Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Exorcising the Capitals 2010 Playoff Demons

I have waited almost a full year to do this. After last year's playoff debacle, I stashed my 'Rock the Red' towel specifically for the purpose of lighting it on fire before the 2011 playoffs. The time has come.

Here is the mint condition towel from the 2010 playoffs:

 Here is the burning in action:

 And after the exorcism:

Now that we're through that, it's a new year................LETS GO CAPS!

Thursday, March 31, 2011

DCLS Exclusive Eric Fehr Interview - Part 4: Playoffs and Peng#^%*

In case you missed parts 1, 2, and 3 of our interview with Eric Fehr of the Washington Capitals, they are right below this article on our site. Here is the 4th and final installment of the interview (yes, I shrunk it from my original plan of 5), with Eric waxing about he Caps thoughts going into the playoffs.

 Still Trying to Black This Out

Jon Kelman: How comfortable are you all feeling in the new defensive system at this point?
Eric Fehr: We are a little more responsible defensively, but when we get the puck we still feel like we can go and are not restricted in making plays. As much as it is more defensive, we still feel like we can score just as many goals as we have in the past. It was a bit of a struggle in the middle of the season, so we changed our game around and I think it's for the better.

JK: How do you feel heading into the playoffs this year versus the past couple?
EF: Well last year we were feeling unbeatable when we went into the playoffs and I think part of our problem was that we got taken by surprise. I think this year we understand how difficult it is going to be and we believe in our system going in, so overall are feeling real confident about this year. I think we realize anything is possible in the playoffs and you need to play every game. I think last year when we were up 3-1 we might have thought the series was over, but in reality we had a long way to go, so hopefully we can learn from our mistakes in the past and be better for it.

JK: What do you think needs to improve on the powerplay?
EF: I don't think we need to improve anything, I think we've made the changes we need to in the past couple games and we've been scoring more regularly. Wideman on the point is helping us big time.

JK: What team would bring you the most satisfaction to beat?
EF: Oh I think that one is pretty evident.

Crosby Diving...Yawn....

JK: Would it be a successful Caps Stanley Cup if you did not get to beat the Penguins in the process?
EF: If we end up winning the Stanley Cup, it doesn't matter which teams we beat, it will be a success. At the end of the day, if you're the champion and you're the best team in the league, then it doesn't matter who you face, you're the best. We've got a long ways ahead of us, we'll see what happens.

(Images courtesy of life.com and nydailynews.com)

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

DCLS Exclusive Eric Fehr Interview - Part 3: Nicknames, Jersey Shore, and 24/7

In case you missed parts 1 and 2 of our interview with Eric Fehr of the Washington Capitals, well it's right below this article on our site. Here is the 3rd installment of the interview, with Eric telling all about being his personal life, nicknames, and being on HBO's 24/7.

Jon Kelman: Who are your best friends on the team?
Eric Fehr: Karl Alzner, John Carlson, and Jeff Schultz. They're around my age and we have a lot in common. We like playing video games, ping pong and just hanging out.
JK: Who usually wins?
EF: Karl is probably the best at the video games right now, but I'd say I'm the top ping pong player right now.

JK: Favorite place to go out in DC?
EF: I like Spider Kelly's in Clarendon, that's one of our favorite spots.

JK: Favorite place to eat in DC?
EF: Ray's the Steaks in Clarendon, and I like Cap(ital) Grille.

JK: Since you play DJ Pauly D in the locker room, please tell me you listen to that in your free time.
EF: I can honestly tell you I do not listen to that in my free time, I'm more of a country guy. I do like some techno, but Pauly D isn't on my iPod quite yet.

JK: What are your favorite hobbies? What would you do if you didn't play hockey? By the way, I Wikipedia'ed you, and it says you are an actor in a real movie, which I know is not exactly the case.
EF: That was just a little thing I did for fun over the summer, just a movie made out in town. In my free time I enjoy playing video games, board games, and playing a lot of different sports including beach volleyball, baseball, and golf - something competitive that gets the juices flowing.

JK: You have any nicknames you want us fans to know about?
EF: Guys on the team call me Frank, which is my Dad's name, and Fehrzy, but that one's pretty boring. I know that some of the bloggers and reporters are trying to make F16 stick, so you can take that however you want. (F16) is fine, but it's not like a quick nickname to throw out, it's long to say. Frank's fine, because some people say I'm a lot like my dad.

JK: Speaking of fans getting to know you, how distracting was it being on 24/7?
EF: I always knew when the guys were around and at times it was kind of annoying when you want to talk to somebody about something private and they're hanging around. For the most part, they did a really good job of staying out of the way and doing what they had to do to make the film. At the end of the day though, I really enjoyed having them around.

JK: Did you guys give Bruce a big pat on the back for stealing the spotlight?
EF: I don't know if that was his game plan or not but it worked. I'm not sure whether he's happy about it or not, but he did steal the show.

JK: Have you guys all watched it?
EF: Yeah I watched every episode as it came out. I was really interested to see what they could make with all the filming and everything. It was cool and I'm waiting to see if they can win a few Emmys with it.

JK: So what did you think about Bruce having a condiment on the face during an interview?
EF: I talked to the producers about it and they said that was just the camera lighting, I think a lot of people had it actually. I dunno, I'm staying out of that one.....

(Image courtesy of sports.gunaxin.com)

Monday, March 28, 2011

DCLS Exclusive Eric Fehr Interview - Part 2: Matt Cooke and Picking a Fight

mIn case you missed part 1 of our interview with Eric Fehr of the Washington Capitals, well it's right below this article on our site, but here is the link. Regardless, here is the 2nd installment of the interview, with Eric telling all about teammates past and present.

Jon Kelman: What did you think of Matt Cooke's hit and suspension?
Eric Fehr: I really didn't like the hit and thought the suspension was good. You know it's one thing if it's the first time a guy's done that, but because he's a repeat offender I think it's good they gave him a bunch of games.

JK: How would you feel playing with Cooke now?
EF: It's different when you have a player like that on your team as long as he's staying out of the box and creating energy for your team, but when you're taking dumb penalties and putting your team in a bad situation, you don't want that. He did a pretty good job for our team when he played here. You know it's tough to keep those guys out of the box, but there's definitely a use for guys like that if you can keep them contained. I think you have to give everyone a fair shake. You look at guys around the league and there's a lot of hatred for guys like that, but when they're on your team maybe they're good players so you have to give them all the benefit of the doubt.

JK: If you could fight one player in the league, who would it be?
EF: I dunno, I'm not really a fighter so I can't really say anything because I might end up getting beatup or something. I'm trying to think of somebody I think I could take but I don't want to throw out a bad challenge. It's a real lose-lose situation for me, I'm a big guy so if I fight a big guy and get beatup I lose, but if I fight a little guy and beat him up, it looks bad. So, I would have to go after a pretty big guy if I wanted to fight someone.

JK: Who are your favorite guys to play with?
EF: I enjoy playing with Jason Chimera just because he is so fast and he's a good physical player. I would really like to play with Nick Backstrom one day, he's a really good playmaker and controls the puck so well.

JK: What has Jason Arnott done behind the scenes as a leader?
EF: I just think he's brought a lot of maturity to the room. He's done a great job of making sure guys are doing the right things and following the team system. If I step out of it, he's right there to remind me of what I need to do, and he's not shy to do it, which is what is needed in that case. He's not there to embarrass anybody, he's just there to help guys along and help guys make good decisions. It's more of a 1-on-1 thing off to the side where he's not making a big show in front of everybody. He wants to help everybody out on the team as individuals, so it's more of a 1-on-1 thing.

JK: Is Arnott the definitive leader in the locker room now?
EF: Well we've got a few guys, Knuble, Hannan, and Arnott are all good leaders in the room right now.

JK: When Knuble was brought it, a lot of people saw it as a guy you could learn from and possibly be the type of player you could grow into some day. What have you learned from him?
EF: Yeah, he's definitely helped me. I've learned from him about working the corners and making the simple play. It's better for guys like us who are more shooters and play in front of the net to not take too many risks and get the puck off our stick to guys that can make plays.

(Image courtesy of life.com)

Sunday, March 27, 2011

DCLS Exclusive Eric Fehr Interview - Part 1: Caps Superlatives and Global Warming(?)

I ventured out from the comfy confines of DC about a week ago for a night on the town in Virginia . Amidst this strange land, and after a variety of adult beverages and one busted NCAA bracket, I found myself hanging out with several members of DC's sporting pride, the Washington Capitals. Long story short, I somehow roped Eric Fehr into an interview, following in the proud DCLS tradition created by Nick Young

Good Times 

This exclusive interview has been broken into 5 parts, with this first part being Eric's votes for team superlatives.

Jon Kelman: Who is the best dressed guy on the team?
Eric Fehr: Nick Backstrom. He's got the Swedish style, so it's a little different but I like it.

JK: Worst dressed?
EF: Tom Poti. (Editor's note: no hesitation on that one)

JK: Nicest House?
EF: Nick Backstrom once again. I'm pretty sure Backy has a sauna. It's either that or a steam room.

JK: Most intense?
EF: Right now that would be Jay Beagle or Matt Hendricks, I'd say both of those guys.

JK: Most laid back?
EF: Probably Jeff Schultz

JK: Hardest shot?
EF: I'll give it to Ovie for now. It used to be Jurcina and I'm trying to think of somebody else but no it's probably Ovie. Wideman can shoot pretty hard but Ovie's a safe bet.

JK: Hardest hitter?
EF: Ovie's a real hard hitter, I'd probably give it to him, but Bradley's a good hitter too.

JK: Who has the dirtiest mouth aside from Bruce Boudreau?
EF: That's a tough one. There's no one that really sticks out. There's a couple guys that are all bad, but I don't want to name too many names so I'll say no one really sticks out.

JK: Craziest stick doctor or equipment freak?
EF: Ovie is pretty crazy about his stuff, he likes it to be perfect.

JK: Who has the nicest car?
EF: I really like Ovie's batmobile. I don't even know what it is, but it has a matte black paint job on it like the batmobile. Mike Green has a really nice Bentley that I like as well.

JK: How much fun do you make of Mike Green for driving that Vespa?
EF: Well you can't really make fun of him when he's got a Bentley, Escalade, and a Maserati, so if he wants to ride a Vespa, he can feel free. I don't think he uses the Vespa very often, I honestly haven't seen it parked at the rink once (Editor's Note: Crushing). Maybe he does take it around though, I know Greeny's worried about the global warming thing, so maybe he's trying to save the environment.

JK: Who is the biggest and best bachelor on the team? It has to be Ovie.
EF: I dunno, I don't pay attention to that kind of stuff because I'm married so I have to go no comment on that.
JK: Oh, I'm sorry, I didn't know your wife was standing next to you......
EF: Haha, no comment.

(Image courtesy of infosport.onsugar.com)

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Everyone Hates Duke.......

.....which is why this sign is not just awesome for University of Maryland fans:

Even us Hoya fans can say: well played.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

John Wall's Excitement Rating

Sorry for the blogging break, but I had a semi-sudden death in the family and have been away from computers for a week. Back to business.....

I posted on this a little over a month ago, but the website Thuuz evaluates the amount of excitement an unbiased fan would get from a game. I provided a little consulting for them and they have now come up with individual player ratings for excitement. This is awesome news, because it will allow for a lot of individual player evaluation using Thuuz's metrics.

Also, we can shove it back in Charles Barkley's face that the Wizards are indeed worth watching because we've got John Wall.

Here is the report from Thuuz. Here is the take from Thuuz, "In summary, John Wall crushes it. He's the top rookie and the #7 player overall, even higher than Blake Griffin. We know this rating system works because 'jumpshooter' Ray Allen and 'Mr. Fundamental' Tim Duncan, are two of the lowest ranked All Stars."

Top Twenty Most Exciting Players of the 2010 – 2011 NBA Season (through the All-Star Break)
Player Excitement per Game Excitement Rank Impact per Game Impact Rank
Williams, Deron 90.9 1 44.7 8
Nash, Steve 85.7 2 40.8 14
Love, Kevin 78.8 3 48.1 2
Rose, Derrick 78.5 4 45 5
James, LeBron 77.8 5 50.1 1
Westbrook, Russell 75.8 6 44.5 9
Wall, John 72.5 7 36.4 29
Paul, Chris 71.6 8 44.8 7
Ellis, Monta 69.8 9 40.8 13
Durant, Kevin 68.9 10 46 4
Felton, Raymond 68.8 11 39.8 19
Griffin, Blake 68.7 12 43.3 12
Calderon, Jose 67.8 13 31.3 64
Wade, Dwyane 66.4 14 43.7 10
Curry, Stephen 64.8 15 36.6 28
Stoudemire, Amar'e 64.7 16 44.8 6
Rondo, Rajon 63.6 17 40 16
Randolph, Zach 62.7 18 39.9 17
Bryant, Kobe 62.4 19 39.7 20
Gordon, Eric 62.2 20 38 24
Additional NBA All-Star Starters not in the Top Twenty
Anthony, Carmelo 61.7 22 39.8 18
Howard, Dwight 59 26 46.5 3
Ming, Yao 21.7 225 21.5 143
Additional NBA All-Star Reserves not in the Top Twenty
Horford, Al 57.5 27 38.9 22
Nowitzki, Dirk 57.1 29 38.1 23
Johnson, Joe 56.6 31 34 45
Gasol, Pau 56.4 33 43.7 11
Ginobili, Manu 49.8 51 36.2 31
Pierce, Paul 49.3 56 34.6 38
Bosh, Chris 45.2 69 33.8 47

As I noted before, a problem with the system is that players from bad teams generate more excitement, but a good way to account for that effect is to compare impact to excitement. Impact measures basic stats such as points, assists, rebounds, etc, so by comparing both, one can see who is generating the most excitement per play, sort of. Jimmy is only 29th in impact, but 7th in excitement. Jose Calderon and Steve Nash also fare well when comparing both numbers.

Fine, Blake Griffin should be #1, but the system has a hard time measuring 1 dunk against another. You must also realize that while waiting for Griffin's highlight reel dunks, watching the rest of his game is not as exciting.

Whatever, just let us Wizards win something this year other than the draft lottery. 

(Image courtesy of probasketballtalk.nbcsports.com)

Monday, February 21, 2011

Orioles Will Not Suck Next Year - I Still Will Not Care

Respected baseball analyst Rob Neyer wrote an article for SB Nation last week stating that the Orioles could win 82 or 83 games next year. Yes, Rob freaking Neyer thinks the Orioles could legitimately win more than half of their games.

The fantastic news is that for the first time in way too long we can all watch the O's and expect them to win most of their games.

The bad news is that I still don't care.

83 wins is a big jump from last year's 66, but would still have only put us in last place in last year's AL East. A few of those wins over Toronto would certainly lead us to the promised land: ahead of the Blue Jays, but the O's have a long way to go before they challenge for the playoffs.

An 83 win Oriole season might make them the 4th best team in the American League, but unfortunately this franchise plays in the same division as the best 3. In addition to playing many games against the Yankees, Red Sox, and Rays, the O's have to pass at least 2 of those 3 to compete for the playoffs, and at least 1 of those 3 to be relevant.

The win total is a nice step forward, but until this team is in playoff hunt, I just won't care. 

(Image courtesy of weblogs.baltimoresun.com)

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Cam Newton Rises, Redskins Fans Rejoice

Yes! Yes! Maybe.....

Mel Kiper's mock draft 2.0 has some finally amazing news, Cam Newton has remarkably shot up to his projected #3 overall pick. Which, if close to accurate means something amazing: the Redskins won't even have the chance to draft the bust-in-waiting. I never rule out anything with this team, like trading up, but realistically if Cam Newton goes in the top 9 picks, he will not be a Redskin next year. Buffalo taking another bust is also hysterical.

Here is Kiper's new Redskins pick:

Record: 6-10
* Blaine Gabbert, QB, Missouri
Gabbert might be more ready than Newton to read defenses at the NFL level, and as a quarterback with very good accuracy, instincts and size, he could come into a franchise in Washington that might need him early. Gabbert is a guy whose stock rose a lot this year and will be under the microscope during the workout process. But what he doesn't give you is a quarterback who elicits a wide range of opinions or the boom-or-bust concerns many have with Newton and Ryan Mallett.

I'm still not happy, but this is progress. The key metrics on QB prospects are games started and completion percentage. His career completion percentage is 60.9% and he has started 26 games in college. These are solid numbers, but not spectacular, and not worthy of the #10 pick. If he played 1 more year at Missouri and continued his upward trend in completion %, Gabbert would be worth that #10 pick. I know this sounds ridiculous to non-stat people, but it's a law or something. As a comparison, he has pretty similar numbers to Ryan Mallett right now. In short, Gabbert is an NFL QB, but not a star, and definitely not worth the money he would get at the #10 pick. In other news, Andrew Luck is going to be an absurdly good prospect next year.

Who do I prefer? Of the choices available in Kiper's mock, I like Robert Quinn and Julio Jones as possibilities, but my preference is still for this team to trade down. Not only could we use the extra picks, but the biggest needs for this team are on the interior of the o-line. Once workouts start, hopefully the Redskins will tip their hand, showing they are not interested in a QB. Tipping their hand may be bad for business with other teams, but the anxiety reduction for us fans is more than worth it.

(Image courtesy of isportsweb.com)

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Redskins 2011 Starting QB Options Are Horrifying (Courtesy of Football Outsiders)

There may be something awesome going on with the Redskins this offseason. There has been plenty of bad news with Brandon Banks getting stabbed, Cam Newton lined up as our projected pick (twice), and Fat Albert Haynesworth becoming completely untradeable.

But letting Santana Moss's contract void, allowing him to become an unrestricted free agent, sends a clear signal that this team may finally be ready to fully commit to rebuilding. I'm not holding my breathe, but Tana is still a good player and letting him walk will hurt the team next year, so this move can only be seen one way. As much as the Redskins have done their best to destroy every ounce of rational hope in me, I still have my optimism.

This brings us to the QB position. Football Outsiders (FO) has been writing a 'Plugging the Holes' piece on espn.com covering each teams' offseason, and yesterday the article covered the NFC East (Insider only alert). As they point out, Sex Cannon was not impressive, posting a -19.4 DVOA, whereas Donovan McNabb managed a 0.1 DVOA. 0.0 is average, so yeah.....

They also note that Shanahan has never started a rookie QB, so even if we take Cam Newton (I feel like my kidney is being twisted), he will almost certainly not start next year. McNabb looks like he is on the way out, particularly if the team is rebuilding, so who are the options out there? FO presents three options:

"One is Kolb, but it's hard to imagine the Redskins trading more draft picks for yet another Eagles quarterback after the McNabb failure.

The second is Matt Hasselbeck. His contract with the Seattle Seahawks is up, and Seattle will likely choose to go with Charlie Whitehurst or a drafted quarterback of its own. Hasselbeck had a -9.8 percent DVOA last year while struggling with injuries, but the Redskins would provide him with the best offensive line he's played behind since the halcyon days of Walter Jones and Steve Hutchinson.

The other candidate with significant experience in the West Coast offense? We hesitate to say his name for fear that he'll appear again. Let's just say he holds a lot of records, is really fond of one particular brand of jeans and recently retired again. Few organizations would be willing to take on the sort of circus that he brings to the table, and even fewer teams would actually get an upgrade from his likely level of play. The Redskins are perhaps the only organization that would fit in both categories, and with Brett Favre, retirement is just a state of mind. Oops."

So to recap, we have awful Sex Cannon, never going to be good Newton, overpaid mediocre McNabb, reasonably paid mediocre Jason Campbell, costly to obtain Kolb, washed-up Hasselbeck, and, well......'ooops'

(Image courtesy of www.examiner.com)