Last Two Weeks: 6-0
Place: First in the Southeast
The Caps roared through the holidays, racking up a six-game win streak and handily beating down the Rangers on Saturday in a defensive slugfest. The 2-1 victory saw the return of Alexander Semin as well as Semin’s first (slap)fight of his NHL career. With the injury bug now behind them, the Caps are in prime position to pull away from the ‘Canes (10 points behind) and cement their playoff position for April.
Ovechkin and company have the best 40-game start in franchise history, another feather in Coach Boudreau’s cap. However, Ovechkin was snubbed on Saturday when the NHL All-Star teams were announced; due to Montreal fan chicanery, Ovie finished sixth in the overall voting and won’t be on the starting lineup. Boudreau’s quote on ESPN: “It’s dumb. It’s not right the best player in the game is not a starter.”
All of us here at WLDC totally agree (even Ben!). Ovie should be joining Crosby and Malkin on the top line, not on-again-off-again Kovalev, oft-injured Koivu or flash-in-the-pan Tanguay. But alas, Habs fans are rabid and were out to fix the voting, hence Ovie receiving less than 500,000 votes (compared to the 1.2 million each Habs player received). We’ll see who the real All-Star is come January 25th.
Last Two Weeks: 3-4
Place: Last in the Southeast, 4 games back of Charlotte
With a win last night against the Cavs, the Wizards are starting to look more and more like a .400 ballclub, instead of the .219 club they’re showing. 3 of their season’s 7 wins have come in the last two weeks, and not all of them have come at the expense of teams worse than they are. They picked up wins against the 27-6 Cavaliers and the 20-12 Houston Rockets, both of whom are having strong seasons.
Antawn Jamison finally broke out of his slump last week, hanging 30 on the Rockets in Houston and leading the Wizards to a late victory.
The Wiz play three this week. Tomorrow they’re at Orlando, then come home to the Phone Booth for a 7pm start against the Raptors, then it’s off to Chicago on Friday to play the Bulls.
The Skins are done for the year, spending another season at 8-8, watching the playoffs happen without them. New coach Jim Zorn made a huge difference in his freshman year, though, bringing the team together under new leadership. The middle of the season brought a nasty four game slump that proved to be their undoing. Now begins the off-season, and it may well be a quiet one for the Redskins. All the signals point to a dearth of new acquisitions. A solid quarterback in Jason Campbell, plus a decent offense means that they’ll likely hold their hand pat. Nothing will happen until late February at the earliest
Pitchers and Catchers report in just under six weeks. I’m going to repeat that, because it bears repeating: Pitchers and Catchers is less than six weeks away. And, because it’s 2009, that means we get a World Baseball Classic in March! Opening Day is Three Months from today! So, there’s something to be excited about, Nationals fans, despite the loss of Teixeira to the hated Yankees.