Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Tuesday Puck Talk Week #7

This week I talk about the Fleischmann trade for Scott Hannan, injuries and the implications that has on equipment, and the Sidney Crosby slew foot. Enjoy, and as always please leave comments/suggestions for next week!

Check out my post breaking down the trade for more info and analysis on Hannan and what it means for the Caps.

Capitals Send Fleischmann to Colorado for Hannan

The Washington Capitals have traded underachieving center/wing to the Colorado Avalanche for defensive defenseman Scott Hannan.  The two teams have reportedly been in talks since August, and were finally able to get a deal accomplished.  Both players are set to become unrestricted free agents after this season.

Trade rumors involving Fleischmann have been making the rounds since the trade deadline last spring.  They heated up during the offseason, when it is believed that the fall through of a trade involving Fleischmann was the reason Eric Belanger ultimately was not re-signed by the team.

The Capitals had been wearing a little thin in defensive depth, and this trade allows them to feel more comfortable with that.  Instead of having to rely on inexperience call-ups like Brian Fahey, the Caps will have an 11-year veteran to help pick up the slack.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Tuesday Puck Talk Suggestions

Hey everyone! As always, please send along any questions or suggestions for Tuesday Puck Talk tomorrow.  You can leave them in the comments here or email me at kgsdistrict@gmail.com.  I promise to talk about it!

Cody Eakin Invited to Canada WJC Camp

Capitals prospect and Swift Current Bronco Cody Eakin has been one of 39 players invited to Canada’s selection camp for their 2011 World Junior Championship team.  The 19-year-old Winnipeg native was selected by the Capitals in the 3rd round (85th overall) in the 2009 entry draft.  The tournament will take place in Buffalo this year.

Eakin impressed at both Development Camp and training camp for the Capitals this summer, and he even played his way into the 2nd line center debate.  Though he is small at just 5’11, 179 lbs, what he lacks in size he makes up for in speed and agility.  He is a power skater, a tough forechecker, and has the work ethic and skill level to fill a role on any type of line.

In 24 games while serving as captain for the Broncos this season, Eakin as lit the lamp 12 times and added 15 assists.  Those 27 points rank second on his team and 36th in the WHL.  With much more skilled players being invited to the camp, that is probably not the role that Eakin could fill on the team.

What Eakin does bring to the table, however, is his speed, work ethic, and his hard-hitting style of play coupled with noted leadership abilities.  Should he make the team, Eakin would likely serve a third-line role, which happens to be the role he appears to be groomed for at the NHL level.

As rosters start to be released by the various countries, there are a few more Caps prospects to keep an eye on.  Evgeny Kuznetsov, Dmitry Orlov, Patrick Wey, and Philipp Grubauer are all candidates for their countries’ teams.  As rosters are announced, updates will be posted here.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Hurricanes @ Capitals Preview (Video) 11/28/10

A quick recap of the game against the Lightening on Friday and a look towards this afternoon's game against the Hurricanes.

Here's a link to the Hockey Writers article I reference.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Three Years Later, Sean Taylor's Death Still Cuts Deep

It’s been three years since a great free safety was taken from us far too early. Sean Taylor was born April 1, 1983. He was only 24 when he was murdered in his Miami home on November 27, 2007. It wasn’t quite the shot heard around the world, but it was certainly a shot heard around DC.

Taylor played his college football at the University of Miami and was a member of the Hurricanes’ 2001 national championship team. In his junior year, Taylor was named Big East Defensive Player of the Year and was a finalist for the Jim Thorpe Award as the nation’s bet defensive back. He finished first in the nation in interceptions (10) and tackles (77). He scored three touchdowns off of interceptions that season.

Following his junior year, Taylor entered the 2004 NFL Draft and was taken fifth overall by the Washington Redskins. He then signed a seven-year, 18 million dollar contract with the team. Taylor had a successful rookie season, emerging as the Redskins’ starting free safety by the third game. However, signs of trouble off the field surfaced as he received a $25,000 fine from the league for missing part of the mandatory rookie symposium.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Capitals @ Hurricanes Preview 11/24/10 (Video)

Here is a look at tonight's matchup between these two Southeast Division teams.

First Quarter Awards

I hate predictions in sports because it is one field where you really never know what is going to happen.  A great player could have an off year or a bad player could have a career year, bounces go every which way, and surprises (both good and bad) pop up all over the place.

That is why I refrain from making pre-season predictions.  I do, however, want to take a look at who I would give the awards to should the season end today.  The quarter pole mark of the season gives a large enough time frame to judge performance so far, so these are who I would give the NHL Awards to based on the first quarter of work this season.

Calder Trophy: Jeff Skinner, Carolina Hurricanes

The seventh overall pick in the 2010 Draft took the league by storm right from the beginning.  He currently leads all rookies in scoring with 16 points, 4 ahead of those tied for second at 12.  He is third on the Hurricanes in scoring, and he has found a knack for timely goals.  He is thoroughly outplaying fellow 2010 draftees who were supposed to be more offensively potent than him; players like Taylor Hall and Tyler Seguin.  People didn’t have high expectations for him in the beginning, but as the Hurricanes turn over from an old guard to a new, Skinner will be a big part of that rebuilding.  No rookie has had as big an impact on their team, and with no rookie outscoring him, he is the front-runner for the Calder so far this season.

Runner up: Michal Neuvirth, Washington Capitals

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

What Are You Thankful For?

Hey DC sports fans! What are you guys thankful for this season? A winning hockey team? A revived spirit in the Wizards and Redskins? Hope for the Nationals future?

Email me at kgsdistrict@gmail.com and let me know what you're thankful for this sporting season.  You may include your name if you want, but you can also choose to remain anonymous.  I hope to put them together into a post for Thanksgiving.

So please, write me and let me know what you are thankful for!

Tuesday Puck Talk Week #6

This one had to be done in two parts since photobooth cut me off. I tackle the Caps loss last night (including the Ovechkin post game controversy) the Tampa Bay Lightening and Steven Stamkos, and Marc Staal and headshots.

Any comments, questions, or suggestions let me know in the comments!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Caps vs. Devils Preview 11/22/10

A look at tonight's game between the Capitals and the Devils.  It is the second meeting between the two, with the Caps taking the first in their season opener 7-2.  The game is probably most remembered for the fight between Ilya Kovalchuk and Mike Green.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Caps Miss Chances, Fall to Flyers in SO 5-4

It was an expected wild affair at Verizon Center tonight, but after a rollercoaster of penalty kills and power plays, to many missed chances, and a standout performance by rookie Marcus Johansson, the Capitals eventually fell to the Flyers in a shootout 5-4.

The game started off with chances everywhere.  Alex Ovechkin had a breakaway that beat Flyers goalie Brian Boucher, but was unable to beat the post as it rang wide.  This would tell the tale of Ovechkin’s whole night, which ended with an assist, a -1 and 3 shots on goal in 22:51 of total ice time (with an average shift length of just over a minute).  He also missed when his number came up in the shootout.

As Ovechkin’s mojo troubles continue, it was a different MoJo that stole the show tonight: Marcus Johansson.  He was all over the ice and opened the scoring 8:10 into the game with his second career goal.  On a line tonight with Jason Chimera and Matt Bradley as Bruce Boudreau continues to shuffle the lines, the trio sustained a high energy level throughout the game.  They were hard on the forcheck, and Chimera scored the power play goal that tied the game at 3 near the end of regulation.

Flyers @ Capitals Preview (Video) 11/20/10

Here's a video preview of tonight's tilt between the Capitals and the Flyers at Verizon Center.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Nancy Lieberman: A Historic Game

Tonight was a huge night in sports.  No, I’m not talking about the Tampa Bay Lightening beating the Philadelphia Flyers in an 8-7 barn-burner.  I’m not talking about Monday Night Football between the Bears and the Dolphins.  It’s not because of wins by the Indiana Pacers or the Orlando Magic.  What made this night historic came from an unexpected place: the NBA Development League.

Tonight, the Texas Legend, affiliate of the Dallas Mavricks, took the court with their coach to start their season.  Her name? Nancy Lieberman.  Tonight, a woman walked onto the hardwood as the head coach of a professional basketball team for the first time ever.

Lieberman is a well-known name in women’s basketball (well, about as well-known as you can be when your field is women’s basketball).  She was a standout player in high school, and she was still in high school when she made the USA national team at age 17.  In 1975, she was named to the USA team for the Pan American games, where the team won a gold medal.  She was also on the teams for the 1979 World Championships and Pan American games, where she won gold and silver medals, respectively.

Lieberman played for the 1976 US Olympic Women’s Basketball team as well.  It was the first time women’s basketball was a competition at the Olympic Games.  In Montreal, she became the youngest Olympic basketball player ever, having just turned 18.  The US lost in the gold medal game to the USSR (one of the teams Alex Ovechkin’s mother, Tatyana, won a gold medal playing for).

While attending the Old Dominion University in Virginia, Lieberman won a total of three national championships.  She won the Wade Trophy twice as player of the year.  She also won the Young American Award from the Boy Scouts of America in 1980.

After boycotting the 1980 games in Moscow, Lieberman embarked on her journey as a professional player.  She played for the Dallas Diamonds of the Women’s Pro Basketball League, a men’s league called the United States Basketball League, and the Washington Generals as the regular opponent of the Harlem Globetrotters.

She was elected to the Basketball Hall of Fame in 1996 and the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame in 1999.  She also played in the WNBA’s inaugural season in 1997 at 39.  Lieberman then became the General Manager and head coach of the WNBA’s Detroit Shock before working as a women’s basketball analyst for ESPN.  It was after ESPN that she was named the Legends’ head coach.

Lieberman is an important figure not just in women’s basketball, but in sports in general.  While women often rise through the ranks in the women’s section of sports (i.e. the new women’s category in the Hockey Hall of Fame) they rarely are granted the opportunity to cross over to the men’s version of their sport.  This is great breakthrough, and hopefully it will continue to expand into sports like baseball, hockey, and football as well.

Why Johansson Beats Perreault for NHL Spot

Perreault after scoring his first NHL goal
The debate between rookie Swede Marcus Johansson and his French Canadian counterpart Mathieu Perreault has been ongoing since training camp.  The battle between the two for the role as 2nd line center on the Caps was a blast to watch, and when the decision was ultimately made to start Johansson with the big club there seemed to be more outrage from the fan base than cheers.

That is understandable, as the Washington Capitals organization is a tight-knit one, and most Caps fans are also Hershey Bears fans. They have watched Perreault develop and tear up the AHL, and when they see performances like Sunday’s 6 assist effort from 85, they feel attached and utterly confused that he is not playing in the NHL. It is a natural progression; and it is also wrong.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Tuesday Puck Talk Week #5

This week, I take a look at Matt Hendricks, the St. Louis Blues recent troubles and the Los Angeles Kings.  Want to hear about something? Leave it in the comments or @ me on twitter and I'll talk about it next week! Always love taking suggestions!

Check out my latest posts at The Hockey Writers about the Caps' two Matts (Bradley and Hendricks) and the success the Caps' top line had been having until a few games ago.

Redskins Give Up, Lose to Eagles 59-28

It was the beatdown no one saw coming.

NFC East games are always competitive.  The Redskins had been rising and falling to the quality of their opponent so far this season.  It was at home, and Donovan McNabb had something to prove after signing a 5-year, 78 million dollar deal.  It was supposed to at least be close.

Alas, that’s why they play the game.  The final score was 59-28 Eagles, dropping the Redskins likely out of any playoff hope with a record of 4-5.

The Eagles jumped out to a 28-0 lead after scoring touchdowns on their first three drives of the game, all in the first quarter.  By the beginning of the second quarter, it was 35-0.  The Redskins tried to make a comeback, but defensive mistakes cost them and they weren’t able to stop the bleeding as the Eagles continued to rack up touchdowns.

Monday, November 15, 2010

McNabb Gets Extended 5 years

Quarterback Donovan McNabb signed a 5 year contract extension with the Washington Redskins today, prior to a NFC East showdown with the Philadelphia Eagles at FedEx Field.  The deal is worth 78 million, with 40 million in guaranteed money.  McNabb will be 39 when the deal expires.

This announcement comes at somewhat an odd time.  Controversy has been surrounding the Redskins for two weeks after McNabb was benched with 2 minutes left in an eventual loss to the Detroit Lions in favor of Rex Grossman.  This has been the story surrounding the Monday Night Football game tonight, until this signing of course.

Semin Named NHL's Third Star of the Week

Right wing Alexander Semin has been named the NHL’s third star of the week for the week ending November 14th.  Semin scored four goals and added four assists for eight points on the week in four games.  The Caps collected seven of a possible eight standing points last week, going 3-0-1.  This included a five-point night from Semin on Thursday night in a 6-3 win over the Tamps Bay Lightening.  He had a hat trick in the third period alone and added two assists to lead the team that night.

Semin has been playing extremely well so far this season with 13 goals (2nd in the league) and 10 assists for 23 points (4th) in 18 games played.  However, these numbers weren’t enough to get him on the All-Star ballot for fan voting that went up on NHL.com recently.  Voting starts today, so if you feel Semin deserves to go to the All-Star game, you can write in his name.  Alex Ovechkin, Nicklas Backstrom, and Mike Green are all also on the ballot.  You can vote for your All-Star Game starters here.

Friday, November 12, 2010

New Posts

I have two posts up at The Hockey Writers to check out: one about Matt Bradley and one about the Caps SOB line.  Remember to keep checking there for my analysis!

This is a busy weekend for me because it is the annual Cortaca Jug football game! (BEAT CORTLAND!) So there may not be new material here until early next week.  Have a great weekend!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Tuesday Puck Talk Week #4

New Tuesday Puck Talk is up and ready for action!  As always, leave any feedback in the comments.  If you want to hear about any specific topic for next week, let me know!  I want to hear what you think!

If you haven't already, be sure to check out my post on bandwagon fans and the video from my Hershey trip last May!

Monday, November 8, 2010

Hershey Bears Bonding (the Video)

As you all know from my previous post, I went to a Hershey Bears Calder Cup playoff game last May with my brother.  This is some of the video I shot from the trip.  I put it up on youtube a while ago but just realized I never posted it here. Enjoy a look into the love-hate relationship that is me and PFC Dowd!

Myths About "Bandwagon" Fans

With the Capitals making their turnaround in the last few years and the Nationals and Wizards looking like they will take a turn for the better in the next few years, there has been a lot of talk about “bandwagon” fans.  Particularly in hockey, it seems “diehard” fans don’t like bandwagoners, saying they aren’t true fans because they didn’t know their team existed before they began winning. My answer to that accusation is always this: so what?

Everyone was new to hockey fandom and one point in their life.  Why be a fan of a sport where your hometown team constantly loses?  You are provided with a limited and below-average level of the game, so why put your money into it when you could be watching a more entertaining team?  It is the team’s duty to give the fans and community something worth watching.  If the product isn’t good, there is no reason to expect people to buy expensive tickets to come watch them.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Wall Dougie's His Way to NBA History

DC has had its fair share of hyped debuts over the last few years.  We have sat and held out collective breath as we wait to see whether picks such as Alex Ovechkin, Stephen Strasburg, and Brian Orakpo will pay off.  Last night, the latest Washington first overall pick, John Wall, debuted in front of the home crowd at Verizon Center in a way only he could: by doing the Dougie.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Hockey Fighting: An Artform

Other than various forms of Mixed Marshal Arts, hockey is the only sport that allows (at times even encourages) fighting.  These players tend to be viewed by fans as expendable.  They must not have any other kind of hockey talent that could keep them in the NHL, so instead they just fight everything that moves.  This couldn’t be further than the truth.

Fight is part of the hockey culture, and with that comes a whole set of both written and unwritten rules.  Nothing may be on your hands (tape, foil, etc) when fighting: written rule.  If you are wearing a visor, remove your helmet before fighting: unwritten rule.  A fighter must be familiar with the ins and outs of all of these rules and still be able to win the fight.

Most enforcers are not necessarily born fighters.  Most of the time they are players who have adjusted their game to be able to keep playing at an elite level.  Experience is key, and it must be learned.  The experienced fighters on the team often spend time in practice showing some of the less experienced guys fighting tips.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Tuesday Puck Talk Week #3

Here it is! I was able to shoot it today after all. As always if you want to hear about anything specific or have any feedback, leave it in the comments!

Tuesday Puck Talk...

...will unfortunately have to wait this week.  I apologize and I will still try to get it up today, but it may have to wait until tomorrow due to a combination of technical difficulties and time constraints.  Don't worry though, I promise you will get your weekly fix! (And yes I will be addressing Daniel Briere)

In the meantime, remember to "like" KG's District on Facebook. There is a link here, or you can simply click the "like" button on the Facebook box on the right sidebar.  There will be announcements and posts made available there as well!

Also remember to check out my latest at The Hockey Writers: Neuvirth Earns Rookie of the Month Honors

Happy Tuesday and this weeks video will be up ASAP!