Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Caps with a solid 2-0 win against the Sabres

So I'm back home from school for Thanksgiving break - VERY crazy but finally no work or classes to concern myself with. This means that not only do I get to eat a whole lot tomorrow and watch football, but I can finally watch Caps games live on my television! No radio; don't have to go anywhere; don't have to
watch some bootleg version... LIVE AT HOME!

This meant that I was able to sit down and focus and see for myself what this team does well and what it needs to work on. Granted, I've been visualizing through radio broadcasts, reading post game reports, and watching just to see the team win at bars and restaurants. So now I can see it from a truly analytical perspective.

The Caps played the Buffalo Sabres tonight at the Verizon Center, and they ended up winning 2-0 after a series of epic events. We'll get there though.

The Capitals began the game as they normally would, spending quality time with the opposing team's zone, but not getting too many quality chances. he first goal of the game was scored 6 minutes in by Alex Ovechkin from a nasty wrister, where Ryan Miller couldn't do anything to stop it. After that, however, the scoring chances in the first period were 5-1 in the Sabres' favor.

Aside from the number of scoring chances, the Caps seemed to keep the Sabres with minimal opportunities and shots following the first period. The Caps themselves seemed to posses the puck more at the same time.

Through 2 periods there were no penalties, until about halfway through the 3rd period:

Scenerio #1: *through my eyes* Alex Ovechkin, a typically hard hitting player, went to the much smaller Patrick Kaleta on the Sabres, and did quite a hard body check on the side into the glass, but nonetheless it was a great hard hit on a player that didn't brace himself properly.

Scenerio #2 (the one that matters):*through the officials' eyes* Ovechkin recieves a boarding major penalty, a game misconduct; thus, he was kicked out of the game.

So this puts the Caps in a particularly interesting situation: A team that has problems on the penalty kill, a 1-goal lead, and no more Ovechkin, this was quite the nerve-wrecker. However, the Capitals didn't even allow a shot by the Sabres the whole 5 minute power play, and also managed to kill off one more penalty toward the end of the 3rd period.

Eric Fehr then gave the Caps some insurance, and the team held off a last stand by the Sabres to win 2-0.

What I noted

As I mentioned before, I was able to follow the Caps more closely tonight, and actually be able to truly scrutinize the team's play. In doing so, found a few points that contributed to tonight's win,and that the team did differently from previous matches.

Me with my analytical face to watch the Caps game - in my bed lol
  • The team seemed to sacrifice massive offensive power and shots in exchange for a more solid defensive presence. Saw multiple blocked shots, a more aggrssive defense, and quick disposal of rebounds.
  • Related to defense, The 4th foward, Mike Green, reset himself in time from offensive plays to return back to his post on defense.
  • The Caps took the penalty kill seriously tonight. A team traditionally with PK problems, especially this season, it was nice to see a strong effort being perfect on the kill.
  • The team played a full-60 minute game; contrary to the normal 40-minute offensive outburst and then defensively collapsing, killing their leads. Mind you, the Caps have had a lead in EVERY game this season (25 games), only to lose it in devastating fashion.
  • When Alex Ovechkin was taken out of the game, the other lines stepped up and continued to produce.
  • When Alex Ovechkin was in the game, he was constantly out there creating chances and kept his legs moving.
  • Dumb penalties were kept to a minimum (the killer in the 3rd period of the Senators loss), and by minimum, I mean we had one dumb penalty (the one on Ovie was questionable).
  • Caps have hella injuries. Good rotation of lines, especially on defense. People will come back soon, but we're deep in Hershey, so it's not soooo bad.
  • Simeyon Varlamov is reliable. The saves he was making were borderline miraculous. Congrats on his first regular season shutout by the way.
  • All of this occurs after Bruce Boudreau accusedthe team of quitting on him, and questioning the capability of the Caps to hold a lead, saying that during the 4-3 loss to the Ottawa Senators, he had a feeling the Caps would lose the lead and didn't want to pull the "hate to say I told you so".
Hopefully the Caps don't need that type of encouragement ALL the time if they want to win. They have an opportunity now to redeem themselves against the Montreal Canadiens.

Allen Iverson - Retired?

Okay, I'm hearing conflicting reports. Comcast Sportsnet says that Iverson has not really retired. He is seriously considering it, but he will have further communication with his former head coach at Georgetown, John Thompson, to discuss whether he should or should not retire.

However, ESPN is all talking about "Iverson's legacy" and it's on their bottomline.

This Iverson situation, being a local-story of sorts, I think I'm going to stick with the Comcast reports; considering he hasn't even officially filed the papers.

So don't fuss yet you ladies who only watched basketball to watch Allen Iverson, it's not QUITE over; just yet. And you'll see him on TV somewhere anyway.

Turkey Day/Weekend Football Picks

Green Bay over Detriot
Dallas over Oakland
Giants over Broncos

Tennesee over Arizona
Philadelphia over Redskins
Tampa Bay over Atlanta
Miami over Buffalo
St. Louis over Seattle <-- Just for kicks Carolina over Jets Indianapolis over Houston San Diego over Kansas City San Francisco over Jacksonville Minnesota over Chicago Steelers over Baltimore


My heart says New Orleans, mind says New England
*prove me wrong please!*

And finally, R.I.P. to D.C. icon Abe Pollin, former Caps' owner and now-former Wizards' owner...

Hopefully everyone has a great Thanksgiving break, and throughout the rest of the holidays. Umm.. I know I keep saying I'm going all incognito and stuff, and I am. Trust me. I am. But I will keep appearing every now and then. But until my huge story is out, don't expect to see me. LOL.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

What makes a REAL fan?

So today I joined my friend and colleague Jake Russell from to watch the Washington Redskins and Dallas Cowboys match up at the bar. We began the day meeting up in McDonald's, me in my Cowboys jersey and Jake featuring his famed Sean Taylor Redskins jersey.

Needless to say, we caused quite a ruckus on the way to the bar with passing cars honking their allegiances and people stopping telling Jake that, "She's in the wrong colors." Granted, when you're a Skins fan hooking arms with a Cowboys fan, people will feel the need to correct you. My response: "Oh... Well, 'DC' stands for 'Dallas Cowboys'... Seeing as we own this city.

Once we reached the bar, Jake keeps calling out all the Cowboys fans not wearing jerseys, claiming they're "not real fans", including one in the bar I was sitting next to. He claimed to have been a Cowboys fan since the '70s. He just wasn't wearing a Cowboys jersey or shouting and screaming the whole game.

I then remembered this commercial that asks, "What's a real fan?" and then went on to suggest if it was the clothes they wear, or if it was how loud they shout it. The commercial concludes with the statement that "it's what's on the inside that matters..."

So I had to really think, what DOES make a real fan?

I mean we all know that I'm the Washington Capitals fan who has a thousand things to show the world that I'm a Caps fan. I've got jerseys, shirts, posters, rally towels, blankets, autographs, pictures with players, autographs, and the notorious Washington Capitals tattoo on my back.
At the Washington Nationals game in September with Jake

Thus, the question arises: "does that make me a real down-ass fan"?

I personally would say that having "things" from your team alone doesn't signify TRUE fanship. Because of course, one could just hide all those things or give them away once the team goes down the drain. So there must be more than things.

It's not just how loud they shout it either, because that can go away when the team goes down the pooper as well. Continuing with the Washington Capitals, the team built a really nice fanbase over past couple of seasons. They won the Southeast Division in consecutive years, and changed their jerseys in the 2007 season. Those things and a couple of other factors led the fanbase to grow in the DC area and now even outside the DMV area.

Now, imagine if the Caps played poorly (heck, even if they continued the season the way they play now) for the rest of the season... People, regardless whether they have paraphernalia, will shout a little bit less every portion of the season where their team does worse.

So I guess there must be more than saying you're a fan and wearing things that say that. It must be what's inside then. So what is inside that should count?

I may have A LOT of Capitals gear at home and in my room at AU, the car, my computer, etc. But think about it: I have accumulated all of those things over a number of years. For example, I have para from the 30th season in the franchise's history. That was about 5 years ago. I acquired my first jersey in the 1999-2000 season and then went up from there. Therefore, time following a team is factored into being a fan.

I also believe that knowledge about the team that you are following is important. While one may know every player on the team now, and know all the stats from the past 2 or 3 seasons, you have the lack of time following the team.

I think a bigger fan would know the past events of their team, featuring information like the founding date of their franchise, playoff appearances, championship history (if applicable - in my case it's just appearances lol), real rivals and the history behind the rivalries, division history, former players (at least the major ones), major stat leaders, and maybe miscellaneous facts here and there.

A real fan would also know the game that they are a supposed fan of; meaning that they would know the rules, know the current state of the team, and be able to participate in group discussions regarding their favorite team (if the situation calls for it - I mean I was silent for a minute during today's drudgery match).

Now granted, this is all a mon avi - in my opinion - but I hardly find reason to disagree with this criteria for knowing a real fan from a bandwagoner or a fake fan.

So at the bar I would say that the guy who Jake decided to question his Dallas fanship fits this criteria of fanship, even though he was not wearing Dallas Cowboy colors or a jersey. Hence, Jake just looks like a hater :P


Just to conclude the story, nobody was hurt watching this game. However, the atrocious 7-6 win over the Redskins by the Cowboys was certianly emotionally painful on both ends. Even though my team won, I became upset that the Cowboys only seemed to play with real emotion in the last 5 minutes.

Along with the fact that Dallas played an awful game, especially offensively and the defense gave up too many passing yards, everybody was irriated at the 500000000 minute hiatus between Jason Campbell's "out of bounds toss" and the missed field goal by Redskins' kicker Shaun Suisham*. I mean, I was happy that after all those shenanigans going over the play over and over again, the Skins missed a kick from 39 yards; but I was also mad that it took SO LONG, only to see a missed FG.

It was a rough game to watch, but oh well: a win's a win, and I can be upset right now that Dallas played poorly for 55 minutes, but I can only hope that my concerns will be quelled by Thurday so I don't spoil my Thanksgiving dinner.

Side note

I just have to state that today was cardiac-Sunday for a lot of fans in the early games - including Lions and Browns fans. As I saw someone tweet today, this was the battle for the "Loserweight title" LOL! But for real, it seemed really entertaining, and congrats to the Lions for the shootout win: 38-37.

I'm also going to congratulate Real Salt Lake for winning the MLS Cup tonight against the LA Landon Donovan-David Beckham Galaxy.

And yes, I know. I blogged today, even though I'm extremely busy, and I probably should be working on something else. But I had to keep the masses entertained! Hope you all enjoyed, and if you have any comments regarding what constitutes someone as a real fan, feel free to comment below and put your input.

Oh well, after this loooong post, I must say a tout a leur until I finish this project, or if something pops in my mind for an easy post. Stay fresh!

*** Somtimes I type too fast and make mistakes lol.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Hard at work...

Hey yall! Hope you've been loving the blog so far.

I'm going to be working on one big project for the next month, so my posts will be fewer than usual in the coming weeks. But not to worry! Definitely catch up on older posts you never read, or re-read a favorite or two.

This project is going to be big, as it is partially for a class, but I'm doing more work than needed as I really want to know the answers to the questions I'm asking, and I'm making it a bigger story to expand upon outside of the class...

... What was that?

No!!!!! I can't tell you what the project is! It's a surprise! Because when it's all finished, it's most likely going to show up on here as one huge post that I'm going to want you to read and pass along to everyone that you know.

What I CAN tell you though is that it's going to be interesting, and even though you may have heard of the issue, or have thought about it, it's much more complex that one may think it is, and it's going to be from a perspective that is not heard often.

So all I can say is to be patient with me. If I have the time to post periodically, then I will. But my focus will be in this assignment.

Ha! Now I got you all excited for my big project! Well, stay close and you'll get to read it soon. Trust me.


Saturday, November 07, 2009

College sports day :)

So I decided to change it up today and bring it to college sports, an not just college football, but an issue that affects many sports, but specifically women's basketball. This was because I was chatting with American University's ladies' team and I heard a lot about the lack of defensive knowledge going into the college game from the head coach and the players. Then I thought about it, and realized that society’s focus is rarely, if ever, on defense and less scoring.

Our culture likes to focus on high scoring in sports. The NHL tried to change the rules in its game to allow for more goal-scoring in order to attract fans. Soccer is considered a boring sport because their games usually end with a score no higher than 2-1, but in contrast, we are highly entertained by a 121-119 NBA basketball game.

This culture of high-scoring has permeated sports so much that people tend to forget the other important aspect of a game: defense. People have admired strong defensive teams such as the Pittsburgh Steelers and their “Steel Curtain” days, but typically, defense is not the sexiest part of a sport.

The issue of the lack of defensive knowledge seemed to affect the AU women’s basketball team, so I spoke with two players, Raven Harris and Ashley Yencho, and their head coach Matt Corkery. In discussing their upcoming season, I tried to find out where they were when they came in terms of defensive talent and knowledge.

Sophomore point guard Raven Harris is certainly one of the better players on the team, coming from a strong high school basketball program at Princess Anne High School, who were champions every year she was on the team. Harris was also able to score over 1000 points during her high school career. She clearly had the type of offensive talent that can win games.

However, once she got on the AU team, Harris had difficulty adjusting to basketball at the college level.

“I was a couple steps behind,” Harris said about her struggles learning defense. When I asked her what she had to work on, she gave me a look and laughed, saying, “A lot.”

Junior point and shooting guard Ashley Yencho gave a similar response when asked what she needed to improve on defensively. She further explained that high schools (just like us sometimes) do not particularly care for defensive concepts.

“In high school,” said Yencho, “you only play a 2-3 zone or you play man.”

Nonetheless, both players feel as though they have improved immensely between the beginning of last season and this season. “Getting yelled at and reinforced really helped me out a lot,” Yencho said with regards to Corkery’s influence on her play.

Harris also added that she was getting better at defense, as Corkery has worked with her.

According to what I found then, players go through years of playing basketball, and no matter how well their program did, a player is still unprepared for the defensive responsibilities at the next level. That seems a little unfair. Of course, Coach Corkery agreed.

“Without sound defense, a team’s chances to win are greatly diminished. They don’t know when to be and where to be. They don’t know ‘come here’ from ‘sick ‘em.’”

Corkery seems baffled at the fact that high school coaches do not demand enough from their players on defense. I was too. So I asked him why he thought that was the case.

“A lot of coaches aren’t well-versed in defensive fundamentals of the game.” Corkery said. “It may be because they themselves just weren’t exposed to it, or it may be that they’re not taking the time to study the game.”

However, as previously mentioned, the issue is being dealt with, as players feel more confident in their defensive skills going into this season with Corkery as their head coach for now a second season. We will see how well the players have improved then, as Corkery implemented a stronger and more aggressive defensive style for this season.

Other aspects of the team should also be able to help them in their quest to top the Patriot League. The Lady Eagles’ players are riding on much improved team chemistry, and as the season goes on, they feel like that will carry them to better skill development through working together.

If the NCAA Tournament is the ultimate goal for the season for the Eagles, developing a strong defense might be their best bet in winning. After all, Drake says it best, "You gotta take that D!"

*horrible I know LOL!*...

And big ups to The U, Swagger U, the University of Miami, or however you'd like to address them for the 52-17 crushing of UVA. Made me quite pleased...

I refuse to make mention of the Capitals as well. I'm going to let that one ride out until they consistently perform the way they played last night against the Panthers, winning last night against the division opponent 4-1

Friday, November 06, 2009

I concede...

Fine, fine... So the Yankees win in 6 games. Go out and party. You won Game six 7-3 and you played better in that game than the Phillies. Congratulations. Be happy... BUT...

This just means that ALL teams can erase all of their records, and if you didn't win or were in the World Series, you can pretend it never happened and start all over again! It's about to be a brand new season and we are all 0-0 now. In a Kansas City Royal's fan's mind, they are technically in first place in the division at this point! Milwaukee Brewer's fans are in the running for an actual playoff spot for the 2nd time in 3 years! And the Red Sox... well, they can believe they're back to reappearing in the World Series again ;-).

The fact is, is that the end of a season in any sport can be seen as a relief period. I definitely enjoyed watching the World Series games this season, and playoff periods in your favorite sports can be super entertaining. And of course, for instance, when hockey season is over, I'm really sad - that's my favorite sport of all time to watch. But when it's all said and done - no pun was originally intended - You can get back to believing that your team has a chance to make it. After all, we all have the same record now.

So I'm not mad at the Yankees at all for winning the World Series. In fact, what World Series? My mind is on the future, considering the Red Sox made move #1 this offseason already, acquiring Jeremy Hermida from the Florida Marlins for a couple of minor league pitchers (Jose Alvarez and Hunter Jones) today. Clearly, Angie and the Red Sox are on the same page.

I do not concede however...

That Anze Kopitar is better than Alex Ovechkin. But he's really really REALLY good. I'm going to go out on a limb actually, and say I think he's slightly better than Sidney Crosby. I'll save that discussion for The Hockey Blog, my second blog site where I write with a team of other hockey fans. For right now though, he's overtaking Ovie the Gr8 in points as Ovie is sidelined for a couple weeks.

Unfortunately though for Ovie's team, the Capitals are going to need to prove their true talent and the true depth that we have in scoring. Because the thing is, the Caps HAVE the ability to score and to get goals from other sources that Ovechkin. It just needs to show. That secondary scoring that is.

Losing 3-2 to the Devils on a usual day may not be THAT big of a deal, considering that's usually how the Caps fare against the NJ hockey team. I mean, the Devils have always been known to sink teams down in the ice with defense enough to bore a team from trying to penetrate with inability to get through. Worse yet, they still have Martin Brodeur in goal.

The issue here is that the Caps have been struggling BEFORE Ovechkin went down with the upper body strain, and THAT'S where my concern stems from... Hence, my urgent message for Washington to step it up in these times so that when Ovie does return to the lineup (hopefully in a week or so), the Caps will return to unstoppable status (from last year).

I have difficulty enjoying the cardiac manner in which the team has played against teams they are better than this season though. The Caps started all right, but increasingly played more games under tight circumstances and playing well for only about 30 minutes. Not a good look Washington if you're trying to win the Cup.

Hmm... the C-high Young Winner? LOL! (I know, I know, awful)

Tim Lincecum... I have nothing to say on the matter. Not saying that I have any affiliation with the issue, but that substance should be legal by now. If Michael Phelps and Tim Lincecum are avid users of the substance, and you see the type of crazy-good talent they can STILL produce, I can't imagine how awful it could be. Just sayin'... And why the surprise?!? Call it profiling, but I'm not surprised at all.

Roy Williams, is a #1 Receiver...

Hahahahahhaha! Roy Williams still calls himself a #1 receiver! Hahahahaha! Phew... Okay, I'm done...

Really though? REALLY?!? HOW is that so? Seeing as he doesn't receive the 2nd most passes on the Dallas Cowboys behind Miles Austin and Patrick Crayton, that doesn't look like a #1 receiver to me.

Not only is that a reason that's keeping me from believing that, but clearly, his performace over this season hasn't been any better than last season with the Cowboys. His inability to get open for Romo, and then Romo just finding guys that will, has just made Roy Williams look like a fool for saying that.

What to do with him! I guess if he really thinks that, as long as he's going to stay quiet about it until the Cowboys win the Sup... I mean, finish the season, then I can live with it (yeah, I know, shameless plug).

And finally thoughts and prayers go out to those killed and wounded (and their families) in the Fort Hood shooting that took place today at the Fort Hood Army base in Texas.

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Sunday, November 01, 2009

Philly, New York, and Mad Football

In this Sunday in sports, the Philadelphia Eagles demolished the New York Giants and the New York Yankees defeated the Philadelphia Phillies. I was hoping that Philly would sweep NY, but I guess you can't have it all.

In Game 4 of the World Series, the Phillies had Joe Blanton on the mound and the Yankees put on CC Sabathia on short rest. The Yankees immediately took control, getting 2 runs in the 1st inning.

It wasn't until the 4th inning when the Phillies came back and tied the game. The second run was questionable, however, as Ryan Howard coming from 2nd base ran and dove to touch home plate, but he never made contact with it.

What I found funny was just by how much he missed it,considering not only his hand missing the plate, but the fact that even his leg could have touched it and it flew right over.

At 2-2, the Yankees fired right back, scoring two more runs to go up 4-2 in the 5th inning, and recieve the 4th run on a sort of "soft" play. Nonetheless, the Phillies were back down.

The Phillies seemed sluggish for the rest of the game until the 7th inning when Chase Utley reminded Sabathia of the 2-homer performance he had in Game 1 by crushing the ball, putting the Phillies down by only 1 run.

Pedro Feliz followed suit by homering in the 8th inning, tying the game at 4. Unfortunately for the Phillies, the top of the 9th was their worst inning yet as they put Brad Lidge in the game. Lidge gave up 3 runs after allowing Johnny Damon to literally run around the bases.

Lidge started off smoothly, causing Hedeki Matsui to pop out and then struck out Derek Jeter. Then after Johnny Damon's single, he stole 2nd base, got up from his slide and continued on to 3rd base, which the Phillies seemed to forget about.

After the defensive mental lapse by Philadelphia, the Yankees took 3 runs in the 9th, and took out the Phillies 1-2-3 to win 7-4. They now have a comanding 3-1 series lead on the Phillies.

I wouldn't completely count out the Phillies yet, but of course, this doesn't look good for Philadelphia fans/residents/those who hate the Yankees. It would be absolutely epic if the Philles were to come back from being down 3-1 in a series, but it would be difficult.

It would be nice if Big-Mouth Jimmy Rollins would have backed up his pretentious prediction on the series, but he hasn't done much for the Phillies to win. And if they want a chance to win, he will have to get things going for their offense so that people like Howard and Utley have more to work with. I mean, a 2-run shot is better than a solo shot...

Game 5 will be tomorrow, same time, 7:57... still haven't recieved an answer as to what that's about. Stay tuned for a pitching matchup between Cliff Lee and A.J. Burnette.

NFL Week 8

The halfway point of the NFL season has been one of the more interesting weeks all season.

Rams 17, Lions 10

I would like to start off that I am shocked that the Lions couldn't pull the win against the St. Louis Rams, considering they were FAVORITED to take it! But they ended up losing (as they always do) 17-10. I'm even more shocked that the score was a lot higher than I had expected. I predicted somewhere between 6-3 to 9-7. But nope! Freakin' 17-10! lol...

Ravens 30, Broncos 7

It was delightful to see the Ravens play well again, defeating the Denver Broncos 30-7. Denver is now no longer undefeated, leaving only the New Orleans Saints as the only undefeated team left. The Broncos did play more subpar teams than quality teams, except for Dallas and New England (or have they really changed their names to the Boston Patriots now?). However, 30-7 was a prime victory for the Ravens, who have suffered from 3 straight of hard losses against the Bengals, Patriots, and Minnesota.

Vikings 38, Packers 26

Minnesota and Green Bay faced off today - yes, yes, Brett Favre's first game back to Green Bay as a non-Packer. When FOX went to the broadcast of the Packers game, all I heard was hostility. It was kind of hilarious to hear the massive amounts of boos, and to see all the Favre bashing signs in large contrast to the "We still love you" and "We miss you" signs for Favre.

The first half was awful for Green Bay. The Packers' offensive line gave Aaron Rodgers NO time. When he did have time, he was subject to being diven to the ground by 300 men. So there was little success, if any, for the Packers in the first half.

With the Vikings up 17-3 going into the 2nd half, however, the Packers had a hightened sense of awareness. They decided to pick themselves up and score 17 points in the 3rd quarter, and with just over 10 minutes to go, they were only down 31-26...

...And then Brett Favre comes in and destroys Green Bay's dreams of an epic comeback as Minnesota did on their own turf. After the Packers failed on the 2 pt conversion after their touchdown and missed the 51-yard field goal, Minnesota got a touchdown with 3:09 to run the game. Green Bay was unable to get anywhere, as they reverted back to 1st half form, and then Minnesota took the ball away, and won the game. The End.

Cowboys 38, Seahawks 17

In other games, Dallas played the way they should, defeating the Seahawks 38-17. The Cowboys have usually played poorly and have had to cut it close in the end of games against lower teams, but this game, they clearly looked superior. Good look for the team as they play the Eagles next week.

Eagles 40, Giants 17

Speaking of the Eagles, they destroyed the Giants 40-17 at home. With the number of turnovers throughout the whole game and the lack of concern by the Giants, I feel like they deserved to lose like that. Plus it humbles the NY fans/people.

And Tennesee beat Jacksonville 30-13... Congratz on the win today, Titans. You are now no longer winless. Vince Young was the QB today... think about that.

Phew! A lot of typing today. But a lot happened lately! I had to update y'all! Thanks for reading!