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Dan Steinberg
Tuesday, May 4, 2010; 11:30 AM

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Dan Steinberg: Hey everyone, I'm here to chat, and I had all these deep thoughts in my mind, but then I forgot to really promote this chat in any way so very few of you will be exposed to my deep thoughts.Here's the deal: on just about every single issue related to the Caps lately, my public posture, at least, has been sympathetic to the local team. From a journalism standpoint, that has me feeling all guilty-like, since I've chosen pandering to my readers and myself over actually taking hard stands, or whatever.But then I'm thinking, who cares? Seriously, how does the world change if local sports journalists aren't really objective? Yes, decades of tradition would show you to be bad at your job, but it's not like sports really matters, at least not stuff like wins and losses.Now, if some sort of homerific bias prevented you from writing real news about bad behavior from players/owners, or mistreatment of fans, or piercing on-field criticism that would force fans to turn against ownership and agitate for changes for the better, that would be one thing. But if I just want to be a blatant homer for one local team over 29 out-of-town teams, how does the world suffer? Even typing that makes me feel nauseous. I'm having a crisis. Somebody help.

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Philly Freak: Given the options of 1) using his Taser, 2) using his service revolver, and 3) having a heart attack and dying from trying to catch a teenager, I'd say the officer picked the option least likely to end in a fatality. Bravo to the officer, and a resounding "jail time" to the moron.I'm guessing that since it's Philly though, they will crucify the officer and make the teen a city hero.Any update on the case?

Dan Steinberg: I loved the suggestion that this was a response to the vomitorious fan from a few weeks back, as if the only possible solution to having drunk fans projectile vomit onto young girls is to tase teenagers running on the field.I'm not that into the tasing/tazing, since officers have managed to corral idiots on the field for decades without drawing weapons. The video seemed to make it pretty clear that he was the "run around in circles like an idiot" variety of field invader, not the "light self on fire and attempt to incinerate the left fielder" sort.On the other hand, what exactly do you expect when you jump over the wall? Hugs and high fives? Once one of these fellas gives a first baseman a drop kick to the head eventually, it'll all seem less hilarious, I guess.

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Okay, the Caps choked, but . . .: Shouldn't having the best record in the regular season count for something? Shouldn't there be at least some sort of prize, such as the home version of the Stanley Cup game?

Dan Steinberg: There's that trophy thing they got and refused to look at.Maybe the "refuse to look at or touch the Presidents' Trophy" gimmick should be retired. Doesn't seem to do much good.Here's the real problem, raised by others in recent days: if you're a Caps fan, how in the world do you get pumped up for the next regular season? I mean, the team was as dominant as it could possibly be in the regular season, and set every team record out there. So we've kind of been there and done that. Are you really fired up to do it again? Or are you more looking forward to game 1 round 1. Which is in, say, 49 weeks.I guess you could take the stance that sports are entertainment, and watching the Caps play (and mostly win) 82 up-tempo NHL games was entertaining this year, and will likely be entertaining next year. But that's too mature for my tastes.

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DC United: Time to give up on the United? I'm ready for next season.

Dan Steinberg: I don't know who you are, but no D.C. fan would call them "the United," so I'm not sure what you're getting at.MLS's regular season still has another 13 months to go, so I'm not sure why you'd give up yet. But zero home goals (through three matches, I believe) is not an encouraging stat. If you're going to take the previously mentioned mature stance that sports are about being entertained, I think you could fairly argue that never ever ever seeing the home team score even a single goal doesn't really qualify as entertainment.

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DC: This is more of an FYI for your editors, but I am a 44 year-old DC native who has had a seven day a week subscription my entire life, excepting the four years I lived in Philly for college. Dan, you are deserving of a regular column. You have a good, and "young" voice, actually attempt to back up for positions with reporting and factgs, and do not yet have the chip on your shoulder that many guys grow as they get older. I think the readers likely agree.

Dan Steinberg: If there were more questions, I wouldn't publish this one, but I'm having a real shortage right now. So what else could I do?Let me go back to the homer thing. Obviously this was inspired by Mike Wilbon and some of his recent Caps writing. I think he maybe keeps it more real than I do on that score, which is understandable. I mean, I don't have an emotional attachment to the teams in Arizona, either. But does his more honest assessment make fans/readers/customers happier? Does it make them want to consume our product? Does it make them want to pick up the paper the next day?I wouldn't say any of this stuff about, say, our White House reporters. Their job is decidedly not to make readers happy, or to want them to buy another paper. Because I believe that people who cover the White House actually have some importance to society.But aside from the rare times that genuine social issues intrude into sports, I just can't see where the Caps winning or losing a first-round series matters to the Republic. So why the heck not shelve a bit of neutrality and objectivity? Seriously, what's the downside? Again, I'm not talking about things like season ticket waitlists that constitute real news; I'm talking about insulting the city's biggest superstar, even if there's a factual basis.

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Or Maybe: "Once one of these fellas gives a first baseman a drop kick to the head eventually, it'll all seem less hilarious,"One of these idiots might attack a first base coach, then we'll realize it's not funny and start getting tough.Oh wait, that did happen, didn't it. OK, taser them all - I have no sympathy.

Dan Steinberg: That's true. That was eight years ago. Amazing. Feels like yesterday.Just read a story about that incident, which included these anecdotes: Cubs reliever Randy Myers was charged by a 27-year-old bond trader who ran out of the stands at Wrigley Field. Myers saw the man coming, dropped his glove and knocked him down with his forearm.On Sept. 24, 1999, a 23-year-old fan attacked Houston right fielder Bill Spiers at Milwaukee. Spiers ended up with a welt under his left eye, a bloody nose and whiplash.So maybe we should agree that fans ought not to run onto the field.

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Still Depressed: Ok Bog, I'm still depressed about what happened with the Caps. The only thing that makes this worse is that it is Pittsburgh vs. Montreal in this round and I have no idea how I should be rooting. I really hate both of those teams. I especially hate Halak but I don't know that a recent new hatred can overcome a long standing one. What do you think? Who are you rooting for?

Dan Steinberg: Wow, I'm not even close to being conflicted about this. I'm 100 percent behind Montreal. Here are my reasons:1) How could you possibly not root against Pittsburgh if you care about the Caps?2) Many national media types have faulted Bruce Boudreau's style, Alex Ovechkin's leadership, and the overall mentality of the Caps for their first-round loss. Some (including me) have also questioned whether this "hot goalie" stuff was overblown. But if somehow the Habs win again, then you might have to hit delete on a lot of the substantive stuff, and just admit that Montreal was a team well-suited to the playoffs, especially with a relatively healthy roster.3) There's a chance a friend of mine might have recently been in Vegas and might have accidentally spent some money for me at a casino on a ticket that included the words "Boston Bruins."4) I don't hate Halak at all. Nothing in that series made me feel hatred for Halak, or really for any of the Canadiens. It was pretty clean, and they were pretty gracious, and Halak was great, certainly at times.5) Seriously man, it's Pittsburgh.

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Caps & Phillies: First, congratulations on your Caps story going national. It was such a great story and so glad you got it out there. We sports fans/Caps fans, needed that.Second, tasers have killed people. No stupid philly fan (which is all of them, right?) deserves to be tasered for running onto the field.

Dan Steinberg: Thanks, but I have to figure that was going national (or international, if Canada counts) regardless of what I did. The woman who was helped by Brooks Laich was deteremined to let people know, and media folks sort of like flat tire stories. Glad I was sort of first (though Mike Wise did it first on his radio show), but that's just about maximizing traffic for me -- everyone would have heard about it anyhow.Like I said before, if the fan was making a beeline toward the pitcher's mound, maybe. He had already made it to the lush open space in the outfield, and was obviously in a holding pattern, content merely to drift in circles until being subdued. Didn't seem necessary.

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Caps Cliques: Dan, Thank you for taking my question; I've always been curious about this: in baseball, a lot of teams tend to have cliques, where the Latin players only hang out with the Latin players, the white guys with the white guys, etc., and usually the twain shall never meet.Is it the same in the NHL? Do Ontarians only hang out with other Anglos? Do the Russians stay seperate from everyone, or is there a Euro Zone, and a non-Euro Zone? Do Quebecois keep to themselves? And is the team chemistry just a different thing in hockey than baseball?

Dan Steinberg: Funny, I asked some guys on the Caps this very question, comparing it to the baseball thing. I was wondering about the Russians. It seems to be less of an issue since Fedorov and Kozlov left. Alex Ovechkin is good friends with guys like Mike Green, Nicklas Backstrom and Jose Theodore, so they often go out to dinner or whatever together. A lot of times Semin and Varlamov are also part of that group, for obvious reasons.I think the standby conversations in the dressing room are often based on language compatability, which makes sense. And I'm not sure the Caps are representative of the NHL as a whole, but several players told me that there aren't really nationality-based cliques, and that social stuff is based more on marital status than on nationality.

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Rockville, Md.: This is a crisis that every journalist must face, Padawan. Ultimately, it has to come down to "just the facts"-- which can make for a boring narrative if nuance and mitigation aren't involved.The best you can do is to be honest, and part of that honesty is to acknowledge your inherant homerism of Team-Formerly-Located-In-Landover. Your readers read you b/c you follow the team, are knowledgeable, and have a rooting interest. I appreciate your ability to gain access to the team, and provide analysis of the dynamic.What I don't appreciate is puffball pieces on an owner who seems a little unbalanced. And therein lies MY issue: do puffball pieces ensure greater access? Undoubtedly. But can there be a balance so that you can maintain an objectivity and duty to your paper and your readers, while still getting into the locker room? I don't know.

Dan Steinberg: This is a good question.I think I'm also helped by not being strictly defined as either a beat writer type or a columnist type. But say I happened to be in a local watering hole on the night before a playoff game. Say I happened to see someone there who you'd prefer would be in bed (and this really is hypothetical; for all the talk, I have no first- or second-hand knowledge whatsoever).If I wrote something, would it be newsworthy? Yes. Do I think it would hurt my standing in the dressing room? Yes. So balance that, someone.

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Roosevelt and the Caps: What comes first, a Teddy Roosevelt win or a Washington team winning a championship?

Dan Steinberg: If forced to guess, I'd say Teddy. I think it could feasibly be four or five years or longer until a D.C. team wins a championship, and I just don't see how that gimmick can last that many more years.

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A Crisis of Journalistic Integrity: Steinz, Aren't you going a little overboard in labeling yourself a "Journalist?" Remove the label, and BOOM, ethical crisis averted!

Dan Steinberg: There ya go. Thanks.

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The Caps Fan Dilemma.: How do you get excited about next year's regular season? Really, you don't. You go to games and enjoy them because this team is so much fun to watch. But you don't really get excited about the games themselves or the overall result. The only real intrigue that the regular season will bring is seeing if they actually learned anything after this year, and adjust their style of play to something that is more likely to breed success in the playoffs. I also look forward to seeing if Varly or Neuvy matures into a true #1 Goalie for this team.

Dan Steinberg: Yeah, I thought of that as I was typing, the "young players developing" angle. Aside from goal, there's the obvious Alzner-Carlson pairing, if that happens.Even if they DO adjust their style to something you consider more likely to breed playoff success, that's obviously no guarantee of playoff success. You're still rooting for 82 games that you acknowledge to be of little importance (based on Ted Leonsis calling this season a failure).

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Tasing of fans: We've had Seles stabbed, Gamboa injured by Father/son combo, and multiple English/Brazilian/et al threatened and attacked. Morganna, the Kissing Bandit does not exist anymore and any fan intruding on the field is a potential threat. Taze 'em all bro.

Dan Steinberg: Is it "tase" or "taze?" I'm seeing it both ways. I think I prefer "tase," even though the natural inclination is to want to put a Z in there.Not to tempt anyone, but has a fan ever run on the field at Nats Park? I can't remember any incidents. In the grand scheme of things, having a reputation for tame, well-behaved baseball fans probably isn't the worst thing.

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Wilbon's Anger (Generally): Dan, I grew up liking Wilbon and Tony K. a lot, even though I knew that just about every year I could count on both of them to slam the Caps come playoff time (with the rare exception of Mr. Tony's columns in 1998). I just want to include that disclaimer so that you don't think I'm a typical Wilbon hating Caps fan.s unbelievable!! He's mean and snarky, and you should see the responses to hockey questions; it's like every time someone says something even vaguely defensive of the Caps, Wilbon goes at them with a bat! like I said, I grew up with Wilbon and I don't remember this.Why is he so angry in general, and why, in particular, does he seem to have it in for the Caps? It seems like more than a casual dislike for the sport of hockey. Could you at least venture a guess? It's very weird.

Dan Steinberg: I have no guesses. I also sense the same thing you do. Really, I don't know why. every single time I'ver ever met Wilbon in person, he's been as nice, friendly, open, helpful, encouraging, etc. as you could possibly imagine. Could not, in any way, be more of a great guy, in my face-to-face encounters.Also, I told him once that I had written something strongly disagreeing with his take on Ovechkin. He hadn't seen what I wrote, but said that was fine, and if he wrote something wrong I should absolutely feel free to go after him.I don't know what was up in yesterday's chat, though.

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The Oilers: Thanks for the eerie perspective in today's piece. If the Caps go on to win four Cups with Ovie all of this disappointment will be forgotten.

Dan Steinberg: Honestly, I think if the Caps go on to win one Cup with Ovi all this disappointment will be forgotten.I got a long email from a 28-year Caps fan yesterday who said her default setting was to expect playoff tragedy. She said she never got her hopes up this year for that reason, and she wasn't excessively distraught after they lost for that same reason. I know 1987 has nothing to do with 2010 -- I've written it many times -- but if the fans are the same, maybe the emotions all get linked together. Imagine what it would be like for those sorts of fans to actually see a world title. I think one would really be enough to make Ovechkin a sort of do-no-wrong Riggins type in this town.

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Future Blog: Here's a question left field. If Bill Simmons bolts ESPN this summer and starts his own sports site, would you join up? I've heard rumors he may do a start-up and your writing skills would be great on that site.

Dan Steinberg: I don't think it'd be proper to use the WaPo site to lobby for a job.(Call me Bill! Call me!)No, seriously, I'm very happy doing what I'm doing. I love the idea of someone like Boswell being a voice of the Washington sports fan for decades, having a real historical perspective to draw on, and resisting any temptation to "go national" and become a yammering TV voice. Aren't too many columnists like Boswell out there. It's a pretty appealing career path.

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Fans on the field at Nats park: sorry for two submissions today! But, yes, I've seen fans run out on the field, albeit only during rain delays. Words of advice: don't do it on a Saturday night. You will get arrested and you won't get released until Monday.

Dan Steinberg: Interesting. Tell me more!

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World Cup: Now that the DC sports scene has died down, how bout some World Cup coverage. Will the Post send you to South Africa? A sports bog from the WC, especially on the eve of the US-England match, would be epic!!!

Dan Steinberg: No, I mentioned this before, but FIFA demands you submit the names of your writers way in advance, and we took my name off the list when it seemed possible the Caps would still be playing in early June. Steve Goff and Liz Clarke will be there for The Post. It would have been a great experience, but I do think of my blog as a 99.5 percent local endeavor, and while D.C. sports fans are of course interested in the WC, I think we can cover it smashingly in lots of other parts of our operation.

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Ovechkin vs Crosby: Dan,Obviously this is hard to tell, but do you think criticism of Ovechkin (and by extension, the Caps) would be more muted if there wasn't a ready-made foil in Sidney Crosby? Crosby is younger and has had a ton more team success than Ovie, but if say, the Red Wings or Bruins had won the Cup last year, does that temper some of the criticism? Jordan didn't have a Crosby really (a peer in both age and ability) in the late 80s going up against the Pistons, so that easy comparison wasn't there. Looking at it in the vacuum, it just seems easier for me to stomach the loss that way.

Dan Steinberg: Yes, I think the criticism would be more muted. But I'm surprised that makes it easier for you to stomach. I'd think that would almost make it harder, because part of the shame of Ovechkin is the glory of Crosby.And obviously it isn't just the Crosby Cup; it's also the Crosby Gold, topped off by his game-winner. Remember, he'd had some criticism for not starring in the Games before that. If the U.S. somehow finds a way to win that game, I also think some of the Ovi criticism is muted. but everything that could go right for Crosby has gone right over the past 12 months, and a lot that could go wrong for Alex has gone wrong, at least in the elimination rounds. They're still young, but another Crosby title this year would not help.

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Nats Love: It's a beautiful day. The Nats have a winning record. They're playing a division rival the next few days with an exciting rookie. Let's say we go over to the ball park, have a few beers, and have good time. Wouldn't it be awesome if we can be joined by say 30,000 other people who all root root root for the home team? I love me some Nats fever.

Dan Steinberg: Oh, grab an Elvis wig while you're at it. Tonight is (I believe) the unofficial "wear Elvis wigs to the Park" night.Me, I have to grab my daughter from preschool around 5:30 and come home to feed her dinner and play doctor with Grover and Elmo, so I don't think I'll be joining you.

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Caps: Dan,Someone wrote on his chat yesterday that a season crushing loss to the Cowboys in week 15 is a bigger deal than the Caps losing a 3-1 series lead where they are the top seed.Do you agree? I don't, but then again, that person does spend 75% of his time in Arizona so maybe we should listen to him, right.

Dan Steinberg: Well, this is tough. Bigger deal how? Do more people care about the Week 15 loss to Dallas? Yes, absolutely. More people in greater Washington, more people in the city of D.C., and more people in the country.But that being the case, no Caps loss could ever be in the top 500 of D.C. disappointments, or however many games the Redskins have played since the early '70s. And that's absurd. You have to balance that team's massive fan base with the fact that a lot of those same people follow other teams, and that a lot of them really really really want to see D.C. break this 18-year funk.I have no idea how you balance all that. I think I could buy the argument that as long as the Redskins have a Super Bowl loss on their resume, it'll be tough for a Caps first-round disappointment to take the top spot. But when the best team in the NHL blows a 3-1 lead in the first round, that has to be high on the list, no matter how big the NFL is.

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World Cup (or do we have to say FIFA World Cup TM?): You can still cover the WC from here. I am sure the embassies will all be going nuts.

Dan Steinberg: Sure, got any invites for me? Open bar?

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Dismal Sports Town: Baseball has proven to be a bust, the Caps are the NHL version of the NFL's Buffalo, the Wizards are pathetic, and the Redskins' ownership seems to have cornered the market on "wrong moves," from the tailgate policy to the quarterback situation.The O's having an off-season despite the recent series against the Sox are leaving the Nats in the dust when it comes to attendance, despite visitors to Washngton that include draws like the Dodgers, Phillies and Mets.

Dan Steinberg: This doesn't appear to be a question.The NFL's Buffalo, of which I'm very familiar, became the NFL's Buffalo because of losing in the final round, not in the first round. And baseball hasn't proven to be anything; it's been five years. I've said it many times, but Nats Park will be a joy when/if the team is in a late-summer pennant race. It will be awesome.Is attendance bad right now? Yes. It's bad. If that was your question, then I agree.

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Wilbon: I also grew up reading the WP and have been a Wilbon fan since I was in high school. I believe things changed for him when he started PTI and being a national ESPN figure. To me the very nature of their programming, and in fact a lot of other news programming, is divisive and a lot of times gives too much airtime to extremist fans and opinions.I think in general he has forgotten who "we are" here, the readers of the WaPo. We are not uneducated, extremist, fans (save a few of us Skins fanatics). Remember your roots Wilbon, and detach from the machine that is ESPN and its arrogance!

Dan Steinberg: I like this new arrangement, where Wilbon chats on Monday, and says interesting and provocative things, and then I swoop in on Tuesday to chat about his chat. It's extremely meta. I believe The Post should absolutely hire someone to chat about my chats on Wednesdays.I don't want to get inside Wilbon's head. Like a lot of people, I wish he could go to more local events, but I understand why his schedule is what it is.

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"her default setting was to expect playoff tragedy": I think this is why I am mad more at myself than anything. Back in the day, it was so easy to watch the Caps in the playoffs because you just knew that they were going to lose to the Penguins anyway, you didn't really get all worked up about it. I didn't even get *that* amped up for the 1998 SC Finals run because I was just waiting for the other shoe to drop.The Ennui of the Mid-200s though got me so "meh" to the Caps overall, it was like hitting a reset button. I had almost forgot those previous tragedies. Then the 2008 Run to the playoffs at all. Then the Fedorov game 7 winner in 2009! Then the Presidents Trophy! Then the...typical, life-long letdown first round bounce. 1996 me is pointing, Nelson (from the Simpsons) style and exclaiming "Haw-Haw!" I'll know better from here on out.

Dan Steinberg: Well, I'll believe this when you email me next April 4 about how you just don't care, or are expecting the worst. Maybe you'll stick with it. It's hard, though, once things get going.Hey, Strasburg got promoted to Syracuse? Who wants to take a field trip to Western New York? It's lovely in May. Though I guess 'Cuse is maybe Central more than Western.

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"Here's the real problem, raised by others in recent days: if you're a Caps fan, how in the world do you get pumped up for the next regular season?": I do it every season. It's just something you do as a Caps fan.Actually, over the weekend, I went back and pulled all my newspaper clippings from the season (a couple front page stories from you, no less) and various other things I collected and realized that it was one heck of a ride. And every season, when I don't think the team can top the previous one, somehow, they do. So, the playoffs are the playoffs, they're heartbreaking, but I'm not going to let that stop my from enjoying a historic season, and it's not going to stop me from looking forward to enjoying next season.As for the summer, I'm counting down to development camp, and enjoying shouting "LET'S GO CAPPS!" at Nationals games. So at least I've got that.

Dan Steinberg: How very medium of you. Well done.

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I agree: I don't see how anyone could possibly be rooting for the Pens. At this point with the Caps out I root for Canadian teams first and foremost. And then anyone playing against Pittsburgh, Philly or Detroit. I think it would be great if it was Montreal v Vancouver in the finals. NBC would totally have a cow over that! And we still wouldn't get to see CBC coverage instead of the US networks, but I would still enjoy it.

Dan Steinberg: I sense a lot of fans share parts of these sentiments, but if you're a fan of hockey, I'm not sure you should avidely root for the league's admittedly ham-handed and often incompetent television partner to fail. I always like to play the game of rooting for the series that would be most enjoyable for the journos, including both travel and entertainment measures. I hate flying and cross-country flights, so mark me down for either Montreal-Chicago or Boston-Chicago.

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A Counterpoint: I want PIT to win this series, and I want them to do it convincingly. This year *needs* to hurt for everyone. For the fans, for the players, for the management, and for the owner. It would be too easy to learn absolutely nothing from this epic collapse by just writing it off as "hot goalie," only to repeat the exact same thing next year. I hope that rat Crosby hoists his 2nd straight Cup into the air, and I hope that picture is plastered all over the locker room from the day of the first preseason practice next year. I hope they put it on the cover of the media guide.

Dan Steinberg: That would be a bold move indeed, putting Crosby on the cover of the media guide. Unprecedented, perhaps.Look, pittsburgh won last year, after smashing the Caps in their own building in a Game 7. How could there be more hurt than that? Would a few extra pinpricks of hurt this June really help the Caps that much next season. I reject this. You must root against Crosby in this round.

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palisades: Any thought that since Montreal knocked out the Caps, that sort of resets a cosmic sporting karma thing, thus allowing the Nationals, who we poached from Montreal, to now be good?

Dan Steinberg: Plus Youppi is still involved with the Canadiens.I don't know that a first-round knockout really equates to the entire heisting of a franchise. And that was really more on MLB than on the people of D.C. I think there have been many more villainous franchise heists than that one, at least from the receiving city's perspective.But if that's what it took, then bring on the World Series.

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Philly: I've lived in Philly, and you've just got to understand it is a different world. Imagine New York City, without Manhattan. For some folks, that describes heaven, but for the rest of us, not so much.

Dan Steinberg: Wait, what is this in reference to? My sister lives in the Bronx, and I've spent lots of time in Brooklyn, and I find both preferable to Philly, I think. Does Philly really have as many hipsters as Brooklyn? I can't imagine.

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Unbiased Bias: Dan, as far as your personal crisis, I'd say it all comes down to how you see your career going. Feature writers do get to have opinions, but largely they are clearly defined wheras most sports column writers (for papers, anyway) are more like reporters giving analysis. You need to place yourself as either a feature writer (on sports) or a reporter. I also take exception to the argument that "it's just sports". It is this kind of thinking that led to the paper in new Jersey allowing a reporter to be paid by the team he's supposed to cover. Sports are important to a lot of people. Sure, sports are not as important as economics or politics, but you are still covering news. You need to respect that we the public deserve to have your best and that you are working as hard as you can as honestly as you can.

Dan Steinberg: The company journalism line is that feature writers do not have opinions. Only columnists have opinions.I don't think this is analogous to the Asbury Park Press thing to which you're referring. I would never suggest that I should or would take money from the team. I'm just suggesting that if I tend to view things more as a fan than some objective robot, I don't know that the world suffers. But I"m glad to know that at least some of you are dismayed.

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Barno, Md.: What are the chances Wise ever pays the 20 bucks he owes me for the NCAA pool?

Dan Steinberg: Probably about 2 percent.

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Pens fan: yes, I admit it, I'm a Pens fan and I haunt WaPo chats. I just had to share that.Go Pens!

Dan Steinberg: You sure could have been a lot more obnoxious once you weaseled your way in here. Pretty tame stuff.

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Nats, O's attendance: The O's aren't leaving the Nats in the dust when it comes to attendance. The O's have attracted 289,956 while the Nats have gotten 257,105.

Dan Steinberg: Well, D.C. has had one more home date. If the ESPN figures I'm looking at are right, the Nats are just below 20,000, and the O's are just above 24,000. Maybe not "leaving in the dust" levels, but since Washington is a bigger city with a newer park and a much more competitive team, I'd say to trail by 4,500 per game is significant. But it's early. Attendance definitely improved for the Nats last year as the season went on, despite the awful record.

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Knuckleheads: Many of the posters on WIlbon's chats are knuckleheads. Obviously they have never read his columns or seen PTI. I like Wilbon: he is honest and doesn't change his views to suit his employer or the changing wind direction.And Wilbon appreciates a good herding dog. He has been to a herding trial! He understands the complexity of trying to work towards a common goal with two other reasonably intelligent species sheep and a dog.Its not like golf, where neither the ball, the club or the course has a brain. The club can't change from a 7 to 5 iron and the hole doesn't move.Wilbon lost a golf bet and came to herding trial. It's a lot easier to shoot par for 18 then to get a dog and sheep to do what you want them to.

Dan Steinberg: Words can be combined into the most magical sentences when you put your mind to it.

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Dealing with people running on the field: When the Colts were still in Baltimore in the 1970s, an over exuberant fan ran onto the field while the teams were huddling, grabbed the ball off the line of scrimmage and proceeded to run with it. Unfortunately for him , the Colts were on defense at the time, which means Mike Curtis, their middle linebacker, was also on the field. Curtis's nickname, by the way, was "Mad Dog." He pursued the gentleman, caught up with him easily and hit him in the face with a forearm shiver. There was sudden unconsciousness and a fumble. When asked if he hadn't been too harsh, Curtis said, "People better stay out of the place I work."

Dan Steinberg: Ha! That's exactly what Wilbon did last year when a fan charged into the Post lobby!Did anyone pounce on the fumble?This seems an appropriate space to leave off. Come back next week, when we'll discuss whatever it was that Wilbon discussed the day before.


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