Mystics-Dream preview

Mystics-Dream preview

The matchup: Its not a dream, Washington does indeed face Atlanta for the second time in a week yet so much will look different when the two sides square off on Thursday night.
This week the Dream (12-13), currently third in the Eastern Conference fired longtime coach and general manager Marynell Meadors and suspended star Angel McCoughtry indefinitely for violating a team rule.Atlanta had no problem dispatching Washington 81-69 at the Verizon Center without the WNBAs leading scorer. The Mystics (5-19) fell behind by double digits in the first quarter thanks to nine turnovers and trailed by 28 points in the third before a Matee Ajavon rally pulled them closer late to make the final score respectable, but not indicative of the meeting. If you cant take care of the ball you cant make shots, said Monique Currie about Washingtons miscuing start. The early turnovers led to frequent layups and Atlanta finished with 40 points in the paint. We cant get shots, were not getting back on defense continued Currie, who had 14 points. They had a layup clinicAjavon scored 16 of her 20 points off the bench in the loss, Washingtons fifth in six games since returning from the Olympic break.Washington, four games back of New York and Chicago for the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference, heads to Atlanta having lost 11 of 12 road games this season.After winning the first meeting this season against Washington, Atlanta has dropped two straight, including a stunning home loss to Tulsa, owners of the worst record in the Western Conference.Last time out: The Mystics avoided a slow start at Indiana, but a 10-2 third quarter proved decisive as the Fever pulled away for an 83-68 win. Reserves Noelle Quinn and Lindsay Wisdom-Hylton led in scoring with 13 and 10 points respectively, but that was not nearly enough to overcome a 10 of 17 3-point shooting barrage by the Fever.We started off well, Quinn said. Gave up too many three point shots. Generally speaking we were the aggressor. But in the third quarter we fell on our Achilles heel and let too many three point baskets be made today.Snowed under: Before and immediately after the Olympic break, center Michelle Snow provided a consistent rebounding presence for the Mystics, averaging a team-high 6.8 rebounds per game. Over the last four games, not so much with only 10 boards overall and just four off the offensive glass.The Dream: Hard to know which is more stunning; McCoughtrys disruptive absence over the last four games or the back-to-back Eastern Conference champions firing their coach. Atlanta replaced Meadors with assistant coach Fred Williams. Former Mystics point guard Lindsey Hardings presence at the point guard remains and Armintie Price scored 19 points in the previous win over Washington.

Joseph still waiting for first RBI of 2016

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Joseph still waiting for first RBI of 2016

BALTIMORE—It looked like an ideal spot for Caleb Joseph’s first RBI. The Orioles had loaded the bases with two outs, but Joseph grounded out to end the inning.

Joseph began the game with a .175 average and no RBIs in 22 games. His fifth inning single didn't drive in a run, but it snapped an 0-for19 streak. 

In his first two years with the Orioles, Joseph had 20 home runs and 77 RBIs. 

Manager Buck Showalter said that he has confidence that Joseph will start to hit, but defense comes first for a catcher.

“He will again. I think they all know where the priority is. It’s stressed all through the organization. Offense is just a plus. If you can get offense at a position that normally doesn’t bring it…it’s an added plus,” Showalter said. 

“He makes a lot more contributions catching defensively than he does offensively. Caleb can hit. He’ll hit. I know he’s getting a little frustrated by it because he knows he’s better than that. It’s not one of those things that I stay up at night about.”

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Ward: Retirement of O'Ree's number a 'no-brainer'

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Ward: Retirement of O'Ree's number a 'no-brainer'

It is not Joel Ward’s nature to use his first-ever appearance in the Stanley Cup Final as a civil rights platform. That’s not who he is or what he’s about.

But when ESPN.com’s Joe McDonald asked Ward over the weekend if he believes the NHL should consider retiring Willie O’Ree’s No. 22 in recognition of him breaking the league’s color barrier on Jan. 18, 1958, he was quick to jump on board with the idea.

"That's something to definitely talk about for sure,” said Ward, who upon becoming a member of the Capitals in 2011 requested to wear No. 42 in honor of Jackie Robinson. “It would be great if they did. … With the amount of respect Willie has around the league, it would definitely be something special if that did come up."

Currently, there is only one jersey number retired by every team in the NHL – Wayne Gretzky’s No. 99.

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O’Ree, 80, played in only 45 NHL games with the Boston Bruins (two games in 1957-58 and 43 games in 1960-61), but he paved the way for other black players to follow.  

“It's a no-brainer,” said Ward, whose San Jose Sharks will face the Pittsburgh Penguins tonight in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final. “Without Willie, it would be tough for me to be sitting here today.”

O’Ree has been an ambassador for the NHL for several years. In April he visited Washington to attend a private screening of the movie “Soul on Ice: Past, Present and Future,” and spoke passionately about the racism he faced as a young player who hid from the Bruins organization that he was blind in one eye.

“I was faced with racism, bigotry, prejudice and ignorance and discrimination,” O’Ree recently told a group of students at the Anti-Defamation League Youth Congress in Boston.

“Every time I went to the ice I was faced with racial slurs because of my color and my brother taught me names will never hurt you unless you let them. I had black cats thrown on the ice and told to go back to the cotton fields and pick cotton.”

Ward, 35, faced a different kind of racism after he scored the series-clinching goal for the Capitals in the first round of the 2012 Stanley Cup playoffs. In the hours after netting the overtime goal in Game 7 in Boston, Bruins fans tweeted racist remarks about Ward, whose parents were born in Barbados and raised their three sons in the Scarborough neighborhood of Toronto.

“I don't let it bother me at all,” Ward told reporters after the incident in Boston. “It's a few people that just made a couple of terrible comments, and what can you do? I know what I signed up for. I'm a black guy playing a predominantly white sport. It's just going to come with the territory. I'd feel naive or foolish to think that it doesn't exist. It's a battle I think will always be there.”

While he was a member of the Capitals, Ward was invited to throw out the first pitch on Jackie Robinson Day at Nats Park, telling the Washington Times about his deep appreciation and respect for what Robinson faced nearly 70 years ago.

“I always question myself whether would I ever be strong enough to go through something like that,” Ward said. “And the fact that he excelled hitting over .300 and knowing that he could be shot at any minute, every time he stepped up to the plate. He just seemed to tune that out in some miraculous way, so for somebody to pave the way like that and open doors for guys like myself is unbelievable."

It took Major League Baseball 50 years after Robinson’s first game to retire his No. 42 forever.  It’s been more than 58 years since O’Ree broke the NHL’s color barrier and Ward believes it’s time to at least start a similar discussion to honor the man whom many describe as the Jackie Robinson of hockey.

MORE CAPITALS: HERSHEY ADVANCES TO CALDER CUP FINALS WITH GAME 5 WIN OVER TORONTO

Stanley Cup Finals simulated on NHL 94 and Caps fans will like the results

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USA TODAY Sports

Stanley Cup Finals simulated on NHL 94 and Caps fans will like the results

Whenever a big sports event is about to take place, people go to great lengths to try to figure out what will happen. Some people use animals to make predictions (remember Paul the octopus?) while others use simulations.

What better way to simulate this year's Stanley Cup Final than with the classic video game NHL 94?

The description of the video says the simulation was done with an updated version of NHL 94 from NHL94.com.

Las Vegas may have the Penguins as the favorites in the series, but clearly the wise guys did not do their research. This foolproof simulation has the Sharks sweeping the Penguins in four games. Sidney Crosby also manages just one goal and one assist in the series.

Call your bookie, you've got the inside scoop on what's going to happen in the Finals.

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