Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Quick Notes

The Caps won their last preseason game against the Nashville Predators 2-1. Washington's goals came from Jay Beagle and Mike Green, and goaltender Michael Neuvirth was 13/14 in saves, as he started the entire game.

Today, Matt Hendricks, the LadyHatTrick award winner of the preseason (he scored a hat trick in Washington's 6-2 win over Columbus) signed a one-year contract with the Caps.

In case you were wondering, one of the Caps' blast-from-the-past players, Brian Willsie, was released and places on waivers...
...Okay, I didn't think you cared either. I just thought to let you know.

Tomorrow, the Capitals play their first game at the Verizon Center this preseason against the Boston Bruins (1-1-1 in preseason) at 7:00 pm. By now, the Caps have cut their roster down to 33 players in time for tomorrow's match. Washington will follow tomorrow's game with another face-off against the Bruins on Wednesday, this time in Boston.

Finally, as a sidenote, there's an on-going battle among outsiders about who is to be the #1 starting goalie this season for Washington: Semyon Varlamov or Michael Neuvirth. Both have been very good in their first two starts (Varlamov played 30 minutes in Columbus and stopped all shots), and both have seen significant time with the big club. Now that the job is between the two, I will ask you which do you think should start for the Caps.

Stay tuned for more Caps' notes/news soon. Just an update to make sure everyone knows I'm alive.


NFC East Notes:

The Dallas Cowboys finally won their first game of the season by the way in a solid 27-13 victory over the Houston Texans. The Redskins and Giants both lost, however, and the Eagles continue to perform strongly with Michael Vick as their starting quarterback. Nonetheless, the Eagles have had the easiest schedule in the division, so I'm not putting too much weight on that.

Just thought I'd share.


MLB Notes:

You'll get MLB notes once the playoffs begin.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Caps win first preseason game

Put one in the "win" column for Washington as the Caps ran through the Columbus Blue Jackets tonight 6-2. Tonight's goal scorers were Tomas Fleischmann (2), Matt Hendricks (3), and Cody Eakin.

However, my top player for the game was Marcus Johansson. I planned on scrutinizing him during this game to see how he would show up in real in-game situations. When I saw him during rookie camp, he was impressive, but I never put too much weight on how he would perform for the actual team. He had a solid game with two assists and finishing +2 for the night. His passing and playmaking was what I hoped to see from a center who wants a spot on the big squad.

Semyon Varlomov was also solid through 30 minutes, allowing no goals and going 20-for-20 in net. Braden Holtby came in for the next half of the game and stopped 17 shots allowing in only two goals.

I was least impressed with Alex Semin, who took half of Washington's penalties, including a late slashing call. I don't understand how he continues to make these silly stick infractions, and I understand it's only preseason, but if Flash can at least show up during the preseason, it would be nice for Semin to as well.

Otherwise, for a first game, the Capitals looked pretty good. Next analysis of the team will come at the end of preseason. Definitely happy that hockey is back. So necessary... now to get these preseason games on TV... *spoiled*

Caps Preseason to Begin Tonight - mini analysis

Hello everyone! I'm finally back to writing about the sport that brought all of us together on this page - hockey! Last night, I caught myself watching the few preseason games that were televised, specifically the Flyers/Devils game where the Flyers won 4-3 in a shootout) and the 5-0 demolishing of the Maple Leafs by the Senators. Tonight, the Washington Capitals begin their exhibition season in Columbus to face the Blue Jackets.


The Caps will start tonight despite a quiet offseason in terms of a lack of moves to the roster. No new additions were made, and only until later did Washington lose a player. Of course, we all know now that player was Eric Belanger, who was promised a trade would be made so that he can remain on the team, but that that trade was never made, and Belanger moved on to sign with Phoenix, angry as ever at the Caps' organization. Unfortunately, I am not in the front office, and General Manager George McPhee has not said much about the lack of roster additions/trades/etc., so not much else can be confirmed about the situation; although some details that aren't really worth going into have emerged.

With Belanger gone now, the solidity of the center position is now further weakened. Other than David Steckel and the oft-injured Boyd Gordon, the Caps are left with Tomas Fleischmann, Mathieu Perreault and Marcus Johansson to fill in the remaining spots at center. With the team in "Win Now" mode, this may be seen as a questionable approach to the team's concerns regarding center.

However, as I mentioned way in the beginning in the offseason, people should hold their horses in lacking faith in the team. It should be noted that this does not mean that someone won't become available during the season. McPhee has been a fan of renting players, and may be just saving space for someone acquired before or by the trade deadline. There does not seem to be a question whether the Capitals will have the ability to win the division and do well in the playoffs. So with Washington staying competitive during the year with what they have, the mentality could be that there is no rush to improve until there is more of an indication of players' abilities and the market.

Of course, this season, most people are not going to expect the regular season the Caps had last year. Especially because the rest of the Southeast Division improved immensely during the offseason, there is no way the Capitals are winning the division by 30 points again... I don't want to say that last season was a fluke overall... But it was a fluke. This doesn't mean that the Caps weren't that much better than every other team in their division and most teams in the Eastern Conference, but just that the numbers were slightly inflated and most likely won't be repeated.

Nonetheless, the Caps' chances to win it all this year are still high. Tom Poti in his new two-year extension took a pay cut to stay in Washington because he feel his best chance to win is with Washington. Although, it should be noted, the window for winning is only open for so long. During the firesale years, fans of the Capitals were promised a Stanley Cup by now, and at this point, the Caps have had the ability to do it in the past couple of years. With enough frustration from early playoff exits, the squad probably has the drive now built up to make it as well. The ultimate judgment will come soon enough.


By the way, in case you were wondering, the Washington Post job has been working out really well :)

Thursday, September 16, 2010

The State of Women Sports Writers Just Got Really Messy

There are somethings that I can't ignore in this world: I am very, very short; I am loud; I am a woman; I am a person of color; and that somethings will never change. One of those things that will never change seems to be that the world will never be fair enough to truly accept a woman who does her job alongside men in a male-dominated field. That's just the way it is. As proof of this, this past week I have been faced with numerous people coming to me for my opinion on this matter of Ines Sainz and a few players on the NY Jets.

A recap of the incident (as many tend to just hear and never read themselves), Sainz was present at Jets practice when apparently, head coach Rex Ryan had players run drills in extremely close proximity to the sideline where Sainz was standing. Following this incident, the New York post reported that Jets players were "catcalling" Sainz and that when Sainz was confronted to see if she was okay, Jets lineman Kris Jenkins said, "This is our locker room!"

As a result of her discomfort, Sainz wrote on Twitter in Spanish about how uncomfortable she was in the locker room as she was trying to do her job, while adding that she felt that was appropriately dressed (interesting she has to add that).

A couple of days later, Redskins running back, Clinton Portis, was asked to give his thoughts on the situation (here from DC Sports Bog). His words, however, only turned this issue into an even bigger one, saying that essentially, women shouldn't be in the locker room unless they expect to get hollered at because men and women just have this undying lust for each other at all times....

Now this is a personal issue for me, and we can't get around that because, like I said, there are things I cannot ignore. Being a woman is one of them. And it is difficult for others around me to ignore that I am a woman as well. So with this knowledge, many people have asked for my opinion and wondered if I felt this was a real issue.

Having been in professional team locker rooms, specifically the Washington Capitals' locker room, I am in there to do a job. I repeat: A JOB. There has NEVER been ONE moment in my short-but-thus-far-successful sports journalism career where I spent lusting after one of the players in the locker room. When I go to cover hockey for The Hockey Writers, I don't go to the locker room with hopes of finding [insert player] putting their shirt on and that he will wink at me or something. I'm there to get some sound bites just like the rest of the writers in there so that I can complete my story efficiently.

So it hurts when someone says that I don't act professionally in a locker room because supposedly my mind is on a player's body than what my JOB is.

The other implications of what Portis said adds to this "she was asking for it" mentality. Ines Sainz is gorgeous. She is absolutely beautiful and there's not much she does to hide it; after all, why should she? Yet, according to what Portis says, because she's beautiful and walking into a locker room, if she gets disrespected, she deserved to be disrespected.

My response to that is, regardless of what she wore to Jets practice or any Jets event, the only thing she deserves is respect. When I go to Capitals games, or any sports game representing the media, I tend to dress more on the conservative side, with slacks and button downs. However, I might don the occasional business skirt, and I deserve the right to be able to walk to the locker room without fearing that some player or person is trying to find a way to look up my skirt. This code of respect toward women extends beyond sports journalism, but for now baby steps, we're just talking about at the workplace - the locker room.

Then, to add fuel to the fire, here come the media personalities (yes, Glen Beck and Rush Limbaugh spoke) and the real thoughts of men (message boards and post-article comments) coming to give their opinion on Ines Sainz. I heard talk that made me feel like I needed to be put back 30 years ago - people actually have been asking "should women even BE in the locker room?"

All of a sudden, all that I have worked for, all that I have done to make it this far to become a true sports journalist, is being questioned. People don't think I should have access to the same information as my male counterparts because I'm a woman!?! Because I have different sexual organs!?!? I have never been more appalled in my life that in 2010, we are questioning whether women should be near locker rooms because there is no way that either party can act professionally. Not 1678, not 1894, not 1950... 2010 we don't think that women are capable of accomplishing what men can because we're different.

Pardon me, but then it would be pretty easy to justify that women shouldn't be in the same press box as the male writers because we lust after each other too much; then we easily have something against women becauseItalic if they don't receive the same access as the men do, they can't report as fruitfully as they potentially could have with the access. This leave ground for women not writing anything good and then passing it off as, "Well they couldn't handle writing for a sports team"... Just remember, you would have to ban men from women's locker rooms as well.

Finally, a point that exists, but isn't as emphasized here is the exotification of Ines Sainz. The woman is Mexican and reports for a Mexican outlet, TV Azteca. Let's be honest; in America, there is a culture where men have their fantasies about women from other countries and ethnicities. If you've been to college and taken a few sociology/gender studies courses, there's proof of it there. Having parents from South America, when I tell people this, all of a sudden there becomes this aura and out come the words: Ooooh, that's exotic... I'm not a plant or an animal, I am a human being; thus, I'm not exotic. Of course Sainz being a beautiful woman, she is objectified from the start. But the further objectification allows things like this to become acceptable, like she's a real novelty (sociology minor at American - had to note this).

I haven't even gotten into all of the problems female reporters face covering sports. But this issue between Sainz and the Jets brings out a lot of elephants in the room (it's like a herd I tell you!). I shake my head furiously at those who want to come at me for sounding like a feminist. You're absolutely right - I am a feminist in the most broadest of terms: someone who simply just wants equal rights for men and women. I will say that I certainly do not want sameness. I want my prerogative to get pretty for a night out, wear makeup and dresses, and I like getting in places for free on weekends.

But when it comes to my JOB, I take that very seriously, and as with every other job, there needs to be a sense of respect and equal treatment toward every person in that environment, man or woman. And I hope that this is not just the way it is, and that instead of blaming Sainz because of how she looks or her sexual organs, we can acknowledge that we need to focus on treating women with that respect while in the workplace. After all, We're only respecting you men by not staring at all of your "packages."

Friday, September 03, 2010

I got this job at this place... you might have heard of it...

Hello all! I know it has been a RIDICULOUSLY long time since I last wrote for you all on Crashing the Net.

Well, this post is to say that the oddities in my life that have been keeping me from posting have been resolved and I will be back on here delivering the hockey gospel that you all are so desperately waiting for. No worries - September 16th is the rookie camp for the Washington Capitals and you WILL be reading updates from here...

However, there is bigger news: I am now officially an employee of The Washington Post!!!!! Albeit, it's with high school sports, but that's how everyone gets their start. Nonetheless, I'm in! It's been a long time dream of mine to be working with them in the sports section, and finally, as a college student, I am working an entry level job at The Washington Post.

Again though, don't worry. I will continue writing for Crashing the Net and The Hockey Writers. In fact in both publications, I will have rookie camp information for you. I can't forget all of you anyway!

So I'd like to thank my readers of both Crashing the Net and The Hockey Writers, because with you reading, it kept me motivated. That only got me to do bigger and better things as time went on. It's only been just over year ONE with Crashing the Net and already I feel like I've done a lot with it. Thus, in a way, I couldn't have done it without you.

Okay enough cheese here. I will see you all at the Caps' rookie camp in a couple of weeks. Until then, sit tight, and I will return soon... *music plays*