Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Flyers Hawks Game 2

Now that was a hockey game. That was a playoff hockey game. The first game was "Open Hockey." Pick sides and play till you drop. So the Hawks held serve at the United Center. They say a series doesn't start until a team loses on home ice. I don't buy it. I say this series has started and the Hawks are up 2-0. Philadelphia outplayed Chicago for most of Game 2. They were downright frenetic in the third period when they threw 14 shots at Hawks goalie Antti Niemi. He was the difference in this game. If he has an average game the Flyers win. But Niemi stole one. The Flyers are far from dead. You know all about the 3-0 comeback against the Bruins. The Flyers have to know that they are the Hawks' equal. They've lost a pair of one-goal games. Game 3 isn't a must-win game, but it's pretty darn close. A must-win game is when you're facing elimination if you lose. The Flyers know all about must-win games.

Monday, May 31, 2010


Boston-Los Angeles. What's not to like? Boston is seeking their 18th NBA title. Los Angeles is vying for their 16th NBA championship. It's the premier rivalry in sports; as compelling as Yankees-Red Sox. Two years ago the Lakers were abused by the Celtics in six games (131-92 in game 6). This series is storyline central. Where do we begin? During the 2008 championship series the Lakers were missing two critical pieces: Andrew Bynum and Trevor Ariza. Both were injured. Now, Ron Artest replaced Ariza, and he remains one of the best defenders in the league. At least at the start of the series Artest will guard Paul Pierce, the MVP of the 2008 championship series. Bynum has a torn meniscus, but he should be able to provide quality minutes. The Celtics are missing five key reserves from their 2008 title team, but they still have a strong bench. The coaches are another storyline. The Lakers Phil Jackson is about to become a free agent. The Lakers want him to take a pay cut. He's also contemplating retirement. If the Lakers win the series it will Jackson's 11th NBA title, two more than Red Auerbach. Celtics coach Doc Rivers has publicly stated that he wants to spend more time with his family. But the best storyline, of course, involves the best player, Kobe Bryant. A win in the finals would give him five rings, just one shy of Michael Jordan. Mike Wise, the respected columnist from the Washington Post, suggested that if Kobe wins his fifth title in the next two weeks and wins two more championships before he retired to give him seven rings, he has to be given the nod as the greatest individual talent to ever play in the NBA. Pretty heady stuff. But while such a statement provides a healthy debate, this series is not about a single player's legacy. At least not at the start. In the 2008 series the Celtics knocked Kobe around and limited him to 40 percent shooting in the series. But this time around I think Kobe is going to get more room with a stronger Gasol guarding his back. I think Artest will be a huge factor on the defensive end, and as he has shown, he can score. I think Bynum, despite the knee injury, will be effective. But the Celtics starting five remains intact from 2008. They are 7-0 in playoff series since 2008. Rajon Rondo is not a role player anymore, he's a star. I don't think the Celtics window has closed, but I think it's closing. But I don't think this series comes down to age. I'm not a big prediction guy, but I think the Lakers win this series. I'd be stunned if it doesn't go seven games. OK, just slightly stunned. It's going to be a breathtaking series. It has to be. It's Lakers-Celtics.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Stanley Cup Finals

I've read all i can read about the Stanley Cup finals between Philadelphia and Chicago. There is nothing else for me to do except write a few sentences about the way I feel about this series. I know this: this series can go either way and no one should be surprised at the outcome. This has seventh-game potential. I know all about Philadelphia's Chris Pronger's size and intimidation. I know about the 3-0 comeback against Boston. I know all about the skill of Chicago's Patrick Kane. I know all about the goalies and how neither of them was the starter at the beginning of the season. Thus far both teams have been very polite. That will change in a hurry. I'm pulling for the Hawks because this franchise was left for dead less than three years ago. Their season ticket base was down to 3,400. Two seasons ago they missed the playoffs. Then they changed the way they do business. They drafted well. They selected Kane as the number one overall pick and he's turned out to be even better then advertised. They reconnected with their fan base. They brought back legends Bobby Hull and Stan Mikita and made them ambassadors. They brought back goaltender Tony Esposito into the fold. This franchise hasn't won the Stanley Cup in 49 years. It's time. I don't think either team is a great team, but I do think it will be a great series. In a previous blog I mentioned that if the Flyers win the Stanley Cup, I'm moving to the Congo. That still applies. In fact I've already called my travel agent to make arrangements. But I don't plan on booking a flight. It's just not going to happen. It's that time people. It's time to drop the puck.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

The Super Bowl comes to NY/NJ

So Super Bowl 2014 is coming to NY/NJ. It will be the first outdoor Super Bowl played in a cold-weather city. GOOD. I say It's about time. Who said the Super Bowl must be played in Miami, New Orleans or California? The coldest outdoor game in Super Bowl history was Super Bowl VI at Tulane Stadium in 1972, with a game-time temperature of 39 degrees. Tulane Stadium is located in New Orleans. The average high temperature in NY/NJ on February 2 (the date of the game) is 37 degrees. Do you know the only people unhappy that the Super Bowl is being played in a cold-weather city? The sports media. The Chris Russo's of the world are going crazy with the notion that a Super Bowl is being played in cold-weather. The sports media doesn't count. The fans count. They can adjust to the weather. They will adjust to the weather. The events leading up to the Super Bowl are going to go on as scheduled. People are going to be thrilled with its efficiency. The game will be played. It will be cold. So what? You're not going to melt. Just one word of advice: make sure you layer.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

A Mixed Bag

The Flyers are in the Stanley Cup finals and I have a severe case of agiata. If Philadelphia beats Chicago and wins the Cup I'm moving to the Congo. My new favorite athlete is Blackhawks defenseman Duncan Keith. On Sunday night he took a puck in the mouth and lost seven teeth. Seven! Can you imagine if a baseball player lost seven teeth? He immediately would go on the 60-day disabled list. Steve Nash is my runner-up. The other night Nash played with a broken nose and scored 17 points with 15 assists. Did you see the image of Nash on TV trying to "adjust" his nose back into its proper place? Tough guy. It shouldn't surprise you that Nash is from Canada who once aspired to play in the NHL.

Excellent piece of journalism in the Seattle Times on the very-troubled Milton Bradley. Whatever your thoughts are on Bradley, and everyone has an opinion, you have to feel for the guy. Any time suicide is mentioned as an option it deserves immediate attention. Bradley is at the cross-roads. Let's hope he takes the right path and gets the right help.

Eddy Curry is not from this universe. The man is going through life playing with monopoly money. He owes $17,000 per month in rent. He owes another $30,000 for "household expenses." He owes $425.00 for satellite TV. His parents, sister and father-in-law get another 16,000 a month. And relatives have driven away with some of the 12 cars that he's purchased. Every month $207,000 gets garnished from Curry's paycheck. Does this man have an accountant? Does this man have a financial planner? Does this man have a brain?

Well, that's enough blogging for the day. I'm still trying to write more economically. Bear with me. I'll get the hang of it.

Sunday, May 23, 2010


From where I sit...
There is not much difference between Floyd Landis and Sammy "The Bull" Gravano. OK, a few minor differences, but on balance pretty much the same...They should rename the French Open the "Rafael Nadal Invitational..." Something is very wrong with Mr. Wright. David Wright has struck out 58 times. He's ahead of last year's pace when he whiffed 140 times...Helio Castroneves won the pole for the Indianapolis 500. There was a time when that would be considered major news. In Sunday's New York Daily News it registered a paragraph. One stinkin' paragraph...There's a part of me that's pulling for Milton Bradley...I almost forgot to mention that Nadal leads the head-to-head rivalry with Roger Federer 14-7, which goes to show you that styles make fights...I'm not saying fans of Derek Jeter should be worried, but he's batting .267...At least for the moment the Cincinnati Reds are baseball's "It Team." They've won 10 games in their final at-bat, the most in the majors...Bradley seems to feel that his worth as a human being is connected to his ability to hit a baseball and that's just sad...I'm having a hard time wrapping my mind around the idea that the Flyers are one game from advancing to the Stanley Cup finals...A 16-year old kid, just a junior in high school, shot a 67 in a PGA Tour event...It's been a good week for teens with that kid climbing Mt. Everest...On Tuesday afternoon, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell may announce that the 2014 Super Bowl will be awarded to New York. Just bring your overcoat and stop whining...The arrival of Stephen Strasburg reminds me of the arrival of the shark from Jaws. You know it's coming, but you just can't stop it. I can even here the music...Nice little dust-up between Albert Pujols and Tony LaRussa...This is the 14th season of inter league play. Some say its lost its luster. I'm not one of them...Back to Strasburg. He has two ex-Secret Service agents guarding him. He only talks to the media after his starts. He cannot be approached at his locker for an interview...Tampa Bay has just a $72.8 million payroll, but they're threatening to run away with the entire American League.

Well sports fans, that's it. I'm done blogging for the day. I think I'm going to start blogging a couple of times during the week instead of nearly every day. Additionally, I think I need to write shorter blogs. It's just taking me too much effort to compose a satisfactory blog. I ask you to please bear with me while I experiment. I'm in new territory.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Are the Tampa Bay Rays that good?

So what are we to make of these Tampa Bay Rays? Yahoo Sports! published a piece on Friday that suggests the Rays are on par with the 1998 Yankees. Really? The 1998 Yankees? How can you compare the Rays to a team that has already won a championship? And this was not just any team. The 1998 Yankees won a total of 125 games. Are the Rays that good? I'm not going to overload you with statistics, but you should know that the Rays are 30-11 overall and 17-4 on the road. If you've seen Tropicana Field you know why the Rays play better on the road. Ouch! Cheap shot. But I think before we anoint teams we have to see them play for more than 30% of the season. Right now, everything is going Tampa Bay's way. Their scoring runs, their preventing runs and their pitchers are working deep into games. But c'mon people, it's not even June. Let the season mature. But I will say this: catch this team while you can because they have the ability to make this a one-horse race. This they can do.