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Sure, the USA beat Canada, but the highlight of the day for local hockey fans came with the awesome clash of current and former Soviet bloc Caps on Sunday: Alexander Ovechkin crushed Jaromir Jagr near center ice, and the total body check quickly led to a goal in the Russkis’ win over the Czechs.

The game reminded me that Jagr totally gets a bad rap from Caps fans. Sure, the team sucked during his 2.5 seasons here, and his stats while with Washington (never more than 36 goals in a season) were hardly worthy of being the highest paid player in the NHL.

But whose fault is that? Caps fans like to disregard the fact that after Ted Leonsis gave him away to the New York Rangers (for Anson Carter and millions of dollars of Caps money), Jagr proved how unwashed up he was. Jagr, fresh off leading the Czech team to the gold medal in the 2005 World Hockey Championships, had 54 goals and 60 assists with the Rangers (setting team scoring records for the Original Six franchise) in the first year after the NHL strike, and won the Lester B. Pearson Award as the best player in the league.

That performance both validated the Caps’ decision to sign him from Pittsburgh, and proved that it wasn’t Jagr, but something about Washington — management or coaching or those crappy black and teal jerseys he had to wear — that led to his suckitude here.

And, damn, at 38 years old, he looked good yesterday against Ovechkin and the Russians.  He sure can take a hit, too.

But, rightly or not, fans still hate Jagr here and in Pittsburgh, where he had one of the coolest all-time nicknames: Mario Jr., an anagram of Jaromir.

And, no matter what: The Caps traded Lester B. Pearson plus cash for Anson Carter? Yes, there was a lot going on in the organization, and the giveaway helped bring Ovechkin here. But on paper, that’s got to be the worst trade in NHL history.

No wonder season ticketholders scrapped with Leonsis back then.


Yesterday afternoon NBC ran a long retro piece about the USA win over the USSR in hockey 30 years ago. The world’s such a different place since that game took place. There was a clip of Al Michaels from 1980 in Lake Placid, telling viewers that Americans generally “don’t know the difference between a blue line and a clothes line.”

Well, I didn’t say EVERYTHING was different now….


Great story in the Washington Post today about Linda McMahon’s run for the U.S. Senate. She’s the wife of wrestling mogul and pure genius Vince McMahon.

And, like the best wrestlers, Linda knows how to speak with a straight face and still get folks giggling, with lines like her talking point about how her wrestling firm got rid of steroids:

“The thing of it is, there is no competitive advantage for using steroids — it’s not going to make you jump higher, run faster, hit the ball farther or anything like that,” McMahon said.

Go look at John Cena’s biceps and try not to howl at that one.

(AFTER THE JUMP: Linda and Vince got the wrestling business started “from scratch”? Who said that? How come D.C. doesn’t get credit for birthing modern pro wrestling? Even lawyers make fun of Dan Snyder? KidsPost goes ironic to explain Wizards demolition?)

My only complaint about the story is it gives almost zero credit for the success of the family business to Washington, D.C. and Vince’s elders. It says the the Connecticut-based WWE was “built from scratch” by Linda and Vince.

Scratch? Vince, born Vincent K. McMahon, is the third generation of ring promoters. Grandpa Jess McMahon was mainly a boxing promoter in New York and Baltimore, and father Vincent J. McMahon got the wrestling business going right here in D.C..

Not long after Linda was born, Vincent J. McMahon had begun turning the promotion, called Capitol Wrestling and later World Wide Wrestling Federation, into a regional powerhouse. In the 1950s he was filming cards at Turner’s Arena, on W St. NW between 13th and 14th, and providing that programming to TV stations here and in markets up and down the Eastern seaboard. Little Vince, after buying out his dad, moved the business from D.C. to Connecticut and shortened the name to the World Wrestling Federation, and then, yes, the younger McMahon took everything national and then international.

But, from scratch? No. He and Linda hardly started from scratch.

Linda McMahon is only the latest in a series of wrestlers who’ve tried to become politicians. My fave was Bob Backlund, who also tried to get to D.C. from Connecticut with a run for Congress in 2000. Everybody says Backlund’s campaign was totally legit. I’m still not sure.


How easy is it to make fun of Dan Snyder? Even lawyers can do it.

At the recent Alexandria Bar Association Gridiron dinner, an annual and long-running gathering of Virginia litigators held at the Masonic Temple, attendees took turns roasting their own and local celebrities in skits and speeches.

From a review of the performances:

Retired GDC Judge Robert Giamattorio heard Redskins owner Dan Snyder’s suit against Shelly Goodwife, who failed to pay for her season tickets after her husband died. Snyder (Martin Yeagger), rabidly cheered on by his second, Vinny Cerrato (Barry Diamond), explained that although there was a 323-year waiting list for season tickets, suing deadbeats would give him a double recovery when he collected contract damages and resold the tickets. But the court drafted its own counterclaim and found Snyder guilty of negligent management of a beloved local sports franchise. Evidence against Snyder included “snapping the Lions’ 19-game losing streak.”


I’m late in reporting that KidsPost now does irony.

Here’s how Fred Bowen broke down last week’s implosion of the Washington Wizards for the little wee ones:

The Washington Wizards traded all-star forward Caron Butler, center Brendan Haywood and guard DeShawn Stevenson to the Dallas Mavericks for forward Josh Howard and center Drew Gooden and two guys I had never heard of.

Then in another move, the Wizards were involved in a trade with the Cleveland Cavaliers and Los Angeles Clippers. Antawn Jamison will become a Cavalier. In return, the Wizards will get three players and a draft pick from the Cavaliers. Gooden, who never played a game for the Wizards, will go to the Clippers.

If you are a Wizards fan, don’t expect these trades to improve the team right away. Believe it or not, the Wizards may get worse. I think Butler, Haywood and Jamison are better than the players the Wizards got in the deals.

You think, Fred?


Story tips? Wanna Play the Feud? Tube amps for sale? Send to: cheapseats@washingtoncitypaper.com