Wednesday, June 30, 2010

It Must Be That Time Of Year Again

Vintage Leafs Do you know what it’s like to be a Leafs fan? It borders on mental illness. Why else would someone living in a place that has 90 degree weather in early October stay indoors and watch Canada’s Team™? Why would I spend $169 a year to order the NHL Center Ice package from my cable provider every mid-September and tell friends and family it’s a birthday present to myself? Why would I rearrange my social calendar around Hockey Night In Canada every Saturday afternoon when I live close to the Mexican border?

Four words: Because I love them.

Now that July 1st is almost here it’s beginning to feel like Christmas here in Southern California. This is the time of year when Burkie Claus (that’s what we call Brendan’s father Brian Burke, y’all) signs unrestricted free agents to rebuild this great hockey franchise into a contender and one day into a Stanley Cup champion.

Who will join the Leafs this summer? I would love to have Boston’s Marc Savard, who may become a salary cap casualty as soon as this weekend. I wouldn’t mind a little more truculence in centers Zenon Konopka and/or Eric Nystrom, both of whom would be welcome additions on the fourth line alongside Colton Orr and newly acquired Mike Brown. And how about another forward like Ryan Malone, who can put the puck in the back of the net and knock opposing defenseman on their ass?

This time of year also means saying goodbye to familiar faces. I loved the versatility of Wayne Primeau when he killed penalties and centered the third and fourth lines but he’s not coming back without taking a pay cut. And no matter how cute Rickard Wallin is, there’s no excuse for his paltry goal total he put up this past season. He’s as good as gone on Thursday unless he’s got blackmail material on Burkie or head coach Ron Wilson in exchange for a roster spot.

I really liked Garnet Exelby when he played for the Atlanta Thrashers but he was a human turnstile on the Leafs blueline, and Jeff Finger didn’t do anything this past season to warrant the huge contract former general manager Cliff Fletcher signed him to two summers ago. Will either of them come back? I hope not. I’d rather have one of the Marlies (Phil Oreskovic?) take their places.

What will this summer bring? Hopefully a little more truculence and a lot more goal scoring. Those are the only things we need to make the playoffs this upcoming season.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

World Cup justice

To have two goals not count that should've counted and have that be what kept the U.S. out of the round of 16 would've been a travesty. So it was only fair that a rebound goal in the 91st minute against Algeria by Landon Donovan moves the U.S. forward.
I wasn't able to watch the game but did listen to it on ESPN via my XM (indispensable), which in at least one way was better; that being listening to Tommy Smyth call the match with that lovely Irish brogue of his.  It just adds so much to the experience.

Post note:  I was able to share a video of the goal to Facebook but that video is no longer available to embed.  Hopefully once ESPN is finished showing the replay, an embed file will be available to add here.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Four years ago

Watching some U.S. Open golf and World Cup soccer the last couple of days had a sense of deja vu to it; and that coupled with blogging on BoSox Tavern about these events, had me looking for old blogs on similar topics.  Well, if you read through these couple of blog posts from four years ago, you'll see there's even more than superficial similarities.  It's four years ago exactly...Father's Day weekend, a U.S. Open with Phil Mickelson in contention, the only other time Tiger Woods was going through troubles, and a World Cup with the U.S. team underachieving early in games and coming back to save themselves.
One difference is that Nascar is at Sonoma instead of Michigan, as it was four years ago.  Similarities are still there though -- Kasey Kahne won at Michigan four years ago and he finished 2nd last weekend at Michigan.  He's starting from the pole tomorrow at Sonoma where he won last year.
So take a walk down memory lane with this post from Saturday four years ago and this second one is the weekend wrap-up once the results were in.  Here's hoping that the similarities between Phil's first two rounds this year at Pebble Beach and four years ago at Winged Foot (you remember Winged Foot, don't you) end there.
Have a great Father's Day weekend.

(Cross posted at Inside Zebster)

Friday, June 18, 2010


It was a great game but it sucked for obvious reasons.  All I can say is this: Never seen the Lakers play D like that. They strategically took Pierce out of the game, daring someone else to do the scoring and no one did. There were still shots to be made and no one was making them. Pierce FINALLY started driving the lane as the game was nearly over.   When we were up by 13 in the 3rd, it would've taken just one hot hand to bury them...alas.
Man, I hate losing to that bunch of clowns.  Losing the Finals because the two most selfish players on the court made shots when it counted (Bryant and Artest) will leave a shitty taste in my mouth for awhile.
What's your take, Celtics fans?

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Big sports day

You know that I'm a big sports fan and like nothing more than a regular season Red Sox game or a Sunday Nascar race for comfort food, but it's not often you get to watch three rare, important and special events all in one day.  Not only has the U.S. Open golf tournament started today but it's the U.S. Open at Pebble Beach, where if I were given the opportunity to play just one course anywhere, it would be there...what beauty and what history.  I followed Phil's round online today and he didn't have it but you can't count him out.  He's won three times at this course, has five career runner-ups in the U.S. Open and is currently just five shots out.  Tiger's about to tee off.  It will be interesting to see what he has.
Then there's the previously mentioned World Cup, the biggest sporting event in the world arguably, which only happens every four years.  Tonight it's the USA vs. Slovenia.  I'll have to peek in on that.  Tonight's match for the U.S. is much different than it was against England.  It was a steal to get a tie and a point in that game.  Tonight anything less than a win and two points is a loss.
Then there's a game 7 in the NBA Finals, something that doesn't happen very often.  In fact, it's been several years since the Finals went to a game 7.  It just so happens that the two greatest franchises in league history are playing in this game, one of them being my favorite team.  I'm sure I won't be able to watch know what I mean.  The Celtics got beat by 20 in game 6 after having won the previous two games.  Which team shows up tonight?

Tuesday, June 15, 2010


This "blogging" thing is strange, so I hope I do this right. Won't write much, but I'm curious to know what you guys think about this reshuffling of the NCAA football conferences--teams switching conferences just to take advantage of greater revenue. I've always held that NCAA sports (and most Div. 1 schools) are nothing more than businesses with sports revenue primary, and education secondary. I detest the NCAA and its "business of sport." Perhaps, in a longer "blog," I'll share with you my perspective if I were king for a day (Z, you've heard the speech before, so I'll spare you).

Getting ready for game 6

What's the snack of choice for the game tonight -- nachos, popcorn, chips?
Gonna have a beer? I can recommend what's become my new favorite, Shipyard Export Ale (a future blog profile).
Hopefully we'll have a few bloggers and readers for our blog party tonight. A couple of "rules" are necessary, I think. Give a post 10 minutes before you put up another. Maybe you can include your thought in the prior post's comments instead of making another most. Try to be original and not duplicate. Have some fun and don't worry about what it looks like.  If you need help doing something, you can get me by email, FB or phone.
The Celtics fans will dominate here tonight. So I ask: Will they get it done tonight? Who'll be the star of the game? Do you have a hunch as to whether it'll be close?
If the Celtics win tonight, they'll be the champs and likely the series MVP will be a Celtic. Who do you think deserves it thus far?
Compare your thoughts to those of the ESPN experts in this link.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Sports Wrap

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
World Cup 2010: Into Africa - Two Teams, One Cup
Daily Show Full EpisodesPolitical HumorTea Party
Yeah, I know, you don't care about soccer, neither do I most of the time. But since the soccer World Cup is the biggest sporting event in the world outside of the Olympics, I care about soccer a little bit every four years. That doesn't mean I'm going to watch much but I did catch the second half of the USA/England match this weekend and enjoyed it, more for the magnitude of the match than suddenly falling in love with the game. England did look the better team but the US got great goaltending in the 2nd half and held on for a tie, which is a win for the US because they were very much the underdog and earned a point. I wasn't watching when the English keeper let in the weak tying goal near the end of the first half but I've seen the highlight (lowlight) embarassing. Will you be watching it at all?

Did you know the Celtics are one win away from their 18th championship? They'll need to take one of the next two games from the Lakers in LA to secure it. They were down in this series 0-1 and 1-2 but have rallied to take control. I don't know how many more chances this current line-up will get to win another championship. So I'm hoping the older legs will hang in there and get it done in game 6. Will we see an encore of the Shrek and Donkey show? Don't care about that either?

Anyone going to watch any of the U.S. Open golf tournament next week? Can Phil Mickelson go 2 for 2 in majors so far this year? Will Tiger get back to his pre-drama form? No takers? I plan on watching. I enjoy very much watching the majors. Go Lefty!