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The Caps and the life

Of all the explanations offered for the Caps' first-round knockout, the one I was probably least interested in had to do with them having too much fun after games. The whole moral police thing gives me a bad feeling in my belly, and anyhow: John Riggins. The end.

But since there are plenty who ask, a brief rundown of quotes on the topic. Also, I should point out that the woman whose tire was changed by Brooks Laich was prompted to call in to the Mike Wise Show -- where she first told her tale -- by Wise ranting about carousing. See below.

Green on the life

Mike Green said earlier this year that Alex Ovechkin is more mature than in years past, and I asked him to explain.

"I think we're just more serious," Green said. "We're very, I want to say, focused on one thing, and it has to do with hockey. It's not about anything else any more. It used to be we were young, we were trying to enjoy ourselves, and we're playing pro hockey -- It's a pretty good life. But now it's more than that, you know We've established ourselves, and we want to win it....I think this year it's been toned down a lot just because we're focused on the prize, and you can't get caught up. You can't do both."

Boudreau on the life

I also asked Bruce Boudreau this spring whether he was concerned about his younger players having too much fun.

"I hope they have a lot of fun," he said. "If I was 24, and I was rich, and I had [Ovechkin's] personality, I'd have [fun], and I did. I didn't have the money, but I had an awful lot of fun. I had too much fun, actually. I think he knows when it's time to buckle down. If he gets to the point where he, or anybody's having too much fun and I know about it, I'll talk about it. I haven't had to talk to him about it."

Leonsis on the life

The first time Ted Leonsis met Alex Ovechkin, they talked about his social life in Moscow. Ovechkin told him that he once went to a disco and had 20 Red Bulls.

"Twenty?" Leonsis repeated. "I mean, that just seemed excessive, you know?" But Leonsis said he hasn't gotten one report on Ovechkin being out of control on the D.C. scene.

"He's a young man, he'll have a lot of fun, but there's not a dark side to him," Leonsis said. "You can't perform the way he performs without being focused and healthy and the like."

Mike Wise on the life

But you always hear things -- you, not me, since I'm at home wondering whether to have another Old Dominion Spring Buck and watch the late-night SportsNite or just to go sleep. I know, the whole chamomile and orange peel thing is kind of strange, but whatever. Anyhow, Wise gave major voice to this topic on his radio show, the day after the Game 7 loss.

"We have completely eviscerated a guy like Andray Blatche in this town, not for his basketball skills but for his off the court knuckle-headed ways, going out and soliciting a prostitute, clubbing at Love or Sky or Fly or whatever's opened late at night where he can cut the rug," Wise thundered. "You know what, we've got to get off Andray Blatche and we've got to get on some of the Washington Capitals who frequent Clarendon bars and Arlington bars and all these other places, because you know what guys, it worked when you won. When you got knocked out in the first round, carousing, the chasing tail, got a little old....

"Some of the things Alex Ovechkin does, and some of the things his teammates do -- some of his younger, knuckle-headed teammates -- are not about winning hockey games. And until you win a Stanley Cup, you need to check yourself before you wreck yourself, fellas."

Obviously, a great deal of this was said with the typical Wise irony. But he seemed to somewhat agree with what he was saying.

"With all sincerity, it's almost a double standard," Wise said. "We go out and we say hey I saw Ovi, I saw Greenie, one guy was in the back, he looked like he was having a Cosmo or some Cristal. The moment Blatche does it, it's Oh, Blatche is out again. Guess what, until you guys actually pay your craft the mind it needs to get to the next level, you're gonna be called out in this town for being carousers. I hate to say it.

"And maybe I'm jealous because I don't have the money to do it any more, or I never had the game....Chasing tail won you a Presidents' Trophy. Yay yay!

Russia House and Josephine's, man! Let's go to Russia House and Josephine's, guys, let's go get some Stolchinaya [sic], is that how you say it?....Let's go to Russia House guys, maybe Sergei Fedorov will be there! Sorry-ass Caps."

Boudreau on Green's life

Whether Boudreau heard such criticism, I don't know. But when he was asked on Toronto's 590 last week about the fingers pointed at Ovechkin, Semin and Green after the first-round loss, he brought up the social question himself.

"Those three guys that you'd mentioned, plus Nick Backstrom, were probably the most actually unconsolable, if that's the right word, after the games," Boudreau said. "They were sick, they were crying -- and these are grown men -- because they had their expectations were so high.

"Mike Green, in our meetings, told me that he had committed himself to the last three months, he never went out once, he didn't do anything, he just focused on the game and wasn't the 24-year old kid that he was, where things are going great and you like to have fun. Everything was all about the Stanley Cup. So when it ends that quick, it was very difficult for these guys, because they knew that the finger would be pointed at them, at me. But it wasn't because they didn't care."

By Dan Steinberg  |  May 10, 2010; 2:56 PM ET
Categories:  Caps , Media  
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Not that I care whether the guys go out or not, but Mike Green doesn't strike me as the type of guy who would stay in for three months? What was he doing during that time, reading War & Peace? I think not.

Posted by: kovachs | May 10, 2010 3:07 PM | Report abuse

Anyone who takes Wise seriously have only themselves to blame.

Posted by: adhardwick | May 10, 2010 3:27 PM | Report abuse

Maybe they needed to go out a little more, loosen up a little.

Posted by: doubleuefwhy | May 10, 2010 3:29 PM | Report abuse

Mike Wise is a joke.

Posted by: empsg59 | May 10, 2010 3:31 PM | Report abuse

Find me one credible report of a Caps player pulling some kind of Roethlisberger, much less a Haynesworth. 23 young, well-to-do guys, and some assclown translates "remember that season 52 got fat?" into a blanket indictment of the team's commitment, conditioning, and discipline?
I think no-one was ever less aptly named than Mike "Wise". We don't hate you cause you're bandwagon, Wise. We hate you cause you're a lazy-minded blowhard.

Posted by: redlineblue | May 10, 2010 3:36 PM | Report abuse

Well whatever they did/did not do, it obviously didn't work. Next year do the opposite. This Life Lesson brought to you by George Costanza.

Posted by: LouLewis | May 10, 2010 3:40 PM | Report abuse

Flop-sweating - that is why the Caps got knocked out. It's that simple.

Posted by: Cznzy | May 10, 2010 3:42 PM | Report abuse

All hockey players booze it up. It had nothing to do w/ the outcome of the playoffs.

Posted by: HogsHaven | May 10, 2010 3:47 PM | Report abuse

Wise makes a living being writing in an over-reaction manner and making silly judgements on people. He makes Blatche's situation as some sort of example...guess what, before Feb. no one cared what Blatche did. It's silly and indictive of his lack of understanding of hockey. This team was destined and designed to have problems in the playoffs, regardless of what the players did in their spare time. It's the make-up of the team and the playing style not suited for playoff grind that needs to be addressed, not some silly soapbox issue Wise wants to get on...immediately after the game! He had this stewing for weeks and was ready to let it out. The caps were better than the habs and should have won the series with better play, but did anyone with minimum hockey IQ not begin to wonder if they had it to go further? the Pens are having trouble with the Habs but the Pens switched to gritty hockey long before in order to endure the second season...and their track record reflects it. It's never been about partying and Wise doesn't understand that.

Posted by: minhle1 | May 10, 2010 3:47 PM | Report abuse

Ok so it's not partying to blame for Greener's annual playoff choke job, we can cross that off the list.

Posted by: VTDuffman | May 10, 2010 4:03 PM | Report abuse

Mike Wise's only inside information is seemingly a relationship with Gilbert Arenas. Those two deserve each other. Wise has zero inside scoop here. I am on the town quite a bit both socially and professionally and know a few people who know the young caps. Yeah, some of them go out. I have yet to hear a story about them overdoing it. Really, I've never heard one story of them being out of control on the town. Wise is totally reaching.

I have however heard some stories about Redskins and Wizards. But, unlike Wise, I don't publish unsubstantiated claims.

Posted by: dcmusician2 | May 10, 2010 4:28 PM | Report abuse

What they need is to get bigger and to toughen up. They could really use Dale Hunter in his prime. Scrawny ass Mike Green needs to gain some weight this offseason and perhaps crushing some beers and getting into some chicken and biscuits is exactly what he needs (the healthy, homemade kind). Maybe what they need more than anything is for the anal geeks in DC like Wise to get a life and stop analyzing their every move. It goes without saying that DC doesn't know a thing about hockey. These guys need to toughen up and build team unity and boozing it up a little bit might be just what they need. Loosen up, take some pressure off and take a lesson from the old broad street bullies (as much as I hate to admit). They need to find their Rexy's, get bigger, tougher and meaner. And screw the fancy DC establishments and the lame Northern VA bar scene- find something raw and GET AFTER some guys on the ice next year. Green needs to add about 20 pounds- he got pushed around like a little girl in the playoffs both of the last two years.

Posted by: ROOOAAAAR | May 10, 2010 5:42 PM | Report abuse

WISE is the really falling fast and hard sir are a hole of a different stripe

Posted by: CBinDC | May 10, 2010 5:49 PM | Report abuse

What an ass. How about giving me a column and a radio show? I can more more offensive with even less information. Sounds like sour grapes...

Posted by: JGBelAir | May 10, 2010 6:37 PM | Report abuse

this is how Wise makes a living...getting a rise out of readers and be judgemental on athletes. He's not analytical enough in any sport to provide insight and clearly doesn't have the access to get an insider's perspective. Ask youself this, when was the last piece you've read of Wise's work that made you think he really knows the sport or the player? Never, right? So instead, he gives everyone his lofty judgements on the human side...whatever.

Posted by: minhle1 | May 10, 2010 8:00 PM | Report abuse

Besides internet rumors, what exactly is Mike Wise's source of knowledge that members of the Caps were actually out on the town on the night before playoff games THIS year? I have seen too many people repeat this as if it is gospel truth on the internet without ever stating what is their exact source of their knowledge.

Posted by: NovaCath1 | May 10, 2010 8:11 PM | Report abuse

Dan Steinberg--If you ever read comments, I just want to add that this Caps fan has really enjoyed your commentary over the course of this remarkable season of rapturous highs and hellish lows.

Today I just listened to the most recent edition Japers' Rink Radio on Itunes that featured you, and I have to say I really appreciated your comments. You demonstrated an understanding of what it means to be a Caps fan and how devastating this playoff loss was to the Caps fanbase. Moreover you understood that this fanbase was still strong, still dedicated to this team, and wasn't going to disappear overnight. You showed that you watch this team, feel for this team, and are a fan of this team. Yet you have consistently maintained your journalistic integrity when critiquing this team--you get your facts right and do not hesitate to criticize.

Both Wise and Wilbon should listen more carefully and stop reacting defensively when Caps fans call or write in to chatise them for their antagonism to hockey, to Ovi, to the Caps, and to the Caps fanbase. Only then will they understand why they are becoming a joke, why so many such as myself no longer read, either in print or online, their biased and misguided opinions of the Caps.

I welcome critical analysis but from someone who actually understands hockey and this team. Your comments during that show reflected how much you really cared about the Caps. Your decision after that terrible game 7 loss to not to be one of the gaggle of media people trying to get a quote from Ovi or Backs, but instead to go out and talk to fans was inspired.

It's why I check the Bog and CI daily but refuse to to click onto Wise or Wilbon. I'm DONE with both of them.

Posted by: Capsyoungguns | May 10, 2010 9:47 PM | Report abuse

Old Dominion Spring Buck is delicious. The only time I stop drinking those are when there are no more in the fridge. That is all...carry on...

Posted by: fushezzi | May 11, 2010 7:49 AM | Report abuse

Dan, you are awesome and I enjoy reading every single one of your columns. Good or bad, you tell it like it is, and always with a little humor. Too bad Mike Wise can't take a lesson from you instead of spewing his usual uninformative, inflamatory crap. What a jerk.

Posted by: AmyS1 | May 11, 2010 9:48 AM | Report abuse

So I came up a plot for an ice hockey movie based on the SAW series - first scene has Wilbon, Wise, and Cherry chained to the walls or floor of a dank and dreary room. Off panel, you hear dripping and an incessant humming. Then, an eerie voice booms into the room, waking up the obviously knocked out threesome of blowhards. The voice announces the only way out is to find the key lodged in some small, dark hole. All three wonder what the eerie voice is talking about since all they see is a tiled room. Then, it suddenly occurs to all three of them what the voice is alluding to, all three concluding why their respective bums were sore. End scene.

Posted by: LeftCoastCapsFan | May 11, 2010 10:42 AM | Report abuse

Mike Wise's material has completely deteriorated since starting his radio show.. his columns have become unreadable and he has become a joke amongst every local sports fan i know. .... that being said i definitely came across Mike Green out late at the Front Page during the he certainly wasn't staying in for three months.

Posted by: garrettparkal | May 11, 2010 1:56 PM | Report abuse

Mike Wise's material has completely deteriorated since starting his radio show.. his columns have become unreadable and he has become a joke amongst every local sports fan i know. .... that being said i definitely came across Mike Green out late at the Front Page during the he certainly wasn't staying in for three months.

Posted by: garrettparkal | May 11, 2010 1:59 PM | Report abuse

Frqnkly, I give Wise credit for calling these guys out, if what he says is true. Frankly, at the beginning of game five against Montreal, a bunch of these guys PLAYED like they were hung over. And, if they are going out drinking the night before game days, they should be fined.

Posted by: poguesmahone | May 11, 2010 6:24 PM | Report abuse

the differents between when the caps hit the bars and when blatche hits the bars is that the caps were winning. the best team in the league is allowed to blow off some steam now and then. but when you're team is in the middle of a 10+ game losing, streak, no way should you be out clubbing. throw in the fact that blatche continuously refuses to be coached and wants to do things his own way, hitting the clubs and all the other off the court garbage he's got going on in his life, just adds to his persona of being unprofessional, lazy, ungrateful, etc. etc. etc.

Posted by: covertops26 | May 12, 2010 10:35 AM | Report abuse

just re-read my comments and sorry for all the errors in spelling, havent had my morning soda yet lol

Posted by: covertops26 | May 12, 2010 10:36 AM | Report abuse

"Frankly at the beginning of game five against Montreal, a bunch of the guys PLAYED like they were hung over."

Actually they were just plain tired from all their travel woes from Montreal after game 4 as follows:
Their team charter left Montreal around 11:30pm after the game for a two-hour flight. Halfway through their flight they learned that heavy fog blanketed the Wash DC area and Dulles Airport (where all of the players/coaches cars were parked) was out, Reagan National was out as well. The team charter had to land at BWI around 1am but there were no customs agents there since their offices had already closed and weren't scheduled to reopen until 6am so they had to wait a couple of hours for custom agents to make their way back to the airport to screen the players/coaches before they could depart the plane. Most of them tried to get some sleep on the plane while they waited. Then they piled into cabs (3 or 4 in each) to take them home or to Dulles Airport to pick up their cars. Eric Fehr who went straight home was the first to arrive home at 5:15am!!

Practice was then called off for that day, the day before game 5!!

They might have been partying before playoff games but that wasn't what happened before game 5!!

Posted by: theresa21 | May 12, 2010 6:00 PM | Report abuse

Wise is a hack both as a columnist and a radio host. He was a mediocre basketball reporter that was given too much responsibility by the Post.

Wise:Radio Host :: Zorn:Head Coach

Posted by: brihobbs | May 13, 2010 8:48 AM | Report abuse

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