April 18, 2014

Washington Capitals Game 59 Recap: Capitals shut out Devils 3-0; Erat scores his first of the season

The Washington Capitals have five Olympians on their roster, but before they set off for Sochi they had one more task to complete. After sacking the Winnipeg Jets on Thursday, the Capitals finished off their four game homestand with another victory, a 3-0 decision over the New Jersey Devils.

The Caps enter the Olympic break on a 5-2-1 tear.

Braden Holtby got his second start of the week, and earned his third shutout of the season.

Julien Brouillete, called up from Hershey this week to aid an ailing Caps defense, scored the first goal of the game in the third period and the first of his career, with his parents in attendance as well.

“I’m sure he’s flying high right now. Big goal,” said Adam Oates. “But you know what, Backy [Nicklas Backstrom] won a draw. That’s what it’s about. You win a draw, we get it across the blue line, you throw it to the net with a little bit of a screen and you’ve got a chance to get a goal.”

Martin Erat experienced a milestone of sorts himself, as well. The Devils pulled Cory Schneider for the extra man to try to tie the game with two minutes left, but Erat fired a wrister at the empty net, finally scoring his first goal of the season, just before his trip to the Olympics as a member of the Czech team.

Troy Brouwer scored his 100th career goal just a few seconds later to cap off the win.

Adam Oates was impressed with the patience of his players during a game that was sleepy at times.

“Obviously the Devils play that kind of game. They are willing to play it every night, and it’s a frustrating team to play. They don’t give you much. I looked up with nine minutes left in the third period, and I think it was 20 each in shots. Both teams played stingy. It was good.”

District Sports Page looking for writers

Do you have a passion for one (or all) of the pro teams in DC? Can you articulate that passion via thoughtful analysis or constructive opinion? Do you have an interest in describing game action, and not just who did what, but why and how they did it?

District Sports Page is looking to add to our staff of writers covering the professional teams in Washington, DC.

Do you currently have your own blog, or write for someone else’s, but looking to expand? Are you a college student or recent graduate looking for experience? Are you a seasoned writer but not in the industry anymore? Do you have a particular sports expertise but need guidance in the creative process?

We’re looking for candidates with strong writing skills, a deep understanding of the sports they write about, time and energy to commit to the endeavor, and most of all, a passion for DC sports.

Our mission here at the District Sports Page is simple: To provide independent daily, quality, analytical, critical and opinionated coverage of the DC pro teams.

Journalism is comprised of the asking and answering of questions: the Who, What, When, Where, Why and How of the story. The mainstream media in town do a great job of giving sports fans a broad overview of the Who, What, When and Where of the games and stories they cover, but because they have to cater to a mass audience, the Why and the How often are overlooked.

Hopefully, that’s where you’ll come in.

If you have a deep understanding of the games, and can articulate that in writing, DSP might be the place to showcase your talents.

We are in need of writers for all sports, so if you want to write about the Redskins, Capitals, Wizards, Nationals or United, let us know! Shoot, if you have a particular knowledge or passion for the Kastles or the Mystics, we’ll make room for you.

If you’re interested, please send an email to: comments@districtsportspage.com and include the following:

  1. Resume
  2. Examples or links to previous writing
  3. Cover letter describing your writing style, expertise in a particular sport, level of commitment, and writing ambitions

We look forward to hearing from you.

While you weren’t watching, the Wizards reached .500

As if to silence any mention of playoff expectations, the Washington Wizards stumbled into the 2013-14 season with a dismal 2-7 record, dropping contests against the Philadelphia 76ers (now 6-12) and the Cleveland Cavaliers (now 5-12) along the way.

With no timetable on Otto Porter Jr. and early injuries to Nene and Bradley Beal, there’s little wonder why the casual fan passed up opportunities to nab seats at the Verizon Center in recent weeks – tickets for this Friday’s matchup against the Milwaukee Bucks are priced as low as $5.43 on Stubhub as of publication.

But, few could pose strong arguments against fans who voiced their frustrations from the get-go this year. After all, the Wizards’ 2-7 hole still marked the team’s best start in three seasons – Washington began 0-12 last season and 0-8 the year before. Yet, to those who have showed up time and again to fill but some of the empty seats at the Phone Booth – a tip of the cap, to you. Your dedication has, somewhat unexpectedly, paid off. [Read more...]

CAPS: Happy Birthday, Jay Beagle

HAPPY 28th BIRTHDAY JAY BEAGLE!

The Washington Capitals forward was born on 10/16/1985 in Calgary, AB, Canada.

Happy 28th Birthday to #83.

Jay Beagle during warmups at Verizon Center, May 2 (Cheryl Nichols/District Sports Page)

Jay Beagle and Wojtek Wolski – Captials practice at Kettler, September 14, 2012 (Cheryl Nichols/District Sports Page)

Washington Capitals forward Jay Beagle poses with a participant at Kettler Capitals Iceplex for the Dreams for Kids clinic on Feb. 2 (Photo by Cheryl Nichols)

Cheryl Nichols is a Columnist and Photographer for District Sports Page. She is credentialed to cover the Washington Capitals and has reported on the community service and fan events for Nats News Network and Caps News Network since 2006. Cheryl is an accomplished action photographer and has been published in The Washington Post and many other local media. She was a credentialed photographer for the 2010 season covering the Washington Nationals. You can follow her on Twitter @cnichols14.

D.C. United Game 28 Recap: Porter’s late goal salvages 2-2 draw for D.C.

On a day where D.C. United legend Jaime Moreno was inducted into the club’s Hall of Tradition, the current D.C. United team twice fought back from a goal down to take a well-earned point in a 2-2 draw with the two-time defending MLS Cup champion Los Angeles Galaxy.

Chris Pontius scored in the 34th minute to dispose of an early LA 1-0 lead, then Kyle Porter scored in the 84th minute on a header, just three minutes after the Galaxy had retaken the lead, as United scored multiple goals in a Major League Soccer match for the first time since August 3, in a 3-1 win over the Montreal Impact. United are now 3-19-6 (15 points) on the season. LA now stands 13-10-5 (44 points). [Read more...]

D.C. United Game 18 Recap: Martins leaves United defenseless in Seattle

Ten Major League Soccer teams played last night, one didn’t score a goal. If you have been following D.C. United during this 2013 MLS season, you can guess which team it was.

United fell to 2-13-3 (9 points) on the season with a 2-0 loss to the Seattle Sounders at CenturyLink Field in Seattle, before a spirited crowd of 39,180. The Sounders are 7-2-2 after starting the season 0-3-2, and improved to 7-5-4 (25 points) overall. [Read more...]

D.C. United GAME 8 RECAP: Fire can’t keep Columbus from scorching United

Defensive miscues in the first half and the continued lack of ability to score away from RFK Stadium led to yet another loss by D.C. United, this time by a 3-0 score to the Columbus Crew in front of 14,090 at Crew Stadium. United fell to 1-6-1 (4 points) with the loss, and haven’t won now in six matches. The Crew improved to 3-2-3 (12 points). United remain last in Major League Soccer’s Eastern Conference.

Dominic Oduro (his fourth of the season), Josh Williams (third), and Federico Higuain (his second, scored from the penalty spot) provided the goals for Columbus, all in the first half. A first half which was delayed nearly an hour by a fire that broke out in the top of the Crew Stadium scoreboard. In a statement, Crew President and General Manager Mark McCullers said there were no injuries in the fire, which did not spread beyond the scoreboard.

Once the game started, however, it was a familiar story for United, who saw various defensive errors lead to Crew goals, a goal that United scored waived off for an apparent offside that on video review doesn’t exist, and an attack that while it created several opportunities, couldn’t break through and find a goal. United have only scored four goals in eight matches this season, none of which have come away from home. By contrast, the Crew have now scored 12 goals this season and Oduro has four by himself.

By the end of the first half, the Crew had three shots on goal and had scored on all of them. The first damage (other than that to the scoreboard) came in the 15th minute when Oduro opened the scoring. Jairo Arrieta crossed into the box from deep to United goalkeeper Bill Hamid’s right. Oduro met it with a solid shot to make it 1-0. Arrieta had started the play when he got on the ball behind the United defense shortly after a Crew goal kick.

United equalized in the 23rd minute through Perry Kitchen, but the goal was waived off either due to offside or a foul on Kitchen. Trouble was, Kitchen wasn’t one of the United players in offside position on the play. United had what appeared to be a legitimate goal waived off for offside in a 2-1 loss vs. Columbus at RFK Stadium earlier in the season. United head coach Ben Olsen appeared to be staring in disbelief at the referee’s assistant following the call, and the video of the play on the MLS website (as of this writing) was titled, “DC has a goal disallowed for offside.”

As this season has gone, it was no surprise then that three minutes later, Williams scored to make it 2-0. Higuain took a corner kick from Hamid’s left side. Williams hit a right-footed, one-hopper that eluded Hamid to his left. Hamid got a hand on it, but not enough to keep it out.

It appeared United would be able to go into halftime with a 2-0 deficit, but that changed in stoppage time when Arrieta was fouled in the penalty area by Brandon McDonald, giving the Crew a penalty kick. Higuain buried the chance from the spot to make it 3-0 just before intermission.

United forced Crew goalkeeper Andy Gruenebaum to make several saves in the second half, but he handled them all cleanly, not allowing any dangerous rebounds and not allowing United to break its scoring drought on the road this season. Lionard Pajoy hit the crossbar with a free kick in the third minute of second-half stoppage time. D.C. outshot Columbus, 21-7, including 6-3 in shots on goal, but it wasn’t good enough on this night. One on which United played without midfielders Nick DeLeon and Chris Pontius due to injury.

United is off next weekend. The club returns to action on Wednesday, May 8, at home against the Houston Dynamo. United lost the 2013 season opener at Houston, 2-0.

Washington Redskins Select Florida Tight End Jordan Reed With Third Round Pick

The Washington Redskins have selected Florida tight end Jordan Reed with the 85th overall selection in the draft.

Searching for more weapons on offense, the Redskins drafted Reed (6-2, 236 lbs) to be pass-catching threat for Robert Griffin III. While at Florida, Reed displayed his versatility, earning snaps at running back, tight end, and even quarterback. In his final season at Florida, he led the team in receiving with 559 yards on 45 receptions and three touchdowns.

Reed’s addition is an intriguing one, especially given the fact that current tight end Fred Davis is coming off a major achilles tendon injury. The third rounder provides the Redskins with security in the case that Davis does not return to form a year removed from ankle surgery. Even if Davis comes back healthy, Reed’s athleticism and versatility still make him a dangerous weapon for Kyle Shanahan and the Redskins offense to employ.

More on the Redskins draft later on District Sports Page.

Washington Redskins Draft NC State Cornerback David Amerson With Second Round Pick

As expected, the Washington Redskins helped bolster their secondary with their second round draft pick, selecting North Carolina State cornerback David Amerson with the 51st overall selection.

Amerson (6-1, 201 lbs) established himself as a top draft prospect during his sophmore season of 2011 at NC State, amassing 13 interceptions — tied for second most in NCAA history — all while earning first-team All-ACC honors an the Jack Tatum Award, given to the nation’s top defensive back.  However, his production dipped in 2012, as he notched just five picks while allowing a number of big plays in the process. A disappointing final season at NC State is believed to be the reason why Amerson fell in the draft.

Amerson still impressed scouts throughout the draft process, running a 4.4 40-yard dash at the Combine. The size/speed combination  along with his ball skills made him an attractive option for the Redskins in the second round, filling a need the team desperately wanted to address this weekend.

We’ll have more on the Redskins draft later tonight on District Sports Page.

Washington Redskins Announce 2013 Preseason Opponents

The Washington Redskins have announced their 2013 preseason opponents. Though the order of the games have been determined, specific dates and times for three of the four matchups are to be announced at a later date.

The team will open their preseason slate on the road against the Tennessee Titans between Aug. 8-11, then return home on Aug. 19 for a nationally televised game against the Pittsburgh Steelers on ESPN at 8 p.m. They’ll then have another home tilt against the Buffalo Bills between Aug. 23-25 before concluding the exhibition season on the road against the Tampa Bay Buccanneers between Aug 29-31.

Every game with the exception of the Steelers matchup will be broadcast on NBC4/Comcast SportsNet.

Despite the uncertainty of whether or not quarterback Robert Griffin III would see any action in the preseason, the Redskins still managed to draw a nationally televised game.  With a dynamic player such as Griffin and with the team coming off its first NFC East championship since 1999, it’s expected that they’ll receive more national exposure in 2013.

The NFL will announce its regular season schedule later this month.

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