Saturday, March 27, 2010

Agent Zero Avoids Jail, but Wiz Fans Do Not

Now that Gilbert Arenas is a free man, he has put a stranglehold on the title of 'Worst Contract in the NBA', and Wizards fans must suffer through 5 years of being in 'fan jail'. While Gil is likely ecstatic that he miraculously avoided being locked in a cell, he is now going to hold the Wizards and their fans for the next 5 years in a place I like to call 'not in the playoffs'. This experience will be nothing new to us Bullets fans, but just because you've been kicked in the balls before, doesn't mean it won't hurt getting kicked again.

Don't get me wrong, I still support the rebuilding process while Gil is here, because it will at least give us a shot at an elite player in the draft and allow us to develop some young players - I just can't wait until the day we are free of the contract and fully move forward.

I think we should all basically try to pretend Gil doesn't exist. Even though I realize Gil plays the same position as the #1 prospect in the draft, don't tell me I'm the only one who played's lottery+mock draft at least 27 times to get the Wiz to 'win' John Wall (but maybe I'm the only one who printed that screen and put it on my wall.......framed....).

In the meantime, the only excitement we are getting will be during the draft lottery (which, given my lack of success with the simulator, already looks like a night of drinking myself into a stupor). We can also at least hope for some new Agent Zero antics in the form of Six Shooter, like dumps in teammates' shoes; a wise man once told me, pooping in sneakers is always funny. I am now dreaming of a Wiz team comprised of Six Shooter, Young Sushi, and Josh Howard, for pure entertainment sake, as well as John long as Six Shooter keeps his guns and turds away from our prized possession.

(Image courtesy of

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Is the Caps Powerplay Historically Good?

I'll start by saying something you already know: the Caps are the best team in the NHL so far this season (note the goal differential). Now for something you may not know: our overall awesomeness has hidden that fact that our powerplay is historically good.

Nerds like me know that this team was carried by the powerplay last season, having a +27 goal differential in the regular season, with 10 of those 27 goals coming from special teams differential between power play goals for and short-handed goals against. We also were on the powerplay 50 fewer times than we were shorthanded last season. In short, the Caps of 2008-2009 were a good team that was elevated to the upper echelon of the NHL by an elite powerplay.

This year, the 5-on-5 has gotten better, and so has the powerplay. We currently have a +80 goal differential overall, 25 goals better than the next-best team, Chicago. Of that 80 goal differential, 14 of it has come from special teams. Last year, our PP ranked second in the league, behind the Red Wings, but this year, we have taken a huge step forward. Sure, our 25.9% powerplay percentage is almost identical to last year's, but we have the best raw powerplay scoring rate since the 1995-1996 season. That's right, we have the best powerplay scoring rate in the last 15 years! Not only are we scoring at a higher rate than any other team in the past 15 years with the man advantage, but we are 2.6 percentage points above the next-best PP team. That 2.6% may not seem significant, but is tied for the largest gap between the top-2 powerplay teams in the league with the 2002-2003 Red Wings during that same 15 year span.

Going even further, I ran the numbers to compare these two powerplays to the league average. This season, the league average powerplay scoring rate is 18.5%, which puts the Caps 7.4% over the league average. In 2002-2003, the league powerplay scoring average was 16.4% and the Red Wings were at 23.8%, which is also 7.4% above league average. Relative to the league, this leaves the 2002-2003 Red Wings powerplay as slightly better than the 2009-2010 Caps edition (44% above league avg. and the Caps are only 40% above league average). As a comparison, the team with the next-best differential above the 2nd-best powerplay in the past 12 years is the 2007-2008 Canadians, who scored on 24.1% of their opportunities, were 2.3% above the next-best team, 6.4% above the league average rate of 17.7%, and 36% better than the league average. Those numbers are very good, but this year's Caps and the '02-'03 Red Wings have been the 2 best powerplays of, at least, the past 12 years.

You will not see the Caps on any list of historically great powerplays thanks to the higher scoring times of the NHL and lack of parity back in the 70's, but this year's team has a strong case as the best powerplay in modern NHL history and thus as one of the best of all-time.

(Research courtesy of and, and image courtesy of

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

This Is Why People Think Crosby is a Loser

I have to admit, sometimes I don't get the blind hatred for Sidney Crosby. He is a great hockey player and a respected leader of his teams. Recently he's even proven to be clutch. Let's just admit it, mmkay? So when people whine "Crysby" this and "whiny little baby" that, I often shrug my shoulders and go "meh." Maybe it's just the hockey fan in me. But then a moment like tonight's comes along, and I am reminded why people think Sidney Crosby is a loser.

Now, the replay cuts in before we can see what incited #87, so the video is sort of lacking context. But short of Zetterberg slicing Crosby's first-born son to pieces - an impossibility considering that Crosby still lives with uncle Mario - context cannot explain the extent of this childish behavior. All that can explain it is "loserness."

The game is over. Zetterberg's back is turned. Accept defeat and move along. Don't cross-check a guy from behind to start a pointless fight. Ovechkin gets all the grief these days for being "dirty" and "reckless," but he'd never react to a loss like such a sore loser. You'd also never see Ovechkin joining a fight he wasn't involved in...

...nor would you see Ovechkin jump and sucker punch a guy before a face-off (start at 0:36 mark):

I mean really. What a joke. So thank you, Mr. Crosby, for reminding me why I'm supposed to hate you. It'll make Ovechkin's inevitable triumph over you that much sweeter. I'm not even afraid of the jinx anymore. Ovechkin eats jinxes for breakfast and craps victory.

Hoyas Preseason #1 in 2011?

Before the season, I made a preseason prediction that was pretty pissy after last year's turd-sandwich that landed the Hoyas in the NIT. Well you know what? I was pretty damn close with that pissy prediction. I had the Hoyas at 19-11, 5th in the Big East, and a 9th seed in the NCAA tourney. Taking out the last 4 games of the season, the Hoyas went 23-11, were 7th in the Big East, and a 3rd seed in the NCAA tourney. So what do I win for my amazing prediction ability? A depressing, angering, nauseating loss to Ohio in the 1st round of the tourney.......

The game against Ohio was somewhat symbolic of one of the team's biggest problem: that its biggest star has been unable to take over games when he needs to do so. Ohio had no one capable of guarding Greg Monroe, and his stat line ended up looking pretty good, but he should have been force fed down-low. Just a frustrating game, although I can't say I'm too unhappy looking back now, as I wasn't overly optimistic heading into the season.

Which brings me to where my excitement has now been year's preseason #1 ranked Georgetown Hoyas! For those of you who didn't hear, Greg Monroe stated that he wants to come back next year, despite being a projected lottery pick. We've all had these as famous last words for collegiate athletes, but let's say Monroe's emotions weren't masking his true intentions. The Hoyas do not have single senior on the team, so will bring everyone back barring someone entering the draft. The Hoyas were ranked #14 or 15 going into the tournament, and although we did not live up to that lofty #3 seed, must still be considered about as good as our ranking.

Now look at the teams ahead of us and think how decimated they will be by the draft and graduation; Kansas might lose their 3 best players, Kentucky its best 3, if not 4, players, Syracuse 3 starters, OSU Evan Turner, WVA Da'Sean Butler, etc. My research yielded that the only team ranked ahead of the Hoyas not losing a top-5 scorer is the Butler Bulldogs. Butler has ZERO shot at the #1 preseason ranking and lost to the Hoyas this year, so the teams to worry about are actually Duke, Syracuse, and Ohio State, because they have all done some incredible recruiting. I specifically think Duke will be the other top ranked team, thanks to bringing back Nolan Smith and Kyle Singler, and snagging 2 of the top 18 recruits in the country according to the ESPNU 100.

That said, unless Smith and Singler have incredible tournaments and stay at Duke for next season, no team will have a group as good as the Monroe-Wright-Freeman trio, and the Hoyas will likely have the best starting lineup in the country as well, with a couple recruits to finally build some depth.

We all know what a #1 preseason ranking and being the #1 team earns you in the tourney:

Sports Videos, News, Blogs

Not to get too far ahead of ourselves.

(Image courtesy of and research courtesy of

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Caps Magic Numbers

Amidst the doom and gloom of the NCAA tournament (go Lady Hoyas?), we should all take solace in the great shining light of DC Sports. Not baseball Jesus 1 or 2, but the Washington Caps and the fact that we are now about to clinch home-ice throughout the playoffs. The Caps hold a 16 point lead in the Eastern Conference over the Penguins, and with 10 games to play for both teams, that means the Caps magic number is 4 (thanks to us holding the tiebreaker of more wins). With the Pens playing Detroit tomorrow night, that number could drop to 2, but regardless of that outcome, the Caps can clinch the #1 seed in East on Wednesday when we play, guess who? The Penguins! A regulation win will put us 18 points us with 9 games left for the Penguins, and oh wouldn't that be particularly sweet? Not to mention the mental edge heading into the playoffs.

For the President's trophy, we hold a 9 point edge over Chicago and 10 point edge over San Jose, both of whom have 11 games to play. This means the magic number for home-ice throughout the playoffs is 13, which could come quickly as the Blackhawks and Sharks have been on terrible slides (the Sharks are too predictable). The Blackhawks have gone 4-4-2 in their last 10 games, and the Sharks 3-6-1.

Barring a major collapse, we will win the President's trophy, but in the words of Brooks Laich when we officially made the playoffs, "We have bigger goals."

(Image courtesy of

Remembering Greivis Vasquez

Today, the legend of Greivis Vasquez was murdered by some scrub from Michigan State named Korie Lucious, averaging a paltry 4.9 points per game on the season. Suffice to say, GV was one of Maryland's all-time greats.

Let us gather to mourn and to share our fondest memories of the Venezuelan sensation. Leave these in the comments section when you deem yourself psychologically capable, and perhaps we can create some sort of Top 10 list.

I'll start: who could ever forget that swagtastic shimmy shake? Not I, Greivis, not I.

You will be missed. RIP, brotha.