Whew. I don’t know about you, dear reader, but today I am an emotional mess. That overtime gold medal hockey game yesterday was a heart-wrencher, a true rollercoaster run. But, that means the Olympics are now done, and we can return to cheering for the Caps and Wizards, and to start thinking about the Baseball season.
Record: 41-13-8 (90pts)
Last Two Weeks: None
Place: 1st in the East
The Caps have begun to reassemble, skating yesterday and today at Kettler, and getting ready to head up to Buffalo for Wednesday night’s first game back against Ryan Miller and the Sabres. The Caps then come back to the Phone Booth to face off with Tampa Thursday night, and then the Rangers on Saturday. Hopefully the Caps will be able to move past their three-loss streak heading into the Olympic break, and clinch their title quickly. The Caps have a 13-point lead on their nearest conference foe, and 27 on their nearest division rival. It’s been a pretty amazing run for the Caps, let’s hope it’s an easy and injury-free road to the Playoffs.
Last Two Weeks: 4-3
Place: Last in the Southeast
It’s hard to say it, but the Wizards are as bad as the Caps are good. It’s not all their fault, though, as management seems to be hellbent on selling off every able pair of hands. Andray Blatche is all that remains of the 2007 Wizards, and he remains just about the only good thing that the Wizards have going for them. His 36-point performance on Sunday night against the Nets lead the Wizards to their first .500+ two week period all season.
As was noted earlier, Josh Howard has been diagnosed with a torn ACL and is done for the season, a crushing blow to half of the trade that took Caron Butler and Brendan Haywood to the Mavs. Howard’s playing time was limited at first due to a strain, which was then diagnosed as a tear. He’ll be back next season, but the mental blow to the wizards isn’t to be ignored.
The Nats are back in camp, with pretty much everyone reported. Josh Willingham is still tending to his family after the birth of his son, but he’ll be in camp before long. Stephen Strasburg is throwing in the pen, the Nats have the #1 draft pick in this year’s draft, and hell, even Livo’s crazy performance streak is back in DC for another season. There’s cause to believe that the Nats will win 70 games this year, and maybe even 75.
Sure, there are questions about the squad, like what to do with Ian Desmond at shortstop, or what the order in the bullpen will look like, or when Strasburg will join the rotation. There are always questions in the Spring. They’re part of that same preparation that the players are making now, they’re part of the same processes we see every Spring in every baseball town in North America.
The Nats play their first Spring games on Thursday, with split-squad games against Houston and Florida. First broadcast is Tuesday next, when Charlie Slowes will fire up the mic, and will hopefully say, “Bang Zoom go the Fireworks, another curly W is in the books.” That will be a great day.