Tag Archives: NHL

Report: 2011 Winter Classic will be Capitals-Penguins at Heinz Field

If the Post-Gazette is to be believed, an announcement confirming the NHL’s next outdoor New Year’s Day game will be made tomorrow by commissioner Gary Bettmen in Chicago prior to the start of the Stanley Cup Finals. The 2011 Winter Classic is set to feature the Washington Capitals playing the Pittsburgh Penguins at Heinz Field. This means several things:

  • In the NHL, all animals are equal, but some are more equal than others. In just its fourth year, the Winter Classic is set to include the Penguins and Sidney Crosby again. Why the NHL has put so much focus on a twice-bankrupt franchise, from a region that has been losing population for 50 years, above all others is beyond me. As for Crosby, he’s not exactly Mr. Charisma. Alex Ovechkin, the Caps two time Hart Trophy winner is a rock star, but the NHL has been gun-shy including him in broad marketing campaigns.
  • Apparently, Pittsburgh’s stadium authority doesn’t have high expectations of the Steelers hosting a playoff game in early January.
  • The Caps are almost certain to break out the original white sweaters with the stars on the sleeve. I approve.
  • I may have a viewing conflict on New Year’s Day if Penn State is playing in a bowl game that day.
  • I have no interest in being there with 60,000 drunken Pittsburghers.
  • The New York Rangers have got to be wondering what they have to do to be involved.
  • A Winter Classic in Penn State’s Beaver Stadium between the Penguins and the Philadelphia Flyers is probably not going to happen any time soon. The NHL may love the Penguins, but not that much. Despite my antipathy for those two teams, I kind of like the idea of a battle for Pennsylvania with one side wearing orange and the other side wearing black.
  • The visiting team has always gone on to win its conference title.

Hey, I’m liking this more already! Actually, the first two visiting teams that won then went on to lose the Stanley Cup finals in game 7. The only visiting team to lose, the Flyers, lost this 2010 Winter Classic to the Boston Bruins at Fenway Park, but are going to win the Stanley Cup this year. Write-it down and remember patterns are perfect predictors of sporting events.

UPDATED
Washington Capitals will play Pittsburgh Penguins in 2011 Winter ClassicThe Post

Capitals vs. Penguins Winter Classic set for Heinz Field 2011 – Puck Daddy, Yahoo!

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Top 5 most buzzworthy D.C. athletes

Dan Steinberg of DC Sports Bog has asked some of us the 5 most popular athletes in DC. It is kind of hard right now, because well:

Clinton Portis is a cancer. Gilbert Arenas is a criminal. Mike Green is a playoff bust. Ryan Zimmerman is a vanilla pancake. Chris Cooley missed half of last season. Brian Orakpo is barely more than a rookie. Donovan McNabb and Stephen Strasburg have never technically played a game as a DC athlete. Jason Campbell, Caron Butler, Antawn Jamison and Ben Olsen are all gone. And so on.

That being said, here is my list:

1. Alex Ovechkin, Washington Capitals
He’s been MVP 2 times in a row with a chance for third. He is transcendent superstar that everybody in D.C. knows whether they follow the Caps or not.

2. Donovan McNabb – Washington Redskins
He has not played here yet and for all we know, he could be the Redskins version of Brian Lawrence. Two words for you though: jersey sales

3. Stephen Strasburg – Washington Nationals
Fans have been wearing “Strasburg” Nats t-shirts since before he got drafted. It is hard for me to even wrap myself around the hype of Strasburg, since it is throughout baseball and he just happens to be one of D.C.’s prospects. Thomas Boswell is struggling to keep sane about Strasburg (The Post).

4. Ryan Zimmerman – Washington Nationals
Last year the “”face of the franchise” had a breakout season, winning the silver slugger and gold glove awards. His Q-rating is now high enough to make ads with weird Caveman baserunning. He is still below a guy who hasn’t pitched in MLB yet though.

5. Nicklas Backstrom, Washington Capitals
The first line center and Ovi’s partner is one of the NHL’s best offensive threats. The quiet, baby-faced Swede has done it below the radar, but today, THE MAN GOT PAID. His new contract bumped his profile up to first story on WTOP sports this morning.

That two of the players on the list haven’t played a single game here yet speaks volumes, but from the buzz I’m getting its true. 4-12 NFL teams like the Redskins and lottery pick NBA teams like the Wizards (so sad) just don’t have a lot of buzz right now. DC United has fallen off a cliff at a really bad time too. Maybe the Wiz #1 pick will break through by this time next year.

I was very tempted to put in Ted Leonsis, but he just pays guys to play the games. Nats CF Nyjer Morgan could be a local superstar if he starts playing better, closer to the way he did last year. Mike Green has a shot too, but needs to have a strong playoffs next year. I don’t know that anybody else on the Caps can break through. Backstrom isn’t charismatic enough to stay there if the Caps are one and done again.

Of course, if the Redskins start off 4-2 and a couple of players are on the way to the Pro Bowl, the list changes dramatically. Market penetration and 75 years of history has a way of making that happen.

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Caps get Habs in 1st round; Big Ovechkin stories

Capitals fall to Bruins, 4-3 in a shootout, in finale, but now it’s time for the playoffs and the CanadiensThe Post
The Washington Capitals fell to the Boston Bruins in a shootout yesterday (coach Bruce Boudreau sent Boyd Gordon and Matt Bradley out for shots), but the big news is that #1 seed Caps face the #8 seed Montréal Canadiens starting Thursday night. Red, white and blue vs. bleu, blanc et rouge, half-smokes vs. poutine.

Boudreau has not named Jose Theodore the #1 goaltender, but the writing is on the wall. Semyon Varlamov will probably get a bit of playing time as well. I wonder if Varlamov will get the call when the series moves to Montréal for game 3. Theodore is from the Montréal area and was briefly a superstar for the Habs there (DC Sports Bog, The Post). Theodore has had a great season after a dealing with the worst possible thing in the offseason.

Alex Ovechkin did not score his 51st goal yesterday and did not have the most goals in the NHL for the first time in years. All of those games missed due to injury and persecution cost him this season, but individual awards are certainly secondary at this point. He did have two big Sunday profiles though:

Capitals’ Alex Ovechkin won’t change his need for speedThe Post

Alexander Ovechkin, the Mad RussianThe NY Times Magazine

Lots of hockey talk at work today.

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Alex Ovechkin crushes Jaromir Jagr

Why yes, this does provide a little catharsis for this Capitals fan, but not as much as watching Alex Ovechkin during the regular season of course. Hopefully, this video doesn’t go away anytime soon.

Jagr, who dogged it for 2.5 seasons in Washington, provided this excellent quote:

“I wish I had a concussion. That way I would forget Ovechkin quicker.”

@dchesnokov

This is great of course, but in the end, when it comes to the Olympics, I want the USA to win period. They are playing Canada as we speak.

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So, there are a few things going on in D.C. sports

The events of the last few days prove one thing — The Wash. Times was SOOOOOOOO smart to cut their Sports section.

Washington Capitals name Alex Ovechkin captainThe Post
Without hoopla and hype, superstar Alex Ovechkin was named the 14th regular captain in Washington Capitals history yesterday. I thought that Brooks Laich (who is another locker-room/media relations leader) may get it, but I find no fault with Ovi wearing the C — nobody plays harder and that is one of the best examples a captain can set. Laich will certainly continue to contribute as well. The Great 8 turned down captaincy in 2006 because he was not yet comfortable with his English.

The Caps beat the Montreal Canadiens last night too.

In other Caps news, Dave Steckel and Tyler Sloan got 3 and 2 year deals (Japers Rink)
respectively.

Lastly, on the Caps front, prospect John Carlson is an even bigger American hero than Ricky Stanzi.

Take that Canada! That won the World Junior Championships for the USA.

I just missed sitting on a conference call introducing D.C.’s newest relief pitcher…

Capps, Nats finalize one-year dealnationals.com
The Washington Nationals signed Matt Capps, a relief pitcher who has closed in the past. He is the third former Pittsburgh Pirate on the roster, so I guess we can say “the pennant is ours!” Here is a press conference wrap-up from Nationals News Network.

Now we move onto Gilbert Arenas of the Washington Wizards nee Bullets…

MIKE WISE – Dear Gilbert, You’ve really blown it nowThe Post
In basketball, Gilbert continues to be Gilbert, but he is still in deep trouble. As I said before, never being serious is fun for a while, but not when the team is 11-21 and guns are involved. Its too bad, but his road to redemption is steep here in D.C. if he’s even given the chance.

Some good news though — the Wiz beat the Philadelphia 76ers again! Bad news — they don’t play again this season.

Of course, the big news is the new football coach…
D.C. United introduces new coach Curt OnalfoThe Post
Oh, that’s not what you were thinking…

Redskins and Mike Shanahan reach agreementThe Post
I for one welcome our new burgundy and gold overlord. I think Shanahan will make the Redskins respectable again, but don’t see him getting a Super Bowl ring here. He will probably bring in a respectable offensive line though.

A quiet couple of days…

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Duh (v. 3) Ovechking wins Hart, Pearson awards

Caps’ Ovechkin Still Has HartThe Post
After sweep of MVPs, Ovechkin covets CupThe Wash. Times
Washington Capitals superstar Alex Ovechkin has been voted the best player for the 2008-2009 season by hockey reporters (Hart Trophy) and his peers (Lester B. Pearson Trophy). That makes it two in a row for the Caps left-winger. He also won his second consecutive Maurice Richard Trophy for scoring the most goals. Ovi keeps it in perspective though:

“Personal stats is good, personal awards is good. I just want to win one award — and that’s the Stanley Cup.”

He ought to stop by Nationals Park on the way back to Russia. Hopefully, the Nats front office has extended an invitation.

PREVIOUSLY:

Duh (v.2)06.13.2008
Duh06.23.2006

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Capitals take game 2 over Penguins; Ovechkin, Crosby both get hat tricks

Ovechkin Moves the CrowdThe Post
Ovechkin scores hat trick; Caps go up 2-0The Wash. Times
Alex Ovechkin earned his first playoff hat trick last night, Washington’s first since Al Iafrate in ’93. Pittsburgh’s Sidney Crosby answered Ovechkin’s hat trick then complained that too many hats were thrown (DC Sports Bog) following Ovechkin third goal. Really.

Ovechkin declined to shoot on an open net at the end, preferring to run out the clock. Dave Steckel had the game’s only other goal.

The Caps have done what they needed to in this series which shifts to Pittsburgh for game 3. There are miles to go before we sleep.

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Thrashers mock Ovechkin’s Eastern commercial; Caps win

I have to hand it to the Thrashers, this public service announcement about bad hockey player commercials is fantastic.

H/T Capitals Insider: Kovalchuk: ‘Ovie, Next Time, Call Me’

Alex Ovechkin is in some good company there. Well played, Thrashers well played. Better played than last night’s game in fact. The Capitals won 4-2, increasing their lead for the second seed to four points.

Caps Close In on Second SeedThe Post
Caps poised to earn No. 2 seedThe Wash. Times

At least somebody in town is winning.

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Ovechkin Easterns Motors outtakes

Don Cherry would not approve — Alex Ovechkin sings the Eastern Motors anthem:

Then he makes Chris Cooley do pushups:

Destruction!

I held off on posting this until the Capitals righted the ship which they did in Nashville last night. Big game tomorrow in Philly.

Now, when are the Nats going to get a player on one of these?

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