D.C. Sports Bog on the Wizards Getting Some Juice

The Wizards may be struggling, but interim coach Ed Tapscott makes sure they play with some juice.
The Wizards may be struggling, but interim coach Ed Tapscott makes sure they play with some juice. (By Rick Havner -- Associated Press)
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Wednesday, February 25, 2009

The Caps are the NHL's It Team. The Wiz are the NBA's Not-It Team. If you can't beat 'em, join 'em. Yesterday's Wizards practice ended with a drill interim coach Ed Tapscott dubbed "Juice Man."

"I stole that from the Capitals," Tapscott said. "What happens is you put players in a competitive situation at the end of practice, and the winners have their postgame drinks served to them by the losers. We called it 'Juice Man Day.' [The Caps] do it with Gatorade; we do it with our recovery drink. So as we stretched, the winning team gets to sit and stretch while the losing team has to go over and get the juice and serve it."

Tapscott said he heard some Caps players talking about their version of the game, which is called "Juice Boy" in Ballston. Over there, in a game invented and supervised by assistant coach Dean Evason, players get in line trying to send shots into two blocked-off corners of the net. The last player to convert both shots then hands out little servings of Gatorade to the other competitors in the dressing room.

"You know, every team does certain stuff, finds their own fun things, and this just happens to be one of ours," Capitals Coach Bruce Boudreau said a few hours later, down a Verizon Center hallway from where Tapscott spoke. "I'm glad it's one of theirs now."

Tapscott ran the idea past his captains, who approved, and by the time it debuted, at least one teammate mistakenly thought Gilbert Arenas had provided the inspiration.

"That's all because of Gil," Brendan Haywood said. "Gil came out there talking junk about how he was gonna win with the younger guys. And I was like, 'Man, I don't know, it's gonna be tough, you'd better get some vets on that group.' " And Gilbert's result, according to Haywood? "He served Mike James some good juice," the center said with a laugh.

(I also asked Haywood why Gilbert had adopted such a different media strategy during their recent rehabs. "See, me and Gil are different," Haywood said. "Gil's trying a lot of that superhero, Superman, change-in-the-phone booth, come-out-of-nowhere-and-shock-the-

world type stuff. Me personally, I'm just trying to get healthy.")

Oleksiy Pecherov had to give juice to Darius Songaila. "I'm a good basketball player, man, I'm not a good waiter," Pecherov said. Other players apparently enjoyed the experience.

Tapscott said he wasn't even sure he would recognize Boudreau if they passed in the hallway. Boudreau said the same about Tapscott. But they're now united in Juice Boy, or Juice Man.

"Whatever they want to call it. Juice Big Guy?" Boudreau suggested.

I told Tapscott how the Caps also award a Hard Hat following wins. He considered that.

"I haven't picked that one up yet," Tapscott said. "I like that. I would probably give the Hard Head award, with my crew . . . but I'm gonna leave that one alone."

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