Monday, February 27, 2012

2012 NHL Trade Deadline

It's that day for hockey fans, as we see teams potential build Stanley Cup teams, though in reality, they don't in today's moves (at least in recent history). Even still, I'll be here to update my blog all day long as the moves roll in and perhaps a move is there for someone to win. Not to mention updating anything that happens in the TSN that's interesting. Happy Trade Deadline Day!!!

UPDATE: 8:19 AM: First Alyonka Larionov sighting of the day. Good to start a morning. What's a bad start; the image of Pierre McGuire.

8:30 AM: Michael Peca's argument for picking any player is that they've "been there". Glad he's here.

9:08 AM: Absolutely nothing is going on. Time to go grab a bagel and coffee.

9:20 AM: Every time I see Pierre, I think of ESPN's NBA Draft coverage when they show Dick Vitale. No point to be there and definitely makes the coverage more irritating.

9:25 AM: Pierre LeBrun tweeted the Sabres want a 1st round pick for Paul Gaustad. Either they don't wanna move him, or I should have what Darcy Regier is having this morning.

9:26 AM: Sorry, Jeff Marek and Greg Wyshynski, you guys were debating on Sportsnet just as TSN had James Duthie and Alyonka Larionov on camera together. TSN wins there.

9:44 AM: Now I'm seeing that P.A. Parenteau is worth a 1st and a player. Can anyone break the story that each teams' war room have a more cocaine on their table than Tony Montana had?

10:02 AM: TSN with a montage of Stephane Matteau. Warms this Ranger fan's heart. Something tells me we won't see a deadline day like the Rangers had in 1994.

10:28 AM: Bob McKenzie tweeted that Andrei Kostitsyn is close to going to Nashville to rejoin his brother. Also, notice that whenever SNET has Wyshynski on camera, TSN counters with Larionov.

10:34 AM: We can officially call this week Reunion Week if/when Kostitsyn to Nashville is official. Kostitsyn's back together, after Jeff Carter reunited with Mike Richards. What could go wrong?

10:39 AM: Sportsnet is saying Alexander Radulov might be going the other way to Montreal for Kostitsyn. If they can get him to leave Russia, this could be a major coup for the Canadiens.

10:47 AM: Sportsnet is wrong, as TSN goes into the ESPN well (LeBrun) to report that Nashville only gives up a second rounder and the conditional pick from the Hal Gill trade. No Radulov.

11:09 AM: One thing I'm impressed with by Sportsnet; their GM room. Even though Doug MacLean is the one doing the most talking.

11:33 AM: All quiet along the trade front, so I'm watching clips of The Room on YouTube. This really is the funniest movie I've ever seen.

12:12 PM: So I go get a sandwich and I miss the beginning of Brian Burke telling James Duthie "None of your business" in regards to why he was at Mastercard Center. Awesomeness.

12:40 PM: Thank you Nick Kypreos for reporting a trade. Mike Commodore goes from Detroit to Tampa. Real life trade!

12:45 PM: Upon hearing the trade, James Duthie: "Sigh...I guess that's worthy of a bell; barely." Sounds about right.

12:58 PM: Sportsnet reports Tom Gilbert goes from Edmonton to Minnesota for Nick Schultz. TSN decides to look at the 2014 Canadian Olympic Roster.

1:03 PM: Seems to me, Gilbert for Schultz is a shuffling deck chairs type of move. Might be better fits in the other organization. Though, Schultz has been a Wild since 2001. Just tossed aside seems wrong to me.

1:11 PM: Rumor of the Rangers being interested in Brad Stuart is interesting, but nowhere close to confirmed.

1:17 PM: Seems like Stuart is staying in Detroit. Wild locker room is completely stunned about the Schultz trade, according to Michael Russo's tweets. And Jaro Spacek is about to be traded somewhere, not Bryan Allen by Carolina.

1:36 PM: Someone needs to fix Pierre McGuire's makeup. We know he's a clown; today he looks like one.

1:42 PM: Another depth move, Keith Aulie from Toronto to Tampa for Carter Ashton. Of course, last year the Leafs traded John Mitchell in a similar trade in last year's deadline and is now in the Rangers lineup.

2:03 PM: Trades are flying now: Sharks pick up Daniel Winnik and T.J. Galiardi from Colorado, Ottawa gives Brian Lee to Tampa for Matt Gilroy and Vancouver picks up Sami Pahlsson, crushing Scotty Hockey's dream move.

2:08 PM: Blackhawks have picked up Johnny Oduya from the Jets. Chicago needed a defenseman and he's as good as there is in the market.

2:12 PM: Rick Nash is once again heating up as TSN says he's 50% likely moved. Means the Rangers are involved. Rangers should still be looking at a depth forward and a defensive defenseman instead. 45 minutes left.

2:37 PM: TSN is saying Nash to the Rangers is dying. 25 minutes away.

2:46 PM: 14 minutes left, nothing since Oduya.

2:48 PM: BREAKING NEWS: GEICO trades the gekko to Progressive for Flo.

2:55 PM: Kypreos is saying that Brian Rolston is now a Bruin. 5 minutes until the deadline.

2:58 PM: Rolston had the news broken to him on Sportsnet. 2 minutes away...


3:02 PM: Paul Gaustad to Nashville, let's see if David Poile had some of the stuff Darcy Regier was taking this morning and gave up a 1st rounder. Rick Nash is staying in Columbus for now.

3: 06 PM: Mike Mottau was in the Rolston trade. Islanders get rid of bad contracts; Bruins are hoping for some lighting in a bottle.

3:17 PM: Bruins get Greg Zanon from the Wild. Rangers get John Scott from Chicago. Bruins win (though Scott would knock Zanon out).

3:24 PM: Scott to the Rangers is such a blah move. They needed a 3rd D-man pairing. Meanwhile, 1st and 4th for Gaustad. Poile loved Regier's stuff.

3:38 PM: Biggest trade of the day; Vancouver trades Cody Hodgson to Buffalo for Zack Kassian. Sabres might be a playoff team now. Look out if you're Florida, Washington, Toronto and Winnipeg. More could be in this deal.

3:50 PM: Two other minor leaguers in this trade. Canucks will love Kassian.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

RIP Gary Carter

There was a time when the Mets weren't a laughingstock. In fact, they were the number one team in New York back in the 1980s. One of the reasons they were was because they made a trade for Gary Carter. After a bounce back season in 1984, the Mets traded for Carter and within two years, they were World Series winners.

Yesterday, Gary Carter died of brain cancer. On a personal level, I have a grandmother who's going through what he did and on that level alone, I sympathize with his family. He will be remembered as a great catcher, even if he was overlooked all those years in Montreal and for getting the Mets over the hump as champions (particularly starting the rally in Game 6 of the 1986 World Series). It also allows the Mets to do something good by retiring his number, something that should have been done years ago. RIP Kid.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Lundbelivable Linsanity Is SHU Cray

Valentine's Day 2012. No, it wasn't the first time the Knicks, Rangers and Seton Hall Pirates won on the same day, but it was the first time that you can say that it was reasonable to be hopeful for good things to come from all three at the same time (at least since I decided to commit to Seton Hall as the school of my choice, which is when I officially became of Pirates fan).

Consider that Seton Hall had lost six in a row, yet they still hadn't officially knocked themselves out of the NCAA Tournament list. A fact like that in it of itself is surprising as a six game losing streak is more or less typical for a Seton Hall team that always seems to have the deck stacked against them. One tourney appearance in the last seven years and they were the first team eliminated that year against Wichita State (perhaps I was lucky I had a test that day and couldn't just skip class to watch it). That lose in fact started the Gonzo Era, which if you're a SHU alum, student or fan, you wish you can forget existed. It was a time when our school became a laughingstock, punctuated by the time Bobby Gonzalez was arrested for shoplifting a manpurse.

However, out of the rubble from those teams is Jordan Theodore and Herb Pope, both men seniors, both have had terrific years that allowed the Pirates to dominate non-conference play, against a pretty tough schedule. Going 11-1 with wins over St. Joes, VCU on neutral sites and Dayton on the road gave the Hall some breathing room. That breathing room expanded when they beat West Virginia and UConn, starting Big East play 4-1. Then, a missed FT by Theodore in the closing seconds against South Florida started that six-game tailspin. However, when they needed a win against Rutgers, Theodore wouldn't allow them to lose. He did everything possible to win that game, one that would allow him to finish with a perfect 4-0 record at the RAC. Add a comeback win against Pitt and a completely dominant performance over St. John's and now the Pirates are right in the hunt for tourney bid.

While Seton Hall was running St. John's off the gym, I was more concerned with the NY Rangers, who were battling the defending Cup champion Bruins in a game that may have told us who the best team in the East is. Instead of allowing the Bruins to maintain momentum early, the Rangers struck first with a power play goal by Ryan Callahan, then Ryan McDonagh scored on a shot from the boards that tipped in off Zdeno Chara. When the Bruins came out flying in the second period, the Rangers defense gave them so little room to make great chances, and when they did, Henrik Lundqvist was there for the challenge.

The post-lockout Rangers always had a chance to win because of Hank. That's the kind of goalie he is. However, we are witnessing the greatest season for a goaltender in Rangers history. Hank will win the Vezina when it's all said and done and the Hart trophy is also a possibility. His improved play (from regular excellence to unreal greatness) is why the Rangers are tops in the East and why it will be hard to knock them off that perch come playoff time.

When the Rangers had taken control over the Bruins, it was time to flip the Knicks on. They were in Toronto and I knew they were losing for most of the night. Yet, somehow, they came back again and now Jeremy Lin had the ball with seconds left. Instead of finding an open man, he took the shot, swished it and stole a game from the Raptors. It made the fact I had tickets to yesterday's game against the Kings even more anticipated.

Knicks fans for 9 years had nothing to cheer about. No luck in the draft, no competence in the front office in regards to Scott Layden and Isiah Thomas and a horrible roster of players. Until Lin showed up, we were about to rule out the Melo-Stat Era as more of the same. Now? The promise of this team is now wide open. One might think this is just a few games, but what NBA just dominates out of nowhere after a few games? If a player is drafted in the first round, he has pedigree and a level of expectation that won't allow him to sneak up on anyone. While a second round pick generally doesn't have same expectation, it gets nullified if he went to a major college and we remember him (like Gilbert Arenas at Arizona and Carlos Boozer at Duke). Jeremy Lin went to Harvard, was undrafted and bounced around a couple teams and was the 12th man on their bench before he started against the Nets. It's mind-blowing how he can be this good this quick and just fell through the cracks.

I really look forward to Carmelo Anthony returning. Either he will thrive with Lin or he won't, but Lin is here to stay and Melo better understand that. If he doesn't, we'll see what the team looks like as a result. If he does, then the Knicks are about to become interesting.

So here we are, three teams, three examples of the inspiration of hope. The hope of breaking through into the world of relevant for Seton Hall; the hope of becoming contenders for the Knicks and the hope of becoming champions for the Rangers. One things for sure, and with the afterglow of the Giants Super Bowl still there; New York (and New Jersey) can continue to be optimistic. Isn't it a funny feeling?

Sunday, February 12, 2012

RIP Whitney Houston

Last night, Whitney Houston was taken from us way too soon at age 48. Two things of her in particular I will always remember. The first was her song "Greatest Love of All" being one which I would sing in my elementary school chorus every year (yes, I used to be a good singer, damn puberty). The second was the greatest rendition of the Star Spangled Banner ever. An anthem that will always give me chills once she belts out "And the rockets red glare..." I know there are hundreds of blogs that are posting this video on their sites, but guess what, here's one more. Enjoy!

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Giants Opener

Earlier today, I wrote about the possible Giants who could be on America's Game in September (forgetting Mario Manningham, who scored in the three games leading up to the Super Bowl, plus the big catch that led to the win). Now, let's look at who will play the Giants to kickoff the NFL season. Bare in mind, the way I'm looking at this is who NBC would want in terms of marquee matchup and who the Giants want in terms of avoiding embarrassment in the opener, let's everyone think they will be one and done. Let's look at the Giants home opponents.

Dallas: Would be a great matchup for NBC and the Giants will probably assume they'll beat them again as well. So what's the problem? Fox. They didn't air either Cowboys-Giants game last year and I guarantee you they would be up in arms if they weren't scheduled both games. Odds for the opener: 20-1

Philadelphia: NBC always loves to have Giants-Eagles on. I, on the other hand, do not want to see the Giants face the Eagles and take a chance of Michael Vick making us look foolish. Plus, they would show the DeSean Jackson TD from two years ago, something that I'm sure Giants management wants being shown over and over. Odds for the opener: 20-1

Washington: Only if they have Peyton Manning would this be the opener (and it will be in that event). Otherwise, why would anyone want to show Redskins games on national TV, except when they have to show them on NFL Network. Odds for the opener: 100-1, 5-1 if Peyton is on the team.

Green Bay: Let's see; they played twice last year, a thriller in the Meadowlands and the win at Lambeau in the Divisional Round. Rodgers vs Eli. Oh, and these are the last two Super Bowl Champs. Just like last year's game featured the last two champs. Odds for the opener: 7-1

New Orleans: Change from last two Super Bowl champs to 2 of the last 3. Brees vs Eli. Eli vs Archie's former team. Not in the Superdome, so the Giants stand a chance of winning. Odds for the opener: 8-1

Tampa Bay: Only storyline is Greg Schiano's debut game back near where he coached at Rutgers. Otherwise, this is an awful matchup. Odds for the opener: 200-1

Cleveland: Take away the Schiano connection. That's Browns-Giants. Feel the excitement!!!! Odds for the opener: 500-1

Pittsburgh: Now we're talking. Eli vs Ben; battle of the best QB's in the 2004 Draft. Rooney's against the Mara's (perhaps the winner can keep the Oscar should Rooney Mara win). Inter-conference game, so the Giants don't get hurt too badly if they lose. To me, this is who they should play. Odds for the opener: 5-1

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Giants America's Game

With a lot of attention still being paid to the Giants after their Super Bowl victory, I decided to look at what the Giants get to take part in now that they are champions. On the night before the season begins, the NFL Network will premiere the latest America's Game (or the day before that) featuring the Giants Super Bowl season. Now, in past years, some of the choices as subjects to use to take their story of the season have been easy (usually the head coach, QB and a defensive player since they've created ones involving champions since the series started). However, the Giants are the first example of a repeat winner amongst those since the 2006 Colts (I don't include the 2005 Steelers because they had major turnover when Bill Cowher and Jerome Bettis retired and Joey Porter went to Miami). Now, they will replace Michael Strahan from the 2007 Giants, but do they keep Eli Manning and Tom Coughlin? I believe they shouldn't (if you must keep one of them, go with Eli) and here's some players I would go with in their place.

Justin Tuck- You have to have Tuck in this edition. He's not only the Giants defensive captain, but he was their best defender in Super Bowl XLVI.

Victor Cruz- Made the biggest play on offense in the Giants season when he scored on that 99-yard TD pass against the Jets. Plus, you can tell his story as an undrafted free agent and comment on his salsa dance

Hakeem Nicks- If you chose not to include Cruz, Nicks is more than enough, since he was the Giants most consistent receiver, and has his touchdowns against the Falcons and Packers, plus his 10 catches in the big game to talk about.

Corey Webster- Would be nice if the Giants best cornerback had a chance to tell his story. I'm sure no one even knows how good he played all season despite a secondary that was crippled with injury.

Antrel Rolle- Mainly because he's interesting and dependable for some good quotes.

Ahmad Bradshaw- Best Giants running back, scored the winning TD in the Super Bowl and can comment on how he probably shouldn't have scored it at that point.

If there are any others you think would be good fits to be on America's Game, please share (I know everyone will say "Why no JPP", because I think others are more interesting at this point in Pierre-Paul's career). Later, I will share who I think the Giants should play on Opening Night and who I think they will play.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Super Bowl Preview

I was thinking about writing this all-encompassing Super Bowl preview in terms of matchups and reasons for each team to win. However, my analysis might be skewed by that fact that this is my background on my Twitter page:

Giants win 31-24, Victor Cruz is MVP.