In Offense of NHL Overtime/Shootout

Let me just preface this whole thing with the fact that I know the NHL and its governing body does what it thinks is best for the league. They also do what’s best for their wallets and I don’t fault them for that. What I do fault them for is consistently making decisions that detract from the integrity of the overall game. Before the ’05 lockout, the league had ties which kept the integrity of the two point system intact. Well, in a means to make the game “more exciting”, the league implemented a shorter overtime and then added the shootout. And the shootout is the bane of my existence.

Continue reading In Offense of NHL Overtime/Shootout

NFC South Roundup

Another tough week in the NFC South this week with nobody getting a victory in the division.  It seems there is not a team that wants to step up and take a hold of this floundering division and have a chance at the playoffs.  Let’s start with the Bucs losing a solid halftime lead to the Bears.

Chicago Bears 21           Tampa Bay Buccaneers 13

The Bucs had things going well going into halftime with a 10-0 lead over the Bears and really starting to look good.  McCown struggled in the second half with a fumble and an interception that led to a field goal for the Bears.  While the Bucs played a decent first half they can’t seem to finish strong and hold out for the victory.  They will try for another win next week when the Bengals come to town.

Cleveland Browns  26     Atlanta Falcons  24

The Falcons lose a heartbreaker with a last second field goal and the Browns taking the victory.  Matt Bryant gave the Falcons the lead with 44 seconds left in the game.  Hoyer, who hadn’t looked great, had a chance to make a game winning drive and that’s exactly what he did.  A few key passes to the returning Josh Gordon who made some key plays to set up Billy Cundiff for the game winning field goal.  The Falcons and Saints are tied for the division lead with a dismal 4-7 record and host the 9-2 Cardinals next week in Atlanta.

Baltimore Ravens  34   New Orleans Saints  27

It was a tough day for Saints fans as the Who Dats lose their third straight game in the Superdome.  With a year of high expectations, this has been a tough season to watch.  Granted, there have been alot of key injuries and others that are not performing up to standards.  Drew Brees has not been himself this season for some reason.  His primary target Jimmy Graham has been hot and cold throughout the season as well.  He dropped a few key passes on Monday Night that are very uncharacteristic for this usually solid duo.  There is still hope for the Saints as somehow with this dismal record there is still a chance for the playoffs.  There is alot of work to be done, especially with our lackluster defense to salvage this season.  They try again next week in Pittsburgh to take on the Steelers.

Touchback: NFC EAST WK 12

The year was 2006, just a short time ago, when a little known unproven quarterback out of Eastern Illinois took over as the Dallas Cowboys offensive leader.   Continue reading Touchback: NFC EAST WK 12

Braves & Cardinals Swap Young Stars

The Atlanta Braves traded Jason Heyward and Jordan Walden to the St. Louis Cardinals for Shelby Miller and prospect, Tyrell Jenkins. The move came somewhat as a surprise to many as Heyward was viewed as a cornerstone of the Braves organization that would be with the club for the foreseeable future. So, why did the Braves trade such a young, talented player? Let’s try to make sense of the trade and predict where the Braves go from here.

Jason Heyward is the obvious centerpiece of this deal. He is the best player involved in the trade and he will be playing out the final year of his contract in the upcoming season. He is owed roughly $8 million in 2015 and industry experts predict he could sign a long-term deal in the neighborhood of $200 million as a free agent. That is a lot of money. Money that the Braves are just not able to commit.

The Braves also traded right-handed reliever Jordan Walden to the Cardinals. Earlier in the week Atlanta acquired Arodys Viscaino from the Cubs in exchange for second baseman Tommy La Stella. Viscaino will be under Braves control through 2019. This move made Walden available for trade.

Atlanta acquired a right-handed starter in Shelby Miller who was once a top Cardinals prospect. He had great success in 2013. However, 2014 was a bit of a frustrating season for him. His fastball velocity was great, in the mid-90s, but he was a bit erratic with his control. He left the ball up a lot and issued too many walks. The Braves are hoping to correct some things with Miller but the bottom line is they got a good, young pitcher who they will be under team control until 2019.

Shelby Miller (Getty Images)
Shelby Miller, Getty Images

Time will tell what Tyrell Jenkins becomes for the Braves but he has a high ceiling and will likely start for AA Mississippi in 2015. The Braves are lacking good arms in their farm system after producing Brandon Beachy, Kris Medlen, Julio Teheran, Mike Minor and Alex Wood in the last few years.

Overall, the Braves are saving over $10 million next season and acquired two young arms with high upside. This sounds like a rebuild is taking place in Atlanta. However, news that the Braves met with Jon Lester this week seems to hint otherwise. So what are the Braves doing?

The debate of whether Atlanta is in rebuild or reload mode was asked by the guys over at numberfire.com. It’s a good question. If you ask me, it’s a question that can’t be answered yet. The new Braves front office seems committed to doing their due diligence in kicking the tires on all available free agents in case a deal becomes available. A rotation with Lester, Teheran, Wood and Miller would help any team compete. With other teams like the Red Sox involved in offering Lester the Braves would have to hope for a home town discount and load the back end of a deal that would pay out the majority of the salary after the Braves move into their new stadium in 2017.

Yasmany Tomas (Alyson Boyer Rode)
Yasmany Tomas (Alyson Boyer Rode)

The Braves have also been rumored to be a frontrunner in the Yasmany Tomas sweepstakes. Tomas is a 24-year-old Cuban defector who has been working out for scouts. The latest rumors have the Padres and Braves as the favorites to land Tomas. His biggest asset is his power. Scouts project him to be similar to Cespedes with less speed and not as good in the field. A bat like that would be welcomed in any lineup. But are the Braves willing to spend the money to get him?

So, trading Heyward to cut salary and get even younger sounds like a rebuild. Meeting with Lester and scouting Tomas looks like a reload. Again, I believe the Braves are being diligent to not miss an opportunity to obtain talent. Maybe they can sign one or both of the coveted free agents and compete next year. Or, maybe they miss out on both and end up trading Justin Upton and Evan Gattis to build for the future.

Justin Upton will also play out the final season of his contract in the upcoming season. Before the Braves signed him as a free agent the Mariners were trying to work out a deal for him. However, Upton had the Mariners on his do not trade list. They have since been removed. If Atlanta is unable to put the pieces together this winter to be a competitive team in 2015 it makes sense for them to move Upton and maybe Evan Gattis for younger talent.

Time will tell what the Braves roster will look like in 2015. One thing is for sure, though. Their new front office is not afraid to shake things up.

Follow Dave on Twitter: @BirdmanBelt

*featured image courtesy of Daniel Shirey, USA Today

NFL Statement On New York Jets-Buffalo Bills Game

Jets.logoBills

Due to public safety concerns in light of the ongoing weather emergency in western New York, Sunday’s Jets-Bills game has been rescheduled to Monday night at 7 p.m. ET and relocated to Ford Field in Detroit.

Continue reading NFL Statement On New York Jets-Buffalo Bills Game

Western Conference Preview: Part Two

For the past several weeks, we’ve been looking at how teams in the NBA finished up last year to try and get an understanding of what to expect from them this season.

This week wraps up this “preview” right as we start to see the identities of teams really come together. That being said, let’s see which teams in the West missed the playoffs last year and try to see which of them may have a chance of sneaking in.

Suns logo

Phoenix Suns
48-34 Continue reading Western Conference Preview: Part Two

Pro-Wrestling’s Biggest Misses and Near Misses of the 90’s: The Ringmaster

AGSH

When you hear the name Steve Austin most wrestling fans immediately think Stone Cold, Austin 3:16, middle-finger, beer and famous feuds with The Rock ,Undertaker, Vince McMahon, and Triple-H. However, many fans don’t remember the gimmick that almost ruined his WWE career, and that’s why The Ringmaster was another big miss for the WWE.

Steve Austin first debuted in the WWE with the gimmick of The Ringmaster, a skilled in-ring technician managed by former WWE legend Ted DiBiase. Austin was also given the million dollar championship and basically no personality whatsoever.

austinandted

 

Hum-drum, mundane, and spiritless defined Austin as The Ringmaster, pacing to the ring match after match with DiBiase. At times Austin looked like a really tan zombie from The Walking Dead. There was no passion, no charisma, and no pop from the crowd in his matches as Ringmaster.

Before Austin signed with the WWE he had been in ECW, where he had already begun to work on his Stone Cold Steve Austin persona. ECW fans took to him and many fans from WWE expected to see his same bad-ass mentality in the ring. Instead, what they knew Austin to be was replaced with a heartless, boring, technical wrestler, who always looked to be going through the motions (Check out Austin’s Raw debut below).

Terrible. It’s hard to put your finger on what was worse in this video; Austin becoming the carbon copy of Ted Dibiase’s old Million Dollar Man gimmick, or the fact that Austin said the word man at least seven times in a minute. They are both equally awful.

Not surprisingly, Austin wasn’t getting over with fans. That tends to happen when you have a washed up WWE superstar as your manager and you use the Million-Dollar Dream as your finisher.

Mercifully things changed for Austin once Ted Dibiase jumped ship to WCW (to be the oldest member of the NWO besides Hogan himself). A few months later, Austin won King of the Ring and dropped the famous Austin 3:16 soundbite, giving birth to the one and only Stone Cold Steve Austin.

Hell Yeah!
Stevewiesers!!

There were no more  slow walks to the ring with Ted Dibiase’s music playing in the background, he was to busy stomping his way to the ring to whip some bodies ass!

There were no longer any scientific-technical matches won by submission, only a steady skull-dragging topped off with a Stunner and several Stevewiesers.

There was no time for waving to the crowd, because he was too busy asking What?

There was no time to carry around a meaningless Million Dollar Championship belt, because he was to busy winning the World Heavyweight Championship belt.

And of course, there was no longer any sucking up to management, because he was to busy showing them his middle-finger.

Here's to ya!
Here’s to ya!

In conclusion, it was nice to see the WWE course-correct Steve Austin, by letting him just be himself. That simple move saved Steve Austin from being a big miss, and gave rise to arguably the most popular wrestler in WWE history.

Check back next week for another edition of pro-wrestlings biggest misses and near misses of the 90’s!

Follow Matt on Twitter: @SprayBall

Then-Now-Forever

 

 

 

 

A Letter to LSU Fans: R-E-L-A-X, Better Days are Ahead

lsu

 

Dear LSU fans,

I understand this is not the most pleasant time to be proud of the Bayou Bengals you have loved over the years. After losing two games in a row to rival ‘Bama and a crushing defeat to Arkansas who was 0-17 in SEC play, it’s not a happy time right now.

But let’s calm down, relax and take a deep breath. Times will get better! Les Miles’ bunch is loaded with freshman and sophomores who have seen some heavy action this season that will pay off in 2015. I know we are used to LSU being in the hunt for a National Title every season but the regression was bound to happen with the mass exodus of NFL talent leaving to play on Sundays.

landryonehandcatchLook no further than Ego Ferguson (Bears) Jarvis Landry (Dolphins), Odell Beckham (Giants), Zach Mettenberger (Titans), Bennie Logan (Eagles) Patrick Peterson and Tyrann Mathieu (Cardinals). The list goes on and on. We have a lot to be proud of in the LSU family.

Life is not over, the sun will rise tomorrow…

If you feel angry and upset, imagine how the players feel knowing this Senior class is ending on this note. Put yourself in their shoes. All we do is write, commentate and watch games. The players have to be feeling awful to work hard all year and get nowhere close to the goal of making the playoffs and winning another championship.

Times will get better. The state of Louisiana is loaded with talent at the high school level and LSU’s recruiting class is off to a great start. Geaux Nation is headed to yet another bowl game.
lsucheerCould it be better? Of course. With two more wins, The Mad Hatter will have another 9 win season. Many fans would love for their school or alma mater to have that many wins on a consistent level.

So let’s put all of our POSITIVE energy into cheering on and encouraging the players and coaches for the rest of this season and beyond. We are in this together through the good and the bad.

T-I-G-E-R-S!!!

AGSH

I Got The Power: Week 11 NFC Power Rankings; AGSH Style

Like my friend Logan Grubbs said in his most recent article, Leave The Gun, Take The Rankings, Week 11 was crazy!!!

It was!  Seattle lost to KC, St. Louis beat Denver, and well, Tampa Bay made it’s way out of my Power Ranking Basement!!!  Without further delay, lets see what other craziness Week 11 brought to the table.

16.  Washington (3-7)  You just can’t loose at home to Tampa Bay.  You just can’t.

15.  New York (3-7)  Riding that 5 game loosing streak.

14.  Carolina (3-7)  Maybe that’s it….Cam Newton’s team got hacked.

13.  Tampa Bay (2-8)  Record wise, they may be worse, but hey, they won on Sunday.

12.  Minnesota (4-6)

11.  Chicago (4-6)

10.  New Orleans (4-6)

9.  St. Louis (4-6) Taking down the defending AFC Champs AND the Super Bowl Champs.  Not bad!!

8.  Atlanta (4-6) The Falcons are 4-0 in their division.  Just sayin….

7.  San Francisco (6-4)

6.  Seattle (6-4)

5. Philadelphia (7-3)  Not a great start to the Matt Sanchez era.

4.  Detroit (7-3)  The offense went where, exactly?

3.  Green Bay (7-3)

2.  Dallas (7-3)

1.  Arizona (9-1)  The Bird Gang does it again.  They’ve got quite the interesting schedule down the stretch.  Seattle twice, St. Louis and San Fran.  And oh yeah, KC.

Tune in Next week for more shake ups and surprises, kids.  Can’t wait!!

Follow Sonja on Twitter @Mom23RN

AGSH

Leave the gun, take the rankings.

Week 11 was crazy… (blah, blah, blah). So many injuries… (yada, yada, yada).  Adrian Peterson got what he deserved… (heard it all before).

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*reader scrolls down*

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With Boom Herron now splitting carries with Trent Richardson, we have a true “Boom or Bust” backfield in Indy… (clever, get to the rankings).

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*keeps scrolling down*

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*Finally, the Week 12 Rankings*

Grubbs’ Week 12 Rankings

WEEK 12 QB Rankings

WEEK 12 FLEX Rankings (RB, WR, TE)

WEEK 12 KICKER Rankings

WEEK 12 D/ST Rankings

NFL

Follow Logan on Twitter @NotFakeFantasy

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