Tag Archives: Capitals

Kids won at Verizon Center this weekend, Wizards and Capitals did not

Verizon Center experienced two RAIN DELAYS on Saturday night as a leaky roof dripped water on the court during a Washington Wizards vs. Houston Rockets game. During one of them, Rockets center Dwight Howard played one-on-one with a kid from the stands:

I remembered the kid getting a layup through. The Wiz lost 107-114.

Sunday, another boy, Braden Nienaber, got to do a ceremonial faceoff before the Washington Capitals game with Alex Ovechkin and Buffalo Sabres center Steve Ott.

Sending the visiting player out of the faceoff was the highlight of the game. Naturally, the Caps went to a shootout, but lost 2-1. I hope Sabres goalie Ryan Miller plays like that in the Olympics for the US team.

As for the hole in the roof, I blame The Post‘s Nationals beat writer Adam Kilgore:

He related it back to his beat as well:

His lede on the gamer was also strong:

Verizon Center had shown uncommon rudeness toward the Washington Wizards all season, but at least it had the decency not to spit on them. It’s one thing for the Wizards to rarely win at home relative to the rest of the league. It’s another for the building to turn against its tenants.

From Washington Wizards lose to Houston Rockets under leaky Verizon Center roof

Well played, Kilgore, well played.

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Will NHL, Capitals owner Ted Leonsis put the 2015 Winter Classic in Washington, D.C.?

winter-classic-logo-weagleOne of the frequent phrases that Washington Capitals owner Ted Leonsis used in his book The Business of Happiness and on his blog was “double bottom line.” He described it to Inc. as “be successful from a business standpoint but also be community-minded.”

Last year, I suggested that lockouts, like the one that Leonsis was apparently a hardliner on, don’t have a double bottom line. After it was over, Leonsis did not elaborate much on his role, other than he was sorry that he was not part of an earlier solution.

With the announcement that the Capitals will host the 2015 Winter Classic, Leonsis’ commitment to the double bottom line will once again be evaluated. While the Caps are hosting it, a venue has not been identified which is unusual compared to other Winter Classics. Apparently, Nationals Park, RFK Stadium and FedEx Field are under consideration. Why this was not decided as prior to the announcement is unusual and perhaps the skeptic in me sees this as a way by the NHL and Leonsis to have sites competing against each other to give the Winter Classic a sweetheart deal. Shrewd business sense, but it does not strike me as a “double bottom line” approach.

winter-classic-logo-curly-wNationals Park has the advantage of being the newest facility available with the most luxury suites and greatest merchandising and food availability. Depending on the vantage point, having a view of the Capitol dome. That’s certainly an impressive visual. Additionally, one of the minority owners of Monument Sports & Entertainment, the company that owns the Capitals, Wizards and Mystics, is Mark Lerner, whose family owns the Nats. Seemingly, that relationship would help make a Winter Classic at Nationals Park more likely, though the District certainly has a role as it is the owner of the ballpark.

RFK Stadium
offers a historic venue, primarily as the home of the Washington Redskins, but also the Washington Nationals and Senators and soccer at the MLS (DC United) and international level — World Cup 1994 was played there. The bouncing stands would also contribute to nostalgia and atmosphere. There are thousands of parking spaces and a nearby Metro station. The Capitol and the Washington Monument are visible from west side of the stadium, but the actual arena is completely enclosed. Another significant downside is the stadium is over 50 years and showing every one of those years.

A third choice, FedEx Field, is the largest venue in the area, boasting over 80,000 seats most of which would be aligned decently for a hockey rink, albeit far away. There is plenty of parking and a Metro station within a mile. FedEx Field is also just inside the Beltway from the Capitals original venue, the Capital Centre, but that also means it isn’t in Washington, but Landover, Md.

One troubling report is that Leonsis is also considering venues in the city of Baltimore, some 35 miles away from the District and certainly not WASHINGTON, D.C. or even near it. Nationals Park and RFK Stadium are of course, in D.C. while FedEx Field is visible from D.C. and vice versa. Simply put, if Leonsis is true to his double bottom line ethos he will publicly eliminate the possibility of a Baltimore Winter Classic for his WASHINGTON CAPITALS, even before a site is selected. The NHL needs to go along with this as well.

On a lighter note, I mocked up a couple of graphics of what I’d like to see the Winter Classic look like. Both are based on the previous Caps logo, but with red, white and blue colors. The only real difference is the choice of “W” I used in each — the Caps’ “Weagle” in one and the Nats “curly W” in the other. I think it’s safe to assume that neither is likely, especially the latter, even if the Winter Classic is at my #1 choice, Nationals Park.

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DC tied for 14th in 2013 Uni Watch Power Rankings

For the second year in a row, Paul Lukas of Uni-Watch and ESPN has put together another Power Rankings of team uniforms from the MLB, NFL, NHL and NBA.

One was fun. So we figured twice would be nice.

Consider that your welcome to the second annual Uni Watch Power Rankings. In case you missed last year’s edition, the concept behind the Power Rankings is simple: We’re assessing and ranking the uniform sets for each of the 122 teams in the “Big Four” pro sports leagues — the NFL, NBA, NHL and MLB. Last year’s debut installment of the Power Rankings was a big hit, so we’ve decided to do it again.

Last year I compiled a simple spreadsheet of all the cities with 3 or more teams, adding up the Uni Watch Power Rankings and seeing how the Washington, D.C. teams did: How Washington D.C. teams did in the 2012 Uni Watch Power Rankings, coming in 13th. This year, Lukas changed the methodology, ranking each sport individually rather than all 122 teams against each other. In doing so, D.C. dropped a ranking, to 14th overall, tied with Minnesota’s Twin Cities:

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City MLB NFL NHL NBA AVG

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1 Pittsburgh 11 (Pirates) 4 (Pittsburgh) 7 (Penguins) 7.33

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2 Chicago 15 (White Sox), 3 (Cubs) 1 (Bears) 8 (Blackhawks) 10 (Bulls) 7.4

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3 San Francisco Bay Area 13 (Giants), 3 (Athletics) 6 (49ers), 2 (Raiders) 19 (Sharks) 5 (Warriors) 8

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4 Boston 16 (Red Sox) 14 (Patriots) 2 (Bruins) 1 (Celtics) 8.25

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5 Philadelphia 4 (Phillies) 10 (Eagles) 5 (Flyers) 15 (76ers) 8.5

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6 Toronto 8 (Blue Jays) 6 (Maple Leafs) 21 (Raptors) 11.67

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7 New York/New Jersey 14 (Mets), 7 (Yankees) 12 (Jets), 15 (Giants) 11 (Devils), 15 (Islanders), 4 (Rangers) 16 (Knickerbockers), 13 (Nets) 11.8

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8 Detroit 6 (Tigers) 27 (Lions) 5 (Red Wings) 12 (Pistons) 12.5

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9 Los Angeles/Anaheim 12 (Angels), 5 (Dodgers) 30 (Kings), 17 (Ducks) 26 (Clippers), 2 Lakers 15.33

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10 Dallas 21 (Rangers) 7 (Cowboys) 12 (Stars) 25 (Mavericks) 16.25

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11 St. Louis 1 (Cardinals) 21 (Rams) 27 (Blues) 16.33

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12 Miami 29 (Marlins) 18 (Dolphins) 13 (Panthers) 6 (Heat) 16.5

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13 Tampa Bay 18 (Rays) 11 (Buccaneers) 23 (Lightning) 17.33

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14 Washington 26 (Nationals) 19 (Redskins) 28 (Capitals) 7 (Wizards) 20

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Twin Cities 24 (Twins) 17 (Vikings) 10 (Wild) 29 (Timeberwolves) 20

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15 Houston 23 (Astros) 23 (Texans) 19 (Rockets) 21.67

.

Atlanta 17 (Braves) 28 (Falcons) 20 (Hawks) 21.67

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16 Phoenix 27 (Diamondbacks) 29 (Cardinals) 21 (Coyotes) 11 (Suns) 22

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17 Cleveland 28 (Indians) 16 (Browns) 24 (Cavaliers) 22.67

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18 Denver 22 (Rockies) 23 (Broncos) 29 (Avalanche) 17 (Nuggets) 22.75

DC would come in 9th amongst 4 or more teams.

Pittsburgh was first and Denver was last in both rankings.

There is functionality on the Power Rankings that allows users to rank each league and I’ll do that separately. I have to believe that the Nationals, Redskins, Capitals and Wizards come in higher than 14th though and certainly better than the Twin Cities. I know the Nats have better uniforms than Colorado Rockies, Texas Rangers and the Redskins certainly look sharper than than the Philadelphia Eagles. The Caps are superior sartorially than the Dallas Stars, Minnesota Wild or Vancouver Canucks. I’ll “prove” it soon.

Lukas will be chatting tomorrow, so tell him he’s wrong, not me.

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Ted Leonsis got the Game 7 he deserved; Rangers crush Capitals 5-0

The Washington Capitals season came to an abrupt halt (Japers Rink) in game 7 of the 1st round of the playoffs as they were dominated by the New York Rangers, 5-0. It was a brutal end to a strange season that started late due to a lock-out that team owner Ted Leonsis was reportedly hard-liner on. The Caps recovery from a 2-10-1 start to win the final Southeast Division crown was impressive, but they led yet another game 7 egg at Verizon Center. Caps fans deserve better, but after presiding over two NHL lockouts in eight years and a season removed from a NBA lockout (Leonsis also owns the Washington Wizards), I think Teddy Lockout could use some humbling.

Next season will be different, the Southeast division heads to the dust-bin of history. The Caps will return to what will hopefully be called Patrick Division with Carolina Hurricanes, Columbus Blue Jackets, Philadelphia Flyers, Pittsburgh Penguins, New Jersey Devils, New York Islanders and the Rangers. No more cheap division titles moving forward. I think the franchise will benefit from the new surroundings, though it may not be right away.

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Why do the Nats and Caps hate Mother’s Day?

Friday, it all started out well with the Washington Nationals taking game 1 of the weekend series over the Chicago Cubs 7-2 (mlb.com video) and the Washington Capitals taking game 5 over the New York Rangers, 2-1 (nhl.com video).

The good times would only last until Saturday’s fifth inning, when, after dominating, Stephen Strasburg came completely undone. A Ryan Zimmerman error was followed by a walk, then an Edwin Jackson (his revenge!) double, followed by a walk, followed by a single. Four runs were home and the game was effectively over. Zach Duke just threw gasoline on the fire and the Cubs won 8-2 (mlb.com video) .

Sunday also started out promising – Gio Gonzalez retired the first 15 batters. Zimmerman drove in an early run. After 7 innings, the Nats were beating the Cubs 1-0. Then Drew Storen replaced Gonzalez and gave up a run. Then in the ninth, Rafael Soriano couldn’t get it done and Kurt Suzuki made an error that led to the winning Cubs run. Cubs take the game and series 2-1.

The evening was no better, the Caps couldn’t get on the powerplay once, while the Rangers did 5 times. The Rags won 2-1 (nhl.com video), forcing Game 7, tonight at 8 p.m. (have fun beat writers!) in D.C. The Nats are out on the West Coast for the next week too, so no games before 10 p.m. We’ll have to console ourselves with this great Post feature on Bryce Harper’s swing. (By the way, Bryce, you can start hitting again.)

When it comes down to it, the Cubs and Rangers just love their moms more.

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Caps & Nats opponents dealing with some pregame issues which are surely just a coincidence

Tuesday saw two instances of mishaps befalling the opponents of D.C. teams. First, the Winnipeg Jets:

The Washington Capitals host the Jets in a critical South(L)east Division game. Brian McNally has the Caps playoff math in The. Wash. Examiner. In short, if the Caps win in regulation or overtime (but not the shootout) they clinch the division. Other scenarios are also presented in the link in the preceding paragraph.

Hockey players often take naps in the afternoon before night games.

Down the Green Line the visiting St. Louis Cardinals ran into some problems during their warm-ups before tonight’s game with the Washington Nationals:

Yup, sprinklers going off, how unusual.

This is all amusing, at least before the games, but if I were on the the Jets or Cards, I might be slightly more motivated. Not that the Jets need it, after all there is a division title on the line. As for the Cards, it is an early regular season game, but given the recent history between the two clubs, they may have some heightened awareness.

I’m hoping it’ll all be a fun anecdote as fans joyfully head to the Gallery Place/Chinatown and Navy Yard Metro stations post-game. If either of the visitors prevail, I kind of expect to here post-game remarks about these little incidents.

EPILOGUE

Much like the current Nats, the shenanigans had a .500 record.

The Caps did their part, winning 5-3 to clinch their 7th and final Southeast Division title (Japers Rink). This is the same Caps team that started this lockout abbreviated season 2-8-1. Had ‘em all the way!

Mission accomplished, Steve.

Meanwhile, the Nats could not get across the plate again, wasting another quality start by Ross Detwiler. The Cards took the series behind 8 strong innings of Adam Wainwright pitching. Final score, 2-0. Davey Johnson is mad (Nats Enquirer). We’re all mad. There is no way this team should be 10-10. The Caps do provide a recent reminder that a bad start can be overcome, but then again the Nats aren’t in the SouthLeast division like the Caps.

The series concludes at 1:05 this afternoon.

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Nats, Caps doubleheader today

Not many cities have baseball and hockey teams with the same color scheme
Two games in the District today, back-to-back, separated by four stops on the Green Line.

Navy Yard Metro
4:05 p.m. Washington Nationals (2-0) vs. Miami Marlins (0-2)
Jordan Zimmerman vs. Wade LaBlanc

The Nats go for the sweep over the Marlins before a big series against the Reds in Cincinnati. That is going to be a real test. I hope the Nats take care of business tonight, especially since Wisconsin native Zimmermann is on the mound. I’m fearing the reverse lock.

I’ll be listening at work via MLB Audio (well worth the $20 annually) and my car radio (106.7 WJFK-FM/1500 WFED-AM). Telecast is on MASN2.

Gallery Place/Chinatown
7:05 p.m. Washington Capitals vs. New York Islanders
Braden Holtby vs. Evgeni Nabokov

I haven’t blogged much about the Caps this season, partly because I’m mad at Ted Leonsis for the lockout, partly because my blogging has been inconsistent overall. I’m still pulling for them, they just tend to lose when I watch them so I’ve been superstitious. Telecast is on CSN Washington.

Someday, I need to do a Nats/Caps doubleheader in person. Not sure how fun being a Green Line commuter today is going to be though.

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Redskins will be #1 team in D.C. for a long time; Nats & Caps currently jockeying for #2

DC team pennants
Mike Rizzo: D.C. could become ‘primarily a baseball town’ – DC Sports Bog, The Post
I think that every professional sports team ought to be “aspirational” in everything they do. An example is trying to be the #1 team in a market. Washington Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo seems to think so too:

“I think that Washington D.C. could become primarily a baseball town, with the Redskins always being right there in the picture also,” he continued.

That’s the right thing to say, but I doubt he believes it. The Redskins 75 years in D.C. and the overall popularity of the NFL are too much to overcome. The Nats, Capitals, Wizards and DC United are all fighting to be the second most popular team in the area. My guess is the current overall ranking looks like this:

1. Redskins
2. Capitals
3. Nationals
4. Wizards
5. DC United

I think the slumping Caps are just hanging onto the #2 spot and will probably be surpassed by the Nats this spring if they haven’t been already. The Nats are certainly in the best position to win D.C.’s next major championship, a spot the Caps occupied for about 5 years.

My personal rankings look like this:

1. Nationals
2. Redskins
3. Capitals
4. DC United
5. Wizards

With me, everybody is fighting to be #2 too — the Nats are my favorite D.C. team even during extended periods of awful seasons. Prior to last fall, I’d have put the Caps at #2, but a few things changed:

As I mentioned recently, I am holding back until I know DC United are staying in the area. I also like hockey more than soccer. DCU has a great hardcore fanbase, it just isn’t very large.

The Wizards are underachievers both on the court and in the hearts and minds of D.C. fans. There are plenty of basketball fans in the area, but the franchise has been so lackluster for so long that they haven’t been able to sustain a significant fanbase. Plus, during the Susan O’Malley era, she marketed the visiting teams and not the Bullets/Wizards.

So, try to be #1 Nats, but don’t me mad when you never get past being #2. This is big market and there is room for everybody.

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