Monday, September 14, 2009

Sports Junkie Sunday.

My mad sports Sunday, with the wife away for the weekend. Pretty good for someone without cable, I think.

7:45 - 10:00 am == off to a friend's house to watch the F1 Grand Prix of Italy. Monza! Delirious fans and a boring track. But a fun race for a change. Rubens Barrichello always looks on the verge of crying, and Kimmi Raikkonen always looks bored/bitter. Can't believe Bob Varsha still has a job.

10:00 am - 1:00 pm == errands, lunch, and checking message boards re the Canes, Packers, Tiger Woods, Lewiston MAINEiacs, the undefeated W&M Tribe, etc etc. Can't even read everything I want in the three hours.

1:00 - 4:00 pm == Jets vs. Texans. Good start, but kinda dull the rest of the way. Sanchez looks like the real deal tho. Also check out Panthers vs. Eagles for 30 minutes or so, until Carolina stops actually playing. Ugh.

4:00 - 7:30 pm == Giants vs. Redskins. Any day the Skins lose is a good day by my count. Commercials and halftime also lets me check out the golf "playoffs" and the US Open semis. Not a minute is wasted. Plus, bonus coverage of the Cardinals vs. 49ers. Can't see Arizona winning even eight games this year.

7:30 - 8:20 pm == NBC pre-game show. Always reminds me why I don't watch pre-game shows. At least Costas is not on screen full-time tonight.

8:20 -- 11:30 pm == Try as they might, the Packers just can't throw this one away. Thank God. Enjoyed not having Madden around anymore. Now if we can just get rid of Michaels too.

Phew. Nearly 13 hours of sports in one day. More if you could count channel-surfing as double. Add the eight hours of college football from Saturday, and I'm just about full. Until next Saturday, that is...

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Training Camp Opens!

After a rainy, then hot, and now suddenly chilly summer, winter is looming far too soon here in the soon-to-be-frozen north. SAD is on the advance, as is the threat of swine flu. So the best news available by far is that NHL training camps are opening across the land. In the land of hush puppies, real BBQ, and double-figure ethnic restaurants, the Carolina Hurricanes camp begins this weekend. The top questions as I see them this month are:

1. Who will be the third pairing D unit? Andrew Alberts has to be one half, but will Brett Carson, Jay Harrison, or even Bryan Rodney make a case for sitting Nic Wallin? Can we hope so?

2. Will JR finally make a move re Anton Babchuk? Supposedly there are "irons in the fire," and "a move is imminent" to send him to another team. This can only mean, of course, that Babs will sign with the Canes and be back on the ice in a few days.

3. When will the annual injury curse strike, and how hard? Already there've been some anxious moments -- Cam Ward's tweaked back at the Canadian Olympic camp, and now Joni Pitkanen's knee surgery that will keep him off the ice for a few weeks. Recent news is that Jussi Jokinen was wearing a yellow non-contact jersey at camp today. The over-under on man-games missed lately has been somehwere around, oh, a thousand. Start the count now.

4. How many "Scott Walker/Aaron Ward sucker punch" comments will the national hockey media make during the first half of the season?

5. Will the answer to #4 be the sum total of actual coverage the Canes receive in the national hockey media?

6. When, oh when, will someone offer me free tix and flights to any Canes home games this year?

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

The Jim Nantz Fan Club

Watching the Memorial golf tournament this weekend, I heard Jim Nantz actually say the following: "[Tiger]Woods and [caddie Steve] Williams exchanging fives there on the green." Exchanging fives? Is Nantz really the squarest man in America right now? Seriously, he's like the Pat Boone of the 21st century.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

I've Been Spotted? Not.

This is not me. (Scroll down for the image.) But it's nice to know that great minds...well, maybe not.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Trade Deadline: Canes Get Cole

The NHL's trade deadline arrived at 3pm Eastern yesterday, and, unusually for recent years, most of the posted activity occurred after the official deadline. The Canes were involved in one deal, although it was fairly big: re-acquiring winger Erik Cole from Edmonton as part of a three-team deal that saw Carolina forward Justin Williams sent to Los Angeles.

What does this do for Carolina? Financially, maybe not much, as Cole's and Williams' salaries are almost a wash. Cole is a UFA after this season, so the question becomees whether or not the Canes will try to re-sign him. Given that it seems his best scoring days are behind him, it would seem likely that he won't get an offer anywhere close to the $4 million per annum he's getting now. On the ice, Cole could be what the Canes have been missing. Although not a big body, Cole will play the physical game, and always puts pressure on defenses to move the puck faster. Plus, he seems to make Eric Staal a better player. It will be interesting to see how Maurice lines them up tonight against Calgary.

More important, as the Canes are currently tied for ninth in the East, is what the teams around them did to get better. With 71 points, the Canes are tied with Buffalo, and are one point behind the 7/8 spot, currently shared by the Rangers and Pittsburgh. Florida is in 6th with 74 points, and Montreal in 5th with 75 points. Here's how they all fared yesterday:

Buffalo added goaltender Mikael Tellqvist and forward Dominic Moore, and lost forward Ales Kotalik. Good moves for the Sabres. With Ryan Miller out at least for the short-term, getting a backup G was paramount. Moore adds some energy and grit that the Sabres have been missing all year. This could push them into the playoffs, ultimately. It all hangs on their play in net.

Pittsburgh added forward Bill Guerin and defenseman Andy Wozniewski. They also picked up forward Craig Adams via waivers and added forward Chris Kunitz prior to the deadline. All to the good, I think. All four players should add some work effort, although none are the finisher to go with Crosby that Pens fans wanted. Plus, they waived the frustrating Miro Satan.

NY Rangers are trying for an Oprah makeover. New coach, new Sean Avery, plus winger Nik Antropov and defenseman Derek Morris. Although Morris is not the offensive sparkplug on the blueline the Rangers were looking for, he'll help matters, especially as this team still can't score. If Avery doesn't destroy the locker room, and losing 2/3 of their 3rd line doesn't hurt, it won't matter if they can't score, because with Lundqvist in net, they can still go far. I think they'll either surge and challenge Philly for the #4 spot, or flame out and miss the post-season altogether.

Florida only made one move, acquiring defenseman Steve Eminger from Tampa. But it's the move they didn't make -- trading D Jay Bouwmeester -- that will really pay dividends. The Panthers are a surprise playoff team right now, and are showing no signs of faltering. Barring a total collapse down the stretch, they'll make the playoffs, last for one series, and then lose Bouwmeester to free agency.

Monday, January 5, 2009

The Curse Continues

With the Denver Broncos late-season collapse, and the Minnesota Vikings playoff defeat yesterday, one of the most obscure curses in pro football will live for another year. Okay, maybe THE most obscure curse:

No player from my alma mater, William & Mary, has ever won a Super Bowl.

Not for lack of trying, mind you. Tribesters have played in eight SB games, with two games featuring a dynamic duo of W&M talent, Mark Kelso and Steve Christie. Here's the complete rundown:

XVII, Miami LB Steve Shull
XXI and XXII, Denver LB Jim Ryan
XXV, XXVI, XXVII, XXVIII, Buffalo S Mark Kelso
XXVII, XXVIII, Buffalo K Steve Christie
XXXII, Green Bay S Darren Sharper

It probably won't change any time soon. The only W&M alums in the NFL currently are Denver TE/LS Mike Leach and Minnesota S Darren Sharper. Sharper didn't even last the entire game yesterday, depriving a national TV audience from seeing his amazing lack of tackling skills. His age and frequent injuries mean his time is likely running out. Leach has made his mark as a long snapper, so he could play for another, oh, 10 or 20 years. But I'm not holding my breath.

Of course, had Denver and Minnesota both gone on the the Super Bowl this year...

Tuesday, December 30, 2008


The Detroit Lions made history Sunday, becoming the first NFL team to finish a season 0-16. Officially, they are now the eighth team to complete a winless season. The complete list is:
1982 Baltimore Colts 0-8-1 (strike season)
1976 Tampa Bay Buccaneers 0-14
1960 Dallas Cowboys 0-11-1
1944 merged team of the Chicago Cardinals and the Pittsburgh Steelers 0-10
1943 Chicago Cardinals 0-10
1942 Detroit Lions 0-11
1934 Cincinnati Reds 0-8

I remember the '82 Colts clearly -- my best friend at the time was a huge and very bitter Colts fan, and I'm old enough to remember the '76 Bucs. I was (still am) a Packers fan, a team with their own tough years in the '70s. So it made me feel good to have at least one team I could laugh at during those Monday morning football smackfests while waiting for the school bus. Those Bucs were awful -- shut out five times, failed to total 200 yards of offense five times, and a loss to that year's other expansion team, Seattle. Four quarterbacks took snaps for TB that year: Steve Spurrier, Parnell Dickinson, Terry Hanratty, and Larry Lawrence. None ever played in the NFL again. Still they made the playoffs three years later, riding a stout defense all the way to the conference championship -- one game from the Super Bowl. So take heart Lions fans, maybe you'll get there yet.

(Worst. Sign. Ever. Seriously, if you're going to make a sign for the whole football-watching world to see, try to make it look better than a Lions fist round draft pick.)

CREDITS: Photo, AP Photos; winless list, Yahoo Answers.