Puck Off! A Rivals Rematch Begins Tonight . . .

Posted on April 15, 2009. Filed under: NHL | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

READY FOR A CAGE MATCH?  I don’t pretend to know a lot about hockey.  But I do know a few things.  One of them is that the Pittsburgh Penguins and the Philadelphia Flyers abhor each other.  That’s right, they hate each other so much that the word “hate” can’t describe it.  I had to dig into the vocab closet and pull out something even more nasty.  Abhor . . .

Young Penguins Fans Tell The Flyers How It Is

Young Penguins Fans Tell The Flyers How It Is

And that’s exactly how the NHL’s second season opens up in the Eastern Conference playoffs tonight.  With the disdain heavy rematch of last year’s conference finals that is sure to provoke a fight or two between fans.  Because they abhor each other too.  Here are some thoughts on what I like to call, the PUCK OFF:

The Flyers are slumping into this series having blown a third period lead during the last game of the season – played at home – against the New York Rangers, that would have given them home ice in this series.  Doh! 

The Pens are 18-3-4 since the firing of Michel Therrien and rookie head coach, Dan Bylsma, has taken the blinders off this young, offensive minded team and they are “flying” into the playoffs.  Philadelphia should be jealous . . . 

Philadelphia is healthier this year than last with their top two defensemen, Kimmo Timonen and Braydon Coburn in the lineup this time around.  That is a huge help, but is it enough to handle the talented trio of Crosby, Malkin and Staal down the middle?  

With NO apologies to Alexander Ovechkin, the Penguins have the best player in the league as evidenced by the NHL scoring title, Evgeni Malkin.  Geno is the record 13th Art Ross winner for the Penguins and not only did he lead the league in points, he also led the NHL in takeaways, creating more opportunities for his skilled offense to score. 

By the way, Sidney Crosby was third in scoring behind Ovechkin . . .

Players to watch:  Mike Richards and if he can ruffle Crosby’s feathers enough to knock him off his game.  Billy Guerin and if his veteran presence keeps the Pens even keeled and confident.  And of course, as it usually does, the play of the two netminders, Fleury and Biron, will probably decide the winner of this series.   

One of the other things I know about hockey is that the flashy Capitals’ Left Wing is a show off.  I’m waiting for someone to spear him with a stick when he skates by the Rangers bench tonight celebrating  excessively.  Jerk . . .

Oh I almost forgot a few more things: Sean Avery of the Rangers is a prick and the Flyers’ Scott Hartnell is a dirty player.  However seeing them get into it on Sunday in the waning seconds of the game as Philadelphia let home ice slip through their fingers was great and just proves Hartnell is dirty.  Avery probably deserved it for something he did previously though, because he is a prick.

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NFL Week 13 Wrap: Thanksgiving Leaves Us Hungry, Playoff Hopes Dashed, Steelers STOMP Patriots

Posted on December 3, 2008. Filed under: NFL | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

In a week that began with three blowouts on Thanksgiving, leaving football fans unaffiliated with the victorious starving for competitive contests, the playoff picture began to shape up a bit heading into the final quarter of the season.  Well, somewhat . . .

Here are my thoughts on some of the games and players who managed not to shoot themselves in the leg this past weekend – more on that idiocy later:

A THIRD HELPING OF DOMINATION PLEASE: Okay, so we knew the first two games would be exciting only for fans of Tennessee and Dallas, but the last game slated for Thanksgiving night between Arizona and Philadelphia looked as if it would measure up to be a competitive one, right?  Donovan McNabb named as starter for a chance to redeem himself after being benched for the untested Kevin Kolb the week before . . . Kurt Warner and the greatest show on field turf ventures back to the east coast to see if they can exorcise their “yeah, but” demons . . . Both teams have birds for nicknames . . . 

And that was the ONLY thing these two foes had in common once they stepped onto Lincoln Financial Field.  Donovan McNabb broke the wishbone and got the big piece – 4TD passes, 260 yards through the air and went 27 for 39, finishing with a completion percentage of over 66 percent.

Arizona now owns a record of 7-5 and leads the putrid NFC West with the majority of their wins coming within their own division, and their losses all to teams with winning records.  What does that spell?  A high flying F-L-U-K-E . . .

In the two earlier games, Dallas looked like an offensive machine and their defense chipped in with seven sacks against the lowly Seahawks.  The only hitch in the Cowboys giddy-up came when the NFL’s sack leader, DeMarcus Ware (15 sacks), Marion the Barbarian, and guard Kyle Kosier were injured.  And the Titans walloped the Lions so badly that I am beginning to believe Detorit won’t be able to buy a win this season.  Are they next in line for a bailout?  

NO PLAYOFFS FOR YOU:  San Diego isn’t charging anything these days.  At 4-8, they are completely and udderly out of contention.  The offense line is just that – OFF – Ladainian Tomlinson is a shadow of himself and the loss of Shawne Merriman looms as the most costly in the league this year.  A third loss in a row at home to Oakland on Thursday would be a humiliating capper to their season, because it’s OVAH . . .

CIRCLE THE WAGONS – IT’S TIME TO PACK IT IN:  Ah, the beauty of a new season . . . kinda like falling in love all over again, until that love is put to the test.  After Buffalo began the season with four straight wins, media and fans started to fall for those Bills.   Now sitting at 6-6 and taking a look back, those victories were against Seattle, Jacksonville, Oakland and St. Louis . . . not so impressive anymore, right?  A loss to Arizona and a win over San Diego (see above) preceeded their latest run of six games where their only win came over the Chiefs, otherwise known by their full name “Chief Two Wins”.   If all the other contending teams lose and Buffalo wins out, they may have a chance.  Reality is, they don’t.  The honeymoon is over in Buffalo, but the question is, did it ever really start?

Other teams that slapped a big L on their foreheads for the year after losing in Week 13: Green Bay Packers, New Orleans Saints, Chicago Bears – no chance to come back now.  The pack is too thick and too much has to go wrong for everyone ahead in the standings . . . better luck next year . . .

HOLY TURNOVER BATMAN:  Forcing five turnovers in the second half against the Patriots at home, the Steelers put the SLOP in New England’s sloppy play, leading to a 33-10 statement win.  The Pittsburgh Steelers’ linebackers, James Harrison and Lamar Woodley, have a friendly competition going to see who can sack the quarterback more . . . with 14 for the year, Harrison is winning by 2.5 sacks.  That makes a total of 25.5 sacks between the two, the most is Steelers history.  He is third in the league and is making a case for not only Defensive Player of the Year, but also for MVP.  Why?  The #1 ranked defense in the Steel City is striking fear in the hearts, minds, and especially bodies, of quarterbacks and offensive coordinators everywhere, and is more responsible for their success while playing the most difficult schedule in the league than Big Ben and their efficient offense that hangs int here and makes a team pay for mistakes.  And James Harrison is the stand out piece of Dick LeBeau’s puzzling defensive scheme in 2008.  Troy Polamalu, Lamar Woodley, and Lawrence Timmons have also made huge contributions.  All in all, I wouldn’t want to face the latest version of the Steel Curtain.  Look out Dallas . . .

Like a team going deep into the playoffs, I gotta run.  Till next time . . .

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