Interesting how Odell Beckham led all Pro Bowl wide receivers with six catches for 93 yards on 10 targets and not one drop. He also burned his man for what should have been a 50-plus-yard touchdown on a pass that was underthrown. There were no Miami sightings earlier in the week.
Rangers captain Ryan McDonagh was a member of the winning team in yesterday’s NHL All Star game. Actually it’s more like a 4 team tournament. Each winning member gets a share of the one million dollar prize. Ryan made more yesterday ($91,000) than most Americans make in a year.
Carmelo Anthony has to go now, that’s become clear, nothing has changed in the past week. And because he seems to be on his way out of town, there is this notion that Anthony is to blame for everything wrong with the current Knicks and not a roster and a coaching staff assembled by Phil Jackson. Yeahright!
Not sure I agree how it was done, but Trumps executive order halting entry into the United States for citizens of seven predominantly muslim countries could affect college basketball where there are players from those countries, but I don’t think anyone is losing sleep over it.
Justin Bieber's greatest 'hit' was when Chris Pronger checked him into the boards during the NHL celebrity exhibition game. You could say it was a “Smash Hit”.
It's often been hard to get fans to pay attention to the Pro Bowl, so eye-catching uniforms are one way to get people's attention, even if the designs are often regrettable. I watched about 5 minutes of yesterday’s game. Trust me, the uniforms were Again regrettable.
If Donald Trump is really fixed on helping out a Russian, how about the one who owns the Brooklyn Nets?
I miss fighting in the NHL. There, I said it. Now, this admission doesn't make me a neanderthal nor any less sensitive to the well being of hockey players. And I'm not here to grandstand or stomp my feet like a four-year old making outlandish declarations that "I'm done with this sport" or "I'll never spend another dollar on the NHL."
I use hockey for escapism. For a few hours on game night, I'm able to forget about all the ills of the world and focus on a game I really enjoy. No worrying about paying the bills, or the reaction of another Donald Trump tweet. No concerns about the Yankees till April.
I used to have season tickets in the notorious MSG "blue seats" Now that fighting has become all but extinct, I have noticed the current Blue seater’s have been reduced to parishioners taking in Sunday mass. It’s just not the same.
While not easy, I've come to accept the reality that Gary Bettman and the NHLPA have decided to phase fighting out of the game. But damn, I miss it. (not the staged ones). I feel the NHL has begun to pander to a newer fan base leaving some of us old school hockey fans behind. And don’t blame fighting for hockey’s concussion problems. Bare-knuckle boxing matches with almost exclusively punches to the head taking place on a sheet of ice over a slab of concrete make for a logical and convenient scapegoat. But statistics have shown most of hockey’s concussions aren’t coming from fights. I never want to see anyone get bloodied or hurt but a good battle is fun.
While the anti-fighting crowd may point to stats proving that fisticuffs don't improve a team's chance of winning nor shift the momentum of a game, I really don't care. It's inconsequential to me. Fighting is part of the fabric of the NHL. Its existence is one of the main aspects that drew many to the sport. It’s old school and added excitement to the game’s rivalries. Remember the Probert – Domi fight in 92? Dan Cloutier and Isles goalie Tommy Salo in 1998? How about Jim Schoenfeld and Wayne Cashmen (1972) or the Flyers and Senators back in 2004 where 20 players had been ejected and a record 419 combined penalty minutes were handed out. That was hockey!
So Yes, I miss the emotional roller coaster of an NHL hockey game. Fights and all.
Now, at the midpoint of the NHL 2016-17 seasons, it's worth a look at the local teams as we arrive at the All-star break.
It wasn’t that long ago that the Devils were over ten points out of playoff contention at one point, most people thought it was pretty inconceivable for the Devils to become relevant again in the playoff race. The reasons why New Jersey failed to maintain their hot early season start are plentiful, and one of them was how the play of their three core forwards impacted the team’s success. It’s those same three forwards whose play can be a large determinant behind the Devils undergoing a second-half turnaround.
The best thing that’s happened to the Devils is the Taylor Hall trade. With 31 points in 38 games (11 goals), 25-year-old Hall is the Devils' leading scorer and their most talented offensive forward. He's delivered as expected. Unfortunately, he can't overcome the Devils' lack of secondary scoring. Despite Hall's efforts, the Devils are among the league's lowest-scoring clubs, averaging only 2.23 goals per game. Henrique,and Palmieri, amongst others need to step it up. The Devils need at least 13-15 goals from all three of these forwards over the final 40 games of the season if they want to have any hope of playing beyond April.
It’s been a rollercoaster ride for the Rangers so far. They come out flying at the start of the season and then have these 2-3 game losing streaks followed by a small win streak. Much of the blame has been put on Henrik Lundqvist who admittedly hasn’t been the old Lundqvist. But he’s been on fire of late, leading the Blue Shirts to three straight wins. Their 31-16-1 record is good enough for 4th in the tough Metro division.
When Rangers General Manager Jeff Gorton traded away Keith Yandle and acquired Nick Holden from the Avalanche this past summer, the consensus was that the Rangers defense would struggle again. Spoiler alert: they’re struggling again. Outside of the always-steady Ryan McDonagh, the Rangers have a bunch of borderline second/third pairing defensemen and a couple who may or may not be NHL-quality at all. If it wasn’t for the speed of the forwards who helped out early in the season, things would be different in Rangertown. This past week saw the returns of Rick Nash and Pavel Buchnevich and Mika Zibanejad from injuries. With a tighter effort from the defense and continued contributions at both ends of the rink from the forwards, the Rangers can still be a deadly team that can hang with the league’s best.
With early season struggles, and in 11th place in conference standings, Snow fires Capuano. Doug Weight is now the interim head coach. They have struggled to overcome the losses of several key players in the offseason (Kyle Okposo and Frans Nielsen chief among them). While much of the core from the last two playoff runs remains the same, guys like Andrew Ladd and Jason Chimera were brought in because they're proven winners who, even in their advanced age, were considered still highly productive at the NHL level, until recently those moves seemed not to work out.
But, hold on…things might be changing, especially with 37-year-old Chimera, who has scored five of his 10 goals over the last seven games, as the Islanders have 11 points during that stretch. Their 3-0 since the coaching change. John Tavares (19 goals) in his last 6 games tallied 6 points and 3 goals. With Philadelphia idle, last night’s win moves the Islanders within three points of the Flyers with two games in hand. I know Ive written off their season about nine different times, but if the Isles can keep this up, they may make it interesting before it's all said and done. Islander fans can dream, at least...
Saturday night the Knicks shot 54% from 3 point land, but lost (107-105) their 4th buzzer beater in the last 3 weeks. How bout some DEFENCE!
The 3 recent inductees into the Baseball Hall of Fame had a combined 6 homeruns in post season play. Bernie Williams had 6 on his own. Whats wrong with this picture?
Now that Woody Johnson is our ambassador to England I just hope that London doesn’t somehow end up in last place in the AFC East.
Patriots quarterback Tom Brady said that he didn’t hear fans at Gillette Stadium chanting “Where is Roger?” at absent NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell during Sunday’s win over the Steelers, but selective hearing isn’t going to stop the storyline of Goodell potentially handing the Lombardi Trophy to the Patriots in Houston from growing over the next two weeks. Won’t that be fun.
Duke will be without coach K for a while due to his back operation. Everyone says the Blue Devils will be fine in his absence. That’s like expecting a car that’s being rebuilt from scratch to still run at full capabilities after its engine had to be removed to be repaired.
The Blue Jays bring Jose Bautista back and the talk is about another run at the A.L. East title. Kendrys Morales is NO Edwin Encarnacion.
The St. Louis Blues have allowed 5 or more goals in their last 5 losses, 3 of them in a row. Pheonix Copley got the start in the last game. Different goalie, same result.
Wow, I got that one wrong! The fact that the Falcons won wasn’t a surprise, the way they dismantled the Packers was. The game was expected to be a shootout, but only one offense - Atlanta's - delivered. Atlanta dominated from their first possession, with wide receiver Mohamed Sanu scoring on a 2-yard shovel pass from Ryan. It was the eighth straight game Atlanta has scored on its opening drive. From that point on the Falcons moved the ball at will. They won 36-17 but it wasn’t that close.
Packers fans may be quick to blame fullback Aaron Ripkowski, whose fumble with 11:11 to go in the second quarter on the Atlanta 23 shifted the game from still competitive to a full-fledged blowout. However, the signs of a Falcons beat down were available early and often on Sunday. There would be no magic from Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers on this day. He looked lost, and confused. The eight-game win streak came to a halt Sunday in the Georgia Dome. The Pack was clearly-rattled and failed in every aspect of the game.
Julio Jones finished with nine catches for 180 yards and two touchdowns. For a player with a nagging injury, his performance was nothing short of fantastic. Matt Ryan also had an all-time performance, becoming the first quarterback to ever eclipse 380 passing yards with at least four touchdowns and no interceptions in a postseason game. Both, together lead the Falcons into the Super Bowl to meet the Patriots, who kicked ass in their game.
The Atlanta Falcons aren’t just going to the Super Bowl. They’re going as the choice of everyone who isn’t a New England fan, and why would you be a New England fan if you don’t, you know, live in New England? Because the Patriots, as great as they have been and are, aren’t revered. They’re reviled. There’s that lingering suspicion that their coach and their franchise quarterback cheated along the way. The early lines have them as a three-point favorite. That’s not much, and I’m betting, as it were, that it shrinks over the next fortnight. The Falcons just blew out Pete Carroll’s team and then Aaron Rodgers’. This is their year. Here's hoping the good guys win.
Tom Brady vs. Ben Roethlisberger. Aaron Rodgers vs. Matt Ryan. That’s quite a quartet of QBs heading to the NFL’s conference championship games on Sunday: Brady’s New England Patriots host Roethlisberger’s Pittsburgh Steelers in the AFC, and Rodgers’ Green Bay Packers play at Ryan’s Atlanta Falcons in the NFC.
Consider the collective bona fides: Among them, Brady, Roethlisberger and Rodgers can boast of 10 Super Bowl appearances and 7 titles, 4 Super Bowl MVP awards and 4 regular-season MVP awards. Not too bad. Ryan, never a Super Bowl participant, is the least-accomplished member of the final four, but he just so happens to be the quarterback on the All-Pro team this season and the favorite to collect league MVP honors.
If you add Drew Breeze, you have 5 of the best in the game. Unfortunately, for Breeze he will be watching from his living room or somewhere he prefers not to be that isn’t on a football field.
My point is, these playoffs have been dictated by the QB’s. Even though Tom Brady didn’t impress in his game, he still played good enough, all the others played big and helped their teams stay alive. The other playoff quarterbacks either didn’t play that well or didn’t get help from their supporting cast. Just ask Eli Manning about that.
Ok, so which of the Fab Four end up in Texas in two weeks?
Ryan has great receivers and running backs and the Falcons defense showed last Saturday that it’s improving. There’s only one problem though: they are going against Aaron Rodgers. It doesn’t matter that the Packers have a lot of injuries. The same thing I said about the game against Dallas remains true now: I can’t see any team stopping him. He is doing magic and the O-line is protecting him greatly. The last performances are putting him in discussions about being the best EVER. Honestly, I don’t know about that, but right now, no one can beat him. I’m expecting a shootout. Packers 38-33.
Last week Brady and the Pats struggled against a team they were clearly light years better. Yet again, the two B’s (Brady and Belichick) they find a way to win. It was clear to me that they took the field thinking the game would be easy and then had to refocus during the game, meaning they needed to get their shit together. If they take the field against the Steelers like that, they can get in trouble (although I refuse to believe that a Bill Belichick coached team will commit this same mistake) due to the way Pittsburgh defense and the other killer B’s (augmented by Chris Boswell now, he scored all their points against the Chiefs) are playing. However, New England’s defense is spectacular this year and when it’s all said and done the Steelers are facing Tom and Bill in Foxborough in a postseason game. I don’t think they can handle it. Patriots 30-22.
Has the time finally come for us to witness maybe the greatest quarterback battle in the history of the Super Bowl, Brady vs. Rodgers? Let’s turn on our TVs this Sunday and find out. Enjoy!
Thinking about today’s Hall of Fame announcement, it dawned on me that people who never covered a day of baseball’s Steroid Era voted last month. Players are eligible up to 15 years after their final season (It used to be 20). The Steroid Era stands apart from any era in the game’s history, and two of it’s biggest stars, Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens, both long suspected of using PED’s may very well be elected by those same people who never covered their careers. That could happen because those same voters only look at the numbers, and in today’s sports world it’s all about the numbers…metrics that can be measured and compared.
Back in December when this year’s ballots started trickling in, and along with the perennial river of Hall of Fame columns and tweets came an unexpected spike in checks in the “Bonds” and “Clemens” boxes. At the same time, a 16-member body that considers players, managers, umpires, and executives who aren’t eligible for the Hall inducted Bud Selig, the recently retired commissioner who presided over the most tainted portion of the Steroid Era and was slow to regulate the game’s PED culture. Is this an indication that all is forgotten?
The younger guys appear to be more lenient in how they view the long-suffering drug cheats of the diamond. That’s bad news for us Old School baseball fans who believe you should be clean, play with integrity, and sportsmanship, and have good defensive numbers that no one seems to look at. The character of a player (at least on the field and clubhouse) should be considered as well, but it hasn’t been in years.
Clemens and Bonds aren’t the only members of the pharmaceutical club. Manny, Vlad, Pudge, and Bagwell all have been suspected of membership. Thankfully, McGwire and Sosa are no longer eligible. I hope Clemens and Bonds don’t get in. I know its just a baseball hall of fame, devoted to honoring the greatest who ever played the game… it isn't the Medal of Freedom, but I hope they don’t get in, ever.
Watching the Atlanta playoff game I realized just how good Matt Ryan is (he threw for 338 yards and three touchdowns). The Falcons offense is impressive but what I really was impressed with was the defense. After a slow start The D tightened up their game and began pressuring Wilson, Seattle’s quarterback essentially ran for his life and took a lot of hits in the process. The second half was even bigger as Atlanta’s defense finished the job. They force two interceptions and made plenty of 3rd down stops.
It's now or never if Phil Jackson is actually going to fix the dysfunctional Knicks. Halfway through the season and the Knicks are 5 games under .500. If it weren’t for Kristaps Porzingis, there would be no reason to ever watch them. Oh, and by the way, who forced Phil to put the no-trade language in Carmelo’s contract?
Travis Kelce is an idiot. Eric Fisher absolutely did have a hold on Steelers linebacker James Harrison.
Antonio Brown will get into the Dingbat Hall of Fame on roller skates one day after exhibiting a rare blend of narcissism and dimwittedness Sunday night. While Steelers coach MikeTomlin was firing up his team with some choice words to describe the Patriots, his blockhead pass catcher was recording it for the more than 1 million people to see and hear. Brown, lost in his own world, was more concerned with the number of people tuning into his Facebook Live session then the message Tomlin was delivering. Stupid.
Are the Nets still a member of the NBA?
Did I happen to mention that Clemson’s Deshaun Watson didn’t just end one of college football’s great championship games with a one-second-left, come-from-behind touchdown pass, but that Watson is one of the great college players of our generation? I mean, in two championship games he throws for more than 800 yards and produces nearly 1,000 yards of total offense against a great Alabama defense.
What a Game! Those poor Cowboys are going to require open heart surgery this offseason, because Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers crushed the Cowboys' Super Bowl hopes in the most devastating, Red Wedding/Titanic sort of way. Riding Aaron Rodgers' hot hand, the Packers held off a Cowboy comeback to win 34-31. The Boys have now lost 5 straight playoff games.
Rodgers zipped a 35-yard pass to tight end Jared Cook with 3 seconds remaining Sunday, setting up Mason Crosby’s game-winning 51-yard field goal in a 34-31 victory over the Dallas Cowboys that moved the Pack one win from a Super Bowl berth.
The wild finish was just what the NFL needed after a postseason that had been void of competitive games thus far. The playoffs’ first six games were all decided by at least 13 points. Last night’s 2 point Steeler win capped off a great day of playoff football.
Cowboy fans will look back on the 2016 season with a measure of pride, but also with thoughts of what might have been, again. This year because of their success, the team once again picked up more new fans or “bandwagon jumpers”. “America’s Team” fans can be obnoxious. Just ask any Giant fan. Their team improved greatly with the passing of the torch from Romo to Zak Prescott, while Elliott had a great rookie year, but when it counted most, yesterday’s mental errors and a slow start served to hinder the team in its quest for a sixth championship. This squad, still needs to learn how to win in the playoffs, and Cowboy fans need to realize that their team has won one playoff game since Bill Clinton was in office, but yet they still act like they are perennial Super Bowl contenders. NOT!
The Green Bay Packers and Dallas Cowboys meet Sunday in Arlington, Texas in the NFC Divisional Playoffs with a trip to the NFC Championship Game at stake. Led by quarterback Aaron Rodgers, the Packers closed out the regular season with six consecutive victories and a big win over the Giants. One I’m sure Giants fans won’t forget. I think the Pack can beat the Cowboys and here’s three reasons why.
Over the last seven games, Aaron Rodgers has passed for 19 touchdowns and zero interceptions. Against the Giants, after a frustrating 1st half, Rodgers completed 62.5 percent of his passes for 362 yards and four touchdowns. It will be tough for the Cowboys to overcome a Rodgers performance that even approaches Sunday's level of proficiency. The Cowboys survived this season because of a dominant offense and a bend-but-don't-break defense. If the Cowboys are unable to generate consistent pressure against Rodgers, the savvy veteran will carve up a vulnerable secondary that’s not as good as the Giants were.
The Packers' secondary, including safeties Ha Ha Clinton-Dix and Morgan Burnett along with cornerbacks Quinten Rollins and Damarious Randall, stifled and frustrated Giants receivers Sunday with tight coverage and physical hits. Many said the secondary wasn’t that good. Tell that to Odell Beckham, Sterling Shepard and Victor Cruz. Look out Dez Bryant.
The Packers have only turned the ball over one time over the last seven games. Over the seven-game winning streak, Rodgers and the Packers beat four playoff teams and a critical component to that success was protecting the football. By contrast, the Cowboys have turned the ball over eight times in the past six weeks.
The Packers didn’t start Sunday’s wild-card playoff game against the Giants that well, but they finished it looking like one of the most dangerous teams left in the playoffs.. Dallas and the New England Patriots have been the NFL’s best teams for most of the season. But the best team doesn’t always win in the playoffs. Sometimes the hottest team can roar through the postseason and to the Super Bowl. The Packers did in 2010 and I believe they can back to the big game again. Packers 24 Cowboys 20.
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It's a somewhat tongue in cheek OPINIONATED sports blog that promises to cover baseball, football, hockey, basketball, and any other INTERESTING, stupid, and absurd STORY related to sports.