Court Street Draft Specials: An NFL Draft podcast

The NFL Draft is one of, if not the most important three-day stretch of the entire NFL calendar year. And this year, the Ohio Bobcats are prepared to have the most successful draft for the program in 45 years.

Tarell Basham and Blair Brown, a former defensive end and linebacker, are locks to be drafted in next week’s draft. If both get drafted, it will be the first time since 1972 that two Bobcats were drafted in the same year. No Bobcat has ever been drafted higher than 47th overall in the modern era.

For the first episode of our podcast, I sat down with Tony Wolfe, a Senior Writer for The Post who previously covered the Ohio football team. I currently cover the team, and did last season as well. Tony and I talked about what we’ve been hearing and reading from the national media about the two Bobcats headed to the NFL. In addition, we added what we’ve seen over the years from the two and what we’ve been hearing from agents and coaches. Don’t leave at halftime for this one…

Five minutes for reading: Notes on the Washington Capitals

It’s time to get excited again.

In just under two months, the Stanley Cup Playoffs will once again grace the sporting world with its presence. The Cup Playoffs are simultaneously dreadful, astonishing, exhilarating and can turn even the most sane people into a raging nutcase. And yet, we love it all the same.

The Washington Capitals, winners of everything but the Stanley Cup, are once again in the driver’s seat to win the President’s Trophy. But there’s really not an argument to the contrary anymore.

This is the best team of the Alex Ovechkin era. There won’t be a better chance for the Capitals to win the Cup. For a franchise as snakebitten as this one, that’s enough scare you into a pillow fort. But it’s time to believe.

Bye Bye Bye

The Capitals are officially on their NHL-mandated bye week. The team’s last game was Saturday, and they won’t hit the ice again until next Saturday against the Detroit Red Wings.

Some of the player’s have already taken advantage of this rare week off, doing whatever they need to in order to get ready for the upcoming stretch run. Maybe a run that will last until June.

The Capitals just finished a stretch of 21 games in 42 days, so a long rest is in order for a team who just lost its second line winger, Andre Burakovsky.

Coach Barry Troz has said time and time again this season that he wants to manage the team’s ice time to keep fresher legs ready for April and May, and this bye week should help that.

The year?

The age old question surrounding the Washington Capitals:

Is this the year?

Seemingly every year, there’s a new reason to believe that this is, in fact, the Capitals turn. A new goalie, improved defense, more scoring depth have been cited for years as the team’s problems.

Well this year, the Capitals have all of those things. In fact, they’re fielding a team with no discernible weaknesses. Frankly, that scares the hell out of Caps fans.

Washington Post columnist Barry Svrluga wrote a terrific column about how this is the year. Finally.

The Capitals have one of the best goalies in the league, the best team defense in the league by far and enough scoring depth with the likes of Pittsburgh and anyone else that might face the Caps.

It’s a game of razor thin margins, so all it takes is one hot goalie to put the Capitals on the couch for May. But there isn’t a team in the league that matches up to Washington. Well, on paper.

Bunches of fun

The Capitals scoring over the last month has been, well, stupid. There really isn’t another word for how much the Caps have been scoring.

Five Capitals have over 15 goals this year, and there’s a legitimate chance that seven players end up with over 20 goals. 10 players have already scored double digit goals this season.

Since the new year, the Capitals have scored 4.52 goals per game. That would be good for first by one whole goal per game. The Capitals now have three legitimate, talented scoring lines and it’s showing.

Off the Ice

The Capitals have also drawn some attention from their off the ice events.

Braden Holtby will wear a “You Can Play” themed mask on Feb. 24. You Can Play is an organization dedicated to equality in sports, regardless of gender of sexual orientation.

The Capitals also hosted Fatima Al Ali, a woman from the United Arab Emirates and a Capitals fanatic. She got to meet Alex Ovechkin and team and broke down in tears at the sight of everyone in the locker room.

She dropped the ceremonial puck at the Red Wings/Capitals game that night too.

(John McDonnell/The Washington Post)

Legal murder

The Capitals are actually destroying their opponents right now. And really, it’s not close.

The Caps have lost just three times since Jan. 1 and just five of their wins since then have been by one goal. Meaning, in the 21 games since the new year, the Capitals have won 13 times by at least two goals.

The team is slowly creeping away with the President’s Trophy race, which would be the team’s third in eight years.

The run is not likely to continue, especially as the playoffs draw closer, but for now, there might not be a better, more dominant team in sports.

It’s OK to worry about playoff failures and past defeats, but for now, enjoy the ride. There hasn’t been one like it in Capitals history, and there might not ever be another stretch like this one.

Five minutes for fighting is a newsletter where NHL and Washington Capitals fans can gather to get storylines on the team. Come for the hockey commentary, stay for bad hockey puns. Not affiliated with the Washington Capitals or the National Hockey League. Not even a little bit.

The 5 saddest times to be a D.C. sports fan

D.C. sports fans are the most tortured souls in sports fandom. I know this, because I’ve spent many nights, sitting on my couch, befuddled at life itself. Nothing really matters. It all dies anyways.

With Cleveland’s title last summer, D.C. sports took claim to the saddest sports city in America. It’s different being a D.C. kid in a town like Athens, especially when fans hail from Cleveland, Cincinnati and Pittsburgh. Here’s the worst five moments since the turn of the century in D.C:

5: Gilbert brings guns to the locker room

After brief success in the middle-2000s, the Wizards were dying. Gilbert Arenas had bad knees and was faltering, Antwan Jamison and Caron Butler were growing weary, and the Cavaliers couldn’t be stopped. Then in the 2009-10 season, Arenas brought unloaded guns to the locker room. After an argument with a teammate, Arenas allegedly threatened to shoot Javaris Crittenton. Arenas was suspended for the remainder of the season and traded a year later.

(Photo by Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images) (Via Google Images)

4: LeBron psyches out Agent Zero

The Wizards were up two against the Cleveland Cavaliers in Game 6 of the 2006 NBA Playoffs. With just two free throws in overtime, Gilbert Arenas, a new league sensation, would have sent the Wizards and Cavs to Game 7. LeBron walked up to Arenas, and historically said “miss these, you’re going home.” Arenas missed both free throws, and Damon Jones hit a 3-pointer as time ran out for the Cavaliers.

(Jonathan Newton/The Washington Post) (Via Google Images)

 

3: Nationals blow lead against the Cardinals 

After fighting for a baseball team for decades, the Nationals finally had made playoffs after seven long years. The Nationals were up 6-0 in Game 5, and were on track to be the first D.C. sports team to make a conference final since 1998. They blew the lead, gave up four runs in the ninth inning, and lost. The Cardinals were down to their last strike twice. Still, no D.C. sports team has made a conference final since 1998.

(Jonathan Newton/The Washington Post) (Via Google Images)

2: RG3’s knee explodes 

The Redskins had him. The quarterback designed to lead the team to the promised land. Playing on an injured knee, Robert Griffin III led the Redskins to a 14-0 lead over the Seattle Seahawks in the playoffs. Then, disaster. A bad snap forced RG3’s knee to bend and every major ligament in his knee to snap. The fallout forced an entire coaching staff, and Griffin, out of Washington three years later.

(John McDonnell/Getty Images) (Via Google Images)

1: Any Capitals playoff loss

The most tortured team in hockey history, the Capitals started blowing 3-1 leads before it was cool. The team has made the playoffs all but seven times since 1982, and still has only made the conference finals once. President’s Trophies don’t seem to matter for the “choking dogs,” who each and every year find a way to blow a once promising season. It’s a running joke.

(Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports) (Via Google Images)

The Post Newsroom: My favorite place

My favorite place in Athens isn’t a beautiful scenic view, or a place I go to with my friends, or really any of the places that makes Athens unique.

The place that I enjoy most is The Post newsroom in Baker Center, 325. It’s not flashy; it’s a room with rundown chairs and a TV that’s too old without a remote. But I think that’s why I like it so much, it’s just kind of there. It’s not too much, and it’s where I spend essentially all of my days.

When I first came to OU, I knew I wanted to join the paper and become a writer for the sports section. I was just terrified to step foot in the newsroom. I was just 17 when I came to college as an out-of-state student and I didn’t know a single person on campus. The whole process of meeting new people was pretty intimidating.

But in the spring of my freshman year, I had to edit an article with the Editor-In-Chief, Jim Ryan. I was nervous. But during my editing session, he was friendly, calm and just a genuinely good person. All of my fears melted away as I began to spend more and more time there.

Today, I’m the assistant sports editor for the paper, so being in the newsroom a lot comes with the job. I could not be happier that it does.

The newsroom was where I learned to stretch myself, where I learned how to overcome challenges, whether they related to my career or not. It’s where I spend my days doing homework, editing articles with other staff members and sometimes a late night, where I spend the majority of the night in the newsroom posting articles to the website.

When I’m not in class or sleeping, or maybe even sleeping, there’s a pretty good chance that I’m sitting at my desk in the middle of the newsroom. It can be tough, sure. But those tough moments are all worth it.

The newsroom is what I sprint out of because there’s breaking basketball news, or there’s a football practice to go to or a hockey game to broadcast. All of the memories that I’ve created at Ohio, almost eerily, relate back to the newsroom.

But I think most of all, the newsroom is where I met some of my best friends. I met some truly fascinating people in that room, some people that I’ll be friends with for the rest of my life. I get to go rant about sports on our podcast, or talk with my friends about whatever we feel like.

We spend hours together in that newsroom, for better or worse. We have meetings there, watch TV there and talk about life. Each and every day in Athens, I get to spend the day with some of my best friends.

I’m not sure how many people can say that.