Friday, June 29, 2012

5 Things That I Am Following This Week

1.  Wimbledon.  Although I am not an avid Tennis fan, during the majors I do peek in and see what is going on.  Roger Federer had to come back from two sets down to continue in the tournament.  Rafael Nadal went out in the 2nd Round.  Some are saying that is the biggest upset in the history of tennis.  They might be right.  We have players saying that the officials are favoring the British players.  (No proof of that yet).  All in all, it is starting to become more unpredictable than in years past.

2.  Free Agency in the NHL.  Martin Brodeur could possibly move from New Jersey.  Alexander Semin will be moving from Washington.  Look for some signings that seem counter intuitive.  (The Maple Leafs are sure to do one of those deals).  And watch for some trades to happen because of the free agents selecting a team and not another.  There aren't the big fish free agents out there for the most part, but it is those players on the 3rd and 4th lines that cause teams to win championships.   And there are lots of those players out there.

3.  NFL Relocation - Roger Goodell sent out a mome to all 32 NFL teams reminding them that the League office, not the individual teams have the right to move teams to Los Angeles, London or any other location and that to move teams to L.A. in 2013, that relocation drafts and plans need to be submitted to the league office between Jan 1 and March 15, 2013.  Hello to the Los Angeles Rams again?  Maybe the Los Angeles Raiders?  How about the Los Angeles Chargers?  Maybe to the Los Angeles Jaguars?  Personally, I would like to see the Los Angeles Bengals.

4.  EURO 2012 - The finals of this tournament is Sunday.  The defending Champions from Spain against the Giant Killers from Italy.  The Spanish team are the favorites in this match, but the Italian side look to have sky-high confidence.  The nice thing is that we won't have hooligans from England, Poland, Germany, or Russia doing their thing there.  The Spanish team has been fined during this tournament because of their fans, so I expect them to behave half way decent.  The Italian fans are just happy that their team didn't withdraw from the tourney.  Spain wins 3-1.

5.  The Playoff In NCAA Football - everybody in college football is hailing this as a great thing and what the public wants.  I am on the other side of the fence.  I don't want this bastardized version of the BCS.  I will have a separate post about this later on in the week, but needless to say that the more that is known about how this is going to come about, the less and less I like it.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Sandusky Guilty On 45 of 48 Counts

The Verdict:

Involuntary deviate sexual intercourse:
   Guilty on 8 of 9 counts
Indecent assault:
   Guilty on 7 of 9 counts
Criminal intent to commit indecent assault:
   Guilty on 1 of 1 count
Unlawful contact with minors:
   Guilty on 9 of 9 counts
Corruption of minors:
   Guilty on 10 of 10 counts
Endangering welfare of children:
   Guilty on 10 of 10 counts

The Running Blog Post Throughout Day 1 Of The NHL Draft

I figured that I would do this for giggles.  Why not?

A Trade for the #45 pick and 2 fourth rounders from the Columbus Blue Jackets for Goalie Sergei Bobrovsky.  Finally a deal that I can understand from Columbus GM Scott Howson.  I expect that Bobrovsky will be the starting goaltender for the Blue jackets come opening night.  He is 23 years old and has played somewhat decently while in Philly.  He is an upgrade in net.  For the Flyers, I expect that two possibly all three will be packaged with other players or picks for a chance for Philly to become a team drafting in the Top 5 of the draft.

A few non-draft items:

  1. Reports out of Pittsburgh say that Ray Shiro is "livid" that Jordan Staal rejected the 10-year extension that has the salary at between $5 and $6 million per year.  Well, it might be that Jordan doesn't want to be a third-line center for the rest of his career.  I don't see Malkin or Crosby going anywhere anytime soon.
  2. Reports out of Boston are saying that Tim Thomas has agreed to waive his no movement clause in case the Bruins can trade him during the draft.  He was protected until July 1st from being moved.  The reason that he might be moved is for salary cap reasons on both sides.
  3. Anaheim gets a 2013 2nd Round Pick from the Islanders for Defenseman Lubomir Visnovsky.  Visnovsky had 68 points last year.  The Isles have found their veteran defenseman that they wanted, but I don't believe that will help them get into the playoffs next year.  For the Ducks, it gets over $5 Million off the Salary Cap and allows them a bit more room to improve down the line.
Dallas has traded Center Mike Ribiero to the Washington Capitals for Center Cody Eakin and the 54th Pick in this years draft.   For the Capitals, it stabilizes the 2nd Line Center position.  For the Stars, it eliminates the $5 Million cap hit and eliminates the logjam that the Stars had at center for their top two lines as well.

5 Things That I Am following This Week

1.  The NHL Draft - I love the NHL Draft.  The Maple Leafs fans that are always grumbling about their team's draft choices amongst themselves but loudly proclaim that this is the draft that will bring the rebirth of a Maple Leaf dynasty.  The rivals that poke and prod each other during the draft like the Canadiens and Bruins, Rangers and Devils, Blackhawks and Red Wings.  The trades that come during draft day.  The expectation of Free Agency in about a week and how your team drafting players plays into that.  The way that Gary Bettman gets booed.  The NBC Sports channel is carrying the draft live both Friday and Saturday.  And since it is true that Jordan Staal has said that he would like to team up with his brother Eric in Carolina, there might be another reason to watch the draft and see if the Hurricanes can pull off that trade with the Penguins.  The 10-year contract that the Penguins were willing to give to Jordan was rejected and this coming year is the last he is under contract.  Hopefully, this is the last year we see the Oilers having the #1 pick for a great while.

2.  The Saga Of Mike Miller.  This is the only positive that I see from Miami winning the title.  Miller grew up in Mitchell, SD.  50 Miles South of where I am from.  I am happy for him that he is now a World Champion.  And if this was his last hurrah because of all the injuries, then I stand up and applaud him.  He has done the state of South Dakota proud and is a great human being to boot.

3.  EURO 2012.  Rinaldo is showing why he is one of the top 5 players in the world.  He is willing Portugal into the Semifinals of the tournament.  Germany is looking like the top seed with Spain and Italy close behind.  Greece looks like they won't be able to stand up to the Germans, while Spain is favored vs. France and England is playing Italy in the Quarterfinals.  There have been 3 fines for teams.  England was fined over $6,000 for their fans trying to invade the pitch against Sweden.  The Croatian team was fined 65,000 Lira for their fans racially heckling a black player, and a Denmark Striker was fined 80,000 Lira for his underwear advertising.  You have had deaths of fans by drowning and stabbing, fans of teams rioting against each other and players becoming belligerent to each other during and after games.  And that has nothing to do with the English hooligans roaming around the countryside.  If there were more events like this throughout the soccer world, I would follow it much closer.

4.  F1 - Whether it is the mad scramble for the drivers championship or the revelation that Bernie Ecclestone bribed a German banker to sell part of a F1 team in 2005 for far below market value, it is just another week for the Big Boys of Open Wheel racing.  This weekend's European Grand Prix could be the race that we see a repeat winner for the 1st time in F1 this year.  Louis Hamilton, Fernando Alonso, and Sebastian Vettel are all within 3 points of the lead in the Season standings and there are rumors that Ferrari is looking at obtaining Vettel at year's end to team with Alonso in the Ferrari camp for at least 2013.  Parity has hit the F1 circuit and has produced one of the best years for it's racing in recent memory.

5.  Percy Harvin and whatever is wrong - In May, we had a happy Percy Harvin at Minnesota Vikings OTA's, saying that he was proud of his teammates in showing up to the voluntary workouts.  This week, we have him missing practice and demanding a trade.  And now he is blaming the media for all the speculation about what his future holds.  If you are not happy, then come out and say why and what you have told the team.  Otherwise, he needs to stop playing the childish games with the media and keep quiet about your displeasure.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

I care about the Selke Award

And not just because it was won for the first time by Patrice Bergeron of the Bruins, who by the way was long overdue being nominated for the first time this year, say nothing about winning it.  Patrice is absolutely one of the best two-way, all-around players in the NHL.  Very few players are better at winning face-offs, he always draws and usually shuts down the best offensive centerman on the opposing team and had a whopping plus-minus this year of +36. 
The Selke is awarded to "the forward who best excels in defensive aspects of the game," and in my opinion is more impressive when it's won by your team's best offensive centerman.  Also, winning it over arguably the best all-around player in the league, three-time Selke winner Pavel Datsyuk, speaks volumes about Bergeron's play and the respect he has garnered around the league; and if you can believe this, he's only 26 years old.  It seems like he's been in the league for 10 years.  Finally, he's the perfect kind of player to be wearing the "spoked B."
Anyway, I haven't written much lately -- the new job is keeping me quite busy -- but wanted to take this opportunity to give Patrice his due and put something up on the board.
Also, congrats to this year's Stanley Cup champs, the LA Kings, who remind me of the Bruins in many ways.  Oh, does anyone have a blog in them about the upcoming entry draft? And check out Patrice's girl friend at the beginning of this vid! Wowsers!

Friday, June 15, 2012

5 Things That I Am Following This Week

1.  The NBA Finals - The only reason that I am following this is that I hope that the Heat fail again to win the championship.  Game 2 ended with a foul that wasn't called on LeBron James.  But as with all the series this year, the officiating has been at best questionable.  The flopping in the NBA is worse than in European Pro Soccer.  The incident between David Stern and Jim Rome did nothing but put a microscope on the officiating and it appears that the patient has some disease that is terminal.  Hopefully there is some consistency in the way the officials call the rest of this series, but my money is against it.

2.  U.S. Open - Tiger is in the hunt after Round 1, so the golfing fans will be watching again during the weekend.  For myself, I am hoping for a final flurry during the last 9 holes of Tiger and at least one other golfer tied and going for the title.  That is the best that we can hope for.  Hopefully, the fans will start to warm to other golfers besides Tiger in the next year.

3.  UEFA 2012 - I am calling shenanigans.  Advertizing on underwear shown after you score a goal?  Brilliant!  Brawling between Russian and Polish soccer fans?  Not So Brilliant!  The non-riot when England and France played was good.  Maybe some blockheads over there are growing up.  Right, just wait until the Semi-finals get played, you will have the hooligans liquered up and ready to brawl.  So far, only the Netherlands and Ireland have been eliminated from advancing.  And Italy could be prevented from advancing.  We have drama and flair with this tournament, hopefully it will continue.

4.  MLB No-No's. - This is getting ridiculous.  2 perfect games in the same season?  5 No Hitters?  Where are the consummate hitters?  Those people like Wade Boggs or Tony Gwynn that weren't worried about power stats, but more concerned about getting hits and helping their teams.  The minor leagues need to teach players the basics.  Ask Ben Revere of the Twins about bunting.  He rarely can put down a good bunt and that is the only thing that is preventing him from being a real good big league outfielder.  Things like that should be worked on in the minors, but due to cost cutting by owners and the win now mentality that most people have, the basics are glossed over.

5.  NHL Labor Talk Positioning - The owners have said that they are ready to negotiate at any time the PA is.  Donald Fehr has said that the NHL is unique because they have a sport that is world wide.  And with the way he wielded the strike power with MLB, I believe that we are in for a major work stoppage yet again.  And that could be a severe blow to the NHL.  Imagine what the union is going to do when the NHL asks for the players to take 50% of revenues instead of the 57% that they currently get.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Friends & the family brick

The Sox lost to the Nats 4-2 and even though DiceK gave up 4 runs in less than 6 innings, his performance was actually quite good, striking out 8, I believe.  But this short post is really about being at the jewel that is Fenway Park, hanging with a great friend and his friends (who are becoming friends of mine) and getting to see and take a picture of the family brick that is now permanently a part of Fenway.
Far too much transpired yesterday to even think about blogging it.  Suffice to say we all had a great time and many of the events of the day will be remembered for quite sometime but I will throw in these teasers -- The Cask & Flagon, scotch at the ritzy bar on Comm Ave and the cab ride.  I will simply close with a remark that encapsulates it all and share a couple of the pictures that I took.  Great to have you and your friends come up, G, "great time, great friends and great scotch."
As part of the final phase of the restoration at Fenway, the club sold bricks that are placed around the park in areas that were restored and expanded.  This is a picture of my family's brick that we all chipped in, mostly to celebrate my grandparents but also the now five generations of Sox fans in our family.
From left to right, Pudge, G and Rich.  I should've taken more pictures.

UPDATE:  As I did with G's new companion piece, I'm adding a link to it here, so that both of these articles that were written about the same events can be linked together.

Saturday, June 09, 2012

5 Things That I Am Watching This Week

Abbreviated Edition.  Did Relay For Life yesterday/last night/this morning and have work in about an hour.  So no long explanations unless I come back and edit the piece.

1.  The media after Game 7 of the Heat/Celtics.  The media goes back and forth during this series burying both teams.  But whichever team comes out with a win will still be buried because the Big Bag Thunder are waiting on the other side.  For the losing team, infamy about losing what should have been their series to win.

2.  The Belmont.  I'll Have Another has been scratched, which turns this from a spectacle to a betting event.  The rating that this pulls in on TV will be historically low, I predict.  And horse racing still cannot get a Triple Crown winner in over 30 years.

3.  Stanley Cup Finals.  Well, at least the Devils didn't get swept.  But I don't see where three more straight wins are coming from for the Jersey side.  Maybe the parade through L.A. will bring more Kings fans out that are porn stars.  (See Tabitha Stevens, game 4 behind Jersey bench).  And the Zach Parise countdown is officially on.  There are 10 teams that have been quoted that they would look at him as a Free Agent, bringing him in and signing him to a long-term lucrative contract.  But for some reason, I just can't see him in San Jose Teal.

4.  Euro 2012.  Upsets are happening and the rough play is starting to seem to be ramping up early.  Let's see if the fans decide to follow the player's lead.

5.  NASCAR reporters.  I am tired of NASCAR allowing media members to goad their drivers into blowups.  I can wait for 10 to 15 minutes before I have to hear from a driver who has been taken out, or from a driver that is getting banged around like Kurt Busch was because he was on probation.  In fact, for NASCAR, here is a question:  Why aren't you protecting the drivers on probation that cannot retaliate when other drivers race them dirty?  You want the people on probation to straighten out their act, then why do you allow others to beat and bang them without provocation and do nothing?  I am so sick of NASCAR.  I am trying to not to watch any piece of a race this year from this point on because NASCAR has become unwatchable.  I would rather watch a race from the 80's or 90's than today.  Because back then, you had drivers, not corporate shills.

Monday, June 04, 2012

Leaving The B's Behind For At Least One Year

Well, it has finally come to pass.  The threat that Tim Thomas would sit out a year has come from the man's twitter.  Here is his post:

From the earliest age I can remember, I've wanted to be a hockey player. I've been blessed in my life to not only be able to live that dream, but to achieve more than I ever thought possible.

The singleminded focus that is necessary to accomplish a dream of this magnitude entails (by necessity) sacrifice in other areas and relationships in life.

At the age of 38, I believe it is time to put my time and energies into those areas and relationships that I have neglected. That is why at this time I feel the most important thing I can do in my life is to reconnect with the three F's.

Friends, Family, and Faith.

This is what I plan on doing over the course of the next year.

On top of this, I will continue to train using the ARP/POV system and work with G-Form in the development of protective equipment.

What does this portend for the future?

We'll see….God's will be done.

For Thomas, it might be the best thing for him personally to do.  For Boston Bruins fans and the team, it sort of puts them in a lurch for this season.  Thomas's $5 million salary stays on the Salary Cap and the signing of Tuukka Rask becomes that much more important.  The bad thing is that Rask has looked like he shrinks in goal when the pressure of the playoffs comes rolling along.
Imagine if Rask says to hell with the Bruins and signs somewhere else.  That means that the Bruins would have to trade away some talented people to get a goalie who could lead them to the Stanley Cup finals.  And if that is the case, then I don't see Boston as a threat to make it to Lord Stanley's Cup.  The talent is there at the current time, but there isn't the players in the minors of the Bruins organization to make up for the talent you have to trade away.
So to Tim Thomas, who has been quirky as a goaltender can get, I hope you can reconnect to your family, friends, and faith.  I would never want somebody not to be able to be happy in their personal life.  However, in your professional life, you have left a lot to be desired.

Sunday, June 03, 2012


43 You know, before the NASCAR season started and I found out that AJ had left RPM to fill the vacant seat at Penske (and Best Buy went to the 17), I thought, "Here we go again."  Things had started to look pretty good when Kasey was still there and had won a couple of races, and the overall program was improving.  It took Marcos a couple of years to get into the swing of turning left and filling Kasey's shoes and AJ was finally looking good at the end of last year.  In fact, during the Chase races, the 43 had top 10 points over those 10 races.
Well, after today's race at Dover, with both Petty cars finishing in the top 10 -- the 43 being in the top 10 most of the day, finishing 6th, and the 9 fighting back from adversity to finish 10th -- coming on the heels of the fine runs they had at the 600 last week, I have reason to fill the reset won't take as long and that this team can be competitive week in and week out.  You have no idea how happy I'd be to see the 43 in victory lane once again.  How long has it been?  That's your trivia question for today and no cheating.
In the modern NASCAR with super teams I think it is an impressive accomplishment for RPM to be where they are right now, and much of the credit goes to The King's tenacity, leadership and optimism.
On a short separate note, I have enjoyed the racing the last few weeks and think that is largely due to the venues, Darlington and Charlotte and Dover.  Most of the races at these cookie-cutter mile-and-a-halfs just have no personality and very little real racing.

Friday, June 01, 2012

5 Things That I Am Watching This Week

1.  The Saints Bounty Case.  A journal has been found that reportedly recorded the payouts of the bounty system.  And if this journal is correct, it appears that the cash just wasn't limited to defensive players.  It shows that during a game between the Saints and Bills, that 3 $1,000 hits were administered for "cart-offs".  4 Bills players were hurt during that game.  1 from the offense and 3 from the defense.  So while everybody has been looking at the Saints defense, and rightfully so, it appears that the entire team would know about the bounty system if the offensive players are also involved in receiving cash.  If so, then Drew Brees has about as much credibility as Roger Clemens, Barry Bonds, and Rafael Palmeiro.  Just for the record, the documentarian that released the Gregg Williams tape has said that Drew Brees and Scott Fujita both talked to him about the tape before it was released publicly.  In the real world, that could be construed as Obstruction.  I have a feeling that more of this story is about ready to be released and it won't look good for the Saints.

2.  The NBA Conference Finals.  The Western battle between the Spurs and Thunder have been the home team throttling the opponent to gain victories.  I expect this to go 7.  And a shout out to the Thunder organization for telling Lil Wayne that he needs to purchase a ticket and will not be shown court side seats just because he is a celebrity.  There are season-ticket holders of those seats that deserve to sit in them a lot more than celebrities that feel privileged. While in the East, it looks like the refs have had South Beach fever.  Damn, in Game 2, the zebras were the deciding factor in giving Queen James, Jester Wade and the homies of Miami the win.  Rajon Rondo is giving his all to beat the Heat.  It appears that the Big 3 after getting blown out in game 1, (oh yeah, how do you call 5 technical fouls on the Celtics and not give at least 1 to Jester for arguing calls as well?) showed up in games 2 and 3.

3.  The Kings Coronation in the NHL.  I cannot see the Devils winning this Stanley Cup.  The Kings have a more talented team.  Darryl Sutter is the better coach.  (You rarely see that in print, even on the internet.)  And Jonathan Quick is the equal to Martin Brodeur at his advanced age.  It appears that Flyers West will hoist Lord Stanley's Cup and then let the Zach Parise sweepstakes begin.

4.  The chase for the worst record in Baseball.  Here I was interested in a duel between the Cubs and Twins for the worst record.  So what do the Padres have to do?  Go on a 6 game losing streak and become the worst team in baseball by at least 2 games.  The A's, Rockies, and Astros also have a shot at joining this race to the bottom.

5.  UEFA Euro 2012.  Oh there are storyline coming into this tourney.  The 1st one is the possible consideration of Italy not participating because of match-fixing scandals that are hitting Italy hard.  The 2nd is the alleged racism that permiates throughout Poland and Ukraine.  The 3rd are nations forbidding their players from using social networking throughout the tournament.  Spain has already announced that their players are forbidden to use Twitter during their participation.  The hooligans are already being arrested, 6 days before the tournament starts.  The Polish have evacuated entire prisons to deal with the crime, fighting, and overall lawlessness that will be a part of this tournament.  And finally, out of the 5 nations that are the favorites to win, who does?  And if Italy does decide to withdraw, that leaves us with 4.  Germany, Spain, Denmark, and France.

6.  R.I.P. to Orlando Woolridge.  He was one of my favorite Lakers.  In fact, probably the only Laker player that I have liked.  He died of chronic heart problems.  Woolridge loved the game of basketball so much, that he went and coached the Los Angeles Sparks of the WNBA.  You will be missed.