April 18, 2011
As the Caps prep for Wednesday’s game against the Rangers, the fourth in the 1st round of the playoffs, they find themselves in a familiar spot. After knocking out the first two games — one an OT win, the other a 2-0 shutout — the Caps headed to New York. Unfortunately, their road record is less than spectacular. They have never won a playoff game away from home. Sunday was no exception, as the Caps managed to score 2 points, but fell short, losing to the Rangers 3-2. They play one more game in New York before heading home again. If the Caps can’t wrap it up in five, they will go back to New York for game six, and end in DC if it goes to 7 games. Game 4 is essential, not only to the momentum of the series, but to prove that the Caps are more than just hometown winners. This situation is all too familiar, as the top-seeded Caps were stunned by the eighth-seeded Canadiens in the first round of the playoff’s last season.
Though I was skeptical of the off-season roster changes, it seems as though the Nats have finally come together and are playing professional-level baseball. At 8-7, they’re playing slightly above .500 balls and are only 2.5 games behind the division leaders, the Phillies (10-4). After losing 2 of their 3 games against Philadelphia last week, the Nats redeemed themselves by knocking the Brewers out of town this past weekend. After a 4-3 Friday night win, the Nats got to rest before playing a double-header on Sunday. (The Saturday game was postponed due to dangerous weather conditions.) The Nats dominated the diamond, winning 8-4 in the afternoon game and 5-1 in the nighttime makeup of Saturday’s game. Jerry Hairston Jr. broke his 1-23 drought by homering, singling, and doubling in Game 2 of the double header, while Ivan “Pudge” Rodriguez hit a 3-run homerun in the opening game. The Nats are 1.5 games ahead of the Braves, who won the NL Wild Card last year. If they can keep this up, there’s hope for them yet.
The Wizards ended their season last Wednesday, with a 93-100 loss to the Cavaliers. They finished with a 23-59 record, ahead of only Toronto and Cleveland in the Eastern Division. The off-season brings many questions. Who will they draft next? Will John Wall win rookie of the year (Blake Griffin is his steepest competition). Is that horrible logo that was leaked earlier in the year in fact the team’s new look?
The NBA playoffs started yesterday, and I am personally hoping for a Kobe-LeBron championship showdown. Surprisingly, the Lakers lost their first game to the Hornets, while the Heat outshined the 76ers, 97-89.
The NFL lockout entered its 35th day this weekend, just two weeks before the 2011 draft is supposed to take place. Both sides were negotiating at the end of the week, but took the weekend off. Reports say that the talks are getting “serious” adding to the rumors of a new implemented Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) around the time of the draft. Redskins GM Bruce Allen has stated that the lockout has in no way impacted the team’s draft plans. Instead, he has hinted that their needs are even greater since the lockout halted free agency, which would usually fill the holes in their roster. Training camps usually begin in June, and if a new agreement isn’t reached soon, the 2011 football season could face a makeover once one is reached.