- The Washington Times - Thursday, April 19, 2012


Once again, it’s time to check off some items on my “TIDU List” — Things I Don’t Understand:

• Why Nicklas Backstrom missed Game 4.

The Capitals’ top center admittedly cross-checked Boston’s Rich Peverley at the end of Game 3. But the infraction was no worse than some Bruins shenanigans that have gone unpunished. Besides, Backstrom’s reputation is squeaky-clean, which should count for something. The NHL said Backstrom’s reaction was “excessive and reckless.”

But the ruling reeks of excessive subjectivity and reckless disregard for fairness.

• Why Jordan Zimmermann gets no love.

Whatever the Nationals’ No. 3 starter did to the hitters, he should apologize and offer retribution. Because he’s getting virtually zero support. Zimm has yielded three earned runs in three starts, 21 innings in which the Nats have scored twice. Last year, the team averaged 2.6 runs while he was on the mound.

Here’s hoping they kiss and make up soon.

• How Pat Summitt’s impact can be quantified.

Summitt, who retired after 38 seasons, helped build women’s basketball as much as Tennessee’s dynasty. Her teams won eight of the 31 national titles and never missed the tournament. She won more games (1,098) than any other Division I basketball coach. Sixteen former players or assistants are head coaches.

We’re simply talking about one of the greatest coaches of all-time. Period.

• Why the NHL’s first round is violent.

Mixed martial arts don’t have anything on this. Nine players were suspended through Wednesday, two more than the entire postseason last year. Replays of Raffi Torres’ hit on Marian Hossa can cause whiplash. Shea Weber smashed Henrik Zetterberg’s head into the glass like a turnbuckle.

These games would be called off if Roger Goodell was the commissioner.

• How Andray Blatche is still out of shape.

The Wizards forward has been sidelined since March 20 with “conditioning” problems. Excuse me? You’d think running up and down the court nightly would help. The condensed NBA schedule is wearing out fitness freaks; it can melt some pounds off a doughboy.

But coach Randy Wittman said Blatche’s chance of returning — unlike the player himself — is “probably slim.”

• Why SMU would hire Larry Brown.

The well-traveled as Brown has coached nearly one-third of the NBA’s teams. He’s also the only coach to win an NCAA title and an NBA championship. But the Hall of Famer will be 72 before next season begins, and he hasn’t been a college coach since 1988.

Guess this hire is the only way SMU, Kansas and UCLA appear in the same sentence.

• How Jabar Gaffney can be upset.

The Redskins’ leading receiver last year, Gaffney was more than adequate after signing to complement Santana Moss. Gaffney had 947 yards, 68 catches and five touchdowns to carry a receiving corps beset with injuries and suspensions. But the Redskins have younger, cheaper options with more upside than the 31-year-old, who’s now expendable.

It’s business, not personal … unless his “hacked” Twitter account was a factor.

• Why the Nats have to wait.

Pundits love the Nationals but think the team is a year away. Some have picked the Nats to reach the postseason, but the consensus says 2013 is more likely. Thankfully, neither manager Davey Johnson nor his players agree. They need more offense — get well soon, Michael Morse — but the pitching is legitimate.

If they keep the right (ugh) ‘Natitude,’ anything is possible.

• How weed in college is a story.

ESPN reports that half of Oregon’s football team smokes pot. In other news, students drink and have sex, too. I don’t want to make light of an illegal activity, so everybody slow down while driving! On a serious note, experts say today’s marijuana is more dangerous than what, er, my friends smoked.

I just wonder how many players use it for “medicinal” purposes.