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Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Well lookie here, a goalie!

A funny thing happened last night at the World Junior Hockey Championships.  Facing the home side USA - and we use that term loosely - who were unbeaten and untied in the tourney, and with far better performances albeit against softer competition, the goalie challenged and up and down Canadian team showed up.  Big.  Riding a superb performance in net from Mark Visentin and were dominant in beating the hosts 4-1.  Up Wednesday night is a gold medal game against Russia, who took out the whiny Swedes in a shootout.  Hey, don't hear Hockey Fan cracking on that as the way to end a game the way you do soccer!  Speaking of, nice work rocking the soccer scarves with Canada on them and lifting Toronto FC's well known "this is our house" chant.  Good to see people evolving from the ridiculously lame "Go [insert team name here] go!"

What hurts more, going 6-0 in your division and not making the playoffs like the Oakland Raiders did, or going 10-6 overall and not making it, like the New York Giants did? Oh, and nice year Eli Manning. Only 24 interceptions? 

Also on those two teams, the Oakland Raiders look like they'll be kicking Tom Cable to curb.  The New York Giants have a worse record in the last 8 games in all 7 of Tom Coughlin's seasons. Not once did they match wins from first 8 games.  They've also got four playoff wins over that run, all in their Super Bowl winning year.  Interesting thought on why keeping some continuity in the coaching area isn't a bad thing: if the league does go to a lockout and comes back, you might see a coach with just a couple weeks to work with before the season starts. 

Jason Garrett looks like he'll be named the full-time Dallas Cowboys coach, once the charade of respecting the Rooney Rule is complete. Dallas last minute comeback at Philly Sunday saw them drop from a #5 overall draft pick to #9. Ouch. Carolina, Denver and Buffalo have the top three picks, in that order.

The NFL Most Improved Team award goes to the Detroit Lions for finishing 6-10 after a 2-14 year last year, and of course going winless the year prior.  That's also their best record since 1995.

Great read from Kristian Jack at The Score as he takes his annual stab at the 100 top players in the English Premier LeagueBe sure to check out the ridiculous graphic alongside Luka Modric's entry at #7 that covers his passes during one game and where they were from and to.  The man covers more ground than a lawn mower.

7 of 12 NFL playoff teams also made it last year. Did you know MLB hasn't had season w/ more than 1/2 of playoff teams repeating since '05?  Once again, another blow to the simplistic view that "salary cap = parity".

Winter Classic ratings were up 22 per cent from last year south of the border to 4.65 million overall. Not bad, considering game was moved from afternoon to the black hole of Saturday night prime time.  If you don't think the NHL keeps with it, you're begging.  Best comment I heard on the subject: the whinging over the weather and such is largely coming from Canadians sour that Canadian teams are not hosting or participating in these games.

Because I can never get enough of people dumping on Brett Favre, here's former Vikings QB Fran Tarkenton with his latest round of verbal assassination that leaves me saying "That's Incredible!"

Looks like Toronto FC are about to announce a huge change in the way they do things - and good on them! - with the hiring of former Dutch international Aron Winter to lead the coaching staff with Paul Mariner, formerly with New England in the MLS, riding shotgun.  Great stuff.

Those that dislike Cristiano Ronaldo will love reading that pretty much his entire Real Madrid team hates him after a blow-up with goalie/captain Iker Cassilas over comments made by his girlfriend, media hottie Sara Carbonero. Shame they can't win a thing without him.  Should've stayed at United, CR7!  Oh, and now comes word that the club has banned Sara Carbonero from even mentioning Ronaldo.  Nice team, gents.

Love seeing that the Kamloops Blazers of the WHL - below - have taken to practicing goal scoring celebrations in the style of EA Sports NHL '94.  I had it in mind to use this to take a dig at KD, who promised delivery of a video game, and he did indeed deliver.  Thanks bro!


hi said...

Using Guardian's Chalkboard as a reference to nearly all of the top 10 players, yet you rate Park Jisung at 84? I once thought better of you, Kristian. He fills that chalkboard up better than anyone else--and there is no exageration in that.

Aron Winter is a decent signing, but I was hoping TFC would lure someone with some coaching experience. Regardless, TFC's attempt to raise their profile in youth development is highly encouraging. Winter has been heavily involved with Ajax's youth system, a system that was once the greatest in the world and remains among the very best today.

I'm pretty sure in a battle with Ronaldo and Casillas, more players will side with Ronaldo. Sad, but that's what Real Madrid has become. After that SOB Raul Gonzalez left, it was destined for Ronaldo to take over the club dictating role.

hi said...

Watch the slideshow as Toure gives Adebayor a beating.

I can see the Lions making the playoffs next season.