Winners and Losers: Ovechkin keeps rolling, USMNT makes history for the wrong reasons

Los Angeles Dodgers' Chase Utley celebrates in the clubhouse after game 3 of baseball's National League Division Series against the Arizona Diamondbacks, Monday, Oct. 9, 2017, in Phoenix. The Dodgers swept the Diamondbacks to advance to the National League Championship Series. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

Los Angeles Dodgers' Chase Utley celebrates in the clubhouse after game 3 of baseball's National League Division Series against the Arizona Diamondbacks, Monday, Oct. 9, 2017, in Phoenix. The Dodgers swept the Diamondbacks to advance to the National League Championship Series. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

Let’s take a look at the winners and losers from the wide world of sports, including Alexander Ovechkin, the Vegas Golden Knights and the U.S. men’s national team.

Winner: Alexander Ovechkin

The Russian phenom never fails to amaze, and his 13th NHL season is off to a blistering start. In just three games entering Wednesday, the Great Eight has already recorded a stunning seven goals. He became the first player since 1917-18 to score a hat trick in back-to-back games to open a season.

Ovechkin came out of the gates angry, and seemed to be playing with a bit of a chip on his shoulder. The Washington Capitals lost a large chunk of their supporting cast in the offseason as well, leading the critics to say they would not contend for the Stanley Cup this season. It was as if everyone had forgotten that Ovechkin, one of the most dynamic superstars in the world, laces up the skates for them each night.

After scoring 33 goals last season, his lowest total in a full campaign since 2010-11, the elite center is motivated to carry his team. He has only played a few games, but appears poised to prove the doubters wrong.

Winner: Astros and Dodgers

In July, everyone was convinced that the Houston Astros and Los Angeles Dodgers were bound for the World Series. The Astros dominated the American League, and the Dodgers were nearly unbeatable. But then, the Cleveland Indians emerged as the force they were expected to be to start the year. They won 22 consecutive games, while the Astros cooled off slightly from their first half performance.

Meanwhile, the Dodgers somehow lost eleven straight games. It was like they had forgotten how to win. So going into the playoffs, despite still finishing near the top their leagues, the teams were no longer the runaway favorites.

But then, in another blink of an eye, they reminded us once again why they were so highly touted. Each team rolled through their division series matchups without much trouble. The Astros defeated the Boston Red Sox in just four games, while the Dodgers swept the Arizona Diamondbacks.

Now, each team will have plenty of time to rest and prepare for their championship series opponents. The pennant is within their reach and the crown is looming in front of them.

Winner: Vegas Golden Knights

The NHL’s newest franchise is looking more like an established juggernaut than an expansion team in its first three games. The franchise is off to a 3-0-0 start, becoming the first expansion team ever to win its first three contests. James Neal has ignited them, scoring the game winner in each game.

The Golden Knights’ early success does not imply that they will be a playoff team, but it does show that they will not be laughing stock of the league like many expansion teams have been in the past. With the generous expansion draft system that the league provided, Vegas accumulated a roster full of talent. The only question was how soon they would truly be competitive.  

The club has also become a rallying point for the city following the tragic shooting in the city a couple of weeks ago. The Golden Knights are helping the city remain strong.

Loser: Joe Girardi

Joe Girardi made a mind boggling choice in Game 2 of the New York Yankees’ series against the Tribe. In the sixth inning of the game, it was ruled that Lonnie Chisenhall was hit by a Chad Green pitch. However, replay showed that the pitch actually nicked a part of the bat and deflected into the catcher’s glove. Had Girardi challenged the play, it would have been ruled a strikeout to end the inning

But Girardi did not challenge the play, later claiming he did not want to disrupt the rhythm of his pitcher. So Chisenhall waltzed on to first to load the bases. Francisco London stepped up next, and uncleared the bases with a Grand Slam.

Simply put, Girardi’s decision cost them the game. He had nothing to lose by using his challenge, and his own players, Gary Sanchez and Chase Headley, were insisting that the ball hit the bat.

United States' Christian Pulisic, left, fight for the ball with Trinidad and Tobago's Nathan Lewis during a 2018 World Cup qualifying soccer match in Couva, Trinidad, Tuesday, Oct. 10, 2017. (AP Photo/Rebecca Blackwell)

United States' Christian Pulisic, left, fight for the ball with Trinidad and Tobago's Nathan Lewis during a 2018 World Cup qualifying soccer match in Couva, Trinidad, Tuesday, Oct. 10, 2017. (AP Photo/Rebecca Blackwell)

Loser: U.S. Men’s National Team

The United States failed to qualify for the World Cup for the first time since 1986 by losing their last World Cup Qualifier against Trinidad and Tobago. The loss means the team will not get to compete in the World Cup until at least 2022 in Qatar.

This embarrassing loss illustrates why the soccer has been unable to gain any traction in the country. A team that is supposed to be progressing forward with the world’s most popular sport is regressing instead.

How are the people of America supposed to learn to love soccer when they cannot even watch them on the game’s brightest stage?


Dylan Barrett is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus.  He can be reached via email at dylan.barrett@uconn.edu.