D.C. Sports Bog Live: Redskins, Caps, college basketball and more

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Dan Steinberg
D.C. Sports Bogger
Tuesday, February 9, 2010; 11:30 AM

D.C. Sports Bogger Dan Steinberg was online Tues., Feb. 9 to break down the Super Bowl, college basketball, the latest Atlantic 11, the Redskins and sports news and your questions and comments about his latest bog posts.

A transcript follows.

Read Dan's daily smorgasbord of the bizarre side of D.C. sports at the D.C. Sports Bog.

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Dan Steinberg: I'm trying to think where on my list of snow day plans I would place "log on to a chat with the D.C. Sports Bog." I have to believe it would come after "clean that area behind the toilet." I mean, I'm fine with you wasting your noon hour with me when you're stuck at work, but you're straight crazy to be spending a snow day with me.

That said, I just got back from Caps practice and got some great stuff, plus I'm happy to further discuss the NBC broadcast of Caps-Pens, the LaVar vs. Portis stuff, your microbrew choices during the storm, and anything else. But my daughter insists I take her out for pizza at 12:30, so you're on the clock.

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Springfield, Va.: What do the Caps players think of all this snow? Did they really have to shovel themselves out?

Dan Steinberg: Well I wanted to ask them that today, but they were on a major time crunch, trying to get to Montreal before the snow begins. So I mostly had to stick with a few more serious questions I had.

That said, Eric Fehr said this was pretty good, but that Winkler Manitoba has seen worse. Matt Bradley said this was legit, but that Stittsville would maybe shut down for a half day under this and would then be back in business. But they understand that there's only so much you can do in D.C.

Not sure about the shoveling question. Wish I'd had more time.

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SE, Washington, D.C.: In the Olympics featurette on NBC on Sunday, I thought I was watching an SNL digital short making fun of Canadians ("... that's something you dream aboot"), but it turns out that was actually Sidney Crosby, not Andy Samberg.

Dan Steinberg: Anyone sick of the Sid vs Max drying machine spot yet? Anyone actually log on to Facebook to watch the conclusion?

I do like the Canadian accent, though. I grew up listening to CBC, and I think it's pretty swell.

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Reston, Va.: With all this LaVar and Portis thing going on, I was wondering why no one is talking about or asking about LaVar's restaurant situation. From the reports I saw it seemed like he really did his employees wrong. What are you thoughts on that whole situation. If the reports are true, how can LaVar still go on air with a straight face and ridicule other people?

washingtonpost.com: D.C. Sports Bog - LaVar Arrington responds to Clinton Portis (Washington Post, Feb. 9)

Dan Steinberg: I don't know the details. Certainly some of the allegations have been unsettling, I guess is the word.

And I wasn't covering the Skins in any capacity during LaVar's tenure, so I'm not really able to judge his current version of events without going back through the archives.

Whatever you feel about LaVar, though, he was passionate and articulate when discussing the situation on Monday evening. It reminded me of Jason Campbell's response to Portis's words about his leadership skills, which Portis later claimed were taken out of context. In both of these situations, the responses have been louder, more emotional, and more convincing, in my opinion. I really don't think Portis means to throw all these people busward, but I think it'd be better if he could find a way to avoid these situations.

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Pentagon City, Va.: Chances Virginia Tech makes the NCAA tournament vs. the chances they barely don't make it again ... and the chances they won't even be close?

Dan Steinberg: I can't see them not being close. Malcolm Delaney is too good for them to fall off the map. I mean, their RPI isn't great, but they're 18-4, and 5-3 in the ACC. That's hard to ignore. I see 8-9 game, or maybe a 10 seed.

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Washington, D.C. in the 35332: Simple question for ya:

which game was better on Sunday? Caps vs Pens or the Super Bowl. From as much of an unbiased point of view as possible.

Dan Steinberg: Well, you sort of have to consider the context. Caps-Penguins was phenomenal theater, but it was still a regular season game in February. Yes, the streak was on the line, but ask Caps fans if they'd rather have a 14-game win streak in Jan/Feb or a first-round playoff win, much less a Stanley Cup championship. When you consider what was at stake, and the almost equally impressive comeback by the Saints, you have to give the edge to the Super Bowl. Which I would not have predicted at 4 pm Sunday.

But both were great. Add in Maryland over UNC (if you like the Terps), and it was a pretty amazing day of televised sports.

Of course, if you have a toddler, you probably mixed in some Max and Ruby and Sesame Street and Wiggles. Which hurt the overall quality of the televised experience.

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Arlington, Va.: Shoot, Matt Bradley would singlehandedly shovel out Stittsville, hero that he is.

Dan Steinberg: I really think I could have done well with this snow story had I more time and less of a burning desire to ask questions about Quintin Laing and a possible Canada vs Russia gold medal game.

I'll save the Oly stuff for next week, I guess, but it's certainly an odd situation for the Canadians in that room: they feel Mike Green got robbed, and they have to watch three of their teammates playing for their supposed arch rival, while their NHL arch rival leads their country. It's a fascinating dynamic. Bruce Boudreau was the only one I asked who suggested he'd actually be rooting for Russia.

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Anonymous: Dan, what is your take on the NBC commentary of Sunday's Caps v Penguins game in which one commentator made a comment in the second period about Crosby, still, being Ovechkin's daddy?

Dan Steinberg: It was Mike Milbury, making a comment during the first intermission. I think the 9 million words I wrote about this on Monday probably say more than I could right now.

My general sense is that Mike Milbury's bizarre bias against the Caps colored what was an otherwise fairly even broadcast. I don't know the history and I don't know what he has against the team, but leaving Nicklas Backstrom off Sweden's players to watch was striking, as was his (previous) reluctance to include 8-19-22 among the NHL's top three lines. It's the best line on the highest scoring team with the best player in the game. Pierre McGuire called him on this during the broadcast, and Milbury said "moving right along" or something to that effect. It makes no sense, and it diminishes NBC's credibility.

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Washington, D.C.: Is Portis a Redskin next season? I doubt Dan Snyder cares about his comments about Arrington (in fact, he probably sent Portis a fruit basket), but Portis seems to be on a mission to alienate every single person associated with the team not named Dan Snyder or Clinton Portis. Will Shanahan and Allen put up with it?

Dan Steinberg: As with most things, I think money and production ultimately matter a lot more than TV/radio interviews. Knowing Shanahan's RB history, and knowing the ratio of Portis's salary to Portis' production, I think if there's a cap friendly (or no-cap-year-friendly) way to get rid of Portis, you do it. But I think it's for better reasons than his mouth.

The mouth is just annoying, in my opinion.

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Rockville, Md.: Dan, thanks for hosting this chat- it's a great thing to look forward to on a slow Tuesday.

I apologize for the long post, but just wanted to say what a great piece you did on the Bullets/Wizards name-change. It was real reporting, and it really cut through a lot of myths that took on a life of their own about the genesis of the name. It was said last week that the name was artificial and that it wasn't organic to the franchise and the area; a wit could say the same thing about MJ's tenure here. The change happened before Air Voicemail came onboard, but the two seem so intrinsincly-linked, and how they sort of rep. the nadir of an org., that reverting back to the Bullets would almost feel like an exorcism.

Dan Steinberg: I agree with this.

Honestly, reading all those old clips makes me feel worse about Wizards than I ever did before. I think people are sort of numb to it now, but it really was a mess of a process. Maybe no one would have cared if the final outcome was satisfactory, but Wizards? Why? Because the Magic went to the finals and the Raptors were selling a lot of jerseys? If you reject Bullets because of real life--the real life city in which you play--how can you instead turn to something with absolutely no connection to that city, negative or otherwise?

For all their missteps, I really like the name Nationals. I know there were other appealing options, and the Grays thing would have been cool, but Nationals is sort of unmatched in the U.S. nickname landscape. That works for me. Wizards just doesn't.

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Richmond, Va.: Has there been any news or talking about Jason Campbell's contract with the Redskins? How likely do you think it is that he will re-sign with the team?

Dan Steinberg: My completely uneducated guess is that it wouldn't make sense for Allen/Shanahan to even think about such a thing until they've had a chance to work with him and know him and co-exist with him

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London: Hey Dan, did all of the A11 voters get the email this week? I just assumed the A11 Poll had a snow day like everyone else. Or did you cut back on voter numbers?

Dan Steinberg: Sorry to you and anyone else affected. I thought I had emailed everyone, but somehow the voter list got truncated and only a few of the voters got the message. No idea how that happened. Never happened before.

Well, we'll be back up to speed next week.

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Sasskuash: Since you broke the news of Chico Harlan leaving the Nats beat before Chico Harlan did, can you give some insight into who is covering Spring Training for the Post? Pitchers and Catchers are only 10 days away...

Dan Steinberg: I wish I knew. I don't. Of course, I'm not really in the gossip train at The Post, and I mostly work from my office in dirty smelly clothes nowadays. Unbelievably, as I get older, I'm reverting more and more to the blogging stereotype.

So no, I don't know, but I hope it happens soon. Still not sure if I'm going down there, but I'm guessing not. Trying to keep my travel powder dry until the NHL playoffs.

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Fairfax, Va.: So looking at your photo of the media scrum at Caps practice, who are all those people? I didn't know there where that many sports reporters in D.C. How many of them were not local press?

Dan Steinberg: All local I think. It was a mob scene though. If you bring every local TV camera crew out, that's what it'll look like. Off the top of my head, two people from Channel 7, two from 5, two from 4, 2 from CSN, 2 from Caps.com, two from 9, 1 from Express, me, one from NHL.com (Corey!), 2 from NPR, 1 from WFED, and several I didn't recognize.

This is the last D.C. access for the Caps until after the Oly break, so anyone who needed sound or video had to be there today.

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Anonymous: Is this the best Capitals team ever?

Dan Steinberg: They'll end up being judged by their performance in the postseason. That's the way it works. If they bow out in the first round, no, they will not go down as the best Caps team ever. But they will have the best regular season in Caps history without any doubt.

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McLean, Va.: Dan,

The Caps right now are media darlings and really have the city rocking when they're playing (and justifiably so). I know the Redskins will always be No. 1 here (and shown during a 4-12 season where they were still top billing everywhere), but if the Caps go deep into the playoffs this year while maintaining this style of play, can you see the scale tilting at all this fall? Or will the inevitable big free agent signing and/or hot start by the Redskins relegate them to the back pages again?

Dan Steinberg: I wouldn't say the Caps were relegated to the back pages. They got lots of nice press (from The Post and The Times, at least) even during Skins season. I think a Cup is sort of necessary for the team really to take the next leap into permanent (or long-term, anyhow) popularity, but I think it would take something like a half-decade or decade of this to really fundamentally alter the order in town. It's more than a local issue; look at how many people watched the Super Bowl nationally. The NFL is just a behemoth, and when you combine that with the Redskins' history and massive fan base, it's just an impossible comparison.

I also think a lot of us who live inside the Beltway, or in MoCo and Fairfax and Loudoun and NW, might have a slightly skewed view. The Redskins' geographic map is just massive. The Caps don't have that in the same way, though they are very big in Baltimore. If I could get some time I'd post about the Wizards ratings, which are surprisingly similar to the Caps even with the way the two teams are performing.

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New York, N.Y.: It didn't show up anywhere in your excellent post about the name change, but I seem to remember the "Washington Justice" being floated around at some point.

What do you think of it? I kind of like it. Has local connection, I can envision a cool color scheme, maybe black and gold (not every team has to be red, white and blue in my opinion), and the "court" connection provides endless cheeseball opportunities for the headline writers and promoters.

Dan Steinberg: Tons of people have emailed me and posted comments about this. I didn't search the archives, but I didn't see much (or maybe anything) about "Justice" during the name change. It's ok; a little overly dramatic for my taste. Much, much better than Wizards.

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Anonymous: Does the city of Pittsburgh have a large indigenous Penguin population? I'd have to say that name is about as pointless and unrelated to the that city as the Wizards are to D.C.

Dan Steinberg: Ok fine, that's true. But it's not stupid, the way "Wizards" is.

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Chicago: Who do you have winning the men's curling gold this year: The Canadians or the Scots?

Dan Steinberg: Scots? Like Scotland? Boy, has the curling world changed since Torino if Scotland is a contender for men's gold. Back then it was like Norway and Canada and the U.S. and Sweden, right? That was the last time I paid attention. I better get up to speed before my fantasy Olympic curling draft.

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Brooklyn, N.Y.: "something with absolutely no connection to that city"

What are you talking about? There's a connection. They both start with the letter W! That's deep stuff dude. Wizards are the coolest thing that starts with the letter W. What else are they going to call the team? The Warlocks? Ok, that would be slightly better actually. But when you can't find that deep, meaningful connection - you go with alliteration.

Dan Steinberg: Washington Wasabi

Washington Witchcraft

Washington Water

Washington Whoa

Washington Wham

Washington Widgets

Washington Waffles

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Chicago: Does NBC even have any credibility left for it to hurt?

Dan Steinberg: Snark aside, I think so, yeah. I'm guessing there are lots and lots of D.C. folks who don't regularly watch NBC's hockey coverage, but who watched last week.

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Anonymous: Do the Caps players sense that the weight of the entire city is on them to win? I'm not a hockey fan, but I root for all D.C. teams and every other pro team we have flat out sucks! It's so nice to see the word Washington at the top of a list of other cities.

Dan Steinberg: They know. David Steckel had a quote about that very thing on 106.7's Overtime last week. Hold on....

Ok, here it is

"The fan support has been phenomenal. It's turning into a hockey town. And it helps when the other sports aren't doing so well. But in the same regard, we've been there when we've not been the best team. So we're trying to take everything in, and make sure the fans have something to watch every night."

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Dan Steinberg: Manute Bol just added me as a friend on Facebook.

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New York, N.Y.: Who has the BEST chance to be wearing a Wizards jersey in the April 14th season finale against Indiana? Jamison, Bulter, or Haywood?

Dan Steinberg: Wow, that's like asking who has the best chance to march in the Nats' first World Series victory parade, Jim Bowden, Lastings Milledge or me.

I guess I'd go with Jamison, because his quotes seem to suggest that he thinks he's not going anywhere. And his contract is large.

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Chicago: Curling was invented in Scotland, and the Scottish team beat Canada at last year's World Championships for the gold medal. In the Olympics, they compete as Great Britain.

Dan Steinberg: Ah yes, Great Britain. I do well remember them. My fault.

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Anonymous: "But it's not stupid, the way "Wizards" is."

Sure it is. Please explain how penguins is not stupid.

Dan Steinberg: Well, there's a connection to ice. Plus, Penguins are real. Wizards are not, aside from Mr. Wizard.

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Washington, D.C.: Hey, what do you think of Vecsey still dancing on Gil's grave and taking shots at Wise?

Dan Steinberg: Not any more distasteful than some of his other stunts during this episode. Been on my list of things to write about. Ultimately, I think people in New York don't care much at all about Mike Wise, and I think he's doing an obvious disservice to his readers by even mentioning the issue.

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Anonymous: How about the Washington Wisteria? Who doesn't love Wisteria?

Dan Steinberg: Wenches?

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New York, N.Y.: Did you catch the Terps beatdown of UNC this weekend? I know, I know. The Tar Heels aren't what they were last year, but beating them like that still feels good. How far do you think the Terps can go this year? I'd be happy with Sweet 16, but if everything comes together...

Dan Steinberg: If everything comes together then what? National title? Hadn't even thought of that until I read this question. I'd say the same about the Final Four. Maybe they're a lot better than I've given them credit for.

How long until I can start dreaming about both Terps and Hoyas in the Final Four? Or playing in a regional final?

They still really only have one high-quality win this year, right? At Florida State? I don't want to be a downer, but I'd say you're right on; they probably wind up as a 5/6/7 seed, expected to win a first-round game, hoping for a Sweet 16.

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Twin with Md. tattoo that bothered you in Detroit in '08: Did you get bummed when the Nats didn't sign Hudson? He must be pretty blogable if Tony Plush says "he's a lot like me, only louder"

Dan Steinberg: Yeah, that's true. Plus even before he was on the team, he was universally known as O Dog. This town doesn't have nearly enough O dogs.

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Anonymous: Possible Wizard replacements ...

The Washington-DeeCees.

The Washington Flyer(singular - after the taxi)

The Washington Cowboys (Just wanted to see how that looks)

The Washington Spooks (my choice)

The Washington Quagmires

The Washington Red Tapes

The Washington Pork Barrels

The Washington Swamps

Dan Steinberg: Washington Bogs?

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Arlington, Va.: Hi Dan. In Sunday's Caps v Penguins game, Mike Millbury mentioned in the second period of the game about Crosby, still, being Ovechkin's daddy, one of many comments that appeared to show a bias by the NBC commentators. We obviously all know what the final result was. What is your take on all this?

Dan Steinberg: Better than saying Crosby is Ovechkin's mama. Or papa. Or babushka.

See above, or below, or wherever my prior comment resides.

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Under a snowbank: I always read these transcripts and see you remarking about Skins punter Hunter Smith's arm. I went to college with Hunter. He wasn't only the punter, he was third string QB to the not-so-legendary Ron Powlus too. Always glad to see Hunter's the one who had an NFL career. He was one of the few really nice guys on the football team.

Dan Steinberg: He was a high school superstar QB, right? Interesting to hear from you, whoever you are.

Though watching the Super Bowl, I was reminded that this team switch thing didn't really work out so well for him this year.

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Washington, D.C.: Dan, thanks for all your great coverage of the Caps recently.

One thing I've really enjoyed about the Caps' winning streak is that they've been beating the likes of Philadelphia, Boston, New York, Pittsburgh (twice), and Detroit. This is key towards building fan support, and instilling a greater sense of pride in the team and the city itself. It would be one thing if they were only beating Tampa Bay, Florida, Phoenix, etc., but beating those big- market teams really gets people's attention.

Most of my friends who are transplants here that root for those teams can't seem to come to grip with the fact that the Caps are better than their teams, and probably will be for the foreseeable future. They were lulled into a sense of complacency by the performance of the other D.C. teams, but man does this feel good right now.

Dan Steinberg: No question here, but I think you're right about this win streak. They're beating marquee franchises, even though some (Boston, Detroit) aren't really performing as expected. And there have been plenty of road trips mixed in. And only (I think) one bosu shootout win in the streak. I know Bruce Boudreau hasn't been happy with a few of the recent performances, but honestly, you have to search to find any serious fault with the past 14 games. Maybe the level of play needs to be amped up in the postseason, but that's the case for every NHL team.

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Adams Morgan: Dan, Stop drooling over Capital Weather gang's web hits

Dan Steinberg: How did you know? Wait, is this my wife?

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Washington, D.C.: Was the Richmond rise in the A11 due to the fact that the voters down there still have power?

Dan Steinberg: That was a legit (and convincing) win over Temple. I'd guess that was the answer. Plus, a few teams that had been ahead of the Spiders (William & Mary, Old Dominion, Virginia) lost in the past week, and Richmond didn't.

I have no idea here (sorry, I really haven't been following as closely as I should) but Richmond seems like they could still be in play for an at-large, yes?

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Washington, D.C.: So has there been a direct link between the end of the Bullets and reduction in gun crime in DC? I heard that once the Hartford Whalers went under, that the world's whale populations started to thrive again. Who new a team name had such global impact?

Dan Steinberg: I understand the basis of your complaint, but I don't think that's really the point. You wouldn't think naming the team "The Washington Terrorists" would lead to a rise in bombings, but you still wouldn't name your team that. If the principle is that gun violence is bad and not worthy of celebrating, then the actual impact doesn't matter much.

Like I said, if a better name had resulted, I don't think the feelings would be as bad.

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Arlington, Va.: By the way, re: the first Snovechkin photo on your latest post. It's super awesome, but in these trying, snowbound times, I wouldn't be wasting any red wine.

Dan Steinberg: Maybe it was two buck chuck.

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Washington, D.C.: To be fair, do you think that Daddy comment was made after Crosby scored twice and before Ovechkin's hat trick? Sports broadcasters have a tendency to hyperbolize what they are seeing at the moment. One team does well they talk about how great that team is, while the other stinks ... until the game changes.

Dan Steinberg: Well yes, I don't think that, I know it. But he said "STILL" your daddy, which I really didn't get. Ovechkin is the two time reigning MVP. His team just beat Crosby's, on the road, convincingly. Crosby's beat Ovechkin's in Game 7, on the road, convincingly, and went on to win the Cup. But I still didn't go into this game thinking "You know what? Sidney Crosby is Ovechkin's daddy."

I mean, the Caps lead the Eastern Conference, Ovechkin leads the league in goals and plus-minus, and the Caps were riding a 13-game win streak? And Crosby ENTERED the game as Ovi's daddy? It was a dumb comment, sorry.

And I think people would have chilled out if Milbury said something about it after the hat trick, something about "he sure showed me" or "who's the daddy-o now," something to acknowledge how silly his previous comment now looked. But he just ignored it, even after the Caps came all the way back to win. Not impressive.

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No Justice, No Peace: Only one thing could be worse than naming the team "Wizards," that's a singular noun as a team name. Sorry, but "How 'bout them Justice/Lightning/Heat/United" is an assault on the ears.

And "Mighty Ducks of Anaheim" is in a sub- category of its own.

Dan Steinberg: I don't love those names, but "United" definitely doesn't bother me.

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Pentagon City, Va.: Does all the WashPost Sports writing community get along? Are there groups of people that don't like each other? Obviously there's the Wise-Kornheiser feud, but anything internal to WashPost?

Dan Steinberg: Yeah, Tarik and I just hate each other. That's why he took an early flight to Montreal this AM, so he wouldn't have to see my ugly mug in Ballston.

I, on the other hand, can't get over the way he begins every single post-game blog post with "I've got a long day of travel tomorrow, so this is gonna have to be a short one," and then files a blog post of the exact same length as every other one.

I don't know, if there are people inside the sports section that don't like each other, I wouldn't be likely to publicize that in this venue. At least, the 2010 Dan Steinberg feels that way. The 2007 Dan Steinberg might have believed differently. I think we all get along fairly well, and all root for each other to succeed and still be employed and everything else.

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Washington, D.C.: Re: A-10, I think Patrick Stevens had 6 (SIX!!!) A-10 teams in his latest bracket today.

Dan Steinberg: Forget the A-10, let's think about A-11. Think we could still get up to 8 DMV teams into the tourney:

Richmond

CAA champion

CAA runner-up (????)

Morgan State

Georgetown

Maryland

Virginia Tech

Virginia (though that would take some work)

That's not counting a possible miracle postseason run by a Navy or Radford.

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Anonymous: I"m sure this has been asked and answered before, but what happens to all those hats thrown on the ice after a hat trick. Can fans come down to Lost and Found and claim it? What's the peer pressure like for those fans who have hats they don't want to lose to toss them on the ice?

Dan Steinberg: A lot of people bring cheapo hats to the rink, just in case.

The Caps are planning on building some sort of display in Ballston that will feature the hat trick hats thrown onto the ice. Should be awesome. I blogged about it once upon a time. No idea of a timeline

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Dan Steinberg: Ok, gotta run to the pizza joint. Daughter is way, way, way past patience with me.

The blogging schedule will continue to be spotty this week, until school comes back in session, but I have a lot of good stuff stored up so keep checking back in. Talk to you all next week.

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