Friday, January 13, 2012

Washington Post columns: Hockey not the same without Ovechkin vs. Crosby; ACC basketball

Just passing along my latest The Washington Post columns from this week.

Maybe it was force of habit, but NBC Sports Network (which was Versus until two weeks ago) decided Wednesday that America’s hockey fans couldn’t live without seeing the eighth-place team in the NHL’s Eastern Conference take on the 10th-place team.

That was the matchup at Verizon Center: The eighth-place Pittsburgh Penguins vs. the 10th-place Washington Capitals. This is the rivalry formerly known as Ovi vs. Sid the Kid.

Both superstars were in the building Wednesday. Alex Ovechkin was wearing his familiar red sweater with the No. 8 stitched in white underneath his name. Sidney Crosby was wearing a very unfamiliar blue pinstripe suit and making small talk in the press box in the minutes leading up to faceoff.

Crosby has played in eight games this season because of lingering concussion symptoms that began a little more than a year ago after he took a hit from former Cap David Steckel during the Winter Classic. Neither the Penguins nor the NHL have been quite the same since. In the opening round of last spring’s playoffs, Pittsburgh blew a three-games-to-one lead and lost in seven games to the Tampa Bay Lightning — the same team that then swept the Capitals; the same team that Steven Stamkos, currently the league’s leading scorer, skates for right now.
Click here for the rest of the column: Hockey just isn’t the same without Alex Ovechkin vs. Sidney Crosby


In the spring of 2004, the nine ACC men’s basketball coaches were asked to consider a proposal to add Virginia Tech, Miami and Boston College as league members.

The discussion, according to those in the room, was brief. The vote was emphatic: 9 to 0 against expansion.

“It might have been the only 9 to 0 vote we ever had in my 22 years,” former Maryland coach Gary Williams recalled recently, laughing at the memory. “Of course the commissioner and the presidents said, ‘Thank you very much,’ and did what they were planning to do. Our thoughts never left that room because they didn’t care.”

Almost eight years later, it looks as if they should have cared. Consider these names: Iona (which beat Maryland, easily), Wofford, Boston University, Holy Cross, Mercer, Coastal Carolina, Princeton, Harvard (twice) and Tulane. They all have wins over ACC teams this season.

This is the basketball conference in the country?

Click here for the rest of the column: Since expansion, the ACC has been merely another common conference in basketball

My newest book is now available at your local bookstore, or you can order on-line here: One on One-- Behind the Scenes with the Greats in the Game 


Anonymous said...

John, would love to see you look into the abuse allegations that caused Bucknell Women's basketball coach to resign this week. An email campaign went to having the coach out within 48 hours. Something bigger going on there.

Anonymous said...

john, would like it if you wrote a column once in awhile.