ovechkin

Despite nearly blowing a three goal lead last night against the Atlanta Thrashers, the Capitals are riding a 6 game winning streak into tonight’s game against the New York Islanders.¬† I know that earlier on I mentioned Ovechkin was on pace for a record breaking season, but since then Ovechkin has slowed down a bit.¬† And by Ovechkin’s standards, that means slowing down to 22 point through 12 games this season.¬† Ovechkin’s 13 goals are good enough for best in the league and he also is first in the plus/minus rating at 11.¬† Ovechkin’s line mates are not to be forgotten as well, both Nicklas Backstrom and Alex Semin rank in the top 25 in points this season with 16 and 13 points respectively.¬† Might I also remind you the Semin misses 2 games earlier in the season in which the Capitals scored a combined 8 goals. ¬†Backstrom, known as a set up man, has already tallied 13 assists this season, which is good enough for 2nd place in the league, one assist behind Joe Thonton.

The Caps have built up a comfortable lead in the Southeast Division, putting themselves ahead of the second place Lightning by 7 points.¬† Their 18 points is good enough for second place overall in the Eastern Conference, just 2 points shy of the Penguins (Boo!).¬† The interesting thing about the Caps season so far is that they are just as good on the road as they are at home; the Caps have a 4-1-1 record for both home and away games.¬† Last season we saw Washington struggle on the road, losing 10 of their first 14 games away from Verizon Center.¬† And say what you want about the Capitals defense but the team’s two goaltenders have been playing out of their minds.¬† Young Semyon Varlamov has played in 6 of the team’s 12 games, and won all but one of those games.¬† His five victories is most amongst rookie goaltenders, and that 6th game, doesn‚Äôt go down as a loss for Varlamov because he was pulled after 2 periods against the Flyers on October 10th.¬† Theodore might not have as many wins as Varlamov, but he has kept the Caps in every single game he has played.¬† Theodore‚Äôs .922 save percentage is 4th in the league.

Tonight, the Capitals host the 2-4-5 New York Islanders at 7:00pm on Comcast SportsNet Plus.¬† One of the Islanders‚Äô 5 overtime losses came against the Caps on October 24th in a 3-2 loss.¬† The Islanders had a surprising 2-0 lead through 2 periods in that game until a fire was lit under Capitals‚Äô defenseman Mike Green’s stick.¬† Green scored the first goal and assisted the game winner in overtime last Saturday.¬† Green is currently riding a seven game point streak, where he has tallied 2 goals, 6 assists, and a +4 rating during that time.¬† Mike Green is currently tied for 6th in the league amongst defensemen with 10 points through 12 games this season.

This time around I don’t expect to wait until the third period to start scoring against the Islanders, you can expect a heavy dose of the team’s top line and I wouldn’t be surprised to see the Capitals power play unit adding several goals.  Last time the Caps face the Islanders they were 0-4 on the power play and gave up a short handed goal.

jim-zorn

After yesterday’s embarrassing loss to the Kansas City Chiefs, Jim Zorn was brought in Vinny Cerrato’s office where he was informed that he will no longer be the play caller for the offense. Coach Zorn’s play calling responsibilities were passed along to recently hired offensive consultant Sherman Lewis.¬† Might I remind you that only two weeks ago Lewis was calling BINGO at a retirement home in Michigan, and now after a week and a half out of retirement, he is the one called on to save their season?¬† It is now evident that Jim Zorn’s days are numbered as a head coach, and the final decision might be his own.¬† I think that Jim Zorn should realize that he is no longer wanted in DC and just resign.¬† Zorn has the talent and knowledge to be a successful offensive coordinator or quarterbacks coach as a pro or possibly even head coach at the college level.

As you have probably heard, the Redskins jokes are now making there way around the water cooler and spreading like wild fire by email.¬† It’s hard to have hope for the team when there are so many problems within the locker room and coach‚Äôs office that they cant even focus on next week‚Äôs game. ¬†The Redskins have a tough schedule ahead of them that includes match ups against the Eagles, Falcons, Broncos, Giants, and the Saints.¬† It‚Äôs hard for me to think the team has the ability to put all this behind them and muster out another win this season.

The Redskins offense is averaging 13.2 points a game and has failed to score a touchdown in two out of their three home games.¬† In the game against the Panthers, their only two touchdowns were set up by defensive turnovers.¬† I’m not sure changing play callers will make a difference at this point, the offensive line is so beat up that changing quarterbacks wont make a difference in there offense, which was proven when Todd Collins came in the game to replace Jason Campbell and still failed to get into the end zone.¬† Wait I take that back, Collins found the end zone once when he was sacked for the safety with 0:31 seconds left in the 4th quarter, a play on which Left Tackle Stephon Heyer was beat by Tamba Hali.

The Redskins offense currently ranks 23rd in the league, averaging 294.0 yards per game, and that 13.2 points per game is good enough for 29th in the league, just ahead of Cleveland, Oakland and St. Louis.  For some reason I don’t think Jim Zorn one to blame this season.

Gary-Williams_fist

Maryland’s basketball season starts tonight with “Maryland Madness” at Comcast Center in College Park, Maryland.¬†¬† Coach Gary Williams is entering his 21st season as Head Coach of the Terps with expectations of returning to the NCAA Tournament for the second straight season.¬† The team is returning 4 of is 5 starters, and 8 of its top 9 scorers, Dave Neal being the lone senior to graduate from last season‚Äôs squad.

Coach Williams has faced his fair share of criticism as the team made only its second tournament appearance in five years, after the team had made the tournament 11 straight years from 1994-2004.¬†¬† When the team settled for the NIT 3 out of the past 5 years, Williams’ future with the¬†University was put¬†under pressure from both boosters and fans.¬† However, Coach Williams was awarded a 1 year extension on his contract this off season after a strong 2008-09.¬† The team finished last season with a 18-12 record, going 7-9 in ACC play, advancing to the second round of the NCAA tournament, only to fall to the Memphis Tigers.

The¬†team¬†hopes¬†to replace Neal’s presence in the front court with¬†two four-star-recruits this season.¬† The team welcomes Jordan Williams, a 6-10 Forward from Torrington Connecticut,¬†and James Padgett a 6-8 freshman from Brooklyn New York.¬† Williams reminds me a lot like former Terps big man Lonnie Baxter, both being wide bodied centers weighing over 250 pounds.¬† In 2002 when the Terps won their lone National Championship, the team was lined with plenty of guards and a solid front court presence lead by Baxter and high-flying-power forward Chris Wilcox.¬† I see a lot of similarities in¬†the 2002 with the current 2009 roster,¬† I just hope¬†either¬†Padgett or current starting power forward Landon Milbourne can replicate Wilcox’s playing style and maybe return us to the final four.¬† It will be interesting to see how quickly the young freshman can make an impact¬†after the departure of Neal and Sophomore Braxton Dupree, as he transferred to Towson during the offseason.

The Terps are returning a strong backcourt, lead by senior point guard Greivis Vasquez, who averaged 17.5 points, 5.4 rebounds and 5.0 assists per game last season.  Vasquez flirted with the idea of entering the NBA draft last season, but withdrew at the last minute sighting unfinished business back at Maryland.  I look forward to seeing senior guard Eric Hayes to improve is outside shooting this season, he lead the way for the Terps in the tournament last season shooting 50% from the floor.  The added size in the front court will hopefully free him up to hit the big shots from behind the arch.  Sean Mosley will look to improve off of his impressive freshman season.  The 6’4 Mosley was by far the hardest working defending on the team last year, collecting 31 steals and 11 blocks, despite averaging less than 20 minutes a game.

With a majority of the ACC’s top performers heading to the NBA last season, I feel as though the Terps could compete for the third spot in the ACC, behind the always talented North Carolina Tar Heels and Duke Blue Devils.

kingofbling

Rumor has it that South African Jewelry store owner Ronnie Mervis is interested in buying the Redskins.  His son Jon Mervis has created a website petition where he says if 10,000 people sign up, his father will but in a bid to buy the Washington Redskins.  The website can be found at http://www.mervisdiamond.com/engagement-diamond .

This petition brings up an interesting point, will the Redskins be better with a new owner?  What would the Superbowl rings look like if the team made it that far?  What do South Africans even know about American Football?

Torrey Smith

Despite Maryland‚Äôs loss against the Wake Forest Demon Deacons this past Saturday, there was one lone bright spot in the game.¬† Earlier today Terps’ wide receiver and return specialist Torrey Smith was voted the Atlantic Coast Conference Specialist of the Week as he ran for a career high 194 yards on six returns.¬† The sophomore entered Saturday tied for 16th all-time in league history with 1,732 career kickoff return yards. Smith’s first return against Wake Forest went for 85 yards, the¬†second-longest of his career, and he averaged 32.3 yards per return on those 6 attempts. ¬† He currently has 837 return yards on the season and is threatening to break the ACC record he set last season with 1,089 total return yards.

Smith caught a career-high 10 passes for 70 yards and a touchdown in the 42-32 loss against the Deacons and collected 267 all-purpose yards.   After reporting last week that Smith was ranked 2nd in the nation in all purpose yards, he has now moved himself into first place overall in that category averaging 236.7 yards per game.  The Terps next opponent, the Virginia Cavaliers, come in with the 3rd best passing defense in the ACC, only giving up 162.3 yards per game, so look for Torrey Smith to gain the majority of his yards on kick returns.  But between you and me, I don’t want to see the Cavaliers kicking off more then once to start the 2nd half if you know what I mean.

So it seems as though my blog might have inspired a couple of my friends to start their own blogs.¬† Now I’m going to share their blogs with you all and hope you guys enjoy.

My long time hockey teammate and friend Rob Ruscher has started his very own Capitals blog, so if you’re looking for the most up to date news on the leagues best hockey team, check it out at http://acapsfan.wordpress.com/

And for all those Terps Club Lax fans out there, Andy Sotak has created his very own blog highlighting the team’s accomplishments throughout the season.¬† His blog can be found at http://www.ajsotak.blogspot.com/

Finally, my favorite Delaware Field Hockey player/DJ Rachel Schexnayder has started her very own blog updating her ventures on her new radio show.  Her show will be broadcasting weekly online, more info can be found at http://rachelwhat.wordpress.com/

sellers-and-portis

Is this the start of the collapse for the Redskins?¬† Today Mike Sellers and Clinton Portis were not made available to the media.¬† This of course coming after the news broke about Portis calling out Sellers¬† for his lack of blocking so far this season.¬† To make matters worse, the two had to be separated after an altercation Monday night.¬† And yesterday Gerg Blache informed the team that he will no longer be speaking to the media this season.¬† Blache has been known for his post game interviews with Kelli Johnson on Comcast SportsNet’s Post Game Live show.¬† Defensive backs coach Jerry Gray will be speaking for the defense from now on.¬† Jim Zorn has also asked the NFL to allow Greg Blache some space.¬† So on top of the addition of Sherman Lewis earlier this week, the Redskins organization has been in a heap of controversy all week long

It seems as though too many off the field distractions have been popping up in Ashburn instead of focusing on the team’s next opponent, the Carolina Panthers.¬† The 0-3 Panthers will be the fourth straight win-less team the Skins will face this season.¬† In my opinion, the win-less teams tend to be the hardest to face, knowing that they have nothing to loss and will try almost anything to win.¬† We all saw what happened against the Lions, proving Washington is far from perfect and that they have shown they cannot always win the “easy” game.¬† And to make matters worse, the Panthers are coming off of a bye week, meaning they have had two weeks to correct there mistakes and prepare for the Skins.

Last season Carolina finished 1st in the NFC South with a 12-4 record.¬† The team was lead by running back DeAngelo Williams’ 1,515 rushing yards, Steve Smith’s 1,421 receiving yards, and linebacker Jon Beason finished 3rd in the league with 138 tackles.¬† Carolina clearly has play makers, yet the team‚Äôs leader Jake Delhomme has struggled early on this season.¬† Delhomme has thrown 7 interceptions through 3 games, while only connecting for 2 touchdowns.¬† Carolina’s rush defense hasn’t played well so far this season either, giving up 182.7 yards per game, which ranks dead last in the league.

The last time these two teams met was week 12 of the ’06 season, where the skins came out on top 17-13.¬† The Redskins were lead by a pair of Jason Campbell touchdowns and a solid rushing performance by Ladell Betts, as he ran for 104 yards on 24 carries in place of the injured Clinton Portis.¬† I would expect to see similar results from this weekend‚Äôs game, as the Redskins can use a heavy dose of Portis and Betts to help set up the passing game, where the Skins should be able to finally score before the 3rd quarter.¬† Redskins will come out on top with the final score 21-10 as the defense comes up with a big turnover late in the game to seal the deal.