The Washington Post

First Things First -- Tracee Hamilton talks sports

Mar 25, 2010

Every morning, Post columnist Tracee Hamilton discusses the most amazing and outrageous news from the world of sports.

Is Bruce Boudreau the best coach in town? Okay, granted, the competition isn't fierce. Jim Riggleman hasn't had a full season at the helm. Mike Shanahan hasn't coached a game here. And Flip Saunders ... well, if this season is any indication, it's not him.

Boudreau put Mike Knuble on the ice for last night's shootout against Pittsburgh despite the fact that Knuble had never scored a goal in a shootout. Of course, Knuble then delivered the game winner to give the Caps their third victory over Pittsburgh in three meetings this season. So, is Boudreau brilliant? I say yes.

Easy answer - right now he's the best because his team is winning the most. As soon as someone else's team is doing better, s/he is the best.

Good morning, all. Let's get going.

Of course, winning makes him look good, but how much of the winning is due to him? All of the coaches I mentioned have the same opportunity to coach 'em up and he does it the best, so far. Putting Knuble in for the shootout last night was a totally gutsy move, because if Knuble misses, Boudreau gets the loss himself.

And maybe that was his strategy. If the move backfires, no one is blaming Corvo or Theodore -- they are blaming Boudreau.

Until Bruce wins the big one, Gary Williams is still King. Do you have an opinion on why Joe Gibbs I won while Joe Gibbs II didn't?

Ah, yes, Gary. I was sort of confining myself to professional coaches. Yes, Gary won the big one. I would argue, however, that his best coaching job in a long wihle might have come this season. To share the ACC title with that team was an accomplishment and quieted the "Gary is mailing it in" critics.

I was, sadly, not here for Joe Gibbs I -- I arrived for Richie Petitbon I, which is not the same thing -- but Joe Gibbs II never seemed to find his stride. I think the game had passed him by to a degree, and the players were a different generation. And he was further removed from that generation that he'd ever been before. I don't think his motivational stuff worked as well. And he didn't have the Squire or Beathard either.

Isn't that kind of like being the tallest midget?

Ha! Well, to a degree. It's certainly not much of a competition at the moment. We'll find out this year if Riggleman is the real deal and I can't imagine the Wizards won't bring in someone else. That franchise is such a steaming pile right now that I wouldn't keep a single one of them. Maybe Josh Howard -- he hasn't been around enough to be tainted.

Have I become a Caps-loving conspiracy nut? I was watching the game last night vs. the Pens, and it seemed like there were many, many potential penalties not called against the Pens, while the Caps were (rightly) called on most of their penalties. Was the proportion of Caps penalties to Pens penalties REALLY 5:1, or was there a problem with the officiating? And if so, is there a discernible trend? Or am I simply blinded by my love for Theo?

You are a Caps-loving conspiracy nut who noticed what a lot of people noticed: the Caps weren't getting a lot of calls. I don't know enough about individual NHL officials as yet to make any conclusions -- is there a "Caps enemies" list? And if not, should we start one?

On the bright side, they won despite not getting calls so that has to make you happy. What a great game and great finish! Love the shootout.

Tracee, I'm not a fan of Tiger's, but he is the most captivating athlete we have had in a long time. It would be good to have him back in the game. My question is: Do you see him as behaving differently with fans and media than any other superstar? Was MJ as curlish or is Lance Armstrong as prickly? The whole control freak thing does alienate fans. I had hoped that this episode would have mellowed that aspect of him.

I think his control of fans and the media and his image was as good as his golf game, so scary good. I had hoped the incident would soften him, that he'd have one big teary confessional on Oprah's couch and that he'd come out the other side not believing the whole world is his enemy. Instead, it's gone quite differently. He still seems inhuman.

He will do a press conference at Augusta, I see, so that will be telling. I can't imagine that won't be tightly controlled, as in telling the media that they can only ask golf questions. Then we'll see what happens. I'm afraid instead of realizing that he's human like the rest of us, he will just put up an even bigger wall around himself after this incident. This must be a deeply unhappy person.

That said, like you, I think he's a captivating athlete and I can't wait to see him play.

Ok, by now both side of the "story" has been reported. Is Blatche exposed as being a "knucklehead" or is Flip exposed as being a poor manager of different personalities.

I am tiring of Flip throwing players under the bus to the media..reminds me of when Doug Collins were here..there has to be a better way to engage and discipline these guys without going public..Flip could learn a thing from Zorn on this

Yes, and yes.

Flip clearly has had enough of this bunch. My guess is that he's coaching on borrowed time and knows it so any filter he might have used is coming off. As a media member, I love it when coaches throw players under the bus, but as a former manager, I know it's a really bad idea and the surest way to get your employees to never, ever trust you again. In this scenario, Flip is the grownup and he should act like it. I think of the Bull Durham scene; sometimes you need to throw the bats in the showers and scare 'em. Privately.

And I take what Blatche says with a grain of salt as well.

Looks like the Wizards have their hands full with Blatche and his ego. They have unsuccessfully managed divas in the past. Have they learned anything or will they make excuses and try to "develop" him? I say good riddance...the red flags are appearing (declining stats, attitude, etc), it is time to move on.

I really would clean house completely. The locker room, the front office ... everything over there is tainted. And no one has stepped up during this time of turmoil to take the reins and try to get things calmed down. Quite the opposite; it seems like everyone is fighting internally.

Off topic but are you predicting any upsets tonight? Can Butler beat the Cuse? Does Cornell in what amounts to a home game have any shot??

I sort of think the upsets are out of our system and we'll be more chalk the next two nights but Lord knows I was wrong before. I would LOVE to see Cornell knock off Kentucky for a variety of reasons. It'll be tough. I guess I'll be cheering for the Big 12 since apparently my team didn't advance.

Just to add to an earlier question, if you read any of several biographies about Armstrong, he is truly a control freak as well, though an extremely talented and accomplished one. I got the definite sense that he was not easy to be with at times.

Yes, I believe that's true. Sally Jenkins could speak to that issue better than me. I know she is close to Lance and really likes him. I'm also not one to knock control freaks; I used to be a bit of  one myself. It can really make you miserable; there's too much of life that can't be controlled. And it can make you unforgiving. I didn't like that aspect and loosened up a bit.

Enough psychobabble for this morning! Thanks for joining me; let's talk tomorrow when the topic will probably be all the upsets I didn't predict for tonight!


I feel your pain, believe me.

In This Chat
Tracee Hamilton
Tracee Hamilton has worked at the Post since 1993, toiling in office obscurity as an editor before someone said, "Hey, you've got a lot of opinons and can write a little. Why don't you become a columnist?"

Her interests range from geneology to Nordic combined to Kansas basketball. If ever there was a Jayhawk who once flew off a ski jump, she'd know where he was buried.

Her list of pet peeves is considerably longer, but includes Missouri basketball and poor subway etiquette. She welcomes dissenting opinions -- in the way Great Whites welcome open-water swimmers.

First Things First Archive
Tracee Hamilton Column Archive
Recent Chats
  • Next: