Monday, July 23, 2007

MLS has a new Beane counter

Some news stories are so great you can't help but smile after reading them. This story would have to fall into that category. Moneyball subject and soccer devotee Billy Beane is going to play a significant role in running the newly reformed San Jose Earthquakes. Since Beane is a self-proclaimed soccer nut and the owner of the A's is also the owner of Earthquakes Ver. 2.0 it makes perfect sense for Billy to be involved.

Beane is also perfectly qualified to run a team where the players all make next to nothing, since that is just what he does with the A's. It is going to be interesting to see how Beane's roll with the Quakes evolves and what kind of eye for talent he has in the soccer world. Soccer isn't nearly as statistically oriented as baseball so it stands to reason that Billy won't be able to put a soccer twist on his tried and true baseball philosophies.

A's/Quakes owner Lew Wolff has made it clear that Beane's duties with the A's will not be altered or diminished in any way to compensate for his involvement with the Quakes, but I know enough about Billy to have confidence in his ability to keep the A's on track and help the Quakes flourish. As a fan it is nice to know that my favorite teams are being run by some of the best executives in their respective businesses. Watching Shero, Rafa, and Billy run my teams so well is sheer bliss. And now I get a double dose of Beane-ball. This could actually make me want to pay slightly more attention to MLS. At least until the Premiership starts back up.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Michael Vick Is (allegedly) The Devil

DISCLAIMER: This is a sports blog, and sometimes sports stars are involved in stories that are noteworthy for reasons other than performances in games. This post covers the indictment of Atlanta Falcons quarterback Michael Vick. He is charged in a federal court with running a dog fighting ring and committing some truly horrifying acts on his dogs, in addition to the cruelty of the dog fighting itself. Some of the details of the indictment are included in this post. This material may be disturbing to sensitive readers, particularly animal lovers. READER DISCRETION IS ADVISED.

I'll say it again. Michael Vick is the Devil. He has to be. A normal human being could not do the things he is "accused" of doing.

Before I go on, I should clarify something. Let's face it: the words "accused" and "allegedly" are being used to cover my ass in the unlikely event Vick's lawyers find themselves with enough time in between court dates to read my rantings, but I'm pretty sure these things (some of which I'll discuss in a minute) don't happen on your property without your knowledge. And besides, it is abundantly clear that Vick's lawyers have their hands full right now: Keeping client out of federal penitentiary > Suing blogger from Smalltown, PA

Back to my original point, Vick and all other purveyors of dog fighting are evil. The things Vick is charged with doing are gruesome and unfathomable. The things I will be detailing have been taken directly from the 18-page grand jury indictment. Reading it has been tough for me. I have 4 dogs: a rescued Chocolate Lab, a Golden Retriever, and 2 rescued Greyhounds. They are like my children. There aren't words in the English language that could accurately describe my outrage at the Vick situation. John Stewart of The Daily Show said it best when he said he wanted to cover Vick in liver treats and let the fighting dogs have at him.

Basically, the indictment alleges that Vick and some of his sleaziest pals bought a property in Smithfield, Virginia, where they held dog fights. (It is important to mention that it is also alleged that Vick's "Bad Newz Kennels" is only one in a much larger dog fighting syndicate.) They are charged with taking their dogs across state lines (hence the federal indictment) to compete, in addition to hosting competitions in the buildings on this property. Reports on CNN indicated that authorities said the walls of the buildings on the property were covered in dog blood.

They are charged with executing the losing dogs in horrific ways, such as drowning, shooting, hanging, and "slamming at least one dog's body to the ground." The most horrific execution was done by dousing the dog with water and electrocuting her. The Feds seized some disturbing equipment from the property, as well, including "break sticks" that are used to pry apart the jaws of dogs in battle and "rape stands" that are used to breed females that are too aggressive to submit to males. More than 50 dogs were seized, most of which had injuries or scars from injuries consistent with injuries sustained in dog fights.

Stand up guy, isn't he? Amidst all of this, there is a separate but related controversy brewing in the NFL. Michael Vick did not receive a suspension. The brass at the NFL issued a statement saying they will graciously allow the due process of the American justice system to come to a conclusion before the NFL will take action on Vick, after all - he IS innocent until proven guilty, no?

HERE'S MY PROBLEM WITH THAT: In April 2007, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell announced that Tennessee Titans cornerback Adam "Pacman" Jones was suspended for an entire season for his not-so-exemplary conduct off the field. Pacman, you see, was involved in no less than 10 incidents where he was questioned by police. The justification for this suspension was that Jones violated the NFL's personal conduct policy. That's fine, but Michael Vick has committed more than one act that would fall under this policy's broad spectrum, as well. Doesn't anyone remember the water bottle incident? Or how about the herpes lawsuit? If the NFL policy requires only accusations and questionings but doesn't need a conviction as grounds to suspend a player for an entire season, then Michael Vick has earned a lifetime ban.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

The Time Has Come For Action!

I have essentially been a Pittsburgh Penguins fan for my entire life. Ever since I saw them play an exhibition game at the Oakland Coliseum as a little kid (thanks Dad!) I knew they were my team. Having said that, it was not easy being a Penguins fan in the late '80s since they more or less sucked. But then the '90s came and things turned in a hurry. Back to back Stanley Cup championships completely changed the culture of the team and help usher in a decade of dominance. Notwithstanding the magnificence of one Mario Lemieux, that success never happens without one Ronald Francis.

Arriving in a late season trade in 1991, Ron Francis became one of the most crucial and arguably the most dependable piece of the Penguins. Ron Francis made significant contributions to the first Pens Cup, but really came into his own as a Penguin during the '92 playoffs. With Mario out of the second round with his broken hand Francis put the Penguins on his back in Game 4 to even the series with the Rangers and ultimately eliminate them in 6 games, despite being heavy underdogs. Francis continued his inspired play for the remainder of the playoff run and even scored the Cup clinching goal in Game 4 against the Blackhawks. From that point on Ron Francis was almost as dominant in the NHL as he was unheralded. Being in the shadow of stars like Lemieux and Jagr prevented Francis from receiving the recognition he deserved.

Now it is deja vu all over again as he is still being denied one last bit of recognition that he has clearly earned. Earlier this year Ron was elected to the Hockey Hall of Fame in his first year of eligibility. That has brought to light the one thing his profile is still missing... the Penguins NEED to retire Ron Francis' number 10 jersey!

This belongs in the rafters!

The Penguins need to step up an start to recognize the players who made this team great. I am not saying that Ronnie is the only ex-Pen deserving of this honor (Coffey, Murphy, Barrasso, Mullen?), but he is a great place to start. Let's look at some of his accomplishments as a Penguin:
  • Two-time Stanley Cup champion.
  • 164 goals and 449 assists for 613 points in 533 regular season games. That's good for 4th all-time in franchise history.
  • 100 points in 97 playoff games.
  • Twice led the NHL in assists ('95 and '95-'96).
  • Led the NHL in plus/minus in '95.
  • Twice won the Lady Byng trophy ('95 and '97-'98).
  • Won the Selke trophy in '95.
Along with all of those achievements, Ron Francis was the heartbeat of one of the NHL's top clubs throughout his stay in Pittsburgh. It is time for the Penguins to follow the lead of Francis' other team(s) and retire his number for good. The Pens need to start the process of honoring and embracing their stars of the past. This team was a lot more than just that guy Mario.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

A Recipe for Hate

So there I was minding my own business a day or two ago, just looking for some decent soccer news on the internet when I stumble across this:

My reaction was two-fold. First, I'm setting the over/under for number of games it takes Drogba and Malouda to celebrate a goal by making out at 10. Second, I hate Chelsea. Let me try that again... I really hate Chelsea.

I took some time to internalize that and came to the realization that hate is part of what makes sports so great. Sure it's great to have a team to root for and follow, but it is often just as satisfying to root against a team you hate, especially if the team you like is struggling at the time. How many self-proclaimed baseball fans cheer harder against the Yankees than for the team they like? I have realized that hatred makes up a large portion of my sports persona. The list of teams I like/support is nowhere near the size of the list of teams I hate, and I am totally good with that.

One thing you have to realize when examining this topic is that there are different levels of hatred. For example, there are players you hate until they join your team and then you love them (i.e. Darius Kasparaitis), and then there are players you hate so much that even when they are on your team you still hate them (i.e. Marty McSorley). There are also times when two teams you hate are playing each other and you have to decide who you would rather see win. So even though I hate the Dallas Cowboys, I have no choice to cheer them on to victory when they are playing the 49ers. It can get confusing at times, but the important thing to remember is that part of supporting your team is hating several others. If you don't get that then you aren't a real sports fan.

Now that we have established that hatred is a natural part of following sports, let's take a look at how I spread the hate. Keep in mind that this is more of a greatest hits than an anthology. If I were to write about all the teams and players I hate I would need to take a week off of work. So here goes:
  • The Detroit Red Wings: I just had to start the list here. If there was one sports franchise I could go back in time and erase from existence it would be this one. There are only four good things to have ever been associated with the Red Wings; Gordie Howe, Bob Probert, Bob Errey, and Larry Murphy. Anything else that ever touched that franchise I hate. I even hate Little Caesars!
  • The New York Islanders: You can not be a Penguins fan over the age of 20 and not hate the Islanders with the fury of a thousand suns. Glenn Healy, Steve Thomas, Ray Ferraro, and David Volek ruined the '90s. That team could sign me and all three of my kids to play for them and I would still hate them.
  • Chelsea: Back to the beginning! How can you not hate Chelsea? Jose Mourinho alone is enough to drive you insane. Throw in the attitude and the insane spending and you have possibly the easiest team on the planet to hate. Unless you are directly related to a Chelsea player or you are named Chelsea you have no business supporting this club.
  • Kirk Gibson: The bane of every A's fan is watching Gibby hobble around the bases pumping his fists in the '88 World Series. I had the misfortune of having a roommate in college who was not only a lifelong Dodger fan, but also in attendance at that very game. If I never see that highlight again it will be too soon.
  • Wayne Gretzky: This could be a whole post on its own. "The Great One" represents everything I can't stand in a hockey player. Spend a thousand years looking and you will never find a softer hockey player. Numbers or not, I could name fifty players off the top of my head who I would rate as "better" than Gretzky. I don't think I could name five who I hate more than him though.
  • The San Francisco Giants: This one should be a no-brainer. If you are an A's fan then you hate the Giants, and vice versa. I never could understand the losers who would walk around in those half A's/half Giants hats. That's like wearing a bandanna that's half Crips and half Bloods. You just can't do it! I have to say though, along with the Penguins' two Cups, the A's beating the Giants in '89 is probably the fondest sports memory of my youth.
  • Peyton Manning: Seriously, does that guy need to be in every commercial that airs on every channel during football season? Somebody tell Peyton it's okay to say "No" to things every now and then.
  • The Ottawa Senators: I never had a problem with the Sens before this year. Funny what a difference one playoff series can make. I now officially hate the Senators. They haven't reached Islander status yet, but I won't be running out to buy a Chris Neil jersey anytime soon either.
I could go on forever here. The important thing to remember is that it is okay to hate when it comes to sports. You just have to keep it in perspective is all. I don't wish any actual misfortune on any player. It's not that kind of hate. I just want to see them fail miserably, that's all. That said, if Pavel Datsyuk blows out his knee he probably shouldn't hold his breath waiting for a Get Well Soon card from me.

Define "Fair"

By now you may have heard about a 20 year old runner from South Africa named Oscar Pistorius. He is notable because he was born without fibula, calf, and ankle bones. He had his legs amputated when he was 11 months old and learned to walk, run, and even play rugby on prosthetic legs. Following an injury, he moved away from rugby and starting running in track competitions. Recently, new technology was used to develop prosthetics called "Blades" to give amputees more agility and speed while running (as shown on Pistorius, at left). The specific Blades that Pistorius uses are manufactured by a company from Iceland. They modeled the shape of these Blades after the curvature of a cheetah's legs.

He's making news because he wants to be allowed to compete in the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, but the
International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) has issued an opinion saying that his Blades give him an unfair advantage, which they believe clearly violates an IAAF rule introduced in March banning from competition any runner who is found to be reaping some benefit from artificial help. The IAAF claim is that Pistorius's blades provide less air resistance than normal legs, therefore he has the advantage over able-bodied runners.

While he may be using state of the art Blades that offer an extra "spring in his step," that fact remains that while able-bodied runners have the luxury of using an entire leg's worth of muscle to run, Pistorius has only his upper thigh muscles to propel him forward. That he can run in the first place is a huge accomplishment, but to be as good at it as he is must be recognized as skill on the same level as that of a Michael Phelps or a Lance Armstrong. I'm not a doctor, and I know about as much about anatomy as I know about Mexican donkey shows, but wouldn't more amputee athletes be competing and (more importantly) winning against able-bodied runners if the secret to Pistorius's success was simply the type of Blade he uses? It seems like Pistorius's physical abilities are being outshined by his disabilities. And if he was truly at an "unfair advantage" over the able-bodied runners, wouldn't he have placed
higher than seventh in Sheffield?

Naturally, Pistorius is upset about the IAAF statement. I suppose I would be, too, if I had struggled as much as Pistorius has. But here's the thing: I tend to agree with the IAAF's opinion. Pistorius probably should not be allowed to compete in the Olympics. Hear me out: for one thing, he can continue to compete in the
Paralympics, so it's not as if he's being completely shut out of competition. However, the biggest reason he shouldn't be allowed to compete in the Olympics isn't because of his disability or his current set of Blades; it's because of the Blades of the future. Who knows what technology will bring in the next 10 years? Perhaps those Blades really will be better than real legs, so what then? Do the Olympic Committee and the IAAF issue a retraction and ban runners with these prosthetics? Imagine the outrage! So why not nip it in the bud and say "NO" now so this doesn't happen in the future? No matter when this ban is inevitably issued, these two athletic organizations are going to be vilified for being discriminatory, even though the ban will be issued in the interest of maintaining fairness. Ironic, isn't it?

Now from the WTF files: Australian rugby player Ben Czislowski sustained a head wound that required a few stitches after colliding head-to-head with player Matt Austin on April 1. Later, Czislowski would suffer from an eye infection, lethargy, and shooting pains in his head. Last week doctors finally figured out why the injury was taking so long to heal: they found Austin's tooth imbedded in Czislowski's head!!! O-U-C-H!!!!!!!

Friday, July 13, 2007

You Stay Classy, Cynthia Rodriguez

Being a celebrity athlete certainly has its perks. The best of which include the money, the money, and, oh yeah, did I mention the money? But there is no light without dark, no up with down. There is one major pitfall of being a celebrity athlete - the almost complete loss of privacy. Everyone knows about this rather significant drawback, yet most people still would give anything to be a famous _________ [fill in the blank with your favorite sport] player, which leads me to conclude that the perks > the pitfall. Losing anonymity seems a small price to pay in exchange for living the good life, does it not? That must be true, otherwise there wouldn't be so many wannabe actors, singers, and sports heroes.

I'm not one to care much about what a player does off the field, ice, or court, as long as he's doing his job while he's wearing the team uniform... Unless, of course, I'm writing about #87 for my other blog, (shameless plug) The Sidney Crosby Show. But something happened a few weeks ago, and I need to vent about it. NY Yankees star Alex Rodriguez was photographed hitting a strip club in Toronto with a chesty blonde who was, *ahem*, NOT his wife.

Cynthia and Alex Rodriguez

Following the publication of the photographic evidence of his indiscretion, Boston Red Sox fans showed up in force at the June 1st game sporting blonde female masks:

"Straaaaaaay-Rod, Straaaaaaay-Rod, Straaaaaaay-Rod!!!"

In response to fans, Cynthia Rodriguez appeared at the July 1 game wearing a tank top bearing the words "F*CK YOU" on the back:

What's she looking for? Her dignity.

(Her shirt wasn't censored, by the way - the picture was pixelated by the newspaper that published it.)

I have two problems with Mrs. A-Hole (OOPS! I meant Mrs. A-Rod):

First, she's angry at the wrong party. Being mocked by fans or tabloid newspapers shouldn't be the source of Mrs. Rodriguez's ire; her philandering husband should be! That shirt prompted at least one fan to leave the game with his young child, and she may have violated a Yankee Stadium policy by wearing it.

Secondly, she's aiming an obscene gesture at the very people without whom she wouldn't be able to afford her cushy lifestyle. Example: She received an "apology present" from A-Rod in the form of $6,000 worth of diamonds. Whether she likes it or not, the fans pay her husband's ginormous salary by purchasing game tickets and Yankees merchandise. And without the fans' interest, A-Rod wouldn't be able to command those millions of dollars, because we all know that talent alone doesn't get you nearly as far as celebrity does (otherwise there would be no Paris Hilton).

Yeah, maybe their personal life together isn't technically any of our business, but the aforementioned nasty little pitfall that comes with all of that wonderful money is a reality that the Rodriguezes need to recognize. And in the future, should A-Rod be caught cheating again, maybe Cynthia should direct her anger at its rightful target. It would do her pocketbook well to be grateful to the people that fill it.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

The Two Sides of Merseyside

In the blue corner... Everton boss David Moyes lashed out at the Premiership's big spenders this transfer season by labeling them "irresponsible". He bemoans the fact that other clubs splashing the cash this summer is making it hard for his (little) club to bring in top flight talent. Basically this all amounts to Moyes whining because the big boys have money to spend and he doesn't. Maybe David can hit up fans for some extra spending cash.

In the Red corner... Liverpool have responded to Moyes' complaints by signing Yossi Benayoun and Ryan Babel for £5 million and £11.5 million respectively. This brings the Reds' summer spending to around £40 million. Yeah, I don't feel bad for Everton either.

I'm pretty happy with both of these signings. I think Yossi will help fill the void left by Luis Garcia's move to Madrid. I expect some solid contributions from Babel this year as well, but more patience will be needed with him. I don't expect him to step right into a starting first squad spot and set England on fire by any means. The biggest thing to me is that these are two very versatile players who give Rafa even more options with his lineup. I would hate to be an opposing manager having to game plan against Liverpool this year. The only downside to bringing in these guys is that it probably puts to rest any hope of seeing Ricardo Quaresma in a Liverpool kit this year. I would be very surprised if Rafa added more than one more first team player this summer and I wouldn't expect it to be a big name like Quaresma. My guess is that Rafa will add another defender and then start getting ready for the upcoming campaign.

Breaking Down the Penguins '07-'08 Schedule

The NHL released it's '07-'08 regular season schedule yesterday. Here is my early analysis of the hand the schedule makers have dealt the Penguins:

  • Oct. 5 @ Carolina - The season opener for the Pens. This could be a tough road game to start the campaign. Hopefully they see the Hurricanes that missed the playoffs last year and not the team that lifted the Cup about 14 months ago.
  • Oct. 6 vs. Anaheim - At first glance the Pens home opener against the defending champs looks like anything but a gimme. Dig a little deeper and you realize that prior to this game the Ducks will already have played 4 road games and crossed the Atlantic twice thanks to their opening pair against the Kings in London (and I'm not talking Ontario here). It will also be their second game in as many nights and third in the last four nights. If there is such thing as a perfect time to play the defending champs, this is it.
  • Oct. 13 @ Toronto - Sid and the boys make their first appearance of the season on Hockey Night in Canada. I'm sure Jordan Staal will be ready.
  • Oct. 23 vs. Rangers - The Penguins first look at the revamped Rangers. It may not be that bad since the Rangers' defensemen this year will probably be earning $50 combined. Sather does know there's a salary cap in the NHL right?
  • Nov. 7 vs. Philadelphia - The new look Flyers swing into town. The Pens definitely won't go 8-0 against Philly this year, but I'm still not sold on the Flyers. As long as Derian Hatcher is playing I can't bring myself to pick the Flyers over the Pens.
  • Nov. 22 @ Ottawa - The Pittsburgh's first rematch with their playoff ousters and the second of two games in as many nights. Hopefully coach Therrien shows the team how lousy they looked against the Sens this April to fire them up a little.
  • Dec. 3 vs. Phoenix - Playing the Coyotes is no big deal considering how bad they are, but this will be Penguins fans' only chance to boo Wayne Gretzky in person for the next three years.
  • Jan. 1 @ Buffalo - The Pens open the year with the second half of a home-and-home against a dismantled Sabres squad. The reason this game is relevant... it could be played outdoors. Oh to be within driving distance of Buffalo...
  • Feb. 24 vs. San Jose - The second of two afternoon starts on consecutive days. After taking on Ottawa on the road the day before, hopefully the boys have enough left in the tank to handle the Sharks. The smart money says Dany Sabourin gets the nod here.
  • Mar. 31 @ Rangers - The second leg of a Sunday/Monday home-and-home with the Rangers. These two games could end up deciding the division champ.
  • Apr. 6 @ Philadelphia - The second game of a season ending home-and-home with the Flyers. These two games could also end up deciding the division champ.
Notes and observations:
  • The Penguins play games on back-to-back days 15 times this season. That seems like an awfully high number to me for a non-Olympic season. I have a feeling a lot of that has to do with the NHL trying to get Sid on national TV as much as possible. Which I can't blame them for. Hopefully Sabourin is able to step in and provide some quality starts in there along the way.
  • The first half of November is going to be HUGE for the Pens. They open the month in Colorado, and then play nine games against division opponents in the next nineteen days. The Penguins won't win the Atlantic in November, but they sure could lose it.
  • The Pens longest road trip of the season is only four games, which they will do twice. Their longest homestand of the season will also be four games, which they will do three times. It would be nice to see the boys get s solid six or seven game string at home somewhere along the way, but Eastern Conference travel isn't too bad so it's not that big of a deal.
  • The western Canada trip will be Sid's first appearance in those parts. Knowing him I'd look for 10-12 points out of those games.
So there's my take on the new schedule. I'm sure once the season starts there will be games that become more significant than they look now. In the meantime, it's just nice to know the Good Ship Penguins is sailing in the right direction and that it's okay to talk about winning the division again without being laughed at. October 5th can't get here soon enough.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Nice to Meet You / $idney I$ Re-$igned

Hi! I'm new here. My name is Jodie, but I'm better known in the blogosphere as snoopyjode. Along with Loser Chris, I'll be sharing some facts and opinions about anything and everything sports. I have been a Pittsburgh Penguins fan for more than 10 years now. I live in central Pennsylvania, so I get to go to Pens games once in a while, and I look forward to sharing my experiences at some of the upcoming season's games with you. I'm most familiar with hockey, but I'm smart enough to pick up on a good sports story when I hear one. I can't wait to get started, so without further ado...

Imagine, if you will, going to a car lot. You've narrowed it down to 2 choices. Vehicle A is a brand new Range Rover that normally sells for more than $80,000 but the dealer has offered to you for $60,000. Vehicle B is a used 2001 Ford Explorer that is valued at around $10,000 but the dealer has informed you that he will accept no less than $30,000 for it. Which do you choose? (I know. It's a stupid analogy, but bear with me. I'm making a point...)

Well, if you chose Vehicle A, you're Penguins' general manager Ray Shero and you've just signed NHL phenom Sidney Crosby to a 5 year extension at the bargain price of $43.5 million. (FUN FACT: Crosby was born on 8-7-87, wears the jersey number 87, and his new contract works out to be $8.7 million a year.) Sir Sidney could have commanded top dollar (which would have been more than $10 million a year based on current NHL guidelines) because, after all, he is the best player in the league. But Sid showed his Penguins loyalty and gave Shero the "team-player" discount. Get this: There have been Internet grumblings that the contract is too expensive. That is an incredibly ridiculous statement. He's the best player in the entire NHL and could have demanded the maximum payment and would have gotten it (Shero doesn't want to be forever known as the one that let Sidney get away) but he didn't. $8.7 mil a year is a bargain basement price for a player like Sid! What other teenager who is the best in player in his or her sport is going to pass on collecting an extra $2 mil in order to leave some extra cash in the pot for his coworkers? That's one of the big reasons Sid is my favorite player.

Now, if you chose Vehicle B, well that makes you one of these guys:
  • Glen Sather, GM of the New York Rangers, who just signed Chris Drury to a 5 year, $32.25 million contract. He's a decent player, I realize, but on a scale that's weighted with Sid's talent-to-salary ratio, Drury's new salary is a joke. I guess it doesn't help that the Rangers have always seemed to have more money than brains...

  • Paul Holmgren, GM of the Philadelphia Flyers, who just signed Daniel Briere to an 8 year, $52 million contract. What is with the OUTRAGEOUS amount of money? One awesome season does not make any player worth that kind of money. Wow. I wonder if I have one outstanding day at work if they'll quadruple my salary with no guarantee that I'll ever have another day as good as that one again?

Was it just me, or did you too think the dollar amounts being thrown around to average (hear me out - I mean average in terms of the NHL) players during this year's free agency frenzy was out of control? Does ANYONE think Briere would have gotten that kind of offer if Sid's contract was inked first? Maybe now other general managers can Sid's deal as a guideline to get the overspending under control. Hey, a girl can dream, right?

On a somber note, former Detroit Red Wings coach Jimmy Skinner, who was at the helm when Hall of Famers Gordie Howe and Ted Lindsay captured Lord Stanley's Cup in 1955, died on July 11, 2007 at the ripe old age of 90. T.O.F.T.T. offers our condolences to his family, friends, and fans.

Monday, July 9, 2007

Getting Caught Up!

Wow, I picked the wrong time to be away for over a week. Let's get to it:

  • Ronnie Franchise (that's Ron Francis to you and me) is now immortal! The most underrated player in NHL history gets the highest individual honor possible. He is also a part of the highest scoring class to ever enter the Hall. And it's nice to see he hasn't forgotten his time in black and gold.
  • El Nino season has hit Liverpool! With the superstar striker hole apparently filled, Rafa is now shifting his focus to adding wingers and shedding dead weight (Cisse, Bellamy, Zenden, etc.) In other positive news, Rafa has confirmed that neither Crouch nor Pennant are going anywhere.
  • thePensblog admits defeat at the hands of TOFTT's vast wealth of 90's Penguins knowledge.
  • NHL free agency is out of control! The money being thrown around out there is insane. But I couldn't be happier that the Flyers just signed a guy entering his thirties and just slightly bigger than my six year old daughter to an eight (yes, as in 8) year contract. I must admit though, the Atlantic Division is a lot tougher than it was 10 days ago.
  • In case you forgot, baseball players fight like girls.
That's all I got right now. It's good to be back. Until next time...
Viva la Rafalution and in Shero We Trust!