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Posted at 12:03 PM ET, 11/23/2010

Which Monday night blowout was worse

By Dan Steinberg


After the Capitals got worked over by the Devils on Monday night -- that would be the next-to-last-in-the-NHL Devils -- some fans began asking Chad Dukes to disgorge a rant upon D.C.'s hockey team.

"Completely different situation," Dukes responded on Twitter. "Ted is not taking advantage of fan loyalty. Snyder is."

But I think this is missing the point. If the rant is only about ownership, not about wins and losses, then you could theoretically rant against the Redskins every day of the year. Washington fans were so bitter last week because their team had been humiliated on the field, not because of the price of parking. Sure, these things go together to some degree, but no one's talking about the price of parking this week.

So, objectively, let's look at these two losses and try to decide which was worse. We'll use the five standard measurements of blowout embarrassments, judging each on a 1-10 scale.

National Humiliation

The Redskins were playing on Monday Night Football, on national television, with every fan and media person and NFL player watching. The only way it could have been worse was if it was in the playoffs. The Caps were playing in New Jersey on a Monday night in late November. The only way it could have been better was if the television feed conked out.

Redskins - 9
Caps - 2

Pace of Disaster

The Redskins gave up a touchdown on the first play from scrimmage. By the end of the first quarter, they'd given up four. By the end of the second, they'd given up six.

The Caps gave up a goal on the second shot they faced. By the end of the first period, they'd given up three. By the end of the second, they'd given up five.

Now, 35-0 is a lot worse in football than 5-0 is in hockey, and the speed with which the Eagles destroyed the Redskins was historic. On the other hand, the Redskins eventually responded, scoring four touchdowns of their own. The Caps had nothing all night. Still, the pace of both disasters was horrific.

Redskins - 9
Caps - 7

Response

The Redskins said all the right things after they were embarrassed. At least six of them used the word embarrassed, probably more. Mike Shanahan put the responsibility for the failure on his own shoulders. When they took to Twitter, they apologized to the fans. One of the team's most popular players, Chris Cooley, said he was "repulsed" and "disgusted" by the game. It doesn't help all that much, but it helps a little.

The Caps had a slightly less consistent message. John Erskine and John Carlson both Tweeted their regret, but Alex Ovechkin caused a mini-Internet controversy by fraternizing with the enemy after the blowout. The ultimate response comes in the next game, but for immediate damage control, the Redskins performed far better.

Redskins - 3
Caps - 6

Expectations

You can't judge an embarrassment without the proper context. Sure, the Redskins were at home, but they were underdogs. They had already beaten Philadelphia once this year, which likely gave the Eagles even more motivation. Plus, the Eagles now had a healthy Michael Vick. The Redskins are likely an 8-8-ish team, playing against a Philly team that is likely headed toward the playoffs. In the grand picture, this loss wasn't horribly destructive to the season's overall goal, which is a push towards .500.

The Caps? They're supposed to be a mature, seasoned team, one of the best in the NHL, that takes care of business in the regular season. Sure, they will lose games. Sure, they will have bad streaks. They're just not supposed to lose two 5-0 games in a week, the latter coming to a floundering New Jersey outfit. The Redskins put out marketing materials about the future being now, but it's not just a slogan for the Caps.

Redskins - 5
Caps - 9

Freakout Factor

In some towns, people would be sawing off their fingers after a hockey loss like last night's. Sure, it was in November, and sure, it wasn't the playoffs, and sure, Braden Holtby was in goal, but freakouts aren't about logic, they're about emotions and temper and the belief that your Stanley Cup favorites should be better than that. But D.C. is not in flames. No one's sent me a single e-mail filled with randomly capitalized words and entreaties for me to pass on their advice to the head coach. Last week was the freakout; this week is the mild frazzleout.

Redskins - 9
Caps - 4

So if we add things up, we see that the Redskins had a Grade 35 Blowout, and the Caps only had a Grade 28 Blowout. The Redskins' loss was worse. That's called science.

By Dan Steinberg  | November 23, 2010; 12:03 PM ET
Categories:  Caps, Redskins  
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Comments


first to say "let's go caps"

Posted by: hessone | November 23, 2010 12:13 PM | Report abuse

The Redskins loss was worse because it was one of 16, not one of 82, and--one thing not mentioned--it was at home.

But last night's Caps embarrassment may be more important to the team in the long run because it was the most blatant exposure yet of the problems with this team (even though they still somehow are in second place in the entire league): Its tendency to frequently come out flat in the first period and/or take periods off, questions about whether this team addressed any of its deficiencies in the offseason (defense, second line center), and the generally lackluster play by Ovechkin the last month or so.

(Just a thought: Maybe one of the big superstar columnists at the Post like Wise or Boswell can start asking some of these questions, perhaps?)

Posted by: TheFingerman | November 23, 2010 12:26 PM | Report abuse

How can you talk about this and not mention the fact that the Devils were playing for the memory of dead coach Pat Burns, who coached them to their last cup in 2003, and would most likely still be coach if he hadn't been diagnosed with cancer. The PB patches on every sweater for the Devils had more of an outcome on that game than anything the Capitals did.

Posted by: FlyersSuck | November 23, 2010 12:28 PM | Report abuse

That sure is a lot of nines for a 1-5 scale.

Posted by: DoctorJangles | November 23, 2010 12:31 PM | Report abuse

for me it's not comparable since the Caps play 80+ games and the Skins play 16. And also, nfl nation was watching th Eagles crush the Skins. It was much more distressing.

Posted by: Hattrik | November 23, 2010 12:59 PM | Report abuse

What about the demotion of the teams star to third liner?

Posted by: freakinandpeakin | November 23, 2010 1:02 PM | Report abuse

That sure is a lot of nines for a 1-5 scale.

Posted by: DoctorJangles | November 23, 2010 12:31 PM | Report abuse

---------------------

That is actually pretty accurate for anything Redskins-related in the DC Area. Everything is kinda life-and-death around here when it comes to the Skins.

And all of American were laughing at the Skins on Monday.

Posted by: M__N | November 23, 2010 1:08 PM | Report abuse

Chad Dukes really needs to shut up. "Snyder is taking advantage of fan loyalty" is the dumbest line yet about our owner, and wouldn't have been uttered had we beaten the Eagles. Yes, that's what it has come down to. If we win, the owner gets a pass for the week. If we lose, we can expect the likes of guys like Chad Dukes to go on rants about how horrible a person Dan Snyder is.

Pathetic.

Posted by: Barno1 | November 23, 2010 1:10 PM | Report abuse

Skins loss was worse by far.

Posted by: GFisher1 | November 23, 2010 1:16 PM | Report abuse

Chad Dukes should watch it because Snyder may end up buying his station and put him out on the street! LOL

I still wonder if Ted Leonsis is as nice as he appears behind that smile. He tells a nice story and shakes your hand but doesn't make eye contact which is troubling.

In this case, I go with the Devil I know in Dan Snyder because we all know he cares about winning. Leonsis had a team on the cusp in 2008-09 and made NO deadline trades to get the defense help they needed and promised better things ahead which we saw in the 1st round collapse in 2009-10 and this 2010-11 team seems no better off than last year.

Snyder finally got rid of Vinny Cerato which was many years too late but finally see that as a positive sign for the future. I just don't see any Stanley Cups in DC until Ted goes full throttle.

Posted by: GoingGoingGone | November 23, 2010 2:19 PM | Report abuse

Because clearly you can tell the direction of a franchise by the way a guy shakes your hand.

Posted by: GFisher1 | November 23, 2010 2:28 PM | Report abuse

Stein, you failed to mention that the Skins were coming off of a bye week and that the Caps have now played 4 games in the past 6 nights. No doubt the Skins blowout was worse.

Posted by: SuperZ3383 | November 23, 2010 2:39 PM | Report abuse

This piece is deserving of a Pulitzer. Wilbon who? The fact that the Eagles and their vile fanbase were prominently involved makes the skins loss worse.

Posted by: Bobtimist | November 23, 2010 4:15 PM | Report abuse

Silly post. Stupid even.

Posted by: capscapscaps2 | November 23, 2010 10:54 PM | Report abuse

I think Leonsis is the most overrated sports figure in town. But Snyder is a jerk win or lose.

Posted by: poguesmahone | November 24, 2010 4:13 PM | Report abuse

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