MONTREAL- APRIL 19: Brooks Laich #21 and Alex Ovechkin #8 talk to each other in Game Three of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals during the 2010 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs against the Montreal Canadiens at the Bell Centre on April 19, 2010 in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. The Capitals defeated the Canadiens 5-1 and now lead the series 2-1. (Photo by Richard Wolowicz/Getty Images)
I'll be back later for some season-ending awards stuff. I promise. For now, some links:
It took a little while, but the Capitals finally got better TV ratings locally than the Wizards this season. All it took was the best NHL season in the league combined with arguably the worst Wizards season in franchise history.
Dan Steinberg quotes Sports Business Journal's John Ourand with the numbers.
Through April 9, the Caps were averaging a Caps 1.6 rating, good for 37,000 homes and a 46 percent increase over the year before. The Wizards, meantime, were averaging a 1.18, good for 28,000 homes and a 37 percent increase over the year before.
It's close enough that you figure the Wizards would still pull ahead if they were competitive, but it's far enough apart that you can't really argue about what D.C.'s second-most popular team is right now. (Thanks to SBJ's John Ourand for the numbers.)
I point this out not to insinuate that hockey is second-rate in this town, because clearly the lack of empty seats at Caps game says otherwise. I am pointing this out to say that, as much as people want to say nobody cares about the Wizards in this town, it took this long for TV ratings to swing in the Capitals' favor. This is first and foremost a Redskins town, and after that, whoever is winning most vaults to second place. Right now, that's the Capitals, and God bless them (I've starting watching and following them more myself). If the Caps and Wizards were both winning, I think it's safe to say the Wizards would come out on top.
Mike Jones continues his series of postseason grades with the Wizards' big men. I gotta say, some of these grades are really curious to me. He gives Andray Blatche a B+, with his first half garnering a "D or possibly a C-" and his second half garnering an A-. I can't understand how Blatche's first-half grade is that low, considering he already made several strides in his per-minute numbers in the first half. Jones also gave Fabricio Oberto an A because he "was the one Wizard who consistently did what he was asked this season." I don't think the Wizards paid him $2 million just to be a fouling machine.
Speaking of Jones, Rashad Mobley talks to him about the tumultuous season for the Wizards and himself after the Washington Times closed down.
Those custom Google ads are the rage these days. Here's one from Gilbertology.
In light of the overwhelming backlash against the possibility of signing LeBron James this summer, I thought this was a relevant link to share. Steve Perrin of Clips Nation tries to explain why he too doesn't want James, finally settling on this answer.
Can you have the best player in the NBA on your roster, and still be the Clippers? If Blake Griffin were to become a truly elite player on that level, I'd have no problem with that. But the idea of rooting for an underdog team to persevere and work their way to the top loses some of its allure if it happens overnight with a single free agent signing. There's something un-Clipperian about it.
Don't get me wrong. I probably won't have to deal with this problem, since LeBron is unlikely to sign with the Clippers. And obviously, the Clippers must pursue him, because free agency is an important means of improviing the team, and he's arguably the best free agent ever. Almost as obviously, if he were to wind up in LA in red-white-and-blue, I'm sure I'd get over myself real quickly.
But does anyone else out there know what I'm saying? Does anyone else feel the same way, maybe just a little?
We're not the Clippers, but you could apply the same logic to us too.
Kyle remembers former Bullet
great flash in the pan Don MacLean. I had forgotten he existed.
Andrew Sharp remembers some of the most famous athlete feuds in NBA history. The LeBron James-DeShawn Stevenson one makes the list.