Do you ever watch SportsCenter and wonder if there will ever be a phenomenal player on a D.C. sports franchise that will dominate the headlines? Will there ever be a player that will completely hijack every story, highlight, and show on the network? You know, the kind of player Skip Bayless would fawn all over constantly?
I do . . well, except for the Skip Bayless thing. I also wonder if that player is already on a roster. A player that could be ready to go ... Lin Sane.
There probably isn't one, but it beats talking about Peyton's neck, Albert's latest release, and Ovie the Rock Star. Anyway, all are actually covered in this week's edition of "Chain Reactions."
Finding DC's Jeremy Lin
Jeremey Lin has indeed been Linsane during the Knicks 7-game win streak, making shots and making his teammates better. I mean, that is the same Jared Jeffries that played with the Wizards who is suddenly finishing at the rim with aplomb.
Certainly part of the appeal of Linsanity is that no one saw it coming. Lin was buried on the Knicks bench, barely getting minutes until the past seven games. So it seems like cheating to try and unearth the next Jeremy Lin. The truth is, there probably is not a Jeremy Lin: DC Edition out there. That being said ...here goes nothing.
On the Redskins, clearly we, or at least Mike Shanahan thought (or at least he pretended to think), John Beck could be that guy. Clearly, it did not quite work out that way. So I give you another candidate on the Redskins practice squad: quarterback Jonathan Crompton. Crompton was the 168th pick in the 2010 draft (taken by the Chargers) and the Redskins are his 4th franchise. He has a good enough pedigree, having played in the SEC at Tennessee. Why not Cromptonmania? I mean, Trent Green was a third stringer in DC before he became a starter.
Odds: Slim to none, since the Skins will either draft a Quarterback or make a mistake on Peyton Manning.
As they love to remind us, the Wizards have lots of youth on their roster. However, most of them were first round picks or players we otherwise knew in college. Kevin Seraphin does not get much run and he's better known in France, but he is a project. A Peter John Ramos comeback would be as likely, plus it is easier for a guard to take over games in the NBA, as we are seeing with Lin.
So with guard play in mind, how about Shelvin Mack? I mean, he was on the ultimate underdog team in college basketball, Butler. Most fans know him because of that, but he hardly gets any run. Mack does have skills, but to take over the reins, he would need some misfortune to befall the guys in front of him on the depth chart, including John Wall, and no one wants to see that happen.
Odds: Not good unless something bad happens, and too many fans know him from Butler's two runs
What about the Caps? Well, I thought Braden Holtby could be that guy to get called up and lead the Caps to the postseason, and then I watched the Sharks game the other night. So I gave up. I would rather see the guy with the "C" on his chest get back to being Alex The Great.
The Nationals? Well, they had Michael Morse kind of come out of nowhere last year and got some run nationally. I do not think Skip wore a Morse jersey or sang a song about it. either.
Odds: Teddy winning may be our only chance
In horror movies, I am always annoyed when the unsuspecting victim walks right into the ax or the dumb family will not leave despite finding out the house is haunted. I feel like we are all seeing signs of the scary situation in regards to Peyton Manning's health (or lack thereof) yet the Redskins just seem like the team that might walk into the ax or ignore the chilling chants of "GET OUT OF THIS HOUSE!"
Hopefully this latest news will prevent the franchise from getting their heads cut off again by a bad free agent move.
SI.com has learned from NFL sources that Manning actually underwent a fourth, unreported, medical procedure in the past two years, not three as has been widely known.
Ok, well, he is on the road to recovery, right? Not quite. Don Banks has more bad news for those dreaming of No. 18 carrying the Redskins to glory next season.
In addition, league sources say Manning's neck has potentially developed bone spurs just above the point where his latest fusion surgery took place in early September, and the Colts organization is under the belief that it is nearly inevitable Manning will at some point require further surgery, and possibly another fusion procedure, even if he does successfully return to the field in 2012. It's unclear how any potential long-term neck issues will impact Manning's decision to attempt a resumption of his NFL playing career later this year.
Perhaps Jonathan Crompton will have to go Lin Sane after all.
Haynesworth Cut Again...Retirement or NFC East Return?
As I have explained in this column before, Redskin fans like when we get one right. Here's another example of how they got it right by finally cutting ties with Albert Haynesworth. First, Bill Belichick was unable to resurrect 92's career after making the low risk deal to bring Haynesworth to New England.
Then, Tampa Bay grabbed him off the bargain rack after Belichick had had enough of his act. Now the Buccaneers have said goodbye. For those of you scoring at home, and I know you are, that would be 3 teams in less than a year that have said "Get lost, Fat Albert."
So what's next? Retirement? Or perhaps a return to the NFC East and a reunion with Jim Washburn in Philadelphia? It would be interesting to see if the Eagles, who were a bad chemistry experiment a year ago, could squeeze anything out of what used to be one of the most feared defensive players in the NFL.
Ovie the Rock Star
Is it the 900 lb. elephant in the room or is it a gorilla? I really have no idea, but I do know it is something that has come across the minds of most Caps fans at one time or another this season: something is not right with Alex Ovechkin. He's not the same guy.
Well, finally someone in the building with plenty of credibility spoke up. Former Caps goalie and current Associate Goalie Coach Ollie Kolzig added his two cents on the Caps captain's struggles.
"For Alex, it's a work ethic," Kolzig said. "He just has to get back to being the way he was in his younger days and maybe not get wrapped up too much with the rock star status that comes with being Alex Ovechkin."
Kolzig did admit part of Ovechkin's problem is missing Nicklas Backstrom
"Obviously, he's not scoring at the clip he's accustomed to," Kolzig said. "Part of that, obviously, is not having Nicky Backstrom in the lineup. You're seeing it a little more with Dale [Hunter] behind the bench, but Alex was getting away from playing the hard, no-nonsense, honest, exuberant type of hockey he displayed in the first three years he was in the league. I think that's what endeared him to everybody.
The criticism is not something Ovechkin is ducking.
"I have to lead the way," Ovechkin said. "I have to play much better than I'm playing right now. If I do that, everybody will do it."
The Caps have not been healthy this season, only having their full strength team for 8 games this year. Injuries are part of the game and surely rival Pittsburgh, who has had Sidney Crosby for just 8 games this season, are not about to feel sorry for Washington. Hopefully they can get Mike Green back for good in the near future, and hopefully get Backstrom back sometime this season.
But listening to Kolzig, it sounds like a physically healthy team on the ice may not be the entire issue for the Caps. Maybe instead of trading for a second-line center, they need to trade for a sports psychologist.