- Associated Press - Monday, December 20, 2010

WASHINGTON | Woe is Washington!

Reeling Redskins? Weakling Wizards? Collapsing Capitals? Bah-humbug, indeed.

The pro sports teams in the nation’s capital have just snapped a 15-day losing streak. They were 4-19 in the month of December — and they’ve done it in spectacular style. McNabb benched. Arenas traded. Haynesworth suspended. A cussing coach on HBO.

This is one town that doesn’t know how to lose quietly.

“I hope it’s not anything in the water,” Redskins defensive lineman Vonnie Holliday said Monday.

No, but there is something in the loss column. The Redskins and Wizards are working on their third straight last-place seasons, a string that would catch them up with the Nationals, who thankfully don’t get to add to the D.C. doldrums this time of year.

The Redskins clinched another losing season Sunday, dropping to 5-9 with their fourth loss in a row, 33-30 to the archrival Dallas Cowboys. Coach Mike Shanahan was supposed to give the franchise an instant resurrection, but the season has been overshadowed by his headstrong conflicts with the two biggest names on the team: Albert Haynesworth and Donovan McNabb.

Haynesworth was such a headache that he was suspended for the rest of the season with four games to play. McNabb was such a disappointment that he was benched for the season with three games to play. And this year is considered more tranquil than 2009, when a retired bingo caller was hired to the call the plays and Jim Zorn was a lame-duck coach for the last three-quarters of the season.

Yet, while the Redskins still dominate the city’s sports scene, the other pro teams have tried to catch up in their own dysfunctional ways.

The Wizards finally snapped a seven-game losing streak Monday night with a victory over the Charlotte Bobcats. Along the way they finally traded Gilbert Arenas, whose guns-in-the-locker-room antics helped turn last season into a thorough embarrassment.

But the player who is supposed to replace Arenas as the face of the franchise can’t stay healthy. No. 1 overall pick John Wall missed 11 of the first 26 games with a variety of injuries. The Wizards are 0-13 on the road, and they’re on pace to win even fewer games than last season’s 26-56 club.

At least Washington has the Capitals. Well, at least that’s been the mantra for the last few years. The hockey team with the lovable coach (Bruce Boudreau) and the sometimes goofy star (Alex Ovechkin) could be counted on to win, win, win — at least in the regular season — and provide some upbeat fodder when the topic turned to sports.

Not this month. The team that was expected to coast to another division title and spend the season tuning up for the playoffs dropped a stunning eight straight games. Compounding the misery: The team’s skid was documented in full, ugly behind-the-scenes detail on HBO, when it just happens to be following the Capitals around as part of a reality series leading to the Winter Classic outdoor game against rival Pittsburgh on New Year’s Day.

In the first episode of the series, the Penguins came across as classy, the Capitals as clumsy. Boudreau was shown using one particular curse word 15 times in one minute during a rant between periods. His mother, and quite a few fans, weren’t pleased.

When the streak finally ended with a 3-2 win at Ottawa on Sunday night, players poured off the bench and formed a mob around the goalie, knocking the net against the boards.

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