Friday, March 31, 2006 

The Internet Phenomenon Post (Sorry)

Recently I have been accused of not being a real blogger, because I never include any of the typical blogger cliches that are going around at the time. Personally, I don't really know what those ever are because, frankly, I'm not really one of those computer-type guys. I even only recently found out that they have Internet on computers now. But I don't like disappointing people, so I will do my best to address whatever things seem computer nerd-like to me. Here goes.

The Best Dumb Blond Joke Ever

OK, so this seems like a mainstay on Blogs these days, so it's the first cliche that I'll tackle. Now, I try to run a nice, family-orientated approach to sports humour, so I won't post this joke here. It is pretty funny, though, if not a little off-colour, so here is a link to somewhere that I think you can find it. http://j-walkblog.com/index.php?/weblog/posts/blond_joke/ It really just might be the funniest dumb blonde joke ever.

Anyway, now with that unpleasantness behind us, I turn back to one of my favourite blonds lately - Bjorn Borg. I had mentioned that he was going to sell his Wimbledon trophies, and then in a later post I mentioned that he changed his mind in part because Andre Agasi convinced him not to. That was hearsay, however, and apparently it was really John McEnroe who really convinced him. Can anyone else picture how these conversations went? For some reason I see Borg sitting in a really high chair, with Mac looking up at him, shouting "Borg, what is this? Have you gone completely nuts? HOW COULD YOU DO THIS TO MY GAME! ANSWER MY QUESTIONS YOU JERK!!!!" Some things really aren't worth a half a million dollars, and clearly John McEnroe badgering you is at the top of that list. I for one don't blame Borg for his change of mind, there's really only so much Mac you can take. Anything over 2 minutes and you're a better man than I. As Borg said, "...but clearly McEnroe convinced me".

Yes, I know most of you were expecting a different "blond" to come under this headline. Probably Maria Shaipova, maybe even perhaps Anna Kournikova. Well you should be ashamed of yourselves. This is the last day of Women's History month, and for one more day we must respect women. For one more day.


Snakes on a Plane



I'm going to skip over the normal questions : When did Samuel L Jackson physically turn into a parody of Samuel L Jackson? Is Tom Arnold really still an actor? How could anyone not want to see a movie such such an amazing trailer? : and get right to the goods.

The topic at hand involves the Toronto Blue Jays - namely Aaron Hill, Russ Adams, AJ Burnett and Roy Halladay. Hill and Adams. Hill and Adams became good friends last season, and were to butt of many jokes because of it, so when Halladay and Burnett developed a similar relationship this year the other Dynamic Duo were quick to turn the tables. The problem is, when you're taking on guys who make over a million dollars a month you're asking for trouble. Not only did they pay for an airplane to fly a sign over morning practice saying "Aaron, will you marry me. I love you. Russ", but they followed it up with an entire wedding reception in the clubhouse. Not just some guys standing around saying that's what it was, but a professionally catered and decorated function, complete with seat covers, floral arrangements and a tall wedding cake with Russ and Aaron on the top. They even had wedding invitations made, a DJ, and a videographer, and flew a second plane by later in the day saying "Congrats Russ and Aaron". Keep in mind also that all this had to be set up in the clubhouse in the time span of a normal mornings workout.

As someone who is currently planning a wedding (yes, the lady I refer to as "The Wife" is really just "The Fiance" at this point, although she is much more than that in my heart), such an elaborate plan is almost unfathomable. If Roy and AJ can plan an entire wedding in such a short amount of time, I want to hire them to get ours done. I'm not sure, though, that I can afford either their rate of pay, or the people and plans they would pick out.

The point of all this, I suppose, is that when tomorrow rolls around and you're trying to decide who should be the target of your April Fools prank, the best thing to do is aim for someone in a tax bracket below yours. You don't want to come out of it with a car looking like this, that's for sure.

Chuck Norris Doesn't Do Push-Ups, Push-Ups Do Chuck Norris

Even I have seen these nuisances popping up all over the place. I heard that if I try to compare anything in the world to demi-god Chuck Norris, then he'll sneak up on me with a round house kick to the baby-maker. While there may be a chance that such a thing isn't true, it's not a chance I'm willing to take. So instead of using this as a lead-in, I've just included footage of Chuck Norris himself on a sports show. I think it's him reading his 10 favourite Chuck Norris facts, or something like that. For a nerd thing it's actually not that bad.




All your Base Are Belong To Us

I'm not even slightly sure what this could mean, but I see it from time to time. Do not, and I repeat do NOT explain it to me. There are certain thing's that I just never need to know. This, I am almost certain, is the definition of that category, along with Star Wars references and Cold Play lyrics. Normal people just don't need to understand these things. But anyway, the Oilers sit in 8th place in the Western Conference, behind Vancouver, Colorado and Calgary. The reason for this? All their base are belong to the Minnesota Wild. In 7 games so far, the hapless Wild are 5-2 against the Oilers, while they are 6-11-1 against the rest of the division. If the Wild still weren't in the league, the Oilers would be in first place in the division and in the 3rd seed for the playoffs. Calgary and Colorado wouldn't be far behind, but it still makes a big difference. From here on in, each of the Northwest division teams has a single game left against the wild. As they fight the Sharks and the Canucks for the last 2 spots, the Oilers are going to need to find a way to win that game if they want to make the playoffs. It doesn't look too promising if the season up until this point is any indication.

Star Wars Kid

No, I will never Star Wars in this forum. I don't know what the Star Wars Kid is, and I don't want to. This article is over.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006 

NHL Power Rankings

1 Detroit
When I did these power rankings at the start of March, I had the best road team ranked behind Dallas, but said they would be the team to beat in the West for sure. Since that time they have done nothing to disappoint, and appear to be the team to beat in the entire league now.

2 Dallas
Turco turned his season around, and the Stars shot to the top of the standings. 2 teams stand out in the West, and the rest are just fighting to see who will bow to these powers the latest. The others just don't match up.

3 Ottawa
Ottawa, Buffalo, Carolina and the Rangers appeared to all be strong contenders in the East. In the last few weeks, however, the other 3 dominant teams in the east have come down to Earth. While the Sens have gone 7-1-2, the other 3 have combined for only 12 wins in their last 30 games. For the first time in history there are positive signs for Sens fans heading into the playoffs. This could just be their year to lose to a Western conference team instead of the norm.

4 Carolina
It hurt to put Carolina in the #1 spot last time, and their recent record is more than I needed to put an end to that. 3 wins in their last 9 games, too many injuries, and absolutely no output from Recchi since acquiring him at the deadline are a bad combination heading into the playoffs. Actually, now that I read what I just wrote, maybe #4 is still a bit to high.

5 Philadelphia
The Flyers play has been solid lately, and they've found themselves edging up towards both Buffalo and the Rangers in the standings accordingly. There just might be a dogfight for the 3-4-5 spots after all.

6 NY Rangers
Suddenly the Sabres and Rangers are playing the way most people expected them to all season long. Even with their troubles, though, Jagr still has 18 points in the last 11 games, so the slide has nothing to do with his playing easing up. His name hasn't come up much in talks, but there should definitely be a big contingent pushing Jagr for MVP. He really is playing the part quite well.

7 Nashville
They have been solid and consistent all year. 6 wins in their last 10 games, as could be said about them at pretty much every point in the season. Depending on how strongly Anaheim closes out the season, the Preds should be able to hang onto the #4 seed.

8 Anaheim
Speaking of Anaheim, this team has been hot in the second half. A 6 game win streak, and 16-4-2 in 22 games. That speaks for itself. One last playoff run in the name of the Mighty.

9 Tampa Bay
The other hottest team sine Christmas is looking even sharper now that Lecavalier and Richards seem to be clicking like they should again. The goaltending situation is a little bit shaky heading into the playoffs, but Grahame seems to have laid claim on the #1 spot and should be their guy for the long haul now.

10 San Jose
I called the Sharks disappointing at the start of February because they were just that - disappointing. Not but, but not what I knew they could be. Since then they have gone 12-4-2, and although still in the #9 spot and looking in, I have already guaranteed that they will be in the show. The trick now will be working up to the #6 seed. If they can do that, I can guarantee a first round playoff victory as well, which would be a worst-case scenario for Red Wings fans for sure. It has been a few years, though, and I for one would LOVE to see another Sharks/Wings battle.

11 Edmonton
Bubble team. Gotta watch themselves.

12 Buffalo
Slide slide slide. 5 straight losses. 1 for their last 29 on the power play. Not acceptable. Philly would be better off holding onto the #5 seed rather than catching the Rangers if this keeps up.

13 Colorado
I'm going to say that the Av's will either finish 3rd or out of the playoffs. Does that make sense? That's up to you, but it's just how things feel in Avalanche land.

14 New Jersey
The fire that Elias' return first brought the Devils has faded a little bit, but there is no reason to panic in the swamp. A huge win over the Sens in Ottawa is proof enough of that. Calling up Mogilny would be enough to guarantee their playoff birth, but at this point I'm just going to give up on that ever happening again. The new salary cap situation SUCKS.

15 Calgary
I still really don't like this team. They still have had more success against their own division than they have with others, and still look mediocre at best on the road. They still have a boring style of play, and I still hope we don't have to suffer with them too long in the playoffs. If Kipper's on his game, though, it still may be inevitable.

16 Montreal
2 key wins against the Leafs show that these guys can win when they know they have to. That is wonderful news at this time of year. Their current 12-5-3 run is nothing to scoff at either.

17 Vancouver
It looks at this point like we won't get to see Cloutier make a comeback in time to blow the first round. The Canucks have done a good job of preventing that from happening by destroying their playoff run before it even gets the chance to start. After their big slide, they took advantage of a distraught Kings squad, and looked decent against fellow bubble team Edmonton, but they cannot beat Anaheim, San Jose, or Colorado who make up more than half of their remaining schedule. Looks like another early summer for the Nucks, and a big sign that some significant changes are needed if they want to be able to compete with the Wings and Stars as they have in recent years.

18 Florida
9-1 in their last 10? Are you kidding me? What is it with Florida that makes them start horribly, come on inexplicably strong, then realize it's too late and then finish off with only 2 wins in 10 games. It's a Florida tradition at this point.

19 Minnesota
Last time I said that trading Dwayner for a top line player might be enough to squeak them into the playoffs. Instead they traded a perfectly solid NHL goaltender for basically nothing, and guaranteed another missed playoffs.

20 Columbus
Losses to Chicago, St.Louis and Phoenix, followed up by wins against Calgary, Detroit and San Jose. Now that is consistency!

21 Atlanta
10 points behind Tampa a month and a half ago, and only 5 points behind now. Too bad there isn't another month and a half left in the regular season. The Thrashers will fall victim to the old "too little too late" syndrome, but remain one of the most entertaining teams to watch in the league. One more season under their belts and they'll figure out how to contend a little bit earlier in the season.

22 Boston
Yuck.

23 Toronto
Why MLSE brass thought that the Leafs had a shot this year around deadline day is beyond me. I can't state this often enough - it's time for huge organizationally changes in the front office, and on the ice. This gigantic mess is not going to go away on it's own.

24 NY Islanders
I still don't understand why the Islanders gave up on the season at the deadline. They had a decent team and a decent shot at making it. I guess we'll see how well this pays off in a couple of seasons, but I still just don’t see it.

25 Los Angeles
I had the Kings at #19 in the power rankings last time, and took a few angry emails about that. As a strong believer in pushing "I told you so's" here is what I had to say:

Some might be surprised by such a low placing of a second place team. But the Kings have been slumping lately, and look less than mediocre on the road. They will have trouble fighting off Anaheim for a playoff spot, and probably won't in the end. But at least JR is still super-cool!


The writing was on the wall, even when they looked to be strongly secured in a playoff spot. This team was disaster on ice, and should join Vancouver as the outside teams.

26 Phoenix
The Great One's coaching still has this rag tag bunch with a .500 record. Then again, that doesn't say much anymore now that 240 points have been given out this season to teams that really lost the game, and thus only 6 of 30 teams have records that are "under .500". I really don’t like the single point system. A loss should be a loss, no?

AHL Power Rankings

As a side note, I'll say again, who wouldn't love to see a playoffs set up with these 4 teams? There would be a lot of fun to be had in that, not to mention free money for the league to earn. They may have to add two expansion teams and do a full consolation playoffs, but either way it's just money looking to be made. I'm surprised something like this hasn't happened in North American professional sports yet. I'd go to a round robin Capitals Penguins game any day, not to mention the finals. It might be worth some consideration in the league offices. Anyway, here are the bottom 4 rankings:

1 Washington
The more I watch Ovechkin highlights, the more I start wondering if he can stay healthy and end up being the greatest all around hockey player of all time. In just his first season he already looks almost as impressive as Lemieux in his best season. Whether you agree with that sentence or not, you can't say that it's completely outlandish and with no basis. Now just think about that. Even if he doesn't end up winning the MVP trophy this year, he should be able to grab 5 of the next 10, assuming he's healthy and something that resembles a team is built around him. It’s just hard to imagine someone who plays such a grueling, all around strong game staying completely healthy for too long.

2 Pittsburgh
I still can't believe that bringing in Cory Cross didn't turn things around for the Penguins. That's baffling.

3 Chicago
Quick, name 5 guys that play for the Hawks…

4 St. Louis
Forget the AHL, I'm starting to think that I could throw together a team of guys that live around me and give the Blues a run for their money. Actually, if they keep Tkachuk out of the game, I think I might even put money on my team. It's hard to imagine not being able to score 3 goals in a game on Lalime myself, throw in some other guys that can score and we're golden.

Monday, March 27, 2006 

So Cold

In trying to summarize a dark day in sports, the first song that came on my ipod this morning seemed the most suiting – So Cold by Breaking Benjamin. It’s not the greatest video of all time, but it’s a solid song so I thought I’d start off with it anyway:



Crowded streets are cleared away
One by One
Hollow heroes separate
As they run


The big reason Sunday March 26, 2006 was a dark day was the passing on the track of IRL rookie Paul Dana. Many in the racing world were familiar with this rookie long before he recently took to the pro-courses. Graduating from Northwestern with a Journalism degree, he found himself covering CART and IRL for Autoweek magazine. From 1999 on, he took on racing himself, and by 2004 he was 2nd in the Indy Pro Series points standings, giving way to his spot in the big show. In what would be one of the shortest, and most disastrous careers in Indy racing, Dana made only 3 starts in the 2005 season before breaking his back in a crash at Indianapolis. Nonetheless, he recovered from the accident, and the Rahal Letterman team picked him up as their third driver for 2006. Just when it seemed that the man who worked so hard at every step in his life would finally have that work pay off, disaster struck for the second time. This time there would be no chance of recovery, as his accident in practice with Carpenter took his life. I have included footage of the accident below, but be advised the footage is quite extreme. I don’t want anyone complaining that its there. If you have a weak stomach, just don’t watch. It is graphic, and very sad.



You're so cold
Keep your hand in mine
Wise men wonder while
Strong men die


To lift the mood a little in this death post before moving on, I had to follow up that video with something a little more light. This footage is also of a practice run, where the hero (ie. Me) comes up a little bit limp. The JF may appear to be dead at the end there, but trust me he popped up and was ready in time to be defeated in the real race. A race for the ages, as it were.



Show me how it ends it's alright
Show me how defenseless you really are
satisfied and empty inside
That's alright, let's give this another try


I do try to be impartial in these posts, but sometimes it is harder than others. My whole life I was always Leafs and Devils fans (or for as long as I can remember, that is). The Leafs season has completely fallen apart on them, and their back to back losses to the Habs were the final daggars in their disasterous season. That is something I can accept. Their defensive game is hapless, and the only good news they’ve given in recent months is that Aki Berg is considering retiring at the end of the season. If only he had retired 8 months sooner, perhaps the Leafs season might have been different, assuming also that he took the other “Killer B” with him. Anyway, on Black Sunday the Leafs rolled on up to play the Devils, and put Aubin in net behind their defenseless mess. Wouldn’t it just figure that they would put up their best effort all year, and that Aubin would play better than I’ve ever seen him play, delivering a costly loss to the Devils playoff run. It is unbelievable the things that the Leafs do. I’m starting to understand how some Leafers converted to Sens fans in the last few years. Their last couple of months, and now this game against the Devils, have just left me empty inside. Elias better have a lot left for the playoffs.

If you find your family, don't you cry
In this land of make-believe, dead and dry


Duke lost. Memphis lost. Gonzaga lost. Villanova lost. Tennessee lost. Texas lost. Syracuse lost. And I picked U Conn to win the tournament. Needless to say I was pretty excited that they were coming up to play a number 11 seed to make it to the final 4. Basically, the pool was theirs to hand to me. Little did I know Black Sunday was ready to take yet another victim, as George Mason won an ugly game to knock the final #1 seed out of play. A nice block late, and a great play to tie the game with no time left, but other than that this game was not worth watching. Why he stopped short at the end of overtime and threw up an ugly three instead of doing the same play as the end of regulation is beyond me. Justin’s best guess is that he had to pee. I’ve got no other explanation, and man was I ever too angry to come up with one.

You're so cold, but you feel alive
Lay your hand on me one last time


We’ll finish this post off with a little bit of hope now. For those of you who were concerned over an earlier sad post I made about Bjorn Borg selling off all his trophies, there’s new hope. Apparently out cry from his fans and Andre Agassi has cause him to change his mind. He was quoted as saying:

"Trophies of this kind have a meaning that goes beyond my comprehension of the victories, as they emphasize the bond between me as a player and all the people, family, friends and fans that have stood behind me through the years -- people that have my love and respect,"

I really don’t know what the means, but they were estimating that the 5 trophies would sell for over a half a million dollars, so I guess that it means a lot. Nonetheless, as long as you are still alive there is always hope. This shows that even on Black Sunday some things can turn around. It may be stupid and meaningless, but it’s something. It sure is something.

Saturday, March 25, 2006 

2006 NHL All Star Game Selections

The NHL season is coming into the final stretch, and it has been a pretty good season. There have been some great goals:






Some great saves:






There have also been some out-right stupid plays, which I won’t replay here. Those from Havlat and, on the Olympic side, Malkin come to mind. Speaking of which, the Olympics are the reason for the only thing missing this year – the All Star game. Selection for this game is a lot more fun to me than selection for the Olympics, and I’m still feeling cheated for not having had the normal All Star debates this year. That said, I’ve decided now to make my selections for the All Star game. Injuries aside, here are my choices:

Eastern Conference

Forwards

Alfredson Jagr Heatley
Kovalchuk Staal Ovechkin
Briere Gagne Hossa
Spezza Forsberg Crosby

Defense

McCabe Redden
Pitkanen Chara
Markov Meszaros

Goalies

Hasek
Lundqvist
Miller

Other candidates that most people will likely argue may include Havlat, Jokinen, Cole and Savard on forward. I couldn’t include Havlat because he is a giant fcuk who I would love to see taken out of the league by any means necessary. Savard is 60 % Rucchin. Cole, although very talented, was on a very strong line and doesn’t quite cut it against the 12 people listed above. Jokinen, I’m just still not convinced that he’s real. As I’ve mentioned before, I think he’s getting a lot of the Shane Doan, someone’s gotta score points, and would be fairly unnoticeable on most other teams. That’s certainly not enough to be an all star in my books.

Eastern Conference defense isn’t nearly as strong, at least on an individual basis, as the West. There’s really no excuse for Andrei Markov to be making an All Star lineup, but who else is there in the East? Boyle might make the best argument, but past him there is Kaberle and his brother Kaberle, then you’re down at the likes of Souray and Brad Stuart already. Rafalski isn’t having a great year, and Bouwmeester certainly had no business being in the Olympics. Who am I missing? Numinen? Leetch? It’s just a sad state of affairs in the East.

As for goalies, these are possibly the three strongest goalies in the league right now – one from the past, and two leading towards a glowing future. I guess something has to make up for the sad state of defense in the East, and they’ve certainly got it covered in net. Gerber and Thomas are on the next tier, but certainly not having quite the dominant effect on their teams as the three listed above.


Western Conference

Forwards

Demitra Zetterberg Datsyuk
Thornton Sullivan Selanne
Gaborik Shanahan Modano
Rolston Tanguay Kariya

Defense

Schneider Visnovsky
Lidstrom Boucher
Niedermayer Zidlicky

Goalies

Legace
Vokoun
Kiprosoff

As strong as the Eastern Conference forwards have looked this year, the Western Conference forwards have looked equally weak. Demitra and Thornton are the only players who may have a say in keeping the East from claiming the 10 best forwards in the league. Once you’re beyond the 12 I’ve listed, arguments could be made for Cheechoo (your choice as the first half’s Rucchin of the Year), McDonald, Smyth and Svatos. Naslund and Iginla, normally the dominant forces in the West, haven’t done enough to even crack the top 12 in a very weak field.

Defense is the exact opposite, where 6 of the top 8, and likely 15 of the top 20 defensemen this year live in the West. For that reason, arguments could be made for many people to jump over Zidlicky for the last spot. Off the top of my head, Phaneuf, Liles, Berard, Zubov, Mara, Blake, Corvo, and Salo could each have their merits argued. For me, though, Zidlicky and Niedermayer and still more worthy than these, although Liles was hard to leave off.

There can be no arguing those three selections in net. Fernandez would be your best shot, but if you look at what Legace, Kipper and Vokoun have been able to do, especially in the win column, there is no reasonable way to leave them out of the game. I’m not sure how the three of them, along with Lundqvist, Miller and Hasek can be weeded down to 3 for the Vezina voting. Injuries will likely play a roll in that, which likely gives the edge to Kipper and Vokoun. The third place would be a battle of .925 save percentages between Hasek and Lundqvist, between the faithful Hasek vote, and the Lundqvist supporters who see him putting up similar numbers on a far weaker team. Hard to tell exactly which way that will go. If Legace had played all year, I would say the award goes to him, but his missed games in combination with a strong, young base in Detroit will keep him off the finalist altogether. It’s too bad, too, since I seemed to be the only one who knew he was a Vezina-caliber goalie in the past, and I just love being proven right.

Thursday, March 23, 2006 

Introducing Mattingley's Matters

Someone said to me the other day that I should think about adding some other people to my sight. Since I'm not a huge baseball person, and with the summer coming and Baseball being the only pro-league running (sorry MLS fans!), he suggested that bringing in a Fantasy Baseball Pro might increase my readership. Or it might kill my blog altogether.

Increase my killing power, eh? LETS DO IT!

That said, below is the first installment of "Mattingley's Matters" by Wobby "Don" Mattingley. Like I said, fantasy ball is his thing, so from time to time when the Bat Signal appears as below, that's your chance to steal some signs and grab some tips. Also, if you have any questions for what to do with your own fantasy team - who to pick up, what order to draft certain players in, and so on - send them in, and I'm sure Wobby will take his best stab at helping you out.

Let all now welcome Wobby to the SGN team, and we'll see if maybe some other people come on shortly. Summer really just isn't my time for sports!

 

mattingley's matters

welcome to the first installment of "mattingley's matters". i am a well-wisher of kent macdonald in that i don't wish him any direct harm. kent has asked me to write up a weekly report on fantasy baseball. it might not actually be weekly, but i'll see what i can do.

i recently participated in a fantasy baseball live-draft (and by recently i mean back in february). it's a 12-team 5x5 league. surprisingly we actually had 6-7 people live-drafting, so it made for a much more interesting (and stressful) draft. i had the third overall pick and below is my analysis of the first five rounds of the draft (from my perspective).

round 1 - vlad guerrero over mark teixeira, johan santana, david wright, manny ramirez
going into this draft, there was only one draft position i didn't want, and that was third. it's not because i don't like vladdy, quite the opposite really, but i had him last year and i wanted to field a different team this time around. i contemplated santana with this pick (since he is a master in 5x5 leagues) as well as teixeira, but felt that the only "logical" choice was guerrero. it was a safe pick, nothing more.

round 2 - jason bay over pedro martinez, andruw jones, chone figgins
as good of a year that jason bay is bound to have, i sometimes wonder if this is going to be the pick that i wish i had back. taking two outfielders with your first two picks is rarely a good idea. sure i had the 10th pick of the second round and most of the elite infielders were taken, but this was simply "take the best available player". but like vladdy, i had bay last year. so much for my new look team!

round 3 - todd helton over carlos beltran, hank blalock, roy oswalt, derek jeter, victor martinez
did i actually say i wanted a new look team? i had helton last season, somehow managed to live through his horrific first half (by his standards), and still went back for more. i probably should have taken oswalt with this pick, as a starting pitcher with his skills is always worth having. jeter or v-mart would have also been good choices, as they are at the top of weak positions. that being said, i stand by my choice of a power hitting first baseman who plays half his games at coors field.

round 4 - francisco rodríguez over mark prior, felix hernandez, rich harden
finally a new face! rivera and lidge got taken shortly before, and i wanted to make sure that i had at least one (actual) closer. k-rod is great to have in this kind of league, and i think he'll be a fun player too. for me this was a no-brainer based on the players still on the table.

round 5 - carlos zambrano over felipe lopez, javy lopez, scott podsednik
in round 5 i figured it was time to take a starting pitcher. the elite guys had already gone, but i think that zambrano isn't far off of "elite status". not only that, but apparently it's his mission to win the cy young, and i'm willing to take a ride on his coat-tails. this pick also brought me back to my un-official strategy of "let's draft every player i had last year".

all in all, i think that i did an okay job with my first five picks. my only slight regret is the helton pick, but i think when the season is over i'll be thankful i went the way i did. until next time...

Wednesday, March 22, 2006 

Watches Watch

NBA at ESPNshop.com

Elias Watch

23 games, 25 points, +7 rating. More importantly, however, are the 15 wins the Devils have lodged with Elias in the lineup. That is to say, they have 15 wins and 8 losses with Elias, versus 19 wins and 26 losses without. They have been in a bit of a slide lately, but still appear to be secure in a playoff spot. If the manage to draw the Rangers in the first round, I’m pretty sure my money would still be on Brodeur over Lundqvist. Even without Mogilny in the lineup.

Mogilny Watch

What I don’t understand is why the River Rats have the 6th worst attendance in the AHL. They are averaging only 4,026 fans per game, which makes no sense. Having been to Albany I can say almost for certain that there is nothing better to do with your time than watch Alex Mogilny play some world class hockey (albeit surrounded by minor-leaguers on a last place team). Seriously, Albany is a hole, there is nothing else there. I checked with Ticketmaster and upcoming events of note include “Larry the Cable Guy”, and if golden showers are more your thing, R. Kelly will be stopping by in April. If I’m missing something, please someone from Albany let me know what that might be. Otherwise get out there and watch what might be some of the last games that a legend may play in his career. He at least deserves that much.

Zarley Z Watch

I’m still waiting for someone to send me an update on Zarley Zalapski’s current status. You guys really, REALLY just aren’t following up on things properly for me anymore. I needs ta know about my Zarley.

Antonio Watch

A big part of me is starting to suspect that Antonio may have put in 8 games because that’s what was decided that he should put in, for appropriate show. A compromise likely reached to both save his face as the President of the Players Association, and to keep him from having to be somewhere that he, and his precious wife, hates. Most notably, the 8 games he put in only had him showing up for 2 games in Canada. At the end of the Raptor’s 5 game road trip, suddenly Antonio found himself injured. From what I saw of his last game against Miami, he seemed fine. 2 days later in Toronto, however, he was nowhere to be seen. If this isn’t what really happened, then I apologize to mister Davis, but at this point it is more than a little bit suspect. And it’s sad, because he had me committed to be his #1 fan. Now I just don’t know what I believe in anymore. I guess as a Canadian I’ll have to go back to cheering for Vince Carter… I mean Tracey McGrady… I mean Steve Francis… oh man…

234x60_promo_1234x60_season_2.gif
White Guy Watch

The Raptors are rolling into Boston on Wednesday, which reminded me to check on the White Guy Dunk Contest Results. The 4 contestants that the public would most like to see in such an event are:

1. Dauber Kamen
2. Half-a-man Araujo
3. Darko Milicic
4. Brian Scalabrine

It’s a shame that Z didn’t quite get into the event, because I for one would give anything to see what kind of tricks can be done in the midst of a massive 4 inch vertical. The possibilities are endless. But, the line-up is decent, if not just for the constant array of clanks off the back of the rim from Araujo. It’s even got the token goofy red head in the midst. Just a great field all around. Now, send in your descriptions of your favourite contestants dunks, and I’ll put the best ones for each in a post next week. The more creative and/or embarrassing the dunk, the better.

Olympic Watch

The Olympics are still over:

Canada: None
USA: None

Groin Watch

So many groins this year, so little time. Hasek’s one-week injury he sustained in the first week of the Olympics has, by this point, officially taken more than one week to heal. He did skate this week, although not in any equipment. He also managed to fall at one point skating backwards and fairly slowly. But the road to recovery is well underway, and his one week should be over in 2 or 3 more weeks. Emery has done a decent job in his place, but if the Sens are going to compete, they need Hasek, and they need him to be healthy. I’m sure if the Sens do meet an early end in the playoffs, there will be a lot more people in Ontario agreeing with me that tournaments in the middle of the playoff races are not the place for NHLers to be playing. Some people on the west coast, who have already seen their Canucks complete their inevitable slide out of a playoff spot, probably already agree with me. The Canucks fans, though, do have other scapegoats to look at if they want. What a mess that team has turned into late in the season, as seems to be tradition on the coast of late. We’ll never know what that team could have been without injuries, conflict, coaching mistakes, court cases, in-fighting, etc. You have to think something better should have come out of the last 3 years than Canucks fans were awarded. But you’ll just have to keep thinking.

Monday, March 20, 2006 

Too Angry To Bother

My running joke is that I'm always happier when Ohio State doesn't make the tournament, because then I don't have to watch them lose in the second round. They were having a great season, but still I was expecting a second round loss. They got the number 2 seed, but I was still expecting a second round loss. All of a sudden experts were saying they could make the final four, and I started thining it might be different. 20% of the people in yahoo picked them to make the final four, and my hopes even got a little bit up. I was even excited for todays game.

Then, game time...

Halfway through the first, Ohio's down 20 to 10 and my TV goes off. In the end, the Buckeyes end up shooting all of 40%, and grabbing 2 - yes TWO - offensive rebounds. It's so much worse since Syracuse went out even sooner, and now all I have left to do is cheer against Duke (in a conflicted manner, mind you, since I picked them in my fantasy brackets. I did, however, pick Ohio to go out a little earlier than I mentioned in my post last week. I guess my hopes weren't up that high. They just always do this in the end).

And with that, March now officially sucks as much as it always does. I need a new team. I'm open to suggestions*, so let me know now who'll be my boys in 2007. I just can't take any more years like this.


*note* don't even think about suggesting Duke, North Carolina or Carlton. Especailly Carlton. Stuff like that just isn't funny.

Saturday, March 18, 2006 

Conversations With the JF

Today was apparently one of those very unproductive days for the JF and I, so I thought I would take advantage of that and use the best of our daily conversations as my post today. It actually took quite a while to put this together, so it wasn't the short cut I was hoping for. Nonetheless, here is the first (and maybe only) installment of Conversations With the JF.

Mogilny and the Blunderers

JF - they showed clips of mogilny when he was on the leafs during the game tonight. i wish mogilny was in the league. it was good with him.

SGN - did he rape lou's wife or something? seriously? did he? or his mothers skeleton? how do you not at least just pick up a 3rd round pick for him?

JF – they waived him and nobody took him, so it’s not like they could trade him. It’s that contract and the salary cap. There’s no excuse for new jersey not having him on the team though.

SGN – if he’s in the minors, does his salary count?

JF - bobby says it counts next year
http://www.tsn.ca/columnists/bob_mckenzie.asp?id=150228

but i read other places that it doesn't count this year. and remember when elias was coming back, they dumped mcgillis to get under the cap...

SGN – think they’ll call him up for the playoffs?

JF – no I don’t. lou’s just got some idea in his head about the way things are.

SGN – he’ll come up… he has to…

JF – why does he have to?

SGN – for the sake of my sanity

JF – lou ain’t concerned for your sanity

SGN – he should be. I’m dangerous. I can’t believe we never talked about that oilers goal today.

JF – which one’s that?

SGN – the one in overtime. you didnt see it? really?


prongers stick blew up on a point shot, so they took the puck the other way. after a miss, emmington comes out on a 2 on 2 break. they get the the blue line, and the one backwards going defenseman trips over the broken stick, managing in the process to kick it over to the other defenseman who also trips over it. in alone, goal.
JF - wow. they were talking about it on tv. i missed most of it, i just heard them saying they've been working on a play where he busts his stick. except there was no fake laugh to show it was a joke. i figured it had to be but it was weird to hear it in non-joke voice with no context. sounds like a real cheapo, i'll have to take a look.

SGN – I cant believe it didn’t get more play in the media. It was friggin awesome. Both defensemen tripped on the same stick on a 2 on 2. I mean really, that’s a one in a bazillion chance.

JF – just watched it on nhl.com. do you think samsonov purposely led the first guy into the stick? The announcers didn’t seem to realize it happened.

SGN – that’s what I’m saying, no one made much notice of it. Wasn’t even highlite of the night. I thought it was legendary.

JF – I agree. It’s the stupidest thing that’s ever happened in hockey.

SGN – it should have been plastered all over everything. Something like that cant happen. And then it did.

JF – it could happen in a cheesy Disney movie. But that’s about it.

SGN – maybe this is a Disney movie. If Edmonton wins the cup I’m going to be 60% certain it is.



The Other Sports Guys Oversight

JF – http://sports.espn.go.com/espn/page2/story?page=simmons/060317

SGN – his high fives are nothing, if not awkward

JF – dauber's a real center

SGN – i was just punching back in here to say those exact words. and something about sacremento too

JF – i'm glad he threw that kobe stat in there. he's always missing end of game shots, yet people still act like he's this hero because they remember one or two.

SGN – oh, i agree completely.

how can he say in one sentence kamen is a real center... then go on to say he is sub par defensively, and cant o anything guarding real centers. he is between brezac and blount among centers in scoring. if he's bad on defense, what makes him a real center?


JF – that struck me as being a little inconsistent too. sometimes he just misses on stuff

SGN – or, since brezac can play some defense, maybe he's just the best center in the league

JF – I really never thought of it that way.


Fantasy Stuff

SGN - seriously, what happened with goobers team? vernon wells is his weakest batter, and garland with his 18 wins last year is his weakest pitcher. on my team i took rickie weeks in the 10th round. what happened?


lugo in the 13th and kendall in the 15th?


JF - probably a matter of letting the computer pick. if you look at our no trades yahoo hockey league, there's only one team doing better than the computer.

SGN – that’s only cuz your guys retired. And my goalie’s a backup now. So I won’t be winning it.


JF – actually just one guy retired. one sent to the minors. and some injuries. hasek's injury destroyed my team.

SGN – aebischers gonna do the same to me. that ones balls. trade your #1 to be a teams #2 and then have to use your own #2. man.

JF – yeah. mine's still worse though, even if temporary, because my goalies were all i had. i was winning probably 80-90% of goalie stuff and assists, and 20% of the rest.

in real life the av's trade isn't so bad. if theo gets good again they could win it all with him. not so with aebischer. and if it doesn't, the price of the gamble is downgrading from aeb to budaj. no biggie.

SGN – its bad cuz they may have killed their playoff chances this year... depending on how bad LA and Vancouver keep being.... and if your team is good enough, aebischer is fine

JF – budaj is fine.

you're looking at this wrong. it's not about are they more likely to win their next games than they were before the trade. they're upper level mediocre with aebischer, lower mediocre with budaj. but they're not interested in being mediocre. this gives them a chance to be good. that's what they want, so it's worth a shot.
and it didn't kill their playoff chances. if they miss it's more because they lost svatos than because of aebischer being traded. it's not as if they've been shutting everybody down all year.

SGN – aebischer = theodore > budaj

aebischers numbers last year were as good as theodores mvp season, and better comparatively this year. there is nothing in aebischers play that makes him a lesser option than theodore. colorado playe nothing resembling good defense this year.


JF – if we're talking about numbers, budaj's are significantly better than aebischer's this year. and aebischer is not as good as theo when theo plays well. you know that.

SGN – i said all along legace and aeb should be #1's. theodore has a lot of felix in him. you never know what year hell give you

JF – that's all true. that's why it's a gamble. but it's worth taking because the downgrade from aeb to budaj isn't that much. aeb's a solid number one, but he's not hero of the year. theo was hero of the year once and in theory could be again

SGN – aebischer could win a cup. not now. now hes a backup. no goalie has the mental capability of going to backup then being able to recover properly (ie. cechmanek), unless he has a vendetta (ie. felix, cujo). aebs is done now.

JF – think theo has a vendetta?

SGN – no. but he avoided the backup dilemma by being injured and traded instead.


My Bad

SGN - oh sweet, i was wrong. it turns out i didnt sit through OSU early exits before. what an imagination i have.
http://sports.yahoo.com/ncaab/recap?gid=200603170443

JF - well that changes everything.

last saturday, nyr and montreal played a night game. in the afternoon, yahoo had the final game boxscore. called it a 3-0 habs win. even had goal scorers and shots on net and everything. if i recall, souray and ribeiro scored and huet turned away eighteen shots

SGN – I have a helluva imagination.

I see… howd the real game go?

JF – can’t remember. I think Montreal won 2-1 or something. Or something completely different.




Raptors Friday Night Fanibration

SGN – the introduction scrum was so fruity, even for the Raps…

JF – what did they do?

SGN – a lot of hand jives and fake jumping into each other. It was the wow.

JF – oh yeah, mopete like the fake jump. It’s no coincidence that this happened on the team that leads the league in earrings.

SGN – even with Jalen, Starbury (nice to see Starbury back) and Franchise all on the same team? I have no evidence to back claiming the non-Jalens wear earrings other than the fact that they must.

JF – I was actually wondering about the accuracy of my statement as I was typing it, on account of the Jalen trade.

SGN - leo just tried to say the raps problem tonight is that they have attempted 20 3 pointers. i thinks to myself, ok that might have to do with it. in the same sentence he says they are 45% from there tonight, but he'd rather have more free throws any night.

9 for 20 from three, and thats the reason they're losing.

i'll just assume the orange game has him down, and he's hit the bottle already tonight.

JF – it’s not the booze talking. It’s just leo’s special affection for free throws.

SGN – can’t go having 45% from 3… that’s like going 63% from inside. Not nearly good enough.

JF – leo.

SGN – did you see Bonner jumping in front of the inbounds pass…. Hahahaha… white guy…

JF – no. but earlier I saw him throw the inbounds pass, and then run down the court with the arms straight down running.

SGN – did he ever know that he’s my hero? He’s everything I wish I could be.
So, see the end of the iowa game?

JF – nope. What happened? Sometimes I throw the headphones on and look at the computer and miss 99.7% of what’s on tv.

SGN – you’ll see it.

JF – was there a granny at the buzzer?

SGN – almost.



Theodore Huxtable?

SGN – Theodore is playing tomorrow already!?!?!?!?!?

JF – that’s sooner than what was earlier reported. Now this has me wondering if Montreal didn’t fudge the length of it just to give the job to Huet, and Colorado knew he’d be back earlier when they traded.

SGN – I really don’t know what to make of it, because that is insanely early. And out of no where. If the avs knew, then it’s not a bad trade.

JF – maybe there’s a good reason propecia is a banned substance

SGN – maybe you should have picked some up this week.

JF – if only I knew


Speaking of which, the JF’s injury replacement and I will be in a Hockey, Volleyball and Basketball Triathlon all day Saturday, so if I do get around to doing an article Saturday night it won’t be very long, or very good I imagine. These tournaments were too tiring back when I was in shape, I can’t imagine how it’ll feel with 25 extra pounds on my bones. Just keep that in mind tomorrow when you start wondering why a 5 year old is writing for me. It's not a little kid, just a really really tired old guy.

Thursday, March 16, 2006 

March Madness Bracket Predictions

Here we go, the madness is on us. What follows is my personal trip through the brackets. NCAA hoops, however, are not my specialty, so take this for what it’s worth, and certainly don’t expect the same results I put up for the NFL this year. Nonetheless, if any of you are in a pool with me and I see these picks come up in your brackets, I will hunt you down. Oh yes, I will. Nonetheless, here goes anyway.

First Round Losers

Atlanta – Southern, Pensylvania, Northwestern, Iona, Texas A&M, Southern Ill., NC Wilmington, California

Normally I’m one of those guys who goes hardcore on the first round upsets. Not this year, though, none of them stand out. California is the only one here. All NC State needs to do to stop them is to stop Powe. Seems easy enough for them. Uncle Wilmington is a pretty good 9th seed, if you really want a second upset in Atlanta, but George Washington is a really good 8 seed with only 2 losses on the year It could go either way, but I’m giving this one to the G Dub over the uncle.

Oakland – Oral Roberts, Belmont, Xavier. Bradley, Kent San Diego, Alabama, Arkansas

Again, only one favourite going down, with Arkansas dropping to Bucknell. I know a lot of people are picking Arkansas to make it even to the sweet 16, and they did look respectable of late. Also, my Bucknell favour is lasting from a game way back in November where they beat Syracuse convincingly. For some reason that’s just sticking with me, and I’m taking Bucknell to win a game for only the second tournament in their history. Again, if you need another upset, look to San Diego to take down the Hoosiers. Just don’t count on it.

Washington – Albany, Winthrop, Murray State, Air Force, Utah St., George Mason, Kentucky, Wichita St.

OK, finally two upsets in a region. Again, however, many people are picking Witchita State to make it to the sweet 16, and even the elite 8 on occasion.. I’m sure Witchita was just happy to see George Mason, who beat them earlier this year, ranked a spot below Seton Hall. That happiness won’t last through the game, though, as Seaton Hall rides their winning conference record in the Big East right over the Shockers. UAB Kentucky is a pretty even game. Two years ago, when Kentucky was a 1 seed, UAB took them down, and look to repeat that feat again this year. This is an off season for Kentucky, and will result in a first round loss.

Minneapolis – Monmouth, Davidson, South Alabama, Pacific, Montana, Wisconson Milwaukee, North Iowa, Arizona

In the last region I again am only picking one underdog. I’m really sorry for these picks, only 5 upsets in the first round is something that just never happens. I really can’t see much happening very different. Arizona isn’t as good as in the past, and I really don’t like Hassan Adams on any team. The Badgers have already beaten Iowa and Ohio State this year, and should build on that going into Minnesota. Again, if you need a second upset, look to Wisconsin Wilwaukee over the Sooners, who lost to a non-tournament team in the Big-12 tournament.

Second Round Losers

Atlanta – George Washington, NC State, LSU, Iowa

As a change of pace, half of these results are upsets. McNamara has taken over the Orange, and was the Big 12 tournament MVP. LSU is young (mostly 1st and 2nd year players), and should be no match for Syracuse’s experience. Look for the Tigers to come back strong next March. West Virginia has most of the same team back from last year, and are looking to better their Elite 8 finish. Iowa will put up a good fight, as they did in beating Ohio State the other week, but they will probably come up short in the end. I look forward to that game already, though, it looks to be one of the best.

Oakland – Bucknell, Marquette, Indiana, Kansas

In the upset here, I am taking one of the tournament favourites in Kansas to fall to Pittsburgh. I know that Kansas started slow and picked up their game, and Pittsburgh started 15-0 only to slide in the second half of the year, but Aaron Gray looks awesome, and should be able to guarantee a double-double in this game. The Jayhawks are young, however, and should be a 1 seed next year, and deservedly so. As for Memphis, many people are picking them to be the #1 seed that loses by the second round, but I just don’t know what that’s based on. They have won 19 of their last 20 games, Carney was the C-USA player of the year, and Williams averaged 18 points per game to win tournament MVP. Everything points to these guys being a legitimate #1 seed, and I’m sure their play will give evidence to that.

Washington - Seton Hall, UAB, Michigan State, Illinois

In the only upset here, Washington looked awesome in PAC-10 play this year, just to stumble in their tournament. Illinois also fell in their first round, and the loss of Luther Head and Deron Williams will prove to be holes too big to fill against the Huskies. If Seton Hall can shut down the Volunteers point guards there could be another upset here, but it doesn’t seem too likely.

Minneapolis – Wisconsin, Georgetown, Oklahoma, Nevada

Sorry again, no upsets here. To be fair, though, the top 4 teams in Minneapolis are leagues and leagues above the other 12. I actually wouldn’t be surprised if they managed to go through this entire bracket without an upset. I only picked 2 to happen in total, and I’m not confident in either of those. This bracket really just isn’t any fun for gambling.

Sweet 16 DeathsSyracuse, West Virginia, Pittsburgh, UCLA, Washington, Tennessee, Boston College, Florida

Upsets here include Tennessee falling to North Carolina and UCLA falling to Gonzaga. Starting with Tennessee, this is another one of those games that I’m looking forward to, and hoping will actually happen. The Volunteers lost four of their last six, and bowed out of their tournament in the first round, but that does not take away from the fact that they are stacked at the guard positions. I love teams like that once the tournament comes around. North Carolina is young, strong, and will be able to stay right with the Volunteers. The defending champs take this one in one hell of a fun game.

The other upset is pretty simple. UCLA lives and dies by their defense, and I just cant see them being enough to shut down Adam Morrison and J.P. Batista, who will take it to them for the entire game. The pair will combine for at least 20 points, and will send the Bruins packing early, despite most people sending them to the final 4 in their minds.

As for Syracuse, they and Ohio State are my teams, and I hate to call them out this early. McNamara deserves better in his last go, but they did not get the seed they wanted. Duke is the only team that can put them out, an unfortunately they have to face them in the Sweet 16. My fingers will be crossed, but even Gerry won’t be enough to beat the Devils.

Elite 8 ExitsTexas, Memphis, North Carolina, Villanova

Texas plays Duke. How can you combat that? Duke is coming out of Atlanta, and not even Syracuse nor Texas can stop them.

I know I spoke very well of Memphis in a previous round, but that was in defense against most people picking them out in the 2nd round. A matchup against Gonzaga or UCLA, on the other hand, is a little too much, Morrison and Batista on Gonzaga, in particular, seem to be too much of a pairing for any of the teams in Oakland. I can’t wait to watch them play in some big games, half expecting them to fall apart, mind you, and screw up my whole bracket.

North Carolina is a great team, with a good mix of play makers, scorers, and leadership. Unfortunately for them, the only teams I could imagine possibly beating UConn are Duke and Syracuse, neither of whom they would have to meat until the finals. That statement includes the Boston Celtics and New York Knicks as well, in case you were wondering.

OK, I’ll admit it. I think I just took Ohio State over Villanova because they are my team. Can you really make the final four playing with just 7 people? It’s hard to imagine. But nonetheless, I’m taking the team with the best 7-footer to find it’s way there. And I’m also hoping that Ray Allen sticks around long enough in the NBA to be in a 3-point contest with Allan Ray some day. That would be legendary.

Final Four FlopsGonzaga, Ohio State

These teams have to play Duke and UConn. That’s the extent of what I have to say about that. Sorry Buckeyes.

The Ultimate Final

Could you imagine if this is actually the game that we get to see as the final? That would be sick. I don’t even want to think about it. It would easily go down as one of the best sporting match-ups in history. Villanova, Gonzaga and North Carolina might have something to say about that, but I can still dream. And in my dream, UConn pulls it off with some kind of crazy last second play. Until my dream doesn’t come true, I won’t even speculate on any other possibility. I’m taking UConn to win, and I’m getting ready to enjoy the madness.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006 

NHL Playoff Race Breakdown - The West

Western Conference

The Top Two

Detroit
Dallas


And history repeats itself. Before the season started, the "experts" had Detroit and Dallas away from the top of the conference, and even sometimes out of the playoffs altogether. They all sighted the "New NHL", and that these teams had older players, and that Legace wasn't a #1 goalie, and none of it made sense. I didn't understand it at all, and I called Detroit the easy favourite to win the conference. How did everything turn out? With 17 or so games still left, there isn't a chance at all that any teams can knock these two power houses out of the #1 and #2 seeds. And it really wasn't difficult, in any sense of the word, to see that coming. Legace, in a limited roll, had already proven himself over recent years to be one of the best in the league. I will never understand how that caught people off guard. And what exactly did they think was going to happen to Turco? Truly baffling.

Detroit probably holds off the Stars fairly easily in the end, but these are the only two teams with a shot at top spot. It has been that way all season long.

Third and Secure

Calgary

The Flames may only be one point up on division rival Colorado, but at this point that is an illusion. Calgary has a full 3 games on hand, and their games next week (against Minnesota, Minnesota, St. Louis, Columbus) should see some room open up. The Avs are going from here on in with Budaj, who is too young and inexperienced, and no comparison for Kiprusof (as much as I disagree with Kippers style, in the same way that I never thought Cujo was good, he just gets the job done anyway.). As much as I hate the Flames style of play, and wish more than anything that they would be blasted out of the water, they have the #3 spot sealed up at this point in my mind.

4 Spot Rocks the 4 Spot

Nashville

The pack has caught up a bit, but the Preds have 2 games on hand and Vokoun in net, so it's not a big deal. Not in the same league as Detroit anymore, and not likely catchable for Colorado without Aebischer, so the 4 spot will suit the preds just fine from here on out. That said, I think the 5 and 6 pots have become very attractive goals for the packs in both conferences. Calgary, Nashville, Buffalo and the Rangers are VASTLY more attractive opponents than Ottawa, Carolina, Detroit and Dallas. Those 4 teams have really shown that they stand out above everyone else this year The 7 and 8 seeds will only be around for one round, they need to fight for 5 and 6.

6 Team Log Jam

Colorado
LA
Vancouver
Edmonton
San Jose
Anaheim


This next section is one one part of the league that is tough to get a handle on. Here are 6 teams fighting for 4 playoff spots. San Jose is 5 points out of the playoffs, and 9 spots behind Colorado, but I almost want to say that their spot is the most certain in the playoffs. Of those 6 teams, if nothing else, they are the best and most talented all around. Colorado shot themselves in the foot in net, LA has injury problems and questionable goaltending, Vancouver has to worry about anthrax coming in the mail, which may take something away from their play. Edmonton did a very good job at the trade deadline, and should have a playoff spot as well. People are calling Anaheim out since they lost too much talent at the deadline, but man they are calling Carney part of that. He's Keith Carney, not someone of real worth. I really don't get where his "value" came from. It's like when the Leafs brought in Ken Klee last season. This stuff always happens around the deadline with defenseman, and each time it makes almost less sense than the last. It's hard to say for sure which two teams will miss out, but if I had to guess right now it would be Los Angelas and Vancouver. Different factors, however, can change that prediction from day to day, but right now they are the least effective of the 6 teams.

More Tee Times

Minnesota
Phoenix
St.Louis
Columbus
Chicago


OK, so Phoenix, St.Louis, Columbus and Chicago were out before the season started. No surprises there at all. The only one that might be questioned is Minnesota. They are only 2 points behind San Jose and 5 points out of the playoffs. They'd have to leap frog over San Jose and Anaheim, who each have 4, yes 4 games on hand, and have been playing great hockey lately. After that, they would still have to catch one more team. This just isn't going to happen. The Wild may not be an AHL team like the other 4, but their season is effectively over at this point. If only they could have brought Keith Carney in to save their season.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006 

NHL Playoff Race Breakdown

As the NHL bumps up into high gear with teams playing 3 or 4 games per week (did i ever mention my opinion on NHLers in the Olympics?), playoff races are definitely underway. While many positions are up for contention, the Conferences are easily broken up into teams fighting for specific places. When in tranches, it's a little bit easier to put the playoff picture together. That, as should be obvious at this point, will be the subject of this post, and continued tomorrow. So here it is: The NHL Eastern Conference Post Season Shuffle

Eastern Conference

Premiere Group

Carolina
Ottawa


These two clubs have put space between them and their competition lately. Buffalo has climbed to within 2 points of Ottawa lately, but 12 of their last 19 games are against playoff teams, and 4 more are against a Maple Leafs squad who are fighting for respectability at this point. That makes for 16 of the toughest possibly games, and 11 on the road. That is not the best formula for making up more room on the best team in the league, and even if they catch Carolina it won't matter for placement.

As for the Ottawa/Carolina battle, this final stretch is mostly made out of divisional games. What that means is that Carolina gets to take advantage of 6 games against Washington and Florida, and likely ends up taking Ottawa in the end.

The 3-5 Tango

New York Rangers
Philadelphia


Neither of these teams are going to catch Ottawa, Carolina or Buffalo, so they are battling for 3rd or 5th. Right now, the Rangers have a 2 point advantage, and a game in hand, which doesn't mean much with this many games left. But their schedules are fairly similar, they've had similar success lately, and they play each other 3 more times, so this one should come down to whichever team is better. Can Lundqvist keep up his stellar rookie play? Has someone actually convinced Jagr to care for a full season? Can Rucchin and Straka continue to exist in the same environment without imploding? The only question in Philly remains which goalie is the way to go in net, which to me is choosing between two very adequate goaltenders. Right now, then, I will have to give the edge to Philly, and the coach of the year award the other way if the Rangers end up holding onto the division.

Four!

Buffalo

This is the only spot in the East that seems secure right now. The surprising Sabres have played as a team, and it has made them one of the best. Their unfortunate existence in the same division with the Senators is the only thing keeping them from moving higher, but I think that if you ask any Sabres fans out there, they are ecstatic with a #4 seed at this point.

Fighting For Their Lives

Tampa
New Jersey
Montreal
Atlanta
Toronto


Tampa, in this group, has by far the easiest schedule remaining. If New Jersey, Montreal or even Toronto were in the Southeast, i don't think they'd be fighting for their lives at this point. But that point is moot. Tampa should end up in the 5 spot pretty easily, assuming they show up a little bit more defensively than they have lately. Coach T should be able to turn them around, or end up in the loony bin trying. Atlanta is still in this fight, as they have 8 full games left against teams below them in the standings. If one of New Jersey (Elias needs to be in the lineup) or Montreal (can Huet and Aebischer turn into a truly reliable duo?)falters, Atlanta should be right there waiting.

Toronto is in here, because they have a good deal of control over their own fate. 2 games against the easiest team to catch, Montreal, 6 Pittsburgh, NYI and the likes games they shouldn't lose, One more blowout against Ottawa is on tap, but the rest of their last 5 games should be against teams whose playoff spot or life will be decided by then. Although 6 points back with a game on hand, there is still life left in Leaf land. There may just be a first round loss to Carolina in the books, if everything comes together right. But the Leafs will need a lot of help.


Setting Their Tee Times

NYI
Florida
Boston
Washington
Pittsburgh



You may wonder how the Leafs and the Islanders can be tied right now, but I'm calling the Islanders finished and giving the Leafs a chance. Well, all you have to do is remember the fire sale the Islanders had on trading deadline day. Those were not the actions of a team looking to make the playoffs They were borderline with Parrish, Kvasha and Sopel, and hopeless without. That's not to mention and abundance of games left against the Flyers, Rangers and Devils. Pittsburgh games will keep them close, and ahead of the other 4 teams, but not nearly enough for the playoffs.

I don't think I should need to explain why the other 4 teams are already finished. 2 of them were finished in October. But while I'm mentioning them, I have something to ask that is Florida related. Olli Jokinen picked up the offensive player of the week award, and also signed a $21 million, 4 year contract extension. So I was wondering, is anyone else out there as unconvinced about Olli's play, or is it just me at this point? I'm getting the same feeling of being alone about someones talents that I had with Shane Doan a couple of years ago. Everyone seems to love him, but I'm pretty sure he's getting all the "someones gotta score" points in Florida.

What I mean is that Florida is bad. Likely the worst team in the league, if you ignore their goalie. There is no talent, relative to the rest of the league. While Jokinen might be the best player on the team, that does not make him elite in the league as far as I can tell. It's like on my ball hockey team this session. We were awful (that's what happens when you end up somewhere that you don't know anyone, so you have to play on a "free agents" team). We lost all 7 games, but in the 6 I showed up to I got 18 goals to likely lead the league. I may have been the best player on the team, although there were some rucchin goals for sure, which is exactly the case for Olli. Like Olli, I would never even slightly suggest that I'm one of the best players in the league, and I wouldn't be worth $21 million in a similar financial environment. As much as he may be scoring, Olli still resembles a Doan/Nagy situation to me. Shane Corson in Edmonton also comes to mind. There are many examples, and all of them suggest that Olli is getting treatment that time will show he doesn't deserve. If I'm missing something, someone please tell me, because I'm really feeling like the odd man out on this one.

Saturday, March 11, 2006 

NBA Player Power Rankings

The following is the power rankings for the top 25 players, on a per game basis, in the NBA this year. This ranking tries to take into consideration all stats as well as the players position, and to some extent potential upside in the next couple of years. My explanations follow, but feel free to send me some explanations for your own choices as well. If I don't get at least one email from an angry Celtic's fan this time, I'm going to be very disappointed. In any event, here are the power rankings:


1. S. Marion (Pho)

Marion has done it all this year. 21.9 points per game, 12.3 rebounds, 1.9 steals, 1.9 blocks, 51.7% from the floor and 80.3% on free throws. Add to that only 1.5 turnovers per game, and there isn't anything Marion hasn't done to make up for Amare's absence. Think of it this way: More three pointers than Pierce, more points than Baron, more rebounds than Ben Wallace, more blocks than Rasheed, more steals than Kobe, better shooting percentage than Nash and better free throw percentage than Joe Johnson. There is no doubting his standing as the best all around player in the league this year.


2. L. James (Cle)

Everyone talks about how LeBron's passing game is a thing of the past, but that's still good for 6.8 assists a game this far. Another all around player, but a little less reliable defensively than Marion. Offer LeBron to any GM in the league straight up for any other player, and I'm certain the deal is made 100% of the time.


3. K. Bryant (LAL)

Kobe is way out in front with 35.4 points per game, and there are a couple of single game performances I don't need to remind people of. There is no better pure scorer in the league, now or in recent history.


4. G. Arenas (Was)

A threat inside and out, Arenas is among the league leaders in 3 pointers, points and steals. He is the biggest reason for the Bullets resurgence in the past couple of seasons, and deserves the ranking among the leagues elite that goes with it.


5. R. Allen (Sea)

Ray is making 3.4 3 pointers a game, to easily lead the league, and is also 91% from the free throw line. 25 points, 4.2 rebounds and 1.5 steals aren't too bad either.


6. A. Kirilenko (Uta)

While AK47 might only be getting 15 points and 4 assists per game, he makes up for some of the deficit in Blocks, Steals and Rebounds. No one else as strong in those three categories comes close to his point and assist totals.


7. J. Kidd (NJ)

All the Nash die-hards out there aren't going to like seeing Kidd's name come up first. The arguments will read that Nash is still putting up his numbers even though Amare is injured. But guess what - the team left in Phoenix without him is still leagues better than the Nets. Nash is also trailing Kidd in 3 pointers, rebounds, steals, blocks and turnovers.


8. M. Camby (Den)

If Camby could ever be relied on to be healthy for extended periods of time, he'd be the best big guy in the league, hands down. If you compare his numbers to Ben Wallaces, they are even in every statistic, except that Camby shoots 74% free throws versus 44% from Ben, he nearly doubles him in points 14.1 to 7.6, and he even out-blocks him 3.3 to 2.2.


9. E. Brand (LAC)

Elton is in the top ten in field goal percentage, points, rebounds and blocks. His last three seasons with the Clippers have been some of the most under-rated play in the league.


10. S. Nash (Pho)

Nearly a full 2 assists per game lead on anyone else in the league, and hands down the best shot from the free throw line. He may be 10th in these rankings, but I wouldn't be surprised to see his name in contention for his second straight MVP award. His team does still live and die by his play, but a lot of that is because thats how their game is coached. He and Kidd are the class of the league amongst point guards. A class of their own.


11. J. Richardson (GS)

Imagine if you were in a starting lineup that involved Troy Murphy and Mike Dunleavy. Still, J Rich is among the league leaders in 3 pointers and points, and is one of the more entertaining players in the league to watch on a daily basis. If only the rest of the team would catch up.


12. R. Wallace (Det)

Sheed earned his All Star status this year in spades. 16 points with 2 three-pointers, 1.6 blocks and only 1 turnover per game. Not bad from the free throw line for someone who plays his style of game either.


13. G. Wallace (Cha)

What a shot this kid has, shooting nearly 55%, and not all of it inside. Speaking of inside, he still manages 7.4 rebounds and 2.2 blocks per game, making him another one of the few all around players that help you in every way. And that doesn't even mention his league-leading 2.5 steals per game. In a couple of years i won't be the only one considering Gerald as possibly one of the ten best in the league. His numbers are fantastic, considering this is still just his second full season.


14. A. Iverson (Phi)

Top ten, as always, in Points, Steals and Assists, he still puts up a few too many bricks for my liking. Not to mention a lack of appetite for rebounds, and a few too many balls in the front row of the audience. I sometimes wonder how many points he'd get a game if he actually got equal treatment from the refs instead of 162 free throws and 27 free walks a game.


15. T. McGrady (Hou)

T Mac, as we found out today, will be unavailable to play for 5 to 6 weeks with yet another back injury. It's a shame that he has been plagued with injuries, or he may well have been one of the best players of all time. Even through the pain, though, you can always rely on TMac to be among the league leaders in points. You can't like Houston's chances to do anything at all this season now.


16. K. Garnett (Min)

No the KG of past years, but still leading the league in Rebounds, and among the leaders in shooting percentage. It's a shame that his team crumbled around him, he deserved better.


17. C. Billups (Det)

The second of three Pistons in this list, Billups has been phenomenal for the Pistons this year, stepping up to be the final piece they needed to ensure their Eastern Conference Championship status again. 2.6 points and a full 3 assists more per game over last year, Chauncey has proven he is the #3 point guard in the East.


18. P. Pierce (Bos)

27 points and 7 rebounds isn't too bad, but I would expect more from Pierce. You have to feel for his situation, though, playing on a team that wouldnt even qualify for March Madness without him, let alone have a chance to win.


19. D. Wade (Mia)

Wade has come into his own in the league this year, earning a spot in the league top ten in Points, Steals and Assists per game, and in many ways taking over leadership of the Heat from Shaq. Shaq seems more than content to watch his little buddy take over this time, though, as he appears to be Wade's #1 fan. It would be nice to see them win a Championship together once before Shaq really starts to fade, but I'm not sure there's much anyone can do with the Pistons this year.


20. D. Nowitzki(Dal)

Disco is the only 7-footer I can think of who it's never a good idea to leave open, as he proved by winning the 3-point contest last month. 25.5 points, 8.6 rebounds, 1 block and only 1.9 turnovers, along with 1.4 3-pointers per game. I am going to field many emails asking how he could be ranked so low. Steals, assists and field-goal percentage? I don't know, I have no real good reason I guess, other than the talent of everyone else. So don't bother asking.


21. C. Paul (NOK)

Speaking of someone who I'm going to field questions about, I've already got Chris Paul in my top-25 list. A list that doesn't included Bibby, Mike James, Knight or Hinrich. But really, who puts up 16.4 points and 8 assists in their rookie season, while only turning the ball over a couple times a game? Lets compare - In Lebron's rookie season, he only had 4 more points per game, while picking up 2 less assists, the same number of rebounds, a half a steal less, and shot a much worse percentage from the free throw line. LeBron also had a full turnover more per game. It could actually be argued that Paul's rookie season, in many ways, is superior to LeBron's. I for one think it is.


22. J. Johnson (Atl)

Joe has to play in Atlanta now, and maybe I just feel bad for him and that's why he's in this list. But Atlanta is an up-and-coming team, as I've mentioned before, and if that continues Joe has to be a big part of it. 20.2 points and 6.5 assists isn't too shabby, though, considering his surroundings.


23. R. Artest (Sac)

Artest is the ultimate steal-machine in the league, and has a nice 3-point shot to go with it. Once he gets fully adjusted to his surroundings in Sac-town, he'll lead them into the playoffs, just like I predicted upon his arrival with the Kings.


24. B. Wallace (Det)

Big Ben's numbers have decreased a little bit this year, but there still isn't a team out there that wouldn't give their sister to have him in their lineup. Top 15 in blocks, steals and rebounds still, and his intimidation factor goals well beyond his numbers, as half the time people just don't challenge him.


25. C. Bosh (Tor)

Chris Bosh has certainly made a name for himself this year, and is in the top 15 in Shooting %, Free Throw %, Points and Rebounds. Anyone who was a team’s leader one year, and follows it up by increasing his output by 6 points and an assist has to be among the leagues top 25, and climbing. Toronto has to keep this man in the plans in order to even dream about competing in the next 3 years.

Thursday, March 09, 2006 

NHL Trade Deadline Recap

Here is a look at my recap of the 2006 NHL trade deadline deals. The transactions are set out on a team by team basis, and are shown by highest ranked team on through the lowest. Enjoy.

Carolina

Acquired: Mark Recchi

Deleted: Niklas Nordgren, Krys Kolanos, 2nd Round Draft Pick

Verdict: Nordgren is a career minor-leaguer, who managed to get into 43 uneventful games this year. Kolanos was a waiver pick-up. Recchi’s value was really low based on his +/- this year, but his plus minus was 110% due to the rest of his team. Recchi for a second round pick is a steal for a team that desperately needed to fill Eric Cole’s hole. Not having to pay desperately was a huge bonus. The leagues top team filled their only hole at no immediate expense. That’s how a top team is supposed to handle deadline day.

Ottawa

Acquired: Tyler Arnason

Deleted: Brendon Bochenski, 2nd Round Draft Pick

Verdict: This, on the other hand, appears to be a top team making a deal just to say they made a deal. Tyler Arnason is a chronic under-achiever, which is not something Ottawa needs heading into the playoffs, where under-acheivers flourish historically for the Sens. Bochenski was a high price to pay for Arnason, and throwing in a 2nd Round Pick makes this a definite loss for the Sens.


Detroit

Acquired: Cory Cross, 7th Round Draft Pick

Deleted: 4th Round Draft Pick, Jamie Rivers

Verdict: Bringing in Cory Cross. Wow. Wow. He didn’t fit in with the old NHL, and CERTAINLY does not in the new NHL. Rivers isn’t great, but he’s not a liability. He’s a guy that plays 8 minutes for you and you don’t even notice. Cross is not. Effectively, the Red Wings found a sharp downgrade to one of the worst D-men in the league, and also dropped 3 rounds in the draft on top of it. Clearly outside of Carolina the top teams were not ready for deadline day.


Buffalo

Acquired: 2nd Round Draft Pick

Deleted: Mika Noronen

Verdict: And here is another example. The Sabres had the “burden” of holding onto 3 NHL capable goaltenders, and what they got for one of them was only a second round pick? When goalies were at a premium, and every team wanted one? It’s also very surprising that they traded Noronen instead of Biron. Noronen would have been happy with a backup roll, he was just unhappy in the minors. Biron will not be happy as a backup. They really didn’t solve their problem, and traded a solid goaltending option for a draft pick. That’s just awful.


Dallas

Acquired: Willie Mitchell, 2nd Round Draft Pick

Deleted: Martin Skoula, Shawn Belle

Verdict: I wasn’t actually aware that Willie Mitchell and Martin Skoula were different people. Shawn Belle sounds about right for a 2nd round pick. It’s a fair trade, but not really necessary one. It happened though.


NY Rangers

Acquired: Sandis Ozolinsh, 3rd Round Draft Pick

Deleted: 3rd Round Draft Pick, Ville Nieminen

Verdict: Well, this teams hard to sort out. Losing Ville for a 3rd round pick was a waste. Getting Sandis for a 3rd round pick was great. So, would Ozo for Ville have been a good trade? NYR’s defense was solid, but had no offensive fire-power like Sandis. Hard to say how Ozo will come out of the substance abuse program, but he should be alright. On the other hand, Ville was one of the few Ranger forwards who was competent in the defensive zone. I think with Lundqvist in net this is a good end result for the Rangers, but the end of the season will tell.


Nashville

Acquired: Brendan Witt

Deleted: 1st Round Draft Pick, Kris Beech

Verdict: *OVERPAYMENT ALERT* Brendan Witt is NOT worth a first round pick. Period. What the rest of the trade tells me is that Nashville actually thinks that Kris Beech has negative value. Not just no value, literally negative value. Otherwise this trade doesn’t happen. This will not only not help the Preds, but it could very well hurt them in many ways. This is up there with Buffalo’s deal as the worst of deadline day. Wait, and someone brought in Cory Cross too, didn’t they?


Philadelphia

Acquired: Niko Dimitrakos, Denis Gauthier

Deleted: 3rd Round Draft Pick, Josh Gratton, 2nd Round Pick, 2nd Round Pick

Verdict: Bobby Clarke is stupid. Period. 2 draft picks and Josh Gratton for Denis Gauthier? 2 2nd round picks even. I don’t get it. Niko for a 3rd round pick is harmless, but man. Gauthier is old (30 this year), and hasn’t done anything of note in his entire 9 year career. This is his best season, hitting 12 points in 45 games and a –4. Is that worth 2 2nd round picks? Not even slightly. Stupid.


Calgary

Acquired: 4th Round Draft Pick, Jamie Lundmark

Deleted: Jason Wiemer, 4th round draft pick

Verdict: Lundmark is a great pick up for a 4th round pick. He’s not the first rounder that some thought he would be, but a solid 3rd line player is worth a 4th round pick any day. He is certainly a trade up from Jason Wiemer, who is older, less talented and less productive. So, Lundmark for Wiemer won’t win you a cup, but it is a great end result.


Vancouver

Acquired: Eric Weinrich, 4th Round Draft Pick, Keith Carney, Juha Alon, Mika Noronen, Sean Brown

Deleted: Tomas Mojzis, 3rd Round Draft Pick, Steve McCarthy, Brett Skinner, 2nd Round Draft Pick, 2nd Round Draft Pick, 4th Round Draft Pick

Verdict: Everything else aside, Noronen for a 2nd round pick makes this a great deadline day for the Canucks. Auld and Noronen is a great tandem, now we all just have to hope that Cloutier’s injury doesn’t heal this season. As for the rest of this busy-body mess, Carney trade was stupid (Ozolinsh went for just a third round pick, Carney went for a 2nd and a prospect), Brown was pointless, and Weinrich was a nice pickup that might payoff well. Down 3 draft picks in the process, but nothing major considering the improvement in net.


Los Angeles
Acquired: Tim Jackman, Mark Parrish, Brent Sopel

Deleted: Yannick Lehoux, Denis Grebshkov, Jeff Tambellini, 3rd Round Draft Pick

Verdict: Lehoux for Jackman, my Mom for Belak, no difference. Parrish and Sopel, as I said yesterday, are great pick ups for the Kings, who have solidified their place in the Western Conference playoff race.


Colorado


Acquired: Jim Dowd, Jose Theodore

Deleted: 4th Round Draft Pick, David Aebischer

Verdict: It seems as though the Avs are taking their playoff spot for granted. While they may be only be 1 point out of first in their division, they are also only 6 points from missing the playoffs. This is not a time to experiment on a new goalie while you wait for another to recover from injury, and then not even be sure which Jose will show up. 7 points decide 3rd to 9th place, and they traded away their proven goalie for a risk in the midst of that race. Not the gamble a team, otherwise secure in a high playoff spot, should ever take.


Edmonton

Acquired: Sergei Samsonov

Deleted: Marty Reasoner, Yan Statsny, 2nd Round Draft Pick

Verdict: Well, at this point I’m pretty sure Thronton’s trade has proven that Samsonov is a Rucchin. Reasoner is about the same, throw in a second round pick. If Samsonov is as good as he once seemed, it’s a semi-decent deal. Otherwise the Oilers messed this one up big time.


New Jersey

Acquired: Jason Wiemer, 4th Round Draft Pick, Brad Lukowich, Ken Klee

Deleted: 4th Round Draft Pick, Sean Brown, 3rd Round Draft Pick, Alexander Suglobov

Verdict: Lukowich and Klee are solid defensemen who will fit in well in the swamp. Nobody wants a Wiemer on their team, though. Still, a decent day for the Devil’s.


Anaheim

Acquired: 3rd Round Draft Pick, 2nd Round Draft Pick, Brett Skinner, Jeff Friesen, Sean O’Donnell

Deleted: Sandis Ozolinsh, Keith Carney, Juha Alon, 2nd Round Draft Pick, Joel Perrault

Verdict: I don’t know how to interpret Anaheim’s moves on the day. Got more for Carney than they should have, but less for Ozolinsh. They will probably be about the same before and after the trades, but what a ride anyway.


Tampa Bay

Acquired:

Deleted:

Verdict: Tampa was the only team out of all 30 who wasn’t active around the trade deadline. I’m not really sure what that tells us about their intentions. They are barely in the playoffs right now, and will likely stay in that spot.


Montreal

Acquired: Todd Simpson, David Aebischer

Deleted: 6th Round Draft Pick, Jose Theodore

Verdict: Todd Simpson? OK. The only way this trade happened on Montreal’s side is if they have full confidence in Huet moving into the future. If that is the case, you’d have to think they could fill a bigger hole by trading a Vezina winner than backup goalie. Aebischer is a quality goalie, though, and deserves to be #1 somewhere.


San Jose

Acquired: 3rd Round Draft Pick, Ville Nieminen

Deleted: Niko Dimitrakos, 3rd Round Draft Pick

Verdict: Ville for Niko is a solid pickup. One of the better improvements of the day.


Atlanta

Acquired: Steve McCarthy

Deleted: 4th Round Draft Pick

Verdict: Yeah. OK.


Minnesota

Acquired: Martin Skoula, Shawn Belle

Deleted: Willie Mitchell, 2nd Round Draft Pick

Verdict: It still happened, I guess.


Phoenix

Acquired: Yannick Lehoux, 4th round Draft Pick, Oleg Kvasha, Jamie Rivers, Joel Perrault, Josh Gratton, 2nd Round Pick, 2nd Round Pick

Deleted: Tim Jackman, Jamie Lundmark, 3rd Round Draft Pick, 7th Round Draft Pick, Sean O’Donnell, Denis Gauthier

Verdict: Lots of stuff to sort through here. 2 second round picks for Gauthier still remains the steal of the day. That one’s ridiculous. They improved their draft picks (3 and 7 for 2, 2 and 4), and also got the best player (Kvasha). I think Phoenix might have had the best all around deadline day, but a lot of that credit really goes to Bobby Clarke.


Toronto

Acquired: Alexander Suglobov, Luke Richardson

Deleted: Ken Klee, Draft Pick

Verdict: MLSE got rid of one of their inept GM’s. It’s time to get rid of the other.


NY Islanders

Acquired: 3rd Round Draft Pick, 3rd Round Draft Pick, Denis Grebshkov, Jeff Tambellini, 3rd Round Draft Pick

Deleted: Oleg Kvasha, Brad Lukowich, Mark Parrish, Brent Sopel

Verdict: Look at all those third round picks. 4 NHL players out, 0 NHL players in. You decide the verdict, it’s not that tough.


Boston

Acquired: Marty Reasoner, Yan Statsny, 2nd Round Draft Pick

Deleted: Sergei Samsonov

Verdict: If Sergei is the Rucchin I think he is, they did pretty good for themselves. Sell offs don’t usually result in a decent player and a 2nd round pick.


Florida

Acquired: Ric Jackman

Deleted: Petr Taticek

Verdict: Great pick up. Jackman is much better than playing with AHL players made him seem.


Washington

Acquired: 1st Round Draft Pick, Kris Beech, 2nd Round Draft Pick

Deleted: Brendan Witt, Jeff Friesen

Verdict: They got more for Witt than anyone could have ever imagined. A team building for the future, picking up a 1st and a 2nd round pick for 2 guys that never fit in makes for a great day.


Columbus

Acquired: Draft Pick

Deleted: Luke Richardson

Verdict: Yeah, its something. I guess.


Chicago

Acquired: 4th Round Draft Pick, Brendon Bochenski, 2nd Round Draft Pick, 6th Round Draft Pick

Deleted: Jim Dowd, Tyler Arnason, Todd Simpson

Verdict: Bochenski could be a decent NHLer in a couple of years. 2nd round pick is nice. Arnason’s absence will have some effect, but that’s about it. Not grea,t but a decent day for sure.


St. Louis

Acquired: Tomas Mojzis, 3rd Round Draft Pick

Deleted: Eric Weinrich

Verdict: What would you have done if you were St.Louis’ GM? Seriously, what? They are almost as lost as the Penguins. I’m not sure what they’re trying to do, nor what they should try to do. Fold?


Pittsburgh


Acquired: Petr Taticek, 4th Round Draft Pick, Niklas Nordgren, Krys Kolanos, 2nd Round Draft Pick

Deleted: Ric Jackman, Cory Cross, Mark Recchi

Verdict: They got rid of Cory Cross. That’s pretty good. Not nearly enough for Recchi, although I don’t think they could have gotten more. Mediocre day. Taticek and the draft picks may pay off in the long run for a re-building team.

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