Monday, February 25, 2013


Well, Daytona Speed Week has come and gone, we saw the new gen six car showcased all week, and with the new car there seems to be new handling and drafting problems. The big headlines came after Saturday's Nationwide race. The week started out with Danica Patrick claiming the pole for the Daytona 500, Jeff Gordon was milliseconds slower and took the second position in the front row.
The Budweiser Duel 1 was won by Kevin Harvick, the Budweiser Duel 2 was won by Kyle Busch. Friday night was truck night with the Camping World NextEra Energy Resources 250, this race was supposed to be 100 laps but to Kyle Busch's chagrin it yellowed at lap 99 keeping him maybe out of the winners circle and giving Johnny Sauter a much deserved win.
Saturday saw the Nationwide DRIVE4COPD 300, with good conditions and a great field, Tony Stewart came out the winner after a violent crash on the last lap that took out the leaders. Kyle Larson's car split in half and sent at least 30 spectators to the hospital after his front half went through the barrier fence and sending a wheel into the crowd. After all the work needed was finished by 2AM, the Daytona 500 went off as planned on Sunday.
With all the hype that surrounded Danica, this writer feels the start of the race by actor James Franco was a bit odd, but that is just me. The race had several crashes and that seems to bring out the concerns of the gen six car not having great drafting capabilities. With most of race being run in a single lane mode the few times a driver tried to go it alone seemed hampered by the lack of downforce the cars had and even when tandem racing was tried it appeared the highside single lane was the best answer.
Danica appeared to answer the critics by finishing eighth and not being out of the top ten all race, it was apparent that she had some problems trying to pass and gain the lead for more than the five laps that she led, but with every race ahead of her she should gain the confidence needed.
Jimmie Johnson only had the lead for seventeen laps but that was enough to give him his second 500 win, Jr. drafted ahead for his third second in four years having Mark Martin push him, and giving the double nickle third place.
All in all I thought the racing was good, I think the gen six will be a good fit when some of the newby bugs are ironed out, and I hope a season which started out with the hype and hope  that this last weekend showed, keeps going the same way for an increase in fan support.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

The Tweaked Realignment Plan For The NHL

Well, it is a small tweak for the realignment plan that the NHLPA wasn't happy about.  Here are the 4 Conferences:

"Eastern Side"
Conference 1
New Jersey
New York Islanders
New York Rangers

Conference 2
Tampa Bay

"Western Side"
Conference 3
St. Louis

Conference 4
Los Angeles
San Jose

The Western side was easy to figure out.  The only way that the Eastern Side makes any sense is if the NHL has decided to make those in Conference 2 travel a little bit more than necessary.  I want Columbus to have natural rivals in Detroit, Pittsburgh, and Toronto in their Conference.  And nothing says hostility more than those natural geographic neighbors of Tampa Bay and Montreal.  This plan needs more tweaking.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Hockey stats "explained"

You'll like this because it relates to your favorite homer hockey announcer. Stats show the Lightning being #1 in goals but 26th in shots, whereas the Bruins are high in shots but average in goals. His conclusion? That the 'ning are getting really good looks. 
Mayhaps it has more to do with with the fact that TB has snipers and the Bruins do not, Jack?  If it weren't for Marchand, who just scored to put the Bruins up 3-2, the Bruins would be very low.  And we haven't even talked about shot selection being a factor when interpreting this data.  In my opinion shot selection and shot accuracy are a lot more important than shot quantity.  Sure, there's value in getting shots on net and getting rebounds but I frankly feel burying your opportunities is what matters most.
The Bruins have great depth through four lines, are arguably the best defensive team in the league, have excellent goal tending, play their system and use their strengths to their best advantage; but if a couple of their players could bury their opportunities on a consistent basis, they'd be darn near unbeatable.

Oh those abused Fargo Force hockey players!

It is a take-off form the ASPCA commercials for abused animals.  It is funny.  The Force are my local USHL team and I will give them props for doing a parody for trying to sell Season Tickets.

Monday, February 18, 2013

No Wonder People Think That Officials Are Blind

You gotta give Duchene credit.  He played on when there was no whistle.  But you have to ask why there was no whistle on the clear offsides and that the Linesman was standing right there at the Blue Line.  And yes, the Avalanche did beat the Predators by 1 goal, 6-5.  But this was back in the 2nd Period and made the score 3-1.  So the Predators could have still won the game by tightening up their defense during the game. 

I wonder if Gary Bettman will figure out that the officiating has been worse than usual this year, and if he even cares

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

NHL Realignment Still Has 4 Conferences

For those hockey fans out there that were upset about the proposed NHL Realignment last year about having 4 conferences, well, your anger has not dissuaded the league office.  Here is a twitter post from Yahoo!'s Nick Cotsonika:

Daly says NHL has tweaked realignment plan approved by board last season, but it has same four-conference structure. Won't give details.
So it appears that we are going to have another showdown between the NHL and the Player's Association.  The PA is not happy about travel and also the fact that there are going to be conferences that teams have a better chance of going to the playoffs. Well, I say tough.  If the league wants to have this realignment, they should be able to do it.  As much as the players say that they believe that this is a partnership, during the Lockout, they didn't act like it was a partnership with the league.  So there are tweaks, let's play the what I think about realignment game:

 This is the old plan above.  I submit that the Avalanche is taken out of the Western Conference and put into the Central.  The Red Wings and Blue Jackets are taken out of the Central and put into the Eastern.  The Flyers and Penguins also go to the Eastern Conference and the Lightning and Panthers are shoved into the Atlantic.  So here are my divisions:

Atlantic                        Eastern                        Central                    Western
Florida                        Detroit                          Winnipeg                 Phoenix
Tampa Bay                  Montreal                      Minnesota                Anaheim
Carolina                      Ottawa                          Chicago                   Los Angeles
Washington                 Toronto                         St. Louis                 San Jose
New Jersey                  Buffalo                         Nashville                 Vancouver
NY Rangers                Columbus                     Dallas                      Edmonton
NY Islanders               Philadelphia                 Colorado                  Calgary
Boston                         Pittsburgh

Yes, I know that some rivalries will be severed.  Boston-Montreal, Chicago-Detroit, Toronto-Everybody Else.  But just imagine the Rangers-Bruins rivalry heating up yet again.  The Chicago-Minnesota, Minnesota-Winnipeg, Chicago-St. Louis rivalries actually getting more heated.  I am not a big fan of this plan, but I will withhold final judgement of this until the actual plan is announced.

Thursday, February 07, 2013

The Non-Death Of The WAC

It was earlier this year when it was widely assumed that the Western Athletic Conference was done.  Louisiana Tech and University of Texas-San Antonio are leaving for Conference USA.  San Jose State and Utah State are leaving for the Mountain West.  Texas-Arlington and Texas State are leaving for the Sun Belt Conference.  Idaho is leaving for the Big Sky conference.  Affiliate member, Denver University is leaving for the Summit League.  That is 8 schools out of a 10 school league.  The death of the WAC after 50 years was at hand, or everybody thought it was.

A Long 2013 Season For Houston Astros Fans

Coming off a 55 win season in 2012, the Houston Astros have continued their rebuilding plan this offseason and have continued to stockpile prospects in the minor leagues.  As one baseball writer has said, the Astros have a roster that looks like a Triple-A roster.  That is true and the fact that we are moving from the NL Central which has no clear-cut frontrunner to the AL West which looks like it could be the toughest division in MLB is not doing Houston any favors.  As a life-long Astros fan, the past couple of years have been tough.  This year might be the toughest for Astros fans.  If we win 55 games this season, then I will consider the campaign a success.

Friday, February 01, 2013