Box Seats: Ryan Cooper

Posted at 11:44 AM ET, 12/13/2011

Dale Hunter makes Capitals watchable again

The Capitals aren’t “there” yet under Dale Hunter, but you can see flashes.

By Ryan Cooper  |  11:44 AM ET, 12/13/2011 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 10:48 AM ET, 11/28/2011

Capitals say goodnight to Bruce Boudreau

Bruce Boudreau was a great coach, and there’s really not much more you could have asked from him as a fan. But there comes a point when none of that matters anymore. It was simply time to make a change.

By Ryan Cooper  |  10:48 AM ET, 11/28/2011 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 03:32 PM ET, 11/21/2011

Struggling Washington Capitals inspire fear and loathing

If I can be as blunt as practicable about the Capitals, I’d like to point out that I absolutely hate this team right now. With a passion. And there’s no “easy” solution.

By Ryan Cooper  |  03:32 PM ET, 11/21/2011 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 10:33 AM ET, 11/09/2011

Inconsistent Capitals are approaching first crisis of the season

I think I can be pretty safe in saying that Tuesday’s Capitals-Stars Caps game was a complete and utter dud on all levels. And the uneven performances have been coming with increasing frequency over the last couple weeks.

By Ryan Cooper  |  10:33 AM ET, 11/09/2011 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 11:24 AM ET, 11/07/2011

In wake of Jerry Sandusky scandal, Penn State coach Joe Paterno must go

We love “winning” in this society so much that we are willing to forget the most appalling and disturbing things and broken lives, and that is the greatest tragedy of all in this story.

By Ryan Cooper  |  11:24 AM ET, 11/07/2011 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 05:33 PM ET, 11/02/2011

Capitals fast start an encouraging sign of things to come

It’s difficult to write about a hockey team in November, because it’s still so early in the season. And what makes this Capitals team even more difficult to write about is that I still have no idea what to make of it.

By Ryan Cooper  |  05:33 PM ET, 11/02/2011 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 10:54 AM ET, 10/14/2011

Capitals are winning ugly early, and that’s just fine

The Capitals shouldn’t be playing their best hockey right now, and this is the time, in early October, to work out all the kinks and wrinkles and get things together for when that time does come. If they can grind out wins while not playing at their best, so much the better.

By Ryan Cooper  |  10:54 AM ET, 10/14/2011 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 04:47 PM ET, 10/06/2011

Hank Williams Jr. and the over-the-top spectacle of American sports television broadcasts

The biggest take-away from the Hank Williams, Jr. Monday Night Football controversy, and his subsequent dismissal/non-dismissal/you-can’t-fire-me-I-quit thing that went down Thursday is this: Hank Williams Jr. does not understand the First Amendment.

By Ryan Cooper  |  04:47 PM ET, 10/06/2011 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 12:59 PM ET, 09/27/2011

Washington Capitals are twirling, twirling toward freedom

You could make a good case that everything was set up last year for the Washington Capitals to win the Stanley Cup, and somehow they still came up short. Will this finally be the year they get the job done?

By Ryan Cooper  |  12:59 PM ET, 09/27/2011 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 09:17 AM ET, 09/22/2011

Crabcakes and hockey

The Caps preseason slush-fest in Baltimore may have been a disaster, but at least hockey is back.

By Ryan Cooper  |  09:17 AM ET, 09/22/2011 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 11:24 AM ET, 09/06/2011

Maryland Football: Uniformity of purpose

I like the uniforms Maryland wore last night. While I have some reservations about using the flag of my beloved state as such a blatant marketing tool, I think Under Armour did a pretty good job of making it, well, classy.

By Ryan Cooper  |  11:24 AM ET, 09/06/2011 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 02:27 PM ET, 08/18/2011

It’s time for the NHL to phase out fighting once and for all

It’s always tough to question and demand change from a systemic culture that has deep roots, but it’s time for hockey fans to step up and demand an end to fighting in the NHL.

By Ryan Cooper  |  02:27 PM ET, 08/18/2011 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 01:01 PM ET, 08/17/2011

Does Miami football deserve the NCAA’s “Death Penalty”?

Paying players is one thing, but here you’ve reportedly got everything from providing players mansions and endless strippers and hookers to providing enough cash that Scrooge McDuck could take a dive in it and swim around.

By Ryan Cooper  |  01:01 PM ET, 08/17/2011 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 01:24 PM ET, 08/08/2011

Star power: Alex Ovechkin has done something Stephen Strasburg will never accomplish

The very fact that Ovechkin is mentioned among Redskins and Strasburg tells me how popular he has become. Ten or twenty years ago, would any Cap have made the top 5 on a theoretical “DC Superstars” list?

By Ryan Cooper  |  01:24 PM ET, 08/08/2011 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 04:27 PM ET, 07/25/2011

Filing for NFL divorce

The product is awful, their practices towards their fans are abhorrent, and the whole enterprise seems to exist mainly to suck as much money out of people as practicable. I find all of those things loathsome. And that’s why I’m through with the NFL.

By Ryan Cooper  |  04:27 PM ET, 07/25/2011 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 03:11 PM ET, 06/28/2011

Brooks and Done

In March, I wrote of Brooks Laich’s impending contract negotiations that ‘if got 4.5 million a year, I would be concerned, but still okay’ with the deal. Looks like the Caps hit the offer right on the nose today.

By Ryan Cooper  |  03:11 PM ET, 06/28/2011 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 12:14 PM ET, 06/24/2011

Riggle me this

Jim Riggleman’s abrupt departure won’t make attracting top talent to D.C. any easier. Reputation and reality can be two vastly different things sometimes, and the former can stick with you for a long, long time, justified or not.

By Ryan Cooper  |  12:14 PM ET, 06/24/2011 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 01:42 PM ET, 06/22/2011

Biased legacy

The ultimate tragedy of Len Bias’ death is that he became a symbol, a puppet and a tool of the privileged in this country to make war on those who are not privileged, and for the further erosion of civil liberties.

By Ryan Cooper  |  01:42 PM ET, 06/22/2011 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 09:10 AM ET, 06/16/2011

Seventh heaven

I don’t know if there’s any “secret” or magic formula required in order to win a Stanley Cup. The older I get, and the more I see every year, the more I’m convinced it just comes down to plain old luck

By Ryan Cooper  |  09:10 AM ET, 06/16/2011 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 04:11 PM ET, 06/02/2011

New media, old problems

By promoting Tony Kornheiser’s radio show and de-emphasizing the accessibility of the podcast, ESPN 980 is attempting to tie consumers to an old media format they do not want. It’s time to #FreeMrTony.

By Ryan Cooper  |  04:11 PM ET, 06/02/2011 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 12:15 PM ET, 05/23/2011

Thrashing about

The Atlanta Thrashers aren’t doing poorly where they are because Atlanta fans don’t like hockey. The Thrashers are doing poorly because they’ve been incredibly mismanaged since the day the franchise was founded.

By Ryan Cooper  |  12:15 PM ET, 05/23/2011 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 12:31 PM ET, 05/10/2011

Sean Avery fights the good fight

It seems sometimes that the “final frontier” in gay advocacy is the world of sports. It’s okay to be gay everywhere else (or at the least, begrudgingly accepted), but not in professional sports.

By Ryan Cooper  |  12:31 PM ET, 05/10/2011 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 10:58 AM ET, 05/05/2011

And here we lie

What happens now? Who gets assigned blame for a terrible flameout the second year in a row? I just don’t know what to do or say any longer.

By Ryan Cooper  |  10:58 AM ET, 05/05/2011 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 02:14 PM ET, 05/02/2011

Flash in the pan

I don’t think I’ve ever experienced a night with such drastic emotional highs and lows as last night at the Verizon Center. It looks bleak, I know. But it’s far from over.

By Ryan Cooper  |  02:14 PM ET, 05/02/2011 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 11:53 AM ET, 04/28/2011

Storm clouds ahead for Caps

One of the chief complaints about the Southeast Division is its lack of a “classic” inter-division rivalry al a Boston/Montreal or Philadelphia/Pittsburgh, and this is how you build a rivalry like that.

By Ryan Cooper  |  11:53 AM ET, 04/28/2011 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 11:56 AM ET, 04/25/2011

Caps fighting playoff history

The toughest opponent the Capitals have faced so far in the playoffs is their own postseason history.

By Ryan Cooper  |  11:56 AM ET, 04/25/2011 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 09:44 AM ET, 04/21/2011

In a New York minute

Whenever I hear people bring up the Caps, 90 percent of what they talk about is nothing but inevitable disappointment and playoff collapse. But I’m starting to feel this team is different.

By Ryan Cooper  |  09:44 AM ET, 04/21/2011 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 03:25 PM ET, 04/14/2011

Quick take on Caps-Rangers Game 1

Alexander Semin came through in the clutch as did young Michal Neuvirth, but two other Capitals did not play especially well and we could see some line adjustments later in the series as a result.

By Ryan Cooper  |  03:25 PM ET, 04/14/2011 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 05:10 PM ET, 04/13/2011

Manny belongs in the Hall

There’s no reason Manny Ramirez shouldn’t be in the Hall of Fame — but he never will be because of his association with “performance enhancing drugs.”

By Ryan Cooper  |  05:10 PM ET, 04/13/2011 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 09:10 AM ET, 04/13/2011

Behind Boudreau all the way

Here’s a guy who has seen and done it all in this game over 30 years. And there is no one in this league I’d rather have coaching my team than Bruce Boudreau.

By Ryan Cooper  |  09:10 AM ET, 04/13/2011 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 10:55 AM ET, 04/12/2011

Rescue Rangers

Overall, I think the Caps are a deeper, better team, and I think they should pull through a really tough series in six games.

By Ryan Cooper  |  10:55 AM ET, 04/12/2011 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 04:00 PM ET, 04/11/2011

Iron Mike

When I heard the Caps re-signed Mike Knuble, I must admit I was curious. There’s a lot to be worried about when re-signing a player who will soon be 40.

By Ryan Cooper  |  04:00 PM ET, 04/11/2011 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 11:23 AM ET, 04/07/2011

Stars in their courses

This is the lesson the Caps must heed going into the Stanley Cup playoffs: There is no easy road to winning the Stanley Cup, because the very nature of the playoffs is chaos.

By Ryan Cooper  |  11:23 AM ET, 04/07/2011 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 09:25 AM ET, 03/29/2011

Laich him while he’s here

As the Caps cruise towards the playoffs, it might be time to savor the final days of Brooks Laich in a Washington uniform.

By Ryan Cooper  |  09:25 AM ET, 03/29/2011 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 11:37 AM ET, 03/16/2011

Canadien driftwood

Lost in all the hubbub over Bruce Boudreau’s “outburst” was that it seemed as if no one in the mainstream press had the chutzpah to call out these protesting fans.

By Ryan Cooper  |  11:37 AM ET, 03/16/2011 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 03:32 PM ET, 03/14/2011

No longer Gary-land

You know a program has fallen on hard times when the thing that makes you notice them is how far they’ve fallen.

By Ryan Cooper  |  03:32 PM ET, 03/14/2011 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 01:17 PM ET, 03/10/2011

On Chara/Pacioretty

Zdeno Chara’s hit on Max Pacioretty once again calls into question the brutal nature of hockey.

By Ryan Cooper  |  01:17 PM ET, 03/10/2011 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 09:35 AM ET, 03/03/2011

Trevor Gillies has no place in the NHL

It came out yesterday that former NHL tough guy Bob Probert suffered from CTE, the degenerative brain condition that has been so prevalent in former NFL players and other assorted athletes. Concussions are a major issue in sports right now,...

By Ryan Cooper  |  09:35 AM ET, 03/03/2011 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 02:33 PM ET, 03/01/2011


Well, that deadline day sure turned out to be a dud. Seriously, the two most entertaining things that happened were when the inimitable Down Goes Brown got his followers to all wish Joffrey Lupul well on Long Island at the...

By Ryan Cooper  |  02:33 PM ET, 03/01/2011 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 09:20 AM ET, 02/02/2011

This is your team

I have to admit that at times when I watch the Caps struggle offensively, my mind drifts off to Feb. 28, 2011. That’s the NHL trade deadline. Yes, the Caps have holes. Significant ones. But those have been dissected ad...

By Ryan Cooper  |  09:20 AM ET, 02/02/2011 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 11:17 AM ET, 01/28/2011

Wearing my All-Star briefs

Just a few notes on the weekend’s proceedings and Alexander Semin... -- I’m a huge fan of the NHL’s new all-star game format. As much as I dislike all-star games (or rather, the practice of evaluating a player’s “worth” by...

By Ryan Cooper  |  11:17 AM ET, 01/28/2011 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 01:19 PM ET, 01/19/2011

The Capitals are not elite

In last night’s recap of the Flyers game on Japers Rink, the author mentioned that “if there's one thing this game showed, it's that the Caps as a team are not among the elite right now,” and I for one,...

By Ryan Cooper  |  01:19 PM ET, 01/19/2011 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 01:00 PM ET, 01/11/2011

Snootch to the Bouchard

A few notes -- The Capitals selected Francois Bouchard in the second round of the 2006 NHL Draft (35th overall). In his career, he’s put up fairly decent numbers (21/31/52 last year, and another 5/5/10 in the playoffs), but I...

By Ryan Cooper  |  01:00 PM ET, 01/11/2011 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 12:00 PM ET, 01/04/2011

"Southleast" no more

A few notes: -- Tonight’s Caps matchup against Tampa Bay is a chance for everyone to look at how much the so-called “Southleast” Division has improved. If the playoffs started today, three Southeast teams would make the playoffs. Carolina (-4)...

By Ryan Cooper  |  12:00 PM ET, 01/04/2011 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 03:00 PM ET, 01/03/2011

The new 2011 Edsall Ford

When I heard yesterday that Randy Edsall was named the new Maryland football coach, I had one reaction. None. I had no reaction. I was speechless. I just don’t get it. I know they feel Edsall is the “safe, conservative...

By Ryan Cooper  |  03:00 PM ET, 01/03/2011 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 02:00 PM ET, 01/03/2011

Classic situation

My Winter Classic story begins March 9, 2008. I’m at the Caps/Pens game at the Booth with my Dad, and it’s a tight, 2-2 game. With about 30 seconds to go, Nick Backstrom puts the puck in his own net,...

By Ryan Cooper  |  02:00 PM ET, 01/03/2011 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 02:18 PM ET, 12/28/2010

The WJCs are better than the Olympics

After the Olympics this year, the debate began again over whether the pros would go back to the Games in 2014. Lost in all the debate was the fact that we already have a tournament played every year that I...

By Ryan Cooper  |  02:18 PM ET, 12/28/2010 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 11:17 AM ET, 12/22/2010

The "Alexander Semin is Your Crazy Ex-girlfriend" scale

In last night’s game against New Jersey, Alexander Semin was on another level. Unfortunately, that level was on the “Alexander Semin Is Your Crazy Ex-Girlfriend” Scale, where he topped out at Level 4 (the Lisa “Left Eye” Lopes”). Let’s look...

By Ryan Cooper  |  11:17 AM ET, 12/22/2010 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 08:47 AM ET, 12/21/2010

Heart Ralphitations

In September of 2006, I wrote a column for The Diamondback defending Ralph Friedgen. The team was coming off back-to-back five win seasons, and some of the students were starting to get a little restless that the team had looked...

By Ryan Cooper  |  08:47 AM ET, 12/21/2010 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 08:11 AM ET, 12/14/2010

Can we all stop freaking out please?

I know times are tough in Caps land. Believe me, I want the team to win just as badly as you do, and it sucks when they lose and do so repeatedly. But please, for the love of Mary, let’s...

By Ryan Cooper  |  08:11 AM ET, 12/14/2010 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 03:41 PM ET, 12/10/2010

The low point

In my mind, last night's Caps game was the low point of the season so far. I can look back and chalk up the twin 5-0 losses to the Devils and Thrashers as anomalies, or rather, games you can look...

By Ryan Cooper  |  03:41 PM ET, 12/10/2010 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 05:32 PM ET, 12/06/2010

For what it's Werth

Now, I love Charlie Pierce. I really do. He’s one of my favorite writers, and I’ve never been able to read Bill Simmons in the same fashion since Charlie took on and destroyed The Big Book of Basketball. But as...

By Ryan Cooper  |  05:32 PM ET, 12/06/2010 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 03:45 PM ET, 12/06/2010

On the Maple Leafs, Redskins and rebuilding

Tonight the Caps take on the Maple Leafs, and I’ve been thinking a lot lately of the parallels between the Leafs and our own local football team. Both squads have extremely rabid fanbases and huge media conglomerates that hang on...

By Ryan Cooper  |  03:45 PM ET, 12/06/2010 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 01:24 PM ET, 12/01/2010

Halak and roll

Looking at tonight’s game against St. Louis, there isn’t much to be really “excited” about. Part of that is the NHL’s fault, which, because of its wacky scheduling policies, has the Caps playing Western Conference foes about as often...

By Ryan Cooper  |  01:24 PM ET, 12/01/2010 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 02:09 PM ET, 11/30/2010

Smash or trash: The Tomas Fleischmann deal

Since it just went down an hour or two ago, here's my quick assessment of the Tomas Fleischmann/Scott Hannan deal. I like it. Flash was never really able to "fit" into a role here. He was never good enough offensively...

By Ryan Cooper  |  02:09 PM ET, 11/30/2010 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 11:14 AM ET, 11/10/2010

The pageant of the transmundane

I can honestly say last night's Caps/Rangers game was one of the the most BIZARRE hockey games I have ever witnessed. It started at a weird time, on a weird day, and it just continued from there. Let's count down...

By Ryan Cooper  |  11:14 AM ET, 11/10/2010 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 12:09 PM ET, 11/01/2010

Weekend base hits

By Ryan Cooper My wife is from Pittsburgh. When we first got together, one of the compromises we made was that if she stopped rooting for the Penguins (she followed them relatively passively) and if I stopped (openly) hating the...

By Box Seats blogger  |  12:09 PM ET, 11/01/2010 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 12:00 PM ET, 10/20/2010

Extra Points - 10/20/10

By Ryan CooperA few quick notes on the Caps. - For all those who yell “SHOOT!” during a power play, the last power play of the Boston game should have showed you once and for all why that doesn’t work....

By Box Seats blogger  |  12:00 PM ET, 10/20/2010 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 10:15 AM ET, 10/07/2010

2010-11 Capitals season preview: Now in Haiku form

By Ryan Cooper Offense Ovi best on earth Backy is near the top too And then there’s Fleischmann   MP eight-five cut Blogosphere explodes in rage Really not that bad   MarJo is lights out Already ahead of Backs?...

By Box Seats blogger  |  10:15 AM ET, 10/07/2010 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 09:25 AM ET, 10/06/2010

Old Time hockey is dead

By Ryan Cooper My colleague Kareem wrote the other day in his Tom Poti piece that the Capitals have a “desperate need” for a “nasty, shut down defenseman” and that “the Flyers and Penguins aren’t exactly going to stay away...

By Box Seats blogger  |  09:25 AM ET, 10/06/2010 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 11:00 AM ET, 10/01/2010

Lessons the NHL can learn from the world of soccer

By Ryan Cooper As a (very, very recent) convert to the world of English Premier League (and Manchester City fandom), I’ve been thinking lately about some things that I enjoy about soccer that I think would be cool if they...

By Box Seats blogger  |  11:00 AM ET, 10/01/2010 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 07:00 AM ET, 09/29/2010

Capitals games I'm NOT looking forward to in 2010-11

By Ryan CooperEveryone writes some variation of the “I can’t wait til THIS game!” column, so I’d like to do the opposite and list games this year I’d rather have my eyes taped up Clockwork Orange-style and be forced to...

By Box Seats blogger  |  07:00 AM ET, 09/29/2010 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 04:30 PM ET, 09/14/2010

Classic Caps montage: 1989-90 Patrick Division Finals

By Ryan Cooper There’s nothing really going on now in Caps Land, and everyone else in the media is in ZOMG!! FOOTBALL!!!!!! REDSKINS!!! mode, so I figured I’d break down a Classic Caps montage, this one coming from the 1989-90...

By Box Seats blogger  |  04:30 PM ET, 09/14/2010 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)