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Friday, June 3, 2011

When facing a decent opponent, it is always best to never give them a personal reason to fight harder when you're already winning handily.  Guess Miami Heat's Dwayne Wade never figured that one out.  He scored a three pointer with 7:14 left to put Miami up 88-73 in game two, and it looked like the Heat were going to coast to victory.  Except he went and posed in front if the Mavs bench.  Bad move.  Immediately after, the fired up Mavs went on a 20-2 run and ended up winning the game 95-93. Game three goes in Dallas on Sunday. 

Since the NBA Finals went to 2-3-2 format in 1985, a series has been tied 1-1 a total of 11 times. The winner of Game 3 has won all 11 Finals. Pivotal film, anyone?

Some NFL coaches are going through mock practices with the league locked out, some are looking like they're singers in a legendary rock band.  See Pete Carroll, lead singer of one of my fav acts ever, Guided By Voices?  Thanks to GBVH for the linkage.

The Buffalo Bills will be launching their new uniforms on June 24th during a four hour - that's FOUR hour - unveiling that will obviously not be including any current players.

LA Angel of Anaheim Vernon Wells has made $2,981,481.48 since he was placed on the DL. Only 8 current Toronto Blue Jays players make that much for the entire year.

It isn't Georges St. Pierre vs. Anderson Silva, but it might end up being even better.  GSP is slated to fight Strikeforce champion Nick Diaz - UFC owns Strikeforce now, of course - on October 29th at UFC 137 at Mandalay Bay in Las VegasDiaz is a beast, and won't stand by eating punches like GSP's last two opponents did.  In other UFC news, they've got a free card on SportsNet tomorrow night at 9pm for the Ultimate Finale with Ramsey Nejim fighting Tony Ferguson for a contract in a too-tough-to-call fight, though I hope the former whips him.  There's also Anthony "Showtime" Pettis fighting against the always electric Clay Guida in another fight aired.  You may remember Pettis from this highlite at the 9 second mark.

Not sure why one would look to get an autograph from Lionel Messi, and then try to punch the man.  Word is The Father prevented said attempt from even landing on The Son.

Tweets the always hilarious @PaulyPeligroso: Hitler is a huge cock-block for dudes named Adolf.

Sidney Crosby has only now been cleared for off-ice workouts after his setback in early April.  You get the feeling his condition is a whole lot worse than we've been told it is?  What a shame it would be to see his career cut short - safe to say he's already lost some years off it - to concussions.  That would make two guys who were top of the game - along with Eric Lindros - lost to concussions essentially.

The Winnipeg NHL franchise is selling season ticket packages in their "Drive to 13" (thousand) is under way for existing corporate and season holders of the Manitoba Moose, and they're over 4,100 tickets sold already with the general on-sale tomorrow at noon.  I'm going to guess they do the 13,000 somewhere 12:30pm Winnipeg time.  Follow along here.

That's it for today, back Monday.  Have a great weekend.

Foo Fighters "Walk" vid, inspired by the great movie "Falling Down"

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Canucks draw first blood

The Vancouver Canucks opened last night's Stanley Cup Finals with a 1-nil win over the Boston Bruins with a goal in the dying seconds from Raffi Torres.  There was no lack of intensity in this one, if not shots necessarily with the Canucks going shotless for the first 9 minutes of the middle period.  I get that the league wants a game on Saturday, but do we really need two days off here with no travel required?  

Steve Buffery at the Toronto Sun says, among other things, that Atlanta didn't so much fail the NHL as the NHL failed Atlanta with a watered down product, and that "there aren’t enough goals. There aren’t enough open-ice plays. There are too many defensive schemes and systems."  No, I am not Steve Buffery.

Interesting TV stat: more people watched Game 7 of the Vancouver/San Jose series in Canada than did in the U.S. And yet U.S. TV continues to drive the bus.

UFC heavyweight Brock Lesnar had surgery on his colon to try to remedy his nasty recurring bouts with diverticulitis, and he will be out of action until early 2012, which now doesn't seem all that far away given we're in June.

As crazy memorabilia goes, how about bidding on eBay on the penalty spot where Manchester United's Wayne Rooney scored the goal that took United to a record 19th English title?  The bidding is north of a million pounds sterling, or over $1.6 million Canadian/U.S.

Shaquille O'Neal announced his retirement yesterday on Twitter.  Of course, he might well be kidding, but if he's honest with himself, he'll shut it down.  Shaq was a beast in his prime, as unstoppable as anybody has ever been, but it was a shame to see him bounce around to close out his career with a variety of injuries the last few years.

A recent SI players poll had Alex Rodriguez, Joba Chamberlain and Derek Jeter as the top three most overrated players in the game.  Told of the news, two of them reacted well and laughed it off as the price of being on a big name, high profile team.  The other was sour and surly.  Any guesses who fell in what category?  With so many allegedly overrated players, it is a miracle the Yankees are still winning the AL EastSweeny Murti at CBS says A-Rod may say some dumb things, but to call him overrated is one thing only: jealousy.

Colin Campbell is giving up his duties - fired? - as the NHL's lead disciplinarian, with Brendan Shanahan. taking over.  Memo to Shanny: just be consistent in any way, good or bad, and you're a huge improvement.

The Pittsburgh Pirates have now won as many road games this year - 17 - as they won all of last season.  Finally, they're on the upswing.

Canadian and New York Met Jason Bay has three extra base hits in the last 30 games, while pulling an $18 million paycheque.  He must be heavily tied up with how his hometown Vancouver Canucks are doing.

Bob Klapisch of on New York Yankee Bartolo Colon: "no man shaped like a watermelon should be throwing 96-mph on the black."  BK looks at the stem-cell procedure that seems to have given new life to the once fading Colon.

Just one of a handful of rejected Stanley Cup promo pieces appears at right.  Rest appear here.

Soccer's transfer season is already in full swing, with plenty of speculation about who the big name squads will chase, and where the big name players will head.  Check out this link for a great daily running summary of what is happening, and being heard.

Have a couple beers you favor and are wondering which is the better option in terms of lower calories and better efficiency in terms of better buzz for fewer trips to the bathroom? Wonder no more. And while we're at it, the Beer Advocate will help you sort out which taste the best on their probably ridiculous, overly pretentious scale.

Game 2 of the NBA Finals goes tonight in Miami and the Dallas Mavs really need to bounce back if they're to spare me/us the nightmare of the Heat winning the whole enchilada.  The upside is they're certainly capable of great improvement over their game one showing.  Tip off is 9pm Eastern.

That's it for today, back tomorrow.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Only Gary Bettman Can Screw Up A Gimme, Slam Dunk, Open Netter etc.

With the Atlanta Thrashers moving to Winnipeg, you'd think the league and team would get off to a good start in the 204, but not the NHL.  First, Gary Bettman essentially goes asshole - as if he could go any other way - and tells the locals they need to have 13,000 season tickets and sell the building to make it viable, as if the local owners haven't already done that research and like that's some huge challenge in a 15,000 seat arena.  That of course begs the question, how are all the franchises in the U.S. getting by with a lot fewer than those figures buying tickets?  Hopefully somebody is forwarding Gary Bettman this piece by the National Post's Bruce Arthur that reminds him that the league needs Winnipeg more than Winnipeg needs the league.  Second, the NHL says that it won't realign for 2011-12, so Winnipeg will play in the Southeast division.  The schedule for next year isn't out, so why wait?  It isn't like the move totally sneaked up on them.  Word is they'll flip conferences next year with Detroit finally moving to the East. Third, the team name hasn't been officially announced as Jets Memo to True North: there is no other option, despite word you're leaning to Manitoba Moose. GBVH passes word from Forbes saying the average ticket price in Winnipeg is going to be $82, which would tie Montreal for second highest average price, trailing only Toronto.  

Oh yeah, the Stanley Cup Final starts tonight.  Seems nobody is giving the Boston Bruins much of a chance in this one, and maybe that is just a product of living in Canada.  But if I'm a betting man - and I am - I have a lot more faith in Tim Thomas than I do in Roberto Luongo.  It isn't the sexy pick, but I'll take Boston to win this one in six, completing Boston's sweep of all the major titles in the last decade: NFL, MLB, NBA, and MLS.  Incredible.  Bastards.

It is never wise to say a series is over after one game, but the NBA Final could well be with the Dallas Mavs throwing away a very winnable game - and they didn't cover to make it worse.  The Heat won by six last night, and you get the feeling that the Mavs winning 4 of 6 is going to be a tough call.  Word that Dirk Nowitzki has a finger injury doesn't help.  How hot are the Heat in Miami?  Not very.  Three hours before the first game in Miami last night, there were still 800 tickets left on StubHub.

Let's not get too carried away with this discussion seemingly everywhere about how flat the baseball standings are with so many teams hovering around .500 at the moment.  We're not even a third of the way through the season for most teams.  How many teams would be close to .500 in the NFL after 5 weeks?  That said, in the 2000's, 59% of the teams holding a playoff spot on June 1st went on to make the playoffs.  A Yankee fan will be pleased to note the Yanks were first on April 1st, May 1st and now June 1st, which the boys in my fantasy league will notice lines up with yours truly, although I've been on top every day in between save for two.

Clearly, Dough Ford, brother of Toronto Mayor Rob, hasn't learned a thing from the travails of Jim Balsillie when it comes to trying to attract a team.  Dough has been now musing about how Toronto is such a big market, so why would the NFL be in Jacksonville, where they are only drawing 20,000 a game from his knowledge.  Funny thing about that, Dough, is they actually draw 63,000+ which, while not tops in the league, isn't exactly Argo or Blue Jays numbers.  Speaking of the Argos, somehow Dough believes that the presence of an NFL team in Toronto wouldn't hurt the Argos.
Of Jose Bautista's 20 home runs, 9 have come against last place teams in Minnesota (7) and Houston (2). 

As mug shots go, this one of just indicted Tampa Bay Buc Aqib Talib is a real gem. If I had a mug shot like that, I wouldn't even bother with a lawyer.

If you're a fan of ESPN's dynamite 30 For 30 series, you can now order all the DVD's in one set.  Solid.   I may have mentioned this before.

Wondering what all 30 of the NHL arena's goal horns sound like, because they don't score as often as they used to?  Wonder no more.  Can't say that the Montreal and Toronto ones sound overly familiar, nor do I recall them typically using horns.

MLB has never had an openly gay player, but it has had Ernie McAnally.

Say what you will about Swedish soccer player Zlatan Ibrahimovic, now with AC Milan in Italy, but the dude is a winner. 8 titles in 8 years, with 5 different clubs in 3 countries. That's incredible.

The Seattle Sounders fans raised the bar on the Portland Timbers in their heated confrontation a few weeks back.  This is freaking awesome.  Seattle's average attendance of 36,000+ would be 9th in English Premier League, 6th in Spain's La Liga, 2nd in France's Ligue 1, and 4th in Italy's Serie A.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

The NBA Final gets under way tonight in Miami with Dallas visiting.  Not sure who I like in the series, but know I love the Mavs at +4.5 tonight.  They've had a ridiculous record against the spread the entire playoffs, especially on the road.

Manchester United long-timer Paul Scholes has retired, and the accolades don't get better than Zinedine Zidane calling him the best midfielder of his generation.  Who replaces him at United?  If the stories are true, could be Wesley Sneijder or Luka Modric, among other possibilities.  Either would be considerable improvements.

Smooth as sandpaper that Buck Martinez.  In talking about Breast Cancer Awareness during last night's Blue Jay beatdown of the Cleveland Indians, he seemed to omit the middle word.  Add that to other recent transgressions including butchering the pronunciation of some guy named Jose Bautista's last name.

Had a good laugh last week over the ever-bitter Scottie Pippen suggesting that LeBron James might be better than Michael Jordan.  Said the BlackSuperhero on Twitter: Damn, I guess Jordan, Kobe and Sonic are the only ones that care about rings these days.

What is a spot in the English Premier League worth to a team in the division below?  About $150 million Canadian, and Welsh side Swansea City are the winners after downing Reading yesterday in a wild 4-2 game that sees Swansea promoted to the EPL.

Pop Up Video is back in the fall?  Hell yes!

Still playing a bit of catch-up after the two weeks down, so forgive some of the more dated subjects.  Ray Lewis says that crime will increase if there is no NFL season. Is that a threat, Ray?  I'd be staying out of any place Ray is, especially if there is a limo nearby.  Watch from a minute in.

When bearing down on an empty net in soccer, it is important to remember that balls bounce, particularly on shoddy fields.  This is an awesome, awesome miss from close range.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Barca rules

I tend not to get too carried away with the "best of all time" talk that gets too easily thrown around, and Barcelona has been the subject of that talk for the last year or two with their dominant ways, but after Saturday's dominance of a pretty damn good Manchester United squad who played the right players and system to contain them and still lost 3-1, tough not to imagine there are too many better.   One bit of hyperbole I will subscribe to is that Lionel Messi is the most talented and electric athlete in the world.  Absolute freak.

At some point this week, the NBA and NHL finals will both get under way, contested by teams we can't remember by the time it rolls around.  For compelling though, I believe the NBA final blows the NHL away.

Jason Terry of the Dallas Mavericks is taking confidence to new levels.  He's vowing that if his squad loses the NBA Final, that he'll have the tattoo of that ugly trophy the NBA awards to its champion removed from his arm.  Ouch.  He best be winning then!

Top 50 best trash talk moments in sports, with video.

Hockey Canada is going to a place where the NHL hasn't had the sack to go: they're banning all head hits.  Period.  That said, the rules don't apply to the independently operated junior loops.

One of my fav website to follow is the page at Baseball Prospectus - updated daily - that forecasts teams' final records and their odds of making the playoffs.

Chicago White Sox starter John Danks is no fan of Toronto Blue Jay Jose Bautista, who he told to quit acting like a clown in slamming his bat down after a pop up with the Jays leading 9-1.  Will be interesting to see the react to that one.  If it were A-Rod, I'm sure Jays Nation Hamlet would be singing a different tune.

Be very afraid, NBAer, the league is said to be chasing a $45 million hard cap, a huge change from where they are today. 

Have a great Monday!