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Fight for Old DC is a blog covering all sports in and around the District. Main focus will be on the Capitals, Redskins, Nationals, Wizards, United, and Hokies (I know they aren't DC, but it's my alma mater). Enjoy!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Caps Rock the Red, Rock the Preds 4-3 (OT)

Image Courtesy of

Hats off to Alex Semin. He currently leads the NHL in points and is tied for the lead in goals. As I wrote the other night, he's making the kind of plays that only a really special player can make, and the more and more I see him play (although this time on replay), the more impressed I become. I do not consider myself to be a hockey expert by any stretch of the imagination. I know the basics that a fan would typically know, but I've never played and I don't know the nuances nearly as well as I do with football. However, I do feel like I know about the makeup of a successful team, and I see a lot of good signs with this 08-09 Caps squad (hats of to Ted Leonsis) AGAIN for the rebuilding efforts). Alex Semin is a major reason for the success of this team currently, and will continue to be so for the next several years. Semin is the quiet leader that goes out, takes care of his business, skates hard, and pulls hard for his teammates (albeit rather quietly). Semin is also the type of player that makes a special kind of play. The kind of play that can lift his team up to new heights, and can demoralize an opposing team. The amazing part of this is because he's able to do it so quietly. Ovechkin plays every game like a kid that loves the game. Semin plays every game like a veteran that's been there before and knows how to get the job done. While we all love Alex Ovechkin and all that his greatness brings to the ice, the Washington Capitals need a player like Alex Semin to compliment him. I'm not speaking in terms of a Batman-Robin relationship. I don't feel like it's fair to say that Semin is a "sidekick" to Ovechkin's star, but rather his alter-ego that provides a steadying, almost calming confidence to this franchise. Ovie is the volatile, excitable, fun-loving star that D.C. Hockey needs, but Alex Semin is the steadying force behind a potential championship-caliber franchise. If the Caps hope to hoist the cup in the next few seasons, look for Semin's contributions to matter every bit as much as Ovechkin's. His exploits may be a little quieter, but that doesn't mean he shouldn't win the hearts, or the respect of all Caps fans.

As for the 4-3 Victory, Kudos go to...

Bruce Boudreau, for continuing to push the right buttons (considering the absences of Ovie and Poti), as well as this freakin' sweet commercial.

Next up: @ Buffalo Sabres, 11/1 7:00pm

Monday, October 27, 2008

Matt Millen Has Ruined My Life

Photo Courtesy of Mr. Irrelevant.

Matt Millen did this to me. Life can be hard as a seven-year-old, but it's a million times harder when you're a Lions fan that just doesn't know any better. Unlike the other kids across America, I have very little to look forward to on Sundays when my "team" takes the field in "competition." All I wanted this year was to watch my Lions finally win some games and make me proud. You killed that Mr. Millen. My daddy thought introducing me to football would teach me how to be a man, and be a great way to bond, but being a Lions fan has only sent my world into confusion. Fans like to dress up for games to honor their teams. The only way to honor mine is to dress accordingly, hence the pussy face paint. Now, thanks to you Millen, I'm going to spend my school days getting my ass kicked because all the other kids that are smart enough to know not go to Lions games will be giving me wedgies and shoving me into lockers. I'll probably miss a few days of school because of the head injuries and fail the 2nd grade. Because of your terrible drafts, I'll never get a proper education, and I'll never be able to find a good job. I'll be too poor to own a TV, let alone eat, but rest assured I can still go to Lions games, because the seats will always be open and people can't give them away. Hell, I'll probably spend the rest of my poor, homeless life as a Lions fan, hoping for them to finally crawl out of the hole you've dug, crying to myself while performing various homosexual favors for KFC coupons. Think of that image while you try to sleep in your forty-bedroom mansion that you didn't earn. My sexual ambiguity and crushed dreams are a direct result of your mismanagement. And you're mad you didn't get paid for the job you did.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Postgame Thoughts: Avoiding Choke Job v. 2.0

Despite the Redskins best efforts to blow an easy game, they took home a very hard-fought 25-17 victory from the jaws of defeat. While I'm not at all thrilled with our inability to dominate a team that we should have, I am extremely happy to be 6-2 headed into the Monday Nighter against Pittsburgh. Some costly mistakes and some unfortunate injuries kept this game close into the 4th quarter, but I'm not ready to sound the alarm that we're an overrated team. I think we all learned how invaluable Chris Samuels, Chris Horton, and Cornelius Griffin really are to this team. While Cedric Golston had a strong outing, Griffin's presence in the middle was sorely missed and would have spelled big trouble if we hadn't dominated time of possessions so well. Secondly, you didn't have the extra man in Horton flying to the ball after every play. His ball hawking skills have really made a huge difference in his rookie campaign.

Stephon Heyer is easily the biggest cause for concern in terms of injuries. Heyer was dominated on the line of scrimmage, and looked lost and slow on the left side. If Samuels goes down for any prolonged amount of time, this offense could be in serious trouble against the tremendous pass rushers of the NFC East. The other big concerns have to be Jon Jansen's untimely penalties, and a continued concerted effort to keep Rock Cartwright at the bottom of the depth chart. Shaun Alexander does not run hard, and fails to show why he is any more serviceable than Rock. Once Betts is 100%, I'll feel much better. Seeing Portis go down at the end of that 31-yard run was scary.

On the lighter side, Santana Moss showed up in a big way. Campbell not only found him nine times for 140 yards, but also managed to get the ball to Cooley (6 catches) and Randle El (3 catches). Campbell was extremely accurate from deep balls to check downs, and we should all be encouraged by the second half effort. Based on today's performance, teams will not be able to key off on Portis as much, knowing that Moss remains a viable threat downfield. Helmet stickers on defense go to London Fletcher (sick hit on Johnson to seal the game), Carlos Rogers (holding Johnson to 4 catches), and Rocky McIntosh (for several nice open field tackles and nice pass coverage).

Looking forward, this win is huge, but next week will be a huge boost if we can pull off a win. Hopefully that extra rest for our starters will have us ready for the brutally physical game we'll have to play next week in order to beat the Steelers. I'm keeping my fingers crossed.

Week 8: @ Detroit

I was worried about the Rams game. It was the standard "Redskins shit the bed" game. Sure enough, the Redskins shit the bed, and the people panicked. Having just gotten my Redskins tattoo, I was pretty angry that it was going jinx the season. Our heroes managed to bounce back to win an ugly one against the Browns last week, and seem poised to move to 6-2 going into the Monday night showdown against Big Ben and the Steelworkers. There's a little business to be taken care of today at Ford Field, and the Skins best be focused. Don't get me wrong, this Lions squad is terrible. Awful. Stupid. There will be no excuses if the Skins don't win by at least two touchdowns today. While we've been playing well lately, teams see that our passing game has been nothing more than run-of-the-mill. I do feel that we have been keeping teams somewhat honest with some timely passes. However, the passing game seems limited, and not nearly as scary as it was going into the Philadelphia game. Unless we start to establish ourselves as a consistent (note: consistency is NOT Santana Moss going missing for two weeks) passing offense, teams will eventually figure out a way to stop Clinton Portis. It's all well and good that Jason Campbell has yet to throw an INT this season, but I'd rather see us take a few more deep shots than try and preserve the record with a conservative passing game. Here are a few things to look for today besides Campbell's deep balls:

  • Portis- How long will he play? I suspect if we get an early lead, Clinton will get his standard 120, and we'll see a lot of Rock Cartwright. You heard me. I said Rock. I'll put Shaun Alexander's carries at <5>
  • D-Line Pressure- Can we generate a pass-rush today without bringing the house? This team needs to learn how to get to the quarterback against a terrible line (see: failures against STL), and get into an opposing quarterback's head. Today provides a great opportunity for this. This game will be about building more confidence in the defensive line, and we'll need that down the stretch. While the defense is playing lights-out ball (6th overall in the league), we won't stay that way without generating some pressure on the QB.
  • Turnovers- Can we avoid any stupid turnovers, and can we create some easy points against a team that is known for boneheaded plays and poor coaching? If we can create 2-3 turnovers today, expect a blowout of epic proportions.
Zorn should have his troops ready to maul the Lions today. I fully believe that he expects no less than a blowout, and that's hopefully what we'll see. I'm predicting 120 out of Clinton, 3 Campbell TD passes, a turnover directly leading to a score, and a partridge in a pear tree. Detroit will be lucky to pull off any points against our defense, but Calvin Johnson alone will probably manage to find the endzone. I know people have been saying it every week, but keep your eyes peeled for #11 in the burgundy and gold today. This is a great chance to get him some major work.

Redskins 38
Lions 10

**Bonus Kicking-Them-While-They're-Down Pick:

Fighting Jeff Garcias 23
Cowgirls 6

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Caps Finish Up 1st Road Swing on High Note

At least one of my teams decided to have an offense today. The Caps prevailed in a 6-5 nail biter earlier this evening, powered by Sergei Federov (2 goals), The Flash (2 goals), and a strong effort from netminder Jose Theodore (28 saves). Not the prettiest wins, but considering the lackluster performances at Calgary and Phoenix, this win was well needed and well deserved. A few thoughts about the win, both positives and negatives...

What I Liked:
  • Creating Strong Scoring Chances- The Caps seemed to spend the entire third period making Marty Turco stand on his head. Turco earned his keep tonight, and despite giving up six goals, he had a strong showing without much defensive support. The Caps offense moved with great fluidity and seemed to create space for scoring opportunities while confusing the Stars' defenders. Without Turco's efforts in the 3rd period, the game could have easily gotten out of hand.
  • Young and Old- Sergei Federov is playing like a selfless 28-year-old in a 38-year-old body, and his play is energizing his linemates and the team as a whole. The Caps also have to like the efforts of Tomas Fleischmann (24), who picked up the slack tonight when the team needed some secondary scoring.
  • Alex Semin's Dominating Presence- Semin has now accounted for 14 points in 8 games, and is showing no signs of slowing down. He continues to come through in the clutch, and did a great job of generating opportunities tonight with his great positioning. That game-winning wrister was a special shot by a special kind of player.
What I Didn't Like
  • "Power" Play- While we went 1 for 4 tonight, the power play attack only generated 3 shots and didn't seem to intimidate the defense at all. Crashing the net doesn't seem to be an option, and the offense is being out-muscled on every contested puck. This team must become more physical if they hope to repeat as Southeast Champions, let alone a Stanley Cup.
  • Ovie's Absence- Obviously we're looking at a six-game goal drought. While it's nice to see other Caps picking up the slack, it's never good to have your star player in a scoring funk.
  • Defensive Toughness- The blue-liners are really missing the presence of Tom Poti, and it showed in at least 4 of the Stars' goals tonight. Washington's defense is not clearing people out of Theodore's face, and rebound chances are getting out of hand. Someone needs to step up as an enforcer in front of the net, and fast.
Kudos go to...

Tyler Sloan for his first career NHL goal. Congratulations go out to the Calgary native, who's certainly not known for lighting the lamp.

Next up: Nashville Predators @ Verizon Center, 10/28 7:00pm

FSU Second Half Thoughts

  • Defensive line is getting strong push up front early on in the half, which is promising, but the tackling continues to be a little suspect.
  • Cody Grimm is having a monster game so far. It seems like he's been in on every big tackle this afternoon.
  • Macho Harris has played well with the ball in his hands today, but that was a STUPID play running back through the endzone on that punt return.
  • We always have a big special teams screw up against FSU, so credit Eddie Whitley with the typical bonehead play. I hate Florida State.
  • And Glennon gets absolutely destroyed. We're done.
  • Can we talk about overdone cheers? The war chant makes me want to punch someone.
  • Sims fumbles that ball based on the video evidence. Unfortunately, the ACC is not only the worst conference, but has the worst refs.
  • This team looks like they have had the wind knocked out out of them. It's hard to say I blame them.
  • Cory Holt has some serious guts. While at this point I'd be surprised if we win this game, it's nice to see the fight in the team and for a classy guy like Holt to get a chance to step up.
  • Nice to see that we didn't completely fold today, but it was a tough afternoon, A for effort (except for the offensive line, which gets an F).

FSU First Half Thoughts

  • Nice return on the opening kickoff by Dyrell Roberts, way to set the tempo--until Tyrod gets taken out on play #1. Initial thoughts would be that he's done for the year. Looks like we get the immortal jackass Sean Glennon again...
  • And Glennon still can't throw the deep ball. So much for his claims of being able to "pick defenses apart." I'd rather have Taylor's inexperience and talent.
  • Ref is VERY EXCITED about the first false start penalty!! Gotta love 3-and-outs. Pretty piss poor play calling round Steiny. Maybe you want to lose your job after all. In his defense, early penalties don't help either.
  • Jason Worilds is a monster when he wants to be, that was an amazing tackle in the backfield.
  • Nice first series on defense--the tackling is looking good
  • Macho had a nice play on Carr, and contrary to what the announcers said, that was not pass interference.
  • God I love draw plays on first down. Thanks Steinspring. Thank the defense for the 3-0 usual.
  • Looks like the offense is starting to open up now, with two nice passes to Macho and Boykin, and go ahead and add some help from a blatant face mask. Steinspring gets some rare credit from me when I say that was a VERY well called series of plays.
  • So the offense shows some flashes and the defense breaks down. We need to put an entire game together if we expect to compete for the ACC title.
  • It amazes me that this team seemed so mature at the beginning of the season, and continues to beat itself with stupid penalties. Great catch by Boykin to bail Ed Wang out. He no brock werr.
  • Danny Coale's catch was as clutch as you'll find with this offense all year.
  • All in all, I was right on point with the 13-10, but obviously that pick was for the entire game. I give the defense a B/B-, and the offense a C for the half. Here's hoping we can pick up the pace a little.

Pregame Hokie Thoughts: FSU Game

If you feel like you're having a hard time getting pumped up for this week's matchup against the Seminoles, let me provide you a little motivation. I'm sorry that I had to subject you all to that, but I think that Peter Warrick is still running away from Ronyell Whitaker as I write this sentence. I will always hate Florida State, and so should you. While last year was nice to exorcise some demons in our 40-21 victory, it will take at least another 20 to make me feel any better. Following our "offensive" debacle last week, there are a few things that I will be looking for today, playing against a much better defense and far better coach in Bowden and his Seminoles.
  • Offensive line- How are they firing off the ball? If they are pushed back on every play like the last few weeks, we have little hope of winning. Tyrod needs to start this game with confidence, and that comes from a strong (and consistent) run game from Darren Evans, and legitimate protection. There were points last week when T-Mobile had the time to hit an open receiver, but he would pull it down too quickly or someone would have a mental lapse and kill the play. These things can be avoided with a little early offensive line consistency.
  • Confidence- How does Taylor respond to such a miserable outing? Coaches have been saying that Taylor does a great job of keeping a cool head under pressure, but it has been apparent at times this year that he has grown frustrated with the line and playcalling early on in games. He's done well in the past in hostile environments, but he's been shaky at best this year. It will be interesting to see if we will see the Nebraska version of Taylor or the BC version. Whichever one shows up will go a long way towards determining who will control this football game.
  • Tackling- While the defense did quite a bit to bail out the offense last week in Chestnut Hill (2 TDs accounting for most of our scoring), they had some obvious deficiencies, most notably tackling. Bud Foster's crew was out on the field early and often last week, and fatigue led to sloppy tackling and extended drives. The defense was weak on defending third downs, and needs to tighten up in order for this team to be successful.
All that being said, most of the blame has to go onto the offensive coaching staff for poor preparation and somewhat poor playcalling. Steinspring is looking like he's 1-2 more poor performances away from being ousted at the end of the season. However, much like our buddy Al Groh, Steinspring also manages to do just enough to keep his job. Bud Foster has to have one eye on that Clemson job with Steiny still in place at OC. I can't say I blame him. All this being said, I think the Hokies O-line will step up today, and Tyrod will do just enough to win. The defense is a prideful group, and I think we have a good chance of controlling a tough, low-scoring game today.

Virginia Tech 13 Florida State 10