Saturday, December 29, 2007

The TooToo Turtle

In an otherwise slow week in the NHL, Jordan TooToo somehow managed to get his name into some headlines again this week. "Was it for a dirty hit?" you likely asked, no it was just another event in the chronological diary of why Jordan TooToo should NOT be in the NHL.

I think adding my own dialogue and opinion might only dilute the reality that is Jordan TooToo's patheticness, so instead I will just show you two videos from back to back games this week that displayed Tootoo's "toughness". (And by toughness I mean ability to turtle and/or ability to act as a human punching bag).

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Tiger Torching

With Dontrelle Willis now signed to a 3 year deal, the Tigers are undeniably the greatest team in baseball. With a rotation that already boasted the likes of Justin Verlander, Jeremy Bonderman, Kenny Rogers and Nate Robertson, the Tigers instantly made themselves fall classic contenders by bringing in the two biggest names on the block in baseball. (Willis and Cabrera)

The rotation of the Tigers will dominate barring any injuries, and not just because they're young and studly, but because they now have three left handed arms. Verlander and Bonderman proved two years ago to be among the most devastating pitchers in the league, with a solid complement of Rogers and Robertson. Bring Willis into the equation and things will get even rougher for opponents.

The only rotation that will rival (and maybe surpass) the Tigers rotation will be the RedSox, and that is only if they are able to rob the Twins blind and somehow bring in Santana.

Adding Willis to the mix was one thing. Also bringing in Cabrera? That's the dagger in the heart. Not only will the Tigers shut teams out with solid pitching, (not just from the starters but from the pen too), they will be able to put up incredible runs. It will be scary to see a guy like Cabrera at the plate in situations where he actually has some protection; not like the Marlins who tried to protect him with Ramirez and Willingham (seriously??). Put Cabrera between Sheff's and Ordonez, and the guy will light it up.

The Tigers will outscore every opponent, and shut down even the best lineups, and THAT's why the Tigers will be the best team in baseball in 2008.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Please, someone tell me there is a difference.

It seems everyday there is a new "incident" in the NHL to talk about. Instead of a behind the back Sidney Crosby pass, or a Sam Ganger dangling shootout goal, it seems there are new obsceneties to talk about. Instead of players like Sidney Crosby, Alexander Ovechkin or Vincent Lecavalier making headlines for great goals or assists, players like Steve Downie, Mattias Ohlund and Chris Simon litter the headlines.
The most recent incident is Chris Simon's "stomp" on Jarko Ruutu. Without a doubt this is one of the worst things I've ever seen happen on a sheet of hockey ice. Chris Simon's intent was obviously to hurt Ruutu, and to hurt him badly. Simon should be removed from the game of hockey and be given a lifetime ban from any connection to hockey and the NHL. He should be not only permanently suspended as a player, but he should also be banned from working as a figure in the media, or any position with the NHL in a management role. This may sound harsh, and maybe even frivelous, but what Chris Simon has done, (and done in previous years) has tainted the image of the NHL so severely that every action should be taken to keep him away from the game.
That said, I'd like to revisit another incident that occured this year in the NHL and ask why it is any different. When Mattias Ohlund "slashed" Mikko Koivu this year, (I put "slash" in parenthesis because that is a very modest way of saying "tried to break his leg") there was obvious intent to hurt. I would even go as far to say that his intent was of equal obviousness to the Chris Simon stomp. Why Ohlund received only a 4 game suspension is completely beyond my comprehension and a huge blunder of the NHL (Colin Campbell).
Burnsy, why are you so intent on coming down hard on NHL players?
Because NHL players are the role models and leaders of Canadian culture. They shape and influence the future of Canadian hockey and society in general. Every little boy in Canada who watches hockey worships the NHL's best and brightest, and unfortunately will see the actions of Simon, Downie and Ohlund far more than he'll see the actions of Crosby, Lecavalier and Ovechkin. This shapes the way they will play and what they will feel is acceptable to do on a sheet of ice.
It's for this reason ever player like Simon and Ohlund should never play in the NHL.
Now, watch these videos, and try and tell me there's any difference in intent.

Monday, December 3, 2007

Hockey Canada has no Love for the Pats??

With the hustle and bustle of Christmas growing stronger and stronger each day, the true Canadian hockey fan likely becomes more excited for what comes AFTER Christmas, then what comes ON Christmas.
The 2008 World Junior Hockey Championship is just around the corner and I can't think of anything I'm more excited for this Christmas season. The annual Boxing Day celebration that occurs for the World Junior tournament is arguably the most exciting annual hockey event in Canada. With the Stanley Cup months away, and the Olympic hockey tournament happening only once every four years, the Canadian hockey fan has his/her appetite whetted each and every boxing day.
Earlier today the 37 player list for the annual selection camp was released and being the Pats fan that I am, I felt snubbed by the lack of Regina players on the list. Logan Pyett was our one and only player who made the list, while players like Eberle, Ross and Teubert were all given the snub.
Certainly on a team that is first in the Eastern Conference of the WHL, there is more than one player who deserves the nod, even if only to the selection camp. Among many hockey people the one player who was the biggest shock to not making this list was Colton Teubert. Colton has put together a strong campaign this year with the Pats and despite not putting up great numbers so far has been a defensive mainstay and shutdown man game after game. His absence from this list seems inexplicable.
To add to my shock was the absence of Nick Ross on the list for the selection camp. Not to slight Colton Teubert and the campaign he has put together, but Nick Ross is a first round selection who has put up the points and played very well for the Pats. So where is his invite?
Lastly, the absence of Jordan Eberle is slightly more understandable. Jordan is a younger player, and less experienced but has still put up the numbers to at least be part of the conversation for the selection camp, which I don't think he was. He's a top 15 scorer in the WHL this year, and that should at least arouse some conversation.
All I'm saying is that on a team where several players can be considered as junior league stars, where is the love?

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Friday, October 26, 2007

Jordin Tootoo makes me throw up.

How the hell does Steve Downie get suspended for 20 games for a "questionable" hit in the preseason, but Jordin Tootoo gets a pat on the back for the exact same hit in the regular season?

If someone knows the answer to the preceding question, please let me know, because I'm legitimately baffled. How does Colin Campbell go on record stating that Steve Downie's hit was illegal because he left his feet and aimed his shoulder at a players face and in the same breath tell the world that Tootoo's hit was exactly what the NHL wants to promote? THE HITS WERE EXACTLY THE SAME!!! They both charged a guy coming out from the back of the net. They both left their feet AFTER they made contact. And they both smoked the guy in the face with their shoulders. How are these hits different? Is the NHL trying to protect it's star players like Jordin Tootoo (please note: my tongue is planted firmly in my cheek)? If the NHL is trying to protect one of these players, it should be Downie...who actually might have a future in the league as more than a pest. Jordin Tootoo won't play on any better than the 4th line on any team. Ever. And that's if he isn't already a healthy scratch. They don't even want him playing with their AHL affiliate. Downie might actually play on a 3rd line somewhere. Or even a 2nd line.

The NHL needs to get it's act together and show some parity in it's penalty calling/suspensions. Either that or let morons like Tootoo ruin the league.

Friday, October 5, 2007

Friday, September 14, 2007

Most Dominant Athlete of All Time

Sunday night, after watching the glorious re-appearance of the NFL for the 2007 season, one thought assaulted my mind: Roger Federer is the most dominant athlete of all time.

Writing this blog, I am aware that tennis isn't the most popular sport. Especially in Canada, where talented tennis players are tough to find among the myriad of professional hockey players and ~cough~ lacrosse players.

The only way I can describe the way Federer dominates tennis is to draw a comparison between an average 20-30 year old male have a slam-dunk contest versus an infant on a 5-foot net.

The only time Federer EVER loses is in the French Open in the finals against Rafael Nadal. That's it. One loss a year. If it weren't for that one loss, Roger would hold the prestigious "Grand Slam" having won all four of the Grand Slam Tournaments in a year. Something that hasn't been done in the Open era of tennis.

Among Federer's records, here are a few of the most prominent:
- Has won 3 of 4 Grand Slam tournaments (U.S. Open, Australian Open and Wimbledon) 3 times.
- Surpassed Jimmy Connors (160) and Steffi Graf (186) with most consecutive weeks as the #1 mens player and #1 singles player respectively(189+).
- Most consecutive U.S. Open wins (4).
- Tied for most consecutive Wimbledon wins (5).
- Won at least 10 singles tournaments for 3 consecutive years.
- Only player to have reached at least the finals for all 4 grand slam tournaments for 2 consecutive years.
- 10 consecutive grand slam final appearances.

Among these are many others. One record which Federer hasn't claimed is the record for most Grand Slam titles. He has 12 and is chasing retired American Pete Sampras who has 14 (Sampras accomplished his feat at 31 years of age and Federer is only 26).

I rest my case with one final argument. If you think Tiger Woods is more dominant at golf than Federer is at tennis, you are an idiot. And golf isn't a sport.

Detrimental Conduct to the League?

Let me start by saying I have no problem admitting that what Micheal Vick did was a heinous and awful act. Dogs should never be treated that way, and I beleive that the way in which Micheal Vick's actions have been disciplined have been appropriate thus far.

Bill Belicheck's however have not.

When Commissioner Roger Goodell ruled that Micheal Vick be suspended due to his actions which were "..detrimental to the welfare of the NFL and have violated the League's Personal Conduct Policy.." he was correct and justified in his indefinate suspension of Micheal Vick. What Micheal Vick was involved in was tarnishing to both the league's image and reputation, and was in full deservance of the suspension that was handed down.

Now, when I look at what Bill Belicheck has been convicted/caught doing by the league, I'm hard pressed to differentiate which act is more "detrimental" to the league. Sure, what Vick did was terrible, but in reality did very little to affect or damage the game of football, and the sport that the NFL markets. Yes, his actions had an affect on the image of the league, but had very little to no effect on the product that is being sold on the field. However, what Belicheck has done has hurt the credibility and legitimacy of the league. His actions have brought into question the fairness of the NFL game, and whether or not coaches are cheating or playing fair.

I beleive football is one of the greatest sports on earth. I enjoy the strategy and planning that can be exerted in football while still remaining on a level playing field. It is fun because it is fair, and it is great because it pits several great athletes against each other and forces them to use tremendous athleticism and strength to defeat their opponent. But all this is for not, if coaches and players are cheating. When a coach does what Belicheck has done, it changes the game. It takes away value from the game, and taints the image of the league.

So why hasn't Belicheck been treated the same way Micheal Vick was treated?

Belicheck has been given a slap on the wrist by being given a $500,000 fine and losing what will likely be a first round draft choice. To a man who makes 6 million dollars a year from his salary alone, not to mention the numerous speaking arrangements and book royalties he receives, this is a joke.

In my opinion, Bill Belicheck's conduct has been far more "detrimental to the League". I'm not saying what Micheal Vick did was right, this time Goodell has acted differently because there's noone like P.E.T.A. staning on his doorstep.


Also, I think it's worth noting that Robert Kraft (owner of the New England Patriots) was the head man of a group of owners who lobbied for Roger Goodell as Commissioner. Coincidence?


Friday, August 31, 2007

Matt's NFL Predictions

To follow Luke's suit, I will also make my own NFL predictions. It's important that I go on record and make my predictions as it's important to have something to reference when your gloating over your good friend Luke about how your predictions were so much better than his.

I'd like to do a divisional breakdown, and predict the record for each team in each division. I will also do a Playoff prediction, and Superbowl prediction, and shock and awe all of you that take the time to read this.

Just remember, that come February when these teams are the teams in the Superbowl, you'll know where you saw it first: The Game Day Radio Blog.

Also, just as a preface to my predictions, it is important to understand that even though I am an adamant Chargers fan, in no way did that influence my predictions.

AFC North

Pittsburgh Steelers (9-7)
-Despite being only two years removed from a Superbowl victory, the departures of several key veterans such as Jerry Porter and Jerome Bettis have crippled this team and removed them from possible playoff contention.

Clevland Browns (4-12)
-Clevland had an amazing draft this year and added several peices of the puzzle that will help this team acheive success in the future, but those peices are not enough to make a significant difference this year.

Baltimore Ravens (13-3)
-The dominance of this defence coupled with the experience of Steve McNair create one of the most dominant forces in the NFL. With McNair having one year's experience under his belt with this offence, it's only going to get better.

Cinncinati Bengals (11-5)
-With what could be the most dangerous arsenal of weapons in the NFL, this offense has the opportunity to outscore opponents game in and game out. Despite what they lack on defense, this offense will manage to make this team a winner in '07.

AFC West

Denver Broncos (8-8)
-Several prognosticators beleive this team will be a winner in 07. I, however beleive that even with the significant upgrades this team has made (Dre Bly, Travis Henry) they still do not have enough talent to outplay their divisional rivals, and still lack talent and youth on the defensive side of the ball.

Kansas City Cheifs (4-12)
-The loss of their best passer and key components to their offensive line, leave this team crippled and in obvious rebuilding mode. Count on the Cheifs to lose alot of games, and try and rely on the run. These 4 wins might be a high estimate for this depleted Cheifs team.

Oakland Raiders (5-11)
-These team lost their "bed and breakfast" mentality and will actually show up to play football this year. There only one direction to go after scoring 12 TD's in a year and that's up. Count on Daunte Culpepper and Josh McCowen to thrive under Lane Kiffin's new leadership and give this offense some life. Adding life to the offense should allow this impecible defense to win games.

San Diego Chargers (14-2)
-Expect this team to start up where they left off last year. They are the most talented team in the league, both on offense and defense and have consistently been able to answer any questions that have faced them. Look to LT to have a big year as this team goes on to not only win their division, but the Superbowl.

AFC South

Indianapolis Colts (11-5)
-This offense will continue to be dominant, and the defense will play like they did most of last season. They will still win some games, but it's gonna take some major upgrades on defense before this team is back in the Superbowl.

Tennessee Titans (6-10)

-This team is loaded with "young" talent, but with the loss of their best CB, and no real offensive weapons besides their quarterback, this team will struggle to keep pace with one of the best divisions in football.

Houston Texans (8-8)

-Expect big things from the team that has been rebuilding for six years. With a solid arm behind centre, and another year of experience for a young defense this team will surprise alot of people and come close to making the wild card. But only close.

Jacksonville Jaguars (10-6)

-This team has been built to win for a few years now, but for whatever reason, they have struggled. With the starting quaterback just set in stone yesterday, this team should be able to win alot of games on the consistency of the offense and the dominance of the defense.

AFC East

New England Patriots (12-4)

-Having probably made the best upgrades of any team in the league, the Patriots are favored by many to win the Superbowl. In my opinion, the offense will be impecible, but the age on defense will hurt this team down the stretch.

Miami Dolphins (4-12)
-Despite picking up Trent Green, this team has an aged defense, a patchy O-line, a running back the coach doesn't like and not to mention, that coach is a new head coach with a whole new staff. Let's chalk it up to "transition year".

New York Jets (9-7)
-It's hard not to like Mangenius, and the immediate change he brought to this team last year is sure to carry over. Their O-line is young and talented, they've added a work-horse running back, and their defense is one more year into a new 3-4 defense. Expect good things.

Buffalo Bills (7-9)
-The talent on this team is surprising, but they face a tough schedule and are seated in a very tough division. Look to J.P. Losman to have another great year, but there are still some positions on this team that need to be seasoned.

NFC North

Detroit Lions (6-10)
-The Lions picked up several great players in this years draft, but I don't see those players making that much of a difference yet. Mike Martz's offense will win them a few games because of the talent they have on offense, but this defense is still patchy at best.

Green Bay Packers (7-9)
-Many people overlook this defense, but it has as much talent as any in the league. The problem on this team will be the lack of offensive weapons and the aging, indecisive quarterback.

Minnesota Vikings (4-12)
-Where do you start with this team? There is no quarterback, no real receivers and they lost the coach on defense that made them stout. Better luck next year Vikes.

Chicago Bears (12-4)
-The Bears face some tough divisions on their schedule this year, but this team is still loaded with talent on defense, and Sexy Rexy should be improved with one full year under his belt. You'll see this team in the Superbowl again this year.

NFC West

San Francisco 49ers (10-6)
-The Niners should be a far improved team. With significant upgrades on defense in the offseason and the extra year of seasoning for the offense, this team should be primed to win alot of games, especially within their division.

Arizona Cardinals (10-6)
-The Cardinals are arguably the most talented team on the offensive side of the ball in the NFL. The only problem is that that potential has never been acheived. With the new guidance of Wizzy and Grimm, the Cards will win alot of games this year.

St. Louis Rams (8-8)
-The hands of time have not been generous to this team. Each year they get older and their divisional rivals get younger. It's hard to get a real good feel for how good or bad this team is, but I expect them to run in the middle of the pack.

Seattle Seahawks (6-10)
-This team has fallen in the same boat as their division rival Rams. They are aging and depleted and just one more year further from their Superbowl appearance. If Alexander can stay healthy (which he won't) their record could be slightly better, but I'm not sold.

NFC South

Atlanta Falcons (3-13)
-The Atlanta Falcons will be the worst team in the NFL this year. With Vick this team was maybe an 8-8 team. Without him they don't have a chance. Harrington will crash and burn like he did last year. Hopefully a good guy like Leftwich can steer clear of Hotlanta.

Carolina Panthers (10-6)
-The Panthers are sexy on defense, and with a little punch from Delhomme and Smith, this team should be sailing to a successful season. They will face the teams in their division which will help pad the record, but this team is better than their record showed last year.

New Orleans Saints (10-6)
-I'm not suggesting the Saints were a flame in the pan, but teams will actually see them coming this year. Expect defenses to still struggle containing all their weapons, but at least have a plan in place. Improvements on defense will also help this team out.

Tampa Bay Bucanneers (4-12)
-If Jeff Garcia was the answer to a terrible season, get ready for another one. This may be Gruden's last year in gold and red too, as the Bucs should struggle to keep pace with any team in the league. Their defense is old and battered, but should win them 4 games.

NFC East

Washington Redskins (6-10)
-I still beleive this team had an off year last year, and they were better than their record showed, but once I sat down with the schedule I was hard pressed to give this team more than 6 wins. Campbell should impress but across the board they look fairly bland.

Dallas Cowboys (9-7)
-Finally having a decent arm under centre should help the Cowboys, and their defense will still be stellar. With Wade Phillips in town expect huge things from Demarcus Ware, but this division always plays tough, so I'm hard pressed to put them in the playoffs.

New York Giants (5-11)
-If I could find someone in New York with any type of leadership capabilities, I think this team would have more wins, but it seems that noone can survive the media pressure that exists in New York, and this team seems to be falling apart at all the seams. Good luck GMEN.

Philadelphia Eagles (11-5)
-If McNabb and Westbrook stay healthy this team dominates. If not, count their division rival Cowboys in for the playoffs. The Eagles have the ability to stifle on defense and move the ball incredibly well on offense.

For the Playoffs:
AFC Bye's: Chargers, Ravens NFC Bye's: Chicago, Philly
AFC Wildcards: NFC Wildcards:
Patriots vs Jaguars Saints vs Cardinals
Colts vs Bengals Panthers vs 49ers

AFC Champs: Chargers NFC Champs: Bears

Superbowl Champs: Chargers (Ok, fine I'm baised.) But for real.

Luke's NFL Predictions.

To preface my picks, I need to let everyone know of my prowess. Last NFL season, I predicted a Chicago Bears vs. Indianapolis Colts final with Indy winning the Superbowl. Guess what? I was right.

If you listened to the radio show this week, you'll already know what I'm about to tell you. With my picks, I went through every teams' schedule, game by game, and predicted wins and losses. I'll spare you the boredom of every team's peril and just tell you Division winners, wild card spots and playoff predictions.

AFC North
Division Winner - Cincinnati Bengals (13-3) - It was very difficult for me to pick against Baltimore here, but looking at the schedule, I think Cincy has a great opportunity.
Wild Card - Baltimore Ravens (12-4) - A slightly tougher schedule, in my opinion, relegates this powerhouse to a wild card spot.

AFC East
Division Winner - New England Patriots (12-4) - Need I say more?

AFC West
Division Winner - San Diego Chargers (12-4) - LT is amazing and the defense looks incredible.
Wild Card - Denver Broncos (11-5) - A team that always puts a promising product on the field.

AFC South
Division Winner - Indianapolis Colts (13-3) - Defending champs with all the pieces in place.

NFC North
Division Winner - Chicago Bears (13-3) - Defense wins championships. Or divisions.

NFC East
Division Winner - Philadelphia Eagles (12-4) - If Donovan is healthy, so are the Eagles.
Wild Card - Dallas Cowboys (11-5) - Dallas is as 'shoe-in' as you get without winning a Division.
Wild Card - New York Giants (10-6) - Although I don't consider the Giants to be very strong, they have a favourable schedule outside of their own division.

NFC West
Division Winner - St. Louis Rams (9-7) - This division was tough for me to call, and I could end up eating my words with any of the 4 teams in that division. If my predictions have a chink in their armour, it's here.

NFC South
Division Winner - New Orleans Saints (10-6) - Teams will be more prepared for the Saints this year. But you can only be so prepared for a hurricane...too soon?

AFC Playoff Picture
Wild Card #1 - Chargers vs. Ravens = Ravens
Wild Card #2 - Patriots vs. Broncos = Patriots

Division #1 - Colts vs. Patriots = Patriots
Division #2 - Bengals vs. Ravens = Ravens

AFC - Patriots vs. Ravens = Ravens

NFC Playoff Picture
Wild Card #1 - Saints vs. Giants = Saints
Wild Card #2 - Rams vs. Cowboys = Cowboys

Division #1 - Bears vs. Saints = Bears
Division #2 - Eagles vs. Cowboys = Eagles

NFC - Bears vs. Eagles = Eagles

Superbowl Picture
AFC Baltimore Ravens vs. NFC Philadelphia Eagles = Philadelphia Eagles