Thursday, April 10, 2014

Ovi Records Fifth 50-Goal Season, Caps Don't Make Playoffs

Washington Post:
For the first time since the 2006-07 season, the Washington Capitals will not reach the Stanley Cup playoffs.

The Capitals were mathematically eliminated from reaching the postseason Wednesday night when the Detroit Red Wings earned a point for their shootout loss in Pittsburgh and the Columbus Blue Jackets captured two with a win at Dallas. Those results gave each team 91 points, which is the maximum Washington could acquire if it was to win its final three games. But because the Capitals don’t hold the first tiebreaker of more combined regulation and overtime wins, they have been ousted from the race.

This postseason absence ends the Capitals’ stretch of six consecutive appearances in the playoffs, which was tied for the fourth longest active streak in the NHL entering this year. Only Detroit (22), San Jose (9), Pittsburgh (7) and Boston (6) had as many or more, but all four of those teams will add another season to their totals having all clinched playoff berths.

It also marks a low point in the Alex Ovechkin era, considering that the star winger only sat out from the playoffs his first two years in the NHL. A day after becoming just the 11th player in league history to record five 50-goal seasons, Ovechkin will have an early summer with plenty of questions facing the Capitals as they determine how to get back on track after an inconsistent year.

More information:
» SBNation: "Washington Capitals collapse leaves huge questions looming"

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Connecticut Beats Kentucky to Win Fourth NCAA Title

USA Today:
ARLINGTON, Texas — The University of Connecticut, a basketball program left behind in conference realignment and ineligible for the NCAA tournament just one year ago due to academic sanctions, won its fourth and most improbable national title on Monday, beating Kentucky 60-54 at AT&T Stadium.

Getting a clutch performance from senior guard Shabazz Napier and a lot of help from the Wildcats at the free-throw line, the Huskies were left standing at the end of a physical, ugly game and secured a number of historic markers, including becoming the first No. 7 seed to win it all. Ryan Boatright added 14 points.

"You're looking at the hungry Huskies," Napier told the crowd and TV audience. "Ladies and gentlemen, this is what happens when you ban us."

Kevin Ollie, who took over the program from Jim Calhoun right before the 2012-13 season, became the second coach ever to win a national title in his first NCAA tournament (Steve Fisher, 1989).

And in doing so, Connecticut gave the American Athletic Conference, which was forced to split from the Big East in a messy divorce 15 months ago, a national title in its first year of existence.

"I thought this conference was good and if it held together, we could do great things," said AAC commissioner Mike Aresco. "It helps you attract kids, helps you attract coaches."

Asked whether he felt like the AAC got the last laugh this season, Aresco said, "No, not all all. What I have is a feeling of quiet satisfaction.​"

Ollie also became the 13th coach to win a title at his alma mater and the fourth African-American coach to lead a team to an NCAA Division I men's basketball championship, joining Georgetown's John Thompson, Arkansas' Nolan Richardson and Kentucky's Tubby Smith. "We always did it together and always played as a group," Ollie said.

About missing the tournament last year, Ollie said: "I told you the last will be the first. Last year we couldn't get in the tournament. But we kept believing."

Though Connecticut never trailed, Kentucky threatened to come back a number of times. Ultimately, though, the Wildcats — who made their own improbable journey to the championship game as a No. 8 seed — couldn't overcome shooting 13-of-24 from the foul line.

Napier, a senior who was on the 2011 UConn national championship team, scored 22 points on 8-of-16 shooting. He made a three-pointer with 6:50 left from the top of the key that seemed to halt Kentucky's momentum. Then DeAndre Daniels, who struggled all game and made just 4-of-14 field goals, gave Connecticut a 58-52 lead with 2:45 left on a hesitation move under the basket that put the Huskies in position to close out the title.

It was a disappointing end for the Wildcats, who began the season with a No. 1 ranking and fans dreaming of a highly regarded freshman class leading the team to a perfect record. They struggled through the regular season, but began to play extremely well in the NCAA tournament.

"We had our chances to win," Kentucky coach John Calipari said. "We just didn't have enough."

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Redskins Sign DeSean Jackson (Three-Year, $24M), Ryan Clark (One-Year, $1M), and Colt McCoy

USA Today:
There’s a new number 10 in town and RG3 is ready to feast.

Four days after his surprising release by the Philadelphia Eagles, DeSean Jackson found a landing spot just down I-95 with his former NFC East rivals, signing a reported three-year contract with the Redskins worth $24 million, including $16 million guaranteed, a person familiar with the pact told USA TODAY Sports. That person spoke on the condition of anonymity because the club has yet to announce the deal.

Jackson's $8 million average per year is higher than the $7.5 million average that Eric Decker received in his five-year, $36.25 million deal with the New York Jets.

Jackson, 27, was cut despite posting career highs with 82 receptions for 1,332 yards and nine touchdowns last season in coach Chip Kelly's high-revving offense. The three-time Pro Bowler has averaged 17.2 yards per reception during his six-season career. The Eagles took a serious salary-cap hit for releasing Jackson, who was due to earn $10.5 million in base salary and will count $6.25 million against Philadelphia's salary cap in 2014. He signed a five-year, $51 million contract in 2012.

"He's the right kind of guy we need in our locker room. Fierce competitor and player, but great guy and humble guy that wants nothing more then to show people the real him,'' Redskins veteran cornerback DeAngelo Hall texted USA TODAY Sports. "And there's no better place then in the nation's Capitol.''

First-year Redskins coach Jay Gruden now has the game-breaking vertical threat he had the past four seasons as Cincinnati Bengals offensive coordinator in big-play receiver A.J. Green.

Jackson figures to help RG3 regain his 2012 offensive rookie of the year form when he led the Redskins to the division title prior to suffering a major knee injury in that season's playoffs. Jackson will ease double team pressure on Pierre Garcon, who set a single-season franchise record with 113 receptions for 1,346 last season for the 3-13 Redskins.

Add to the mix emerging tight end Jordan Reed and free agent pickup Andre Roberts in the slot and Griffin suddenly has a plethora of vertical options to match his impressive arm strength, not to mention Pro Bowl back Alfred Morris to balance out the offense.

In signing free agent linemen Shaun Lauvao and Mike McGlynn, the Redskins also made an effort to keep Griffin more protected after their line allowed 43 sacks and 96 quarterback hits in 2013.

Washington Post:
The contract with the Washington Redskins that Ryan Clark signed on Wednesday is a one-year deal worth $1 million, a person with knowledge of the situation said.

In 2013, Clark registered 61 tackles and two interceptions. For 13 years, Clark has made big plays and big hits, and he will give the Redskins secondary a veteran presence and a solid tackler. Safety was a sore spot for Washington last year, where the team lined up a bunch of different players in 2013, including Bacarri Rambo, Reed Doughty, Brandon Meriweather and Jose Gumbs. While those players have value, only Meriweather is considered a starting talent, and Clark will likely slide right into a starting role for Jim Haslett's defense.

The cap hit for Jackson’s contract in 2014 will come out at $4.25 million. Subtracting that, plus Clark’s $1 million would leave the Redskins with roughly $1.05 million in cap space.

Washington on Thursday also signed quarterback Colt McCoy, but the terms of his deal weren’t immediately available.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Janelle Monáe - "What is Love"

Janelle Monáe's voice will be heard as a veterinarian in the movie Rio 2, released in the U.S. on April 11th, 2014, and her song "What is Love" will be featured on the soundtrack.

In August 2012, Monáe was chosen as CoverGirl's newest spokeswoman. In September 2012, Monáe performed at CarolinaFest in support of President Obama, just before the 2012 Democratic National Convention in Charlotte. In October 2012, Monáe starred in a commercial for the Sonos Wireless HiFi home audio system, and appeared in a Sonos commercial in 2012 with Deep Cotton.

The Electric Lady, her second studio album, was released on September 6, 2013 by Wondaland Arts Society and Bad Boy Records. It is the follow up to her critically acclaimed debut studio album, The ArchAndroid (2010), and as the aforementioned, it has received universal acclaim from music critics. This album serves as the fourth and fifth installments of her seven-part Metropolis concept series. Musically, The Electric Lady incorporates influences of hip hop soul, funk, gospel, jazz and rock.

The "short film," as Monae bills it, is perhaps the most vivid picture we have yet of her Metropolis. The scene: a droid sale, part fashion show, part slave auction, in which dozens of riding-gear-clad Cindy Mayweather clones strut for an audience including fanged "tech dandy" Chung Knox, Neon Valley crimelord Mousey, jealous Metropolis police commander 6ix Savage, and "punk prophets" (Deep Cotton, musicians from the present and Monae's collaborators). Against this backdrop, Cindy does what she's destined to do: rock out with a superhuman energy that ultimately short-circuits her. The video ends with a quote from Cindy that evokes the Underground Railroad: "I imagined many moons in the sky, lighting the way to freedom."

Friday, March 28, 2014

FC Bayern München Wins the Bundesliga, for the 23rd Time

USA Today:
They just won the league title in March, clinching it with a 3-1 win over Hertha BSC on Tuesday. This is a big deal because the season ends in the middle of May.

How did they clinch the league with almost a quarter of the season left to play? Well, for starters, they didn’t lose. Not once. Bayern won 25 of their first 27 games this season, and tied the other two. In those 27 games they scored 79 goals and allowed 13. They didn’t just win; they won easily.

For starters, take about every major member of the Germany team that’s a favorite in Brazil this summer, sprinkle in Brazil’s best central defender, add a dash of the best Polish striker probably ever, and match them with Pep Guardiola, a brilliant soccer mind who managed Barcelona to incredible success before taking some time off. He’s back now, with Bayern, and they can’t stop winning.

It’s not like winning the Bundesliga is new to Bayern, either. They’ve done this before. A lot. Bayern Munich has won its 23rd Bundesliga title, and no other club has more than five.

After winning the league title last year, they then added Mario Gotze, one of the best players from their main rival, Borussia Dortmund. Not content that Gotze was enough, however, they then went back and got Robert Lewandowski, the Polish striker who also played for Dortmund, who is one of the best goalscorers in the world.