be blacked out. It seemed like a pretty short sighted move in a town with a lot of transplants – it was hard for me to get too into the team. This year, they signed a big deal with Fox to create a new Fox Sports San Diego, which not only puts the franchise on better financial footing, but is also available across multiple systems. I have watched a couple of games this year, and plan to watch the Nationals games if I can.

WFY: Is Jerry Coleman still doing games? I met him last year and he worked with the Yankees at the same time as my mom; he’s a good guy. I heard Dick Enberg is around too. Is Enberg still no better than an average sportscaster?

JW: Yes, Jerry Coleman still does radio, and Dick Enberg does TV. I don’t watch/listen enough to give any reasonable opinion on their skills.

WFY: Are Padres fans counting down until Stephen Strasburg’s free agency in the hopes he’ll want to go home?

JW: You are the first person to mention waiting for Strasburg’s free agency. But that gives me an idea for a movement I should start…

Editor’s note: I should have kept my mouth shut…

WFY: Are any of your kids in a little league that got were given free Padres uniforms? If so, which incarnation of the Padres are they?

JW: Kids aren’t in little league right now, so no Padres gear.

WFY: You have said in the past that you don’t see a lot of Padres stuff out that way — do you still see more interlocking SD or the curly W since that’s been misappropriated to mean west coast? Do you know if people in South Dakota have taken the Padres caps as their own?

JW: There is some confusion between San Diego State University and South Dakota State University when it comes to the name SDSU, but I haven’t heard of them claiming the SD hats yet.

WFY: We’ve discussed the In-N-Out vs. FIVE GUYS “rivalry” before, any changes on that front?

JW: No news in the In-N-Out vs. Five Guys battle. They’re both co-existing well.

WFY: Are you headed to any of the games this week?

JW: The series snuck up on me – I hadn’t checked the schedule for when the Nats were coming yet. I’m going to try to make the Thursday night game – the Orioles were in Anaheim this weekend, so it’s DMV week in SoCal, I guess.

WFY: Who takes the series?

JW: The Nats take the series – the Padres are awful.

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Nats: Frank Howard, Edwin Jackson and the number 33

Washington Senators slugger Frank Howard was the last great D.C. baseball player before 2005. He hit 237 home runs for the expansion Senators from 1965-71, still an all-time Washington record. A long-time resident of Loudoun County, Va., Howard is an ambassador for the Loudoun Hounds independent minor league baseball team headquartered about 30 miles west of Nationals Park. He also makes area appearances and is immortalized in sculpture outside of Nationals Park.

Frank Howard, wearing wrong uniform/number combination

In that sculpture (commissioned by the D.C. Commission on the Arts and Humanities and not the franchise) Howard is seen wearing #33. He had worn #9 (Baseball Reference) upon his arrival in Washington in a trade from the Los Angeles Dodgers, but out of deference to incoming manager Ted Williams, Howard changed his number in 1969. Howard tends to be most associated with #33 as it coincided with his best seasons and the high-water mark of the expansion Senators (86 wins in 1969).

Since baseball returned to nation’s capital in 2005, the #33 was never issued. That changed this year when journeyman RHP Edwin Jackson, signed with the Nats. Jackson had typically worn #36 or #22 (Baseball Reference) in previous stops, but those numbers are worn by Tyler Clippard and Drew Storen, respectively (Washington Nationals roster). There wasn’t much of a fuss about #33 being issued, though it was noted (see the bottom of this Nats Insider post). It seemed that #33 would never be retired for Howard, except that it already was “retired” in a preseason game.

In 1993, D.C. was a few years past from being jilted when the National League expanded two teams the Florida Marlins (now Miami) and the Colorado Rockies. Despite that, exhibition games were regularly played at RFK Stadium. For at least a day or two of the year, I could get on the Orange Line and take it to a major league game. Being a New York Yankees fan (they are still my AL team), I was pleased when I found out they’d be playing their intra-city rivals, the Mets at RFK Stadium. It was scheduled for a Friday afternoon, but my dad took my brother and I out of school (family business) to see it. That morning, I probably read a story in The Post about previewing the game:

Yankees, Mets Enliven RFK: Baseball returns to Washington, Albeit Briefly

Today, in pregame ceremonies, Yankees first base coach Frank Howard, the slugging hero of the Senators, will be honored by having his uniform — No. 33, Size XXXL — retired. He also will be presented with a stadium chair, presumably, one not dented by any of the 237 home runs Hondo hit for the Washington team.

The pregame ceremony turned out to be the highlight of the day, as the game was called due to sloppy field conditions after heavy rains.

The only happy face in the stadium yesterday belong to Yankees first base coach Frank Howad, the former Washington Senators slugger who was honored in a ceremony to retire his No. 33.

I remember the photograph of Howard, sitting in his road gray “NEW YORK” uniform holding up the jersey. The picture wasn’t included in the scan of the newspaper that I used to research this post, but the caption was: “Frank Howard, no (sic) first base coach with the Yankees, holds his No. 33 Senators jersey which was retired in ceremony at RFK Stadium.”

If I recall correctly, the master of ceremonies indicated that #33 would hang for the rafters at RFK. Years later, when I went back to RFK for the first time (1996 HFStival) since that cancelled exhibition game, I looked around the stadium and did not see it. I think it is reasonable to determined it was never posted. As an aside, #33 is also retired by the Washington Redskins for Sammy Baugh, the only officially retired number that franchise honors. That was never specifically displayed either.

After Howard’s ceremony, the game was called after over 9,000 tickets out of 16,000 sold had already entered. There were no refunds. We had already ordered lunch though, hot dogs and a big bucket of french fries. Also noteworthy, heavyweight champion Riddick Bowe cancelled his scheduled honorary first pitch in solidarity with a Jesse Jackson protest against major league baseball over minority hiring.

In the present, Edwin Jackson has already started three games for the Nats (two duds, one complete game shutout) wearing #33. I don’t have any thing against Jackson (at least when he’s pitching well, right?) but he shouldn’t have been allowed to wear that number. Howard remains outside of the organization, though according to a September 28, 2011 Thom Loverro column in The Wash. Examiner, Howard wanted to be a part of the Nationals in some way. During the first several years the Nats were involved, Howard had a “lifetime contract” with the Yankees as a scout, but after George Steinbrenner died, Howard and the Yankees parted, apparently amicably. Back then, I advocated that Howard be brought on board, but to date that hasn’t happened and even the unofficial number retirement is no longer observed.

Loverro speculated that money had been a factor keeping the slugger and team from formalizing a relationship:

Several years ago, there were negotiations to bring Howard on board in some role. But sources with knowledge of the negotiations said the Lerners wanted MASN — Peter Angelos’ network — to help foot the bill. That failed to materialize, and the team didn’t come up with whatever pocket change it would have taken to hire Howard.

Really? I’m all for making Angelos spend as much money on the Nats as possible as punishment for his misdeeds, but in that circumstance that’s just nuts. I have a tough time imaging that Howard’s asking price is particularly steep too.

The Nats administration certainly does not owe Howard anything financially, nor do they need to uphold a number retirement done unofficially by a exhibition game promoter almost 20 years ago. Howard may not even care about his number. However, there are fans who care about the number and want to see Howard recognized by the current team, especially in light of the recognition given some Montreal Expos players — men who never played in Washington. The Lerner family and team president Andy Feffer would serve Nats fans well and do their business good by embracing the history of D.C. baseball and in particular the men who played it. Retiring #33 at the next opportunity would be a strong step in that direction.

HISTORICAL SOURCES

Shapiro, Leonard. “Yankees, Mets Enliven RFK: Baseball Returns to Washington, Albeit Briefly.” Washington Post 2 April 1993: C1. ProQuest Historical Newspapers

Shapiro, Leonard. “Wet Field Halts Mets-Yankees Exhibition.” Washington Post 3 April 1993: D3. ProQuest Historical Newspapers

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Boston Bruins 4 WASHINGTON CAPITALS 3 (Overtime)

The Washington Capitals lost a tough, exciting hockey game yesterday. The Boston Bruins scored first, but the Caps got the equalizer. This cycle repeated itself another two times before the Bruins scored again when the Caps had no answer — overtime. It has been a very close series. The crowd sounded great on TV. Good to see Alex Ovechkin get a goal, the final D.C. score, late in the 3rd. Game 7 is Wednesday (a needlessly long break) in Boston. Both teams have had a lot of game 7′s lately, so I don’t see either having an advantage.

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Washington Capitals 4 BOSTON BRUINS 3

The Caps went up 2-0 and then the Bruins scored twice in about a minute to tie it up, the Caps pulled ahead again and then the Bruins tied it up, but Troy Brouwer scored the game winner at 18:33 in the 3rd period.

The series resumes today in D.C. at 3 p.m. on NBC (Ch. 4 in Washington). It should be quite a scene in Verizon Center with the Caps having a chance to knock off the defending Stanley Cup champions.

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Nats can’t take Astros series, get clobbered 11-4

Is it just me or does it seem like your team starts getting noticed for being good nationally (Daily Pitch, USA Today), they seem to lose? That happened last night with the Washington Nationals. Edwin Jackson gave up 5 Houston Astros runs (3 triples!) – (The Post) in the first inning and the Nats never recovered. Tom Gorzelanny made matters worse by giving up 6 runs, eliminating the Nats comeback. DC had pulled within one and Ryan Zimmerman hit a three-run homer, his first in 2012, but it wasn’t enough. Last night was the first bad pitching outing of the season for the team, not bad given that we’re two weeks into it. This may ultimately be healthy; it could be easy to get overconfident (Nats Insider, CSN Washington).

It is hard to get too down on the Nats though, they have won every series so far this season, losing only one game in each of them. That’s a 10-4 record, a great start which is already giving them breathing room (Mr. Irrelevant).

Tonight, the rechristened Miami Marlins make their first visit to D.C. There may be some difficulty getting the series in weather-wise, but I’m hoping that the rain holds off until tomorrow — we’re celebrating the impending obsolescence of MC Hamme’s (remember him?) bachelorhood.

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