Archive for February, 2010

Washington Capitals: Team of Destiny?

Could there be a very small comparison of the Washington Capitals in the NHL to the New Orleans Saints of the NFL?

Two franchises that haven’t seen much success are reaching new heights that have never been seen before. Both teams have stars (Alex Ovechkin in Washington, Drew Brees in New Orleans) and a dynamic supporting cast.

But the comparisons really stop there.

While the Saints have always had the hearts of fans in New Orleans, despite the losing ways and the days of the ‘Aints, the Capitals are currently the hottest ticket in Washington (and the most successful franchise in Washington over the past few years), but they are still viewed as third-rate to a lot of people in their own city (to the Redskins and Wizards). With the current winning streak they are on (a franchise-record 14 straight) and no other team in the NHL holding a candle to them, it seems as though the stars (not Dallas) are aligned to bring Lord Stanley’s cup to the nation’s capital.

Unlike the San Jose Sharks, who looked like the team of destiny a year ago before choking in the first round against the Anaheim Ducks, the Washington Capitals know how to get the job done. They have won in every way imaginable. They have got off to fast starts and been consistent, they found ways to win the close games, and in a similarity to the Saints (again), no lead is safe with this team. That was proven yesterday when they came back from a 4-1 deficit Sunday afternoon to beat their archrival Pittsburgh Penguins in over time 5-4. Fans braved through the snow and showed up in full force. It just seems as if the Caps are not going to lose any time soon and that this team is a team of destiny. And this is a team that is more than just Ovechkin. Nicklas Backstrom, Mike Green, Alexander Semin are just among the few players that makes this team go. Don’t forget about the coaching of Bruce Boudreau, he has done a great job of making sure this team handles their business night in and night out.

If the Capitals can keep this momentum up after the Olympic break, they will easily win the President’s Trophy. However, they still have to exercise demons of last year and losing to the Penguins in the second round of the playoffs a year ago. They definitely have what it takes to get it done, and have everyone in DC Rocking the Red.

Time will tell what that destiny holds.

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Super Bowl XLIV Recap

The last game of the NFL season was last night (due to the Pro Bowl being the week before the Super Bowl) and it was Super Bowl XLIV. The favorite, the Indianapolis Colts have been there, done that, and was looking for their second championship in four years. The New Orleans Saints, the underdogs, were looking to cap an unbelievable season with their first ever world championship. To the recap.

New Orleans 31, Indianapolis 17- The resiliency. The passion. The love affair between a city and its football team was in full force. After many years of failure, the Saints are on top of the world as champions. Drew Brees tied a Super Bowl record by going 32-39 for 288 yards, and threw two touchdowns, and the New Orleans Saints claimed their first ever NFL Championship by beating the Indianapolis Colts 31-17, setting off what will be a month long celebration for the city of New Orleans with the Super Bowl victory and Mardi Gras. The Saints took risks and made bold chances, and they would all pay off in the end.

But it wasn’t easy.

The Colts got off to a fast start in the first quarter. After a Matt Stover field goal made it 3-0, Peyton Manning, who went 31-45 for 333 yards with a touchdown and an interception (to be discussed later), and engineered a 96 yard drive that ended with a touchdown pass to Pierre Garcon to make it 10-0, giving Indianapolis two scores on its first two drives. The Saints would get on the board in the second quarter with two Garrett Hartley field goals to cut the lead to 10-6 at halftime.

Then Brees went to work in the second half, but it took a bold move for the momentum to shift.

Saints’ head coach Sean Payton called for an onside kick to start the second half and the gamble paid off. Thomas Morstead’s kick was recovered by Chris Reis, and that set up Brees’ first touchdown of the game, a 16 yard pass to Pierre Thomas to give New Orleans their first lead of the game, 13-10. Manning responded by leading a drive which resulted in Joseph Addai’s four yard touchdown run that put Indianapolis up 17-13. After a Hartley field goal (his third of the game) cut the lead to 17-16, the momentum swung in the Saints’ favor again when Matt Stover’s 51 yard field goal went wide left.

New Orleans would take the lead for good when Brees found Jeremy Shockey for a two yard touchdown pass, and followed up with a two point conversion to make it 24-17. With one last chance, Peyton Manning engineered a drive, but was picked off by Tracy Porter, who took it back 74 yards to seal the victory for the Saints and set off a wild celebration on Bourbon Street and Biscayne Blvd., with many fans shouting “Who Dat” in the streets of New Orleans and Miami.

For the Saints and Drew Brees, it has been a match made in heaven. Signing on with the team in 2006, he has been the emotional leader and rebuilding the relationship between the Saints and the city of New Orleans, a Super Bowl victory gives this city the pride that it richly deserves. This isn’t your grandfather or your father’s Saints, where they were affectionately known as the ‘Aints. This team has reached an elite status, and now with the elite status means they are going to be the hunted, and not be the hunters anymore.

For Manning and the Colts, they got outplayed and the heart of the Saints was much stronger. One thing that the Colts never did was be overconfident. They were rattled at the onside kick, and the debate on if Manning made a bad throw could be made, but it was simply a good read by Tracy Porter, and a lack of defense by Reggie Wayne as a receiver. Manning could have cemented his legacy, but the destiny was in favor of the Saints. Congratulations New Orleans, you are the 2009 NFL World Champions! Who Dat!