Posts Tagged ‘Washington Capitals’

The Divisional round of the NFL playoffs kicks off today with two games. The other two games are Sunday. Just like last week I’m going to put your Saturday picks in here to keep us honest. Mr. Fantasy and I will let you know who we’re all going with on Sunday’s podcast. The first game has the Seattle Seahawks at the Atlanta Falcons. We are split on this game as Mr. Fantasy and Schaumburg Stu are going with the Falcons and Dan the Man and I are taking the Seahawks. The second game today has the Houston Texans at the New England Patriots. This was the only game this weekend we all agreed on and no surprise we all picked the Patriots to win this one.

Because of the weather in the Kansas City area the NFL adjusted the Sunday schedule to try and make travel safer for everyone getting to and from the game. The Pittsburgh Steelers at the Kansas City Chiefs game was originally scheduled to kickoff at 12:05 p.m. but with the weather situation in the area the game has been moved to a 7:20 p.m. kickoff time. The other game on Sunday hasn’t been moved. It’s still a 3:40 p.m. kickoff time for the Green Bay Packers at the Dallas Cowboys.

Back in Week 6 the Seahawks beat the Falcons 26-24 in Seattle. Atlanta was driving at the end of the game and with the clock running down Matt Ryan tried to hit Julio Jones with a long pass down the middle of the field. It appeared as though Richard Sherman interfered with Jones on the play, but there was no penalty called. What I’m trying to figure out is why everyone thinks that if pass interference would’ve been called on that play that Atlanta would’ve won it. Even if the penalty had been called the football would’ve been at the Seattle 35 yard line. Now that means it would’ve been a 52 yard field goal that Matt Bryant would’ve needed to make for the Falcons to win the game. What I’m not understanding is why everyone thinks that a 52 yard field goal is a gimme and that Atlanta would win. Bryant is a very good kicker. He made 34 of 37 field goal attempts with a long of 59 yards, but two of his three misses on the season where from 50+ yards. Bryant also missed one extra point this season. Apparently the first game between these two teams featured the only missed call by a referee in the NFL this season and then a guarantee that a kicker would make a 52 yard field goal. I can’t be the only one who thinks this is ridiculous.

The Patriots/Texans game is also a rematch from the regular season. In Week 3 the Patriots beat the Texans 27-0 in New England. Since this game was back in Week 3 Tom Brady was suspended and Jimmy Garoppolo was injured; so that means Jacoby Brissett was the Patriots quarterback for the game. Now neither team is the same as they where back in Week 3, but New England is favorite by 15 1/2 to 17 points in the betting lines. That’s a very big point spread for a playoff game. Brock Osweiler started the game in Week 3 and he’ll be under center for Houston tonight. Osweiler went 24 of 41 for 196 yards with an interception in Week 3. Lamar Miller ran for 80 yards on 21 carries in that game and Ryan Griffin caught 8 passes for the Texans. Houston is also coming into this game with the #1 ranked defense in the NFL. Now back in Week 14 the Patriots faced the #1 defense of the Baltimore Ravens. Tom Brady threw for 406 yards against that defense as New England won 30-23. We’ll have to see if we get a good game or if we get the big win that the odds are predicting.

There was a marquee match up in the NHL last night as the Washington capitals hosted the Chicago Blackhawks. Both teams had 59 points coming into the game, but you wouldn’t know that by the way the game went. Washington totally embarrassed Chicago skating to a very easy 6-0 win. The Capitals put the game away very early as they scored three goals in the 1st period. Jay Beagle started the scoring for Washington with his 7th goal of the year. :13 seconds later Nicholas Backstrom made it 2-0 with his 12th goal of the season. Brett Connolly picked up his 6th goal of the season to make to score 3-0 with just under three minutes left in the 1st period. The Blackhawks managed to hold the Capitals to just one goal in the 2nd period. Tom Wilson scored for Washington with three minutes left in the period. It was Wilson 3rd goal of the season putting Washington up 4-0 after two periods. T.J. Oshie scored his 12th goal of the game just about eight minutes in to the 3rd period to make the score 5-0. Beagle then picked up his 2nd goal of the night and his 8th on the season with about 1:30 left to play.

Braden Holtby made 24 saves to post his league leading 6th shutout. With the shoutout Holtby’s Goals Against Average dropped to 1.85 for the season. All-Star Corey Crawford was a joke in goal for the Blackhawks as he allowed 5 goals on 30 shots. Even the Blackhawks back up goaltender Scott Darling found a way to give up a goal as he was beaten 1 time out of the 4 shots he faced.

It would be great if Blackhawks fans could say that the team was just looking ahead to there game against the Minnesota Wild on Sunday, but I don’t think that was the case. Now Minnesota is just two points behind the Blackhawks in the Central division standings of the Western Conference and if Minnesota wins there game tonight against the Dallas Stars the teams each have 59 points when they met on Sunday.

The NBA regular season is just about halfway over and Russell Westbrook just picked up his 19th triple-double of the season. Westbrook had 21 points, 12 assists and 11 rebounds, but also had 10 turnovers as the Oklahoma City Thunder lost to the Minnesota Timberwolves 96-86 last night. Westbrook had a rough shooting night going 7 of 23 in the game and just 1 of 10 from behind the 3-point line.

According to records; Westbrook is the only player since 1973-74 to record multiple triple-doubles with at least 10 turnovers in a single season.

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I have to say I was a little disappointed when the Pittsburgh Penguins series against the Washington Capitals ended last night. I know that sooner or later they all end, but I was really hoping for a Game 7 out of this one. At first there looked as though we’d have no shot at a Game 7. Phil Kessel gave the Penguins a 1-0 lead in the 1st period. Kessel also scored the next goal of the game on a power play to put the Penguins up 2-0. After Carl Hagelin added a power play goal to make it 3-0 Pittsburgh it seemed as though the game might be over. When Chris Kunitz took a tripping penalty late in the 2nd period it was pretty much a must score power play for the Capitals. T.J. Oshie was able to capitalize and get Washington on the board with a goal on that power play to make the game 3-1 and give the Capitals a lot of momentum heading into the 3rd period. Now 3 goals is still a lot to make up and Matt Murray has been one of the hottest goaltenders in the playoffs; so Washington had a big hill to climb. After Justin Williams cut the lead to 3-2 with a goal the Capitals where back in the game. The Penguins seemed to lose a little bit of their composure and actually ended up taking 3 straight delay of game penalties for flipping the puck over the glass and out of play. Now this could’ve cost the Penguins the game, but Washington only scored 1 power play goal in this time. It was John Carlson who evened up the game at 3-3 and at the least Washington was even. Believe it or not Pittsburgh actually took one more penalty in the 3rd period, but where able to kill it off and we where headed to overtime.The Penguins had a really good chance to win the when there was a bit of a scrum in front of the Capitals net, but some how Washington’s Jay Beagle was able to keep out a rebound attempt to keep the game going.  The about six and a half minutes intl the overtime period Hagelin had a good look at the goal, but Branden Holtby was able to make the save. Unfortunately Nick Bonino was right there on the door step of the goal and was able to put the puck into the net to win the game for Pittsburgh 4-3 and send the Capitals home. It was a huge loss for the Capitals as they won the President’s trophy with 120 points during the regular season and they appeared to be the favorite coming into the playoffs. The victory sends the Penguins into the Eastern Conference finals against the Tampa Bay Lighting.

Now I mentioned wanting a Game 7 and there are two in the Western Conference. First up the St, Louis Blues are at the Dallas Stars tonight in there Game 7 and then tomorrow night the Nashville Predators are at the San Jose Sharks as they face off in a Game 7. While the NHL seems to be 4th on the list of the 4 major sports their playoffs are as exciting if not more than the other 3 major sports.

So who’s been the best fantasy player so far this baseball season. Now we play in two larger category leagues and according to our rankings the best player so far has been the Houston Astros Jose Altuve. Altuve was ranked 14th at the time of our draft; so it’s not a huge jump for him to get to the top. Anthony Rizzo (Chicago Cubs) has moved up from his 13th spot pre-draft to 2nd overall right now. Manny Machado (Baltimore Orioles) has moved up three spots since the draft going from 7th to 3rd. A couple of big draft movers round out the Top 5. Jean Segura (Arizona Diamondbacks) was ranked 205th when our draft came around and he’s moved up to the 4th best fantasy player right now. Rounding out the Top 5 is Daniel Murphy (Washington Nationals) who was ranked 158th as we where drafting and is now 5th.

Pitching wise things haven’t changed t much since we drafted. Clayton Kershaw (Los Angeles Dodgers) was #1 going into the draft and he’s still the top fantasy pitcher. Chris Sale (Chicago White Sox) was ranked #2 as we where headed into our draft and he’s still there. Now as hard as it might’ve been to believe Jake Arrieta (Chicago Cubs) was ranked 3rd heading into our draft and according to our league he’s still at #3. The last two spots are where some guys have moved up since the draft. Johnny Cueto (San Francisco Giants) was ranked 65th overall in our league at the draft, but has moved up to the 4th best fantasy pitcher. The other big mover in our league is Jose Quintana (Chicago White Sox) he was ranked 137th overall and has found his way into the Top 5. Now obviously “It’s just May” and these rankings will change quite a bit; especially the pitching, but it’s always fun to see which players are out performing there pre-season rankings.

The Washington Nationals signed pitcher Steven Strasburg to a 7 year $175 million dollar contract this week. This came as a bit of a surprise as Strasburg is a Scott Boras client and he normally takes his players out onto the free agent market. Strasburg’s contract does have a couple of opt out clauses and some deferred money breaks down something like this.Strasburg gets a $10 million signing bonus payable on July 1, 2019, and salaries of $15 million each in 2017 and 2018, $35 million in 2019, $25 million in 2020, $15 million apiece in 2021 and ’22, and $45 million in 2023. There are salary deferrals of $30 million in 2019, $10 million in 2020 and $30 million in 2023. If he stays for the full seven seasons, Strasburg would get $15 million each year from 2017-23, followed by seven $10 million payments each July 1 from 2024-30. The use of a deferral structure is similar to the $210 million, seven-year deal that the Nationals gave another Boras client, right-hander Max Scherzer, before last season. Strasburg would earn a $1 million performance bonus each year for pitching 180 innings. The new contract has an escape clause: Strasburg can opt out and become a free agent after the 2019 or 2020 seasons. If Strasburg opts out after three seasons, $30 million deferred from his 2019 salary would be paid out in three $10 million installments each July 1 from 2020-22. If he opts out after four seasons, $40 million deferred from 2019 and 2020 would be paid out in four $10 million installments every July 1 from 2021-24.

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So counting today it’s just four days until the 2016 Major League Baseball season starts. The St, Louis Cardinals and the Pittsburgh Pirates start the season off at Noon followed by the Toronto Blue Jays taking on the Tampa Bay Rays. The night game features a rematch of last seasons World Series as the New York Mets take on the Kansas City Royals. All these games will be broadcast on either ESPN or ESPN-2. Now as you look at the schedule for Sunday April 3rd you’ll notice there’s a fourth game on the schedule. It has the Chicago Cubs taking on the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. This is just an exhibition game and while these two teams will open the regular season against each other on Monday this games doesn’t count in the standings. Now this is an incredibly stupid game scheduling. If you;re the Cubs or the Angels there’s no way you can play even one of the guys on your 25 man roster in this game. Why is this game even here? Just imagine if one of these tams starters got injured in this stupid game the day before the season is schedule to actually start. I would love to hear MLB try to explain why they put this game hear because I’m sure they have a very stupid reason for it, but it’s always good for a laugh when they try to make sense of something like this.

With the regular season getting ready to start we’ll be making our predictions for the 2016 season. I believe that Dan the Man and Schaumburg Stu have there’s all ready to go. I am in the process of finishing mine and I believe we’re still waiting on Mr. Fantasy to turn his in. I will get them all organized and they will appear right here in the Saturday blog as well

Last night the Minnesota Wild beat the Chicago Blackhawks 4-1 to sweep the season series; winning all 5 games the teams have played against each other. Unfortunately the Wild’s dominance of the Blackhawks this season wasn’t the story of the game. With 9:27 left in the 1st period Blackhawks defenseman Duncan Keith was ejected for swinging his stick and catching Minnesota Wild center Charlie Coyle in the face. Keith was assessed a match penalty for intent to injure and is suspended until the NHL can review the play. Keith has had an incident like this before was knocked to the ice by Coyle and retaliated by swinging his stick while laying on the ice. Coyle was left with blood dripping down the bridge of his nose. The penalty left the Blackhawks shorthanded for five minutes, though the Wild did not score during the extended power play. The ejection left the Blackhawks without two key defensemen since Brent Seabrook missed the game because of illness. Keith has had an incident like this before. He was previous suspension, in the 2013 playoffs for swinging his stick and hitting Los Angeles Kings forward Jeff Carter in the face. The Blackhawks have 5 games left in the regular season. Friday night against the Winnipeg Jets, April 3rd against the Boston Bruins, April 5th against the Arizona Coyotes, April 7th against the St. Louis Blues and April 9th against the Columbus Blue Jackets. Now I wouldn’t be surprised if the NHL keeps Keith out for the rest of the regular season. Now Keith is one of the best defenseman in the NHL and the Blackhawks would miss him in those 5 games. This may not be the worst thing for Keith. He plays a lot of minutes for the Blackhawks and the time off might be good for him heading into the playoffs. The Blackhawks are trying to repeat as Stanley Cup champions. A feat that hasn’t been done since the Detroit Red Wings did it in 1996-97 and 97-98 seasons.

The Washington Capitals have clinched the President’s trophy. The President’s Trophy is an award presented by the NHL to the team that finishes with the most points during the NHL regular season. As the team with the best regular season record, the President’s Trophy winner is guaranteed home-ice advantage in all four rounds of the Stanley Cup playoffs, provided they advance that far. However, it does not guarantee that success; only eight of these winners have gone on to win the Stanley Cup. The last team to win both the President’s Trophy and the Stanley Cup in the same season was the 2012–13 Chicago Blackhawks. The Capitals last won the President’s trophy in the 2009-10 season, but they where beaten in the Quarterfinals by the Montreal Canadiens. I mentioned us making picks a little earlier and in case you don;t remember Dan the Man had the Capitals winning the Stanley Cup at the start of the season.

If you’re a New York Mets fan you had to be a little concerned when the news came out that Matt Harvey was going to miss his last spring training start. The reason that was giving was that Harvey had a non-baseball related issue. At that time there was also a chance that Harvey would miss his schedule opening day start against the Kansas City Royals. As it turned out Harvey was dealing with a blood clot in his bladder as well as a bladder infection. Now the Mets play their last spring training game today against the Washington nationals and luckily for Harvey his medical issues have cleared up and he’s going to start the game today and will be on schedule to start opening day for the Mets. Harvey is schedule to pitch 2 innings against the Nationals and then Noah Syndergaard who was originally schedule to make today’s start will take over on the mound. Harvey is 1-1 with a 6.30 ERA in three starts this spring while Syndergaard has a 2.04 ERA in four appearances.

It seemed like there where reports all winter long that the Texas Rangers might add a catcher. Well they waited until the end of spring training to make a deal. The Rangers acquired catcher Bryan Holaday from the Detroit Tigers in exchange for catcher Bobby Wilson and righthander Myles Jaye. Holaday who is from Dallas has had a terrific spring training, but he found himself 3rd on the Tigers depth chart at catcher behind starter James McCann and off-season acquisition Jarrod Saltalamacchia. Holaday was out of minor league options; so the Tigers could expose him to waivers and hope he wasn’t claimed by another team or deal him; which they choose to do. Holaday was recently scratched from Monday’s game to get a thumb issue checked out, but was cleared for action. The Houston Astros where another team that had been reported to be looking for a catcher this spring. On Monday they completed a deal with the San Diego Padres for catcher Eric Kratz. The Padres/Astros trade is believed to have expedited the deal between the Tigers and the Rangers for Holaday.

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Believe it or not the Golden State Warriors did it to another contender. This time the San Antonio Spurs fell victim to a 30 point Warriors blow out 120-90 on Monday night. Tim Duncan was held out of the game due to a knee issue, but even if Duncan had played it wouldn’t of changed the outcome of the game. The Warriors took a 6-point lead after the 1st quarter 29-23. Golden State added 9 points to the lead going into halftime 62-47. The Warriors out the game away in the 3rd quarter adding 14 points to there lead 95-66. The Golden State lead was big enough after 3 quarters for Stephan Curry to sit out the entire 4th quarter. Even without Curry in the 4th the Warriors outscored the Spurs 25-24 to get another 30 point victory over a team many experts thought might be an NBA title contender.

Curry led the way for Golden State with 37 points in 28 minutes of game action. Draymond Green and Klay Thompson were the other Warriors starters scoring in double figures with 11 points apiece. Brandon Rush and Shaun Livingston came off the Warriors bench to score 13 points; Marreese Speights added 12 points off the Golden State bench as well. Green led Golden State in both rebounds with 9 and assists with 6.

San Antonio was led by Kawhi Leonard in scoring with 16 points. David West was the only other Spurs starter to score in double figures with 12. but Boban Marjanovic did come off the San Antonio bench to score 12 points. Marjanovic also grabbed a team high 6 rebounds while Tony Parker, Danny Green and Manu Ginobili all tied for the team lead in assists with 3.

The Warriors improved to 21-0 at home and 41-4 overall. The loss was the Spurs 7th of the season; all on the road and there record dropped to 38-7. Golden State is back in action tonight as they play host to the Dallas Mavericks. The Mavericks are 26-21 on the season, but just 13-13 on the road. Can they be the team to hand the Warriors their 1st home loss of the season? If Golden State gets a win tonight over Dallas they’ll take their winning streak on a 3 game road trip starting Saturday in Philadelphia against the 76ers. The game against the 76ers is the first of a back to back as Sunday night the Warriors face off against the New York Knicks. After the back to back the Warriors get a couple of days off before going up against the Washington Wizards to end the road trip. Philadelphia is 7-39 on the season and it would be the biggest upset in I don’t know how long if they beat the Warriors. Back to backs are always tough for teams; so maybe the Knicks have an outside shot at getting a win against Golden State. The Knicks are 22-25, but do have a winning record (13-10) at home. The Wizards have been a bit of a disappointment this season. They’re 20-23 this season and have actually played better on the road than they have at home. Don’t forget that the Warriors did stumble on their last road trip and lost a game to the Detroit Pistons. Could we see something like that happen on this road trip? It’s doubtful with the match ups they have; Detroit is 24-21 and looking to grab an Eastern Conference playoff spot this season.

There are 4 games left on the NHL schedule tonight before the teams head into the All-Star break. The Toronto Maple Leafs take on the Tampa Bay Lighting. The Philadelphia Flyers take on the Washington Capitals. The Nashville Predators take on the Calgary Flames and the night wraps up with the Colorado Avalanche against the Los Angeles Kings. Win or lose tonight the Capitals will head into the All-Star break with the most points. Washington has 73 points heading into tonight’s game against Philadelphia. Washington is followed by the Chicago Blackhawks with 70 points. The Dallas Stars are next with 67 points. Then the St. Louis Blues have 64 points while the Kings and the Florida Panthers are tied at 63 points. Three of the those teams (Blackhawks, Stars and Blues) all come from the Western Conference Central division.

The Blackhawks Patrick Kane leads the NHL in scoring with 73 points. Kane also leads in goals with 30 and assists with 43. Jamie Benn of the Stars is 2nd in scoring with 58 points and his teammate Tyler Seguin is 3rd with 53 points. Ottawa Senators defenseman Erik Karlsson is 4th in scoring with 52 points and Joe Pavelski of the San Jose Sharks rounds out the Top 5 scorers with 49 points. Benn and Washington’s Alex Ovechkin trail Kane by 2 goals with 28 each then comes Sequin, Pavelski and the Blues Vladimir Tarasenko with 26 goals each. Karlsson trails Kane by 2 assists with 41 on the season. Blake Wheeler of the Winnipeg Jets is 3rd with 35 assists. John Klingberg from the Stars is 4th with 34 assists and then P.K. Subban of the Montreal Canadiens and Evgeny Kuznetsov of the Capitals are tied for 5th with 33 assists.

Washington’s Braden Holtby leads all goaltenders in wins with 30. Chicago’s Corey Crawford is next with 28 wins then Jonathan Quick of the Kings comes in with 26 wins.  Henrik Lundqvist of the New York Rangers and Martin Jones of the Sharks are tied with 23 wins. John Gibson of the Anaheim Ducks has the best Goals Against Average at 1.91. Holtby is next at 2.01 with Ben Bishop of the Tampa Bay Lighting eight behind him at 2.02. Peter Mrazek of the Detroit Red Wings and Cory Schneider of the New Jersey Devils are tied at 2.03. Chicago’s Crawford leads all goaltenders with 7 shutouts on the season. Jake Allen of the Blues is next with 5 shutouts while there are 7 goalies tied with 4 shutouts.

I’m sure you noticed going through the stats, but the teams with the better records seem to have the most players on top of the stat sheet. If your favorite is doing well they’ll need their top players to continue to produce to stay in playoff contention.

We’ve got our Super Bowl match up. It will be the #1 seeds from each conference as the Denver Broncos will represent the AFC as they take on the Carolina Panthers of the NFC. The Broncos had a little tougher time getting to the Super Bowl as they held on for a 20-18 victory over the New England Patriots. The Panthers had a much easier time advancing to the Super Bowl as they cruised to a 49-15 victory over the Arizona Cardinals. There’s plenty of time to break this game down; so I’m not going to start on it today. What I will tell you is Carolina opened as a 4 point favorite for the game with the over/under being set at 44 1/2 points.

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Thursday night the Chicago Blackhawks took their 12 game winning streak into Amalie Arena to face the Tampa Bay Lighting in a rematch of last seasons Stanley Cup finals. The Lighting where coming in on a 6 game winning streak of their own. It was a close game 2-1, but it was the Blackhawks that saw there team record winning streak end. It looked good for the Blackhawks early as Artem Anisimov put them up 1-0 on his 17 goal of the season early in the 1st period. Patrick Kane picked up an assists on the goal. Just about 7 minutes later Anton Stralman tied it up with his 6th goal of the season to make it a 1-1 game. Victor Hedman and Valteri Flippula assisted on Hedman’s goal. The teams entered the 2nd period tied 1-1. Late in the 2nd period on the power play Nikita Kucherov scored his 20th goal of the season; which turned out to be the game winner. Hedman and Alex Killorn assisted on the goal. Each team had scoring chances in the 3rd period, but both Corey Crawford (Blackhawks) and Ben Bishop (Tampa Bay) kept the puck out of the net. Crawford stopped all 10 shots he saw in the 3rd period. For the game Crawford stopped 31 of the 33 shots he faced. Bishop stopped 9 shots in the 3rd period, but overall had a lighter night in goal than Crawford as the Blackhawks only registered 18 total shots on goal. Bishop stopped 17 of the 18 shots he faced. Tampa bay will take it’s 7-game winning streak on the road tonight (Saturday) as they face the Florida Panthers. With their record breaking streak snapped you had to wonder how the Blackhawks would bounce back and they didn’t have to wait long to take the ice again as they where scheduled for back to back games as they took the ice last night to play the Panthers. The Panthers had there own 12 game winning streak just a couple of weeks ago, but came into last nights game on a 4 game losing streak. Crawford got the night off in goal for the Blackhawks as Scott Darling got the start. The Panthers didn’t waste any time getting to Darling as Reilly Smith (14), former Blackhawk Brian Campbell (3) and Quinton Howden (5) all tallied 1st period goals to give the Panthers a 3-0 after one. Aaron Eckblad picked up his 10th goal of the season in the 2nd period and as it turned out the Panthers didn’t need anymore than 1 goal as Roberto Luongo turned away all 27 of the Blackhawks shots he faced for his 4th shutout of the season in Florida’s 4-0 victory. So it’s went from winning 12 in a row to losing 2 in a row for the Blackhawks and it doesn’t get any easier as they face the St. Louis Blues on Sunday, but it is a home game for the Blackhawks. St. Louis is in 3rd place in the Central division of the Western Conference behind the Blackhawks and the Dallas Stars. The Blues will also be coming into Sunday’s game off a loss as they suffered a 2-1 shootout loss to the Colorado Avalanche Friday night.

With a little over half of the season gone it looks as though the Washington Capitals are the best team in the NHL. Washington is 35-8-3 for 73 points on the season. The Blackhawks at 68 points and the Stars at 65 points are the two closet teams to the Capitals. While I’m sure you’re not surprised that Alexander Ovechkin leads the Capitals on goals with 28. It might be a bit of a surprise to you that he;s just 3rd on the team in overall scoring. With 15 goals and 33 assists  Evgeny Kuznetsov leads Washington with 48 points. Nicklas Backstrom has 15 goals and 29 assists and is 2nd on the team in scoring with 44 points. Ovechkin is actually 3rd on the team in scoring with 42 points. While Ovechkin, Kuznetsov and Backstrom have led the Capitals offense t the best record in hockey it’s Braden Holtby who holds things down in goal. Holtby has started 38 out of Washington’s 46 games this season. Holtby is 30-5-2 and his 30 wins leads the league. He has the 3rd best Goals Against Average at 2.01 and his Save Percentage of .930 ranks 5th among regular starting goalies. Holtby doesn’t garner much attention, but he’s a big reason the Capitals are playing like the best team in the NHL.

The NFL will decide this Sunday who gets to play in the Super Bowl as the Conference championships take place. It starts with the New England Patriots at the Denver Broncos which is scheduled to kickoff at 2:05. The night game features the Arizona Cardinals at the Carolina Panthers. These 4 teams where the top seeds in their conferences; so I guess you could say they’re suppose to be here. I have to tell you I’ve been very disappointed in the playoff games so far. I think there’s only been 1 or maybe 2 games that have been good or even interesting to watch. I’m hoping that these 2 games will come through and give me something to look forward to as we head into the week off before the Super Bowl. Like we always do on the Sunday edition of Sports Time Radio Mr. Fantasy and I will do our best to break these games down and let you know who we think will win and why. Of course will let you in on who Dan the Man and Schaumburg are picking to win the games as well. In our playoff picks Dan the Man and I are tied at 6-2 while Schaumburg Stu and Mr. Fantasy are just a game behind at 5-3. Not to give too much away, but I did have Arizona winning the Super Bowl when we made our pre-season predictions; so you might be able to guess who I’ll be raking to win the Arizona/Carolina game. For the rest of the picks you’ll have to tune in between 10:00 a.m. and Noon on to hear who everyone is going with to win.

I’m sure you’ve heard by now that the Cleveland Cavaliers made a change at head coach yesterday. Even with a career record of 83-40 in a season and a half and a trip to the NBA Finals David Blatt was fired by the Cavaliers. It may seem like an odd firing, but remember that he wasn’t LeBron James’ guy and it’s no real surprise that after they where embarrassed by the Golden State Warriors on Monday that they used this to fire Blatt. Tyronn Lue was immediately hired as head coach and given a 3 year deal. Lue gets to coach his first game as head coach tonight as the Cavaliers face the Chicago Bulls. Now I heard it reported over and over yesterday that James wasn’t consulted in the decision to fire Blatt. There is no possible way that you’ll every get me to believe that. There is no way the team didn’t go to James before they made this decision and asked his opinion. If Blatt was a guy James liked playing for there’s no chance that this move would’ve been made. In general teams don’t like to anger their best player. Of course this is the Cavaliers we’re talking about; so you never know. Lue inherits the best team in the Eastern Conference and should have no trouble at all taking the Cavaliers to the NBA Finals where he’ll probably suffer the same fate as Blatt. A loss to a better Western Conference team.

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I asked Schaumburg Stu, Dan the Man and Mr. Fantasy for there predictions for the upcoming NHL season and here’s what I could figure out from what I was e-mailed.

Mr. Fantasy likes the Tampa Bay Lighting to win the Atlantic division. The New York Islanders to win the Metropolitan division. He has the Lighting winning the Eastern conference finals and playing for the Stanley Cup.

He has the Nashville Predators winning the Central division. The Anaheim Ducks winning the Pacific division with the Predators going to the Stanley Cup finals.

Mr. Fantasy’s Stanley Cup winner: Tampa Bay Lighting

Dan the Man has the Detroit Red Wings winning the Atlantic division wit the Washington Capitals winning the Metropolitan division. He likes the Tampa Bay Lighting vs. the Washington Capitals in the conference finals with the Capitals advancing to play for the Stanley Cup.

He likes the St. Louis Blues to win the Central division with the Anaheim Ducks winning the Pacific division. He has the Chicago Blackhawks vs. the Anaheim Ducks in the Conference finals wit the Ducks playing for the Stanley Cup.

Dan the Man has the Washington Capitals vs. the Anaheim Ducks for the Stanley Cup with the Capitals winning.

Schaumburg Stu has the Atlantic division going lie this. 1) Tampa Bay Lighting 2) Montreal Canadiens 3) Detroit Red Wings 4) Florida Panthers 5) Boston Bruins 6) Ottawa Senators 7) Buffalo Sabres 8) Toronto Maple Leafs

Metropolitan division 1) New York Rangers 2) Pittsburgh Penguins 3)Washington Capitals 4) New York Islanders 5) Columbus Blue Jackets 6) New Jersey Devils 7) Philadelphia Flyers 8) Carolina Hurricanes

He has the Tampa Bay Lighting vs. New York Rangers as the Eastern conference finals with the Lighting going to the Stanley Cup final.

Central division 1) St. Louis Blues 2) Minnesota Wild 3) Nashville Predators 4) Chicago Blackhawks 5) Dallas Stars 6) Colorado Avalanche 7) Winnipeg Jets

Pacific division 1) Anaheim Ducks 20 Calgary Flames 3) Los Angeles Kings 4) Vancouver Canucks 5) San Jose Sharks 6) Edmonton Oilers 7) Arizona Coyotes

It’s the Anaheim Ducks vs. Minnesota Wild as the Western conference final with Anaheim moving on to the Stanley Cup finals.

Stu has Tampa Bay Lighting vs. Anaheim Ducks in the Stanley Cup finals with Tampa Bay winning.

My picks went like this.

Atlantic division 1) Montreal Canadiens 2) Detroit Red Wings 3) Tampa Bay Lighting 4) Boston Bruins 5) Florida Panthers 6) Ottawa Senators 7) Toronto Maple Leafs 8) Buffalo Sabres

Metropolitan division 1) Pittsburgh Penguins 2) New York Islanders 3) New York Rangers 4) Washington Capitals 5) Philadelphia Flyers 6) New Jersey Devils 7) Carolina Hurricanes 8) Columbus Blue Jackets

I have the Tampa Bay Lighting vs.Pittsburgh Penguins as my conference finals with the Penguins going to the Stanley Cup final

Central division 1) Dallas Stars 2) Minnesota Wild 3) St. Louis Blues 4) Chicago Blackhawks 5) Winnipeg Jets 6) Nashville Predators 7) Colorado Avalanche

Pacific division 1) Anaheim Ducks 2) San Jose Sharks 3) Los Angeles Kings 4) Calgary Flames 5) Vancouver Canucks 6) Edmonton Oilers 7) Arizona Coyotes

I have the Minnesota Wild vs. Los Angeles Kings as my conference finals wit the Kings going to the Stanley Cup finals.

I have the Pittsburgh Penguins vs. Los Angeles Kings as my Stanley Cup final match up with the Kings winning the Cup.

I also asked for the best player or MVP choice from each conference. Mr. Fantasy didn’t send me one. Dan the Man has Alexander Ovechkin in the Eastern conference and Tyler Seguin in the Western conference. Schaumburg Stu has Sidney Crosby in the Eastern conference and Jonathan Toews in the Western conference. I have Rick Nash in the Eastern conference and Zach Parise in the Western conference.

Let’s see how we do.