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May 11, 2010

11:48
A.M.

D.C. Sports Bog Live: Nationals, Capitals Redskins, more

Total Responses: 47

About the hosts

About the host

Host: Dan Steinberg

Dan Steinberg

Washington Post staff writer and D.C. Sports Bogger.

Recent Q&As

E-mail: sportsbog@washpost.com.

About the topic

D.C. sports bogger Dan Steinberg took your questions about the Nats, Redskins, Capitals' collapse and all the area's breaking sports news.
Q.

Dan Steinberg :

For the first time in my natural born life, I'm doing a chat while supervising ant destruction in my house. They've  been out of control this spring. They're all over the bathroom. What do they want with a bathroom? People say they want water, but there's tons of water in my backyard. Just go out there, and stay away from my bathtub, stupid ants.

If you have ant advice, by all means. Otherwise, send me your Wilbon questions.

Q.

Crosby is a cherry picker

Olympic winning goal, last nights goal, others: he hangs around the net and waits for a puck and gets it in. I see more cherry picking moves like this than talent on the ice. Agree?
A.
Dan Steinberg :

Disagree.

Whatever you want to say about Crosby, you'd really be off on an island to say he doesn't have talent. However he batted that thing in last night, that was talent. I mean, this isn't a serious question, right?

– May 11, 2010 11:47 AM
Q.

Whats more shocking about the Nats so far?

The record they have while in the best division in baseball? Or the lack of stadium failures to this point? By this time last year the team had to have at least 3 scoreboard malfunctions and a cannon related mishap.
A.
Dan Steinberg :

The record.

If they were 4-16, we'd all take things like last week's scoreboard outage and run run run run run. With them being four games above .500, you just quickly chuckle and move on.

Deadspin's morning image was of a Rays teddy with a Nats hat supposedly for sale in the team store. But I don't care. If the team's winning percentage was .071, maybe I'd care.

– May 11, 2010 11:49 AM
Q.

Crosby vs. Ovie

"But if you burrow down to the specific deciding games, it feels a little ridiculous. If the U.S. had scored in overtime before Crosby's heroics in the gold-medal game, would he be less of a player? If the Caps had managed to win Game 7, would the debate be reopened? What if officials had allowed that goal early in the third period -- would Ovechkin instead be hailed for raising his game to another level when everything was on the line? "

Dan - you gotta let this go. Everything you've typed here is moot because it didn't happen. Crosby is the better player right now and is still playing because he had an incredible first round for his team. He may not be the better player next year or the year after but this year he was better than Ovechkin. I'm a Caps fan and I hate the guy too but I do admire his skill. The analysis about Ovies refusal to adapt to the Montreal style of play was spot on and infuriating for all of us in Sec. 408 who kept screaming for him to swing wide rather than skate up the middle EVERY SINGLE RUSH. I don't know why Bruce failed to encourage/demand this if a bunch of armchair coaches in the nosebleeds recognize that it is an issue.

A.
Dan Steinberg :

Hey, we've got two months to go before Redskins training camp starts. I'm supposed to write about D.C. sports. And I'm running out of material already. You got any ideas?

As for the people in Sect. 408 seeing something that Bruce didn't, that seems about as unrealistic as an argument that Ovechkin is better, no? Here's what Boudreau said about his bleacher critics in one of his many recent radio interviews.

" <!-- /* Style Definitions */ p.MsoNormal, li.MsoNormal, div.MsoNormal {mso-style-parent:""; margin:0in; margin-bottom:.0001pt; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:12.0pt; font-family:"Times New Roman"; mso-fareast-font-family:"Times New Roman";} @page Section1 {size:8.5in 11.0in; margin:1.0in 1.25in 1.0in 1.25in; mso-header-margin:.5in; mso-footer-margin:.5in; mso-paper-source:0;} div.Section1 {page:Section1;} --> We spent an awful lot of hours studying the same tape that people are watching once in the game," he said. "And when you’re listening. they're saying they should have dumped the puck in a little bit more. And I’m going, 'Do you think we don’t see this as well?' "

I know that's not your suggestion, but I think the point is well taken: Boudreau watched these games over and over again. He probably had some reasons.

 

– May 11, 2010 11:53 AM
Q.

Ovie

Dan - I am still WAY to bitter about the Caps to wholeheartedly defend Ovie on any front, but where are the "Why cant Sid the Kid get it going" stories in reference to his series against Montreal. The bias for him is oh so clear. He has a far superior supporting cast in Pitt (I mean, during the playoffs, Semin was basically just firing the puck blindly around the arena at full speed with no aim). Then, during the Olympics Sid was barely noticeable but then gets a favorable rebound to stuff in OT and suddenly he's clearly better. Come on.
A.
Dan Steinberg :

I think it's not hard to argue that Crosby can influence a game in more ways than Ovechkin. I can buy that.

I don't think it makes sense to argue that he's now zoomed past Ovechkin on the strength of a Game 7 last year, an overtime winner in Vancouver and what happened in Game 7 last month, a game that hardly seemed like Ovechkin's fault.

But whatever. It's fine for us to discuss this issue in our little private forum here, which no outsiders can see.  But I don't think I'd want to have to debate this one in a bar. It's a loser for Ovechkin, no matter what stats or logic you might draw on.

– May 11, 2010 11:57 AM
Q.

Ben vs. Crosby

There is an article in today's Post on Pittsburgh fans and the Steeler's quarterback named Ben. It seems that the Pittsburgh fans have turned on Ben with his off the field behavior. They now do not care that he won two Super Bowls for the city.

I find Ben somewhat creepy but I feel the same about Crosby. Crosby has accomplished a lot on the ice but when I see him I get the creeps, just like with Ben. The Pittsburgh fans of course, love Crosby but I do not understand why he fills me with disgust just like Ben does.

As a Dallas Cowboys hater, I don't feel that way about Tony Romo and others on teams that I do not root for. What is it in Crosby that makes me feel this way about him? I am not bothered that he is considered a crybaby in Montreal. He is just creepy.

A.
Dan Steinberg :

Are these fake questions today? I'm getting concerned.

The only thing creepy about Crosby that I can think of is his playoff mustache. It's horrendous. If I were him, I'd throw tradition to the wind and just shave. He looks ghastly.

But I can't think of a single other creepy thing about him. He may not be a great quote, but he sits there and he answers the questions , and he does so politely. You might pick a few incidents from his on-ice time you don't like, but it's impossible to find a hockey player who doesn't have some of those.

As for the oft-cited "he lives in Mario's basement!!!!!" argument, Alex Ovechkin lives much of the year with his parents. He's 24 years old. That's the same basic idea.

I'm fine with standing up for Ovi in an on-ice argument, but I'd want no part of a more-or-less creepy argument.

– May 11, 2010 12:01 PM
Q.

Wilbon

Dan, you said last week in your chat that Wilbon has encouraged you to write stuff disagreeing with him if you disagree. But do you get any sense that when you write that stuff, he actually reads it? Like your post last week on his Ovechkin "cannot" win, a statement which he accused others of fabricating?
A.
Dan Steinberg :

No, I get no sense that he reads anything I write online, but I don't see him enough to know for sure.

– May 11, 2010 12:01 PM
Q.

Nats Fail Withdrawl

Dan, Are you going to be able to make it through the summer without copious amounts of Nats Fail?
A.
Dan Steinberg :

Oh yeah, I'm fine with that. My primary concern is to be interesting and to get traffic, and I think both goals are furthered more by a Nats team on the right side of .500. Certainly for our site as a whole, more people want Nats coverage when they're doing well. And wow there were an incredible assortment of things that qualified as FAIL last year, the general concept can get a little stale, no?

My biggest problem with covering the Nats at this point is the lack of morning/afternoon availability. The blog functions on a 9-6 schedule, and you don't get access to the players until around 3:30. By that point, our web audience is already declining.

– May 11, 2010 12:03 PM
Q.

Ovie and Sid

The thing that annoys me most about the Ovie-Crosby comparisons is the implication -- or in some cases the flat-out statement -- that because Crosby has won a Cup and a gold medal and Ovie hasn't, that Ovie somehow isn't a clutch player. Now, if people want to define him solely by the fact that he didn't score (a goal that counted) in the last two game sevens, fine--but that's silly.

Anyone who has watched the Caps in the regular season, where he's scored countless clutch goals, or in the playoffs (Game winning goals, games 1 and 6, Philly, 2008 and game tying goal, game 7; GWG, Game 2, Pens, 2009, GWG, game 4, Habs, 2010), knows that's just ridiculous. As for who you'd rather start a team with, can you really ignore the intangibles in that debate? Both guys are incredible players and we have years before we can look back and say who won more Cups. But five years ago, the Caps barely filled half the Verizon Center and were a complete afterthought on the DC sports landscape.

Along with winning, Ovechkin's flair, personality and excitement has helped make the Caps the second most popular team in town. Would Crosby--based on his style and personality--have brought anywhere near that excitement to make so many new Caps fans?

A.
Dan Steinberg :

Hey, I think I read this same comment on my blog.

I come back to that disallowed goal in Game 7. On balance, I think it was the right call, but I don't think anyone would have been shocked had something like that not been called in Game 7 of the playoffs. And if it's not called, and Ovi gets credit for the goal, and the Caps win, then suddenly he becomes a clutch player? I'm not trying to re-write the game and imagine a different set of actions; I'm just saying what if officials had ruled differently on the actions he actually performed?

But I'm going to be accused of delusions if I keep this up, so it's whatver. Ovi just needs to take a team to the Cup and all this goes away.

– May 11, 2010 12:06 PM
Q.

Caps

You only mentioned it in passing in a blog entry two weeks ago but do you really believe it is out of the question that some Caps may have thrown the Montreal series? It is pretty rare that guys get caught and when they do it is usually because someone they were involved with gets tripped up by a third party or is in trouble with the law.

I am only suspicious of one Caps player but the more I rewatch bits and pieces of the games the stronger my suspicions. If you rewatch the last Caps goal in game 7 this particular player was standing around and not even whacking at the puck right in front of the goal - the player who scored the goal had to practically work around the non-performing player.

The same player muffed a 2-on-1 in the first period - admittedly it was a tough pass but 9 times out of 10 that player gets off a good shot and probably 2 or 3 times out of 10 he scores on that play yet he played the puck like it was a hand grenade. Then just a couple of minutes later in the first period he had an uncontested line on the goalie and shot the puck over the endboards!

And this player had a lot of shots the entire series right to the goalies chest and this is a guy who has one of the hardest and most accurate shots in the league. Also the Caps were 1-for-33 on the power play - that is a large enough sample size that I am skeptical it was an anomaly or a reflection of the Canadians admittedly good defense.

The Caps may have lost anyhow as Montreal did a lot of things right in the series but a high minutes high scoring guy with a lot of power play time getting no goals in 14 straight playoff games stinks to me. If you have not I hope you will go back and watch the games a bit more closely.

A.
Dan Steinberg :

Yeah. I also believe that Brian Cushing only tested positive for whatever that hormone was because he had recently ejaculated.

I mean, often the simplest answer is the correct one. Your answer strikes me as not too simple.

– May 11, 2010 12:08 PM
Q.

Caps

Your boy Wise went off on the Caps on his radio show right after they lost game seven to Montreal. Specifically, he accused some of the Caps of constantly carousing and drinking during the season and playoffs and he even mentioned specific local clubs that they supposedly hang out.

I have no idea if it is true or not, but as a season ticket holder, I would find it to be highly relevant and newsworthy if accurate. Why haven't we heard more about that from the local media?

A.
Dan Steinberg :

I wrote about this briefly yesterday. Bruce Boudreau said Mike Green told him he didn't go out for the final three months of the season. Some readers dispute that. If Wise has sources with damning information along these lines, I'd encourage him to write it. If not, he probably shouldn't talk about it on the radio.

My own feeling is that 25-year old athletes in every country in the world drink during the season. When and where that crosses the line is a tricky question, but it's probably one better answered by people inside the locker rooms than random residents who might see a hockey player in a club. No one would deny that these young wealthy single men do enjoy themselves; they will talk about that without any embarrssment. It's no different than what Riggo and the Hogs used to do when they were winning Super Bowls. LeBron and friends were out late at the clubs in D.C. when they were beating the Wizards in the first round in 2008. Sportswriters have been known to stay out late and even drink some alcohol during road trips, and I don't think their bosses or readers mind as long as they're ready to go when they need to be. That's my answer.

– May 11, 2010 12:11 PM
Q.

Old Dominion

I don't live within the range of Old Dominion's distribution anymore. Never had the Spring Buck, but can you send some Oak Barrel Stout up to NY? I think you mentioned that you drive to upstate NY every so often ... If you could drop a case off in Brooklyn I'd make it worth your while.

A.
Dan Steinberg :

Gack, I don't like that stout. And I usually like stouts. It's just too dang oakey for me. I don't like oakey wines that much, either. The Spring Buck, though, is quite tasty.

When I drive to Buffalo (Western NY, not upstate) I either go through the middle of the state or over to Pittsburgh and up. Not through Brooklyn. But I mostly fly. I'm surprised you can't get the stuff up there.

– May 11, 2010 12:13 PM
Q.

Nats Fail

They were selling teddy bears at their store that had Nats hats, but the Rays' logo on its chest. Did you catch it?
A.
Dan Steinberg :

I just saw the image on Deadspin. My primary emotion was sadness that no one thought to send that image to me first.

– May 11, 2010 12:13 PM
Q.

Negative

Mr. Negative - Is it killing you that the Nats are four games over 500 and in sole possesion of 2nd place in the NL East? Or do you take solace that it's still May? Maybe you'll have some more malfuntioning score boards to bog about.
A.
Dan Steinberg :

See above. Or below. As with every team in this town, wins are better for me in every way: more traffic, easier interviews, more quirks and goofiness, more energetic fans.

If you're mad at me for writing negative stuff when the Nats were losing 205 games in two years, I've got nothing for you. Even if you knew for certain that better times were on the way -- and I'd say it was hard to be certain of that -- back-to-back years of such troubles after hearing about the end date for The Plan were not fun for anyone. I don't think having fun with the struggles was unconscionable. Or surprising.

– May 11, 2010 12:15 PM
Q.

Atmosphere at Nats stadium

Salutation bog, I went to all three Nats games this past weekend. It seems like attendance is starting to tick upwards, if only marginally so.

My gripe now is with how tepid the crowd is towards the team. Not much cheering, unless Zimmerman belts a homer. Maybe a half-hearted "lets go Nats" if exhorted by the PA system. But overall really weak. I'm not really sure what can be done ... in fact I have issues with the overblown way the PA announcer introduces each Nats batters.

Is it because people are just now starting to pay attention and get behind the team, with a surprising record and lack of other sporting options?

A.
Dan Steinberg :

I've noticed the same thing. I wonder whether the age of the fans isn't part of the issue. I'm guessing purely based on the people I pass in the concourse and the people they show on the video board, but it seems to me that it's a higher proportion of people in their 50s/60s and 10s than you'd find at a Caps or Skins game. Or rather, there are fewer people in their 20s and 30s, would be a better way of putting it.

Really, I don't know if this is true, and even if it's true I don't know that it would necessarily correlate to non-tepid cheers, but that popped into my head.

There's definitely a glaring lack of local traditions. That should ease, with time. The "Sweet Caroline" thing makes me want to rip off my eyebrows. How it still survives is beyond me. I'd prefer 18 President's Races to that.

– May 11, 2010 12:18 PM
Q.

How About That?

a Rays teddy with a Nats hat supposedly for sale in the team store. *** The Nats team store sells lingerie? They should advertise that more.
A.
Dan Steinberg :

I don't even want to guess what meaning you're imparting to "Nats hat" here.

– May 11, 2010 12:19 PM
Q.

Crosby a choker?

If the Penguins lose, I won't call Crosby a choker. But let's just say they do lose. How will Penguins fans justify calling Ovechkin a choker for losing to the same team in seven games, especially when Ovi outperformed Crosby? Of course, if they win and Crosby has a remotely mediocre game, his halo will shine even brighter.
A.
Dan Steinberg :

Well, even if this glorious day comes to pass, Crosby would still have everything he has now: an Olympic gold, a Stanley Cup, and four straight years of going further than Ovi in the playoffs.

But obviously if the Pens lose the chorus will get a bit quieter. Still, there's obviously no chance they'll lose. I mean, it's a 100 percent lock Pittsburgh wins on Wednesday. Bet the mortgage. Bet the neighbor's mortgage. Take it to Vegas. That series is over.

– May 11, 2010 12:20 PM
Q.

Silver Elvis Wigs

Do you know where fans can get some silver Elvis wigs?
A.
Dan Steinberg :

Many have searched, few have found.

The only ones I've seen have been black. Nationals Inquisition has publicized that link. Nyjer Morgan said he got the original wig in Canada. He suggested maybe fans could just buy the black ones and spray paint them silver. That's an awful lot of work to look foolish, but that's all I've got for you.

– May 11, 2010 12:21 PM
Q.

Silver Spring, MD

IF the Caps had ever won the Cup, do you think they would be delusional and optimistic (like Redskins fans) instead of relentlessly defensive (Ovie vs Crosby), paranoid (all the calls go against us) and fatalistic (oh no, game 7 at home - we're doomed!)?
A.
Dan Steinberg :

No, I think the relentless defensiveness, paranois and fatalism are far too ingrained for one Cup win to change anything.

Interestingly, one of my editors (who shall not be named) finds Caps fans to be largely optimistic and sunny, and Redskins fans to be largely pessimistic and doomsdaying, via our blog comments. I loudly disagreed, telling him he had it exactly reversed, but he insisted that Caps fans showed more optimism during the Montreal series than today's redskins fans would have displayed.

– May 11, 2010 12:23 PM
Q.

Power of Elvis

When are the Nats going to go all out on this Elvis Wig thing. Its obviously the sole reason they are winning. Elvis night? Maybe some intro music for a couple players. Sure beats that rally monkey
A.
Dan Steinberg :

I don't think you want to mess with the music, but it's a crime against humanity if the team doesn't sponsor a wig night before the end of this season. And then maybe have some impersonators and between-innings music and have videos of players listing their favorite songs and of Mark Lerner talking about that time he hitchhiked across the country to watch Elvis shows, I guess. And you can invite Elvis Grbac and Elvis Dumervil and that dude Blelvis who hangs out on 14th Street. It'll be great. I'll write 10,000 words, promise.

– May 11, 2010 12:26 PM
Q.

Nats Rally

I know this isn't a Nats discussion but it ties into other sports (sorta). The Nats used to have an "Animal House" rally video when we were down going into the bottom of the 9th, which I thought was great. Then they changed it and now it's quite "meh". I LOVE "Unleash the Fury" at Caps games and it *really* gets the crowd in it and loud.
A.
Dan Steinberg :

But there's a certain tempo to a hockey game, where the noise and excitement from one of those breaks can carry right into the action. I can see where that might dissipate at a baseball game. I'd suggest you just Elvis the bottom of the ninth. "It's Now or Never" if they're losing, and "Suspicious Minds" if they're winning.

– May 11, 2010 12:28 PM
Q.

sweet caroline

Do you think if we started a Facebook page -- 1,000,000 want Sweet Caroline stricken from the Nationals Park playlist, the Lerners might take notice? I'm counting on strong support from a territorial Red Sox nation to help out. Why not Fugazi's Waiting Room for the late inning pitching change?

A.
Dan Steinberg :

There probably aren't more than 500 of us who feel this way. The primary word that comes to mind is "sad." It just feels so sad.

"Unleash the Fury" wasn't a D.C. original, either -- that was borrowed from Atlanta. But it somehow felt authentic, and it was embraced and became a thing. "Sweet Caroline" is not a thing at Nats Park. It almost makes you want to turn around in shame, or go get some Dippin Dots.

– May 11, 2010 12:30 PM
Q.

Choker and a Punk

Until Ovie wins the Cup he will always be a punk and a choker. Would MJ have the same rep if his teams never won the finals? Don't think so. Until Ovie wins a Cup he is just another diva.
A.
Dan Steinberg :

This is so tired I could respond in my sleep, but for the record, Dan Marino is a punk and a choker, Karl Malone and John Stockton are punks and chokers, and Steve Yzerman was a punk and a choker and a diva for the first 13 years of his career. Then he became awesome.

– May 11, 2010 12:32 PM
Q.

Does it matter who the "Better Player" is?

Steinz, It seems that what is lost in the "Better Player" debate, is the degree to which is matters? As in, who cares if we have the "Better Player" if it doesn't result in Championships? To Miami Dolphins fans take solace in never having won a Super Bowl during the Marino era because they had the "Better Player?" I dunno. It just strikes me like loser-talk. The kind of thing fans of teams already out of the playoffs have.
A.
Dan Steinberg :

Oh, I agree with you on this. If you could even decide rationally and without any bias who was better, and Ovi won, what solace would that provide? Virtually none.

I write about things like Michael Farber's SI piece claiming the question is now settled because:

1) I don't think that's true

2) The SI name still carries clout that few names do in shaping national debate

3) If's May 11, and there's a glaring paucity of local sports stories to cover

And mostly it's 3, to be honest.

 

– May 11, 2010 12:35 PM
Q.

RE: defensive, paranoid, and fatalistic

Given that a large majority of Caps fans are presumably Twerp fans, I would guess that these qualities will not lessen even with a future Stanley Cup victory. Maryland fans haven't changed since winning the Tourney in '02.
A.
Dan Steinberg :

Oh, I completely disagree. I think a vast majority of Terps fans expected them to beat Michigan State this year. Caps fans -- old-school Caps fans -- are always waiting for the other shoe to drop. I don't think Terps fans have that reflex still. Sure, they will turn on the team when it's performing badly, but I don't think they're fatalistic in quite the same way.

– May 11, 2010 12:37 PM
Q.

Go, Habs, Go

So you think the Habs can pull it off tomorrow night? It would ease the pain a little ... And other than the mentions of that series in your blog, is the Post still covering the Stanley Cup playoffs -- or just relying on wire copy for the next month.

(There is a fascinating article, I would think, for somebody comparing the two series and whether Pittsburgh's struggles with Montreal show that the possible adjustments that people think the Caps should have made might not have worked, or how the Caps would have won the series easily if they had normal PP scoring like the Pens, etc.)

And sorry about the bog coment as question -- but if journalists are multi-platform these days, shouldn't commenters/chatters be the same?

A.
Dan Steinberg :

No, it's impossible. The Penguins have the thing locked up. Frankly, I'm surprised they're even springing for airfare to Pittsburgh. If I were the NHL, I'd call it off, because that series is O.V.E.R.

I would hope that Tarik would pop back into the coverage at some point. But needless to say, this is a different era for newspaper sports sections, an era in which you don't cover a heckuva lot of national stories that don't involve local angles. Even Michael Lee's NBA playoff coverage has included at least four local angles -- where-are-they-now with Brendan Haywood and Caron Butler, a "what-went-wrong" with Caron, a "where-are-they-now" with Antawn Jamison, and a high school piece on Roger Mason. There's nothing quite analogous for us in the NHL, and whatever I'd argue about Caps interest vs Wiz interest, there's no competition at all locally in the NBA interest vs NHL interest debate.

I agree on your article premise and would hope we do that, but I think it demands a Canadiens' victory, which, as I've already said, is 100 percent impossible.

– May 11, 2010 12:40 PM
Q.

Section 222

I agree with you on the Sweet Caroline nonsense, don't they realize how absolutely silly it looks to be stealing a tradition from Boston? That plus the random country music they play is really starting to drive me nuts. This isn't Alabama (or southern Virginia). The organ is a welcomed addition however.
A.
Dan Steinberg :

I don't know, go watch some high school baseball in Prince William or Fauqiuer or Loudoun or even Anne Arundel or Calvert. The random country music playlist is the same. That's part of the game.

I really do wonder whether it's more than 500 or 1000 people that object to Sweet Caroline.

– May 11, 2010 12:41 PM
Q.

Sweet Carolina

Technically Sweet Caroline has only been a "thing" at Fenway for less than a decade. Not really a tradition if it only became universal in 2002.
A.
Dan Steinberg :

Well, that's fine. And "Unleash the Fury" has only been a tradition at Caps games in 2008. I still would think it funny if the Penguins started doing it.

– May 11, 2010 12:42 PM
Q.

Playoffs vs Regular Season

Since Bruce B. blew off my Q during his chat last hour, I'll ask you. Seems all the expert talking heads say there is a big difference between the regular season and playoff hockey and that the Caps playoff history proves the point that they don't adjust or have the players to win playoff hockey, though they kick it during the regular season.

Thoughts? I am not a big hockey fan, but I watched enough regular season Caps games to know that defense was not really their big strength. And I know in other sports there is the old axiom, 'defense wins championships'. Seems it would apply to hockey also.

A.
Dan Steinberg :

Barry Svrluga wrote a fine story about this before the playoffs started. Yes, that's considered conventional wisdom, although it's perhaps been watered down a bit post-lockout. And Bruce has been asked about it often in the last few weeks.

Not sure why he didn't answer it, but I'll tell you what he's said: the defense didn't cost the Caps in the playoffs. The last five games, they allowed 1, 3, 2, 4 and 2 goals. That doesn't scream out bad defense, or even bad goaltending, which was the other slur hurled at the team all year. Any observer of hockey would tell you that the No. 1 reason the Caps lost that series was because of their power play failure. The unit was dominant in the regular season, and completely non-existent in the playoffs.

As the specifics fade and the one-sentence version of this season is written, it'll be "the Caps played a loosey-goosey high-scoring offensive style that couldn't translate into playoff hockey," but if there's any truth to that, it's that they couldn't find a way to score dirty goals on rebounds and tips and in traffic, not because the defense failed.

– May 11, 2010 12:47 PM
Q.

Dear Lord

What is this - the website of the Pittsburgh Daily Shopper? Stop talking about ice honkey in other cities. We've got a winning baseball team to cheer on and a soccer team to pray for!
A.
Dan Steinberg :

I'd be writing about DeShawn Stevenson and Caron Butler and Brendan Haywood, but they're done, too.

Here's a baseball topic for you: Bob Carpenter last night seemed not to know that Youppi now works for the Canadiens. I'm not saying he should have been born with that knowledge, but jeez, it got an awful lot of attention during the Caps series, didn't it? Wouldn't you think a D.C. announcer would have come across that at some point? Plus, what was with Rob Dibble's irrational hatred of Youppi? Not cool, Rob.

– May 11, 2010 12:50 PM
Q.

Crosby

Crosby "may not be a great quote"? You're kidding right? The guy has the personality of an after dinner mint. A piece of wall board is more interesting. Not to mention the whiny, sniveling voice. Picking someone like him as the poster child is why the NHL will always remain a niche, not mainstream, sport............
A.
Dan Steinberg :

I don't find Crosby any more boring, whiny or sniveling than LeBron James. Really, I don't. And LeBron is the NBA's poster child, and that sport doesn't seem to be niche.

– May 11, 2010 12:50 PM
Q.

Wizards Colors

Dan, Despite the poor end results for DC teams this past year, it looks like there's reason for optimism (at least for me) for the Redskins (new coach, new QB), the Nats (Strasburg, great start, feel good story), and the Caps (still have the most talent in the league). How do the Wizards fit in here? They have a new owner, but the on-court product seemed disheveled at best last year and who knows how much roster turnover they will have. They have to refresh their uniforms and get a real new start right? Just completely break with the old guard?
A.
Dan Steinberg :

I would, not just for a new start, but because the old uniforms smell like ant bait. I mean, you can't just ditch your uniforms every time your team turns bad; the Raiders would have to play in the nude. But the colors never should have changed in the first place. I'm not crazy about federal Washington, but there's a certain logic to the red-white-and-blue color schemes of the Nats and Caps. There's no logic to anything about the Wizards and what they wear.

As for being pessimistic, you're on the right path, but they do have a couple of first rounders this year, another futile shot at the lottery, and cap space. It won't be easy, but your roster is a lot smaller in the NBA, and you can turn things over pretty quickly. Look at Oklahoma City.

– May 11, 2010 12:53 PM
Q.

Nats All Star(s)?

Is it just me or could the Nats actually be sending multiple representatives to the All Star game this year? Pudge, Zim, Livo, and Capps all seem like legitimate shots at making it. I don't know what I'd do with myself.
A.
Dan Steinberg :

And Clippard, no? I guess set-up men don't usually fill the all-star rosters, but it's hard to argue with his numbers. Assuming you don't mind that he allows all those inherited runners to score.

– May 11, 2010 12:54 PM
Q.

in-game music

Totally agree about "Sweet Caroline". Why not go all the way and rip off "Thank God I'm a Country Boy". However, I *love* "Build me up, Buttercup"...
A.
Dan Steinberg :

Ok, assuming these are all different, we're now up to four conscientous objectors.

– May 11, 2010 12:54 PM
Q.

Sweet Caroline

I object!
A.
Dan Steinberg :

Five.

– May 11, 2010 12:54 PM
Q.

Defensive Failures

Steinz, The argument regarding defensive failures is not so much the total amount of goal scored, but rather the fact that they would so often let MTL take the early lead, especially an early 2 goal lead. You let a team in the playoffs get a 2 goal lead, and all they have to do is sit back with all 5 guys trapping for the rest of the game. It happened at least twice in the last 3 games.
A.
Dan Steinberg :

Well, Boudreau has repeatedly brought up the total goals defense. I was trying to channel him.

I think this could fairly be described more as a season-long trend of coming out flat. I don't have the numbers, but it did feel like they did the same thing repeatedly during the regular season, right? I'm not sure if that's a defensive critique or something different.

– May 11, 2010 12:56 PM
Q.

God Bless America

Should the Nationals start also playing Kate Smith's rendition of "God Bless America" during the seventhing inning? At least people stopped shouting O during the National Anthem
A.
Dan Steinberg :

They sure did, huh? I was at the Park last week and couldn't believe it -- I don't think I heard a single "O." Very, very encouraging development

– May 11, 2010 12:56 PM
Q.

Montreal

How far do the Canadiens have to go to kind of justify the Caps losing to them in the first round? Don't things seem better if the Habs lose in the Stanley Cup finals?
A.
Dan Steinberg :

One more round justifies. Just one more win. They would have then beat the Presidents' Trophy winner and the defending champs, the highest remaining Eastern Conference seeds in both rounds, the two best players in the game. Nothing else would be needed.

Sadly, this is a statistical, logical, existential impossibility. The score is already like 6-1 Penguins. There's just no way the Canadiens can come back from that deficit. Too bad.

– May 11, 2010 12:58 PM
Q.

Six!

I hate Sweet Caroline at Nats games almost as much as I hate the Red Sox.
A.
Dan Steinberg :

The momentum is threatening to shut down our servers.

– May 11, 2010 12:58 PM
Q.

Six

Count me in against Sweet Caroline. I'm just cheezed that the first weekend I'm in DC in 2 years and the Nats are in Colorado.
A.
Dan Steinberg :

So this actually makes seven, right?

– May 11, 2010 12:59 PM
Q.

Sweet Caroline

My baseball-going partner and I detest the Boston rip-off. Its embarrassing. And, frequently, there are several other people in the section who "boo" when it comes on. We are not alone.
A.
Dan Steinberg :

And this makes eight?

And what of the man who dances on the home dugout to Sweet Caroline? What will happen to him if the song ends?

– May 11, 2010 12:59 PM
Q.

nationals park

Now that the Nats appear to be playing well, there's been a lot written and discussed about how the stadium isn't full. Personally I think it's way too early to think this is anything but expected after two 100 loss seasons. A decade ago Phillies were so desperate to get fans in seats, if they successfuly turned a double play, you could exchange your ticket stub for a free ticket to the next day's game. My question is, if the Nats do continue to improve, at what point should we worry about the fan base? Two, three seasons from now?
A.
Dan Steinberg :

I mean, if they play .500 ball all season, have Strasburg and friends ready to go next year, and still have bottom-half attendance, I'd be worried. But they wouldn't. I don't know if I've listened to one too many Kasten communiques, but I just don't see that happening. People in D.C. like winners. They like sports. They like events. It'll work.

People will come, "nationals park." They'll come for reasons they can't even fathom.

– May 11, 2010 1:02 PM
Q.

Dominion's Oak Barrel Stout is "Oakey"

Thanks for the insight, Steinz. This is why I read the bog daily. You offer a perspective few others can.
A.
Dan Steinberg :

You're mocking my palate? What's a better word for it? I feel like I'm licking tree bark when I drink that stuff. If I'm going to lick tree bark, I'd better at least get some nutrients out of it.

– May 11, 2010 1:03 PM
Q.

sweet caroline

Please shoot the man who dances on the dugout.
A.
Dan Steinberg :

I think philly police could help with that.

– May 11, 2010 1:03 PM
Q.

Sweet Caroline objectors

Add me to the list. One year in college, our marching band (of which I was a member - NERD ALERT!) did a cursive spelling of the school's name at pre-game, ending with a "special guest" dotting the exclamation point (we didn't have an I to dot) - all of this a blatant rip-off of Ohio State. We hated it, fans hated it, but for some reason our director thought it was a good idea to steal the tradition of another school. Thankfully, it was scrapped after one season.

All that is to say - we should start our own "traditions" at Nats Park, not rip off other teams. I'd actually like to hear if there's anyone out there who LIKES the Sweet Carolne thing.

A.
Dan Steinberg :

This is a great question. Speak now, Sweet Caroline fans. Tell us why you look forward to this portion of your Nats Park experience. Convince us that it has a rightful place in a D.C. ballpark. No George Will, not you. Anyone else?

– May 11, 2010 1:04 PM
Q.

Nats Fever

My prediction: Nats return from current road trip still above .500. Team announces Strasburg's impending arrival. Nats fever takes over and the stadium fills, averaging almost 30,000 per game. Am I dreaming?
A.
Dan Steinberg :

I'm no expert on the business of baseball, but with the season ticket base being what it apparently is this year, I think that would be a tough number to reach. Crowds will look bigger even if the numbers don't spike, because more and more STHs (and their friends) will want to use the tickets they've already paid for.

– May 11, 2010 1:05 PM
Q.

Sweet Caroline

Kill it with fire!!!
A.
Dan Steinberg :

Burn!

– May 11, 2010 1:05 PM
Q.

Ants

Grants Kills Ants. Available at The Homey. Awesome stuff.
A.
Dan Steinberg :

I thought you were recommending this for Sweet Caroline. But no, you were talking about the ants in my bathroom.

Anyhow, much as I'd love to stay here and just keep publishing one-sentence attacks on Sweet Caroline, I guess I'd better go work. This was good, though. We hardly talked about Wilbon at all. Small steps.

– May 11, 2010 1:06 PM
Q.

 

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