DUMB ASS AWARD WINNER JUNE 30: THAT’S AMAR’E AND LITTLE LEAGUE

*WARNING ARTICLE CONTAINS ADULT LANGUAGE AND CONTENT*

Handing out the Dumb Ass of the week award is not meant to make fools of the athletes that we follow, pay to watch play the games we still love, and our kids idolize. This award isn’t meant  to make fun of them,  it’s true meaning is to simply point out that just like you and I, they put their pants on one leg at a time, and on occasions (some more than others) make mistakes worthy of labeling them a dumb ass.

In some cases, this award is not won by an athlete but by idiotic fans or people associated with sports, or just happen to be at a sporting event.

It does not matter if you are a world-class athlete, or a clerk at the 7-11, in today’s world, it only takes a split second decision to be a dumb ass. Technology is advancing as you sleep and never has one key on your phone or computer been the cause of so many sleepless nights for so many dumb asses. By simply hitting “SEND”, your whole world can change and depending on what you sent, being a dumb ass isn’t that hard to do and could be the least of your problems. Twitter, Facebook or whatever form of social media one chooses as their method of communication with the rest of the world can be the biggest window in to a world filled nothing but dumb asses.

I generally believe that Facebook, Twitter and athletes mix as well as oil and water, but it is a free cyber world so to each his own dumbass self.  Athletes are free to express their feelings towards their fan base, and it is not always done with, shall we say, the most intelligent thought process. I’m not saying they are wrong, I’m just saying they leave themselves open for criticism more times than not.

Green Bay Packers Head Coach Vince Lombardi once said he preferred to run the football because when you threw a pass, only three things could happen and two of them were bad. The same principal exists for athletes that respond to their fan bases via social media. Not many good things can happen when responding to a fan after they offer criticism.

Most fans do not Tweet to say good game, or great season. This was the case this past week when Brian Ferrelli, who is known as a New York Knicks super fan and carries the handle on Twitter “B Forreal”, Tweeted to Knicks  superstar Amare Stoudemire that  he’d ‘better come back a lot stronger and quicker to make up for this past season’.

Stoudemire wasn’t happy with this dipshits suggestion of how he needs to return next season, and as he has been known to do on occasion, (just ask the fire extinguisher on the way to the Knicks locker room) , Stoudemire hit the send button before his anger subsided, and in the process pissed off many in New York City that weekend.

The six time NBA All-Star and 2002-03 NBA rookie of the year, who is currently suffering from a hand injury, fired off a private message saying:”’F**k you. I don’t have to do anything fag.” In a case of atrocious timing, the Knicks forward-center chose Gay Pride weekend to hurl the homophobic slur at the so-called super fan.

While I absolutely do not condone what Amare did, I also know that he’s not the first person in the spotlight who ended up sticking their foot in their mouth thanks to social media.

As stated above, with today’s technology, everybody is on Twitter and as exciting as it is for some to interact with athletes and celebrities, sometimes they go too far.  This results in some athletes or celebrities taking it to the being a dumb ass extreme and responding in a real idiotic manner.

Brian (Super Fan) Ferrelli…..where’s the Knicks tattoo Mr.Fan. This picture sums it up

What Amare should have done is realize that the fan is just another asshole and move on. Responding by calling the idiot a “fag” was wrong, and Amare knows better, but he is not the runner up for dumb ass of the week, that belongs to the asshole fan himself for essentially creating this issue. Did he not think that an athlete as proud (to a fault at times) as Stoudemire would not respond? Of course, he knew he would respond, and Amare gave the little prick just what he was looking for. I do not begrudge Ferrelli of his right to do that, but the way he handled Stoudemire’s initial response makes him a true asshole.

For beginners, the tweet was stupid in that Stoudemire had a decent year for the Knicks. Maybe it wasn’t what Knick fans wanted obviously, but is it too much to ask that a self-proclaimed “super fan” to know that the player he is criticizing made the All-Star team last season, while averaging 17.5 points and almost eight rebounds per game.  Yes, these numbers were below Amare’s career averages but not a bad season on a team in turmoil while he battled injuries and a ball hawking teammate in Carmelo Anthony.

Secondly, who was this dick trying to impress by abusing Stoudemire. I know abuse is a strong word, but it is the same word the NY Post used when explaining what Amare did to Mr. Super fan.  How Brian Ferrelli achieved his 15 minutes of fame really takes the cake.

After getting Stoudemire’s response, this dumb ass immediately snapped a screen shot and posted it on Twitter, which allowed the message to become a hot trending topic. If that was not enough, Ferrelli then forwarded it to Deadspin.com.

Stoudemire almost immediately apologized in this response, ““I apologize for what I said earlier. I just got off a plane and had time to think about it. Sorry bro! No Excuses. Won’t happen again,” Stoudemire wrote in another direct message, which Ferrelli posted for all to see on Twitter.

Stoudemire was in Milan on Sunday and did not respond to requests for comment. His agent, Happy Walters, declined to comment and referred the Daily News to Stoudemire’s Twitter apology.

A source close to Stoudemire said the b-baller was kicking himself for the slipup. “He made a big mistake, and he wishes he could take the whole thing back,” the source said. Ferrelli said he didn’t want to exacerbate the Twitter dustup by commenting further. “I don’t want to make this situation any bigger than it already is. He apologized and I accepted it,” Ferrelli told The News in a tweet.

Of course, the NBA got their money out of the deal. Stoudemire was fined $50,000 by the league, but it could have been worse. In 2011, NBA Commissioner David Stern fined Los Angeles Lakers star Kobe Bryant $100,000 for using the same homophobic word against a referee during a game.

Bryant apologized but said the comment should not have been ‘taken literally’. Stern called his remark ‘offensive and inexcusable’.

The gay community didn’t stay silent, and did you expect that they would. During last Sundays 43rd Annual Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender Pride March in Manhattan, participants expressed disappointment in Stoudemire. “It’s known that the F-word is very offensive,” said former “Star Trek” actor George Takei. “It’s the same as using the N-word or K-word to describe someone Jewish. He should be censured severely.”

“I’m glad he realizes what he did,” Takei said. “He made a public fool of himself”. And I cannot tell you how many times I’ve seen Sulu sitting next to Spike Lee at MSG for a Knicks game.

if its on the web!

Yes Stoudemire was wrong, but  Brian Ferrelli and fans like him remind me of little ankle biting shiatsu’s that aren’t big or mean enough to do serious damage but just annoying enough to piss you off, causing you to get put in the corner for 10 minutes so to speak. He reminds of a kid from my old neighborhood who used to open his door and call me and my friends’ names, but by the time we got to his door to have a word with him, he would slam the door shut and hide. He eventually came outside, and yep I was in that corner for a while.

Baiting Stoudemire was a bitch move and if I could offer up one piece of advice to Mr. Super fan, it would be to pay serious attention to the lyrics of a certain Lady Gaga song. “Whether life’s disabilities, left you outcast bullied or teased, rejoice and love you Knicks today, LIGHTEN UP MR. FERELLI, YOU WERE BORN THIS WAY!

All of that just for the runner up to the dumb ass award, and speaking of bitch, this week’s winner appears to be just that, a certified bitch! You can repost, re-Tweet, Facebook or do whatever you need to do to get that out on the World Wide Web! And please hurry!

Two years ago, Matthew Migliaccio, now 13, overthrew a baseball during a warm-up session at a Little League game in Manchester, N.J., accidentally striking Elizabeth Lloyd in the face. According to the boy’s family, Lloyd—who was at the park to watch her own son play—appeared to be fine. Soon after, though, Matthew began receiving “threatening and nasty letters,” his father said.

”The whole thing has almost been surreal,” Migliaccio told the AP. ”We keep thinking it’s just going to go away, and then a week and a half ago a sheriff shows up at my door to serve my son the papers.”

Lloyd is suing the little leaguer for $150,000 in damages to cover medical costs, as well as for an undefined amount for pain and suffering. The suit alleges that Matthew’s throw “assaulted and battered” Lloyd, causing her “severe, painful and permanent” injuries.

If that isn’t bad enough, Lloyd’s husband has also filed a lawsuit against the 13-year old for the loss of ”services, society and consortium” of his wife—which in plain English terms, means his marriage has taken a turn for the worse since the incident.

The boys father counters that his son could not have hit her that hard. The errant baseball traveled more than 60 feet before striking Lloyd, and though Matthew is an avid baseball player, he is far from Major League material. “They’re little kids. A lot of them don’t know how to throw,” Migliaccio told the New York Post. “It was an accident.”

Little League catcher Matthew Migliaccio, now 13, is facing a $150,000 lawsuit.

Anthony Pagano, a lawyer for the Migliaccios, has called the lawsuit frivolous and without merit. ”I just think that it’s disgusting that you have people suing an 11-year-old kid for overthrowing his pitcher in the bullpen,” he said to the Associated Press. ”Ultimately, hopefully, justice will prevail.”

The only justice that could actually prevail here is if this kid developed an 80 mph fastball and hits her in the face with another overthrow. Even better is she attends a Yankees-Rangers game and is struck by one of Josh Hamilton’s flying bats.

As far as for Mr. Dumb Ass jumping in on the lawsuit claiming his marriage has gotten worse, I would be willing to bet that this was not a Disney Fairytale from the start. I mean any human being that thinks like this has to be a pain in the ass to be around. This poor dumb bastard is probably just looking for a way out of the “cheaper to keep her” scenario and hopes this is it.

Part of what Little League baseball and softball preaches on its website is that they want, through proper guidance and exemplary leadership, to assist children in developing the qualities of citizenship, discipline, teamwork and physical well-being. They claim to do this by espousing the virtues of character, courage and loyalty.

I have one question for the 10 officers and the 25 members that sit on their board of directors. A few of those board members are prominent throughout the sports world (Dr. James Andrews, and Chris Drury to name two of them).

Where are the virtues of character, courage and loyalty from your organization in helping this young man and his family through this tough time? Little League Baseball is a non-profit organization but with 17 major sponsors and partners such as Gatorade, Russell Athletic and the Honda Corporation, I’m sure that they aren’t rolling change in Williamsport these days.

So, Elizabeth Lloyd of Manchester New Jersey, you are the Z-BEST SPORTS DUMB ASS OF THE WEEK. In fact, you are also the leader in the clubhouse to be the dumb ass of the year.

Do not laugh Brian Ferrelli; if this were any other week, you’re sorry ass would have easily won this award.

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CAPITALS TAP OATES AS NEW HEAD COACH, AND THEN HALL COMES CALLING

Oates returns to D.C. ..this time in different diggs

How many former players can say they got their first head-coaching job in the NHL and on the same day were elected to the Hockey Hall of Fame? I do not need the Elias Sports Bureau to answer this one, but what a special day this has turned out to be for the Washington Capitals new head coach.

For the second time in eight months, the Washington Capitals have hired a former team captain as its head coach. Today, General Manager George McPhee announced that Hall of Famer Adam Oates, will become the 16th head coach in Washington Capitals franchise history.

McPhee has been searching since Dale Hunter informed the club that he would not return behind the bench next season. Hunter’s announcement came just three days following the Caps Game 7 loss to the New York Rangers. Hunter replaced Bruce Boudreau back on November 28, who was fired for losing control of his dressing room and a string of poor performances by his team.

Oates is the team’s third head coach in just eight months and takes over a team that many felt grossly underachieved during the 2011-12 regular season. Washington did not clinch a playoff berth until the 81st game of the season and after winning two straight Eastern Conference regular season titles, entered the playoffs as an eighth seed against the defending Stanley Cup champion Boston Bruins.

Hunter’s team salvaged a measure of decency for the 11-12 campaign by beating the Bruins in a dramatic seven game series that saw Washington win the seventh and deciding game in overtime

“We are very pleased to name Adam Oates as the new head coach of the Washington Capitals,” said McPhee. “Adam was a highly intelligent player in the NHL for 19 seasons. He has been an assistant coach in our conference for the past three seasons and is prepared to lead our club as head coach.”

Oates has been an assistant in the NHL for the past three seasons. He started with the Tampa Bay Lightning during the 2009-10 season before moving to New Jersey in 2010. Oates was behind the bench as an assistant for the Devils’ as the Los Angeles Kings beat them in six games during the Stanley Cup Finals.

Oates, 49, played 19 seasons with seven different NHL franchises. The five time NHL All-Star (1991-94 and 97) is widely considered one of the best playmakers during the highly offensive NHL era of the 1980’s and early to mid-90’s. Only Wayne Gretzky, Bobby Orr and Mario Lemieux averaged more assists per-game than Oates did in NHL history, and during the 1990’s, only the Great One (662) recorded more assists than Oates (636).

From 1985-2004, Oates appeared in 1,337 games and collected 1,420 points (341 goals, 1,079 assists) with Detroit, St. Louis, Boston, Washington, Philadelphia, Anaheim and Edmonton.  The new Caps head coach ranks sixth all-time in assists and 16th all-time in points in NHL history.

Oates, who is a native of Weston Ontario Canada ranks 25th in NHL history with 156 playoff points(42 goals, 114 assists) in 163 career playoff games. Oates finished in the top five in assists nine times, and led, or tied for the lead in helpers three times (1992-93, 2000-01 and 2001-02) during his NHL career.

Head Coach Adam Oates

He was a six-time Lady Bing finalist during his career (runner-up in four straight seasons). All of this not bad for a player that was never drafted. Along with such NHL greats as Pavel Datsyuk, Martin St. Louis, Ed Belfour, and Peter Stastny,  Oates is often considered one of the best ever NHL players to never get drafted.

The Detroit Red Wings signed Oates as an undrafted- free agent in 1985 after spending four years playing his collegiate hockey at RPI. After playing 11 seasons in Detroit, St. Louis and Boston, Oates was traded to the Capitals at the deadline on March 1 1997. Goalie Bill Ranford and tough man Rick Tocchet joined Oates in Washington, as the Caps sent goalie Jim Carey, and two young forwards Anson Carter, center Jason Allison along with their 3rd round choice (Lee Goren) in that years Entry Draft for the veteran trio.

Oates played in 387 games for the Capitals from 1996-2002, compiling 363 points (73 goals, 290 assists). He ranks 18th in scoring and 10th in assists among all players in the Capitals history. Wearing No. 77 for the Capitals, Oates was an alternate captain during the 1997-98 season before serving as the team’s captain from 1999-01 campaign.

These career numbers have propelled Oates enshrinement in Toronto. Joining Oates on November 12 when Hall of Fame inductions commence will be Joe Sakic, Mats Sundin and Pavel Bure. He will join Mike Gartner, Rod Langway, Larry Murphy, Scott Stevens and Dino Cicarrelli as former Capitals enshrined in the hall. Oates has been Hall eligible since 2007.

A very proud and deserving Oates said, “Growing up I was a guy who was kind of overlooked and I was fortunate to have the opportunity to go to RPI and have the time for my game to mature. This is a tremendous honour and I look back and realize how lucky I was to have great coaches to help me along the way”.

The Capitals are off on the day Oates is scheduled for induction. Washington has a game at home vs. Toronto on Nov.10 and then do not play again until No.14 in New York vs. the Rangers.

Oates was part of the great salary purge from 2002 through 2005 in Washington. He was traded to Philadelphia on March 19, 2002 for Maxime Ouellet and Philadelphia’s first (later traded to Dallas – Dallas selected Martin Vagner), second (Maxime Daigneault) and third (Derek Krestanovich) round choices in 2002 Entry Draft. Oates and McPhee did not part on the best of terms.

Oates spent time with Philadelphia, Anaheim and Edmonton before his retirement on April 3, 2004. Oates was never a member of a Stanley Cup winning team. However, he would get one final chance to win one before he retired. Oates played 67-games for the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim during the 2002-03 season. He finished fourth on the team in scoring during the regular season with 45-points, and was tied for the team lead with 13-points during the post season.

Ironically, his Ducks team was beaten in a thrilling seven game Stanley Cup Finals series by the team he just helped coach to the finals, the New Jersey Devils. Stay tuned to Capitals Corner or Z-BEST SPORTS TALK for opinion and breaking news about the Caps new head coach.

I-295 SPORTS REPORT WITH ALAN “Z”

Also, be sure to listen tomorrow night at 8:00 est. to the I-295 Sports Report on Blog Talk Radio, where I will have a special guest on the show to talk about the Capitals new hiring. Be sure to check back this week right here on Capitals Corner as I break down each Capitals draft pick as well as preview Washington’s upcoming options as NHL free agency kicks off July-1.

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Z-BEST RAVENS OFF-SEASON XTRA 05/22 by AlanZlotorzynski | Blog Talk Radio

Z-BEST RAVENS OFF-SEASON XTRA 05/22 by AlanZlotorzynski | Blog Talk Radio.

JOIN ALAN TONIGHT AS HE BREAKS DOWN THE RAVENS DRAFT AND GETS YOU UP TO DATE ON ALL OF THE RAVENS OFF SEASON NEWS AND NOTES

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WITH ED REED AND TERRELL SUGGS RAVENS HAVE PLENTY OF OPPORTUNITY IN 2012

Ed Reed says, “show me the money”.

CEO’s, company executives and department managers have been trained and reprogrammed to handle problems within their companies these days as “opportunities” for growth. Problems are often regarded as unwelcome and hard to deal with and overcome. In other words, reaching a goal or projected finish becomes clouded and difficult to accomplish and achieve when faced with difficultproblems.

Opportunities are seen as motivational and can be easy to fix. Problems on the other hand come in many forms, and are seen as unwanted and unwelcome in any business environment. Fixing a problem causes stress while fixing opportunities are seen as team building moments within companies that produce desired results.

Individual employees create many “opportunities” in their own right. They say that employee“opportunities”come down to two major issues. The opportunity is either a training issue, or discipline issue, and most discipline issues must be dealt with swiftly.

Its a good thing the Baltimore Ravens have a new age owner in Steven Bisciotti who understands these new complex ways of running a successful business because his football team has a ton of “opportunity” issues staring them directly in the face.

The outcome of theses “opportunities”, and how the Baltimore Ravens either adapt, or fail to adapt, will determine if the Ravens belong in the talk as one of the NFL’s elite franchises. Failing to adapt, just as many talk show hosts, experts, and anyone who claims to know anything about the NFL suggest,  will support the claim by many that Baltimore is simply the first franchise a notch below those considered as elite year in and year out in the NFL.

As a Ravens fan, it has become increasingly frustrating each season to hear the lack of respect the team receives in comparison to franchises like the Pittsburgh SteelersNew England Patriots,Indianapolis Colts, and New York Giants. The Ravens rank right up there with these teams when you consider that Baltimore has made eight trips to the playoffs in the past 12 seasons and won one Super Bowl title.

No team in the NFL can boast the following resume since John Harbaugh took over in 2008. The Ravens are the only NFL team to appear in the playoffs in each of the past four seasons – and the only team to win a playoff game in each of those four years (2008-11). Baltimore won the AFC North in 2011, sweeping the division, while the Ravens went 7-1 including the playoffs against playoff teams.

Only the Green Bay Packers went undefeated in division play and against other postseason qualifiers until reaching the playoffs. The Ravens produced a second-straight 12-4 record, winning six of their last seven, and going undefeated at M&T Bank Stadium (Packers and Saints were also undefeated at home, with the Ravens’ 10-game regular season home winning streak ranking second to Green Bay’s 13).

Harbaugh is just the fourth head coach in NFL history to earn the playoffs in each of his first four seasons; his 49 total victories from 2008-11 tie (NE and NO) for second most in the league, one behind Pittsburgh (50).

The Ravens had the best season in the only division to produce three teams with winning records (Baltimore: 12-4, Pittsburgh: 12-4 and Cincinnati: 9-7), all clubs that made the 2011 playoffs.

Ravens coach John Harbaugh, GM Ozzie Newsome, director of player personnel Eric DeCosta and director of college scouting Joe Hortiz

Still yet, Baltimore is classified as a team that has a rapidly closing window, is old on defense and possess a good, but not great starting NFL quarterback. The Ravens are considered fragile, and when the articles start flowing about which team that made the playoffs last season, won’t this season, you can bet Baltimore will top the list in many of those write ups.

In fact, they did last year when I wrote a similar story right here on The Bleacher Report. That is what can happen if you listen to the national media too much. If the Ravens return to the playoffs they will have overcome a lot of adversity to do so, and handled the many opportunities that are before them.

There are still those unsettled contract negotiations between franchise QB Joe Flacco, and Pro-Bowl running back Ray Rice. Not to mention the Terrell Suggs injury, and now, the ever-increasing cancer that is Ed Reed.

But let’s face it, some of the franchises considered elite have had to overcome similar problems to earn their status. No elite franchise is without “opportunity”, and this season, it appears Baltimore will be front and center with a chance to show the NFL world how they handle theirs.

Ultimately, winning and losing decide status in any league. Six Super Bowls (Pit), three Super Bowls (NE), and two Super Bowls in the past five seasons (NYG) factor in greatly, but as fans we are not dumb. Elite teams do not always win the big game, do they 2007 Patriot fans?

The Ravens are worthy of that designation during the past few seasons. Starting with Ozzie Newsome, Baltimore certainly has a front office to match the elite status. Newsome must ensure his coaching staff uses the Terrell Suggs injury as an opportunity to develop Paul Krueger, Sergio Kindle and this year’s second round draft pick, Courtney Upshaw to fill the void.

Suggs injured his Achilles tendon a few weeks ago and recently had surgery to repair it. Reports indicate Suggs could miss anywhere from 4 weeks to the entire season, with the entire season the likely option if you know anything about this injury.

What the Ravens cannot do, or their fans, is use it as an excuse for failure. The Steelers were 3-1 two years ago as their starting QB sat for the first four games of the season. Pittsburgh is notorious for allowing players to leave via free agency and replacing them with homegrown talent so to speak. This off season, the Steelers lost several key components. Gone is ILB James Farrior, CB William Gay, offensive guard Chris Kemoeatu, and Hines Ward retired. You can bet the Pittsburgh will be just fine, and so should the Ravens.

The New England Patriots were historically bad on defense this past season but only had it catch up with them in the Super Bowl. I know Lee Evans and Billy Cundiff helped the Pats board the plane to Indianapolis, but did anybody happen to watch wide receiver Julien Edelman cover Anquan Boldin during the AFC Championship game?

It is no surprise that the Giants were the first team to win a Super Bowl with a defense ranked 26th or worse. They overcame, and adapted.They also got a little healthier which didn’t hurt their cause.

Giants said adios to Barber and won a Super Bowl the next year

Thats what elite teams do almost every year at some point, they overcome and adapt. The New York Giants did it and came full circle once again against New England in February. The biggest catches during the final drive in the Giants first victory over New England in SB XLII was made by David Tyree, who retired in 2010, and Plaxico Buress, whose since been to jail and is now playing for New York’s other team last season. The Giants lost their franchise running back the year before they beat New England in Arizona, but bounced back just fine.

The Ravens are no strangers to the “next man up” philosophy made famous during the Brian Billick era and written about by the great sports writer John Feinstein in a book of the same name. Feinsteinfollowed the Ravens around for an injury-plagued 2004-05 season and wrote about the team, which failed to make the playoffs with a 9-7 record.

Not that the Ravens don’t deserve to be in the conversation, but if they manage to return to the playoffs for a fifth straight season with the 2011 Defensive Player of the Year on the sidelines, then Baltimore should be close to the top of the NFL’s elite. The Ravens may also have to do it without all world safety Ed Reed, and if you believe Reed’s latest outburst, then you have to be tiring of his act.

Reed has become the employee that is the discipline problem we talked about at the start of this article. It may come to pass that Baltimore needs to overcome the loss of two all world defenders to visit the post season again this year, but it’s not an impossible feat. If the Ravens were smart with the Suggs injury already on their plate, they would deal with Reed accordingly and swiftly.

Accordingly is not giving in and handing out an outrageous new contract. Accordingly may be to release Reed and call his bluff. As hard as that sounds Ravens fans, he may be forcing OzzieNewsome’s hand.

There has been a prevailing opinion in the NFL at times that the Ravens have allowed its superstars to bully the organization at times. Suggs has done it, Reed is doing it, and Ray Lewis has spoken his mind on more than a few occasions. I have a feeling before it is all said and done Joe Flacco and Ray Rice may join the party but not if the Ravens take a stand with Reed.

Baltimore flexed its organizational muscle a tad a few years back when Ray Lewis was allowed to seek out a new free agent deal. In essence, Baltimore called his bluff and Lewis was back at his rightful spot in the middle of the field for the Ravens the next season.

Brady and Bledsoe

Ask yourself this Ravens fans. Would Bill BelichickMike Tomlin, or the powers that be in the Giants organization allow Ed Reed to continue with this banter? The answer is no they would not. You can ask Drew Bledsoe, Randy Moss, Mike Vrabel, Rodney Harrison, Tiki Barber, Plaxico Buress, Michael Strahan, and recently in Pittsburgh Rashard Mendenhall. The funny thing is watching greats like Moss, Barber, and Buress get busted at the poker table and have their bluffs called. Every one of them wished they could have returned to play for the teams they seem to despise when they left. While Moss expressed love for his team, his exit was hastened because he complained he was not getting the ball. The one missing element in Baltimore may be convincing great players that Baltimore is the greener side of the grass before it is too late. Ed Reed will be headed to Canton Ohio when his career is over, but the Ravens do not need him poisoning the locker room until he begins the five-year hiatus.

Reed used to have outburst every so often, but now they are becoming much more frequent. Calling out his quarterback just prior to the AFC Championship game was a move I supported at the time, but looking back seems to be part of a now disturbing trend with Reed.

He spoiled the Lardarius Webb contract extension party by basically saying that he does not think the Ravens are showing him enough money or enough respect. Although he did not exactly say those words, he was Ed Reed like in this published story. “Reed: Not getting respect I deserve.”

What Reed did say about playing this year was, “I plan on playing, everybody in the world knows plans can change.” As for the respect part, “I got some unfinished business,” Reed said. “I got a lot on my mind I’ve been thinking about. The truth of the matter is, it’s about respect. It’s about getting respect and it’s a business.”

Reed said he’s “not trying to break the bank” but he also seems to think the $7.2 million he’s scheduled to make in 2012, which is the second highest payday on the team, is insufficient for a player who has done what he has done on the field for the Ravens. According to Sports City News Service, only Ray Rice will make more ($7.7) after Baltimore placed the franchise tag on him earlier this spring.

“For what I offer on the football field, for what I give on the football field and for what they know they’re going to get, it’s much more than these young guys out here today and what they’re getting,” Reed said.

Reed, 33, is entering the final year of a six-year, $44.2 million and has played with a nerve impingement in his neck. How much longer he can he be counted on to play every game, which is what the Ravens need from him, is anybodies guess. Paying him to appease him would be a big mistake. This isn’t’ baseball. In fact, Reed has played in just 16 games twice in last four seasons and began the 2010 season on the physically unable to perform list, which forced him to miss the first six games of the season. He has battled hip, ankle and an assortment of back injuries as well. Yes, Reed has given his all, but he’s been paid to do so.

Contracts late in careers have to be smart for all parties involved, and the one Reed wants, I’m sure,wouldn’t be that solid of a deal for the Ravens. True, Reed has saved the Ravens a ton of money in terms of not having to sign the safeties next to him during his career, but both sides are guilty of saying repeatedly that this is a business first and foremost.

Baltimore has allowed several of Reeds playing partners to walk because they have Reed. Gary Baxter, Will Demps, Dwan Landry, and Jim Leonhard have all cashed in someplace else having benefited from playing next to No.20. This year Tom Zbikowski is taking his talents with former Ravens defensive coordinator and new Colts head coach Chuck Pagano to Indianapolis.

Reed (No.20) and Dwan Landry (No.26) on far right

The Yankees gave Derrick Jeter a thank you contract, but Ed Reed is not Derek Jeter and the Baltimore Ravens are not the New York Yankees. Football is far less forgiving now that there is labor harmony than at any time in recent memory; just ask Todd Heap and Derrick Mason. Plus Jeter is only batting .355 this season.

For the first time since I can remember as a member of the Ravens, Reed was targeted on manyoccassions last season, and beaten several times badly. He had just 10 passes defended, and itwasn’t because quarterbacks were staying away from his side of the field. At times, and has he showed during the Texans playoff game and on the final Pats pass play of the AFC title game, Reed is still one of the best, but he is no longer “ the best”, and no longer is he one of the best every Sunday. Reed is however  still the smartest DB in all of football, and because of that, can probably produce for two more seasons. Productive does not necessarily mean Hall of Fame like either, and it doesn’t mean you should have to cash in Facebook stock to pay him. Many of you will say it was just two short seasons ago that Reed intercepted eight passes in 10 games, but two years is an eternity in the NFL, and Reed has been credited with 56 (tackles and assists) official hits to that neck since the 2010 season, not counting the playoffs.

Reed followed his April comments up with retirement threats again on Thursday during an interview on Sirius NFL radio. When asked if he was 100 percent committed to playing this season Reed said, “Not at the moment, honestly. Can I play at this level? Yes, I can play at the level, but committed to doing it right now?  It’s still May. I know time is kind of inching away at me. We do have a mandatory camp coming up that I’m still in deep thought about, because other things are important to me now.”

Reed added that the Ravens were unaware of his stance until now. “I doubt it,” Reed said. “I think they will know it after this interview, just like they knew that (Joe) Flacco was a little rattled, as we all were against Houston.”

Reed introduced on draft day 2002

While many fans will say the Ravens need to do everything in their power to keep Reed, I say the time may be just right to call his bluff and release him. It is never a good time to cut ties with a franchise player, but last season when Ozzie cut the franchises two all-time leading receivers, the Ravens had plenty of time to recover. Reed will continue to be a disruption until he gets what he wants, and this may force the hand of the Newsome and Ravens owner Steven Bisciotti.

Before cutting Heap, the Ravens determined that while Ed Dickson or Dennis Pitta were then a mere 80% of the player Heap was, their pay was a fraction of Heap’s. They concluded that reallocating Heap’s cap dollars elsewhere would benefit the team overall given the capable young players waiting in the wings. If you are wondering if the Ravens have anyone available that is 80 percent of the player that Reed is, the answer is no.

Reed’s cap number is $10.025 million, which is the biggest cap hit the Ravens would take if they released him, and this is the final year of his deal. There is no doubt an opportunity for something to happen with this situation, and let’s be honest about a few issues here concerning Ed Reed and his motivating factors to return, if indeed he does. Usually veteran players who do not have a ring that are still playing at high level use that as their primary goal. While I get Reed is a play away from paralysis, and I do not take that lightly. With the more than 1,200 lawsuits filed by former players and the post playing injury concerns, I understand his need for more money. However, it would be nice to see Reed wants to win a championship in a few of those quotes.

Newsome must deal with Reed as Belichick has with his disruptive stars.

Don’t think for one minute Ozzie Newsome and the rest of the Ravens brass don’t feel the same way. It’s not unfair to Reed, again, he’s scheduled to make 7.2 million next season, but being a little more focused on winning and a little less on money, at least outwardly, may go a little further for the former Miami Hurricane. No player has hit harder and longer than Ray Lewis has and seemingly his focus is on nothing but winning. Yes, Lewis got a nice payday a few seasons ago, but it was not the one he was looking for from the Ravens. Nonetheless, Lewis came back, kept quiet, and continues to drink from the fountain of youth with many aspects of his game.

Baltimore will have a chance to show the football world they are one of the top teams in the NFL without Terrell Suggs. The Ravens have won without superstars in the lineup in the past. They were 4-0 with Ray Lewis nursing a toe injury last season, and 4-2 without Reed the year before. Whether or not the Ravens want to be talked about in the elite category or the very good category depends on how they overcome and adapt this year.

As we saw with Suggs on ESPN’s First Take a few times this past season, how a football team perceives whether it is either being respected or disrespected matters in the locker room. No excuses without Suggs, and no excuses with or without Reed should be the way the Ravens are thinking in the locker room. That is how Belichick, Tomlin, Coughlin, Cower, Dungy, Gruden and other great coaches would have their players thinking. I believe John Harbaugh will have his players thinking that way too, and because of it, Baltimore will continue their post season streak at five straight years this January.

One thing is for sure, however the Ravens proceed this season, there is plenty of “opportunity” for the coming season to silence any critics, and join the younger Manning brother as an elite member of the NFL.

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Z-BEST RAW SPORTS TALK 05/17 by Fan vs Fan Radio Network | Blog Talk Radio

Z-BEST RAW SPORTS TALK 05/17 by Fan vs Fan Radio Network | Blog Talk Radio.

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DALE HUNTER NOT RETURNING BEHIND CAPITALS BENCH

 

Dale Hunter will not return in 2012-13

According to the Washington Post, and Comcast Sports Net Washington D.C, Washington Capitals head coach Dale Hunter will not return behind the bench next season to coach the team. Katie Carrera wrote just moments ago, “The decision was Hunter’s to make, and at 10 a.m., two days after Washington’s Game 7 elimination in the Eastern Conference semifinals, he told McPhee he would not be back.”

This should come as no surprise to Capitals fans that closely follow the team. The decision was not a surprise to team officials.  General Manager George McPhee told reporters at the Capitals Kettler Center practice facility this morning, “It wasn’t unexpected,” McPhee also told it was a “very, very difficult decision for him.”

Not really, when you consider what Hunter has to go back to in London Ontario. Hunter, who led the Capitals to 30-23-7 during the regular season after taking over for Bruce Boudreau in late November, is co-owner — and head coach, before going to Washington — of the OHL’s London Knights for the past 11 seasons. 

I wrote in my recap of Game 7 (published yesterday) that Hunter had a big decision to make, and I expected after speaking with numerous members of the Washington media that he would not return. There is also a common sense factor involved in this decision, and Hunter, chose to return to the comforts of home. Money is not an issue, and it became more and more apparent that Hunter, while more than qualified to coach in the NHL, was not thrilled with the media obligations and the big superstar mentality, which the Caps have no shortage of.

I wrote yesterday that the only way Hunter returned behind the bench was is if coaching the Washington Capitals was truly his dream job, as he said it was when he took over on November 28. Maybe it was the former Caps captain dream job, but it also entirely possible that it quickly became a headache Hunter realized he did not need. While it is hard not to believe that Hunter did not find the drama of this year’s Stanley Cup Playoffs intoxicating enough to crave more, the success of his junior team throughout his 11 seasons there is more than enough to fill the void left by the fact the Hunter never won a Stanley Cup paying in the NHL. One of the major reasons against Hunter return is his family ties in London.

When Dale departed for D.C, his brother Mark took over as head coach, GM, and Vice President. Dale’s son, Dylan, who was an OHL star when London won its only Memorial Cup in 2005, was already an assistant coach with the team.

A younger Hunter with current Ranger Brandon Prust as a London Knight

It appears what Hunter finds more intoxicating than the Stanley Cup Playoffs is helping young men reach their goal of playing in the NHL.  Despite losing the series to the New York Rangers, Hunter had to take great pride in the fact that six former Knights players were on the ice from both teams. They were Caps defenseman Dennis Wideman, John Carlson, and John Erskine, and from the Rangers, defenseman Dan Girardi and Michael Del Zotto. The lone forward is Rangers Left winger Brandon Prust.

On Friday night, the Knights beat the Niagara Ice Dogs 2-1 to win the Ontario Hockey League title. London won the best of seven final 4-1 and claimed just the second J. Ross Robertson Cup in franchise history. They will open their quest for the Memorial Cup on Friday against the defending CHL champion Saint John Sea Dogs. The Knights won the Memorial Cup in its only other appearance when it hosted the tournament in 2005 with Dale Hunter behind the bench as coach.

Guiding the Capitals into the playoffs on the next to last day of the regular season, and then earning the seventh seed on the last day, Hunters team defeated the defending Stanley Cup Champion Boston Bruins in seven games before falling to the No.1 seeded NY Rangers in seven games on Saturday night.

It was obvious that Hunter was on to something with the Capitals with the success they had at times during the playoffs. The Capitals played a much more disciplined style of hockey than in post-seasons of the past, and Washington showed more resiliency than have been at any time during the Alex Ovechkin era.

Stay tuned to Capitals Corner for more breaking details and be sure to listen to the Capitals Corner Season Wrap up show on Blog Talk Radio tomorrow night starting at 7:00.

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CAPITALS CORE ROCKS THE “BLUE” TO TIE SERIES (videos, news and notes)

CAPITALS CORE ROCKS THE “BLUE” TO TIE SERIES (videos, news and notes).

The first Saturday in May always brings with it the hope and promise that somehow a longshot can overcome long odds and win. That happened on two occasions today as” I’ll  Have Another “did in Louisville Kentucky a short time ago, but earlier today at the Verizon Center in Washington D.C, another possible longshot won, and depending on how you view this Capitals team, continue to shock many in the hockey world.

The No.7 seeded Washington Capitals managed to bounce back and defeat the New York Rangers 3-2 after losing in triple overtime on Wednesday night, and to know the playoff history of the Washington Capitals franchise is to know that wining today’s game vs. New York was indeed done against all odds.

Nobody believed the Capitals could rebound after Marian Gaborik scored early Thursday morning, handing the Caps franchise and its fans another heartbreaking multiple overtime playoff loss. But these are the same hockey pundits that gave the Caps no chance to rebound after Boston’s Chris Kelly scored in overtime of Game 1 vs.to spoil what at the time seemed like a once in a lifetime playoff performance by rookie goalie Braden Holtby.

Nobody gave the Caps a chance after Washington failed to close the series out vs. the Bruins at home in Game 6, losing again in overtime. Finally, there was not a chance in hell that Washington could beat the defending Stanley Cup champions Bruins in Boston in a seventh game. For the most part, this was the same core group of Caps players, which blew a 3-1 series lead to the Montreal Canadiens two years ago, and were swept by the Tampa Bay Lightning in the second round, both firsts in NHL playoff history for a No.1 seeded team.

However, if the Capitals were indeed going to rebound today and defeat the Rangers, they would need their core players to step up and lead by example, and luckily, for them that is exactly what happened.

The group, which used to be known as the “Young Guns” several seasons back, has grown a tad older and is now affectionately known as the Core 4.

The fantastic four in case you do not know is Alex Ovechkin and Semin, as well as Nicklas Backstrom and Mike Green. This has not exactly been a stellar year for the core of the Caps hockey team. The Great 8 had a career worst 65 points, while No.19 and No.52 didn’t even play in 82 games combined this season, 74 to be exact. No.28, who is an unrestricted free agent once the season ends, finished tied for his second worst career (excluding rookie season) year in terms of career points (54). It is no coincidence that because of these facts, the Caps were a seventh seed and didn’t qualify for the playoffs until the 81st game this season.

But today, the core four stepped up, and delivered a big-time win in a big-time game for the Capitals and their fans. They combined for 14 of the teams 26 shots, and scored all three Washington goals.

The man considered the actual core of the group got the Caps on the board first with the all-important first goal of the game. Team Captain Alex Ovechkin “capitalized” on a rare playoff mistake by rookie Chris Kreider and fired a shot off the glove of Rangers goalie Henriq Lundqvist to give the Caps a 1-0 lead 12:43 into the opening period. Kreider seemed to panic along the sideboard and failed to turn his head while delivering what was either a clearing attempt or errant pass, whatever it was, Ovechkin just one timed the blunder past Lundqvist for his fourth goal of the post season. The goal also marked the 29th of Ovechkin’s career and places him just one behind Peter Bondra (30) for first on the Caps all-time playoff goal scoring leaderboard.

The goal was huge for Ovies teammates, who were clearly outplaying a sluggish Rangers team to start the game. Washington outshot the Rangers 14-3 during the first period, and played with an energy the Rangers simply could not match. The Capitals did not out hit New York for the game (24-33), but Washington laid some timely body checks to start the contest.

Statistically speaking, the goal was huge and continued a trend of regular success when scoring the game’s first goal this season.

The Capitals have been notorious for winning games during the past two season when allowing the games first goal, however, like the rest of the this post season, much has changed in terms of how Washington wins hockey games.

Last season the Capitals led the NHL in wins (23-19-5) when allowing the opposition to score first. With a 13-25-2 record this season, the Caps were not nearly as sound when allowing the game’s first marker and were much better playing with a lead this season. Washington was 29-7-6 when scoring the game’s first goal, and have carried that play better with a lead mentality into the post season. With Saturday’s win, the Caps are 6-1 this spring when scoring first, their only loss came in Game 1 of the Bruins series, when the first goal of the game was the only goal of the game, which was scored in overtime.

The Rangers have head coach John Tortorella, and that means with only three first period shots and sluggish play on defense, there was going to be some adjustments made during the first intermission. Even if that meant an ass chewing the Blueshirts would not soon forget, they would most assuredly play better in the middle stanza. And that they did.

The Rangers came out and began to take the play to the Capitals. New York began to dominate in the corners and behind the net, playing the type of hockey that earned the top seed in the Eastern conference this season. The play started when Alex Ovechkin failed to properly block (surprise-surprise) a shot by Dan Girardi from the blue line. When the puck reached the crease area, Brooks Laich failed to corral the loose puck in front of Braden Holtby with his skates, and Artem Anisimov patiently allowed the Caps rookie net minder to make the first move, and then when he did, stuffed in the games tying goal.

Washington would not be kept down for long, as the Rangers Anisimov would again be apart of the highlight reel, but not in a good way this time. The next member of the core four to cash in for the Capitals would be Nicklas Backstrom.

The Caps top line center would put his stamp on the go-ahead goal from start to finish. The Swede began the play when he went to retrieve a loose puck in the corner, Anisimov followed Backstrom into the corner with the intent of delivering a hit, but the Caps center turned and caught the Russian off guard, planting the Rangers surprised center onto his “ice” with the simple flick of his shoulder into Anisimov’s chest.

Backstrom threw the puck back behind the Rangers net and around to Jason Chimera, who in turn found Backstrom again who had skated just inside the lower faceoff circle to the left of the Rangers net. The Swede took the perfect pass from Chimera and beat Lundqvist high over his right shoulder to give his team a 2-1 lead. Backstrom hasn’t scored a goal since he tallied the double overtime winner back in Game 2 of the Boston series. The tally marked the 14th career playoff goal for No.19.

As great as Jeff Schultz played today, he had nine of the teams 18 blocked shots at one point, he and his blue line partner Dennis Wideman just could not resist allowing a head-scratching goal during the contest. Saturday’s rendition occurred with just 3:17 to play in the second period. There is plenty of blame to go around, including Braden Holtby, who was not paying attention to the linesman making the call. Both Holtby and Wideman failed miserably in communication and the Caps are lucky the play cost them just one goal. That is how bad it looked.

It all started when the Rangers threw a clearing attempt the length of the ice, and the linesman closest to the puck initially signaled icing, which caused Braden Holtby to raise his arm, which lets his defenders know the race is on to touch the puck for the whistle stop. But the linesman on the other side of the ice waved the icing off, which Holtby did not see, regardless, Jeff Schultz and Dennis Wideman lost the race to guess who? If you said Artem Anisimov you would be correct, and he threw the puck in front of the net where standing where he was on Wednesday to score thee game winner was Marian Gaborik who buried the puck to tie the game.

The majority of the blame on the play has to go to Dennis Wideman, who did not communicate with Schultz, and it was Wideman’s glove that touched the puck to nullify the icing. The duo is now a combined minus-14 during the 2012 post season but somehow, is still left as a defensive pairing on the ice together.

 Wideman was on the ice for every Bruins even strength goal during the first round.

The Capitals would not be denied on this day, as the third member of the core four stepped up to score the game winner. With just 6:15 to play in the game, the Caps were given a rare late playoff game power play when the Rangers Carl Hagelin slashed Washington defenseman John Carlson, breaking his stick.

When Mike Green is playing well, the Caps power play regardless of stats should be considered dangerous, and right now, Mike Green is playing well. The play began when Rangers captain Ryan Callahan got knocked down along the boards and lost the puck, which went to Capitals defenseman Dennis Wideman.

The goat from New York’s tying goal slid the puck over to a wide-open Green, who fired a low unblockable shot past Lundqvist from the right circle. “I didn’t see the puck,” Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist said. “I was pretty much just guessing where it was going.”

Despite not getting a goal or point in the contest, the fourth member, of the core four, Alex Semin played well today. He fired four shots, played hard, and did not commit any stupid stick penalties.

According to Stats LLC,  it was the 13th time in their Capitals careers, (all were first-round draft picks) that Ovechkin, Backstrom and Green scored in the same game, but the first in any postseason. Washington’s record in those games is 13-0, and the trio last tallied together on Oct. 30, 2010. Just for the record, the Capitals dealt the Calgary Flames a 7-2 loss that night as Alex Semin also tallied that night. The four combined to score five goals and 13 points on the night. Ahhhhhhh-the good ol’ days.

The Capitals will head back to New York to play the pivotal Game 5 as the series now becomes a best of three. In virtually the same situation during the Boston series, the Caps won Game 5 in Boston, lost Game 6 at home, and of course won Game 7 in overtime to get to this point.

During the Ovechkin era, the Capitals are 4-2 in game fives, with five of the six contests being played in D.C. Today’s victory marked just the second win for the Capitals at home during the 2012 playoffs. When you consider Washington entered the post season with the worst road record of the 16 teams to qualify for the 2012 playoffs. The fact that the Caps are 4-2 on the road, and 2-3 at home this postseason, is indeed a shocking turn of events.

HOLTBY-HOLTBY-HOLTBY-HOLTBY

Rookie Braden Holtby continues his quest to become the fifth rookie in NHL history to lead his team to a Stanley Cup win. He wasn’t needed much on Saturday as the Blueshirts fired just 20 shots on goal in Game 4. Holtby was sharp at crucial times. With less than two minutes to play in the game, Holtby stopped a shot from the point that he never saw. He was able to make the stop by playing tall, staying on his feet, and by staying with the solid fundamentals that’s gotten the 22-year-old this far.

Only Ken Dryden, Patrick Roy, Cam Ward and Annti Niemi have led their team to Stanley Cup victories as rookie net minders. Holtby is now 6-5, with a 1.94 GAA, and a 933 save percentage. Only Coyotes goalie Mike Smith (34) has stopped more shots than Holtby (335). But the Western Canada native has played 741-minutes and 24-seconds of net in the playoffs, which is almost 25 minutes more than Henrik Lundqvist of the Rangers who is second. Holtby has not lost back-to-back decisions in 27 NHL starts, and consequently, the Capitals have not lost back-to-back games since March 22-23, when they lost to the Flyers and Winnipeg Jets. However, the Capitals still earned two points as one loss was in overtime, and the other came during a shootout.

BLOCK PARTY:

One of the major reasons why the Caps got past the Boston Bruins, and are tied 2-2 with the Rangers is blocked shots. During the first round, Washington used as a vital part of keeping the number two goal scoring team during the regular season from scoring much more than they did. It also helped rookie net minder Braden Holtby, as his team prevented him from seeing more shots than he did. For the record, Holtby made more first round saves (248) than any other goalie in the playoffs so the true effect of the Caps shot blocking ability in round may never be known.

However, no team sells out more blocking shots than the New York Rangers do.

During the regular season, the Rangers sold out 1,338 times, which was the most by any team that qualified for the post season. The Capitals were not far behind with 1,302, which was sixth during the regular season. During the playoffs, it is no coincidence that both are ranked first and second respectively, but following today’s game, it is the Capitals that are first with 244 post-season blocks compared to the Rangers 232.

In Game 4, the Capitals dominated the shot-blocking category with 26, and often criticized Caps blue liner Jeff Schultz dominated with nine of those 26. In fact, Schultz blocked more shots in Game 4 than the Rangers did as a team. New York blocked just seven shots in Game 4, and Wednesday’s long contest may have something to do with that.

Although they allowed just three goals today, the Rangers defense could be beat up and tired, and selling out after Wednesday may have been a lot tougher to do on Saturday than most could imagine. During Wednesday’s triple OT thriller, the two teams blocked 81 combined shots, many with unprotected parts of their bodies. The Rangers played most of the three OT contest with a group of four defenseman. The Rangers top four blue liners of Ryan McDonagh (53:17), Marc Staal (49:34), Dan Girardi (44:26), and Michael Del Zotto (43:33) averaged 47-minutes and 25-seconds of ice time during the contest. In contrast, the Capitals never had just one player hit the 40-minute mark. Dennis Wideman played 40:42 of ice time, which is far less than that of the top four Rangers d-men.

It is not as if the Rangers were lying out and affecting the Caps accuracy in Game 4, which has been an issue at times during the postseason. Washington missed on just six shots today, and the teams combined to miss just 13 shots total.

UNSUNG PLAYOFF MVP:

Despite having just one goal and two points (plus-1) during the 2012 post season, the Capitals wouldn’t be this far without the play of Matt Hendricks.

In Game 3, Hendricks was the best all-around player on the ice. In 32:05 of ice time, Hendricks led both teams with 11 hits, led Washington team with six shots, and won 12 of 17 face-offs. In Game 4 on Saturday, Hendricks was again the pillar of consistency, adding two more hits, and winning all nine of his face-offs. Hendricks blocked one shot during the contest, and is now 19-for-26 (73 percent) on the red dot during the past two games.

Speaking of face-offs, the Capitals, who have been hovering around 50 percent throughout the playoffs finally, took a clear-cut edge in Game 4.

With Hendricks help, the Capitals won 30 red dot draws (55 percent), and have now won 383 draws during the playoffs, the most in the playoffs. They are ranked second in faceoff wins of the remaining teams in the post season. Only St. Louis is ranked higher, but trailing the LA Kings 0-3 in their series, the Blues do not appear as though they will be around much longer this spring.

IT’S NOT ALL GOOD NEWS:

All has been quiet from the offices of NHL Warden Brendan Shanahan, but that could all change in the blink of an eye tomorrow. The reason is for a hit that Alex Ovechkin (click here for video) placed on Dan Girardi during the second period during Game 4 on Saturday. The hit drew a charging penalty, and will get a good long hard look from the league office. Ovechkin’s skates clearly left the ice before the hit, which raised the possibility that a suspension could happen. Here is a huge surprise (sarcasm),NBC’s Mike Milbury says the hit was unacceptable  and deserves a fine or suspension, but Keith Jones says it was a defensive move and the charging penalty will suffice.

Girardi said following the game, “My heads kinda of there, and he hits it.” Rangers head coach John (F*&^%$) Tortorella lasted all of about 30 seconds during his post-game news conference before getting up and leaving. He refused to answer any questions about the officiating during the game.

Ovechkin has twice been suspended during his career for hits considered illegal, and Nicklas Backstrom has already served a one game suspension during this year’s playoffs for a cross check to the face of Bruins forward Rich Peverley at the conclusion of Game 3.

Ovie was last suspended this past January when the NHL deemed his hit on Penguins defenseman Zbynek Michalek excessive (click here for video), and following the suspension Ovechkin declined the NHL’s invitation to the All-Star Game.

CAPITALS CORNER ON BLOG TALK RADIO:

Capitals Corner will keep you updated with any breaking news. Log onto Blog Talk radio on Monday @ 6:30 for Capitals Corner Pre Game Playoff edition as I bring you all the highlights and lowlights from Game 4. I will also give you the “3 Keys” to a Game 5 victory and see which player must become the “Z-Factor” if the Caps are to head home up-3-2 in the series.

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