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Friday, May 21, 2010

The Montreal Canadiens looked a far more committed team in game three last night, and saw a much improved Jaroslav Halak, and walked away easy 5-1 winners to pull a game back in their Easter Conference Series.  Had a good laugh hearing some Habs friends - silent like Buddhist Monks all week - talking about "Destiny".  Had to borrow a bit from Curt Schilling and let them know that Destiny was appearing at Chez Parée.

Scored me some Manchester United tickets yesterday for their July 16th visit to Rogers Centre to face Scottish powerhouse - oxymoron? - Celtic FC.  For the privilege of sitting mid-field, 18 rows up, I'm $166.50 lighter in the pocket.  Ouch.

Speaking of Man United, reports they're now the second most valuable sports brand in the world, behind the New York Yankees

The OHB - and if you don't know who that is, look above under the RandoMango title for a hint - says he's going to come back if Southern Miss baseball team wins the College World Series.  Is it bad karma if I suggest that it would not suck if they went down in a plane crash?  At least OHB isn't making a mockery of his playing status.

Frequent RM reader Big Daddy passed on this amazing website that documents the "WTF?" jersey's you see people sporting.  And, you can participate.  The Toronto Raptors even make the cut if you look further in, and you won't believe which jersey a guy is repping.

Fresh of the Delonte-West-tapping-'Bron's-Mom rumor, here are the 20 craziest rumors in sports.

Quick head's up that RM returns Monday.  Have a great weekend, enjoy the weather.

Simply put, the best commercial I've ever seen.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Well, not sure why the NHL thought it was a great idea to have both NHL playoff series going the same night in the Conference Finals, but they're finally breaking up that pattern tonight with the Western Conference series getting the extra day in between games two and three.  The Eastern Conference series moves to Montreal tonight and Damien Cox of the Toronto Star thinks it may be time for the Canadiens to give Carey Price a go.  So much for going with who brought you to the dance.  What if Price starts and bombs, then what?  The Habs won't have Andrei Markov in the lineup, his season is done after knee surgery that will keep him out for six months.

The Phoenix Suns are not only getting pounded in their Western Conference series, the LA Lakers are doing it playing the Suns up-tempo style.  The Lakers were 124-112 winners last night to take a 2-0 series lead.

Inter Milan manager Jose Mourinho - whose ego knows no bounds - thinks that winning the Champions League is bigger than the World Cup.  Different, perhaps, and I do accept his point that you could argue you're the world's best team given you can get players from everywhere, but no chance is it more prestigious.  The World Cup is once every four years and ask anybody at all connected to the game who won the last World Cup and they'll say "Italy" in a heartbeat.  Quick, who won the Champions League four years ago?  Inter Milan faces Bayern Munich Saturday in Madrid for the Champions League final.

Joel Sherman of the NY Post writes that A-Rod is the no-doubt New York Yankees go-to guy in a big moment if they have a choice, a change from the past to be sure.  Not mentioned yesterday, but worth mentioning that the New York Yankees had Nick Swisher up on the steps holding a bad, ready to pinch hit for Derek Jeter in the bottom of the 9th with the game on the line.  Has Jeter been pinch hit for in the last decade plus?  The Tampa Bay Rays continued their roll last night in pounding the Yanks 10-2 to move four games up in the East.

Tom Verducci at looks at whether the Washington Nationals, surprisingly competitive this year, are being too careful with Stephen Strasburg.  I've got two words to answer that in the "negative": Mark Prior.

What does Al-Qaeda have to do with sports?  Well, when they're plotting revenge on Holland and Denmark over their depictions of Allah, and the World Cup is looming, lots as it turns out.  Love how one person can do something they deem offensive and it is an all out assault planned on a sporting event, team or country.  Very reasonable.

I'll acknowledge the Toronto Blue Jays are beating everybody's expectations - including yours, if you're thinking of lying and telling us different - but remember this: they were 27-16 a year ago today and in first place in the AL East, and we know how that ended up (28 games back, if you didn't).  That, and as Richard Griffin of the Toronto Star noted yesterday, the Jays have only played 14 to date against the best of the AL, and are a less than stellar 3-11 in those games.

The International Ice Hockey Federation took a swipe at Sidney Crosby, among others, for skipping the second rate World Championships, insinuating they lack loyalty to the programs that made them rich and famous.  Translation: they're sour they don't have those guys over in Germany to help sell tickets to a nothing event.  Criticizing those players for their fatigue and comparing them to miners is ridiculous.  Crosby, as one example, went from the Stanley Cup win last year to a camp in Calgary less than two months later, then into the Olympic camp, and into a season with the Penguins.  At some point, the gas tank has to be tapped. 

The captain of New Zealand's World Cup entry predicts England will win the World Cup for the first time since 1966, for what that is worth, beating either Spain or Brazil in the final.  On the other side of the coin, American player Jozy Altidore bumped into David Beckham at an LA Lakers game a couple nights back and told Beckham the U.S. would beat his England side on the opening weekend 3-0.  If you're not a fan of the game and looking for a team to cheer for that is a bit of an underdog, take the U.S.  They won't annoy you with the diving tactics that certain other countries can't let go of (looking at you, Portugal and Italy), and play with speed from the opening whistle on.

It is a good thing Tiger Woods doesn't have friends like Kansas City Chiefs wideout Dwayne Bowe, who let a rather large secret loose when he talked of how his Chiefs teammates would fly ladies in from around the country on road trips, including sending messages to girls on teammates Facebook accounts and flying those girls in for them.
The "cutting edge of broadcasting".  English commentators rule.

Have you ever seen a double alley-oop?  You can now.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Olé, Olé, Oh Leighton!

Who knew that the soccer-ripping-off "Olé! Olé! Olé!" chant that many Habs fans think they invented was really a lead in to the much more original "Olé, Olé, Oh Leighton!"   Philadelphia Flyers goaltender Michale Leighton is perfect through two games after last night's 3-0 shutout to give him two in a row on the series as the Flyers took care of business at home again for a 2-0 series lead.  As for his counterpart in the Montreal goal, Jaroslav Halak, he's now looking a lot more beatable and as though midnight has struck for his Cinderella run.  Needless to say, the Habs are in trouble.

In worse trouble, however, are the San Jose Sharks after losing 4-2 last night as the Chicago Black Hawks will be heading home with a 2-0 series lead after taking a pair in California.

Why the Phoenix Suns are in a lot of trouble after losing Game 1 to the LA Lakers: Lakers coach Phil Jackson is 46-0 in playoff series after winning Game 1, including 22-0 with the Lakers.

Safe to say that much like last year at this time, the New York Yankees bullpen is their soft spot, at least if the last 10 days are any indication.  Leading 5-1 against the lifeless Boston Red Sox, Joba Chamberlain and Mariano Rivera combined to blow their second lead in three days, and they're the reliable ones in that pen this year.  Also a problem for the Yanks: going into last night, Derek Jeter had swung at just 19.8 percent of pitches out of the strike zone since 2002. This year, however, Jeter has swung at 33.3 percent of all pitches out of the strike zone.  Might explain the plummeting average the last couple weeks.  All three are going to need to be much better with the awesome Tampa Bay Rays visiting for a couple of games starting today.

Word is Arsenal captain Cesc Fabregas - a top five to ten player in the world - wants to bolt London and head to Barcelona.  That'd be a terrible loss for Arsenal, but Fabregas might not want to follow in the same path of Arsenal-captain-to-Barcelona footsteps of Thierry Henry, didn't exactly work out fantastic for the player.

Deadspin is running some of the best soccer chants of the year - the Liverpool Europa League bit is my fav - and you can check out the rest here.

Drunk Soccer League?  Hell freaking yes.  Somewhere, Paul Gascoigne is limbering up.

After years of intensive research, I can officially confirm that if you wear sunglasses indoors, you're a douchebag.  Rock stars exempted.

The Toronto Raptors may not have won the NBA Draft Lottery last night - that was the Washington Wizards - but their remaining fans were treated to a draft lottery day playoff treat when one Wince Carturd stepped up to the free throw line with roughly thirty ticks on the clock and his Orlando Magic trailing by three.  Carturd, who shoots free throws at a mid-80's clip, missed both.  Oh sweet, delicious karma.  The Magic are down 2-0 to the Boston Celtics with the series moving to Boston.

Very classy of Florida Marlins shortstop Hanley Ramirez, a first rate talent, to blast his manager for benching him when H-Ram took six seconds to get to a ball he missed because he was loafing it to the ball.  Problem is he's such a talent that unless he wants Fredi Gonzalez to keep his job, he likely won't.  Shame he's such a dickhead that refuses to apologize to his manager or teammates, who came out in support of the benching.

Toronto FC are at Vancouver tonight to face the Whitecaps in the latest round of the Canadian Championship.  A win will wrap up the title for TFC for the second year running.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

So about the Phoenix Suns threatening the LA Lakers in the Western Conference finals...nevermind. It was a 128-107 blow-out last night to open that series, and it wasn't even as close as that score suggested.

A poll of 100 major leaguers during spring training and published in the latest issue of ESPN The Magazine has 38% saying the New York Yankees will win the World Series; the players estimate 5% of players are using some form of performance enhancers; 52% called the Yankees the best franchise to play for and 23% called the Pittsburgh Pirates the worst, 67% said Barry Bonds deserves to be in the Hall of Fame, and the players guessed 36% of players were unfaithful to their spouses.

It was a wild one in The Bronx last night, as there were 6 homers in the Yankees 11-9 win over the Boston Red Sox, four for the Sox, and the Yankees pair coming in the bottom of the 9th to tie the game thanks to an A-Rod blast, and win on a Marcus Thames two run shot.  The loss drops the Sox 8.5 back of the AL East leading Tampa Bay Rays.  With Toronto and New York ahead of them as well, they've got a mountain to climb.  Real shame for Jonathan Papelbon, who gave up the big bombs.

The irony of Bret "Hitman" Hart rocking a Toronto Blue Jays jersey on Monday Night Raw last night: so few of the Jays hit with any regularity.

What ever happened to Tampa Bay Ray Carlos Pena?

Peter King at has his first cut at the NFL Power Rankings, for what they're worth in the middle of May.  Good news if you're a Green Bay fan, as they check in top of the list.  Not so good if you're a Buffalo Bills fan, unless you think having the second pick in the draft in 2011 is something to look forward to right now.

After watching his Barcelona team look to an unproven player in a key game, Thierry Henry started to read the writing on the wall, and it now appears his signing with New York Red Bull in the MLS is about to happen.  Good news for NYRB fans especially, and soccer fans on this side of the pond of Henry can find even a fraction of his old form he showed at Arsenal.  He was a special, special player just a few years back.

Franck-ly, I can see why French soccer star Franck Ribery, among others, would be fooled into thinking Zahia Dehar is older than 17.  Loads of pics here of the girl that has a few Frenchmen in legal hot water.

It is only game two, but it looms large for the Montreal Canadiens after you're on the wrong end of a 6-0 curb stomping.  Will the Habs turn to Jaroslav Halak again?  You'd think that's a no-brainer given what he has produced in the playoffs so far.  If he doesn't find that form or something close to it, and there's little reason to believe in Carey Price right now, the Habs are not long for the playoffs.

Anytime you hear features of how a guy "isn't like the rest", be skeptical, because ultimately, it ends up being a load of garbage when all is said and done.  The latest is Houston Texans wideout Andre Johnson, who figures that he's outperformed his contract and wants to renegotiate the remaining five years and $60 million remaining, the poor guy.

Speaking of contracts, the Washington Capitals have lobbed $67 million over 10-years at Niklas Backstrom.  I really, really cannot believe teams think deals of that length are wise.  Way too much room for issues, be it injury, rising caps leaving players undervalued, or simply a player unde performing for years and becoming a bad contract. 

Barcelona's Lionel Messi scored 47 goals this past season for his La Liga winning club. In case you missed any, or wanted to see some of his brilliance again, check them out here.  Yes, all of them.  Even if not a soccer fan, check this guy out.  Mindblowing many times.  Oh, Messi also took a dig at England's Ashley Cole, saying his soon-to-be-ex-wife Cheryl Cole - smokin' Cheryl Cole - should cheer for Argentina as his team plays the most attractive football and Argentinian men know how to treat women.  Ouch.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Philly romps

Gonna be a very good day in offices everywhere today across Canadaland, what with the Montreal Canadiens getting it prison style in Philadelphia last night with the Flyers winning 6-0 to take the first game of their Eastern Conference series.  Could it be that Habs fans emulate their team last night and simply don't show up to work today?  I have yet to see my boss today, interestingly.

In the Western Conference series, the Chicago Black Hawks downed San Jose 2-1.

Real heartbreaker - or not - seeing Wince Carturd have himself a decent game in a losing effort for his Orlando Magic in the first game of their series against the Boston Celtics.  Searching high and low for a line on Kevin Garnett busting Carturd's and his mother's noses with "errant" elbows. The Phoenix Suns visit the LA Lakers in the first of their Western Conference series.

Word is that TSN analyst Pierre McGuire could be the frontrunner to take over the GM’s duties of the Tampa Bay Lightning, which would leave a giant vacancy on the airwaves, and a welcome one at that.  Can you imagine being a rival GM and calling that guy around the trade deadline?  You might celebrate three birthdays before getting a deal done.

The head of English soccer was recorded saying that Spain are working with the Russian's to bribe World Cup officials, and promising their support for the Russian 2018 hosting bid in return.  I'm sure that's the kind of thing FIFA love to hear about with the tournament weeks away from kicking off.  Pretty sure Spain needs more help in getting players healthy than they do from the officials.

German captain Michael Ballack is out of the World Cup after suffering an ankle injury in the FA Cup final won this weekend by his Chelsea club side.  With Ballack out of the tourney, I'm sure the referee's will appreciate not being shadowed by that constant whiner.

Philadelphia Eagles wideout DeSean Jackson is on his way to becoming the next Terrell Owens, say the fine folks at ProFootballTalk.  Do they mean "unemployed"?

Check out the SportsPickle's 20 Most WTF Couples.

Finally today, 10 great England goals.