Monday, April 28, 2008

The Skinny Post Draft Grades

This was a not a strong draft, probably the weakest since 2005, when weak armed Alex Smith was the number one pick. The dropoff in talent began with the eighth pick, and there wasn't another big dropoff until late second round. So anyone that traded down, starting with Baltimore at eight, made a good move. Except of course, Detroit.

NFC East
Dallas Cowboys - B-
I loved moving up and getting Mike Jenkins at 25 and liked Martellus Bennett at 61, because there was an obvious dropoff at each of those positions. Was anyone else in that range interested in Felix Jones? I'm not sure but it was common knowledge the Cowboys were. Did they really need to make a backup RB their first choice, especially when they took one with their 4th choice? It seems reminiscent of Trung Canidate as a 1st rounder. I would have liked seeing them pick up a WR. The Pacman Jones trade has to be considered as part of their draft, and a 4th rounder for a top 5 corner could end up being a bargain.

New York Giants - C+
The Giants had the last pick in every round, so it was tough to make an impact. Manningham was overrated throughout the season and shouldn't be considered a steal. I was surprised Terrell Thomas went before Charles Godfrey. Kenny Phillips was a typical need based Super Bowl champs pick; you love to get a immediate starter late first, because they're locked up for five years at a reasonable price tag. Their 6th rounder was acquired last year from Green Bay for Ryan Grant.

Philadelphia Eagles - D
The Eagles have traded out of the first round the last two years to get guys that could be considered reaches at positions of strength with their first picks (QB Kevin Kolb last year, DT Trevor Laws this year). I like the fact that they picked up Carolina's 2009 1st in the process, but best case scenario it's early teens. They certainly addressed a need with Desean Jackson, but they would have been better served drafting a size guy to start versus another Smurf. Jack Ikegwuono could look like a steal in 18 months, but there are 4th rounders who could have helped them on special teams this year.

Washington Redskins - A
No first rounders and they get their top 2 guys at a need position? Vinny Cerrato's eyes must have been bulging out of his head. Fred Davis was also a value pick, in fact any of their top 3 picks could have gone late first without criticism. I like the Durant Brooks pick; punter was a need and he dominated the ACC this year. La Canfora nailed the Kareem Moore pick; the Redskins loved him and they didn't have to reach. It's hard to envision Colt Brennan ever playing in the NFL.

NFC North
Chicago Bears - C
Chris Williams went where he supposed to in a run on tackles, and Marcus Harrison may end up being the best player picked on the second day, although eerily reminiscent of Denver's pick of Marcus Thomas, who was busted for cocaine last month. RB was their top need, and they took speed guy Matt Forte in the 2nd, but I prefer Ray Rice as an every down back. They didn't need to take a QB on the first day, but they needed to take somebody. Zack Bowman and Kellen Davis were nice picks.

Detroit Lions
- F
I didn't like a single thing they did. They trade down with the 2nd rated offensive lineman in the draft on the board, pick up a 5th, and take the 5th rated guy. Maybe Jordon Dizon sticks, but he's small and slow. Kevin Smith has character issues, runs standing up, can't catch the football, and has no tread left on his tires. Jerome Felton is an ok pick, but Owen Schmitt explodes off of tape and went 20 picks later. Caleb Campbell is a nice story but this is about wins, not sentimentality. NFL GM should be an elected position, but in Detroit it's like Millen is a judge and can't be fired.

Green Bay Packers - A-
The Packers traded their 6th last year for Ryan Grant and picked up a 2nd for Corey Williams; both were good moves. I didn't love the Jordy Nelson pick but didn't hate it. Brian Brohm, Patrick Lee, and Jermichael Finley were all tremendous picks with regard to need and value. Matt Flynn isn't an NFL QB, but they need bodies at the position and do have a spectacular history developing QBs. Without Ryan Grant I'd give them a B-, but getting a probable Pro Bowler for a late pick is enormous.

Minnesota Vikings - B+
They traded a 1st and 2 3rds for Jared Allen, who is a better bet to dominate over the life of his contract than anyone in this draft, unless he's suspended. It's about the same that Jacksonville gave up for Derrick Harvey, who is far from a sure thing, and has a similar contract to Jake Long, who may be a RT. John David Booty could easily play this year, and picking up a potential starting QB in the 5th is remarkable. Tyrell Johnson is a classic team-with-no-1st pick, maybe the best at his position.

NFC South
Atlanta Falcons - D
The worst thing they did was trade up with the Redskins for Sam Baker, who has 2nd round talent written all over him. Taking Matt Ryan at 3 after Glenn Dorsey was mentioned so prominently reflects poorly on new GM Tom Dimitroff - was it his pick or Arthur Blank's? And Matt Ryan is as much a reach as Joe Flacco: is he really the third most talented guy in the draft? Curtis Lofton was a good need pick. I'm not a big fan of any of their 3 3rds. If this team trades back with New Orleans and doesn't trade up with Washington maybe they get Joe Flacco at QB, Jamaal Brown at LT, and they can fill out a decimated roster with 2nds and 3rds.

Carolina Panthers - A-
Jonathan Stewart is an enormous favorite for rookie of the year. I thought he was a slight reach when they needed a tackle, but they got mammoth Jeff Otah at the expense of next year's 1st, the only reason they don't get an A. Trading next year's 1st for a tackle is more likely to work out than any other position, last year's 49ers-Patriots deal notwithstanding. Charles Godfrey and Dan Connor were both great value picks, particularly Godfrey who can play all over the defensive backfield. I'm a big fan of Nick Hayden in the 6th, too.

New Orleans Saints - A
Love what they did in the 1st. Everyone knows they want a DT, yet they get the last blue chipper on the board for a very reasonable price tag. Tracy Porter is a great fit for their nickel package. The Saints also picked up Jonathan Vilma for a 4th, so their run D figures to be vastly improved. I was surprised DeMario Pressley was still available when they took him, and Carl Nicks was one of the better value picks among O linemen.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers - B+
One of the few drafts ever where you might have heard of every pick. Aqib Talib has by far the best ball skills of any defensive back in the draft and is a perfect fit in Tampa. Dexter Jackson has been squarely on my radar since lighting up Michigan in September and shouldn't be considered a reach. Jeremy Zuttah is my number one player not drafted on day one and is a lock to start at some point. Maryland DTs have produced recently in the NFL, so Dre Moore has a pedigree. Geno Hayes could be a stud on special teams. I penalized them for adding a 7th QB to the roster, but I liked the way they waited for their guys to come to them.

NFC West
Arizona Cardinals - C+
They were taking the top CB available, and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie was the top CB for a number of teams (the Cowboys for one). Calais Campbell clearly should have stayed in school, but the success of Chris Canty should have helped his stock at least a little. I'm not a big Early Doucet fan but it's not like they reached on him. Their draft picks have some of the coolest names of the weekend, my favorite being Tim Hightower.

San Francisco 49ers
- D
If they went 11-5 you'd like their draft more, but they went 5-11 and the Patriots reaped the reward. Kentwan Balmer was rated by many as the 3rd DT and fills a big need - one of the better picks of the 1st round. Chilo Rachal went 44 picks before the next OG drafted - seems like a huge reach. Reggie Smith and Josh Morgan were a nice value and need picks. This team needed more picks, but the Patriots deal and losing their 5th for tampering with Lance Briggs killed their draft.

Seattle Seahawks - C-
Hate what they did on the 1st day, love what they did on the 2nd day. I was shocked they took Lawrence Jackson over Dustin Keller in the 1st, and then they respond by overpaying to trade up in the 2nd for John Carlson, who ran a 4.88 at the combine (Keller ran a 4.55). Red Bryant could have gone 2 rounds earlier without criticism, Owen Schmitt is a Mike Alstott clone, and they got 2 elite special teams prospects late in long snapper Tyler Schmitt and strong legged kicker Brandon Coutu.

St. Louis Rams - D-
Chris Long or Glenn Dorsey would have been fine picks at 2, but in the dome I would lean toward an edge rusher. Long is the rookie most likely to make the Pro Bowl, but they still should have traded down instead of giving him $30 million up front. Donnie Avery was a substantial reach as the first WR drafted and St. Louis should have traded down; the deal the Ravens took 5 picks later would have been much better to have. I can't believe St. Louis waited all night and took John Greco with the 2nd pick of day 2, another reach when they surely could have traded down. I like Justin King's measurables in the 4th but he's the football equivalent of Jim McIlvaine in that he's on everyone's highlight tape.

AFC East
Buffalo Bills - B
They traded Darwin Walker and Willis McGahee for picks used to trade for Marcus Stroud, my favorite DT trade of the offseason. Leodis McKelvin was absolutely the right pick at 11. James Hardy went where he was expected, but the WRs drafted around him were all expected to be drafted higher. I like the Chris Ellis and Demetrius Bell picks because they fit my script: productive big school pass rusher with non-character flags and raw small school OT.

Miami Dolphins - C-
Jake or Chris Long would have been a fine pick at 1, but I'm always in favor of trading down at the top of the draft. Now you've got a guy you're not sure can play LT as one of the 3 highest paid non QBs in the league. Philip Merling is an excellent complementary DE that reminds me of Rob Burnett. I don't see the attraction with Chad Henne; poor size, mechanics, and athleticism. If he played at Michigan State he'd be a 5th rounder.

New England Patriots - C
Sometimes I think I'm the only person that realizes that the Patriots draft more for need than any other team in the NFL, mostly because they have fewer needs than any other team. I thought they would have been better served with McKelvin in the 1st and either Gooden or Connor in the 2nd but I have zero Super Bowl rings and Scott Pioli has 3. I also thought the Patriots didn't get enough trading down, but I thought the same thing last year and that's how they got the 7th overall pick. Loved Jonathan Wilhite in the 4th, my favorite pick of the 4th, and I think he'll be a starter in this league.

New York Jets - B-
Vernon Gholston wasn't quite the worst case scenario for the Jets, but he was close. Still, he was the obvious pick for the 3-4. I loved the move for Dustin Keller; taking him in the 1st means he signs a 5 year deal instead of a 4 year deal, and there's reason to believe he would have been gone if they didn't trade up. I question Dwight Lowery and Marcus Henry's ability to contribute on special teams. Erik Ainge is an intriguing prospect, and you can compare to Tom Brady in that he's the quickest decision maker among 2nd day QBs.

AFC North
Baltimore Ravens - B
Joe Flacco may have been a reach, but let's say they stay at 26 and Flacco is gone. Then they're taking Chad Henne at 26 which is an even bigger reach. The embedded NFL Network reporter said the Ravens heard the Jets were looking to trade up for Flacco, which is possible. For where he was taken, Ray Rice is my 2nd favorite RB in the draft after Mendenhall. I don't view him as undersized, and he's a great athlete with soft hands. Look at where the Rutgers program is right now, and Rice is the biggest reason. He figures to get 100+ touches next year. With only 2 legit safeties on the roster, Tom Zbikowski and Haruki Nakamura are locks to make the roster and contribute on special teams, which will be excellent next year. Scouts, Inc. had Oniel Cousins as the #3 OG and Cris Carter was a huge fan of Marcus Smith, a converted RB. Tarvares Gooden is a classic Ravens early 2nd day pick and filled a need. Everyone picked after him will have to contribute on special teams to make the final 53. With so many trades you would have liked to see them pick up some picks for next season. Their 5th rounder was used on Jared Gaither in the supplemental draft last year, which was worthwhile. They also traded a 4th for Oakland CB Fabian Washington, a former 1st rounder who fills a need at a reasonable base salary.

Cincinnati Bengals - C-
I liked what they did with their 1st 3 picks. I heard they were disappointed not to land Ellis, but if they wanted him enough they should have traded up. Keith Rivers was another obvious pick. Jerome Simpson reminds me Chad Johnson a little, certainly in terms of measurables. Pat Sims was a great value/need pick. Andre Caldwell seems to be the pick made because of Johnson's threats; perhaps it's another indicator they should have taken the Redskins' offer for Chad. Corey Lynch is another guy drafted off of Appalachian State.

Cleveland Browns - D
The Browns gave up their 1st in the Brady Quinn deal last year, their 2nd for Corey Williams, and their 3rd for Shaun Rogers. What I want to know is why is any team emulating the Daniel Snyder Redskins? They also traded their 3rd rounder next year for Martin Rucker. With free agent contracts spiraling out of control late 1st rounders-3rd rounders are so valuable it's ridiculous. And they've done nothing at backup RB. I did like Beau Bell in the 4th.

Pittsburgh Steelers - A-
The classic debate of need versus best play available must have taken place in the Steelers draft room. It's not even debatable that they took the best player available with their first two picks, but offensive line was by far their biggest need. I'm always a proponent of sticking to your board, but they need another blocker or 2 before they start the season, although Tony Hills was a nice pick that should make the 53. Dennis Dixon is more valuable because he's injured: you put him on injured reserve and doesn't waste a roster spot.

AFC South
Houston Texans - C+
They took some heat for the Duane Brown pick, but they took some heat for the Mario Williams pick and how did that work out? You have to figure they had Brown targeted because they took 50 cents on the dollar to move back, when they could have stayed at 18 and drafted Otah or Mendenhall. Brown was also maybe their most obscure pick. Antwaun Molden was the best corner available when they picked him, Steve Slaton is a nice change of pace back, and Xavier Adibi's fall raised some eyebrows. You just know Dominique Barber is going to be a player with his bloodlines.

Indianapolis Colts - B-
The Colts traded their 1st rounder for Tony Ugoh last year, so right away they look good. They took the consensus top OC in the draft with their 2nd with Mike Pollak, and maybe the #2 center with Steven Justice in the 6th, and one more OC with their last pick. The Colts always seem to be drafting TEs, (they took 2) but that's a product of their offense. Philip Wheeler and Marcus Howard are good need/value picks that can help out special teams. At the end of the day, Mike Hart is small, slow, and can't stay healthy.

Jacksonville Jaguars - D
They traded a 1st, 2 3rds, and a 4th for Derrick Harvey, which makes me wonder if they should have matched the Vikings' offer for Jared Allen. Harvey wasn't a huge reach, but there was a big dropoff from 7 to 8. There was a point in time Quentin Groves was expected to be a high 1st rounder, so the upside is there. There are flags around Chauncey Washington, but any time you get a starting USC tailback in the 7th round you're getting a steal.

Tennessee Titans - D
The Chris Johnson pick screams bust. These pure speed RBs that go too high always bust because too much is expected too early. Jason Jones and Craig Stevens were okay picks who will see the field as rookies. Stevens is a fantastic in line blocker but they already have Crumpler and Scaife. Few people had heard of William Hayes, including those putting together the invites for the combine. Lavell Hawkins in the 4th saves the draft from a fail, and is a sleeper for rookie of the year.

AFC West
Denver Broncos - C-
Ryan Clady was great 12th pick who could have easily gone 8th. Eddie Royal went ahead of a lot of more noteworthy, larger WRs. Kory Lichtensteiger also seems like a reach. They drafted 2 guys from both Virginia Tech and Arizona State. They took RB Ryan Torain in the 5th; every time they take a 2nd day RB they end up rushing for 100 yards at least once during the season. There were all kind of 2nd day picks going to and from Denver in trades, most amusingly Washington's 4th rounder in the T.J. Duckett deal.

Kansas City Chiefs - A+
At first I was shocked they turned down the Saints offer of their 1st, 2nd, and 1st next year for the 5th pick, but then I realized the dropoff from 5 to 10, let alone from 5 to 6, so I could see what Carl Peterson was doing. They add a top 2 defensive lineman and a top 2 offensive lineman in what may go down as one of the greatest drafts of all time. Out of all the top 10 picks, you can feel good about Glenn Dorsey's contract, as he'd get $20 million or more up front were he a free agent. Branden Albert is the one O lineman that was a value pick on the first day. Brandon Flowers fell 10-20 picks for running a 4.55 and not a 4.45, which isn't atrocious. 3rd rounders Jamaal Charles, Brad Cottam, and DeJuan Morgan are ridiculous value picks, each of whom could have gone in the top 40 without raising any eyebrows.

Oakland Raiders - D-
The Raiders traded their 2nd and 5th for DeAngelo Hall, and I can't imagine anyone else could have matched that offer, so I don't like that deal. They're basically an expansion team, (Nnamdi Asomugha and Derrick Burgess are their only players who can start on more than half a dozen or so teams) so they would have been better served trading down. Now Darren McFadden will get beaten up for 5 years while Oakland wins 2-6 games a year. Tyvon Branch is a great size and speed guy who is a classic Raiders pick. I don't think anyone knows who they're last pick is - he's listed at 0'0", o lbs.

San Diego Chargers
- C
For the 2nd straight year the Chargers stand pat in the 1st round and take a guy not recognized as the top guy available at a need position. A lot of mocks had them taking Brandon Flowers, but Antoine Cason was a better pick than Buster Davis over Anthony Gonzalez last year. If anyone can figure out how to use Jacob Hester it's Norv Turner. It was pointed out by Mike Nolan yesterday that the 49ers suffered for the late loss of Turner, so it's interesting that the Chargers may have helped the Patriots draft by hurting the 49ers. Their 2nd rounder was traded for Chris Chambers, and their 4th round pick was used on Paul Oliver in the supplemental draft last year.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

52 hours to go

Parcells blew up my last mock, but I'm feeling confident about this one. The key pick here is at 3. If Atlanta takes Ryan, the next 12 picks are just about locked in if their are no trades. The Jared Allen deal has a huge effect on 3 picks: the Chiefs are more likely to take a defensive lineman at five, the Raiders are now more likely to take a defensive lineman to keep them off the Chiefs at four, and the 17th pick going to the Chiefs can cause a ripple effect into the 20s. That being said, I still have the Chiefs taking Albert at five, because LT is a huge need and there is too much smoke around that pick for their interest not to be real.

1. Miami Dolphins - Jake Long OT Michigan
2. St. Louis Rams - Glenn Dorsey DT LSU
3. Atlanta Falcons - Matt Ryan QB BC
4. Oakland Raiders - Chris Long DE Virginia
5. Kansas City Chiefs - Branden Albert OT/OG Virginia
6. New York Jets - Darren McFadden RB Arkansas
7. New England Patriots - Keith Rivers LB USC
8. Baltimore Ravens - Vernon Gholston DE/OLB Ohio State
9. Cincinnati Bengals - Sedrick Ellis DT USC
10. New Orleans Saints - Leodis McKelvin CB Troy
11. Buffalo Bills - Devin Thomas WR Michigan State
12. Denver Broncos - Ryan Clady OT Boise State
13. Carolina Panthers - Chris Williams OT Vanderbilt
14. Chicago Bears - Jeff Otah OT Pitt
15. Detroit Lions - Rashard Mendenhall RB Illinois
16. Arizona Cardinals - Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie CB Tennessee State
17. Kansas City Chiefs (from Minnesota Vikings) - Derrick Harvey DE Florida
18. Houston Texans - Mike Jenkins CB South Florida
19. Philadelphia Eagles - Aqib Talib CB Kansas
20. Tampa Bay Buccaneers - James Hardy WR Indiana
21. Washington Redskins - Philip Merling DE Clemson
22. Dallas Cowboys - Desean Jackson WR Cal
23. Pittsburgh Steelers - Kentwan Balmer DT UNC
24. Tennessee Titans - Linas Sweed WR Texas
25. Seattle Seahawks - Malcolm Kelly WR Oklahoma
26. Jacksonville Jaguars - Calais Campbell DE Miami
27. San Diego Chargers - Gordon Cherilus OT BC
28. Dallas Cowboys - Felix Jones RB Arkansas
29. San Francisco 49ers - Jerrod Mayo LB Tennessee
30. Green Bay Packers - Brandon Flowers CB Virginia Tech
31. New York Giants - Kenny Phillips S Miami

Friday, April 18, 2008

A week to go

Now that the Capitals' season is on life support, I can shift my attention back to the NFL Draft, which has only had a portion of my attention. Actually, perhaps my job and girlfriend will be the ones receiving the attention I had previously devoted to the Stanley Cup Playoffs, because it's not like I haven't been paying attention to draft rumors. Anyway, this is how I see it breaking down right now.

I'm not ready to project any trades, but the hottest spot figures to be at 7, since New England may be looking to trade out of to recoup their lose first round pick from Spygate. What I've heard at 1 is that Parcells is looking to pay the top pick less than JaMarcus Russell got last year, that Jake Long is his first choice, and Gholston his second. I've also heard is that Jake Long is a mortal lock to go top 5, but the same can't be said for Gholston. So Gholston would likely be more receptive to a less-than-market-value-but-more-than-$30-million signing bonus. I also compared Todd McShay's and Mel Kiper's mock drafts and if they have the same player at a spot, it's hard to deny they likely have inside info.

1. Miami Dolphins - Vernon Gholston DE/OLB Ohio State
2. St. Louis Rams - Jake Long OT Michigan
3. Atlanta Falcons - Glenn Dorsey DT LSU
4. Oakland Raiders - Chris Long DE Virginia
5. Kansas City Chiefs - Branden Albert OG Virginia
6. New York Jets - Darren McFadden RB Arkansas
7. New England Patriots - Keith Rivers LB USC
8. Baltimore Ravens - Matt Ryan QB BC
9. Cincinnati Bengals - Sedrick Ellis DT USC
10. New Orleans Saints - Leodis McKelvin CB Troy
11. Buffalo Bills - Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie CB Tennessee State
12. Denver Broncos - Ryan Clady OT Boise State
13. Carolina Panthers - Chris Williams OT Vanderbilt
14. Chicago Bears - Jeff Otah OT Pitt
15. Detroit Lions - Rashard Mendenhall RB Illinois
16. Arizona Cardinals - Mike Jenkins CB South Florida
17. Minnesota Vikings - Derrick Harvey DE Florida
18. Houston Texans - Aqib Talib CB Kansas
19. Philadelphia Eagles - Devin Thomas WR Michigan State
20. Tampa Bay Buccaneers - James Hardy WR Indiana
21. Washington Redskins - Philip Merling DE Clemson
22. Dallas Cowboys - Desean Jackson WR Cal
23. Pittsburgh Steelers - Kentwan Balmer DT UNC
24. Tennessee Titans - Linas Sweed WR Texas
25. Seattle Seahawks - Malcolm Kelly WR Oklahoma
26. Jacksonville Jaguars - Calais Campbell DE Miami
27. San Diego Chargers - Gordon Cherilus OT BC
28. Dallas Cowboys - Felix Jones RB Arkansas
29. San Francisco 49ers - Jerrod Mayo LB Tennessee
30. Green Bay Packers - Brandon Flowers CB Virginia Tech
31. New York Giants - Kenny Phillips S Miami

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Me thinks he doth protest too much

In the annals of NFL draft bust history, Micheal Westbrook's name is barely mentioned. I suppose he had one halfway decent season, in which he had 65 catches for 1191 yards and 9 TDs, and the following year he blew out his ACL in week 2 against Dallas. But the next receiver drafted was Joey Galloway, so even if Westbrook was able to accumulate decent stats for more than the 89 games he played in, he would come out looking pedestrian by comparison.

Well he's back in the news, and not just for his homoerotic Brazilian jujitsu hobby. He wants you to know he's not gay. If you thought he was, it's probably because he beat Stephen Davis like a red headed step child for calling him gay. IF I had any Photoshop skills I'd be putting an 82 jersey on Chris Cooper's character from American Beauty, because Westbrook is so deep in the closet he's finding Christmas presents.

Friday, April 11, 2008

The most electrifying man in sports entertainment

How excited am I about Alexander Ovechkin's playoff debut tonight?
I've seen almost every minute of every Caps game since Ovechkin signed his 13 year, $124 million extension January 10. Watched Ovechkin lead the league in:

Goals (65; 20%, or 13 goals, more than 2nd place).

Points (112).

Game-winning goals (11).

Power-play goals (22).

Even-strength goals (41).

Lead-changing goals (30).

Multi-goal games (13).

4-goal games (2).

Points in the last month of the season (31).

"Late-game pressure goals" (29) (defined by the league as overtime or third period goals when the score differential is 2 or less goals).

Late-game pressure points (44).

Game-winning goals in the third period (5).

Third period goals (26).

First period goals (17).

Shots (441).

And there's more statistical goodness: 11th in the league in hits, ninth in takeaways, 7th in plus/minus, the third most goals in his first three years in the league (behind Gretzky and Bossy), the third highest adjusted goal total in NHL history, and more ten or shot games since he entered the league than the next four players on the list combined. But with Ovechkin, you can't just rely on the stats. Because when you go to the video tape, you realize he transcends statistics.

He scores, he hits, and he gets the fans involved. I cannot fathom someone liking hockey and not buying what Ovechkin is selling.

The difference between the level of regular season and postseason play is greater than that of every other sport, so the dominant storyline of the second half of the NHL season is whether or not fans would get a chance to see Ovechkin in the playoffs. To what level can he take his play, and how elaborate will his celebrations be when he scores? I'm excited to find out.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

The most compelling story in sports

On November 21, 2007, the Washington Capitals dropped their fifth straight game to drop to 6-14-1, an shockingly poor record when you consider that only 5 of the NHL's 30 clubs are below .500 today. The same evening, the Ottawa Senators lost for the second time in three games, dropping to 16-4-0. Fast forward to today. The Capitals have won nine out of ten and the Senators have lost five out of six, and the Caps, in ninth place, sit two points behind the sixth place Sens with two games remaining.

After the Caps dropped to 6-14-1, they replaced coach Glen Hanlon with Bruce Boudreau, who should be a favorite for the Jack Adams Trophy (coach of the year). 6-14-1 equates to 13 out of a possible 42 points through 21 games, or 31%. The L.A. Kings currently have the worst record in the NHL with 69 points though 80 games, or 43.1% of the possible points. The Senators started out 15-2-0, 30 out of a possible 34 points or 88.2%. The Red Wings are wrapping up one of the best seasons ever with 111 points through 79 games, or 70.3%. So it's impossible to overstate how poor Washington's start or phenomenal Ottawa's start were. Truly amazing turnarounds.