Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Dan Carcillo: A Love Story

"Dan Carcillo is a good player who happens to be tough and aggressive. We think he can play in our top nine. The fans are going to love him."

When the trade for Dan Carcillo was made last season there weren't many fans who agreed with with Paul Holmgren's statement. He traded fan-favorite Scottie Upshall and second round pick in 2011 for Carcillo, and it upset a lot of fans. Even during the 2008-2009 season, the fan's sentiment did not change much on Carcillo. He was taking "stupid" penalties and not producing offensively (no goals, 4 assists, and a -2 in 20 games). But things have changed this season.

In 2010, Carcillo is playing like the player Paul Holmgren brought him here to be. He's not taking stupid penalties nor taking penalties at the wrong time. He's being a pest, an agitator, a pain in the ass. He is doing his job well and getting under the skin of the opposing team. Carcillo is the ultimate fighter as well. As opposed to Riley Cote who will fight anyone at anytime but, more often then not, get his butt pummeled in the process, Carcillo fights the right guys at the right times and usually comes out with blood on his knuckles, not on his face. I really like the way Dan has played the game this season. He plays with a high level of intensity and has shown bit of a scoring touch as well.

Maybe it's the Flyers of the mid-70s tributary mustache he's sporting, maybe it's his no holds barred approach to interviews (see: "I was pretty much licking my chops" when asked about getting to fight NY Ranger Marian Gaborik), who knows? Carcillo has certainly upped his game this season and Flyers fans can only hope it continues and takes them into the playoffs.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

FSN Pittsburgh: An Utter Embarrassment


When an NHL referee wants to review a play because he wants to be sure that the correct call was made, the play gets sent up to the "War Room" in Toronto to be analyzed by NHL professionals. And when this happens, shouldn't these "NHL Professionals" get every possible angle, view and camera shot available? Well according to the producer of FSN Pittsburgh, only angles and shots that benefit the Penguins will be sent.

How can the people who review NHL goals not have every single replay of the goal (or non-goal)? How is it possible that the producer of the television station who is shooting the game has the ability to withhold a certain replay? Simon Gagne shot a puck towards the net that was under goalie Brent Johnson's pads and it was inconclusive on the ice whether the puck had fully crossed the goal line or not. So to be sure the correct call was made, referee Don VanMassenhoven sent the play up to Toronto to be reviewed. Well with the replays that were given to them, the people in Toronto decided that there wasn't enough evidence to show that the puck completely crossed the goal line (it looked like it was in from the replays I saw, but that really doesn't matter). The final score of this game ended up being 7-4 Flyers and the goal really didn't matter in the end. But what if it had? What if the final outcome of the game would have been different had this goal counted? What FSN Pittsburgh did was completely embarrassing and irresponsible. To withhold a replay to benefit the station's home team is an absolute joke and makes a mockery of the whole NHL goal review process.

I really hope something like this never happens again. And if it were my team's TV station preventing the NHL from making the right call, I would have to question the integrity of the station and of my team. Who is to say FSN Pittsburgh hasn't been doing this for years? It's a real shame that something like this happened, a real shame.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

The Steroid Era, an Era

To the surprise of just about no one, Mark McGwire admitted to using steroids during his home run record breaking season of 1998. During that year, he and Sammy Sosa had one of the greatest record-breaking battles of all time. That year McGwire ended the season with 70 home runs and Sosa with 66, both smashing Roger Maris' record of 61 home runs set back in 1961. During the 1998 season, the baseball's steroid era was in full swing and no one knew who was using and who wasn't. And the people who are saying that McGwire shouldn't be in the Hall of Fame or that he should have an asterisk next to his name in the record books or that his numbers should be stricken from history completely, need to look at the bigger picture.

During the 1990s and early 2000s, a large number of Major Leaguers were using performance enhancing substances of some kind. And who is to say that the pitcher Mark McGwire hit a home run off of wasn't using roids? It's going to be damn near impossible to get the name of every steroid user during that time period, it just won't happen. So Major League Baseball should treat the steroid era in baseball just like any other era. The steroid era is no different from the dead-ball era, it's just a period in baseball where numbers were skewed. Baseball shouldn't go on pretending that steroids didn't happen in baseball. They did and it's a shame. But there should be no asterisk or stats stricken from the record books because a certain player was found to have used steroids. It should be treated as if it were a level playing field and MLB can finally put this dark period behind itself.

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