Friday, May 23, 2008

Badass Weekend Music Clip

Happy Memorial Day Weekend to all of you out there in SUS nation! In honor of this patriotic holiday, we have a very special American treat. Does anyone remember the Concert For America? This was the show at MSG shortly after 9/11 that featured seemingly everyone in music.

Among other things, this might have been the first time The Who reunited in some time. And watching them rock out that night was probably as close as I've ever had to a religious experience. So here ya go, 4 performances by The Who. I dare ya to not play air guitar to at least two of these songs, and I dare you to not shed a tear in Behind Blue Eyes.

Free SUS sticker to the non-SUS writer who can tell me the drummer's claim to fame. And anyone who says it's Keith Moon is banned.

Stanley Cup Finals: Pittsburgh Penguins vs Detroit Red Wings

And then there were two. From the Eastern Conference the Pittsburgh Penguins and from the Western Conference the Detroit Red Wings. Both teams have been dominant through the playoffs, the Pens with a record of 12-2 and the Wings 12-4. Both have gotten where they are with a strong balance of scoring, defense and goaltending. But which, if either, really hold an edge?

We all know about the Penguins skill up front with the likes of Crosby, Malkin and Hossa. The Wings aren’t exactly lacking with Zetterberg who is making a strong case for winning the Conn Smythe trophy for playoff MVP and Datsyuk. The Pens have a greater balance of scoring and defensive styles, and have been getting scoring from the lower lines a key to their success. Detroit has more grit though with the likes of Holmstrom who can crash the net like no other, and isn’t without its own two way players like Draper. Both own the top end talent and defensive minded grinders you need in the forward lines. But because of their better scoring depth I am giving the edge to the Pens, and it is a very slight edge.

Advantage: Pens

The Pens defense on paper looks mediocre, something the team would have been glad to accomplish in the last decade. The likes of Gill, Orpik and Letang aren’t the best or most flashy, Gonchar being the only big name back there, but they’ve gotten the job done and have shut down three teams and giving up the least goals per game in the playoffs. The Wings field an impressive lineup though starting with uber defenseman Lidstrom. He is supported by defensemen like Rafalski (remember him Devo?), Kronwall, Stuart and super douche Chelios. Nearly all have strong play in their own end and they can move the puck good too. They are also one of the faster defensive corps in the league, quite a bit faster than the Pens defense.

Advantage: Red Wings

You have one goalie in his second post season ever and another who already won a cup. So which would you say is better? Off hand Osgood for the Wings for his experience and goals per game average, and though he hasn’t played bad the reality of his situation is this: the team in front of him is so good he doesn’t need to be anything but average. Detroit has given up the fewest shots on goal of any team in the post season and Osgood hasn’t had to be brilliant much at all. He’s also aging and at 35 doesn’t have the same skills that won him the cup with Detroit years ago. Fleury though continues to shows flashes of brilliance, being quicker and more limber than probably any NHL goalie period. Considered a head case most of his young career as he was easily frustrated, he hasn’t shown any signs of that and remains confident in his play and the team in front of him.

Advantage: Penguins

Mike Babcock has always been a solid coach, a reason Detroit took him from the Ducks when his contract expired. He is a good motivator and knows the X’s and O’s of hockey, and most of all he knows how to use the talent he is given. For the Pens there is Michel Therrien who though much maligned has begun to show he is more than someone who can go on a good tirade. He’s gotten the team committed to playing a defensive game when needed, but one that also allows them to open it up and score if needed. The team is close, on the same page and not showing a hint of nervousness. However, if the plan fails the only adjustment Therrien knows how to do is switch the lines, something Babcock is not limited by.

Advantage: Red Wings

“Age and experience will always defeat youth and skill” they say. Well experience hasn’t been much advantage against the Pens who have ousted three teams with a lot more than experience than they have. Of course though the Red Wings aren’t exactly lacking in that skill department. Though many would probably disagree, I am still under the assumption the Pens will lay an egg, but at the very least feel they will be outplayed by a team that is their better.

Prediction: Red Wings in 5

Book of TOOL

Revolver magazine dedicated an entire issue to TOOL. That is "fan-fucking tastic"

That is all

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Hockey Playoff Round 3 Thoughts

I will be posting my Stanley Cup preview tomorrow, but I wanted to get out some thoughts I had from the conference finals.

The Red Wings didn’t choke, and it’s all Devo’s fault
When I did my “Douchebags of Hockey” article, this is the comment Devo left: “The entire Red Wing team should be considered Douchebags. They get 115 points every year and then massively choke in the first or second round.”
Way to go Devo, your comment put them in the Stanley Cup finals. Because of you Chelios may win the cup again. I hope you’re happy with yourself.

Dallas keeps giving you a reason to hate them
I don’t just mean the Stars, I mean all the teams in that city. They can never do the right thing. You want them to lose, they win. You want them to win just once and they choke in a spectacular fashion. The Stars did just that, allowing Chris Chelios yet another chance to win the cup by letting the Red Wings roll over them. Though the series was 4-2, it wasn't as close as it suggested.

Vengeance Now
For those that don’t know, this is the playoff slogan of the Philadelphia Flyers. NOt only is it not particularly fitting for a playoff theme, but in a sad way teh fans fully embraced it. But more importantly it leads to the question: who are you getting vengeance on? No one really knows because Philly has convincingly choked its own way out of every championship the last twenty five years in every sport. I think the Pittsburgh Post Gazette summed it up pretty good with this picture.

Are the Penguins really that good?
I honestly can’t believe this team hasn’t laid a massive egg yet. I mean they’re coached by Michel Therrien and boast a defense that has Robert “Suckderi” Scuderi and Ryan Whitney whose new line of skirts is being designed by no other than Vogue intern Sean Avery this summer. Yet here they are in the Stanley Cup for the first time since 1992 trying to bring the third one to Pittsburgh. It just doesn’t seem right, but maybe they really are that good.

And because I like the picture

And because I can say it also: fishsticks

A Few Myths About the Yankees

Myth #1

Joba Should Be Starting

Nope. And there's a bunch of reasons for this. Let's break this down:

a) There are more great #1 starters than intimidatingly dominant closers. The list of intimidatingly dominant closers is 2:
1) Rivera, Mo
2) Pabelbon, Douchebag

The list of great #1 starters:
1) Halladay, Roy
2) Sabathia, C.C.
3) Bedard, Erik
4) Santana, Johan
5) Zambrano, Carlos
6) Oswalt, Roy
7) Webb, Brandon
8) Peavy, Jake
9) Beckett, Josh

That's 9-2 in favor of closers and that list doesn't even include Justin Verlander, Cole Hamels, Dan Haren, Chien Ming Wang, or some other borderline great pitchers who will make the leap over the next few years. If you want to include a few more elite closers, I'll throw in Nathan, Putz, and K-Rod, but it's still 9-5 in favor of starters. Ask players around the league. Shit, ask Merloni if he's still alive; the key to the Yankees dynasty was Rivera. Not to take anything away from Jimmy Key, David Cone, David Wells, Andy Pettite, or the artist formerly known as Roger Clemens, but without Rivera, they would have had maybe 1 or 2 world series, not 4.

b) Starting pitchers aren't as valuable anymore.

Without trying to sound like the angry old man, baseball isn't like it used to be. Starting pitchers are good and well, and they're certainly necessary, but you don't automatically move your top 5 pitchers into the starting rotation anymore. Starting pitchers are trained to go 6 innings and then it's up to the relievers to carry the day.

c) Great pitchers are rare. When you have a pitcher who is great at anything, you don't mess with his specialty.

Look, there's a chance that Joba will be a great starter. A damn good chance. I'd put the odds at an unscientific 60%. But there's also roughly a 95% chance that he's going to be a great closer. What we know right now is that Joba can be a great closer and setup man. Will he be a great starter? Possibly. But what if he's not a great starter? What if he has Kennedy-like trouble transitioning to a major league starter? Isn't there a chance that his psyche is too screwed up to return him to a stud closer? Why not just keep him where he is, where he's one of the best in the game, and watch him give us a clear advantage over other the other 31 teams?

d) Remember Kyle Farnsworth?

What, you thought Jeff Nelson's country ass was coming back to pitch the 8th?

Myth #2
Better Solid Starting Pitching Will Change The Yankees' Fortunes

Nope. The starting pitching may not be the solution, but it's not the problem. I'm not sure what the starting pitchers' ERA is, but as of right now, it's 4.37. For a team that was supposed to threaten 1,000 runs this year, (equal to over 6 runs/game) a 4.37 ERA should be enough to win games. (By 1.63 runs/game, if you want to be a dick about it.) Part of the problem is the injuries to Posada and A-Rod, part of it is the fact that this team just doesn't hit. So whether Joba's mowing people down to the tune of 6 innings 2 runs or Pettite giving a 5 inning/4 run performance, the two runs that the Yankees seem to score on their better nights isn't going to cut it.

Myth #3
Cashman Should Have Traded Hughes And Kennedy For Johan

No one is doubting Johan's greatness. But is Hughes really going to spend his career on the DL Mark Prior-style? Is Kennedy going to maintain a career 9.00 ERA? In a word: no, no, and hell no. Did I miss something? Were Hughes and Kennedy supposed to win 20 this year? Granted, at this pace, they'll be lucky to combine for 10, but they need time. Sorry to say Yankee fans, but this is a rebuilding year. It's been a while, but they have to happen every once in a while. Speaking of which...

Myth #4
Cashman Should Be Fired

Most of New York did not want to see the Yankees give up Hughes AND Kennedy (and oh by the way, Melky). So to fault Cashman for not making this trade because the two of them have both had lousy first halves is ridiculous. All of New York was down with this youth movement and I'm calling BS on anyone who says differently. And I agree that Cashman's job is on the line with the development of Kennedy, Hughes and Joba. If Kennedy and Hughes still suck by the end of next season then yes, Cashman has to go. But can we please give these guys some time to develop?

Myth #5
Jason Giambi Is An Embarrassment To His Craft

Nah, this one's true.

The Process has Begun

The process has begun. The phrase is as powerful to a Yankee fan as Kennedy's "ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country" quote was to millions of Americans. Okay, did I overstate that a bit? Sure, but what can't be overstated is this; it is clearly the right move at the right time for the Yankees. Joba is moving out of the pen and into the rotation.

The Yanks have had, by far, the best back end of the bullpen in the game this season with Joba doing his best 1996 Mariano impression as Rivera continues to cement his legacy as the game's greatest finisher. But you know what this dominant bullpen has done for New York in the standings? absolutely nada. Joba can't help his club win games if Ian Kennedy and Phillip Hughes continue to make Generation K look like the Braves rotation of the 90's and if Pettite continues to have his regular 4th inning meltdowns. The Yanks will need to bolster this rotation somehow. What better way to do than moving a guy with 4 superb pitches into the rotation. Look at the two Red Sox titles and the Whitesox title team from 05; they all had phenomenal rotations. The Red Sox team of 2004 had Schilling and Pedro at the top, the 2005 Whitesox had Mark Buerhle and Contreras (when they were awesome and not old and or dead armed like they are now),and the 07 Sox team had a very deep rotation headed by the best pitcher in the AL Josh Beckett. What this tells me is that it is much more important to have a dominant rotation than it is a great bullpen. The 2004 Sox had Kevin Foulke closing games for G-d sakes! The 2006 cardinals had Adam Wainright and Braden Looper finishing ball games. If the Yankees want to win a world series any time in the next 10 years; they will need to have a great rotation headlined by a true ace. Joba can bet that ace. If he is it allows Wang to move down tot he 2 spot which he is more naturally suited for. This would also allow the two other kids, Hughes and Kennedy to face this intense pressure as they would be the 3 and 4 starters.

The final question is, was this move made for this year or for the future? I think this move was made to all but guarantee a great future while hopefully paying short term dividends. In other words, this move was made for the future primarily. Having a dominant bullpen is important in the regular season because starters don't usually go that deep into games. Therefore, expect the Yankees to lose a few games because Farnsworth and/or Hawkins give up runs in spots where Joba would not have. However, in a year or two from now when the Yankees can throw Wang and Joba 4-5 times in a 7 game series, this move will look great. Still, the hope is that Joba's move to the rotation will allow the Yankees to win games by enough runs that the 8th inning is not a crucial one for the game's outcome. If this offense actually takes its collective head out of it's ass, the Yankees could win 40% of their games by 5 or more runs; that is the starts that Joba and Wang make. This would mean that the Farnsworths and Hawkins of the world only need to pitch well 60% of the time. As bad as both have been at times, I like my odds better when I only have to count on them 3 out of 5 times instead of 4 or 5 out of 5 times. Okay, since I have to tutor math in a few hours, I'll stop with all of these crazy fractions and percentages.

Uninformed Reader is Right...

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Lou Perlman sentenced to 25 years in prison for bestowing N'Sync and the Backstreet Boys upon society

Oh yeah, he also embezzled about $300 million

A Celtics Pistons Preview

For probably the third consecutive playoff preview, I'm going to say this about the Celtics: I really want to like this team. It's a shame that they play in Boston, because otherwise I'd be nearly diehard. But they play in Boston, so time for them to die.

But as someone who's almost a fan of the NBA, the NBA would be much better off with the Celtics in the finals. Not simply because it's so easy to root against Sully and Murph, but because the matchups are much sexier. Whether it's Boston/LA, bringing back shades of Magic/Bird, or Spurs/Celtics which pairs the current NBA dynasty with the most successful franchise in the history of the NBA, it'll be something worth watching; at least for the last 5 minutes of the game.

And if Detroit makes it? Well LA beats them handily, no more than 5 or 6 games. If it's the Spurs, we have a return of the 2005 NBA Finals, one of the more boring in recent memory, only both teams are 3 years closer to being past their primes. (Note: I watched every minute of that series because I was kept away from society for most of the '04-05 school year until then and was simply grateful for competitive sport. I'm also the only person I know who watched more than two minutes of that series)

But let's get to who will win, shall we? I know this post is a few days late, but Game 1 was irrelevant. Boston was going to win game 1 for 2 reasons:

1. The home team generally wins game 1, if only because the raucous crowd is able to carry them to victory.

2. In the battle of a rusty team vs a tired team, the tired team is always going to win game 1. The tired team is in better game shape and won't show their fatigue until game 2. I don't know why it's true, and I have no reason or proof to show that it's true but trust me, it is.

If the Pistons get their legs back, they should be able to at least be competitive in game 2 if not actually win it. But more importantly, I've been 0-for-the playoffs so far in picking series seemingly. So let's try to jinx the Celtics and say Celtics in 7.

It's Kobe's world and we're all just living in it: Western Finals preview

Not to brag but so far I have correctly picked the series winner in 4 of my 5 series predictions and even nailed two of them perfectly. So obviously this means I know more about the NBA than Dr. Jack Ramsey, Pat Riley and Jeff Van Gundy combined. With this false bravado in mind, lets pick the the West Finals.

I don't find the Spurs as boring as most do. It is not because I am a purist who loves Tim Duncan's fundamental approach to the game. Rather, I actually think the Spurs play a fairly exciting brand of ball. Ginobli is a thrill a minute and Tony "Mr. Langoria" Parker is the fastest guy with the ball west or east of New Orleans. Finally, it is very exciting to watch Bruce Bowen defend the leagues best players like Kobe Bryant. Yea, he is the dirtiest player in the assocation by far but he plays intense and hard defense and he does it better than any guard in this league.
However, this, as the title of this piece suggests, is indeed Kobe's world. It must be tough having to buy 11 9,000 dollar rolex watches as a thank you gift to your teammates for your first MVP trophy. It also must be tough being the best player in the league by far and being the toast of the 2nd most celebrated city in the country. Kobe is living the dream right now and, despite San Antonio's championship pedigree, I don't expect that to stop anytime soon. Kobe is about to enter that Michael Jordan territory of carrying a team to a title as a shooting guard. He plays Jordan like defense and has Jordan's killer instinct. The only thing that was missing from his game was the willingness to trust his teammates that Jordan displayed in title clinching assists to John Paxon and Steve Kerr. Well now that Kobe has a legitimate star in Pau "White Boy don't call me Paul" Gasol, on his side; Kobe has started to be a complete team player. Unlike, other sports, if you have the best player by far in a series, you have a really good chance to win. The reason why this didn't apply to the Cavs last round is simply because his supporting cast was so exceptionally shitty. Kobe has 2 top guns by his side with Gasol and Odom. The Spurs are a truly great club but I just think Kobe is about to become the 2nd best guard in the game's history.

Pick: Lakers in 7

I want one of these

Reading this story may force me to use my "Economy Stimulus" check on a Parrot.

Imagine teaching your Parrot swear words, insults or just English in general:

"I'm Mr. Yosuke Nakamura," the bird told the veterinarian, according to Uemura. The parrot also provided his full home address, down to the street number, and even entertained the hospital staff by singing songs.

Sure, you can't really play with one as you could a dog but having a Parrot that would say stuff that I say would be truly outstanding. I mean look at it this way. All the world needs is a flying version of me hating on things and singing pearl jam.

Man's best friend indeed...

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Say it aint so Carwood!

Without trying to sound like John Buccigross, can we assume that what Baba O' Riley is to music, Band of Brothers is to television? Actually, can we assume that outside of The Wire, no television show made better use of its time, making every scene count?

Let's answer yes to both of those questions. And in a show with an amazing cast of characters, Lt. Carwood Lipton, played by Donnie Wahlberg, is certainly one of the five most badass characters.

Donnie may never win an Academy Award. In fact, he'll probably never even be invited to the ceremony. But at the end of the day, on one of the better tv shows of all time, his character was the main focus of the best episode of the series, where they're getting shelled by the Germans and lost half the characters on the show in a five minute stretch. He was kinda like David Wells on the '98 Yankees.

And now? He's been reduced to this:

Carwood Lipton is turning over in his grave knowing that this "tough guy" portrayed him.

Kill me now, a disaster of a New York Sports night

After spending several hours completing a rough draft of a take home final; I was greatly looking forward to a night of New York sports. A-rod was about to make his much needed return the 6th worst lineup in the league. Then, at 8pm the Knicks draft lottery fate would be decided. I really thought that we'd have some luck go our way. After years of bad luck, bad decisions and bad records, I thought this was the Knicks night to really begin the rebuilding process. As I sit here at 9:37 pm, my anger and frustration with the Knicks and Yankees has never been higher.
I had some optimism about tonight's Yankee game because I believed the return of the league's best player to our lineup would inject some life into this listless and joke of a team. It started off innocentley enough with a walk, a ground out and a strike out to the first three Orioles hitters. To my shock, horror an dismay, the strikeout to the dangerous Nick Markakis would be the last batter our most consistent starter this month, Mike Mussina would retire. Last I checked, in the 4th inning, it was 10-0 Baltimore. The two moments that infuriated me the most though was (1) Jeter's throwing error with 2 out and 2 on to load the bases with the O's already up 1-0 and (2) Jose Molina calling an 0-2 high fastball to novice outfielder Adam Jones. Jeter has become a full-fledged defensive liability at shortstop. He has no range and now has a case of the Knobloch's as his throws continue to take Giambi on magic carpet rides. Molina is doing a G-d awful job of replacing Jorge. Yea, he has a great arm. Who really gives a shit. He can't hit and worst of all he calls a horrendous game. How can you possibly call an 0-2 high fastball from a pitcher whose fastball can't break a pane of glass and to a young hitter who can only hit fastballs!!??? Okay that's all for my Yankee rant
Now the draft lottery. It is funny and scary the things sports makes us do. At about 8:05, mere minutes before my disgrace of an NBA team was awaiting its fate, I decided to cross both my fingers. I left them crossed for a good 10 minutes, while working out on a Stair Master mind you, and even sent a text or two with my fingers crossed. Well x that idea. The sixth pick!!!??? Are you kidding me!!! How do the Knicks continuously get screwed over like this. Okay, it is mostly the fault of the incompetent morons who have run this team up until Donnie Walsh signed on a few weeks ago but still. I guess we can take solace that this draft doesn't seem to feature any Lebrons , Odens or Durants. I guess us Knicks fans will continue to wait for that one great moment that makes us believe that this could someday turn around. Don't hold your breath. Just as I had calmed myself down and stopped cursing to no one in particular, despite being surrounded by 2 hot girls on ellipticals next to me, I see that the piece of crap Bulls had just secured the #1 overall pick. How can the Bulls, with a 2% chance of winning the lottery. That is 2 years in a row now that a team with a less than 5% chance of winning the lottery actually secures the #1 overall pick. That doesn't seem right to me. Oh yea, I still despise the Bulls for their 6 titles; most of which came at the expense of Patrick's Knicks. So, in case you are scoring at home and I'm sure you aren't, by about 820, in a short 80 minutes time, the night went from one of great hope and excitement to one that simply reminds me that Superbowl 42 is but a distant memory.

Mi-key! Mi-key! Mi-key!

Mike Piazza announced his retirement today after a fantastic 16-year career. Will the Mets finally have another cap in Cooperstown in five years?

"I have to say that my time with the Mets wouldn't have been the same without the greatest fans in the world. One of the hardest moments of my career, was walking off the field at Shea Stadium and saying goodbye. My relationship with you made my time in New York the happiest of my career and for that, I will always be grateful."
-- Mike Piazza

And we love you!

Red Sox young pitchers outclass Yankee young pitchers

Phil Hughes- Injured
Ian Kennedy- My niece has a lower ERA
Joba- Hangs out with a guy who wears a gold thong

Red Sox:
Clay Buchholz- No hitter tossed 9/1/07
Jonathan Papelbon(er)- Dominant closer, inspires fear and sends fans for the exits
Jon Lester- No hitter tossed 5/19/08

Santana not looking so bad right now, eh?

Monday, May 19, 2008

Yankee Self-Haterade

Well going into this weekend's abbreviated 2 game subway series, both teams came in looking like utter garbage. The Mets struggled against the dreadful Nats while the Yankees embarrassed themselves against the young and upstart D-rays. Both teams couldn't hit a beach-ball with a fongo bat. I was nervous going in because the Yanks were going up against two pitchers that have destroyed them in the last few seasons. Both are lefties with great stuff and one of them actually is consistent in his delivery and performance (I'll give you a clue,its not Perez). Either way, if either team was able to come out with a 2 game sweep, it would go a long way towards quelling its angry if not entitled fan base. The loser of both games would be under intense fire and criticism for continuing to underachieve with the NL/AL's highest payroll.

Congratulations Willie ,you get to keep your job for at least the next month or so; that is, until you play 4 games in June with the hated Yanks including a sexy day night Shea/Yankee double-dip. While the Mets two most talented pitchers stepped up, the two best Yankee starters were less than overwhelming. Pettite, for some reason, has the lost the ability to go an entire game without falling apart in at least one inning. It seems that every game he starts he gives up at least 3 runs in a given inning (lately the 4th is his inning of choice). Even the reliable Wang got torched for 7 runs over 7.2 last night. I won't soon forget the sick feeling in my stomach hearing the searing chants of "Lets Go Mets" as I walked out of the stadium and threw my New York Giants Superbowl Champions hat against a garbage can.

More than the bad pitching however, this Yankee offense has been downright pitiful. Yea, I know that two of the top 10 MVP candidates from last season are hurt but there is no reason a team with Matsui, Jeter, Abreu, Cano and Damon can't put together 4.5 or more runs per game. Molina is as bad at calling a game as he is at making contact with a baseball. I'd rather see Mussina bunt than Molina hit. As my friend the B.I.G (Baseball Insight guy) said, Molina, like Pudge, calls fastballs in off speed pitch counts just to try and gun down would be base-stealers. He also seems to have no calming affect on his pitchers when they get into jams. Wang used to be the master of the bases loaded and 1 out double play. Now, he either dominates the whole game or apparently will implode if he gets some runners on like he did Sunday night.

Robby, I love you but you gotta start carrying this offense a little bit. You are a career 300 hitter and we need you until Posada comes back. Also, I love you Derek, but you are not nearly as important to this team as A-rod is. I hope nobody boos A-Rod when he comes back because his mere presence instantly adds a run a game to our offense; he will lead to intentional walks, put Giambi in the bottom third of the order, and allow me to never see Alberto Gonzales swing a bat in a Yankee uniform again. Now if we just get Jorge back, we might actually have a decent 9th hitter in the lovable Melk Man.

Finally, how is Brian Cashman anything but the worst GM in sports? (Zieke is not a GM anymore remember). He has the highest payroll in the game by far every year, and his teams have won a combined 2 playoff games in the last 2 seasons. He has a lineup stacked with lefties and has a pitching staff filled with embarrassing signings like Igawa, Pavano (remember him), and Kyle Farnsworth. Worst of all, his best prospects in recent years, Chamberlain, Cano and Wang were barely hyped where as early disappointment Phillip Hughes and bust Eric Duncan have been very highly regarded by the Yankee Brass. This organization needs a major overhaul starting with "Cash."

Penguins / Flyers Morning After Report

While I’ve tried my hardest to recap the NHL playoffs, I realize it isn’t everyone’s cup of tea. Most of you don’t know where Versus is nor do you see any hockey on ESPN. Though for what it's worth, they LED off SportsCenter with game 5 of the Penguins/Flyers series last night at 7 pm. Granted, this was before the conclusion of the Celtics/Cavs game 7 but it was still refreshing to see the Mullet so early on Sportscenter. For those that missed out on the series, here’s what you missed:

Game 5 was recapped succinctly by Yinzer, but I’ll give a version that the New York Football fans out there can appreciate. This is EXACTLY like 41-0 against the Vikes but on a larger scale. The Flyers and Penguins loathe each other every bit as big as a Giant/Eagle/Cowboy rivalry. Fights in the arenas are frequent, violent and entertaining both on and off the ice. When the other team is down, the point is to rub it in; kick dirt in their face and keep scoring and pounding them until the clock strikes 0:00. To do this while eliminating them from the playoffs makes this one of the truly special moments for Pens fans that hasn’t been seen since the Stanley Cup years.

Very few people outside of homers saw this series lasting as shortly as it did. The Flyers play a style of hockey that gave the Penguins fits during the regular season. At times during the season, it looked as though the Flyers would grab control. But the Pens continued to elevate their game based on the situation and had they shown up in period 1 of Game 4, the series would have been a sweep. The Flyers had no answers when the Pens got the lead.

Turning point of the Series:

Steve Downey. Two key giveaways gave the Penguins games 2 and 3. While an argument can be for made that Hatcher was equal in blame during Game 2, Downey made a horrendous pass in Game 3 which ended any chance of a Flyer comeback. Downey could be seen in game 4 and 5 savoring the fine selection of nachos offered by the Wachovia Center and Mellon Arena respectively.

Who’d a Thunk it:

Everyone and their mother thought that the Flyers down 5-0 going into the 3rd period, would resort to their goon thuggery which they tried to establish at the end of Game 4. Suffice to say, they did not, a shockingly classy move for the most part. The Flyers half-assed their way to get out of dodge and to save themselves from further embarrassment. It’s good to know the Penguins also didn’t pull the heart out of the Flyers and instead optioned for the Friendship method. Friendship?

MVP of the series:

Marian Hossa for the Penguins was supposed to be the winger that Sidney Crosby needed to get his game to the next level. The talent has always been there but there was an unwavering opinion on the man being a notorious playoff choker in the same vein as AROD, Joe Thornton and Tony H. Romo. He's supposed to be a useless scum-sucking floating disappearing soft, pussy. And yet, we witnessed the complete opposite. Hossa will never take over the game like Crosby and Malkin, but he’s an outstanding player when he doesn’t have the focus on him. He has shown to be a tremendous playoff performer as he has now made himself a ton of money and will likely not don a Penguin uniform next fall. Suffice to say, the raised expectations after last round means the pressure is on him now to continue this in the next round. Don't worry I'm glad Hossa gave his collective "no ticket" line to the Flyers before tossing them out of a zeppelin.

Thanks for pissing us off:

Mike Richards, Derian Hatcher. Kudos for starting two brawls at the end of Game 4 which got the entire Penguin team PISSED off and motivated for Game 5.

Go Home Flyers:

Might be the best chant in Hockey since 1940. It’s still a damn shame we don’t have that still. Special Runner Up: HEY HEY HEY GOODBYE!!!!!!!!!!!

Milk Carton Watch:

All game Thursday, we heard about the greatness that is Daniel Briere and how he was officially back in it and he has turned his game around. Sorry VS, but that's a definite FAIL. Briere followed this up with a truly Casper performance where the only reason you noticed him was his flaming 48 jersey. For all intents and purposes, SUS’s own Yinzer could have been wearing that Flyer jersey and masquerading around the ice.

Joe Benenati and Daren Eliot continuously reminded us through the series that the Flyers were without the great Kimmo Timmonen and Braydon Coburn so much so that you’d figure both were the equivalent of a Bobby Orr and Ray Bourque pairing. Sadly with the great Timmonen back, you’d figure the clamps would be on. Euro Bobby Orr finished with a -2 rating in 21 minutes of ice time including a penalty. For the record, I still like VS but get these two clowns out of here. And stop giving me 43789458984 Hockey Central updates with Bill “the guy who was once on ESPN but got fired for sucking and who is not Dan” Patrick. Thanks.


Marc Andre Fleury got a ton of crap for being a choke artist during his development but he has officially put to bed a ton of his critics. I'm not 100% confident in him yet but it's nice knowing we have a 23 yr old goalie who is getting some solid experience.

Oh crap, where are my manners. Let’s go to our favorite Flyer guest analyst reporting live from Mother’s house: PhillyFreak93:

Thanks for your thoughts Freak and enjoy the off-season. We at SUS will be missing seeing your mascara on a daily basis. Give my regards to your mother and tell her to keep those pop tarts warm and toasty.

Number 3 Center?

In my crappy preview, I referenced the fact that Mike Richards was a 3rd line Center and thereby would cause more trouble for the Pens to match up with. Thankfully Daniel Briere forgot that he needs to score also so the Pens dodged a bullet. The Pens also got lucky when their own 3rd line center rose from the dead. Jordan Staal scored 29 goals during his rookie season (8 SHGs) but hit a wall this season with only 12. However, as the playoffs progressed, Staal’s goal scoring prowess has indeed reawakened. Staal scored 4 goals this series which bested Richards 3 and was continuously seen manhandled Briere and friends playing great defense and top notch penalty killing.

It’s a trap!

The Penguins new found defensive prowess isn’t just because they adopted the brutal neutral zone trap but now how they are using effectively. I mean heck if the Devils could get by with Jay Pandolfo, Tommy Albelein and Sergei Brylin looking like stars the Penguins could do the same with Max Talbot, Tyler Kennedy and Rob Suckderi. For all things unholy and evil having my boys adopt Satan’s defensive scheme makes me a little sick. I mean here we are resorting to something that made us lose so many times in the mid 90s and 2000s. Sure every team has variations of the same concept...which is to clog up the neutral zone. The thing is, the Pens don't start the game in a passive system, and they'll never be passive when they are down. But there are times when a good defensive shell with a 2-goal lead can be a good thing. But this isn't new, even the great Oilers teams and the 90's Pens beared down more defensively in the playoffs. Moreover, the Flyers have not shown the ability to come back when met against this scheme.

Here are some stats for the nerds (White Boy) that enjoy this sort of stuff.

Pens outscored the Flyers 20-9 in the series.

Pens played with a lead for 165 minutes of the 300 played in the series.

The Pens are currently leading the playoffs in the following categories:

Goals per game (3.64)
Goals against (1.86)
5 on 5 G/GA Ratio (1.71)

Also, the Pens are:
2nd in Power Play %
4th in Penalty Kill %
4th in shots on goal %
4th in shots allowed %

The bandwagon is full for the Penguins but with numbers like that these, it’s hard to deny that this is indeed a Stanley Cup Contender and will give some trouble to whoever comes out of the West. The West faithful might boast of their perceived dominance but I’ll believe it when I see it.

Clubhouse Shenanigans, Mets Take 1st Subway Series and By the Way...

Happy Monday Mets fans! After a tumultuous week, I'd say our weekend went pretty well (minus the Umps taking away what was clearly a 3 run homerun by Carlos Delgado). I'm working on being more positive, so let's start with the the bad and work our way over to the good:
The Bad and The Ugly
After Thursday's awfully frustrating loss to the Nats yet again, the clubhouse basically exploded with negativity from the reporters and players. Billy Wagner was pissed because certain people had left and had not given their soundbites to the newspeople. They all knew that Billy would provide these soundbites, and they were not disappointed. While he never called out any players in particular, most people think that he was singling out Delgado for leaving and avoiding what would clearly be a hard day to answer questions. Not only did the team squander Mike Pelfrey's fantastic near-no-hiter (yet again) to the Nats, but they also made costly base-running blunders that didn't help matters at all.
The game and its aftermath led to yet another media firestorm in which Willie Randolph's and Omar Minaya's jobs were questioned by the media and fans. Friday's rainout seemed to make matters a little better. The team had time for a players-only meeting as well as a full team meeting to air everything out. Billy Wagner was able to make some apologies (some deserved, some not). In another part of the story, I read that David Wright made another step towards becoming the team's leader in the meeting by taking charge. It seems to me that he has been hesitant to be a leader in the past, because he 1. has often tried to please everyone, from the players to the fans to the reporters and 2. thinks that he is too young to play that role. David, I think the time has come. You are obviously the only guy who even remotely wants this position. Either way, it seemed like everything had been evened out when we got to Saturday's game.
The Good
Saturday and Sunday's games were both close in the beginning, which made them a little nerve wracking to watch. In my opinion, the Mets had more on the line during these games because, as I said in the beginning of the season, there's more pressure on them this year. Yes, the Yankees are in last and are in a big scoring drought, but the Mets do not have the injuries and the young pitching that the Yankees do. It was really satisfying to see the team come together at the right time. Now all they have to do is keep that up for more than 2 or 3 games. Bring on the Braves!
Yesterday I participated in AIDS Walk New York, which starts in Central Park and winds its way around Upper Manhattan. It was a great day for a great cause!

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Pens Beat Flyers to Move on to Stanley Cup Finals

The Penguins beat the Flyers in game five of the Eastern Conference finals, sending the Penguins to the Stanley Cup finals to face the winner of the Dallas-Detroit series. The final score was 6-0. I've made a picture that sums up the game.

Dear NBA, my bad.

I saw more NBA action today than I've seen in the last 5 years, which is to say that I watched the final three quarters after the Pens/Flyers game got ugly. (Congrats to the Pens, though I spoke to Yinzer after the game, and he still thinks that the Flyers will come back and take the series) And for what it's worth, it was a damn exciting game, with two near-epic performances by Pierce and LBJ. So I suppose that the least I could say, following my soon-to-be-Pullitzer-Prize-winning article on the uninspiring NBA playoffs is this: my bad NBA, my bad.

And two more thoughts from the weekend:

-Spent Friday at Porky's in the city with White Boy and a few others. Not a bad bar, but a new pet peeve of mine: bars that play one verse of good songs to a techno beat. Big fan of Sunday Bloody Sunday; don't need to hear a techno remix of it. Luckily they didn't commit any crimes against humanity by putting Baba O Riley to techno.

-And while we're here, a big f@!k you to youtube. I put 'Baba O' Riley' into the youtube search engine, and the first two videos weren't of The Who, but David Cook. Douche.