Dec 04

Songs to get you pumped. More Metallica

METALLICA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! BLITZ


Dec 03

Jay Beagle versus Arron Asham

OUCH!!!!!!!!!!

Read what Dave had to say about this. http://marylandsportsblog.com/?p=1345

Dec 03

Baltimore Ravens Cleveland Browns injury report

Baltimore Ravens

Out

CB Chris Carr (back)

Questionable

LB Ray Lewis (foot)

Probable

RB Anthony Allen (thigh)
LB Dannell Ellerbe (thigh)
DT Art Jones (head)

Cleveland Browns

Out

LB Quinton Spears (hamstring)
DB TJ Ward (foot/finger)

Questionable

DB Mike Adams (shoulder)
RB Montario Hardesty (calf)
DL Jayme Mitchell (ankle)
OL Tony Pashos (ankle)
DB Dimitri Patterson (ankle)

Probable

RB Peyton Hillis (hamstring)
QB Colt McCoy (right elbow)
LB Kaluka Maiava (knee)
FB Owen Marecic (head)
DL Scott Paxson (shin)

Dec 02

Between the Hashes- Week 13 Edition

Welcome back to another edition of Between the Hashes for Week 13. Hope everyone had a nice Thanksgiving and that you spent time with family.

It’s hard to believe we are in the first week of December already, and for some fantasy owners, this week is do or die in terms of either sliding into the playoffs or sliding out. Then there are the folks who have playoff seeds locked up and just waiting to feast on lesser teams crawling into the playoffs.

No matter what position your team is in, you may have some players who are sitting on your bench that you are trying to decide playing, or players that could move to flex positions or starting spots to give you the edge in your matchup.

 

Before we do that, let’s first look back at some of the performances of players I noted in Week 12.

QB Matt Ryan- Falcons: Just another ho-hum type of afternoon for Ryan, throwing 3 TD’s and 262 passing yards in the win over Minnesota.

RB LeGarrette Blount- Buccaneers: Blount ran hard, rushing for over 100 yards (103) and also chipping in with 56 yards receiving in the loss to the Titans.

WR Brandon Lloyd- Rams: Lloyd scored his 4th TD for the Rams since being traded to St. Louis at the end of October. He caught five for 74 yards in the loss to the Cardinals.

TE Rob Gronkowski- Patriots: The Gronk had himself a nice game in the win against Philadelphia, hauling in four catches for 59 yards and a TD.

 

Players I like in Week 13

Quarterbacks

QB Matthew Stafford- Lions: If Stafford is healthy, and he’s getting there, then we could see the Lions and Saints put up a ton of points in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome on Sunday night. The Saints are giving up 300 YPG to QB’s over their last four games and Giants QB Eli Manning threw for 406 yards against the Saints on Monday night.

Prediction: 305 yards/2 TD

QB Ryan Fitzpatrick- Bills: Fitzpatrick will look to get some of the “magic” back this week against the Titans and build on last week’s nice performance against the New York Jets. Fitzpatrick threw for 264 yards with three TD’s and zero picks. The matchup against the Titans looks pretty good, and he’ll have to throw more with RB Fred Jackson on IR.

Prediction: 225 yards/2 TD/INT

 

Running Backs

RB DeAngelo Williams- Panthers: DeAngelo had himself a game, albeit against the Indianapolis Colts last week. He only ran for 69 yards but had two rushing TD’s, which put him at the top of my list this week. He faces a Tampa Bay defense that is giving up 32 FPG to RB’s over the last five weeks. RB Jonathan Stewart will get some looks, but give Williams a go, especially if you need him in your flex.

Prediction: 75 yards/TD

RB BenJarvus Green-Ellis- Patriots: Lawfirm scored twice last week against a soft Eagles defense, and he gets even luckier because this week he’ll face the Indianapolis Colts who give up the 4th-most FPG to RB’s the last five weeks. He’s usually not a must-start guy, but this may be the week.

Prediction: 95 yards/2 TD

 

Wide Receivers

WR Victor Cruz- Giants: For anyone who’s been fortunate enough to pick up Cruz off the waiver wire (this guy) then you’ll know he’s probably helped your team big time the last month or so. Cruz had another huge game last week against the New Orleans Saints, as he caught nine passes for 157 and 2 TD’s.

He has a bit of a hip issue coming out of the Monday night game, but he should be good to go as the Green Bay Packers give up the 7th-most FPG to WR’s over their last five games. Giants could also be without other WR’s Hakeem Nicks and Mario Manningham, so keep that in mind.

Prediction: 105 yards/TD

WR Roddy White- Falcons: The Falcons have gotten Roddy more involved in the passing game the last few weeks, moving him all over the field. That translated into a 10-catch, 120 yard receiving day against the Vikings. He also caught his 4th TD of the season as well. He should have success against the Houston Texans secondary.

Prediction: 88 yards/TD

 

Tight Ends

TE Antonio Gates- Chargers: While the Chargers continue to slide, Gates actually looks healthier as the weeks go by. The Jacksonville Jaguars are the next opponent for San Diego, and last season, Gates scored 2 TD’s against this squad. Had 49 yards last week against Denver and has scored in two straight games.

Prediction: 65 yards/TD

TE Jermichael Finley- Packers: The Packers should look at game film from the New Orleans Saints to see how much success Saints TE Jimmy Graham had last Monday night against the Giants. The Giants are brutal against the TE position, giving up the most points to them over the last five weeks and he should be pretty damn active in this one. Then again, all of the Packers offense is active every week.

Prediction: 60 yards/TD

Good luck to all you fantasy owners in Week 13!

Follow me on Twitter: MattCLund

 

Dec 02

Baltimore Ravens training camp staying at facility



The Baltimore Ravens have announced that they will keep their training camp at their training facility in Owings Mills.   As someone who was lucky enough to have press passes the the 2010 training camp I am personally saddened by the matter.  It was fun to see how happy the fans were at the practices and how they got to interact with the players.  Here is the press release the Ravens have released regarding the matter.

The Baltimore Ravens will continue to hold training camp at their Owings Mills training facility. For the first 15 years in the franchise’s history, camp was held in Westminster, Md. at McDaniel College. The Ravens’ 2011 training camp was held in Owings Mills.

“We’ve had long, serious discussions about this decision, and, when all is said and done, we believe we can better prepare for the season by holding training camp here as opposed to McDaniel College or any other facility away from here,” team president Dick Cass explained. “We wanted to let the officials at McDaniel and at the hotel (Best Western) know as soon as we made the decision.

“We owe much thanks to the leadership at McDaniel for their patience as we came to this decision and for all the outstanding help they have given the Ravens through the years. They have been a great partner, often going out of their way to make sure we could prepare our team at a high, high level,” Cass added.

(Before becoming McDaniel College, the school was known as Western Maryland College and hosted the then-Baltimore Colts for training camp from 1953 through 1971. The Colts trained at the Colorado School of Mines in 1972, at Towson State University in 1973, at McDonogh School in 1974 and then at Goucher College from 1975 to 1983.)

“In 1996, Westminster was the best place for us to have training camp,” general manager and executive vice president Ozzie Newsome explained. “How teams conduct training camp today is vastly different. Our football needs and requirements are different. The absence of two-a-days, how much space we need for the players and the meetings, the limited number of practices allowed by the new CBA (collective bargaining agreement), the importance of having an indoor field when the summer storms come – all of that and more football-influenced factors, had me recommend to Steve (Bisciotti) and Dick that we hold camp here.”

Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti has mixed feelings about the move to Owings Mills. “From a football and team point of view, it’s an easy decision. Personally, this is difficult. Some of my best memories as a kid are my family’s visits to the Colts’ training camp in Westminster. Part of my devotion to the game and the players who made it great and are heroes to many of us, started on those visits.

“We completely understand that this takes away an important part of our connection with our fans. I regret that,” Bisciotti continued. “Hopefully, we can find other ways to continue this outreach. We’ll have more to say on this as we develop these programs.”

“We’ve discussed a variety of possible community interactions,” Cass added. “We are committed to having, at the minimum, three practices away from Owings Mills that would be open to the public with at least one of those at M&T Bank Stadium. We will have smaller groups of fans at practices here (at Owings Mills) and will have other community activities that include access to players and coaches. We want to do something in Westminster, and we are discussing some ideas. These will all have to fit into the first priority: getting the team ready for the regular season.

“This is not a financial decision,” Cass continued. “Because of our training camp sponsors and partners, we did not lose money going to Westminster.”

“We’ll miss having all those fans at practice,” head coach John Harbaugh said. “It was fun having them so close and, at times, pushing the team to higher levels with the way they cheered and encouraged us.”

Cass and Newsome pointed out a number of issues that provoked the Ravens to make this decision:

· Facilities at the team’s Owings Mills facility are conducive to the best practices, especially in bad weather when the team can quickly move inside without losing the limited practice time. The team’s state-of-the-art weight room, conditioning machines and medical/training areas are significantly better.

· Ravens have outgrown the Best Western Hotel. “There aren’t enough rooms for our players, coaches and staff. Nor are there rooms for the individual position meetings that are an everyday part of football preparation,” Cass noted. (Each year the Ravens have added trailers to hold position meetings and use as office space for the staff.)

· Technology requirements, including computer and video, have changed dramatically in recent years. Capacity at the hotel is not compatible with team needs.

· The new CBA limits teams to one practice per day, and the efficiency provided in Owings Mills with meeting space, fields and video and IT operations allows the team to maximize the preparation for the season.

Dec 02

Arron Asham versus John Erskine

This was a great fight, we all know that it was a payback fight for Jay Beagle. I give John Erskine the edge.

Dec 01

Capitals-Penguins 12/1/2011 Live Blog: Capitals lose 2-1.

Tonight the Washington Capitals take on the Pittsburgh Penguins. This should be a good matchup. The Penguins are coming into tonight sitting on top of the Eastern conference and are favored to win this match-up. Meanwhile, the Capitals are looking to give new coach Dale Hunter his first NHL win and hope to end their current three game losing streak. If the Capitals can pull off a win tonight, it would be huge for them.

GAME NOTES:

  • Tonight marks the second time the Capitals and Penguins have faced off this season, and the first time since Penguins forward Arron Asham injured Jay Beagle in a fight. It is also the first time this season Alex Ovechkin and Sidney Crosby will be squaring off. They always seem to bring out the best in each other, so I expect quite a performance from both of them. Alex Ovechkin has 33 points (19 goals and 14 assists) in 25 career games against the Penguins, while Sidney Crosby has 35 points (13 goals, 22 assists) in 21 career games against the Capitals.
  • The Capitals scratches tonight are Mike Green, Jay Beagle, Mathieu Perreault, and Roman Hamrlik. Perreault is a healthy scratch. Hamrlik is a healthy scratch and has been struggling mightily as of late. Penguins are scratching Kris Letang and Michaelek.
  • Still not timetable for the returns of Mike Green or Jay Beagle. Green is skating again, so that’s a good sign.
  • Tomas Vokoun will be getting the start for the Capitals tonight. Marc-Andre Fleury will be in net for the Penguins.
  • Since 2008, the Washington Capitals have a 12-1-2 regular season record with two shutout losses against the Penguins.

Capitals Lines:

8-19-20 (Alex Ovechkin-Nicklas Backstrom-Troy Brouwer)
50-90-28 (Cody Eakin-Marcus Johansson-Alexander Semin)
25-21-42 (Jason Chimera-Brooks Laich-Joel Ward)
26-15-22 (Matt Hendricks-Jeff Halpern-Mike Knuble)

Penguins Lines:

14-87-9 (Kunitz-Crosby-Dupuis)
26-71-18 (Sullivan-Malkin-Neal)
24-11-48 (Cooke-Staal-Kennedy)
45-12-27 (Asham-Park-Adams)

Keys to Victory:

  1. Always know where Crosby is, and make sure he is covered at all times. 
  2. Dominate the hitting game. If the Penguins have a weakness at this point, it’s their physicality. 
  3. Play smart defense. Don’t give the Penguins any easy goals, they don’t need the help.
  4. Get the forecheck going and crash the net.

FIRST PERIOD

14:39: PENGUINS GOAL. 1-0 Penguins.

Goal: Adams (2)
Assists: Asham (6) Park (5)

The greenhorn Dmitry Orlov missed his assignment on this goal. Should have been at the post. He got a stern talking to by Hunter and assistant coach Jim Johnson, and he didn’t miss it again.

14:33: FIGHT! John Erskine vs. Arron Asham.

This clearly had something to do with Jay Beagle. The point was made, and it was a great fight. I’ll post video as soon as I can find it.

End of the first period. Penguins leading 1-0

Great first period. Tons of intensity from both teams, this is why this is a fantastic rivalry. As I expected, the Capitals have dominated the hitting game 19-6. Hits can be an unreliable stat, but what matters is that the Capitals came out hitting hard and often. Ovechkin leads the team with 5 hits so far. Overall, probably one of Oveckin’s best periods so far this season. Dominating the hitting game, and dominating on offense as well. And quite frankly, best period from him I’ve seen this year from a defensive standpoint. Wow.

The Capitals are definitely getting chances in their attack zone, but they have to start crashing the net. You aren’t going to beat the Penguins with only 4 shots a period. The Penguins have 13 shots on goal thus far, but the Capitals are not giving them anything. Sidney Crosby has two desperation shots and has been kept in check by Brooks Laich and Jason Chimera. Most of their 6 combined hits (3 by each) have been on Sidney Crosby.

If the Capitals can keep up their energy, they can stay in this. If they start crashing the net and being more aggressive with the puck, they just might win it.

SECOND PERIOD:

18:40- CAPITALS GOAL. 1-1.

Goal: Jason Chimera (10)
Assists: Ward (5) Laich (10)

Jason Chimera put a wrist shot past Fleury to tie the game. Brooks Laich dumped the puck for Chimera, Ward got down as well and saved the play from being called for icing.

END OF THE SECOND PERIOD, CAPITALS AND PENGUINS TIED AT 1.

Apparently the Capitals read this post because they did precisely what I told them to do. Both sides are crashing the net hard. The Capitals got 11 shots on goal in the second period, while the Penguins got 12. That makes the shot total 25-15 in favor of the Penguins. Capitals need to continue to crash the net, and in general keep up their intensity. Vokoun is having a heck of a night so far.

Capitals are still dominating the hitting game, as they are outhitting the Pens 33-18. They’re also dominating the face offs to the tune of 25-13. This new Capitals penalty kill is a ton of fun to watch. They attack the puck and force power plays out of their rhythm. It’s risky, but if you run it efficiently like the Capitals are able to do, it is very hard to score against.

Crosby is having a very rare off-night. Usually he’s one of the most (if not the most) disciplined players out there. Tonight, he’s been called offsides I believe four times. I haven’t heard his name mentioned much tonight. Now Malkin… there’s a guy who’s having a heck of a night. Paul Martin has been rock solid all night on the defensive end for the Penguins.

This third period should be extremely exciting. The momentum has shifted towards the Capitals. Let’s see if they can take advantage of that. They’ll have their backs against the wall to start though, as they have 52 seconds left on a penalty kill.

THIRD PERIOD

17:24- PENGUINS GOAL. Penguins lead 2-1.

Just an all-around ugly goal. Chris Kunitz stole the puck from Erskine and Johansson, and Kunitz got an incredible shot off between the two. Vokoun was clearly surprised by it, and couldn’t get to it. Vokoun should have had it, but at the same time, he was being screened by Erskine. Place the blame equally between the three, and give credit to Kunitz too, that was an incredible shot.

FINAL SCORE:
Penguins: 2
Capitals: 1

The Capitals just weren’t able to get anything going on the offensive end in the third period. You can’t take just 2 shots in the third period when you’re down by a goal and expect to win. This offense is still a work in progress to say the least, but there was one bright point: the forechecking. There is definitely something there. Hopefully Dale Hunter can build on it. This offense is way too talented to not start scoring again. From what I’ve seen at practices, the Capitals new offense might not be the high-flying offense that Caps fans are used to. However, it will be more efficient and definitely more consistent.

The defense did a great job tonight save two small errors. Considering that these guys just started learning Dale’s system on Monday, I’m extremely impressed with how they look. The most promising thing though, is that when someone makes a mistake on defense, Johnson will talk to the offender. And they don’t do it again. This is without a doubt in my mind a Stanley Cup-caliber defense if they play to their true ability.

To sum up my response to this game:

GIVE. IT. TIME.

Dec 01

Baltimore Ravens Cleveland Browns injury report



Baltimore Ravens

Did not participate

LB Ray Lewis (foot)
CB Chris Carr (back)

Full participation

RB Anthony Allen (thigh)
LB Dannell Ellerbe (thigh)
DT Art Jones (head)

Cleveland Browns

Did not participate

LB Quinton Spears (hamstring)
DB TJ Ward (foot/finger)

Limited participation

DB Mike Adams (shoulder)
RB Montario Hardesty (calf)
LB Kaluka Maiava (knee)
DL Jayme Mitchell (ankle)
OL Tony Pashos (ankle)
DB Dimitri Patterson (ankle)

Full participation

RB Peyton Hillis (hamstring)
QB Colt McCoy (right elbow)
FB Owen Marecic (head)
DL Scott Paxson (shin)

Dec 01

Orioles Acquire Catcher Taylor Teagarden From Rangers

Teagarden will backup Matt Wieters, and provides the Orioles with a backup catcher who has pop and very good defense.

The Baltimore Orioles have acquired catcher Taylor Teagarden from the Texas Rangers. No word on who they are trading for him, I will keep you all updated as soon as I can confirm who it is.

Teagarden was expendable to the Rangers because he was stuck behind Yorvit Torrealba and Mike Napoli. I like this trade for the Orioles. I’ve always been a fan of Teagarden. He’s mostly known for his defense and his ability behind the plate, but he does have some pop as well: In 118 major league games, he has 18 homers. Average that out over 140 games (because there is no way a catcher is playing 162 games, even 140 is a bit optimistic) and he’d hit 21 homers.

EDIT 1: 

The Orioles will be giving up a minor league pitcher and a player to be named later.

EDIT 2:

Dan Connolly has confirmed that the package is pitcher Randy Henry and a player to be named later.

EDIT 3:

To make room for Teagarden on the 40 man roster, the Orioles have DFA’d relief pitcher Pedro Viola.

Dec 01

Blues ruin Dale Hunter’s debut, beat Capitals 2-1

Tuesday’s game featured a coach making his NHL coaching debut (Dale Hunter) facing off against a coach who has done a great job replacing an incumbent coach, taking his team on a 8-1-2 run since he’s been hired (Ken Hitchcock of the St. Louis Blues). Hopefully Hunter took a few notes because the Blues proved just how much they have improved since Hitchcock took over. The Blues defense was top-notch, as they suffocated the Capitals and prevented them from getting many scoring opportunities.

The Capitals offense struggled for the first two periods, mustering just eleven shots in the first two periods combined. Nicklas Backstrom scored in the first period off a beautiful pass from Ovechkin after a great clear from Tomas Vokoun. Vokoun got credit for the assist, his first assist of the season. I expected the offense to struggle a bit though, as Dale Hunter has a completely different approach to offense than Bruce Boudreau. Hunter appears to be installing an offense that is more physical than Bruce’s. One thing that impressed me about the offense is that the Capitals almost out hit the Blues, who are definitely one of the more physical teams in the league. An overhaul of an offensive system can take a little while to take effect, so I’m not worried at all.

The big story of the night was the Capitals defense. If you only look at shots on goal, you might think the Capitals defense did not do a good job. However, shots on goal does not necessarily equal bad defense. I think they did a very good job of containing the Blues offense and not giving them anything in the middle or in the slots. What brought about this change? A simple switch in defensive philosophies. Boudreau’s defensive system relied on zone play, Hunter is installing a defensive system that relies heavily on man-to-man. I liked the change, and as Hunter teaches this team the finer points of his defensive system, I’m confident that they will keep the team in almost every game. Tomas Vokoun says he likes this defensive system because it gives him a chance to be able to see everything that’s happening. I agree with him because he seemed very comfortable in the net. He did make one crucial error: he went out of the crease to get a puck behind the net that he probably shouldn’t have gone out to get. This led to the second goal. The Capitals penalty kill continues to be amazing, killing all four penalties tonight.

The Caps showed a lot of heart, which is a lot more than I can say of this team lately under Boudreau. Caps fans need to be patient, as the process of switching offensive and defensive systems is going to take a bit to start reaping benefits. The Capitals play their arch-rivals the Pittsburgh Penguins on Thursday night. I do not expect them to beat the Penguins, but I expect them to stay in it.

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