Wednesday, April 13, 2011 10:22 a.m.
By Benjamin Standig
Leonsis vs. Loverro:Round Three
What began with a random blog post about the Wizards potentially (but unlikely) hiring John Calipari to be their coach next season has turned into a juicy online and on-air clash between ESPN980s Thom Loverro and WizardsCapitals owner Ted Leonsis. If you like such media vs. owner cage matches, get your popcorn ready. This is a good one...
As recapped here on Tuesday, Leonsis appeared to take umbrage with The Sports Fix co-host terming the Wizards as an invisible franchise. That led to the owner taking shots at the AM sports talkers programming choices, that the station owned by Redskins boss Dan Snyder would never write an article like this about the football team, or that the author wouldnt have the gumption to do so.
Turn toTuesday and Loverros radio retort with help (not that he needed it) from his Sports Fix co-host Kevin Sheehan. The highlights of the lengthy counter argument:
Right off the bat (or in NBA parlance, from the tipoff), Loverro called Leonsis the Citizen Kane of the internet.On the notion he wouldnt rip the Redskins: The idea that I wouldnt have the gumption to write a story like this about the Redskins when I wrote in 2009 consistently about the embarrassment of Vinny Cerrato running the franchise, the whole embarrassment with the Zorn thing and with Sherman Lewis being brought in to call the plays, constantly, week after week after week. And Ive hammered the Redskins about the way theyve handled the Albert Haynesworth thing throughout the whole season, so thats not accurate. Now, I know accuracys not a big thing on the internet, but Im kind of used to it...On Leonsis apparently being upset over calling the Wizards invisible.: And as far as being invisible, come on, how could you possibly be offended by that on a night where 70 percent reportedly of the fans in the stands for the Wizards-Celtics game were Celtics fans? I watched the game last night. Every time a Wizard went to the foul line, he was booed. Talk about invisible...Sheehan on possible motivation for the owners reaction: Nearly none of what he wrote in this mornings blog item is true. Its like all inaccurate. Its all factually wrong. But my sense is he probably knows this, and I think he was just emotional and reacted to what you wrote. He figured lets kill two birds with one stone, the second bird being that his teams games are on competing radio stations, and why not take a shot at one of their competitors and not let the facts get in the way of a good story....More from Sheehan, this time on the programming knock: Dont program for us, thank you very much. We appreciate your suggestions, but dont tell us how to run our business and we wont tell you how to run yours.Back to Loverro, dropping the Andray Blatche hammer from which there is no viable comeback: Anyone who would pretend to want Andray Blatche on your roster shouldnt be allowed to watch basketball, is too stupid to watch basketball. If you watch Andray Blatche for any length of time, how could you possibly sit there and say to your fans that hes part of a big three? Thats an insult. That insults my intelligenceIn conclusion, Loverro defends his own house : The one thing that was personal, though, is he said I didnt have the gumption to write an article like that. I mean, basically hes calling me a coward. When you put something down, when you write something down - and people who write blogs dont seem to have a concept of this - it takes on a whole different meaning.
To prepare for the next riveting chapter, Ive got my radio set to 980, my computers home page set to Leonsis blog and moved Citizen Kane at the top of my Netflix queue. Just need to get that next batch of popcorn popping and I am good to go...
The Rangers didnt simply win three of four regular season games this season, they whacked Washington in two of those victories by a resounding 13-0 margin. The two sides havent met since February 25 and the Capitals state three reasons why they expect a different outcome now: new defensive-oriented style, veteran additions and memories of last seasons demise. (New York Times)
Figuring out a way to contain Alexander Ovechkin seemed impossible during the goal scoring forwards first few years in the NHL. But after Montreal slowed down the speedy forward by gapping-up on defense, the rest of the league took note of the (relatively speaking) successful blueprint for stopping Ovechkin. (Wall Street Journal)
Its been said that largely offensive oriented, wide-open style hockey teams cant bring home the Stanley Cup. Last seasons Capitals would certainly be used as a classic example in any debate. Now the teams emphasis has shifted around to the defensive end, meaning that the Capitals are now are akin to a lab experiment. Or simply put, we now get to see what happens when philosophical differences are put to the test. (Washington Post)
All seven analysts at NHL.com including a certain former Capitals beat writer picked Washington to advance past the Rangers and two have them reaching the Stanley Cup finals. As for winning it all, only one has them hoisting the cup, doing so behind a Conn Smythe winning effort from the Great Eight and late inning relief help between the pipes from Braden Holtby.
Redskins many, many needs
Before looking at the Redskins position by position ahead of the NFL draft, Clark Judges opening paragraph neatly sums up the bulk of the Redskins last decade.
The Washington Redskins are one of the sure things in the NFL ... and that's not good. No matter who coaches them, no matter how much money they spend, no matter whom they acquire, they can't seem to get ahead.
About the only area Judge correctly points out where the Burgundy and Gold dont need help at is tight end. As for quarterback, Judge doesnt get the notion of the Redskins taking University of Washington quarterback Jake Locker at 10, but believes they must try to make a move to find someone, anyone, to groom at the position. (CBSsports.com)
Former Alabama running back Mark Ingram was one of three prospects reportedly visiting Redskins Park on Tuesday. The Heisman Trophy winning runners draft value has been fading of late, to the point where some believe Ingram is a second-round selection due to a supposed lack of big play ability. This take says not so fast on that no first round talk. (National Football Post)
I thought the should or shouldnt the Redskins draft Cam Newton story was soooo two weeks ago? Guess not. (Washington Examiner)
Hoyas reel in a major recruiting fish
Otto Porter did not go with the traditional exposure path no AAU ball when it came to generating interest from the top Division I teams. Mysteriously is the way one pundit labels the entire breadth of the Missouri natives recruiting process. However it came to be, it came to be that highly regarded Porter will be playing next on the Hilltop. (Southeast Missourian)
The Tony Kornheiser show (ESPN 980): Mr. Tony began not talking about the Capitals a topic he acknowledges is not in his wheelhouse but about a John Wall comment in which the rookie said the Wizards would make the playoffs next season. Maybe, maybe not, Kornheiser said (though you can pencil him into the unlikely category), but he moved on with message for anyone listening even ownership as to what should not be believed about the Wizards' strong record finish to the season.
Do not be persuaded on any level that by passing tired horses in the stretch or beating the Celtics when the Celtics dont play their four best players at all, do not be persuaded that something magical has happened to the Washington Wizards, They are a terrible basketball team, they are poorly coached, they are poorly run, at the moment. Its not that Flip Saunders is a bad coach. Its that hes a bad coach for a young team because he is a players coach. Hes a much better coach for an older team.
The Wizards are burdened by too many people of the same age and pretty much the same attitude, who actually think theyre very good players when theyre not. Just because you go 5-2 at the end with one game to play doesnt mean you finally figured it out. Dont be deluded.
The Mike Wise show with Holden Kushner (106.7 The Fan): Smokin' Al Koken was on hand to offer up some legitimate Stanley Cup talk, from the pressure on the Capitals entering their playoff opener to making the historical comparison with the Buffalo Bills' four straight Super Bowl losses or Rory McIlroys final-round collapse. In other words, whats the line between tremendous overall achievements (top seed in the East) vs. being viewed as an abject failure if the end does not result in winning the title? They also rehashed Wises awkward interview with Bruce Boudreau from Tuesday, when he asked the Capitals coach about job security should the team lose in the playoffs. Koken points out the remarkable change in coaching philosophy that turned the season around and certain obstacles Boudreau had to overcome. Random stat of the day from Koken: The Caps became the first team in NHL history with three goaltenders 22 or younger who won at least 10 games.