Sunday, December 13, 2009

The Airing of Grievances: Part II

Apparently I will be going to the Penguins vs. Flyers game on Thursday, December 17th. The Flyers have been playing like an AHL team for almost a month now, going 2-10-0 in their past 12 dating back to November 20th. While the Flyers have been slipping and sliding their way through November and December, the Pens have gone 8-2-1 during that span earning a tie for the top spot in the Atlantic Division and one point behind Washington for the best record in the East and the NHL overall. Obviously two teams at completely different ends of the spectrum with one team flying high and the other simply trying not to drown. A head coaching change has done little so far and it seems as if trades and player movement are on the horizon for the Flyers (but that's for another post).

Now when I go to the game on Thursday there won't be much talk at all amongst the fans about how poorly the Flyers have been performing or what it's going to take to change things. No, most of the talk will be about how Pittsburgh got lucky last year with second tier players and with a captain who would much rather dress up as Miss Coco Peru than check a competitor into the side boards. And this is what upsets me. Now I'm as big a Crosby hater as they come. I despise the very essence that is Sidney Crosby. And I love when you can clearly hear the "CROSBY SUCKS" chants through the TV and radio broadcasts and have participated in a few chants myself. But this is not at all the time to be cheering hatred for the opposing team or it's players.

With the way the Flyers have been playing recently, the fans need to be chanting "LET'S GO FLYERS" and show their support for the team they say they love. Stop being so concerned with the opposition and show your own team a little support. I'm not saying not to boo the Pens when they enter the arena or not to throw a mustard-drenched hotdog at a Pens fan wearing a Malkin jersey. Let the Penguins and their fans know you're there, but let them know by cheering loudly and wildly for your own team. And if the Flyers get ahead early, then you can throw a little "Crosby Sucks" in there, but not until then. If the Flyers go down a goal early or it's tied going into the second period, don't chant "CROSBY SUCKS." It just shows Pittsburgh and their fans that you hate the Penguins more than you love your Flyers, and that's not the way it should be.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year? I Don't Think So.

December, for a college student, is far from the most wonderful time of the year. It is quite possibly the most stressful and mentally draining time of the year. Final exams and papers are piling up faster than you can even imagine and instead of seeing jolly, smiling faces around campuses you see exhausted, miserable students with blood coming out of their eyes. The Christmas season definitely changes when you leave home and go to college. Instead of counting down the days until winter break with a red and green construction paper chain, you have a daily planner counting down the days until you can sleep again without having visions of sugar plum fairies dancing in your head, handing back your exams and papers with Cs, Ds and Fs on them and laughing in your face while they do it. There is no mistletoeing and no hearts will be glowing for a student with four exams in a three day span. And the only "tales of the glories" being told will be of that one semester where your friend passed all of his exams and only contemplated dropping out of school twice. The holiday season isn't the greatest time for any student, plain and simple. Work begins to pile up and it gets a little overwhelming. The only thing a student can do if force their way through it, study their ass off and promise themselves that it'll be over soon and that next semester will be better, no matter how empty those promises may be.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Always Sunny in Philadelphia? Not So Much

After the first game of the Flyers' November road trip, they have been playing absolutely dreadful hockey. They are 1-6-0 since beating the Kings on November 18th (literally a day before my Flying High post) and currently have a three game losing streak. They haven't scored a goal is seven straight periods and when they get on the power play, I'm scared that the opposing team is going to get a shorthanded goal rather than being excited about the possibility of scoring. There have been glimpses of quality play this year, but the team just hasn't been consistent enough to keep it up. It's time for changes to be made.

1) Fire John Stevens and Co.
The John Stevens era has been quite a roller coaster ride. He became head coach of the team, taking over for Ken Hitchcock, during the worst season in Flyers history. During his first full season as coach, he took the Flyers to the Eastern Conference Finals where they eventually lost to the Pittsburgh Penguins. And in 2008/2009 the Flyers had a first round exit this time, courtesy once again of the Pittsburgh Penguins. And the beginning of the 2009 season hasn't gone quite as planned either. There is so much talent on this team, and for them to be 10th in the conference and playing at a level like this is unacceptable. The players know it, the coaching staff knows it and the fans know it. I just don't know if the current coaching staff is the right one to fix the team's problems. It may be that Stevens has lost control of the locker room or maybe his system (if you can call it a system) just isn't working. Or maybe it's both? A change may really jump start this team and set them in the right direction. It worked for the Pens last year, why can't it work for the Flyers too?

2) "C" is for change
I believe that if a coaching change is made, Mike Richards should be relieved of his duties as captain. He hasn't shown that he is mature enough to be the captain of an NHL team. Now, when he was officially named captain I was all for it. He shows, on the ice, that he is a leader and will do whatever it takes to will his team to victory. But there's more to being a captain than on ice performance and attitude. A lot of what it takes to be a captain is shown in the locker room. A captain should take responsibility for his team and prove to his teammates that on and off the ice, this team is his team, and no one's going to mess with that. Chris Pronger has shown this year why he was a captain of the Anaheim Ducks. He has taken responsibility for the Flyers poor play and has stated that on ice changes will be made or there may be personnel changes instead. I'm not saying to make Pronger captain right now or this season for that matter, it just may be something to think about.

If something, anything, isn't changed this team could be in for a tough season. I hope they don't need to make any changes and they can turn it around like this never happened and make me sound like an idiot. It might me a personnel change like Pronger said, but whatever it is, it needs to happen soon or this losing streak could turn into 2006/2007 really fast.

Monday, November 30, 2009

The Pittsburgh Penguins: Futility Wins Championships

During Game One of the first round of the 2009 Stanley Cup Playoffs between the Philadelphia Flyers and the Pittsburgh Penguins NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman was quoted as saying that the Pittsburgh Penguins were a model NHL franchise. A model franchise. That means that he thinks that the Penguins are an exemplary franchise that other NHL teams should model themselves after. Does Mr. Bettman know anything about the league he currently runs? Apparently Gary was living under an NHL rock for every year before the 2007 season. The Pittsburgh Penguins are a model for futility and, before the 06/07 season, consistently ranked in the bottom portion of NHL attendance figures. It might be wise to show Penguins fans, NHL fans, and the league commissioner how the Penguins won the 2009 Stanley Cup.

Let's first look at the history of the Pittsburgh Penguins. During the early years of the Penguins, their ownership sought to relocate the team because of problems making money. This could have possibly been due to the fact that the Pens average attendance during the 1970s was about 9,700 in a stadium with an average capacity at the time of 14,200. And during the 82/83 and 83/84 seasons the Pens had average attendances of 8,408 and 6,839 respectively, in an arena with a capacity of 16,033. The average NHL attendance during this time period was hovering around 12,000 per game. Yea, but that was a long time ago, right? Well the Pens won the Stanley Cup in 1991 and 1992. And attendance spiked, as it should when a championship has been won. But from the years 2001 to 2007 (excluding the 2005 lockout season), Pittsburgh ranked in the bottom 3rd in NHL attendance including 2004 where they ranked dead last in attendance. I'm not going to say that the fans only show up when the team is winning (fair weather fans and the definition if it), but... Just for something to look at, during the 2006/2007 season the Philadelphia Flyers were the worst team in hockey. They ranked 7th among NHL teams in attendance. This is why, once again, there was another threat to relocate the team. There was no fan base. But Mario Lemieux saved the team from being relocated to Kansas City and kept them in Pittsburgh.

In order to win a championship a team needs a little bit of luck, right? Well the Pens draft picks from 2002-2006 were a little more than luck. Starting in 2002, the Penguins had the 5th overall pick (Ryan Whitney); in 2003, the 1st overall pick (Marc-Andre Fleury); in 2004, the 2nd overall pick (Evgeni Malkin); in 2005, the 1st* overall pick (Sidney Crosby) and in 2006, the 2nd overall pick (Jordan Staal). That's five straight years with top five picks and four straight with top two overall picks. I suppose that's what happens when you're a terrible team for a long time. But the 2005 draft was a little different from the others. The Pens had had the 2nd overall pick the year before and chose Evgeni Malkin. And the very next year, without even playing a game during the 2005 season, they received the 1st overall pick. No conspiracy, just really lucky.

Now I'm not commenting on the overall quality of the Penguins now. They have a very good team and rightfully so. If they weren't the best team in the NHL with five straight top five picks, they don't deserve to be in the NHL. And they have a large fan base now which is to be expected after a team wins a championship. But where were these fans but a few years ago and why weren't they supporting their team and doing their job to try to keep their team in Pittsburgh? It took five top five picks to bring the fans back to Mellon Arena. Other franchises have fans no matter how well or how poorly their team is performing. I'm not going to get into the Sidney Crosby debate, that's for another post but the Pittsburgh Penguins are NOT a model franchise, Mr. Commissioner. They're actually the exact opposite of how an NHL team should operate itself.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Flying High

Well it's been a long time since the last post, but school has kept me busy and extremely stressed at the same time.

The Flyers have been playing on a different level as of late. They're 12-5-1 through 18 games, not too shabby. With a 3-0 start, spirits were high, until they faced the Pens for the first time. They hit a little rut after that but have been playing basically lights-out hockey for the past 2+ weeks. Beating some top-notch teams and handling the inferior teams with ease. The rut at the beginning of the season was due to new additions and new positions.

The addition of a new netminder is always going to take some time to get used to. Every goalie is a little insane in their own respect, and it takes time for the position players to get used to their new goaltenders extent and type of insanity.

When a team adds a top-tier D-man like Chris Pronger, it takes time to get acquainted to him as well. He is in a way, like the quarterback of the team and when you get a new leader of your defense and powerplay, chemistry doesn't just happen overnight.

But the Flyers are running at full throttle now and players that weren't seen last year are making a huge impact. James vanRiemsdyk is second among NHL rookies in scoring and leads the team with 4 game-winning goals. Defenseman Matt Carle is playing out of this world right now alongside Pronger. I guess playing with a future hall of famer is going to improve anyones game. The Flyers are 10-1 with faceoff machine Blair Betts in the lineup, which just goes to show that when you win faceoffs, you aren't forced to play back on your heels. Also can't forget Ray Emery. He's been playing phenomenal between the pipes so far and shows no signs it's going to stop.

The biggest liabilities on the beginning of the year were surprisingly, Kimmo Timonen and Braydon Coburn. Kimmo was consistently the best and most reliable defenseman for the Flyers since he's been here, and it was just a matter of time before he got back on track. It was sort of the same thing with Coburn. We had grown accustomed to his good play and seeing him struggle was sort of shocking. But not that they're both on track it must look like trying to get through a brick wall when it comes to scoring on this team.

Here's to a good west coast trip! Let's go Flyers!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

W.S. Game 1

Thanks to MLB schedule makers, we've had to wait since Sunday for this day to come. It's just more days for the stress to mount on the fans and I suppose the players as well. With Cliff Lee and C.C. Sabathia on the mound this game should be a pitchers duel, but when it looks that way, it usually ends up in a shootout. Cliff Lee did win the first ever game at the new Yankee Stadium defeating C.C. Sabathia, but that was in April and it hardly matters now. And the Phillies did beat C.C. last postseason when he was with the Brewers en route to a World Series championship. And the Phillies did win two out of three in Yankee Stadium this summer and had it not been for a Brad Lidge blown save, they may have swept the Yankees. But all of those positives are in the past. In the postseason nothing else matters. Just ask Carlos Ruiz, the playoffs are a completely different animal.

Now I'm especially nervous about game one. In the Phillies 2008 postseason run and so far in 2009, they have won each game one of each series. So I think that this game is especially important to get home field advantage in the Phillies favor and to show the Yankees that they're not playing the Twins or Angels, but a real baseball team and a World Champion. Runs are going to be hard to come by tonight and whichever starting pitcher tires first will lose the game. I really don't want to make a prediction for tonight because it will be completely biased towards who I want to win, but I'll do it anyway.

Prediction: 4-3 Philadelphia

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Yankees/Angels Game 6

I really don't care who wins this game to tell you the truth. I honestly believe the Phillies can beat either team. I think that they'd have an easier time with the Angels, but I also think it would be a better accomplishment to beat the most distinguished franchise in all of sports, the Yankees. At this point I'm just hoping to see the last bit of good baseball before the stress of watching the Phillies sets in. And it wouldn't be bad to see either team to use a lot of their pitching before they faced the Phillies either. Not going to make a prediction for this game, because I really don't care what the outcome is. I just want to see a great baseball game before I can't watch baseball without shaking uncontrollably.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Returns Only

Well this is it. The Phillies are within a game of returning to the World Series for the second year in a row. Considering the way the Phillies won on Monday, I don't see any way that the Dodgers can rebound. It was a completely deflating loss and I will be extremely impressed if they are able to come back after such a crushing loss. Well this is Cole Hamels' 3rd postseason game this year. He has done pretty poorly up to this point, but had it not been for Chase Utley's error in game one of the NLCS, he may not have had that bad of an outing. The Padilla Flotilla won't be able to handle being on the opposite side of the raucous Philadelphia crowd. If the Phillies score early, this game could be over quickly.

Prediction: 6-3 Philadelphia

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Literally Without Speech

I'm not going to say I saw this coming, because I didn't. But I will say that I had faith in this Phillies team even with two outs and down a run in the 9th. I said at the beginning of the 2009 playoffs that that special something that the 2008 team seemed to have, the 2009 team didn't. Well I officially retract that statement. It's not that this team refuses to lose, because I don't think that's the right way to put it. I think it's that this team knows it is going to win. Even when the chips are down and it looks like an impossibility, they still have full confidence in themselves and simply know that they'll end up on top.

Last night was not nearly as much of a roller coaster ride as game four of the NLDS, but it was certainly a fun game to watch. In the NLDS, I didn't have the confidence in this team that I have now. Brad Lidge looks to be back in form with his 9th inning appearance last night and Ryan Howard just can't be stopped from knocking in runs. I don't know how the Dodgers have any confidence that they'll win another game in this series or if Johnathan Broxton can ever find a way to finish off the Phillies in the post season.

Now I'm not going to say this series is over yet, because it's not. We still have to win one more game, but the scales are definitely tilted in our favor. With Cole on the mound and the Phillies getting their second look at the ever unpredictable Padilla, it looks like the Phils may punch their ticket to the World Series at home this year.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Finally Back w/ a Prediction

Well I missed a couple of pregame predictions and a couple of post game analyses but I'm back. As far as game two goes, I do not at all blame Chase Utley. The game should have never gotten to that point. Charlie Manuel should have never taken out Pedro Martinez. He had pitched 7 innings of two hit baseball with a low pitch count. I could understand if Manuel took him out because they were really threatening offensively, but to put Ben Fransisco in when we had 1 out and the bases empty doesn't make much sense, especially the way our bullpen has been. It's tough to win any game though when your offense only puts up one run on a solo shot by post season RBI machine, Ryan Howard. But the domination in game three certainly made up for it.

Cliff Lee had another masterful performance and the offense exploded early for 6 runs in the first two innings. This game was a perfect example of how the Phillies are an extremely mature baseball team. They were able to put the disappointing game two loss behind them and go back on the field as if it were game one again. There's really not much one can say about this game other than the Phillies thoroughly manhandled the Dodgers.

Now to game four. The Phillies are looking to take a commanding three games to one series lead and all but punch their ticket to the series. Joe Blanton takes the mound for the Phillies and looks to prove that he still deserves to pitch in the post season and still has that magic that he had in 2008. The Dodgers throw former Phil Randy Wolf on the mound. He was one of my, along with most Phillie fans' favorites. The Phillies should know everything there is to know about Wolf considering he was originally drafted by the Phillies in 1997. With Blanton having something to prove, the Phillies knowing Randy Wolf and the cold weather, which really seemed to benefit the Phillies last night, I say the Phillies win game four and look to clinch in Philadelphia.

Prediction: 6-4 Philadelphia

Thursday, October 15, 2009

NLCS Game 1 Prediction

If a pitcher can't be motivated by pitching game one of the NLCS, there's something wrong with him. And especially after having your first child, this is the greatest time of your life! I believe that Mr. Cole Hamels will be mentally prepared for his second postseason outing of 2009. The Phillies have a fairly good track record against the Dodgers starting pitcher, Clayton Kershaw. There's no reason the Phillies shouldn't win this game, yet it is the playoffs and anything can happen.

Prediction: Philadelphia 6-3
In a nailbiter...

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Beating Huston in Denver through the Spectrum

If game 4 of the NLDS between the Phillies and Rockies wasn't the most exciting game of the year, I don't know what was. I went through the entire spectrum of emotions in only 3 innings. The Phillies had a 2-1 lead: I'm nervous, but happy. They get the bases loaded with one out for the 2nd time in the game and fail to score: I'm upset, but we still have the lead. Ryan Madson gives up a single to the steroid freak himself, Jason Giambi: Pretty darn angry, but the game is still tied. Madson gives up a 2 run double to Torrealba: Pissed beyond all belief and now having difficulty breathing. Manuel puts in the inept Greg Dobbs and he, of course, strikes out: I have basically given up hope and am thinking of how Cole will do in game 5. J-Roll singles: big deal, they always get your hopes up only to smash them minutes later. Chase Utley draws a 2 out walk after a Victorino fielder's choice: starting to get nervous again, but Ryan is coming up, he'll strike out. Howard hits a 2 out, 2 run double to right field: speechless, literally without speech. Jayson Werth singles to score Ryan: after that great at bat, I kind of thought he was going to get a hit, but getting stressed again. We still have to close the game. Phillies bring in Scott Eyre: wait, did he not get injured last game? Oh god. With 2 outs, in comes Brad Lidge: uncontrollable shaking overcomes my body. Strike three: who's pitching game 2?

A human being should never have to go through that amount of stress in such a short period of time or even a lifetime for that matter. I'm glad to see the Phils return to the NLCS for the second year in a row, I'm just not looking forward to the mental stress that it's going to once again put me through. I went 3/4 in calling the NLDS games, not too shabby. I'm not ready to make any Championship Series or World Series predictions yet though. I think I'm just going to use Tuesday and Wednesday to recover from the insane amount of anxiety and mental agony from Monday night.

Monday, October 12, 2009

A Not so "Happ"y Beginning

Well who would have thought that with sub 30 degree temperatures game 3 of the NLDS would have been a show of offensive displays. J.A. Happ looked worse than Cole Hamels did. In the first inning Happ wasn't hit tremendously hard, but when they were hit, they just seemed to find the open places. But these open places wouldn't have been found if Happ was able to pitch ahead in the count and not go to 3 ball counts to more than half the batters he faced. But the offense was there to back him and the rest of the bullpen up, showing why they were the most prolific offense in the National League.

It is kind of disappointing that Cliff Lee has to pitch today, because if he wins, he won't be able to pitch until game 2 of the NLCS, at the earliest (assuming the Phillies beat the Rockies). But I think that Lee will have a good game this afternoon. Maybe not as good as game 1, but enough to get the win. Phils win the series today.

Prediction: 6-3 Philadelphia

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Rocky Mountain Happ

With J.A. Happ on the mound tonight, I have a lot more confidence in getting the win than I did on Saturday with Pedro Martinez pitching. I really don't want to pick the Rockies in this game, because the Phillies need the win so bad. I say that if the Rockies win tonight, they win the series, but if the Phils win tonight, it's still up for grabs. I think Jayson Werth is going to have a big game and possibly go deep. J.A. pitches around 7 solid innings in what I think is going to be a low scoring affair. I don't want to pick the Rockies...and I won't.

Prediction: 4-2 Phillies

Thursday, October 8, 2009


Well Cole Hamels showed Phillies fans today that he wasn't in the right mindset to be pitching game 2 of the NLDS. Apparently his wife went into labor following his departure from the game. We can only assume this was due to him giving up a 2 strike to the pitcher and a homerun to a guy, Torrealba, who hasn't homered since May 6th. If his wife going into labor was dominating his mind instead of focusing on the next pitch, then he shouldn't have been on the mound. We had J.A. Happ, Joe Blanton, and Pedro Martinez waiting in the wings to take his place. If he wasn't fully, 100% prepared for this game, he shouldn't have been in there.

And could someone tell me who was on the mound for the first 5 innings for the Rockies? Because it most certainly wasn't Aaron Cook, a sinker-baller with a cheesy mohawk who can't break 90. It's also tough to score runs when your leadoff hitter goes MIA. But this all stems from Cole Hamels. He pitched poorly, but it was even worse than it looked. The first batter of the game, Cole got ahead in the count and continued to nibble until he got it to a 3-2 count in which he gave up a single to right. Go after the batters and stop worrying about making a mistake. Make being aggressive your only mistake, not getting ahead 0-2, then going to 1-2, 2-2, 3-2...

Off day on Friday and we can only assume Pedro will be on the mound on Saturday, but we'll see. Game 2 is the most important game in every series, and they lost it. You know that loss of anxiety that I talked about before? Yea, well it's back with a side of no confidence to go along with it.

Game 2

Well I gotta say I feel pretty confident. I don't feel that special quality for this team that I felt last year, but I'm much less nervous watching the games this year. Yesterday I didn't fear that Cliff Lee would implode and give up three runs in the first inning or think that the offense wouldn't be able to hit with RISP. I had a strange confidence that I rarely have with this Phillies ball club or any Philadelphia team for that matter. I say Cole shows that he's still Cole today and the Phils get their first round tripper of the 2009 playoffs.

Prediction: 7-2 Philadelphia

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Sweet VictorLee

Prediction: 7-4 Philadelphia

Result: 5-1 Philadelphia

Eh, Close enough. The Phillies looked pretty darn good in their first win of the first game of the 2009 playoffs. It wasn't the 9 innings of six hit, one run baseball of Cliff Lee that impressed me the most today (I'm not saying it didn't impress me though). It was the fact that the Phillies scored five runs today without the benefit of a homerun. All year the Phillies have had trouble hitting with runners in scoring position, but not on this day. The fact that the Phils found out how to hit in the clutch and simply manufacture runs with a stolen base or an extra base hit is what was really impressive. Now to the second most impressive part of Game 1, Cliff Lee.

Lee struggled early in the game and gave most everyone in the record attendance of Citizens Bank Park, as well as myself, a little scare. But after the first few innings, Cliff Lee went on to retire 16 in a row en route to a one run complete game. Not only did he pitch a gem, he chipped in at the plate as well, getting a base hit as well as a sacrifice bunt. He also set a Phillies record as the first Phillies pitcher ever to steal a base in the postseason.

I was extremely satisfied with the game today and look forward to seeing what Cole Hamels has to show us on Thursday. He should want to show everyone that he still is the Cole who won the NLCS and World Series MVPs and that he has the stuff to take the Phillies far into the postseason. Hopefully Lee's performance gives Hamels a little motivation and something to try to top. Good luck tomorrow Phils!

Game 2 Prediction: TBD

Let It Begin

It begins in less than ten minutes. The anticipation is killing me. We've all been waiting for this since about Halloween of last year. Let's go Phils! Post game reaction to follow...

Prediction: 7-4 Philadelphia.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Mission: Repetition

Wednesday afternoon at 2:37 cannot come fast enough. The Phillies embark on their third straight playoff adventure and hope to have the same results as they did last year, a World Series Championship and another parade down Broad Street. I'm not sure if I'm the only one who feels this, but last year just felt like something special was going to happen. And I'm not gonna lie, I'm not feeling it this year. Don't get me wrong, I'm hoping and rooting for the Phils to win it again this year, but I just don't have the confidence going into the playoffs this year that I did last year. Now maybe it's just the fact that they won it all last year and every year you expect your team to do better, but that's kind of impossible with the 2009 Phillies. That special quality that the 2008 Phillies seemed to possess just doesn't seem to be here this year. 2009 Brad Lidge is far from 2008 Brad Lidge. Cole Hamels isn't Cole Hamels this year either. In 2007, it was the Phillies first playoff appearance in over a decade and just getting into the postseason that year was an accomplishment. In 2008, we had gotten into the playoffs the previous season, but in 2008, players and fans alike wouldn't be happy with anything less than a World Series appearance/victory. But in 2009, the uniqueness just isn't there and the thing that made the 2008 team special just doesn't seem to be there.

Now let the playoffs begin and hopefully bring another special year to this town and another championship to Philadelphia. But just don't be surprised if that doesn't happen.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

My NHL Realignment Plan (c/o

Well some of the hockey brass at decided it would be a good idea to submit realignment plans for the NHL. Well if John Buccigross can do it, why can't I?

Alright first off, I would relocate the following teams: the Atlanta Thrashers, Phoenix Coyotes, Florida Panthers, and the Tampa Bay Lightning. There's no future for hockey in Florida. And I don't want to hear that the "old folks who retire want to go to the games" bullshit. They root for their teams from back home. If a team is going to move to a new location, it's going to be the young people who create the fan base, not senior citizens. The teams would go to the following locations: Winnepeg, MB; Toronto, ON; Quebec, QC; and an American city...alright, I can live with Seattle, WA. And as to which teams go where, it doesn't really matter.

Well it's obvious the NHL needs to be marketed better. They need to stop saying, "Look at Sidney Crosby! Look at Alex Ovechkin! Look, look! They're good right? Just look!" No, that's not at all how to do it. Why not? Because that's how they've been doing it and it hasn't worked. They need to market hockey. Show non-fans how exciting the game is, not certain players. Show the shootout (which I don't like at all, but it get's non-fans interested, so we'll keep it) and show the speed and skill of scorers as well as goalies. And do you know how to get exposure for the NHL? Put it on ESPN. For Christ's sake, the WNBA is on ESPN! There's no way in hell the WNBA would get higher TV ratings than a Flyers/Penguins game or a Capitals/Bruins game. Most people don't even know what VS is. So, how do you expect people to watch your league if it's on a channel they don't even know exists.

I would change the way the divisions are aligned so rivals play each other more often thus creating higher TV ratings. Some of the division names have been changed as well.

Eastern Conference

Stanley Divison
New Jersey
Hart Division
New York Rangers
New York Islanders
Toronto Maple Leafs
Calder Division
Toronto (Relocated Team)

Western Conference
Vezina Division
St. Louis
Norris Division
Howe Division
Los Angeles
San Jose

Thursday, September 17, 2009

JVR Looking Good

The Flyers second overall pick in the 2007 NHL Entry Draft, James Van Riemsdyk, has show many that he not only deserves a spot on the Flyers 2009-2010 roster, but that he deserves significant playing time. In the Flyers first unofficial preseason game (a rookies game versus the Washington Capitals rookies), Van Riemsdyk had four goals (that's 4, one more than a hatrick) and one assist. He was, according to reporters who were there, flying around the ice and looking like a Rick Nash reincarnate. Over the summer Van Riemsdyk put on about ten pounds of muscle and looks to be in great hockey shape. Last night during the Flyers first "official" preseason game against the Red Wings, JVR had the Flyers lone goal on a wrister from the top of the left circle.

Van Riemsdyk has been thought of as a bust by many Flyers fans (myself included). It has mostly been Flyers fans being upset that they didn't get the 1st overall pick in the 2007 draft, the year after they were the worst team in the NHL, and had the worst season in Philadelphia Flyers history. With the 1st overall pick in the draft, the Chicago Blackhawks took the now coverman of EA Sports NHL 10, Patrick Kane. Many Flyers fans have been comparing Van Riemsdyk to Kane and this is the source of the "JVR is a bust" comments. Van Riemsdyk, after being drafted by the Flyers, decided to not go pro but go to the University of New Hampshire to play collegiate hockey. JVR is finally out of college and looking for a NHL roster spot after playing seven games last season with the Flyers AHL affiliate, the Phantoms. If he keeps up his torrid pace in the preseason, there's no reason that he should be kept off the big club's roster.

Monday, September 14, 2009

A Shot in the Ribs

I hope no one missed the real outcome of the Eagles/Panthers game on Sunday. No, it wasn't the 38-7 shellacking by the Eagles. No, it wasn't the 7 takeaways created by the Eagles defense, which didn't seem to miss a beat with the loss of the greatest D-coordinator in the NFL, Jim Johnson. The real outcome was the possible loss of Donovan McNabb. Even if Donovan plays next week, he will be in significant pain, and will not be a 100% McNabb, which could be a problem considering the Eagles may need to score a bunch of points to combat the highly explosive offense that is the New Orleans Saints.

Donovan McNabb is not well liked by many Eagles fans, to say the least. Many regard him a a quarterback who cannot win in the clutch or cannot win the big game that the Eagles need him to win. But when your quarterback takes you to five NFC Conference championships and one Super Bowl in his tenure so far, it's really tough to say he can't win the big game. In the NFL every game is a big game, and every playoff game is an even bigger game. Donovan has won 9 career playoff games, no easy task considering he has had possibly the worst wide recievers of any successful quarterback in NFL history. In 2003 Philadelphia's wide receivers caught only five touchdown passes tying the record for fewest in a season. The 2003 Eagles became the first NFL team since 1945 not to have gotten a touchdown pass from any of its wide receivers in the first two months of a season. McNabb is a Hall of Fame quarterback and for the Eagles to lose him to injury is devastating to the team.

To all of the Donovan haters, he will be missed during his time out and the Eagles will struggle without him. Unless Kevin Kolb...wait nevermind.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Closer Troubles

With the problems that Brad Lidge has been having in the bullpen, particularly in the closer position, it's about time Charlie Manuel decided to relinquish Brad's duties as closer. Doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results is insanity. And Charlie putting Brad out there expecting him to suddenly change and become the Brad Lidge of 2008 was ridiculous. Brad got the bases loaded and Manuel officially got off Brad's d**k and went with an old face when it comes to the closer's role...Ryan Madson. He was the closer this year when Lidge was on the DL. He did very well in the beginning, but faded out towards the end. If Madson uses his changup effectively, he has some of the best stuff in the league, and is downright nasty.
When it comes to the position of closer for the rest of the 2009 regular season and the playoffs, Charlie Manuel should start to groom Brett Myers back into the closer's role. he performed extremely well during his time in the the pen in 2007, and there's no reason to expect that he lost his "closer's stuff." He has the arm to be a closer and he most definitely has the mentality, so by the last week of the regular season, Brett Myers should be the Phillies primary closer.
And with Brad Lidge, he might make a few spot closes up until the last week, then he should become the 8th inning guy along with Ryan Madson. It is possible that Brad is tipping his pitches again like he did in 2007. Or, like many others believe, he is having injury problems and is trying to pitch through them. And if this is the case, Brad needs to realize he's hurting the team and go on the DL.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

No Pedro

5-6, 5.61 ERA, 1.57 WHIP. A great acquisition? If these stats were thrown to any general manager in Major League Baseball as the stats of a prospective pitcher there would be no chance that this GM would sign this pitcher (not even the Pirates). So why are the Phillies looking at Pedro Martinez when only last year he put up horrific numbers with the ever-troubled New York Mets? It's obviously not a publicity stunt. With the amount of talent and big-name players that are on the Phillies, a player of Pedro's caliber doesn't really change much when it comes to sales. So it just doesn't make sense that the Phillies would try to improve their average at best pitching staff with a player that will not only not improve the starting five, but be a pest in the clubhouse as well.
Tossing down Don Zimmer by his 80-something year old head and being taped to a pole in Fenway is just someone that the World Champion Phillies don't need in the dugout.

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