D.C. Sports Bog Live
Tuesday, April 28, 2009; 11:00 AM
D.C. Sports Bogger Dan Steinberg was online Tuesday, April 28, at 11 a.m. ET to discuss the Caps, the NFL Draft and Brian Orakpo, the latest sports news and your questions and comments about his latest bog posts. bog posts.
Dan Steinberg: Hey everyone, will chat until John Tortorella addresses the media this morning at Verizon Center. Then I'll go to see what he's quizzing the media about this morning.
I was trying to finish up a post comparing this Caps playoff series to last year's Wiz-Cavs extravaganza, but I ran out of time. Clearly, we have a knack for coming up with some entertaining material round these parts. I only wish DeShawn Stevenson and his new duck-tail were involved in some way.
Oh, and if anyone is coming tonight wearing a rain jacket or carrying a Free Donald sign, please lemme know.
Boston, Mass.: While we keep waiting to figure out who the B's will play a question: what would the conclusion of Caps fans be if they don't pull it out tonight? A playoff choke by a very talented regular season team or a good comeback from being down and out in the series?
Dan Steinberg: Oh man, the former, to a million degrees. Last year, people took huge satisfaction out of the rush into the playoffs, and out of the comeback from the 3-1 deficit. But this team has the best player in the NHL and the second seed. There's no satisfaction whatsoever in losing in seven games.
Now, "choke" might be a little much, but it would be a huge, huge disappointment.
Rubioville: Dan, Might you be hoping the Wizards get the 2nd pick in the draft and end up with Ricky Rubio? Would the Spanish Pete Maravich result in you having SAB (Spanish Available Bogging)?
Thoughts on how your hits may improve/decline based on landing Blake vs Ricky. Is it all about wins, or will a Spanish superstar get you many more oversea hits?
Dan Steinberg: Interesting question. Hadn't even considered the overseas traffic. And I'm not familiar enough with Rubio to know how well he speaks English, which would matter for me.
Off the top of my head, I think Griffin would be better for wins, better for fan interest, better for locker room banter and better for traffic.
Fairfax, Va.: The Redskins now have two Quarterbacks named "Chase" and "Colt." They were both very successful products of spread formation offenses in college but were not considered to be NFL-caliber QBs during their respective drafts. Last year, Colt Brennan had a pretty good preseason which led to the Cult of Colt. If Daniels does well this preseason, there will no doubt be a call for him to be the new "Chase" of the franchise. "Chase and Colt" sounds like the title of a cheesy buddy-cop action film. Don't you think they would immediately become BFF's?
Dan Steinberg: That's a lot of words for a yes-no question.
I'd think they're fighting for the same roster spot, so no, I guess. Colt is apparently becoming quite the man about town; wonder if Chase can keep up in that regard? Colt is also friendly to bloggers, though Chase has his burgeoning Twitter empire. Tough call. I guess I'll root for Todd Collins to ride off into the wine-tasting sunset.
Arlington, Va.: Besides a win, the one thing I want more than anything else is if and when the Caps do the Kiss Cam tonight, they show two Rangers at the end. I'm guessing however there is zero chance of the Caps doing this, even though its been happening all year.
Dan Steinberg: You mean Staal and Girardi? That would be amusing, I suppose.
The thing is, all the wackiness of this series becomes a very, very entertaining footnote if the Caps win tonight. If they lose, all that sort of just becomes depressing.
Potomac Falls, Va.: How do you think the Caps will respond/react to Brash's excessive suspension, given that he's only played maybe 5 minutes, but has been on the ice or bench for all but the first two losses? Factor? And don't you think Boudreau will add an emotional factor by inserting Chris Clark in the line up, versus Michal Nylander?
Dan Steinberg: Well Tarik has just reported that it's Clark, so that clears up that end of it.
Others disagree, but my take is that if anything, the Brash thing helps them tonight. Putting aside what it means for any future series, if Brash had gotten zero games and Betts was out with the eye thing, the Rangers would have some major ammo for a superhuman effort tonight. Granted, they shouldn't need any extra motivation, but we all know how that goes.
So basically both teams lose one player, but Betts is clearly more valuable to the Rangers than Brash to the Caps. Washington looked plenty imposing in that Game 3 win, when Brash played something like three or four minutes.
Fusheezi, Va.: When (not if) the Caps win tonight, when is Game 1? Please tell me Saturday night.
Dan Steinberg: I don't think it's settled yet, but the speculation has been Friday night among the media types.
Arlington, Va.: My Sign: Torts and Avery sitting in a tree, K-I-S-S-I-N-G. What are the chances they let me in the stadium with that sign.
Dan Steinberg: Well, I'm pretty sure there will be worse than that, so I give you decent odds.
I have to say, I'm hoping for plenty of fan goofiness and ribbing, but I'm also hoping if things go bad, we don't see a repeat of last year's Game 7. As much as I'm drawn to look-at-me fan behavior, there's no place for bottle and garbage throwing.
The Letter: Since when have the Rangers become the NHL leaders in gay rights. I read an article in the NYT that said it was one of the most hostile sporting events to gays in all of NYC. It looks like it was written by the onion.
Dan Steinberg: I don't think homophobic slurs are funny. Really, I don't think it's appropriate in any way. But the "we must protect the children from profanity!!!!!" stuff was a bit much, coming from a team whose home arena regularly rocks with "[Bleep]-hole" chants.
And yeah, there's some further history there that Yahoo's Puck Daddy blog has linked to. Also, kids in the front row of an NHL arena likely hear far worse from players in the bench. That was a total red herring.
Arlington, Va.: Attention everyone behind the Ranger's bench -- be sure to wear read ponchos with hoods or shower caps tonight!
Dan Steinberg: See, that's an appropriate form of taunting, in my eyes. Though it might get warm.
Fort Belvoir, Va.: Am I the only one who finds it hilarious that Sather sent the whiny letter about language to Gary considering the pride New Yorkers took in being profane ("Deal with it!") in the comments section of your post-game 3 entry about Rangers fans?
Dan Steinberg: Agreed.
Why, oh why: Does Acta still have a job? Is it really that hard to have a sub-.400 win pct (career)? Boswell is smoking the same stuff as the Nats front office -- they all seem to think Acta is this wonderful manager with zero evidence to back it up. "He's great because I say he's great. Trust me." Ridiculous.
Dan Steinberg: More than this, did you read the Washington Times story this morning on the Nats' attendance? Third worst in the bigs? That's not great. People here just won't put up with awful teams; it's not that they show up and boo, they just stop showing up.
As I've often said, I love Eddie Jordan, and think he'll have future success in the NBA, but at some point you have to make a change, just to see if it helps. If it doesn't, you haven't lost anything when your winning percentage is the worst in the league and fans are rapidly tuning out.
Fans who know far more baseball strategy than I are occasionally frustrated by his bullpen tactics. But I think we can all agree that if Hanrahan doesn't blow three saves and the record is, what, 7-11 instead 4-14 (off the top of my head), everyone would be looking at this a bit differently.
The Milledge experiment also won't soon be forgotten by Manny's critics.
I will grant them this: Manny's defenders often say you can't judge him until he's given a talented roster. But if we're still a year or two away from that, at some point you have to judge him on how he handles a non-talented roster.
Calgary, AB CANADA: Thoughts on a goaltender as good as Lundqvist being yanked after two periods in two straight games...will he come back with a 'Khabibulin-like' performance (v. Flames in gm 6) or are the Caps really in his head??
Dan Steinberg: I wasn't there yesterday, but the NYC reporters were surprised by how down he seemed. He said something implying that it would be an amazing upset for the Rangers to win today.
All that said, I agree with Bruce Boudreau that the "in your head" stuff is probably overrated. If it exists, clearly it can change, because all the experts had Hank inside the Caps' heads early in this series, and now they're dominating him. So if it's changed once, it could change again. I think this one is much more likely to go OT than to be a Caps whitewash. Or redwash.
Alexandria, Va.: D.C. United?
Dan Steinberg: stomp stomp, stomp stomp stomp stomp
20001: Dan - why are the Nats so hell bent on torturing the dozen or so of us that actually call ourselves fans? Last night's game in Philadelphia was absolutely brutal.
Please win Caps -- you're all we've got.
Dan Steinberg: I was just talking to someone about this yesterday. It's a strange time of the sports calendar. If the Caps do bow out today, before we've even reached May, we're looking at six or seven weeks before the NBA draft, and months until Skins training camp. I dig United as much as the next guy, but the lack of media attention makes it harder to sustain storylines, plus they only play once a week. Even if the Nats settle down and start playing that .500 ball, they'll be way out of the race.
On the other hand, we might be trying to sell our house, and I could definitely, definitely use some extra time.
Manufacturing Motivation: Dan, is it just me, or does it seem like the Rangers are desperately trying to manufacture motivation for their team these days? Ever since the 4-0 game 5, they've just been taking it to a whole new level. From Schoenfield's weepy "Torts was just standing for his players" to all of the calls to protect the bench from the crazy violent Washington fans...
And now this biting thing? It just seems to me like this is the pinnacle of it all. There just seems to me to be a major "full of sound and fury, signifying nothing" factor to it.
Dan Steinberg: The coaching stuff, I'm with you. But the biting thing.....that baffles me. I'll be honest. Hockey players are extremely proud fellas, for the most part. I don't know Brandon Dubinsky, but it's just so hard to imagine a guy making up an accusation like that. Merely to motivate his teammates? Doesn't add up to me. Playing amateur psychologist, at a minimum I believe that Dubinsky believes he was bit.
New York, N.Y.: Since it would be good for the league and good for TV ratings, you have my guarantee that both the Capitals and Hurricanes will win tonight.
Dan Steinberg: Wow, New Yorkers coming up with conspiracy theories about a pro sports league being biased in favor of teams from DC and Raleigh. This is a special day indeed.
Potomac, Md.: "On the other hand, we might be trying to sell our house, and I could definitely, definitely use some extra time."
Dan Steinberg: Plus the weather is nice. It makes it a lot easier to live without sports when the weather is nice.
We all walk that weird line between being objective and liking to see fans get crazy about D.C. sports. That makes these Game Sevens pretty interesting.
Bethesda, Md.: Dan,
I just wanted to thank you for the reporting that you did to find the Caps fan who has been vilified by the national media and get the story from him. It's amazing how you take the time to do this, yet the "Worldwide Leader" and others who profess to have millions in resources either don't take the time or the energy to do it, simply blindly labeling him as a drunkard. This now begs the question -- a one-game suspension to a coach for assaulting a fan and a six-game suspension to a player for action on the ice. I'll concede that Brashear might've earned himself a one or two-game suspension for that hit, but the NHL doesn't suspend Avery, gives Tortorella one game, and racks Brashear for six. That's the kind of fair punishment we see in China.
But I digress... nicely done, Dan.
washingtonpost.com: The Bearded Caps Fan in the White T-Shirt (Sports Bog, April 27)
Dan Steinberg: First off, please do bear in mind that I (and you) am taking his word on the alcohol consumption thing. Barry Svrluga talked to him briefly on Friday night, but didn't have any sense about alcohol intake. I assume a man who cops to throwing a beer and whispering a word for cats at Tortorella would have no reason to lie about his beer intake, but I'm just saying, we're taking his word.
As for finding him, it was really Lindsay Applebaum and some others who nailed this down. So really, I don't deserve much credit for finding him, though I obviously wanted to and knew it was a biggish deal.
As for the Brash hit, I'm not enough of a hockey expert to judge this against pass transgressions and suspensions. I will say this: I don't think it's ridiculous (or at least surprising) that the extent of Betts's injury might have factored into the decision. If you knowingly run a stop sign and hit another car and no one gets hurt, you haven't done anything better or worse than if you run a stop sign and kill another driver, but the punishment would sure be different, right?
If that makes no sense or is factually wrong, I apologize.
@DC: Bogfather, can you be the guy to get DeShawn to start twittering? We could use some twitpics of his platinum card.
Dan Steinberg: That's a great idea
Cleveland Park, Washington, D.C.: House selling... I'll buy yours if you buy mine...
Dan Steinberg: Uh, how about we trade straight-up? I live in Petworth. In the past two months, our house has been egged, hit with a flaming bag of poo, decorated with two fresh offerings from neighborhood doggies and littered with at least two different six packs of empty Heineken bottles.
Note to prospective buyers: it's actually a lovely house on a great block, and we're willing to throw in a few pieces of IKEA furniture.
Biased for Raleigh: You did catch that if the Caps and Canes win, round 2 is Caps vs. Penguins?
Dan Steinberg: Ha, of course I knew that but somehow I was dreaming during that question. My fault.
But still, a NYCer is saying the league is pulling for Raleigh and DC tonight over NYC and NYC, which is not a typical accusation.
As for me, if I'm going to the second round, I'd rather take a train there than the PA turnpike. Go Devils!
Washington, D.C.: From the standpoint of the NHL, you can't disagree with New York that scenario would be infinitely beneficial for the league.
Dan Steinberg: Sure, absolutely. I just like seeing New Yorkers paranoid about excessive deference shown to a Washington DC sporting outfit. It's not something that's happened very much in my lifetime.
Atlanta, Ga.: How about that DCU win with 2 goals in the final 90 seconds? Are New Yorkers claiming the refs blew that one also?
Dan Steinberg: I still haven't seen highlights. But I listened to Limarzi, and followed the DC United Twitter feed and it sounded pretty thrilling. United did ok for itself in the first round of last year's draft, huh? Wallace and Pontius are also great for the media.
Fairfax Bob: Dan -- major props on the Ron (bearded caps fan) story. Can you reveal your investigative skills....How did you track him down? Verizon security have his info? anonymous email?
washingtonpost.com: The Bearded Caps Fan in the White T-Shirt (Sports Bog, April 27)
Dan Steinberg: Lindsay Applebaum helped come up with an e-mail address for a fan who posted something on Tarik's blog we were both curious about. I didn't realize, but it turned out to be Ron. Very little investigative work on my part. The harder part was convincing myself, and my editor, that this was the bearded fan. I used a couple different methods.
John Tortorella: This is all a big misunderstanding. The fan behind our bench said he was thirsty and asked if he could have some water...
Dan Steinberg: Oh, good to know. Problem was, you poured it all over his legs. Ron told me he looked like he'd had an accident, if you get my drift.
Tenleytown, D.C.: Dan,
Love all of your coverage of the Caps during the playoffs and appreciate the extra manpower the Post is throwing at them too. Is it safe to declare the Caps the second most popular team in D.C. now? I would love to hear your opinion from a guy who is involved in the entirety of the D.C. sports scene.
Dan Steinberg: As of this minute, yes, absolutely, and it's not close. But I think it could change in a few months, if events on the field/ice/court change dramatically.
I also am unduly influenced by Web numbers, and the Caps blow away every non burgundy team on our site. But it's also highly possible that Caps fans just spend more time on the Internet than other fanbases, so that's probably not the world's best indicator.
Fairfax, Va.: Is the correct pronunciation of "Var-LA-mov" getting to you too?
Dan Steinberg: Getting to me? No. It's just so easy, though and I don't understand why no one even tries to say it right. You know the famous novel, Oblomov, about the Russian dude who just lays on his couch all the time and is depressed? O-BLO-Mov. Same as Var-LA-mov. Not that hard.
Gtown, D.C.: Dan, you should get a Pulitzer or something for your interview with Ron. You are the only journalist who I have seen who has even tried to get that side of the story. Aren't journalists supposed to try to get every side of the story?
Finally Puck Daddy picked up your post, but he mangled it and really lost the point of what you wrote.
Dan Steinberg: If I ever get a Pulitzer, it will undoubtedly involve a tale of thrown beer, derogatory words often used to describe cats, and sports fans who refuse to use their last names.
Haven't read the Puck Daddy piece yet, but Greg Wys has done amazing things with that blog, both in traditional sportswriting and new-school bloggy ways. I trust he got it right.
Biting Incident: I wasn't really referring to the biting incident itself, as much as the theatrics surrounding it -- the tetanus shot, the antibiotics, the press conferences, and the -- Demanding of Morrision's Dental Records.
Really? The Rangers are going to match up Morrison's dental records with an alleged bite mark on Duby's arm?
What is this, an episode of "Bones?" Come to think of it, David Boreanaz is a big hockey fan....hmmmm....
Dan Steinberg: It's great, great entertainment, anyhow. As soon as Torts stops talking, I'm gonna try to rank the strangest moments from this series. Ovie invading the Rangers bench before Game 3 has been completely forgotten by this point. As has the fact that Jose Theodore was the big storyline before the series began. Jose Theodore! WHo knew?
Listen, Torts is about to talk. There are tons of questions I didn't get to. Sorry about that. Maybe next week will be calmer. Email me any pressing fan news about tonight, and if you see me in the arena and need to tell me about the crazy fan you saw wearing handcuffs and a poncho, please stop me.
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