Saturday, April 18, 2009
Some people are going to wax poetic about Lebron this, Kevin Garnett that. Not this guy! Nah, I'm taking you back to the last time that I (and most of this website) actually cared about the NBA. Yeah, we're letting NBA JAM decide this bitch.
Quick Note: The default system will be Sega Genesis. Or as I like to refer to it, the Official Video Game Console of "Devo: The Middle School Years."
Hakeem Olajuwon and Vernon "Mad Max" Maxwell (Rockets)
Clyde Drexler and Terry Porter (Portland)
Both teams have a Hall of Famer, so let's assume that Glide and The Dream cancel each other out. So it comes down to Mad Max vs. Terry Porter. One guy turned "7 Seconds or Less" into the '94 Knicks, only if the '94 Knicks sucked. The other guy has a badass nickname and was recently jailed for failing to pay child support. To paraphrase Dewey Cox, should you really be forced to support a child you want no part of? I think I speak for 6/8 of SUS when I say, F$*k no! Rockets in 6.
Isiah Thomas and Bill Laimbeer (Detroit)
Mark Price and Brad Daugherty (Cleveland)
Look, first things first. If 8 years of reading Sports Guy has taught me anything, it's that it would be a mistake to ever bet on Isiah for anything. As if that's not enough, I'm not about to start pulling for the Phil Jackson of the WNBA. Just to top it off Mark Price was probably my favorite small white guy who could knock down 3 pointers so long as they weren't goaltended. Cleveland in 4.
Nick Anderson and Scott Skiles (Orlando)
Clarence Weatherspoon and Jeff Hornacek (Philly)
Who knew that the most boring actual NBA playoff matchup would be equaled by the most boring NBA Jam matchup? Look, I've heard of all of these guys, and Anderson and Hornacek were good 3 point shooters. But I don't care about any of these guys. Wake me when 'Spoon slaps a ho. Tiebreaker goes to Orlando who had Penny Hardaway in other versions of this game and should have had Shaq but for some licensing issues. Orlando in 5.
Ah, this has become a bittersweet time of year for me. My beloved Knickerbockers never even threaten to participate in the NBA's second season so I am left to watch the sport I love with only haterade as a motivating factor. To this end I say thank you to the Boston Celtics. This is also the time of year where I think I am going to get into the NBA playoffs only to realize I'd rather watch the Yankees-Royals game instead. (Die, Alex Gordon!) Still, lets ride this wave of playoff excitement as far as it can take us....
(2) Boston Celtics vs. (7) Chicago Bulls- Again, thanks to the Celtics for giving this Knicks fan a rooting interest in the NBA playoffs. I hope you win your first round series against the young Bulls so that I can root against you for real when you take on the Magic in round 2. This hope of mine will become a reality rather quickly. I know the Big Ticket is out for the foreseeable future with apparent knee fatigue but the C's still have wayyy too many weapons for the upstart Bulls to handle. Derrick Rose is the hands down rookie of the year and Ben Gordon is a lethal shooter. But that is not enough to counter Hall of Famers Paul Pierce and Ray Allen, not to mention future-superstar-and-presently-very-good Rajon Rondo. Boston will steam roll the talented but Baby Bulls 4-0. Next issue.
(4) Atlanta Hawks vs. (5) Miami Wades- There is no reason anyone should feel the need to utter the official team name of the NBA club that calls Miami its home. They have one player that is worth anything to anyone this season. This one player is the sole reason his team is in the playoffs. Bill Simmons was dead on when he said Miami would have 15 wins if Jamal Crawford played on the club instead of Dwayne Wade. He failed to realize that this +29 win factor clearly makes him the league's most valuable player. Likewise, the Cavs probably sneak into the 8 spot without Lebron and the Lakers probably get about 42-45 wins without Kobe. No way the Heat win even 15 games without Wade. Oh right, the Hawks. Atlanta actually has a better club than Miami with much more depth, balance and veteran savvy outside of the aforementioned Wade. However, Wade is good enough to win this series by himself and will do just that. Joe Johnson can't check Wade and no amount of support from the freakishly athletic Josh Smith, steady Mike Bibby, or powerful Al Hortofrd, will be enough to stop the best player in the league. Still, Atlanta is a good club and I expect them to win 2 games and lose to Miami 4-2.
3) San Antonio Spurs vs. (6) Dallas Mavericks- Dallas has played very well during the second half of the season. It has seen a rejuvenated Jason Kidd and the usual brilliance from Dirk Nowitzki. They seemed to be awfully excited to beat Houston on Wednesday and consequently procure the 6 seed. I'm not sure why though. The Spurs are not exactly an untested team. Yes, any realistic chance of challenging the mighty Lakers for Western supremacy left with Manu Ginobli's season ending injury but I would not be excited to play Tim Duncan in any meaningful game. He is the greatest forward of all time and the best defensive big man I have ever seen play. He is not the same offensive force he once was but Dirk will not have any easy drives to the basket. Part of me likes the momentum that Dallas is riding into the post season but the Spurs have not exited the playoffs this early since Timmy has entered the league and I don't think the soft Mavs are the team that is going to stop this trend. I can see this being a long, home court dominated series which goes to the Spurs in 7. However, Tim and Tony will be exhausted for its 2nd round series against Denver and will not be able to advance any further as such.
Friday, April 17, 2009
A hairdresser from the small Russian town of Meshchovsk has subdued a man who tried to rob her shop, and then raped him for three days in the utility room, Life.ru reports.
The incident occurred on Saturday, March 14. The working day was coming to an end at a small hairdressers, when a man armed with a gun rushed in and demanded the day’s earnings.
The frightened employees and customers agreed to fulfill his demand, but when the shop’s owner, 28-year-old Olga, was handing the money to the robber, she suddenly knocked him down on the floor and then tied him up with a hairdryer cord. The 32-year-old Viktor couldn’t have known that the woman was a yellow belt in karate.
Olga locked the unlucky robber in the utility room and told her colleagues that she was going to call the police – but didn’t do so. When everybody left home, she approached the man and ordered him to ‘take of his underpants’ threatening to hand him over to the police if he refuses to cooperate.
After that Olga raped her hostage for three long days. She chained Viktor to the radiator with pink furry handcuffs and fed him Viagra.
Olga was resentful when she was taken by the police.
“What a bastard,” the woman said about Viktor. “Yes, we had sex a couple of times. But I’ve bought him new jeans, gave him food and even gave him 1.000 roubles (around $ 30) when he left.”
You will find no bigger opponent of rapists than yours truly, and no one more for womens liberation and equal treatment (Hey ladies, lets talk about it over a glass of Courvoisier on the bear skin rug in front of my fireplace). But Im torn on this one. It seems to me that this chick just hadn't gotten laid in awhile and had seen one too many bondage porn movies, so she jumped at her chance to fulfill some fantasies. Shes not a bad looking girl and even bought the dude a new pair of jeans, probably after ripping his original pair off, and buying blue jeans in Russia is like trying to find Mahatma sober. Hell, she fed him and sent the guy away with a tip! Its hard to have a ton of sympathy for the guy and besides, Id have to see what he was wearing to know whether he was asking for it.
But the real culprit here is Pfizer. Viagra is already the most popular drug in the history of mankind, but now that women know they can rape men with it, I fear for society. Im envisioning gangs of women prowling the subways, accosting good-looking men like myself who are just trying to go home at night. It sounds like a terrifying Planet of the Apes type sci-fi movie. Rape is all about power, and women now have the market cornered on power and intelligence. Its all downhill for us from here fellas.
All the other evidence aside, I think the pink furry handcuffs will be what sets her free. Just too playful to be taken seriously. Judge- "Olga, could you come with me back into my chambers and show me exactly what you did to the robber?".
Thursday, April 16, 2009
The New Yankee Stadium: Same old lack of clutch hitting and and overpriced food but I still miss the Old Stadium
Okay so I should say that I didn't dislike all aspects, or even most aspects of the New Yankee Stadium just like I didn't hate all aspects or dislike all aspects of Citifield. However, maybe I am just an angry young man destined to be an angry old man, but I really really miss the old Yankee Stadium. It broke my pinstriped heart to look into an empty half torn apart Yankee stadium as my 4 train arrived at 161st and river avenue. Still, here in list fashion are my thoughts on the new stadium. Oh, and if The Yanks horrid middle relief had actually not gotten molested by slightly above average players on the Indians, maybe I'd feel better about things. Keeping that disclaimer in mind...
1) When I first walked into the stadium, I felt more like I was at a Yankee museum than I felt like I was at a stadium for the Yankees. The Yankees, unlike the Mets, actually realize its fans want to feel as if they are at the home of the team that plays 81 games there. However, much like Citifield, it felt too much like I was at some kind of museum rather than a ballpark....
2) It takes at least 3 times as long to walk from one level to another at this stadium than it did in the stadium across the street. It took my dad and I, who were walking at a fairly brisk pace, 10 minutes to walk from level 1 to level 2..
3) The upperdeck now is significantly further away from the field than the middle level where as at the old stadium the upper deck hung over the middle level. That sucks.
4) The right field bleachers and its much ballyhooed bleacher creatures are significantly further back from the field than they were at the old stadium. I had to strain my ears to hear them do the roll call. A sad moment indeed.
5) You can barely see Monument Park from almost any seat location. I liked how at the old stadium you could clearly see the monuments from any seat location.
6) The big screen out in Right field is wayyyy too freakin loud and wayyy too big. I felt like the screen was literally going to envelope me. I feared for my life I tell you!
(7) The retired numbers, once on the walls in leftfield now are wayyyy wayyyy back past the left field bleachers. It took me 3 innings to find them and I, a man of 20/20 vision, needed to strain his eyes in order to do so.
Some Pros to be fair.
(1) it's a beautiful stadium.
(2) The food is probably better
(3) it does Yankees history much justice than the old park did.
(4) I even would acknowledge that there are sweet ass centerfield seats that are right between the left field and right field bleachers that look pretty cool.
(5) Oh, and standing room only, which both stadiums have, is awesome for nervous fans like me.
In closing though, I guess for me, my love for a stadium comes with comfort, familiarity and the experience of witnessing great moments for my team there. (Remember people who make fun of my knick fandom, for years they were really really good when I was growing up!). I eat before the games and I don't really care where I piss be it a beautiful new facility or the shitholes that were the old Mets and Yankees bathrooms. I guess, until the Yankees at least make a deep playoff run here and/or until I go to more than a few games at the new stadium, I will continue to feel like I did at Citifield Monday, like I was at a game at a neutral sight.
#2 Detroit vs #7 Columbus
Detroit returns to its roots as the fur capital of North America
We all know who is winning this, so lets talk about Detroit the city. Once the proud center of American industry, the city now has an uninhabited area the size of San Franciso within its borders. And these aren't vacation homes sitting empty either, its going back to the jungle(see above picture and link). Think about this, not only is the city dying, THE GODDAMN BEAVERS ARE TRYING TO BUILD DAMS ACROSS THE RIVER! The city has lost more than half its population, its mayor just got thrown in the clink and from what I hear, the few remaining residents have started putting up roadblocks Mad Max/Somali style at the tops of freeway off-ramps to guard their neighborhoods. This is really a remarkable thing that is happening. Normally, photos like these would make me feel sorry for the people of Detroit. Hell, Georgia looked better AFTER the Russian invasion last year.
But guess what, no goddamn Red Wings or Wolverines fan will get my sympathy for living in a dump. Thats what you get when you support douchebags like this guy. Ive driven through Columbus and it looks like a helluva lot nicer place to be, even if it is in Ohio. So Detroit, you can have your decent sports teams, just dont come crying to me for a bailout when Ford Field and the Joe Louis Arena look like this:
Oh, and fuck you Greg Paulus. Are you serious NCAA? This douchebag can immediately go to Michigan and try out his clipboard holding arm but my buddy can't try out for kicker at WVU because he took too long getting his undergrad degree? Thats some bullshit right there.
The Pick: Detroit wins in 5 after Rick Nash, Manny Malhotra and RJ Umberger are killed in a stampede of unemployed people moments after the KFC next to the arena posts a "Help Wanted" sign.
#1 Boston vs #8 Montreal
Theres only one hockey team in Boston that matters:
The Pick: Bruins win in 5 after Canadiens novel "empty net for 3 peroids" strategy fails.
CAN I GET A GTFO! Look I like Madden and his shitty videogame but the game has past him by. I will be sad though. I mean now which "analyst" is going to inform me about stadium horticulture, turducken, weather patterns and how the immaculate reception was bullshit?
There is a silver lining to this that now Madden can spend some quality with Brett Favre as the two of them can go on road trips on Madden's bus and plan the rest of their lives together. It's a scene right out of a Hugh Grant movie...
Wednesday, April 15, 2009
p.s.-this is the first Devil playoff game I've watched in NJ since the '03 season. Nothing sucks more than being forced to go to a bar on a random Tuesday night to watch a Devil playoff game. On the one hand, it's a bar, and I have no beef with booze. But on the other hand, screw Gary Bettman for dictating when i gotta go out.
So I'm calling upon you fellow sports fans to help me. This problem is pure evil. The mere thought of it invokes nightmares. It spans generations. Young and old alike.
If you haven't figured out what I'm talking about yet, it's the Snuggie. At first, I thought it was a cruel joke. Then I slowly started to realize that people were serious about this thing. A freaking blanket with sleeves?? You've got to be kidding me. Then I thought, well at least its appeal is limited to crazy people. But you know what? People that I (once) viewed as sane, logical individuals started telling me they wanted one or thought they were a great idea. UM NO! In the god awful commercial (one that almost parodies itself) for these things, it shows people at a sporting event wearing them. "Great for outdoors!" You know what else is great for outdoors? A COAT! And guess what… it also has sleeves! And you don't look like you're in some weird Scientology sect.
With spring baseball weather always questionable, and football season just around the corner (fall will be here sooner than you think), not to mention those cold rinks you'll all no doubt be visiting for the NHL playoffs, I'm terrified these atrocities are going to start showing up in the stands. So my call to you, loyal readers, is this:
The first time you spot one of these when you're in the stands cheering on your favorite team, and you know it's going to happen sooner or later, put a stop to it. I don't care if it’s a man twice your size, a woman, or a child. You must remedy the situation. Punch them in the face. Throw your beer on them. Squirt stadium mustard in the shape of a "z", Zorro style, all over it. (or maybe an "s", for snuggie). Whatever you do, make sure this person knows what a douche bag they are. Teach them a lesson. If not, this may be our future:
As if A.Rod isn't embarassing enough*
*Note: No Yankees fans were harmed in the posting of this blog.
OK LETS DO THIS.
Eleven months ago, the Penguins demolished the Flyers in five games in the Eastern Conference final, humiliating them 6-0 in Pittsburgh in the clincher on May 18. Now with a chance to grab home ice, the Flyers choked away 3 leads and eventually lost to the Rangers on Sunday. Now from having the 4th seed practically locked up since March, the Flyers lose home ice and must beat the Penguins at home. The Penguins have gone 18-3-4 in the past 25. Philadelphia: 12-11-2
Stats wise these two teams are about as even as you can get.
PIT: 99 points
PHI: 99 points
PIT Goals per game: 3.15
PHI Goals per game: 3.17
PIT goals against per game: 2.84
PHI goals against per game: 2.83
PIT PP%: 17.2%
PHI PP%: 22.5%
PIT PK%: 82.7%
PHI PK%: 83.0%
Let me go on record as saying I hate this matchup. Divisional rivalries are unpredictable. Let’s throw the bullshit stats out the window and dive right into the matchup.
Gagne-Richards-Knuble > Kunitz-Crosby-Guerin
Hartnell-Carter-Lupul > Fedotenko-Malkin-Sykora
Briere-Giroux-Asham > Cooke-Staal-Kennedy
Carcillo-Powe-Nodl < Dupuis-Talbot-Adams
The Penguins have Malkin and Crosby while the Flyers have deep crew of forwards with 6 scoring over 20 goals with 2 (Briere, Giroux) missing a number of games this season would have likely made that had they played the entire season. The Penguins are ran by the big 2. If Crosby or Malkin don't show up the Penguins are sunk. Over the past two weeks, the Penguins 3rd line has been their most consistent and dangerous. Something is severely off with Petr Sykora and thus the 2nd line hasn't done too much recently. Malkin is getting his points on the power play as usual but with little support 5 on 5. The new first line of the Penguins has yet to fully click. The potential is there but they still seem to missing that chemistry level that great lines have. The issue with this is that the Penguins need scoring from all their lines. Philly is too deep and has enough sound defenders to limit only one effective scoring line. Pens fans should breathe easier because neither did Marian Hossa last year with Crosby until Round 2. While you can't top Crosby and Malkin, the Flyers bring more consistent guns to the war.
Timmonen-Parent < Orpik-Gonchar
Coburn-Carle > Eaton-Letang
Jones-Alberts < Scuderi-Gill
All last year after getting owned, the Flyer nation cried and whined about injuries to Kimmo and Coburn. They are right to extent but in reality what would they have done? Allowed the Penguins to win in 6? Whatever.
Since Sergei Gonchar came back and Ryan "Chanel Purse" Whitney got traded, this is a different unit. Gone are Whitney's ghastly turnovers and replaced with some solid play by Mark Eaton. Kris Letang has taken over Whitney's offensive d man role and has somewhat blossomed under Bylsma. He is still prone to Whitney esque turnovers but he has created a ton since getting the green light to go. Orpik will likely be in the face of little Danny Briere all series and lead the Penguins in hits with 300 something good for 2nd most in the NHL. The Penguins utilize Rob Scuderi and Hal Gill in a shutdown role. Scuderi is great with his stick (uhhhhhhh that came wrong) but might be the worst puck mover in the league. Gill has been solid.
So with Flyers have Orr (Kimmo) and Bourque (Coburn) in the lineup, they should dominate right? I don't see it. The Flyers D has way more talent than the Penguins but for every great play they make, they make an equally horrendous one. Carle, Parent, Jones and Alberts all fall into that category. The skill is there but the decision making isn't. Either way, this is fairly even because Kimmo and Coburn cover up some of the mistakes. That being said, Parent has looked like a quality player for the first time since being traded for Peter Forsberg. Jones and Alberts have at least improved and Carle might be a top d-men in the league eventually. We'll see. I'll give the SLIGHT edge to the Flyers here.
Marty Biron is about as reliable as a cellphone on the subway. He is the unquestioned weakness of the team - prone to simply disintegrating his team’s opportunity to win a series. Biron, throughout his career, has shown some flashes but he can’t seem to put it all together. He silenced some critics last season in the playoffs but he also got shredded by the Penguins in the ECF. It's not that he’s been bad, but he just gives up some really bad goals at the wrong time. As a fan of the Flyers getting douched, I'm okay with that.
Fleury, while still maturing as a goaltender, has shown to be more consistent and is currently playing at a high level. Furthermore, he has shrugged off bad goals with a calm and cool swagger to his game. He still can’t handle the puck and really should not pass to much but the Penguins have the clear edge here despite Biron and Fleury having similar stats.
In a matter of days, Dan Bylsma accurately diagnosed the Penguins problems caused by Cowhard on Ice and swiftly uprooted the team to be far more aggressive and take advantage of the team’s skill level. The players have responded favorably to the coaching change and are playing their best hockey as we speak.
Stevens gets a bum deal from the Philly idiots and has led the Flyers to a 107-98-33 record in three seasons. He can get his players to play well consistently in every facet of the game. Still there are times when Stevens gets outcoached and fails to adjust. I specifically remember the Penguins/Flyers in January when the Penguins opened up in a trap and stifled the Flyers the entire game with little adjustments by Stevens.
Everyone is on the Penguins jock right now and this is quite disturbing in my book. Sure the last two months have been incredible for Penguin fans and now all the idiot homer Penguin fans think this team is infallible. Uh no. Deep down inside this is still a team that isn't quite a #4 seed. For the record, either is Philly. They look a bit worn out during the last half of the season and they will need a boost of energy.
Look Philly can win this. They just forgot to trade for a goaltender. Ron Hextall is not walking through that door anytime soon. Too bad.
Penguins in 6
The St. Louis Blues are the feel good hit of the spring for the NHL. Widely considered to be in the hunt for
Both teams are so hot right now. (1st and 3rd hottest teams since the All-Star break.)
Sedin Sedin Burrows > Boyes-McDonald-Backes
Kesler Sundin Demitra > Perron-Berglund-Oshie
Raymond Wellwood Bernier > Crombeen-McClement-Steen
Hordichuk Johnson Rypien < Hinote-Tkachuk-Winchester
St. Louis's young guns have stepped up but these kids don't really know what they are getting into. Vancouver's got the usual cast of characters as well as former Maple Laugh, Mats Sundin. Sundin can push the Canucks past the 1st round. In fact, that's what he's there for. He's already allowed players like Henrik Sedin, Kesler and Alex Burrows better their offensive highs just by his presence and overall the Canucks top 6 is very strong.
The role players for the Canucks have chipped in through out the season and may even get Taylor Pyatt back soon (awful story) when he's ready emotionally and might be able to ride that to the Cup as well as gain legions of fans for just a truly sad story for the guy.
The Blues are a different story. Sure you've heard of Tkachuk and Kariya but these two ageing superstars aren't what they were. Now names like Boyes, McDonald, Backes and Oshie lead the charge.
Brad Boyes was left for the dead by the hockey community as being a bust but has now become the player many suspected and had a career high with 33 goals and 72 points.
But the real energy from this team is the new "kid line" of David Perron, Patrik Berglund and T.J. Oshie. Hockey needs more line names and the Kid line could be that new line combo that resonates throughout the hockey world.
Paul Kariya might also return from injury this series and would be an emotional jolt to the baby Blues. Kariya isn't exactly a playoff choker either...
Ohlund - Edler > Jackman-Polak
Mitchell - Bieksa > McKee-Woywitka
O'Brien - Salo > Colaiacovo-Weaver
On paper these are two impressive defensive corps in the league. Vancouver goes about 7 deep on defense with ex Flyer castoff Ossi Vaananan.
The Blues also offer a respectable d but have lost potential superstar Erik Johnson and Eric Brewer for the season. Those two in the lineup would be huge but alas the Canucks still have a simply better unit.
Luongo > Mason
Luongo might be the league's best goalie. He got his first taste of the playoffs last year and has come into the playoffs on another 2.5 game shutout streak.
For Mason, the idea is this. Don't allow more than 3 goals. The Blues offense might be hard pressed to score more than that. Mason isn't one of the leagues best but he's not terrible. Regardless, the Blues are going to find it tough to score and need Mason to literally steal this one for them to have a fighter's chance.
I like the Blues and Oshie is one of my favorite players in the league but the Canucks are just too strong for them. I expect this series to be close but the Blues are just babies and need to experience that playoff disappointment before they begin their rise to prominence. The Blues though have outstanding special teams so the Canucks need to stay out of the box. That's tough with pests like Alex Burrows and Ryan Keslor skating around. Either way this will be hard hitting series and should be fun to watch provided anyone in the NHL decides to broadcast this series to the national audience.
Pick: Canucks in 6.
Tuesday, April 14, 2009
San Jose Sharks (1) vs Anaheim Ducks (8)
The Sharks took the President’s Trophy for best record in the league this, but the bad news is that tends to work against teams as they often are not the ones who win the cup. Regardless San Jose is looking to get over that elusive hump (read as not choking) to claim their first title in franchise history. They have an extremely well balanced and experience team that they have no real weaknesses in their game. Anaheim scrapped into the playoffs after an up and down season, but the good news is they’ve been hot the past couple of weeks, and that’s always good to have.
Forwards- the Sharks are led by one of the best center tandems in the league in Joe Thornton and Patrick Marleau. They have all the support they need on the wings, plus depth on the lower lines to grind things out, which now includes perennial playoff madman Claude Lemieux (though at 40 he may not do that well). Anaheim it top heavy with their scoring, with most the secondary scoring coming from the defense. While not bad depth, it is not the same level as their opponent. Advantage: Sharks
Defense- The Sharks made some moves this past offseason grabbing Dan Boyle from Tampa Bay and signing Rob Blake in free agency giving them some much needed leadership and stability on the blue line. Young blueliners Marc-Edouard Vlasic and Christian Erhoff are both still young and full of potential. Anaheim has Chris Pronger and Scott Niedermayer on the back end that were a big reason they won the cup two years ago. Unfortunately after that it thins out some, especially on the lower pairing. Advantage: Sharks
Goaltending- Evgeni Nabokov has been a stable net minder for years in San Jose and proven himself in many situations. After being robbed of the Vezina last year for the simple reason his name wasn’t Martin Brodeur he played a boatload of games this year that may see him tired some for the playoffs. His opposite Jean-Sebastian Giguere has two Stanley Cup appearances, one in which he won and the other where he lost but grabbed the Conn Smythe trophy. When it boils down to it though, Nabokov hasn’t been to finals yet. Advantage: Anaheim
Prediction- Anaheim isn’t a pushover, but they lack the depth needed to go for an extended run in the playoffs. Sharks in six.
Reason to Cheer for:
Sharks- never won the cup, they’re not Detroit
Anaheim- black and gold is a great color scheme, you like the underdog
Reason to Cheer against:
Sharks- NHL’s biggest douchebag Jeremy Roenick is on the team and still has no cup, Claude Lemieux
Anaheim- they won two years ago, the movies ruined Emilio Esteves’ career , SUS still hates Ryan Whitney
Chicago Blackhawks (4) vs Calgary Flames (5)
With their young talent starting to come into their own the Blackhawks made the post season for the first time in eight years. Young an energetic they are going to need it facing the much more experience Calgary roster. The Blackhawks are being compared to the ’07 Pens for good reason: young and inexperienced. Calgary squandered the division title to Vancouver and are nursing some injuries, but it won’t stop them from being a legitimate threat to anyone.
Forwards- The Blackhawks have two future superstars in Kane and Toews who are looking forward to their first playoff experience. This is in stark contrast to Jarome Iginla who is an experience rough and tumble captain supported by Olli Jokinen and the likes of Mike Cammalleri and Daymond Langkow. The Flames have the experience in this one, and I have no doubt it will give them an upper hand. Advantage: Flames
Defense- The Calgary defense is known for being tough as nails but also no slough in moving the puck either. Led by Dion Phaneuf he is surrounded by Robyn Regehr, Cory Sarich and Adrian Aucoin who all have deep playoff experience. Chicago is anchored by Brian Campbell, but after that much of their blue line is still young and rough around the edges. I don't want to keep harping on the experience thing, but even the players will tell you it makes a difference. Advantage- Calgary
Goalies- Do the names Nikolai Khabibulin and Mikka Kiprusoff sound familiar? They should, as they were the two goalies in the 2004 cup finals between the Flames and Lightning. Kipper is still with Calgary and still in top form while the Bulin Wall has struggled with injuries and inconsistency during his tenure with the Hawks. Fortunately he has Cristobal Huet right next to him, giving Chicago two starting goalies to use, a playoff tandem most teams would love. If one falters, you have another quality guy to put in. While at this point Kiprusoff is better than either of the Blackhawks goalies, having those two guys to lean on makes you feel pretty damn comfortable. Advantage- Blackhawks.
Prediction- Back to that “Penguins of two years ago” thing with the Blackhawks. The Pens lost in five games. Chances are some of their young guys will be running around like chickens with their heads cut off, which isn’t going to happen to the experienced Calgary team. Though the Blackhawks have a higher seed, I don't think it will be enough. Calgary in six.
Reason to Cheer for:
Blackhawks- to spite former owner Bill Wirtz despite his death, the Cubs sure as hell aren’t winning
Flames- cool color scheme, you hate the Edmonton Oilers
Reason to Cheer against:
Blackhawks- fuck wind it screws up your hair, New York style pizza all the way
Flames- Todd Bertuzzi is on the team, Mike Keenan jackass extraordinaire is the coach, you like Edmonton Oilers
Between the Caps and Devils, #2 and #3 seeds respectively, one of these teams are going to lose in the first round. And this isn't so much an educated guess as much as a Champ Kind scientific fact. Both of these teams have loads of talent but both of these teams also have major weaknesses. And more importantly, one of the top 3 seeds ALWAYS loses in the first round, and why should this year be any different? Onto the "analysis"!
#3 Devils vs. #6 Canes
I was all set to pick the Hurricanes in 3 simply based on the fact that the Devils were the best team in the NHL until Marty got his record, whereby they proceeded to suck in every possible facet of the game. But a few reasons give me reason to think that this year could be different than the last three early exits:
-Patrik Elias hasn't played most of the last month with an injury that seemed just serious enough to sideline him for regular season games but not the postseason. Translation: he'll be healthy and ready to go.
-Colin White missed a handful of games as well. Also not gonna help our chances.
-The Devils have won 4 of their last 5. Sure, it's been against a bunch of non-playoff teams, and two of 'em came in overtime, but a win is a win. And lest we forget, the Devils were AWFUL for the last few games of the '00 season. They lost a bunch of games in a row, only winning the final game of the season against Florida in overtime.
-And piggybacking off of that last thought, this Devils team is talented. REAL talented. Like too talented to be as bad as they've been. A month ago, this team was playing as well offensively as they have at any point since the '00 team. I'm not saying that they can flip on the offense, but, well, maybe I am saying that. After all, they did it in '00.
-Lastly, everything I read about this team is that they're conducting business with the quiet, confident calm of a team who has been there before and knows what needs to be done. So maybe they can do it?
But that's not going to happen. And here's why:
-The Devils still suck. They have beaten a few teams, but only one of them (Carolina, ironically) is going to be in the playoffs. More importantly, they haven't looked good for more than 30 minutes in any of these games. And most importantly, their power play and penalty kill have SUCKED.
-Devils good, Devils bad, the Hurricanes own them either way. As good as the Devils' record has been, they were still 1-3 against the Canes this year. And the Devils' only win was a meaningless game against the Canes' backup goalie. Which brings me to my final reason the Devils aren't escaping round 1...
-Cam Ward owns their ass. Canes in 4.5.
#2 Capitals vs. #7 Rangers
The Caps kill me. If they sign Huet last offseason, they become the favorites to win it all, right? Between Ovechkin, Semin, Backstrom, Green and the artist-still-somewhat-known-as Sergei Federov, you have a massive offense that only requires good goaltending to win a Stanley Cup. But instead, the Caps sign Jose Theodore a hit-or-miss goalie. And by hit-or-miss, I'm talking a goalie that is still living off of a fantastic '01-'02 season and has sucked ever since. Point being, Theodore will inevitably end the Caps' playoff run. And it could happen in the first round against proven playoff veterans like Drury and Gomez. But the media talking heads keep saying that this is a matchup which the Capitals were built for. And who am I to go against the advice of a group that counts Colin Cowherd, Barry Melrose, and Skip Bayless as three of their own? Caps in 6.
I will keep this brief cause I am running behind schedule. But a few brief thoughts from being at the Citifield opener.
1) Where in God's name was the Peanut guy?? My dad waited 5 innings for him! Of course just as he goes to get some the guy comes. It was that kind of night
2) Then, A vender who I recognized as a guy I routinely see at both ballparks, took a misstep on this unfamiliar terrain and fell almost as gracefully as "Big Pelf" did on the mound a few moments earlier.
3) I hear the food was good but it was passover so my dad and I felt teased. On the plus side, he still has most of his 2008 earnings that he otherwise would have squandered on some probably very good brick oven pizza.
4) It will be impossible to hit home runs here, unless you are the Padres. David Wright absolutely crushed a dramatic 5th inning 2 out three run jack but it barely left the yard. Beltran and the aforementioned Wright crushed balls to deep right center and the balls someone were easily caught. Unless you dramatically pull the ball, there is no way to hit home runs in this stadium.
5) YOU ARE NOT THE REDSOX, ORIOLES OR BROOKLYN DODGERS!- Wow do the Wilpons wish they were not the Mets owners. This pretty stadium looks like Camden from the outside, Its walls are high like at Fenway, and there are more tributes to former Brooklyn Dodgers than to New York Mets. If you think I am being a Met hater, listen to WFAN today. It is almost unanimously negative Met fan reaction to the new ballpark. Oh and it was an oddly cool feeling when people started chanting Red Sox sucks to the playing of "Sweet Caroline." Of course I joined in willingly to the anti Sox chant. How about playing some Billy Joel or showing Doc and Daryl somewhere in the stadium there guys.
6) Also, my area was incredibly quiet and reserved even during the game's big moments. However, I was sitting in 175 dollar seats my dad's client had given to him. The atmosphere was noticeably corporate which I sadly expect to also be the case when I visit the New Yankee Stadium on Thursday. Where have you gone Bill Shea, NY baseball fans turn their lonely eyes to you.
7) On the plus side the mets bullpen did a good job as Sanchez and Bell shut the opposition down in the 8th and 9th. Wait what? this isn't 2002 or 2005?? Oh whoops sorry Met fans.
As we wrap up the player rankings for the draft, the defensive back class offers a deep corner pool and a relatively weak safety pool overall. The corner pool doesn't offer too many elite prospects and a number of highly regarded corners posted below average 40 times. Thankfully, 40 times are overrated but it's a solid class.
1) Malcolm Jenkins / Ohio State /1st
2) Vontae Davis / Illiniois / 1st
3) Darius Butler / Connecticut / 1st
4) Alphonso Moore / Wake Forest / 1st - 2nd
5) D.J Moore/ Vanderbilt / 1st - 2nd
6) Kevin Barnes / Maryland / 2nd
7) Macho Harris / Virginia Tech / 2nd - 3rd
8) Jarius Byrd / Oregon / 2nd - 3rd
9) Mike Mickens / Cincinnati / 3rd
10) Asher Allen / Georgia / 3rd
11) Coye Francies / San Jose State / 3rd - 4th
12) Captain Munnerlyn / South Carolina / 4th
13) Keenan Lewis / Oregon State / 4th
14) Christopher Owens / San Jose State / 4th - 5th
15) Joe Burnett / UCF / 5th
16) Ladarius Webb / Nicholls State / 5th
Jenkins was head and shoulders above everyone but posted a poor 40 time. Now teams are questioning his ability to play corner at the next level. I don't see it. Jenkins will be fine in a cover 2 role with eventual flexibility to play FS if need be. There are some questions on his top end speed which some evaluators are projected him to FS period. If that's the case,
Jenkins will drop. Regardless, he is a great corner with the stones to get in there in the run game.
Davis is an enigma. His measurables jump out at scouts but like his batshit brother, suffers the same feat. If a team can control the ego, they got a whale of a player. Butler was a 3rd rounder before the combine/senior bow/pro dayl and now is being considered the best overall CB by some. Moore had an incredible 21 ints at WF but is only 5' 8''. If he was only about 2 inches taller he'd be a first rounder for sure.
The safety class is weak even compared to last year. The FS value chart skews to 2nd - 3rd rounders. Smith, some feel, can play corner but seems a bit stiff in coverage in my book and would find a better home at safety. Delmas is a playmaking safety but questions remain due to lack of competition and height concerns. He's a big hitter though and makes plays with the ball in the air. Johnson was a big time performer at Alabama with some glowing praise from Nick Saban referring to him as a coach on the field.
1) Malcolm Jenkins / Ohio State /1st
2) Sean Smith / Utah / 2nd
3) Louis Delmas /Western Michigan / 2nd
4) Rashard Jennings / Alabama / 2nd - 3rd
5) Sherrod Martin / Troy State / 3rd - 4th
6) Micheal Hamlin / Clemson / 4th
7) Derek Pegues / Mississippi St / 4th
8) Darcel McBath / Texas Tech / 5th
The SS value chart is relatively week. Moore has had a poor offseason and is now fallen out of the 1st round. Moore, though, might project to FS in some team's schemes and he isn't an in-the-box safety. Chung and Vaughn are however and are more like linebackers and poor in coverage. Clemons ran a 4.41 (the fastest for a safety) and might be the wet dream of Al Davis. The rest aren't anything to write home about.
1) William Moore / Missouri / 2nd
2) Patrick Chung / Oregon / 2nd
3) Chip Vaughn / Wake Forest / 3rd - 4th
4) Chris Clemons / Clemson / 3rd - 4th
5) Jamarca Sanford / Ole Miss / 5th
6) Emanuel Cook / SC / 5th
Monday, April 13, 2009
"One time I was invited to come to a social gathering. I was paid a handsome amount of money. And I brought a shotgun and a bottle of Tanqueray and showed those people the best fucking time they'd ever seen."
Truly a poet.
Sunday, April 12, 2009
With six games down and 156 games to go, let's see how the rest of the 2009 New York Mets season is going to look.
- Johan Santana- In his first two starts, Johan has looked like the Ace that every fan, coach and player wants/needs him to be. He was saved in Game 1 by the revamped bullpen and had 13 strikeouts on the losing end of a pitchers' duel today. As long as he stays healthy, Santana is the man who will make it happen throughout the season.
- Mike Pelfrey- Despite a rocky start in the 2nd game of the season, Big Pelf was able to turn it around for the rest of his outing. Mike showed us last season that he was ready to be a big game pitcher with a 13-11 record and a 3.72 ERA. His second half last year helped the team stay in the playoff race and he is being touted as a Future #1 starter. I liked that he didn't let his 44 pitch first inning get to him too much and he settled in for the win.
- Oliver Perez- It was nice to see Ollie, the free-agent that the Mets ended up 'winning out on' in the off-season, do terribly in his first outing. If he is still following his consistently inconsistent format, he'll be awful again next start, but turn it around for the next 5. One can really never tell though. After reports that he was 'out of shape' upon his return from the WBC, coupled with his final, horrible (witnessed by yours truly) outing in the Spring, I can't say I'm all that optimistic. My views can easily be turned around, just like Ollie's season...
- John Maine- In his first meaningful start since shoulder surgery ended his 2008 season, Maine got a no-decision after 5 innings pitched, giving up 2 hits and 2 runs. Not to shabby for someone who was shut down last August. Here's hoping that Johnny's shoulder holds up for the season and returns to his 2007 and late-2006 form.
- Livan Hernandez- Earning the fifth starter role during Spring Training, El Duque's half brother showed everyone that he belonged out there in the Mets' win over the Marlins on Saturday. The journey-man pitcher's (this is his 4th team in 3 seasons) job will be to keep his spot on the team by doing just what he did yesterday- have quality starts. ...just a side note- does any team ever enter Spring Training knowing who their 5th starter will be?? It seems like the Mets never do. That is all.
- The Bullpen- Say goodbye to the ghosts of blown leads past. To Heilman, Schoenweis and Smith, I wish you well (ish). To Rodriguez, Putz, Parnell, Green, Stokes, O'Day and Feliciano I wish you more than that, because if you don't succeed, you will be the bane of our existence once again and we will surely be saying 'Adios' to Omar Minaya.
The Position Players
- Jose Reyes- Batting leadoff once again, the (somewhat less) electric short stop is still great, but has a lot to prove. When he is on, the Mets are on, and in case you didn't know, he wasn't quite on these past 2 Septembers. We all know how that ended. Patience Jose, patience. It would have been nice had he not swung at the first pitch this afternoon with runners on 1st and 2nd and 2 out in a game which his team did not have that many opportunities. Patience Jose, patience. Oh yeah, and bring those handshakes back.
- Daniel Murphy- I think Daniel was the most talked-about position player in the team this Spring, mostly because of his patience (see that Jose?) at the plate. He has already had epic at bats along with 2 RBI on Opening Day. I think we're gonna have to watch his fielding though. The inexperienced left fielder had an error that lead to 2 unearned runs in today's Marlins game. I hope he learns from his mistakes quickly.
- David Wright- The face of the franchise also has something to prove. Like Reyes, his September Slumps have not helped his team down the stretch. I'm hoping that his big hit in the WBC against Puerto Rico (a self-proclaimed top three moment in his career) will get him over the hump in making big hits in big games.
- Carlos Delgado- The first baseman will need to be the Delgado of the 2nd half of the 2008 season this year in order for the team to do well. His slow start did nothing for the Mets and for the fate of Willie Randolph in Queens, but his 2nd half surge helped them get back into contention. Will the productive Carlos Delgado please stand up?
- Carlos Beltran- The fantastic center fielder makes his job look easy when the other team's up, but can he do so at the plate? It seems like Carlos is always good, but not usually great and the team needs him to be great.
- Ryan Church- The right fielder is off to a smokin start just like he was last year. Let's cross our fingers that freakish concussions don't slow him down again. It would be nice to see him for a complete season.
- Brian Schneider- The veteran catcher wasn't acquired for his offense, so its always a pleasant surprise when he hits well in big sitations. Let's hope we see more of that in 2009.
- Luis Castillo- The 2nd baseman ended an injury-plagued season last year to the tune of boos. It was also clear that the Mets were trying to get rid of him in the off-season. Louie has come back more in shape this year and doing a-ok hitting 8th in the order. A 4-4 day on Saturday will hopefully quiet his critics at Sh..Citi.
Fernando Tatis, Alex Cora, Ramon Castro, and Jeremy Reed got some late company to the bench with the addition of Gary Sheffield. Though I didn't like the idea of adding the man who used to be on both the Braves and the Yankees (puh puh), I do like the idea that he knows that he won't be starting many games and that he can get his 500th home run as a Met.
Tomorrow night, the Mets officially open CitiField when they welcome the San Diego Padres, the cast of West Side Story and the battery of Mike Piazza and Tom Seaver. Should be a good time, if they win.