Monday, January 21, 2013

Gameday: vs. Winnipeg, Jan. 22

The Washington Capitals welcome the Winterpeg Winnipeg Jets to Verizon Center this evening for their 2013 season opener.  Read my preview for that game over at RtR here.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Gameday: at Tampa Bay, Jan. 19

The Capitals open their 2013 season with a game against the Lightning in Tampa tonight.  Read my RtR game preview by clicking here.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

New RtR: 27 Thoughts - It's Christmas Eve

Check out my latest for RtR - a "30 Thoughts" column with thoughts on everything Capitals for this upcoming season.  You can read the article here.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Champions League Draw: The Big Three Ties

The draw for the knockout stages of the 2013 Champions League was released while almost all of America was sleeping, but the matchups created will be dreams and nightmares for the casual watcher and die hard fan alike this year.  As with any UEFA draw, there are some awesome matchups and some bad ones; some easier paths for the more famous clubs and harder paths for the more famous clubs.  So let's get down to it.

Manchester United vs Real Madrid: A tie that many saw coming prior to the draws' release, it is a cruel injustice that two teams who have a legitimate shot to win the whole thing must play each other in the first round.  Still, this clash has the storylines of a final: Cristiano Ronaldo returning to the stadium where he made his name for the first time since leaving United; Madrid manager Jose Mourinho coaching against the team many have pegged him to manage after Sir Alex Ferguson's retirement.  The star power on both sides is relentless, with Ronaldo, Wayne Rooney, Robin van Persie, and Sergio Ramos just beginning to scratch the surface.  These two matches will be among the most watched and anticipated of the whole season, and a great team will be through no matter who wins.
Barcelona vs AC Milan: The Catalans have recently lost their coach, Tito Villanova, for a while as he recovers from surgery to battle with his second occurrence of a throat cancer.  Still, Barcelona have just one game between La Liga and Champions League play and are still the best team with the best player in the world.  This clash has fewer storylines than most because of Milan's poor performances across the board this year, but is still a tie with rich history and tradition as Barcelona have won two crowns in the last four years and Milan have won seven European cups.
Arsenal vs Bayern Munich: Bayern, who many consider to be the best team in the world not in Spain or England (or just Spain), are crushing the Bundesliga this year and have only lost one match while conceding a measly seven goals.  They made the final of this competition last year only to run into the lucky Chelsea train, throwing away multiple chances to win in their home stadium.  Back with a vengeance, they take on an Arsenal side that have been in disarray for most of the season despite their standing in the Premier League and may be forced to sell Theo Walcott before the first leg is played.  Bayern look like the clear favorites, but Arsenal are improving with health.

The first legs of the round of 16 begin in February.  Until then, there is a ton of interesting domestic action to watch across Europe.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Showdown Sunday Predictions

This week in the NFL, there will be six match ups between teams with winning records, a record for week 15 or later.  All of these games will have playoff implications, and should be great games.  It's a shame one of them couldn't be flexed to Monday night, so we don't have to watch the Jets and the Titans.  But I digress.  Time to pick some games.

Denver at Baltimore - The Ravens' defense has not been at full strength all season, with Ladarius Webb, Ray Lewis, and Terrell Suggs missing significant time, sometimes at once; Lewis is expected back for this game, while Suggs is doubtful. Still, the Birds are in disarray at this point.  They have thrown away two consecutive games against average teams that they have been leading late and just got their offensive coordinator fired.  Jim Caldwell's likely conservatism when calling plays Sunday has the potential to limit the damage caused by lethal pass-rusher Von Miller, but it's not close on the offensive side of the ball: Denver's high-flying passing attack is much better than Baltimore's.  The best hope the Ravens have is to give the ball to Ray Rice 35 times and hope he can keep the ball and the possession battle in their favor. Broncos 31, Ravens 13.