Winter Classic, Wizards & More…

Steve O Speak

By Guest Blogger John Manuel:

The Winter Classic is now just days away and finally the Caps are showing some life.  Winning three out of four with only the shootout loss against the rival Pens.  Saturdays upcoming game will be interesting if the weather does produce rain.  I don’t have a hockey playing background so I am not sure how this will effect the game.  Feel free to comment.  This game is huge but we all know what it will come down to is the playoffs.  Winning the Southeast Division is nice but it seems to not matter.  Visiting teams can win in the playoffs.  Its all about getting in and playing your best for those couple months.

I still think the Caps will make a major move before the trade deadline.  They have some cap room and General Manager George McPhee and Coach Bruce Boudreau could be under fire if the Caps do not produce in the playoffs.  Players like Martin Brodeur or Jerome Iginla could be available.  Most of all they will need their big guns to produce come this Spring.  Mike Green hasn’t shown up in the past two playoffs and Alex Semin had a tough past playoff run. Green is key and changes the whole team but him and his sweet scooter will be under a lot of pressure.  You have to wonder if this why he was left off Team Canada for not being a big game player.

The Caps have a few months to see if Mattheiu Perrault and Marcus Johansson are going to be immediate impact players for the playoffs.  Perrault is fun to watch and looks to be getting more confident although the Tim Gleason hit may set him back a short time.  But what we have seen from the 24/7 show is that hockey players are crazy tough and have the scars to show.  Thank you HBO for the facial closeups on the interview.  The show is great and I won’t even make comments on cursing.  It was great to see a vet like Mike Knuble step up.  This what makes the show great.  Could you imagine if they had done 24/7 or Hard Knocks on the Skins this season?

On the Wizards front, the Rashard Lewis is off and running to more road losses.   Lewis has made it to the starting lineup but more talk is about his contract.  There is doubt that someone will take on his current deal so we are probably stuck with hoping he can bridge the gap until the Wizards are real players.  The trade was simple, get rid of Gilbert no matter what they could get.  Good to see Nick Young get major minutes.  I think he can still be a viable option at shooting guard for the future.  And watch out for JaVale and Andray at the bars now.  It seems like these two find themselves into Flip Saunders doghouse way too much.  Could see them both gone at some point.  McGee has a lot of potential to be something but we said the same about Brendan Haywood and he was a marginal NBA center we kept waiting to take the next step.  He kinda did and then we traded him.

The recent loss to the Heat was brutal.  Had the game in hand until the final minutes and blew it.  Its going to be a tough season but just hang on until they open the lottery cards in Seacacus.  Winning again is not out of the realm of possibilities.  Adding a Perry Jones, Harrison Barnes and hopefully Jared Sullinger to run with Wall is a start.  I have watched more Wizards basketball this season than I would have expected even with Wall missing games with injuries.  They have come to play against good teams many nights and have energy.  Then again I haven’t been racing down 95 to get to the Verizon Center either.

I wanted to add that it was great to see the Yankees miss out on Cliff Lee.  Finally someone turned down their money.  My favorite part was when Sportscenter played some Yankee radio callers after the news broke crying about Lee’s decision to return to Philly.  Still think the Yankees will make something happen before the season since the Red Sox made major additions.  I hope both teams blow next season but that probably won’t happen.

And finally thanks to the San Diego Chargers loss to two win Cincy, my 40-1 bet on them winning the Super Bowl is done.  Didn’t count on it but thought they would at least make the playoffs.  The Chiefs deserve to go and San Diego has to endure another season of Norv Turner.

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