In this week's edition of Chain Reactions, Tax Day Edition, we discuss the Capitals paying the price for their penalties in a Game 3 2011 NHL Playoffs loss to the Rangers, the best return and worst return for the Redskins with their first-round 2011 NFL Draft pick and the Nats finally getting a return on their past investments.
No Crying in the NHL Playoffs
There was nothing shocking about the New York Rangers' Game 3 effort in a 3-2 win over the Capitals. The Caps, who still lead the series 2-1, knew the Rangers would come out desperate on their home ice. You learn a lot about teams after losses. Do they own up and man up and improve from the setbacks? Or do they point fingers and make excuses? Well the Caps had a little of both after Game 3.
"We knew they were going to come out strong," Matt Bradley said. "I thought we got outworked tonight."
The Caps are better defensively and better prepared for the post season thanks to their style change. However, in order to be a championship team, it will take more than a style change. They must be tough mentally and play through the adversity.
Caps Coach Bruce Boudreau did what coaches do after losses: work the officials
"You can't take seven penalties, be shorthanded seven times or eight, I don't know what it was," Boudreau said.
Then Boudreau went off the deep end...
"You knew they were going to be antagonistic and that. We just got to learn to take it. This is the time of year you take it. Game 10 of the year you don't take it.
"I think after every time after there was a scrum or something in front of the net, they were hitting our goalie," Boudreau said. "It just got to a point, you know. They kept warning them not to do it, not to do it, and they kept doing it and nothing was done so they kept doing it. Pretty simple."
However Nicklas Backstrom, who was part of the penalty parade, was just whining
"I don't know. Some of those calls wasn't a penalty I think. But what happens in the playoffs you just have to get ready for the next game," Backstrom said.
As for the flow being disrupted by the constant parade to the penalty box Backstrom said, "that wasn't me, that was the ref."
Like they say in those annoying beer commercials with the mouthy female bartenders (does anyone tip those woman?) MAN UP.
Hopefully the whining is out of their system and the Caps come to play Wednesday like the way they played in Games 1 and 2. If they do that order will be restored.
Worst Redskins Draft Rumor
The Redskins have more needs then one draft can handle. They have needs all over the defensive side of the ball. They need help at all three skill positions on offense. They could always use quality offensive line since that unit was ignored for some many seasons (thanks Vinny Cerrato!). The Redskins have eight picks, but only two in the first four rounds at 10 and 41 overall. They have a pair of fifth rounders, a sixth, and three seventh rounders.
So when I see reports about the Redskins looking to move up, I shake my head and ask who let Cerrato back in the war room.
I don't know what they have to offer, but I hear the Redskins are trying like crazy to trade up to get one of the quarterbacks, Blaine Gabbert, I imagine. Some mocks have them taking quarterback Jake Locker if they stay at 10. What a reach that would be, but Mike Shanahan loves mobile quarterbacks who can throw on the run.
As mentioned in the piece, the Redskins do not have much to offer. That is why my suspicion is the Redskins front office is letting out all kinds of information just to keep everyone guessing, which is what franchises do this time of year.
Best Redskins Draft Rumor
If you take a look at a couple or a couple hundred mock drafts, the range of possibilities are endless at the 10th overall selection for the Redskins. There is a good reason for that: they have a ton of needs. So unlike the above draft rumor, this one makes sense.
The Redskins, who pick 10th overall, would like to get a second-round pick from a team in exchange for moving back to their spot in the first round. They could then use their two second-round picks to bolster the defense.
So who could the Skins deal with?
One team that is said to be eyeing the 10th spot is the New England Patriots, who have two first-round picks and two second-round picks. The Patriots might have their eye on an edge rusher -- like Ryan Kerrigan of Purdue -- or a receiver like Julio Jones of Alabama.
Ultimately, what will the Redskins do? My vote is moving back if possible, but President Bruce Allen and Mike Shanahan are not about to share those secrets. Instead you will have to tune into the draft on April 28th.
Wizards Best Option Draft Goes All In
There are a few steps to the Wizards getting what they need this offseason. The first step took place this past week when Arizona forward Derrick Williams announced his intentions to enter the NBA Draft. The next step is the Wizards either winning the lottery or getting in position for Williams to land in their lap. Anyone who saw Williams ability to dominate as he did against Duke in the NCAA tournament knows he would fit nicely running the floor with John Wall.
The other thing that has Wizards fans hoping for the Wildcats big man is the fact that he is more than just a player with talent and upside.
"We couldn't be prouder of him," UA assistant coach James Whitford said. "With what he's done here, the way he handled the situation, and the fact that he's still going to school now and he intends to complete his degree.
"He's in there working out with the guys because he's worried about getting better and being ready when the time is right. In college basketball, you don't oftentimes come around a player like him and a person like him. He's a great reflection of the people who have raised him."
Nats Well Armed So Far
The Nationals are still a long way from home when it comes to the grind of the 162 game schedule. They can take heart not only in the fact that they are above .500, but they are doing it with pitching despite not having their franchise ace Stephen Strasburg. Interesting numbers here from Ben Goessling.
In Fielding Independent Percentage, a statistic that measures only the things pitchers directly control (homers, walks and strikeouts), the Nationals' staff was the seventh-best in baseball before Sunday.
And the efficiency has had a direct effect on the group's effectiveness; the Nationals are the last team in baseball to have a starter pitch at least five innings in every game this season. After the team's bullpen worked the most innings in baseball last season, it's pitched just 47 2/3 this season - an average of just over three per game.
Can they keep us this pace? Can the offense show up consistently enough for it to make a difference? Two of the million dollar questions that will go a long way in telling whether or not the new look Nats are built for the long haul of the season.