The Daily Bongo
Sports by TopicPittsburgh Penguins / Pittsburgh Steelers / Turin Winter Olympics 2006 / Hockey / Horse Racing / Soccer/World Cup / Beijing Summer Olympics 2008
Tuesday, April 5 2011 -- Afternoon
UConn WinsFor the past two years, I have been great at picking the winners in the Men's NCAA Tournament Bracket Challenge. This year, for the second year in a row, I managed to pick the winning team. Last night, the University of Connecticut team beat Butler: 53-41. This was the second year in a row that Butler made it to the final match and did not win. I have to admit that after I picked UConn, I was disheartened to hear so many of the sports reporters saying that UConn didn't have a chance. Since UConn won the Big East Championship, folks were saying that the team would have to be tired. They played a lot of matches, and that's usually a death knell to the hopes for an NCAA Championship. I was nervous after the first half when Butler had the lead. However, Kemba Walker and the Huskies managed to pull it through in the second half.
Saturday, March 19, 2011 -- Evening
Pitt Ain't ItOver the past several years, the University of Pittsburgh Panthers basketball team has under-performed at the NCAA tournament. This year, things were supposed to be different. Pitt was the strongest team in the weakest bracket. This evening in the second round, Pitt was paired with Butler. Well, just as last year, Butler came to play. They beat the Panthers with a final score of 71-70. This is really a huge disappointment for Pitt and its fans. All the sports analysts were saying over the past week that if Pitt did not make it to the final four, it would be a huge embarrassment for the team. Now, the players and Jamie Dixon will have to come home, hanging their heads in shame. What I wonder is if the Big East as a conference is really overrated. Eleven Big East teams made it to the tournament this year, supposedly because the Big East was so strong. Only seven of the 11 teams made it out of the first round. I still have hopes for UConn, but they are fading with every game.
Tuesday, July 27, 2010 -- Evening
T.O. and the BengalsI must admit that I am a Terrell Owens fan. Yes, the guy can kill a quarterback's morale. He can get in the quarterback's face, cry about his mistreatment, and overall act like a diva. But T.O. has personality. After he left the Buffalo Bills, most people were thinking that T.O. was washed up. His stats weren't good: only 55 receptions and 5 touchdowns. I could excuse that because the Bills are basically a crappy team without a decent quarterback. Chad Ochocinco, another favorite of mine, wanted T.O. on the Bengals months ago. Both of them traded appearances on their respective reality shows on VH1. Things started to heat up though, when Carson Palmer spoke up in favor of T.O. If the quarterback of your team says that T.O. would be an asset and that he could work with T.O., you have to sign him. The Bengals did just that this evening, signing T.O. for a year, paying him $2 million with a $2 million performance bonus.
Sunday, June 29, 2008 -- EveningThe finals of Euro 2008 were today. German had beaten Turkey 3-2 on Wednesday, and Spain had beaten the Russia with a final score of 3-0. So German and Spain played today. Everyone was saying that German was the better team, but Spain has alot of really good players. In fact, Spain did well the entire tournament. Today was no exception. Even though they missed quite a few good opportunities with the ball bouncing off the goal post, or just missing the foot of a striker, Spain still managed to pull out a win with a final score of 1-0.
Sunday, June 22, 2008 -- EveningThe Euro Cup 2008 semifinal rounds are sent. Yesterday, the Netherlands lost to Russia. I was upset over that one because you have to love a team that wears orange. That is unless they are playing against the Pens or the Steelers. The final score was 3-1 in the Russians' favor. Today was another good game. This time it was Spain against Italy. Again, I was rooting on the Italians because the players are so cute, and they are Italian after all. Well, the game was tied at 0 in regulation and went into over time. Still tied at 0 by the end of that, so it was time for penalties kicks. There was alot of talk about how Spain had lost three other matches on June 22 in past years, but this year, they broke the jinx. Spain got 4 points in penalty kicsk while Italy only had two. So the final matchups are: Germany vs. Turkey and Russia vs. Spain. The games will be at the end of next week.
Friday, June 20, 2008 -- EveningEuro 2008 soccer has been going on for the past few weeks, and there was an exciting quarterfinal game this afternoon. Turkey played Croatia, and the game was tied at 0 at the end of regulation. The game went into overtime, and as the overtime was winding down, Croatia scored. They started celebrating, and their fans were going crazy. However, seconds later, in the injury time, Turkey scored to tie things. it went to a shoot out, and Turkey won with three goals to Croatia's one. Turkey will meet up against Germany in the semifinal game. Germany knocked out Portugal yesterday. Tomorrow the Netherlands plays Russia and Sunday Spain plays Italy.
Wednesday, May 28, 2008 -- Late AfternoonControversy in the 'Burg. Mark Madden, controversial sports shock jock, has been fired because of comments that he made about Senator Edward Kennedy's recent brain tumor diagnosis. Madden commented that he was hoping that Kennedy would be assassinated first, and mentioned the Kopechnes, the parents of the girl who was killed when Kennedy drove his car into a lake and left the girl to drown. Bob Smizik, local sports reporter for the Post Gazette has had it in for Madden and brought up the comments in his column. Madden was suspended and then fired. The thing that gets to me is that Madden apologized for the comment. However, in this day and age, we just want to punish someone for the words they speak by making it impossible for them to earn a living. Whatever happened to "sticks and stones may break my bones, but names will never hurt me?" Yeah, Madden may have stepped over the line, but suspend him for a period or fine him. Madden had the most popular radio sports show because he was what he was--a person who spoke his mind and had a put down for most of the sports here in Pittsburgh. The only team that Madden didn't blast was the Pens. I hope that Madden finds some work soon because I loved his obnoxious and abrasive personality.
Sunday, February 3, 2008 -- Late EveningI was watching the Super Bowl this evening, and I was cheering on the New York Giants. I really can't stand the New England Patriots. Bill Belichick is a cheater and always has been. I don't think he should be rewarded because the Patriots have won due to Belichick's cheating strategies. There is some talk that the Patriots were using their filming tactics in the 2002 Super Bowl. What I think is amazing is that some people want to believe that the whole SpyGate and filming/cheating fiasco was just a one off or soemthing short term. Bull donkies! The guy has been cheating for the long term. How else did Eric Mangini (a former assistant coach under Belichick) know that Belichick was filming the New York Jets. Well, that's because Mangini knew that Belichick cheated while Mangini was on the team, and he continued to cheat. It was an extremely close game the whole time, but in the last minute and a half, the Giants scored a touchdown. With one second left in the game, Poor Loser and Cheater Belichick left the field, granted after going over to congratulate Tom Coughlin. The Giants had to make a last play to finish off the game, and they did it without Belichick on the field. It was the best ending, and believe it or not, the win came about because of a Plexico Burress catch for a touchdown. Now why couldn't Burress be clutch when he played with the Steelers. The Cheaters got what they deserved, a season so close to a perfect one that they could almost taste it, to having their arrogant butts knocked down a peg. Yippee Giants! The final score was Giants 17 - Patriots 14.
Sunday, January 6, 2008 -- AfternoonI was really dismayed to hear that Bill Belichick of the New England Patriots was named Associated Press Coach of the Year. Now the guys who voted for him (50 sports writers with AP) picked Belichick because of the Patriots undefeated record in the regular season. I think that the honor should not have gone to Belichick. Sure the Patriots were undefeated, but the season has been tainted with the cheating scandal. The message that is being sent to one and all is that if you cheat, you can do well, and be rewarded for your cheating. If the Patriots were so good, why did they resort to cheating and spying on their opponents? The other question that obviously only occurs to me is how do we know the Patriots still aren't cheating? I don't trust 'em, and I don't like 'em, and I especially don't like Belichick. I can only hope that the Patriots don't win the Super Bowl this year.
Sunday, December 30, 2007 -- Early AfternoonThe New England Patriots won their final game in the regular season last night to finish the season undefeated. What really gets my goat about this team is that they all feel that they have to "show us" something because they were caught cheating at the beginning of the season. Yeah, these are the same New England Patriots who were videotaping the plays during the game (which is a no-no in the NFL) and using that information to dictate how they would respond to the other teams' actions later in the game. Also, there was some talk about the Patriots bugging the visitor's locker room to gather information. The team turned over all tapes, and the NFL fined Bill Belichick $500,000 (but didn't suspend him as everyone wanted), and the team will lose a draft pick this year. Small potatoes for a team that thumbed their nose at fair play. So now we are supposed to be contrite because the team showed us by being undefeated in the regular season. My only comment is how do we know that the cheating actually stopped? If they really were this good, then why did they need to cheat in the first place? I think it says alot for the ethics of Belichick and is one of the reasons why I really dislike the team. I'm also not a fan of Tom Brady. The guy knocks up hiw model girlfriend, Bridget Moynahan, and then dumps her when she is three months pregnant to date Gisele Bundchen. He just seems like such a jerk. Not only that, but they showed a clip of Brady running in the tunnel after the game last night, and he really runs like a girl. No, I am not a fan of Brady or the Patriots, and I hope that they get their clock cleaned during the playoffs.
Monday, August 20, 2007 -- AfternoonMichael Vick ended the talk about whether or not he is guilty of dog fighting by entering a guilty plea today. The rumor was that the grand jury was going to meet to add more charges against him. It was in his best interest to take the plea for the charges he currently faces. It didn't help his case that the others charged with Vick already plead guilty. The only question that remains is what sentence will Vick have, and will he be allowed to play in the NFL after serving his time.
Tuesday, July 31, 2007 -- AfternoonI have been a fan of the KDKA Sports Showdown. It's a local show with four local sports reporter discussing sports topics of the days. Some of the topics are local; others have a national bend. Lately there has been some controversy on the show. Recently, Joe Starkey, the sports columnist for the Pittsburgh Trib raised the ire of the producers because he questioned the motivation behind Ellis Cannon, a talk show guy on one of the local sports broadcasts, supporting the Pittsburgh Pirates management. As Starkey said, the radio station was a contributor to the Pirates, and that might color Cannon's viewpoint. My gosh, you would have thought that the sky collapsed. It sounded like a perfectly reasonable question, especially with Cannon's narrow-minded view, and the fact that Cannon allowed himself to be used for the Bound for Glory show. Cannon lost all credibility to me when he acted as if Dick Butkus was the coach of the Montour Spartans when it actually was Lou Cerro. So the new controversy happened this Sunday. Paul Zeise from the Post Gazette was talking about the Michal Vick controversy. Vick was suspended, and told not to report to camp because of the dog fighting allegations against him. It looks bad for Vick because it looks like he actually was involved in dog fighting and did some heinous things. However, Zeise commented that Vick would have gotten off better if he had raped a woman because he would have just been suspended for four games and allowed to continue to play. The thing is that Zeise's comment was true. The problem is with the sports organizations (NFL and NBA) that have not put much stock in penalizing criminal actions. I mean, Kobe Bryant was allowed to continue to play even while on trial for rape. Vick, however, doesn't get the same treatment. I know that was Zeise's point. However, that holds no water with KDKA. Zeise had to apologize for his comments. Then KDKA proclaimed that they hold no responsibility for the participants' comments (there is a new disclaimer at the start of the show.) Then the Post-Gazette apologized. Zeise is no longer going to be on the show, and I think that the whole thing is ridiculous. Unfortunately, we live in a very sorry society where someone is so penalized for a comment that holds truth. We may not like to hear what is said, but unfortunately, that doesn't make it less true. I hope that Zeise doesn't suffer further from this incident. I sent an email to KDKA in support of Paul, but got no response. I really don't expect one. Unfortunately, this has really made me lose respect for the powers that be at KDKA.
Sunday, May 27, 2007 -- EveningThe Indy 500 was shortened by rain today. The race was stopped earlier by rain--shortly after the 100 lap mark. When the storm stopped, and the track dried, the race resumed. However, it was again shortened by rain, and this time, it was final. Only 156 of the 200 laps were completed. There were 26 lead changes, and in the end, Dario Franchitti won the race. Danica Patrick was in second place for parts of the race and finished in eighth place. I haven't been able to see the full results to find out where Sarah Fisher and Milka Duno finished. The most annoying part of the finish was Ashley Judd. She's married to Franchitti, and was trying to rush in and kiss him alot. The poor guy just wanted the opportunity to enjoy the win, and she kept on dashing in to kiss him. Very annoying!
Sunday, May 27, 2007 -- Early AfternoonThere's alot of talk about the Indy 500 which will be starting in less than an hour if the rain holds up. There are three women in the Indy this year: Danica Patrick in position 8 (middle of the third row), Sarah Fisher in position 21 (outside of the eighth row), and newcomer, Milka Duno, in position 29 (middle of the tenth row). Sarah Fisher has been consistently good over her career, and has the honor of finishing second in one of her races. There's alot of talk about how good the women will do this year. Another topic making the rounds is the promotion of the two "attractive" drivers, Patrick and Duno. I think that both Patrick and Duno are using their looks to get somewhere, so I don't blame the men in the sport. More later on the race.
Monday, March 26, 2007 -- Late AfternoonSpeaking of sports, my NCAA basketball tournament bracket has been doing well. It wasn't looking good in the early rounds, but I had the Elite Eight and the Final Four. Now I am just hoping for a Georgetown and Florida final match with Georgetown winning.
Thursday, March 15, 2007 -- EveningThe NCAA basketball tournament started today. I'm already two teams down in my bracket, but you can never tell how the rest of it will turn out. What sucks is that if you don't know what you are doing, you tend to do well. The first year that I did a bracket, I wound up doing quite well. This year might be another bad year.
Tuesday, February 13, 2007 -- AfternoonI have been battling a bout of stomach flu, and have been staying at home. Unfortunately, I was doing alot of sleeping, and because of my illness, I missed yesterday's home game between the Pittsburgh Panthers and Louisville Cardinals. My boyfriend's boss gave him the tickets, and it sucked to miss an opportunity to see a Big East game. My boyfriend went, and he really enjoyed himself. I would have too, especially since Pitt lost to Louisville with a final score of 66-53. I am not a huge fan of Pitt sports, and I think that it has alot to do with the fact that I used to work at Pitt's Alumni Relations. It really soured my view of the organization.
Monday, February 5, 2007 -- EveningI was really disappointed in yesterday's Super Bowl game. The first thing that disappointed me was that the game is played in the south and covered arenas because they want to eliminate the bad weather element. It was a down pour the whole fricking game. I'm saying have the game in the North and take your chances. I was cheering on the Chicago Bears because I really can't stand Peyton Manning. He is such a wuss, and annoyingly ubiquitous. The commercials were a disappointment. The only one that really sort of made me chuckle was the Nationwide commercial with K-Fed. That's the one where he goes from rap star to working in a fast food joint. I did like the Prince concert. It might have something to do with the fact that I like Prince. I think that some people didn't like it because they couldn't sing along with the songs, but I just liked seeing him perform. The only issue I had with Prince was that lame bandana that he had on his head at the beginning of the performace. It was probably to keep his head from being wet and bedraggled, but he was in for a soaking.
Monday, December 11, 2006 -- AfternoonSome random thoughts about the NFL. Has anyone other than me noticed how the Indianapolis Colts seem to fall apart at the end of the season? Last year the team had an undefeated record going into the final few games of the season, and then just fell apart and started to lose. Everyone said that it really didn't matter because the team already had the bye in the playoffs sewn up, but look at where it got them. An elimination in their first playoff game. Another thing that I have noticed is that the Steelers nation doesn't see to want to admit that the playoffs just might, maybe, be out of reach for the team this year. I keep on hearing everyone talking about how the team still isn't mathematically eliminated just yet, and there is always hope. I'm not saying that the team should just skulk around like beaten cats, but the fans shouldn't be getting so hot about still having a shot. There are so many other teams that have a better shot than we do. I mean really! In order to have a shot the Cincinnati Bengals would have all three of their final games while we win all three of ours. Not a very likely scenario considering that the Bengals have been hotter than the Sahara, but who wants to listen to reason.
Thursday, November 20, 2006 -- AfternoonMichael Strahan gets the Punk Jerk of the Month away for his oafish behavior towards Kelly Naqi of ESPN. Early in the week, Strahan made comments on a radio show about Plaxico Burress quitting on plays. This should be no shock to anyone who watched Burress when he was a Steeler because he was notorious for not putting alot of effort into his work. So Naqi wanted to ask Strahan about the comments, but he wasn't available. She asked Burress about the comments, and I suppose that offended Strahan. I guess the oaf just wanted to make comments on the radio, and think that no one heard the comments. After all, who listens to the radio. Strahan was trying to make Naqi out as the culprit, when he was the one responsible for his comments. The problem is that the New York Giants are not living up to expectations for a variety of reasons. The players have publicly blamed the coach, and now they are turning on each other. Yes, Burress is a quitter. Strahan shouldn't have called him out publicly about it especially if he was going to wuss out on it later. And Strahan shouldn't try the intimidating jerk behavior on the female reporter.
Sunday, October 15, 2006 -- Early EveningI haven't been doing too well with the other NFL games in my Beat Bob competition. So far, I only have two games right. Every team seemed to conspire against me winning the McDonald's gift card that is the first prize for the weekly winners. Steve McNair was injured on a play and pulled from the game and Baltimore Ravens lost their game to the Carolina Panthers 23-21. The Cincinnati Bengals also surprisingly lost to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers with a score fo 14-13. Needless to say, I'm not very happy, but there is always next week.
Wednesday, September 27, 2006 -- EveningNow we hear a different story about Terrell Owens. T.O. is saying that he didn't attempt suicide or have an allergic reaction. It seems that what happened is that he took some of his pain medicine, hydrocortisone, and a handful of his natural herbal/vitamin supplements and then became groggy and disoriented. He was not responsive to his publicist, Kim Etheredge. She called the paramedics because the pain medication bottle was empty she thought he took all of the pills. Meanwhile, T.O. had the pills in another location. He wasn't really aware of what was going on, and may have answered yes to questions that he didn't really understand or know he was answering. As T.O. said, he's not depressed, and if he had taken 35 pills, he would have had his stomach pumped and it wasn't. So what is the truth? Who know! I imagine that you have to take T.O. at his word. It is creating quite a diversion for the Dallas Cowboys.
Wednesday, September 27, 2006 -- Late MorningI first heard something about Terrell Owens being rushed to the emergency room late last night. The only thing they said at the time was that Owens was made to throw up and that it was a reaction to the pain medication--an allergy. Well, this morning, we have a different story. It appears that Owens attempted suicide. It seems that he has been depressed since breaking his fourth metacarpal on his right hand (the ring finger). He has surgery to put in a plate and was taking pain medication. It appears that he took 35 pain pills last night. His publicist called the paramedics. When the paramedics arrived, Owens took more pills. No word at this point on how he is doing. It was quite a shock to me. When you think of T.O., you think of this bold, arrogant guy. You forget that he probably has the insecurities and doubts that we all have.
Saturday, September 9, 2006 -- EveningThe Pittsburgh Panthers won the game last night with a score of 33-15. Some sports analysts had comments to make after the game because the Panthers had a huge lead, and then just really stopped playing which allowed the Bearcats to get the momentum on their side. It seemed for a while that the Bearcats might make a stronger bid, but the Panthers managed to hole them off. The reason that some of the local sports guys got on the Panthers case is that it is okay to allow the Bearcats to gain some momentum, but you can't stop playing like that if you are playing a team that can come back to whoop your ass. I think that in this case, it really wasn't much of a concern because they just really weren't in trouble of losing.
Friday, September 8, 2006 -- EveningI am not a huge fan of the University of Pittsburgh Panthers. I think that the reason is because I find some many things that are wrong with the system at Pitt, especially in how it wastes money and puts a priority on sport instead of education with the football and men's basketball players. The one thing that I suppose that I have to say is that the football team does seem to have improved from last year. Dave Wannstedt has done a decent job of recruiting and seems to have energized the players this year. Tonight the Panthers are playing against the University of Cincinnati Bearcats. Surprisingly the Panthers appear to be taking advantage of offensive opportunity. Right now with only two minutes left in the third period, the Panthers are leading the Bearcats with a score of 23-7.
Saturday, August 26, 2006 -- MorningIt seems that the Pirates got so much negative feedback from the performance of Me First and the Gimme Gimmes that they cancelled their performance in the firework displays yesterday and tonight. Thursday, Friday, and Saturday were marked as Starburst nights with a fireworks extravaganza planned. Instead, last night there was just recorded music and fireworks.
Friday, August 25, 2006 -- EveningLast night, tonight, and tomorrow night the Pirates have a huge fireworks extravanga. Last night the Pirates won the game against the Houston Astros. Then they setup the stage for the show. They even televised it because it was supposed to be such a hot deal. They brought in this group called Me First and the Gimme Gimmes, and they stunk up the whole city. The group is this really atrocious cover band. So the group played a song, and then they played a recording of the song from the original group. While the recorded song was playing, they would shoot off some fireworks. Watching any sort of fireworks display on television is lame, I will admit, but my opinions were limited because of my non-weightbearing cast and crutches. But Fox Sports Pittsburgh did an awful job. They focused on the smoke that was left from the fireworks and did closeups of buildings. I did hear though from local sports talk shows that even the people who were there thought the whole display was lame. Yeah, there were two tons of fireworks, but it was spread over a half an hour so there were skimpy periods and downtime. Mix that in with Me First and the Gimme Gimmes being so bad that folks were booing them, and you come up with a huge disappointment.
Monday, August 21, 2006 -- EveningAs was to be expected Marion Jones is denying that she has ever taken performance enhancing drugs. She says that she won't make any comments until the results of the B sample come back. I suppose that she needs some time to come up with an excuse for the EPO in the sample. You have to wonder why an athlete would take something, knowing there will be a test for the substance, and he/she would be caught with the hand in the cookie jar. Is it the arrogance that they won't get caught, or that they can talk their way out of anything? You have to wonder.
Saturday, August 19, 2006 -- Early EveningI suppose that it is human nature to lie and cheat. For some reason, athletes excel at the lying and cheating part of nature. Next up as ace cheater and liar Marion Jones. She has always denied that her amazonian appearance and performances were due to the performance enhancing drugs. We all questioned it because both of her track racing husbands were caught doping, and her name was tied to the BALCO investigation. Well, after winning the 200 meter race at the US Championships in Indianapolis in June, her A blood sample tested positive for erythropoietin (EPO). If her B sample comes back with the same result, the 30 year old Jones will be banned from athletics for two years. EPO increases the amount of oxygen that can be carried by the blood, and this in turn helps in aerobic activity, like running or bike riding. EPO has been associated alot with the cycling world. So in the end, we are confronted with another liar and a cheat--a person who was incapable of achieving her goal with chemical assistance. Now her entire career is smudged in my eyes. I wonder if we will ever go back to the era where sports heroes achieved the unbelieveable due to their own natural talents and hard work? I doubt it. Whenever I see someone now--in any sport--I wonder if drugs are the impetus behind the performance. It's the loss of naivete and the jading of our culture.
Wednesday, August 9, 2006 -- EveningSomeone needs to give Floyd Landis a good talking to on how to be a man, because he obviously isn't acting like a mature, honorable man. Landis was caught cheating. His answer has been to find excuses that range from drinking beer the night before to blaming the system for having an agenda against him. What agenda there would be against a name that as far as the general public was concerned was unknown, who knows. But Landis isn't one for accepting that he was caught with his hand in the cookie jar. "I don't know if it's somehow or some way I ingested something that caused the tests to be that way," Landis whined to Jay Leno. According to Landis there are so many ways to natural fail the test, that the results should just be thrown away. If that were the case, and the test weren't capable of finding a cheater, why do you think the tests were in place? If the tests were so flawed, they would throw out the test so they could come up with something that would catch the cheater. The thing is that they did. Landis is a cheater. He's the child covered in cookie crumbs and chocolate around his mouth who denies eating the cookies. Memo to Landis: Don't insult our intelligence with your comments. You did the crime, and you got caught. Shut up and pay the price!
Saturday, August 5, 2006 -- EveningFloyd Landis' B sample was also found to be positive, and it looks like he will be losing his Tour de France title. Oscar Pereiro has declared himself the winner. Landis is still trying to claim that the the ratio difference in his testosterone level is due to natural causes. So far, he has offered several excuses, none of which is plausible. First it was because of a cortisone shot, then it was because he drank beer the night before, and then it was because he was dehydrated during the stage (even though he led, was close to his support car, and was drinking the entire time). Also, it is was natural, it wouldn't explain the other negative tests. Surprising that he has a positive result on the day when he did the unbelieveable, and negative when he was not doing as well. Yeah, I'm sure that it's naturual. The guy was a cheater, and he got caught. He's probably not alone. The tests are getting more sophisticated and are catching the cheaters.
Tuesday, August 1, 2006 -- Early EveningThe lastest news about Floyd Landis is that the testoserone found in his body was synthetic. It appears that the urine sample that was tested by a French lab said that the testosterone could not have been found naturally in the body. The test results on the B sample should be in on Saturday. So far, the word from Landis' camp is that they will show that the change in the ratio between testosterone to epitestosterone is natural. The thing that just reeks of dishonesty is that the changes were found after Landis won the stage and had moved from 11th place to 4th overall. The question that I have is if it were natural, then the same result would show in all the tests taken, and not just the one where he had a burst of speed and endurance.
Thursday, July 27, 2006 -- Late MorningHuge news this morning about the Tour de France. It seems that the winner, Floyd Landis, a former teammate of Lance Armstrong, has a positive drug result. It appears that he had more testosterone than is normally expected in men. Landis' A sample is the one that tested positive. If the B sample is also positive, he will be disqualified. It seems that the test was failed at some time in the last week of the race. At this point, Landis has dropped out of some of the races that he has on his schedule, including one now in Denmark. The official reason is that he is having hip issues that he will have hip surgery in a couple months. I think that the whole sport of cycling is suspect, and that I have doubts that Lance Armstrong achieved his results purely naturually. What we have found out in recent months is that the guys who were finishing second and third to Armstrong are suspected of doping. Then we have this Landis result. Meanwhile, we are expected to believe that all these others who weren't able to beat Armstrong, are doping, but Armstrong is clean. Yeah, right! At this point, it is only one positive test for Landis, but it smears his record in my eyes.
Monday, July 10, 2006 -- EveningThe big news in the city is that the MLB All-Star game is being held here in Pittsburgh. Tonight is the Home Run Derby, and tomorrow will be the game itself. Tickets were going for hundreds of dollars, and the city is crowded with visitors. PNC Park looks gorgeous in the film on ESPN. The bad news is that Mayor Bob O'Connor will not be at the game tonight. He was hospitalized with what was called a flu late last week. Today it was announced that tests have shown that he has primary central nervous system lymphoma and will start to receive aggressive chemotherapy tomorrow. Everyone's thoughts are with the Mayor and his family. The guy loves Pittsburgh, and has been a dervish around town--doing this, that, and everything.
Saturday, July 8, 2006 -- Early EveningWell, a "man" finally won the women's final at Wimbledon this morning. Yeah, yeah, I know that Amelie Mauresmo is supposed to be a female, but if any female ever looked more masculine, I can't think of one. Anyway, Mauresmo went on to beat Justine Henin-Hardenne in three sets (2-6 6-3 6-4).
Thursday, July 6, 2006 -- AfternoonThere was an interesting matchup at Wimbledon today. I say interesting not because of the actual match itself, but because it featured a feminine player versus a masculine player. Maria Sharapova played Amelie Mauresmo in a semi-final match and lost with a score of 6-3, 3-6, 6-2. I'm sorry, but everytime I see Mauresmo, I think I'm looking at a guy. She has a very masculine face, and sometimes, I'm sure I've seen a five o'clock shadow on her/his chin. The question I have is do we know for sure that Mauresmo is a girl. I would imagine from the fact that she really hasn't whooped the women players that much that she isn't a man, but boy---that face and figure really tell a different story. Take a look at picture 1 and picture 2 and tell me I'm wrong.
Thursday, June 29, 2006 -- EveningI went to the afternoon Pittsburgh Pirates game. The team really sucks and has had a losing season for several years now. The fans have been getting more irate with each losing game. The past 12 games were loses, and that doesn't sit well with baseball fans. The IrateFans are tired of losing, and just want something to be done to improve the team. I know how they feel. Baseball isn't my favorite sport, even though I loved it as a child. But the issues that they have are the same that I had with the Pens when Eddie O was coaching. But that's another story. Anyway, the Pirates won today! It looked like it might be yet another loss when the Chicago White Sox tied the game in the eighth inning. Freddy Sanchez hit a home run in the ninth inning. He was first up in the inning, and just sealed the deal. Final score was 7-6. Sanchez is my favorite player because when he goes up to the plate, he comes through. His batting average is .354 and is second in the league in batting average.
Wednesday, June 21, 2006 -- MorningThe Miami Heat won the NBA title last night against the Dallas Mavericks last night with a score of 95-92. The games between the two were exciting, and it looked like Dallas was going to win because they had a 2-0 lead. However, the Heat came back to take the last four games of the series. Dwayne Wade scored 36 points last night and was named the Finals Most Valuable Player.
Monday, June 5, 2006 -- EveningI used to be a huge baseball fan, and perhaps after going to some games this season, I'll return to my love of baseball. However, right now, I still find hockey a much more entertaining sport. The reason I bring this up is because the Pirates have two players who have received kudos today. First, Jason Bay was named National League Player of the Month. Jose Castillo was named National League Player of the Week. Both players have been doing a good job with hits and home runs in recent weeks. Freddie Sanchez is another one to keep an eye on. Right now he is number two in the National League in batting average with a .345 average.
Sunday, June 4, 2006 -- Late EveningMy boyfriend and I went to a Pirates game this afternoon. They were playing the San Diego Padres. When we arrived at the park, I used the coupon for a free hot dog that my boyfriend won for me at the last game (he grabbed a flying hot dog) and he took pictures of the pitchers warming up in the outfield. Unfortunately, the skies weren't very cooperative. We wound up having to dash inside a few times to escape the drops. It was crowded in the clubhouse because others had the same feelings that we had. The one thing that I couldn't understand is why people would want to sit in the seats with a thin plastic poncho. The Padres won with a final score of 1-0.
Sunday, May 28, 2006 -- Late AfternoonSam Hornish used the draft from Marco Andretti's car to win the Indy 500. It was so close, and at one point, Marco, a 19 year old rookie and son of Michael and grandson of Mario, looked like he was going to win. However, Hornish used the draft in the final straightaway to win by 1/2 a car length. It was absolutely amazing that a 19 year old rookie could have almost won the race. His dad, Michael, was also in the race and finished third. Danica Patrick, unfortunately, finished eighth. Her problem was that she pitted twice before a yellow flag came out. Racing luck as opposed to anything that she did wrong, went against her.
Sunday, May 28, 2006 -- AfternoonThe Indy 500 is now in progress. Danica Patrick is still in the race and is currently in 8th place with 152 of 200 laps completed. The temperatures are quite warm today in Indianapolis, and it is probably going to have an effect on the race. So far, there have been a few accidents and some pit mishaps. In one case, Sam Hornish pulled out of his pit and the fuel hose was still attached to the car. The crewman was having trouble getting the hose off the car, and the crewman got his foot run over, and spilled fuel all over the pit. Hornish got a penalty and had to drive through the pits (which they have to do at 60 MPH, and then get back up to speed). There's not alot of race left. In fact, after the penalty, Danica Patrick was able to pull up into 6th place.
Friday, May 26, 2006 -- Late EveningI just got home from the Pittsburgh Pirates baseball game. Although the Pirates have not been doing well, and basically are in contention for yet another losing season, the game was an exciting one. In fact, I thought that the Pirates played fairly well. That might have been due to the fact that they won with a final score of 12-5 against the Houston Astros. It was also fireworks night, and that was fabulous. It was one of the best fireword displays that I have seen and the pictures that I have just don't do it justice. At the end of the game and before the fireworks, the Pirates introduced a new mascot. The mascot is a huge headed pirate with a patch over one eye. The guy doesn't have a name, and there is a contest for the kids to name him. The winner gets to attend a ball game as a guest of the Pirates. I wonder how the Pirate Parrot feels about having another mascot. Doesn't this still his thunder?
Wednesday, May 24, 2006 -- AfternoonEddie Olczyk has accepted a job with the Chicago Blackhawks. He will do color commentaries for the Blackhawk games. Chicago was the first team to sign Eddio O to a contract when he was a player, and he played for them for several years. Now that he has signed up for a job that's more in his league--being cute on television, he should be happier. The guy was just never cut out to be a coach. He can say until he is blue in the face that he loves coaching and that he has a knack for it. Unfortunately, his record says something else. Eddie O will be moving to Chicago.
Wednesday, May 17, 2006 -- AfternoonI was just watching one of the NBA playoff games between the Miami Heat and the New Jersey Nets. Miami won the game and is moving on to the conference finals. Now, I'm not a big basketball fan, and rarely watch the games. However, as I was watching this game, I was struck by how many shaved/bald heads I saw on the floor. In fact, it became abit scary because it seemed like the majority of players' heads were shaved. My question is what is up with that? Is it a style thing, or do most guys who play basketball go bald?
Sunday, April 30, 2006 -- AfternoonMaccabi Tel-Aviv lost this afternoon in the Euroleague Championship final. Maccabi was haunted by turnovers. You can't win a game if you keep on giving the ball to the other side. CSKA Moscow was just playing at the top of its form, and the final score was 73-69. Anthony Parker, the star of Maccabi was just not up to form although he managed to get some good shots in. The turnovers were the real problem and led to the loss today.
Friday, April 28, 2006 -- AfternoonThe Euroleague Championship is being played in Prague this weekend. Maccabi Tel-Aviv is in the final four for the third year in a row, and they won their semi-final match against Tau Ceramica. Score for today's game was 85-70. The final will be this coming Sunday.
Saturday, April 22, 2006 -- AfternoonThree of the NHL playoff games were played last night, and four more are scheduled for today. Three of yesterday's games were Western Conference games, and they were exciting games that had tight scores. The Detroit Red Wings beat the Edmunton Oilers in a close double overtime game with a final score of 3-2. The other close game was between the Calgary Flames and the Anaheim Mighty Ducks. That game also went into overtime and was won by Calgary. Nashville Predators beat the San Jose Sharks with a goal in the third period that gave Nashville a 4-3 lead. Nashville really has to thank Paul Kariya, who had an assist in all of Nashville's goals in the game. The Eastern Conference game was with the team that I'm rooting for, the Ottawa Senators beat up on the Tampa Bay Lighting with a final score of 4-1. Today's games have the New York Rangers against the New Jersey Devils, the Montreal Canadiens against the Carolina Hurricanes, the Philadelphia Flyers against the Buffalo Sabres, and the Colorado Avalanche against the Dallas Stars.
Thursday, April 20, 2006 -- AfternoonIt finally happened. Craig Patrick will no longer be General Manager of the Pens. The ousting was announced at a press conference earlier this afternoon. There is no word yet on a replacement, and it could be two months before one is announced.
Other news on the Pens front is that the Pens have the second pick in the upcoming NHL draft. The lottery was held today to determine the top 14 spots in the draft. The St. Louis Blues got the number one pick. The remaining 16 slots will be determined after the Stanley Cup final.
Other big news in the hockey world is that the Toronto Maple Leafs fired coach, Pat Quinn. Rumors are swirling already that Quinn might make a good coach for the Pens, but those are only rumors.
Saturday, April 15, 2006 -- Early EveningThere were three prep races for the Kentucky Derby were held today. First was the Santa Anita Derby. Brother Derek won by 3 1/4 lengths in 1:48. A. P. Warrior was second and Sacred Light was third. In the Bluegrass Stakes held at Keeneland in Kentucky, Sinister Minister won in a pole to pole effort. Time was 1:48.85. Sinister Minister was 10 lengths ahead of Storm Treasure. Strong Contender was third and the favorite, Bluegrass Cat, finished in fourth. On to the Arkansas Derby. Favorite, Lawyer Ron won by 2 3/4 lengths over Steppenwolfer. In third was Private Vow. The time for this race was a pedestrian 1:51.38. Lawyer Ron took a page from Sinister Minister's book, and lead practically the entire way with just a minor challenge from Private Vow at the top of the stretch. It will be interesting to see how the three match up in the Kentucky Derby which is three weeks away.
Friday, April 14, 2006 -- Late EveningI have never been a big fan of Barry Bonds. It goes back to the pre-steroid era (PSE). He played for the Pirates back then, and I actually used to enjoy watching baseball. I didn't like Bonds because he always had an attitude, and he choked during the playoffs. It's all fine to talk with arrogance, but don't choke when it counts. You wouldn't recognize Bonds from those days, because he was small then. Now he is blown up like the Michelin Man--including with a swollen head that swollen with more than arrogance. The whole steriod bit came out. Folks commented on his increased size and player improvement that started to be noticed since 1995. It was obvious that the guy was doing steroids. Yeah, it was illegal to use it in this country, but MLB didn't penalize it as it should have. There has been alot of controversy about Bonds breaking the homerun record, and how he claimed that he never took steroids (only flaxseed and Ben-Gay). The reason I bring this up now is because Bonds hasn't been doing that well this season. So far in six games, he is batting .188. This is the worst that Bonds has played since the PSE. I just find it humorous that Bonds is finally playing like the 42 old man that he is. Must be because he's off the 'roids.
Thursday, April 13, 2006 -- Late EveningI finally have my pictures from the Pirates game on Tuesday. I didn't really get any action pictures of the game, but isn't that abit of an oxymoron? Action and baseball.
Tuesday, April 11, 2006 -- EveningI went to the Pirates game this evening. I'll post some pictures of the event tomorrow. The Pirates have not been doing very good so far this season and had only one win in eight starts. Tonight they did a good job and wound up winning the game. The final score was 7 for the Pirates and 6 for the LA Dodgers. It was a decent game to watch. I have to admit that I'm not much of a baseball fan. I used to be in my younger days, but since I was introduced to hockey, I have found baseball to be a rather boring game. There were moments this evening when I wished I had brought along a book to read during the tedious times. We had good seats, but I thought that they would be abit closer to the field than they were. The food options in the box area were much improved over the regular areas, and there was a much greater variety. I had a hot dog, fries, rootbeer float, and a slice of cheesecake. The latter is definitely not typical baseball fare.
Friday, April 7, 2006 -- Late EveningVery sad news for Jamie Dixon and his family. Maggie Dixon died last night at the age of 28 after suffering heart problems on Wednesday. The official cause of death is cardiomegaly (enlarged heart) with a mitral valve prolapse (improperly working value in the heart). Maggie coached the women's Army basketball team to an NCAA tournament performance. My condolences go out to the Dixon family. It is always shocking when someone dies so young and so suddenly. It is even more distressing when you think of the happiness that the family was feeling at Maggie's career success.
Tuesday, April 4, 2006 -- MorningFlorida won the NCAA basketball tournament last night. They whooped UCLA's butt. The final score was 73-57. The whole game was a bore, and I wound up reading a book instead of watching the game.
Sunday, April 2, 2006 -- Late AfternoonUCLA did win last night. The final score against LSU was 59-45. Tomorrow night, it will be a match up with UCLA and Florida for the Championship.
Saturday, April 1, 2006 -- EveningThe Final Four were playing this evening in the NCAA tournament. At 6 pm ET, George Mason played Florida. My boyfriend was rooting on George Mason for the upset factor, but except for a brief period, George Mason was outclassed. The final score was 73-58. Right now, UCLA and LSU are playing, and the game is still in the first half. Score is UcLA 29-LSU 16. As the second half starts, UCLA is still holding on to a major lead. Five minutes into the second half, UCLA leads by 23 points (50-27). I am cheering on UCLA just because of the Ben Howland connection. From the way the game has been going, it looks like it is going to be UCLA and Florida in the final game Monday evening.
Today was the Florida Derby, one of the many prep races for the Kentucky Derby. The intersting thing about this race is that one of the horses in the field was the undefeated, Barbaro. Well, Barbaro won the 1 1/8 mile race by a half a length. I have to start keeping track of the various prep races like the Wood Memorial and see who wins to see who I might like to win the Derby.
Thursday, March 30, 2006 -- AfternoonJaromir Jagr broke the New York Rangers scoring record yesterday. He has 113 points in 73 games. This is the most points in a year by any Ranger in the history of the team, and there are still seven more games left in the season. Jagr really seems to have found the old fire within this past season. The lockout was a huge help for him, and seemed to give him a new perspective on the playing.
Sunday, March 26, 2006 -- EveningOver in the NCAA tournament, there were even more upsets. The last two number one seeds, UConn and villanova both lost today. UConn lost in overtime to number 11 seed, George Mason University, with a final score of 86-84. In fact, UConn was very fortunate to even get to overtime because they managed to score a two pointer in regulation to tie the game just as the buzzer was sounding. Villanova lost to Florida in a more lopsided affair, with the Florida Gators leading most of the game. The final score had Florida winnning, 75-62. There are no number one seeds left in the tournament. Next week, the final four will meet with LSU playing UCLA and George Mason playing Florida. I am not even going to make a guesstimate at which teams will win. Although I have a preference for UCLA since they are a Ben Howland team.
Saturday, March 25, 2006 -- EveningJamie Dixon is not leaving Pitt after all. He agreed to a contract extension today. Originally his salary between $500,000 and $600,000 dollars yearly and should get a $300,000 raise. Not bad for someone who hasn't gotten the team to the Sweet Sixteen in the NCAA tournament in the last two of his three year tenure or the Big East championship. I'm underimpressed but I guess that the Pitt administration isn't.
As for the NCAA tournament, LSU went into overtime against Texas and wound up winning to make it to the final four. The score was 70-60. Texas just seemed to not have their hearts in it during the overtime. The other game this evening was between UCLA and Memphis. UCLA beat Memphis in a low scoring game. Final score was 50-45. Ben Howland, the coach for Pitt before Jamie Dixon, is the coach of UCLA, and he took the team from nowhere to the Final Four. Now Howland is a coach who is worth a pricy contract extension.
Friday, March 24, 2006 -- Late EveningTwo exciting games in the NCAA tournament this evening. First was the Villanova/Boston College game. The game went into overtime, and Villanova won by a score of 60-59 when they were given two points for goaltending by one of the Boston College players who denied Villanova a basket seconds before the buzzer sounded the end of the game. Our seats are just behind the gold seats at Mellon Arena, so we had the television tuned to the game, and everyone in our area was watching the end of the basketball game while ignoring the hockey game. The other exciting game was the UConn/Washington game. That also went into overtime, and UConn won with a final score of 98-92. Georgetown lost to Florida today with a score of 57-53 and George Mason beat Wichita State by a score of 63-55.
There are rumors that Jamie Dixon will be leaving Pitt to coach basketball at Arizona State. The rumor is that Arizona State was willing to give Dixon $1 million plus in salary. What I don't understand is that Dixon signed a contract with Pitt for six years. Four more years are left on the contract. Pitt really isn't under any obligation to pay Dixon more, and he should not with any good conscious even consider offers from other schools. So folks are complaining that Pitt didn't do enough to keep Dixon. I say that someone should remind Dixon that contracts are not to be taken lightly. Personally, I say "don't let the door hit your butt" to Mr. Dixon.
Friday, March 24, 2006 -- MorningLast night's basketball games were quite thrilling. I wound up staying up until 12:30 am watching the games (and playing with my iPod). First was the West Virginia game. West Virginia was playing Texas, and West Virginia had just tied the game with seconds left. It looked like it was going to go into overtime. However with .8 seconds left (yes, less than 1 second) one of the Texas guys sunk a three-pointer. The ball went into the basketball as the buzzer was sounding the game end. They reviewed the point, and agreed that the thrower let go of the ball prior to the buzzer. Final score was 74-71. Right after that, CBS went to the Gonzaga and UCLA game. Gonzaga was ahead by 17 points at half time. However, they just didn't seem to know how to finish the game. Some of us call it choking. UCLA came back to score the final eleven points to win the game with a score of 73-71. It was another thriller with the game being tied in the last few seconds. Then UCLA scored and after that stole the ball from Gonzaga. Again with only partial seconds remaining, Gonzaga tried a long throw to get the ball within shooting range. However, this time, the ball bounced off the rim instead of going in. Alan Morrison, who gets compared to Larry Bird and believes the hype, was bawling his eyes out like a spoiled baby, giving quite a show of histronics by sobbing, covering his face, and then lying in the middle of the basketball court. What a baby! Anyway, it was thrilling basketball!
Thursday, March 23, 2006 -- EveningI resigned myself to the fact that my NCAA bracket is totally useless. Why? Because Duke lost tonight, and I had them winning the tournament. It just goes to show you how useful the rankings are, and how difficult it is to pick the winners. West Virginia is going to be playing abit later on this evening. Because the Duke/LSU game took so long, the West Virginia game won't start until after 10 pm. So I will probably be sleeping before the game is over.
Sunday, March 19, 2006 -- AfternoonMy NCAA bracket suffered some major busting yesterday with the Fighting Illni (Illinois) losing yesterday to Washington with a score of 67-64. What was bad about it was that I have the Illni going all the way to the final two. So that whole bracket--the Washington, DC part is totally wiped out. This afternoon, Pitt lost to the number 13 seed, Bradley. Bradley lead for the entire game. Pitt only came within a point a few times. The final score was 72-66. In the first half, West Virginia is leading against North Western State with a score of 41-19. One of the West Virginia guys made a throw from half court at the buzzer that made it. I didn't plan on them winning this game, but then I also didn't plan on them playing North Western State. I have just resigned myself to failing miserably with my bracket this year, but watching and enjoying the games anyway.
Friday, March 17, 2006 -- EveningPitt won its opening game in the NCAA tournament against Kent State. Charles Small actually got to close out the game. He's the 5 foot 7 inch player on the team. He's a senior who does not have an athletic scholarship, and I understand from his girlfriend that he has been accepted to Pitt's School of Social Work. So far, I am some how leading the work NCAA bracket. This evening, I have been lucky with UConn and North Carolina State winning their games. Having a bracket does make the games alot more interesting! So far, my Oakland division is intact, pending the Kansas/Bradley game. I think that I thought I was doing worse than I was.
Friday, March 17, 2006 -- AfternoonMy NCAA bracket suffered some more this afternoon with the lost of Iowa. I had them going at least another round. That game was a killer. With 0.5 seconds remaining in the game, Northwestern State got a three pointer that put them one point up on Iowa. Northwestern went on to win with a final score of 64-63. It was a shocking, exciting finish. Also, I picked Wisconsin over Arizona, and Arizona blew away Wisconsin with a final score of 94-75.
Thursday, March 16, 2006 -- Early EveningSo far, my NCAA bracket is not fairing well. Seton Hall, Oklahoma, and Nevada have lost, and Boston College just managed to squeak by in double overtime against Pacific. I have been keeping my eye on the CBS Sportsline scoreboard. I found out the deal with the free video. Basically you have to register with CBS Sportsline, and then you get put into a waiting line. If you close the page, you get bounced out of the waiting list, although my boyfriend was bounced without doing that. Because I am doing it in the evening, I was able to get in with just a wait of a few minutes. However, it was different this afternoon. All those working folks were crowding the lines.
Wednesday, March 15, 2006 -- Early EveningI have finally completed my NCAA bracket. I really didn't listen to any analysis of the teams because I thought that it might be better for my bracket if I just went my gut feeling. While I was doing the bracket, I was surprised at some of the teams that I was picking and what my match-ups were. What can I say though? Those were the answers that were coming to me, so I went with it. Time will tell how I did. The games start tomorrow.
Monday, March 13, 2006 -- EveningI am still working on my NCAA bracket, and hope to have it ready by Wednesday at the latest. The games are going to be offered for free online by CBS Sportsline. What that means is that folks will be watching the games at work. Allan Ray has been cleared to play in the tournament. ESPN showed the film of the accident this morning, and it was a gruesome sight. It was very obvious that Ray's right eye was knocked out of the socket. Ray has said though that his vision is much better now, and that depending on how comfortable the protecive goggles are, he may or may not be wearing them.
Sunday, March 12, 2006 -- Late EveningOther big news is that Antwaan Randle El has signed a deal with the Washington Redskins. You can't blame Randle El for taking the deal. The Redskins offered him more than the Steelers gave Hines Ward. Randle El has a six year, $27 million deal and the sports announcers here were saying that it would be $11 million guaranteed. Not bad. It's going to be sad to see Randle El playing for another team, but no one in their right mind would pass up this deal.
Pitt got a number five seed in the NCAA tournament. They will be playing Kent State this coming Friday in Oakland. I'll be filling out my bracket tomorrow, and will post it here.
Saturday, March 11, 2006 -- EveningAt the same time as the Pens game, Pitt played the Orange, Syracuse. Syracuse pulled ahead to an early lead. The question is can they maintain it. At the start of the second half, the score is 36-30 in favor of Syracuse. The last half of the second period was very close, especially in the final minutes. The final score was Syracuse 65 and Pitt 61. So Syracuse wins the Big East title for the second year in a row.
Saturday, March 11, 2006 -- Late MorningBelieve it or not, Pitt won yet again last night. This time they beat the number two seed in college basketball, Villanova. The final score was 68-54, but the game was an emotional one for Villanova. At the start of the second half, Allan Ray of Villanova was diving for the ball with Carl Krauser. In the scrum, Krauser's hand came up, and Ray got a poke in the eye. Unfortunately, the poke dislodged the eye from the socket. I didn't see the incident, but my boyfriend did, and said it was a horrible sight. Ray was taken off the court and rushed to a hospital. Fortunately, the damage was not as bad as it looked. There is soft tissue damage, and Ray is said to have the vision restored in that eye. Right now, Ray will be considered on a day to day basis for future play, since Villanova will be playing in the NCAA tournament. As for the Big East final, Pitt will be playing Syracuse tonight. I will be cheering on the Orangemen.
Friday, March 10, 2006 -- EveningSyracuse just won in a thrilling finish against Georgetown in the first of the Big East semi-finals. Georgetown led throughout the game, usually by several points. However, Syracuse came back in the second half. With less that 18 seconds left in the game, Syracuse gets the ball and scores a two pointer to pull ahead 58-57. Yes it was that close. Instead of taking a time out, Georgetown runs the ball down the court, and Syracuse gets the ball back with 1.5 seconds left in the game. After not having the lead in the game until the very last score, Syracuse went on to win. How could you not love a team that celebrates the color Orange (my favorite color).
Friday, March 10, 2006 -- Late AfternoonPitt beat West Virginia last night. I was disappointed because I was hoping that West Virginia would go farther in the tournament. However, West Virginia has a dilemna. They love to go for the three pointer (field goal). Sometimes that is to the sacrifice of the two pointer. Now when the team is in the groove and hitting the three pointers, no problem. However, when the team ain't so hot, they can lose. And lose is what they did last night. Pitt was behind in the first half of the game, but came back in the second half with the help of some freshmen players to win. So Pitt moves on again. Tonight they will be playing Villanova. Most folks don't think Pitt will get past Villanova. I hope not because I am not a big fan of the team.
Thursday, March 9, 2006 -- Late AfternoonYesterday's Pitt game was an interesting one. They wound up winning the game, but at half time Pitt had a 28 point lead against Louisville that was squandered by the end of the game. The final score was 61-56. Some sports analysts thought that if the game just went abit longer that Louisville would have won. comments like that are irritating because the game is 40 minutes, and if you can't win it then, you couldn't. However, I think that this doesn't bode very well for Pitt's future in the Big East basketball tournament. Tonight Pitt will be playing West Virginia in a quarterfinal match. In my opinion, I think that Pitt is going to lose. We'll have to see what happens.
Wednesday, March 8, 2006 -- EveningThe Pitt basketball team is playing in the first round of the Big East basketball tournament in New York. Pitt is playing Louisville. My prediction is that Pitt is going to lose tonight. We'll have to see how they do. Since the game just started at 9:40, I'll probably comment on the win or loss tomorrow morning.
Friday, March 3, 2006 -- Late EveningPitt lost to Seton Hall tonight with a final score of 65-61. It was the last game of the season for Pitt, and a home game to boot. Seton Hall isn't the best of teams either, so it is not looking good that Pitt is finishing out the season as losers. This does not bode well for the Big East tournament next week. I think that Pitt will lose in the first game.
Wednesday, March 1, 2006 -- Early EveningThings are not looking up for the Pitt basketball team. It seems that Pitt is probably going to be a sixth seed in the Big East tournament. However, they are hoping to do better in the NCAA Championships that are fast approaching. Yep it is March so March Madness can't be far away. The reason that the team thinks it will do better is based on the fact that the Big East is a tough conference and with a fairly decent record Pitt should get a better seed in the NCAA. Record for Pitt is 21-5, which breaks down to 10-5 for Big East games and 11-0 for non Big East games.
Tuesday, February 28, 2006 -- MorningThe Pittsburgh Panthers lost last night to West Virginia last night with a final score of 67-62. That means that Pitt won't have a bye in the first day of the Big East basketball tournament. Pitt is in fifth place in the Big East, and only the top four teams get a bye. If Pitt had defeated West Virginia, they would have swapped places in the rankings and Pitt would have gotten the bye. The first round starts March 8 in New York City.
Sunday, February 19, 2006 -- Early AfternoonPitt's basketball team lost to Marquette last night in a close game. The final score was 84-82. Right now, Pitt is fourth in the standings in the Big East. The top four teams will get a bye in the Big East championship games which will be played March 8 through 11 in New York.
Friday, February 10, 2006 -- EveningThe Pro Bowl is this Sunday. This will be the last football game of the season. I saw an interview show yesterday on ESPN with the Pro Bowl players. Chad Johnson wants to play both wide receiver and cornerback. Johnson, one of the most entertaining players in the NFL, thinks that he can make the touchdowns and stop them. It will be entertaining to see how he does.
Jose Theodore tested positive for a banned substance and is blaming it on the popular hair restorative product, Propecia. It seems that Propecia can mask other banned substances and that's how it got on the banned list. Theodore's hair seems to be pretty lush, but maybe it's because he uses Propecia.
Wayne Gretzky is denying all involvement in Operation Slapshot. At a press conference late yesterday evening, Gretzky said that he has never bet on professional sports. Obviously his wife has been involved in the mess, and there are conversations that were captured during a wire tap of Rick Tocchet's phone between Gretzky where he talked to Tocchet about keeping his wife out of the mess. Gretzky is continuing his duties with the Canadian team during the Olympics and will be joined in Turin by his wife.
Wednesday, February 8, 2006 -- Early AfternoonThere have been alot of grumblings about the officiating at some of the NFL games of late, and it extends to the Super Bowl. One of the most blantant errors was when the official overturned the interception made by Troy Polamalu. In that case, the NFL admitted that the overturning of the call on the field was in error. Now the Seattle Seahawks are claiming that they lost the Super Bowl because of the officials. The three calls in particular that get everyone's goat are the Seattle touchdown that was not a touchdown because of passer interference, the touchdown that Ben Roethlisberger made, and the tackle on Ike Taylor after the interception. The thing that I have to say is that Seattle should not have been in a situation where a few calls would make a difference. I thought the same thing in the Steeler/colts playoff game. It should never have come down to the colts being able to take the game with a field goal. Seattle should look at some of the missed opportunities and work on that.
Controversy in the hockey world. Rick Tocchet, former Pens player and current Phoenix Coyotes assistant coach was implicated in a gambling ring that involves several other hockey players and Wayne Gretzky's wife, Janet. It seems that the group was betting on other sports, not hockey. Gretzky says that his wife was not placing bets for him, and that his only worries are for his wife and his friend, Tocchet. Yes, gambling is illegal in certain instances, but who is really hurt in this matter. If there was no betting on hockey, the only one who is hurt is the person who is gambling and losing money.
Tuesday, January 31, 2006 -- EveningI'm not a big Pitt basketball fan, so I was glad to see that they lost to UConn. The final score was a close one: 80-76.
Monday, January 30, 2006 -- AfternoonI just heard on the local ESPN radio that Maxime Talbot has been sent back down to the Baby Pens. The Baby Pens are still doing well and lead their division with a 34-6-3-2 record.
I am listening to the Mark Madden show on ESPN radio. Madden, however, isn't on the show because he has a heart attack this past weekend. He was feeling nauseated all day long and finally drove himself to the hospital Saturday evening. Some sort of surgery was performed this afternoon to help with the problem. Nothing is being mentioned about what the surgery is. Madden is feeling fine and hopes to be back to work soon.
Sunday, January 29, 2006 -- MorningRoger Federer won yet another tournament. This time it is the Australian Open. Federer won 5-7, 7-5, 6-0, 6-2 against Marcos Baghdatis, who was unseeded. It's not very often that an unseeded player makes it to the finals, so Baghdatis has much of which to be proud.
Saturday, January 22, 2006 -- EveningThe Pitt basketball team is no longer undefeated. They lost today to St. John's with a score of 55-50. Pitt wasn't alone in its loss today. Duke and Florida, the other undeated teams, also lost today.
Friday, January 20, 2006 -- AfternoonThe NCAA released graduation rate statistics for college athletes, and as you know from reading The Daily Bongo, the news is not good for Pitt. Pitt, however, is contesting the news by stating that the near 0% graduation rate for basketball players is from an earlier era that ended in 1999. Since then the University says that the graduation rate has been close to 90%. Out of the 10 players since the freshman year in 1999, nine have graduated and one is pending graduation. I don't know about you, but something smells rotten in Denmark with those statistics of Pitt's. 10 players since 1999--nine of which have graduated. I suppose that the others are still playing? I would just think that since 1999, there should have been more than 10 players who would have graduated, but maybe it is only a player or two a year.
Wednesday, January 18, 2006 -- AfternoonTwo interesting stories out of the Pens today. The biggest and most shocking in my mind is that Ziggy Palffy is retiring. The reason supposedly is his shoulder. It was injured in 2004, and Palffy has had two surgeries on it. I guess that he feels it isn't getting better. What is shocking to me is that I thought that he was still performing fairly well this season. Sure it wasn't stellar, but still the guy was putting points on the board and seemed to have a nice chemistry with the younger guys. The other news is that Marc-Andre Fleury will be staying on the major league roster. Both announcements might go hand in hand. The Palffy announcement came out first, and his salary this year was going to be $3.5 million, $5.5 million next year and $4.5 million in the third and final year. I'm not sure how much of that he $3.5 million he will get this year, but I imagine that Fleury's bonuses might benefit.
Tuesday, January 17, 2006 -- AfternoonI am not a big fan of college basketball, so I usually don't watch the games until March Madness. Also, I am not a huge fan of Pitt basketball. Usually I cheer them on to lose as opposed to winning. Anyway, there is some news about the Pitt basketball team. So far this season, they are undefeated and today they were ranked as number 9 in the country. Not bad. I think that as the season progresses, they will have a harder time but that's probably the anti-Pitt basketball person in me.
Monday, January 16, 2006 -- AfternoonYes Virgina, there is news other than football and hockey. It's just that at this time of the year, it tends to dominate the hearts and minds of all Pittsburgh fans. Joey Porter might be getting a fine from the NFL because he spoke the truth about the officiating in yesterday's playoff game. It was quite obvious that the refs and officials made several calls in favor of the colts. There were no calls for some obvious passer interferences by the Colts. Then there was a time when the Colts had a false start and the refs so--"oh, um, do over! No penalty!". Finally there was that interception call that was overturned and led Shannon Sharpe to call the official Archie Manning. As the Colts themselves said after the game, they had this game on a platter for them--thanks to the officials, and yet still weren't able to take it. I think if the Colts had won it would have left a very bitter taste in the mouth of everyone except the Colts fans because the game would have gone to them based on thievery.
Another sporting controversy. This time it deals with the Turin Olympics. Michelle Kwan. Here's the controversy. Kwan injured her groin and was unable to compete in the US Championship. The top three finishers in the competition go on to compete in the Olympics. Well Kwan petitioned to get included in the team that would be sent to the Olympics, and she got her wish. The thing is if she is injured what makes her think that she would be able to be competitive in February? Kwan has already been at two Olympics and got the silver in 1998 and the bronze in 2002. Because the Olympics Skating commission is obviously desperate for Kwan to have a chance at gold, they are giving her a position. It is horribly unfair to Emily Hughes who finished third in the US Championship. Kwan will have to prove to the officials by Jan. 27 that she is capable of competing. If for some reason the officials feel that she isn't up to snuff then Hughes will be on the team. It just bothers me to no end that someone who is injured and who can't compete in the trials is just given a spot on the team. It isn't fair. Part of the process is that you should be able to win your place in the pre-Olympic competition. Kwan isn't able to fulfill that part of the bargin and should not be on the US Olympic Skating team.
Saturday, January 14, 2006 -- Late EveningOne of the rumors that is floating around on the local sports shows is that Eddie Olczyk is on the short list for the coaching position for the New Jersey Devils. I think that this is absolutely amazing news. Yeah, the Pens have problems that extend beyond coaching. A good portion of the problem was due to Eddie O. The man had no coaching and his lack of direction for a good portion of the current season has exaserbated the problem that Pens have with their geriatric squad. I wonder if Craig Patrick didn't make some of the deals based on information from Eddie O. The Pens do continue to have problems, but Eddie O's hand in the mess should not be minimized. I just can't believe that the Devils management would be so stupid as to hire Eddie O for a head coaching position. If anything, I think that the guy should take an assistant position so he could learn his trade before trying to practice it.
Right now I am watching the final three minutes of the New England Patriots and the Denver Broncos playoff game. With 3:20 left in the game, Denver is leading with a score of 27-13. In the leadup to this game, the constant theme was how Tom Brady had an undefeated record in the playoffs and how New England is 10-0 in post season games. The thing that irritates me to no end about comments like that is that it tells us about past history, but really has no meaning with the game at hand. See--New England can be defeated in the post season. It's happening right now! All those statistics mean is that the team has a great record. It might mean that they will be a tough team to beat but it doesn't mean that team (or person in the case of individual statistics) is not unbeatable. Granted having these statistics pounded into your head as if they actually mean something might affect the performance of a player, but it is just the psychological effect. To me, all a 10-0 record means is that you are looking at the stat the day before the team goes 10-1. Thanks for proving me correct Tom Brady and the Patriots.
Thursday, January 12, 2006 -- EveningI found a place that has the full video of the press conference with Michel Therrien. It is very entertaining to watch, and unfortunately for the Pens has a ring of truth. Some of the local sports announcers were faulting Therrien for calling out his players for their lack of effort. The thing is that the guy gave them a chance to prove themselves, and they only thing that they did prove is that he was right to call them out for not making an effort. Last night's game was a fiasco in my opinion because the fighting seemed to be there just to fight. It was like a little kid trying to show dad that he understood the problem when really it is just the little kid making moves like he is addressing the problem without really doing so. Therrien commended the team on sticking up for each other and hopes to build on that to get a consistently winning team. We shall see.
Meanwhile, alot of folks are questioning Marc-Andre Fleury's future with the Pens. With three goaltenders on the roster, Fleury, Dany Sabourin and Sebastien Caron, most are wondering if this is a sign that the Pens front office plans on sending Fleury down to the minors to save bonus money. It will be interesting to see what happens on that front in the next few weeks.
This weekend is the Steelers versus the Indianapolis Colts playoff game. The Colts are taking a page from the Cincinnati Bengals book, and are telling ticket sellers to not sell tickets to Steelers fans. I think that the rational is sorry. Obviously the Colts can't stand to have some Steeler fans in the arena shouting out for their team. Or maybe it is because they don't want any pesky Steelers fans out there scoping out the arena for microphones that are funneling noise back onto the field in the favor of the Colts. It should be a good game, and I am predicting that the Steelers will win this one. Of course, I could be wrong just as I was wrong that the Steelers would have a losing season this year.
Monday, January 9, 2006 -- Early EveningSidney Crosby has been getting a reputation as a yakker at the refs. The problem is that this is leading him to be the second most penalized player on the Pens team. So far, Crosby has 60 minutes of penalty time compared to Brooks Orpik who has 61. Older players think the reason is because Crosby jaws alot and irritates the refs. Crosby says that he's going to work on it because he can see how it is affecting his game. One of the reasons may be that Crosby is a very emotional player, and usually the really good ones manage to keep the emotions under control. Speaking as an emotional person myself, I can understand how it is difficult for Crosby to control.
Marcus Vick really seems to know how to get into trouble. He has a long string of legal woes from marijuana use, driving with a suspended license, speeding, and then last week, he was caught stomping on the opposing player's calf during the Gator Bowl. Vick has been kicked off the Virginia Tech football team. Now, he has been arrested for brandishing a gun in a McDonald's parking lot. It is such a shame to see someone who might have some talent to totally throw it all away.
Sunday, January 8, 2006 -- AfternoonSurprisingly, Don Cherry is speaking up in support of Sidney Crosby in the incident with Ilya Kovlachuk on Friday. Kovalchuk had shoved Crosby around, and when Crosby retaliated, Crosby wound up in the box. Kovalchuk then scored on that penalty and pointed at Crosby in the box. As Cherry said, someone on the team should have broken Kovalchuk's arm. I don't think he really means that--just that someone else on the team needs to give Crosby some support as he is being abused by the other team. On his show, Cherry showed clips of the Thrashers getting away with murder in regards to Crosby and commented on how there should be someone on the team who takes the enforcer role to protect Crosby. Now for the surprising Cherry remark: "I'm starting to like Crosby more and more because he doesn't back down. They (Pittsburgh) absolutely have to get somebody to ride shotgun with him. He's an 18-year-old kid. ... This is ridiculous." You go, Don Cherry!
The Pens have been doing well with attendance this season. For the most part, the games have been filling the arena on average to 96% capacity. I think that a good portion of that had to do with season ticket sales because of Crosby. I know that's why my boyfriend and I got the half season plan. At the time that we went to get it there were only single seats available in the south end of the arena (where we shoot twice). I know that in the section that I am in now, I see alot of repeat faces. There is one seat next to me that has a rotating person--one of those single seats that no one wants for a season ticket because it can't be paired up. The Pens don't release information on the season ticket sales, but that my theory.
In little more than an hour, the Steelers will be playing the Cincinnati Bengals in an AFC playoff game. Update on the game to follow.
Saturday, January 7, 2006 -- AfternoonThe Canadian team won the World Junior Hockey Championship. They defeated the Russian team 5-0 to win the title. Meanwhile Finland defeated the United States team by a score of 4-2 to take third place/bronze. The Pens prospect, Evgeni Malkin had a good showing in the tournament and was named outstanding forward. This is the second year in a row that Canada has won the gold in the World Juniors.
Thursday, January 5, 2006 -- EveningStory from the local sports newscasts are that Ryan Malone is being shopped around for a trade by the Pens. It seems that they have been approaching others to find out if there is any interest in Malone. Malone has been a healthy scratch in the past few games. The question will be who will take Malone and what will we get in return?
Sidney Crosby is going to get a $212,000 bonus for reaching 20 goals this season. It seems that Crosby has been getting tons of media attention in Canada and has been handling it with grace. He's a much better person then me by not getting involved in a war of words with Don Cherry. As Crosby said, "Everyone's not going to have a great opinion about you no matter what you do." Good words to remember.
Wednesday, January 4, 2006 -- EveningMichel Therrien was happy to go back to Montreal for a game, and even had the date marked On his calendar. There are some conflicting reports on why he was let go as the coach of the Montreal Canadiens. According to reports, some say that it was because he lacked coaching experience, and others say it is because he is emotional and lets it show. It seems he is very open in expressing his displeasure with players. What other coach would have called out his team for their poor conditioning and subpar play? The players do seem to respect Therrien from the interviews that were given on television, and all of those who played with him on the Baby Pens don't want to do anything that would displease Therrien. I have to admit that I am impressed by the comments of Saku Koivu. He said: "He was a very emotional [coach] and liked an intense, hard-working team. "He coaches his team the way he is. He shows his emotions. One thing he did well was that he really made us play up to our potential. He really got the most out of our team." Therrien's influence is already obvious in the level of play of the recent Pens games.
The Baby Pens have stayed on their winning ways. Their current record is 27-3-2-1. The Baby Pens won on Dec. 31 with a score of 2-1 against the Norfolk Admirals. Next up--the Philadelphia Phantoms on Friday.
Tuesday, January 3, 2006 -- Late MorningWest Virginia University won the Sugar Bowl last night over Georgia. WVU quickly pulled away to a three touchdown lead, but Georgia came back in the second half to make things abit more even. The final score was 38-35. A closer game is alot more exciting than a blowout.
Sunday, January 1, 2006 -- EveningI was just watching the Sunday evening football game, a matchup between the Dallas Cowboys and the Saint Louis Rams. They were talking to some of the players about the possibility that Bill Parcells might retire. Well, they were talking to Spock ears! They were the strangest, ugliest looking ears I've seen--scary even. I'm not sure if it was bad camera angle or what, but his ears even look pointy in this picture.
The New England Patriots lost today, so the Steelers will be playing the Cincinnati Bengals next Sunday at 4:30 in the first round of the playoffs.
Sunday, January 1, 2006 -- Late MorningThis afternoon's Steelers game against the Detroit Lions might be the last home game for Jerome Bettis. I think that it probably will be. Last night on the Jerome Bettis Show which is shown on KDKA, they presented Bettis with a jacket that had the show logo on it. Even though Bettis isn't officially admitting to it, it seems that this will be the end. Willie Parker went to Bill Cowher and told him that Bettis should be the starter of the game. So when the game starts, Bettis' name will be called and he will come running down the tunnel onto the field probably for the last time. It is sad. If the Steelers win today, they will be one of the wildcard entries to the playoffs.
Friday, December 30, 2005 -- Early EveningI haven't mentioned the Baby Pens game from the middle of the week. They won the game against the Hartford Wolf Pack by a score of 5-0. Maxime Talbot scored two goals in the game, and that might explain why he was brought up yesterday. The next game will be tomorrow evening against the Norfolk Admirals.
The World Junior Hockey championships are going on right now, and both Canada and the United States are doing well. The first round of games will be over tomorrow, and then the playoffs will start on Monday. In fact, the Canadian team has already secured second place in Group A, and is hoping for the top spot if they beat the United States tomorrow. The Russians are also unbeated, and are being led by the Pens own Evgeni Malkin. So far, Malkin has scored a goal in every game. Check out the schedule for the rest of the tournament.
Thursday, December 29, 2005 -- AfternoonTonight's Pens game should be an interesting one. They will be playing the New Jersey Devils. In the past 14 games, the Devils have only won three. This might good news for the Pens, and I am going to be hoping for a win tonight. The Pens have recalled Rob Scuderi, Maxime Talbot and Colby Armstrong from the Baby Pens.
Over in the Steelers camp, Hines Ward and Casey Hampton were voted the MVPs of the team by their teammates.
Wednesday, December 28, 2005 -- Late AfternoonMario Lemieux might be skating next week, and might be back with the team in two weeks. It seems that so far he has been doing well with his off-ice conditioning, and thinks that he won't be such a geriatric when he returns to the ice. Personally, I think that he should have taken this issue as a sign that he should be retiring.
Last night after the game, Michel Therrien said that he mentioned to the team after the second period that the Pens were acting as if they were the team who had played a game the previous night instead of that being the situation for the Toronto Maple Leafs. The second period was the one in which the Leafs scored twice. It was a more energetic game. The thing is that if the team was out of condition a week ago, not alot could have changed in that time. Unfortunately, it's going to take a bit longer. Last night's game was the sixth straight loss for the Pens. The question is how to snap them out of the losing streak and get them winning again.
Tuesday, December 27, 2005 -- AfternoonThe Penguins are playing the Toronto Maple Leafs this evening. It's one of the games for my season ticket plan, so I will be at the game. This game is going to the Hockey Night in Canada game. That means that Don Cherry will be here in Pittsburgh for the game. For some reason, Don Cherry really has it in for Sidney Crosby. Cherry claims that Crosby wanted to get Eddie O fired and that he didn't deserve to be named an alternate captain because of his age. What a goober! Even if Crosby thought that Eddie O was a crap coach, he never went around saying "we need a new coach". I know that I was saying that because, let's be honest, Eddie O should have never been a coach. Cherry has had a history of blasting Crosby, calling him a cherry picker two years ago for a trick goal that Crosby made, a diver earlier this season, and this past weekend just seemed to get on Crosby for a slew of issues. If Cherry would a woman, I'd say he had bitter old maid syndrome. Is there such a thing as "never able to do it when young, and past it now" for men?
I'm going to take along some good luck charms this evening in the hopes that we get a win. Michel Therrien didn't have much opportunity to work on problems with the defense since the last game because of the Christmas break and because Ryan Whitney wound up getting stuck in Boston and Brooks Orpik has some sort of injury from his last game.
The last thing of interest that I read about the Penguins in the past two days was the commentary on the bonus situation with Marc-Andre Fleury. There's alot more to it than Fleury just playing x number of games in the majors. Fleury will get more than $3 million if he mets four of the following: top 10 finish among NHL goalies in goals against and/or save average, 20 victories, save percentage of .890 or higher, playing time of 1,800 minutes or more, goals against average of 3.25 or lower, and four shutouts. Granted, Fleury will get some dollars for whatever of the above he does meet. Fleury is young, and as he has said, really isn't interested in the money, and didn't think much about the financials when the contract was made up. The question is if something can be arranged to save the Pens some money.
The Baby Pens won last night against the Hershey Bears. The final score was 8-1, and seven of the goals were made in the first period. The Baby Pens are still doing well. The season tally is 25-3-2-1.
Monday, December 26, 2005 -- EveningOne of the items that didn't get a big mention on the national broadcast of the Steelers game was the fan who got on the field. The guy got all the way onto the field without anyone appearing to challenge him. Verron Haynes ran away from the guy, and appears to the butt of some of his fellow players' jokes. Cleveland Browns player, Kenard Lang shoved the fan out of the way. While the stupid fan was jumping up and down, and losing his pants, James Harrison took matters into his own hands. As he said later, it looked like no one else was doing anything about the guy, and the guy did have his back to Harrison. So Harrison grabbed the guy from behind, body slammed him to the ground, and held him there until the security guys came over. All the players told Harrison that if the NFL fines him for grabbing the fan, they will contribute to the fine.
Michel Therrien gave a nice interview in the Post Gazette. The guy is very passionate about winning, and not just in hockey. As he has said, it's going to be a long, hard road, and it's not like the team is going to suddenly start winning. As Therrien has said, he can work on attitude changes right away, but it is going to take time to instill the system into the guys. Obviously there are deeper problems with the defensive line, and he hasn't said yet how he will address that problem.
Saturday, December 24, 2005 -- Early AfternoonAfter the Penguins game last night, Michel Therrien was not very happy with the way the defense was playing in last night's game. As Therrien said, "I'm really disappointed about our defensive group, Those guys have to play a lot better. As long as they're not going to be better, we're not going to win many games. It's not only one thing, But they have to play better. There isn't any hockey team that has a chance to win if their defensemen are not on top of their game. And right now, that defensive group is not on top of their game. That's one of the biggest reasons why we lose games. Is it a lack of concentration? Is it a lack of will? Is it a lack of skill? I don't know. It's tough to answer. But the defensive group has to be more sharp." Obviously the defensive group is not among the warriors.
Meanwhile Sidney Crosby gave a stellar performance yesterday. He said that it wasn't an attempt to send a message to Ken Hitchcock who was part of the decision making group for Team Canada's Olympic hockey team. I think that the message will be sent when Team canada doesn't win the gold medal. Meanwhile, Crosby chartered a plane so he could fly home for Christmas with his family.
Sergei Gonchar has been named to play on the Russian Olympic hockey team. It's funny that the only active Penguin player playing at the Olympics is probably one of the worst and a real non-performer this season. I guess that the Russians don't have anyone better to pick for his position.
Friday, December 23, 2005 -- AfternoonThe Pens will be meeting the Flyers tonight. It seems that the players are optimistic about what they are learning from Michel Therrien's system. One of the key components that Therrien is trying to instill in the players is a sense of positioning. There is a place that each player should be in at every time, and if the players stick to that system, there is hope that they might turn things around and win a game. It will be interesting to see how they do tonight after a week of practices and conditioning with Therrien. Mario Lemieux was observing the practice yesterday, but at this point, he is just doing off ice conditioning.
Thursday, December 22, 2005 -- AfternoonThe Penguins have named Isle of Capri Casino as their partner in the arena building escapade. Yesterday, the Isle of Capri representatives talked about a plan to redevelop in the Hill District where the Mellon Arena currently resides and to build the 18,000 seat arena for the Pens. Lots of folks are getting excited about the plan, but I am reserving my opinion. It all hinges on the Isle of Capri group getting a slots license in Pennsylvania, and rumors are swirling that even though the official decision hasn't been made, the cronies of the current state Governor will be awarded the licenses. Of course, these are just rumors and will either be validated or invalidated by the actual awarding of licenses.
Wednesday, December 21, 2005 -- EveningCan we say "Geriatrics R Us?" That's going to be the mantra of Team Canada where geriatrics who aren't performing as well as younger players were given a place on the team. "No room, no room," as the Mad Hatter said, for Sidney Crosby. He's too young for the team--that's the consensus. So he has 33 points, and Todd Bertuzzi, who probably shouldn't even be playing hockey after his ugly hit on Steve Moore, is on the team. So Bertuzzi has 29 points. Bertuzzi was too good to pass up, and he should be rewarded for his behavior with a spot on the Team. Of the 23 players, 21 have been on Team Canada in 2002 AND 2004. That does say something about the team. Eric Staal with 47 points, 24 of which are goals, could only be considered for the reserve squad which means he doesn't even get entry to the Olympic Village. Yep, Team Canada wants to make sure that the old weezers of hockey are recognized for their past efforts as opposed to recognizing the younger players who are actually playing good now. If I were in Canada right now, I would be roaring with outrage. I guess Team Canuck doesn't want to actually win a medal this year. They just want to make sure that the geriatrics feel good about themselves and rattle their aged bones around the Olympic rink one more time before retirement.
Wednesday, December 21, 2005 -- AfternoonLast year nine Steelers made it to the Pro Bowl. This year, the Steelers haven't been playing as well, and only four players were named to the Pro Bowl. They are Alan Faneca, Jeff Hartings, Joey Porter, and Troy Polamalu. Notable abscences are Hines Ward, who has gone to the Pro Bowl for four years in a row previous to this year, and Ben Roethlisberger who has had a pretty good year statistically. The teams who have the heaviest representation are those that are doing well, such as the Colts, Bears, Chargers and Falcons.
Wednesday, December 21, 2005 -- MorningThe Penguins have found a partner who is willing to finance an arena for the Pens if he gets a slots licence. The Pens themselves will not benefit from the slots, but their partner will. The partner has not been named, but it is some entity that is a gambling operator. I say that because I don't know if it is an individual or a group. Needless to say, this is good news for the city. Basically for awhile now, we have known that it is going to come down to the distribution of the slots licenses. Let's just hope that it goes in the Pens favor.
Everyone has been talking about the changes that have been happening with the Pens since Michel Therrien has been named coach. It has been one of those eye opening experiences for some, not for me. I could see that Eddie O's notions of treating your players as friends was going down a slippery slope to crap, but I suppose that some thought that if you have a coach who treats you like an intelligent equal that you will perform for said coach. Heck no! Let's put it this way, if your boss didn't care what time you showed up for work, or if you did the assigned work for the day, would you do it? Some people might, but as time went by, even they would become slackers. So now we have a coach who is trying to instill teamwork and a system. The players now meet at Mellon Arena, change their clothes, ride out on a bus to Neville Island, they do the prescribed workout, ride back to the Arena together and do their off-ice workout. As Therrien has said, it's not that he is being mean. He is being the parent who offers the support and discipline that the family needs. One of the quotes of Therrien's that I like is: "I don't demand a guy scores two goals or three goals. What I'm demanding is that if you have a dollar in your pocket, I'm expecting that you give me one dollar. If all you have is 50 cents, bring me your 50 cents, and you'll be fine." Eddie O is a nice guy. He's not a bad guy. Who in their right mind would have hired Eddie O as a head coach with no coaching experience? So now the Pens have a system, and a person who will enforce that system. We will see how the players respond. The only comment to be made is that after Therrien took the time out in the game on Saturday and yelled at the players, they scored three goals. Of course, they ultimately lost, but sometimes a firm hand is needed and works.
Tuesday, December 20, 2005 -- MorningWayne Gretzky's mom died last night at the age of 64 after fighting lung cancer since the fall of 2004. Gretzky just this past weekend had taken time off from his duties as coach of the Phoenix Coyotes for an indefinite period to be with his family. Unfortunately, he did not get to spend as much time with his mother as he probably wished. Phyllis Gretzky was 64 years old.
Team USA has announced its 23 man roster for the coming Winter Olympics in Turin. Two who weren't on the list were John LeClair and Jeremy Roenick. The lockout has really been detrimential to the older players. In the case of Roenick and LeClair, they have not been playing at the same level they were prior to the lockout.
I wish that I could have been at yesterday's Penguins practice. It seems that the 75 minute practice was intense. Some of the players likened it to a college practice because they will have the entire week to practice and not play until Friday which is commonly the case in college. There were one on one practices--forwards against defensemen. If the forwards were able to score three points, the defensemen had to do pushups. If the forwards scored less than three points, they had to do the pushups. The final score was three sets of pushups for the crappy defense and one set for the forwards. Clips were shown on some of the television shows, and it was something to see--players doing pushups while Michel Therrien walked amongst them, gloves on, holding his hockey stick. That stick seems to be glued to his hand during practice time. Although the players haven't wanted to say anything bad about Eddie O, all admitted that they were out of shape, and that they thought the practice was a good workout and not punishing. It was obvious that the players were out of shape because in the film footage on the sports shows, you could see the players standing on the side of the rink at times, bent over and breathing heavily. The goal from now until Friday will be to work on the system. I am looking forward to the games that I will be going to next week.
My question is whether Mario Lemieux can withstand such a practice, especially with his heart issue. The consensus now is that the return of the problem was due to the fact that Lemieux played too soon after the diagnosis and treatment of his issue. The goal now is to just have Lemieux do some off ice conditioning. Once he is given the go ahead by his doctor, then he will resume ice work. It seems in the past that the problem has been that Lemieux has been making the decisions on whether he is capable of playing as opposed to the medical professional who knows better. This brings up the question of whether Lemieux should retire. We have all seen Lemieux's level of play since the beginning of the season. He is one of the geriatrics to whom I have been referring who don't have the vim and vigor to skate at high speed around the ice, who have been leaving the puck in the middle of the ice, and who have gotten high minus ratings on the ice. Lemieux is a -16 which means really bad things happen when he is on the ice. He should retire for the benefit of the team. He is not playing at his former level. He has health problems. Jiri Fischer had an irregular heartbeat discovered in practice a few years ago, and recently had the incident that scared all the fans watching the game, when he collapsed and almost died on the bench. Lemieux needs to retire. He has had a great career. What Lemieux needs to realize now is that it's time to say good-bye. It's hard, but it's something that should be done.
The Steelers are eigth in the NFL in bonuses. The Steelers have so far this season paid out $41 million dollars in signing bonuses. The Steelers had to resign alot of players this past season and accounts for a good portion of the payments. One bonus that is not likely to be paid is to Tommy Maddox. If he is still on the roster in March, he will receive a $100,000 roster bonus. So it is probably very likely that he won't be around by that time.
Monday, December 19, 2005 -- EveningJoey Mullen was named the head coach of the Baby Pens today. I gave some misinformation earlier about the situation this weekend. Rick Kehoe was the person assisting Joey Mullen this weekend. The Baby Pens did not do too poorly this past weekend. They had two wins and a loss. Last night, they beat the Hershey Bears with a score of 3-0.
The NCAA has released a new report with graduation rates for college athletes. They managed to boost the graduation rates for athletes by accounting for graduation that takes up to six years and transfer from one college to another. The University of Pittsburgh has a graduation rate of 48% for football players, 29% for basketball, and 77% for baseball. Still very shabby statistics and it shows that basically colleges just use the players and spits them out. Penn State does appear to stand by its athletes with an 84% graduation rate for football players, 64% for basketball and 72% for baseball. West Virginia University has 64% for football, 67% for basketball, and 57% for baseball. Obviously Pitt has alot to learn from those two colleges.
Monday, December 19, 2005 -- Late AfternoonIt seems that Mario Lemieux will be out for an indefinite time period that will be at the minimum two weeks. The concern is that Lemieux came back from his atrial fibrilation abit too early last time and that caused a reoccurence of the problem. The goal this time is to be more careful and not to have Lemieux stress himself over coming back to play. Also, I'm not sure what sort of physical condition he will be in. Lemieux might be in Eddie O shape and not Michel Therrien shape, and I don't know if the grueling Therrien shape will be good for his heart.
Monday, December 19, 2005 -- AfternoonThe Penguins should have a rough week ahead with full practices that will detail Michel Therrien's philosophy on the game and teach the team the system that he believes will help them to win. Also, the team has to get into better shape. Therrien was saying after one of the games that the team gets the hooking and holding penalties that are killing us because they can't skate. The reason the team is having skating issues is because the team is basically out of shape. So there should be alot of aerobic and strength conditioning going on this week. The next game for the Pens is this coming Friday against the Philadelphia Flyers.
It seems that Michel Therrien is using Michel Ouellet for more than scoring. Ouellet is being used in penalty kills also which is not what Ouellet thought was his strength. So far, in the two games that Ouellet has played, he has done a good job with two goals and making his presence felt on the ice. Also the line of Ouellet and Erik Christensen will be one that we will be seeing alot of because the players have a chemistry together.
Sunday, December 18, 2005 -- Late MorningI have been wondering who lost the A that was given to Sidney Crosby. After all, it stands to reason that if Crosby was named an alternate captain that someone was demoted from that position since there are only three alternate captains on a hockey team. Well, I found out today who it was. It was John LeClair. He is not taking it personally, and he shouldn't. It makes sense because LeClair has been injured of late with hip and groin problems. Also, the point was not to take it from LeClair, but to give it to Crosby so one of the younger players would have representation as an alternate. Also as Michel Therrien said at the time, it is to help Crosby take some responsibiilty because eventually the team will be his.
Saturday, December 17, 2005 -- EveningI went to the most boring sporting event late this afternoon. It was one of the non-conference basketball games for the Pitt Panthers. They were playing Vermont. The game was incredibly boring, but that may be because I really don't like basketball very much. I might watch a game or two, but that's really pushing it. The Panthers won by a score of 63-52. The only good thing to say is that the game only lasted in total (with breaks, time outs, etc) an hour and a half. I was dozing off in the second half. I had gotten the tickets for free from work, but I can't believe that others paid the $40 face value on the tickets. Yeah, it gets you access to the Club House, which is a place to buy alcohol and extremely overpriced food.
Saturday, December 17, 2005 -- MorningI noticed last night that Ric Jackman was not playing last night, and it seems that he was a healthy scratch. It really isn't understandable since Jackman is the Pens highest scoring defenseman. It seems that Eddie O has some sort of falling out with Jackman, and that has carried over to the new coach. Michel Therrien has said that he has had to make room for other players who were coming in off of the injury list like Mario Lemieux, and this is the explanation for the Wilkes-Barre moves and Jackman as a scratch. Therrien said that Jackman could be playing today, and that Maxime Talbot might be coming back.
Friday, December 16, 2005 -- Late AfternoonSurprising news this afternoon. It seems that Michel Therrien has made Sidney Crosby an alternative captain this afternoon. That's actually a big deal because usually the A is reserved from players that are in the league longer then Crosby has been. Crosby said that he is honored, and Therrien said that his goal is to impress a good winning attitude into Crosby because one day "this will be Sidney's team". Things are sounding encouraging.
Friday, December 16, 2005 -- AfternoonThe talk all around town today is still about the new Penguins coach. It seem that Michel Therrien was signed to a new three year contract with the team as head coach. The consensus is that he is a tough, demanding coach who isn't afraid to get in the face of some of his players. It's not that he needed to get the job as the Pens coach either because with Michel Therrien's previous NHL experience and the fact that he has been doing so well with the Baby Pens he was sure to be picked up by some team next season. It is going to be curious now to see how both the Pens and the Baby Pens do with the coaching change. Right now, the Baby Pens have the best start in AHL history. Will they keep such a record with Joey Mullen and Randy Hillier as coaches? It seems that Craig Patrick is going to give Therrien full rein to do as he wants which will be good. However, some people blame Craig Patrick because he is the one who hired Eddie O as a head coach with no coaching experience, and he is the one who put together this team that isn't jiving. To fix the problem now, the only reasonable solution was to get rid of the coach. The team has to start winning. I will be at the Pens-Buffalo Sabres game this evening, and will give a game synopsis later this evening.
Thursday, December 15, 2005 -- EveningToday has been a big day for Pens news. In addition to the major coaching changes, there were also some changes in the roster. Michel Ouellet was brought up from the Baby Pens and Maxime Talbot and Lasse Pirjeta was sent down. For now the coaches of the Baby Pens will be a combination of Rick Kehoe and Joey Mullen.
On the local sports show, Sportsbeat there were several segments on the coaching changes with the Pens. First up were some comments that Craig Patrick made. He called Michel Therrien a very good coach, and that he has done a great job with the young guys in Wilkes Barre. Then as Patrick said, "alot of the young guys are here now, so it makes sense to bring him (Therrien) here. Patrick said that Therrien is straight, forward, blunt and hard--a no nonsense guy. You do it Therrien's way or you don't play. As Patrick said, the Pens look pretty on paper, but what are they? I don't expect Therrien to make a difference immediately. Stan Savran had an interview with Therrien, and here are some of the things that Therrien said: He heard the news last night, and was excited but had mixed feelings. As he said, there was excitement this summer, and he just concentrated on the young kids in Wilkes-Barre and bought a house there. He is sad to leave the kids, but is excited to be back in the NHL. He said they need hard work starting today. The first thing he wants to get across is a foundation of a system. (Finally!). As he said you can't let the goals get made. In the first practice, they started work on the system, and will have more time next week to work on the detail. They have to concentrate on defense, and it seems in the first practice today, Therrien concentrated on defense. Therrien was told that the report was that the system was the same in both here in Wilkes Barren and he agreed, but said that the players have to have the will to perform the system. Therrien said that he doesn't like cheaters who aren't working, and he wants everyone on the same page. He also said that it will help to have the players from the Baby Pens because they know his expectations. He said he is close to his players, but there is a fine line you shouldn't cross. He said that he would do anything for his players, but they in return have to give a hell of an effort. He said the players should be warriors on the ice and that means to work hard and to do whatever it takes to win a hockey game, such as blocking shots. Therrien said that it's tough to win hockey games and it is easier to lose. As he said you don't have to pay a price to lose hockey games, but there is a price to be paid to win the games. And he wants to establish that the players will have to pay a price to win hockey games. Savran asked about the geriatrics. Therrien replied that any hockey player has pride and wants to be recognized for working hard. Therrien said that he will be strict and help the players to be recognized for working hard. He also said that he won't hide anyone, it's not his style. He said that when they need the pat on the back, he will give that to them, and when they need to have their fingers snapped, he will do that too. Therrien said that he wants the team to think of itself as a family, and when the father is tough on his kid it doesn't mean that he doesn't like them. He said it is the same in hockey, and he has to change the attitude of the team. He is expecting good things. Therrien said that he just arrived an hour before practice, and hasn't talked yet to Mario Lemieux, but he will talk to Mario. As he said he has so much respect for Mario, and the players do, not only on the team but in the NHL. Therrien expects Mario to be a true leader, and he is going to play Mario with Sidney Crosby because he thinks the two will do some damage. Therrien said that there is no time frame in getting the players acclimated to his system and his discipline. He said that he won't be able to change things around in 24 hours regarding how they play, but that they should quickly change the attitude and mentality and think of themselves as winners. As Therrien said, this is a good hockey team, and it is not achieving and that's why he is there. He said that he loves Eddie O and that Eddie O is a good friend of his, but the mentality of the hockey team has to change right now.
They also talked to some of the players about the firing and hiring. They showed Therrien in the practice. As Mark Recchi said, "the right attitude wasn't there, the right work ethic wasn't there. We would do it for a game and then take a couple off. And it's not acceptable. We didn't play hard enough and that's why we are here." Brooks Orpik agreed that things had to change. Matt Murley said that Therrien isn't afraid to tell the players and the papers that someone is not playing well. He said that Therrien got into their heads and made them believe that they had to win every little battle--you can't lose anything. Crosby said that sometimes when someone hollars you have to make certain that you got that message. Marc-Andre Fleury said that they know what to expect and they know how they are, and it makes the transition easier. The commentator talked about the change in practice today that got some Pens thinking that things could change quickly. Crosby said that they were working on defense and that was stressed alot. Orpik said that it comes down to how they play on the ice.
Thursday, December 15, 2005 -- Late MorningThere is going to be a Save the Pens rally at Mellon Arena tomorrow, Friday, Dec. 16, at 6 pm. The rally is to show support for keeping the team in the Pittsburgh area. The gathering will be held on Mario Lemieux Boulevard outside the box office gate and the Pens Station store. If you are going to attend the event, send email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Let's go out and show the political leaders and the Pens management that we want the team to stay in Pittsburgh.
Thursday, December 15, 2005 -- MorningThis is a happy morning for me. Eddie Olczyk has officially been fired from the Pens along with all the assistant coaches and the strength coach. It was a real housecleaning. Michel Therrien is going to take over the reins, and will start with the practice today. Therrien has wanted to get back into coaching in the NHL, and in the past did coach the Montreal Canadiens. The new assistant coach will be Mike Yeo, Gilles Lefebvre will be the goaltending coach, and Stephane Dube will be the strength coach. There will be another assistant coach named at a later time. The next game for the Pens will be against the Buffalo Sabres. I'll be at the game, and hope that I start to see some exciting hockey as opposed to that pathetic show that the Pens have been giving.
Thursday, December 15, 2005 -- Early MorningBreaking news, and it's something for which I have been wishing! The Penguins are expected to fire Eddie Olczyk today and to replace him with the coach from the Baby Pens, Michel Therrien. Not only is Eddie O expected to go, but Randy Hillier and Joe Mullen are also expected to get the ax. It's understandable because none of the three really have coaching experience. They were basically players who just moved into coaching. The thing is that playing doesn't mean that you can coach. I'm going to keep my ears open for the story, and will let you all know when it is official!
Wednesday, December 14, 2005 -- EveningSome good news for Pittsburgh sports fans: Jerome Bettis was named the AFC Offensive Player of the Week award. Bettis rushed for 101 yards and got two touchdowns which were reasons for him to get the award. It's ironic in a way because Bettis is seen as an elder statesman on the team, ready for retirement, and then he just goes and show you that he has it it him. Maybe not every day, but when push comes to shove, you know that you can count on Bettis.
Bettis' teammate, Ben Roethlisberger, has been creating alot of controversy over his thumb. Roethlisberger has been commenting on how his thumb is broken and how he is having problems throwing the ball. At his press conference yesterday, Bill Cowher was getting pressed by one of the regular news guys at KDKA about the issue. It finally reached the point where Cowher gave the guy his scary stare and said to just drop it and that he had answered the question. It seems that in the NFL the teams don't like information about injuries to get out. There are two ways that you could look at this, either the injury is not that serious, or it is serious and Cowher just wants to keep it underwraps. This is the second time Roethlisberger has made a big deal about an injury that Cowher wanted kept quiet. The other time was after the playoffs last season when Roethlisberger kept on talking about having broken toes.
Someone asked Eddie Olczyk the question that I have been wondering. He was asked if he would consider quitting his coaching job. Eddie O's reply? Not in a million years, Never. Never. No. Never. Never. ... I'm as committed as I was six weeks ago. From Day 1." It's nice that's the case although it is to the detriment of the team. The sports writers are expecting some sort of major shakeup before the Friday game. It's one of the games in my season ticket plan. I did send some email to my account representative to stress that I made a commitment to the team by buying season tickets, and I expect some sort of commitment from the team to make an attempt to win some games. I don't think that the Pens have made that commitment.
Tuesday, December 13, 2005 -- Late AfternoonIt seems that the local government is trying to come up with solutions to the Pens arena problem without using local tax dollars. I have to admit as a tax paying citizen in the city and county, I'm not that keen on spending even more tax dollars on yet another sports facility. As it is, the voters voted against using tax dollars for Heinz Field and PNC Park to only have tax dollars go towards both facilities. The city is having enough trouble as it is keeping afloat to just throw money around. However, I do like Dan Onorato's suggestion to use "private investment, state capital funding, naming rights sales and slot machine revenues". There is a controversy over the slot machine revenues because folks are saying that some people are greasing the hands of some politicians to get a guaranteed license. This was originally stated by the outgoing mayor, who has since retracted his statement. Again, this will be one of those wait and see items. We shall see who does get the slots license, and if the politicos come up with a plan that keeps the Pens in the city. As an additional Pens note, they will be playing tonight against the St. Louis Blues. We should be able to beat the Blues since they are considered the worst team in hockey this season. If we lose tonight, I think I will have to stage a protest at the game this coming Friday. Fire Eddie O or refund my season ticket money!
Sunday, December 11, 2005 -- Early AfternoonSome hockey news this morning. Mario Lemieux has said that he will not compete in the 2006 Turin Winter Olympics. Wayne Gretzky was in town last night to see the Pens play, and heard Lemieux's decision then. It is possible that Gretzky was checking out Sidney Crosby for inclusion on Team Canada.
In other Pens news, Lemieux is also saying that he does not believe that the Pens will remain in Pittsburgh when their lease runs out with Mellon Arena in 2007. It seems that Lemieux says that the team can't afford to keep on losing money and to go for years losing money and that's what will happen if the team does not get a new arena. I have to admit that I have some confusion over this statement. I'm not sure how getting a new arena will solve all the financial woes of the team. Supposedly it will be because they can then charge seating licenses where you have to get a license before you even pay for the seat, and will have luxury boxes that companies will just eat up at high prices. If they continue to play like they are playing now, they won't be selling many seats. Besides, the Pens organization and Lemieux say that even if they sell out the seats in Mellon Arena now, they still won't make money. So it is very confusing to me how just having a new arena and selling seats there will make them more money than selling seats in Mellon. Besides, I think that the reason they don't sell as many seats now is because it is extremely expensive, and the team sucks! Anyway, Lemieux was blasting the local government for not wanting to work with him to resolve the issue. Well, there is the fact that the city is close to bankruptcy, and can't even open city swimming pools, so it's not as if the city can just pull several millions of dollars out its butt to give to Lemieux and the Pens. The new mayor, Bob O'Connor, has asked for Lemieux to wait until he gets into office in the next few weeks, and that O'Connor will try to come up with a solution. However, I think that Lemieux has made up his mind, and that the team will be heading to Kansas City. As Lemieux has said, even if they get the slots license, it will take a few years for the benefits to kick in, and he can't afford to lose money that long. I think that the decision has been made by Lemieux and in two years, the team will be the Kansas City Penguins.
The Baby Pens won last night against the Manitoba Moose. The final score was 7-1. One of the big scorers for the Baby Pens was Rico Fata who couldn't seem to do anything right here. Now it could be that it is just so fricking easy to play in the AHL that everyone we send down excels there, and everyone that excels there doesn't do well here. Or it could just possibly be superior coaching. I'm going for the superior coaching angle. The Baby Pens are now 21-1-2-1. Their next game will be next Friday against the Syracuse Crunch.
Saturday, December 10, 2005 -- MorningWith all the problems that the Pens have, the best solution that Eddie O and crew could come up with was to trade Steve Poapst for a similar type person, Eric Boguniecki. As I heard someone comment, we traded one healthy scratch for another. It seems that Boguniecki hurt his shoulder and had surgery prior to the start of the season, and the St. Louis Blues were hoping he would come back to his former glory as a scoring defenseman, but it doesn't seem like that has happened--yet. I suppose we can only hope, but when your team has as many problems as the Pens do (all coming from coaching or lack thereof) to just make such a minor trade is a smack in the face of the fans. Obviously the team wants us all to be disgusted so when they sneak out of town, we all aren't crying in our beers over lossing a hockey team. Eddie O obviously, doesn't care if we win or lose. Yesterday, Eddie O decided to skip a punishing training session because he doesn't think that punishment gets you anywhere. The nice thing for Eddie O is that the players think that he's a nice guy, a good coach. They just love him. They should hate him! He's the coach! Coaches aren't meant to be loved by their players, they are meant to put wins on the record. We have a team that plays as if they are totally demoralized (although they claim that they aren't) and the best that we can come up with to fix the problem is a minor trade. I would say that I just give up on this team, but I am stubborn. I'll keep on watching and commenting.
Meanwhile the Baby Pens lost last night, breaking their streak of 23 straight games earning at least one point, ie not regulation time losses. There's no way that any team could keep that stat for the whole season, so at least they got a loss out of the way. The Manitoba Moose won last night with a score of 3-1. The Baby Pens are playing the Moose again tonight and I'll have my fingers crossed for a different result. The Baby Pens results for the season are 20-1-2-1. (wins, losses, tie/loss, shootout/loss)
Friday, December 9, 2005 -- EveningI would mention that everyone I know is now on the Fire Eddie O bandwagon, but it is getting too depressing to talk about the Pens when they do nothing to improve the situation--like fire Eddie O. At this point drastic measures are needed. A friend took the tickets to the game last night because I had class and my boyfriend is in San Diego, and he said that he wanted a refund on his money because the game was so bad. Meanwhile Mark Recchi is the worst player playing right now with a -20, but Eddie O still has faith in him. Even Recchi has admitted that it was the lowest point in the Pens season. Players are talking about how frustrated they are, and how after having a few days off, they should have played with energy. Instead they played with ennui. We have lost six games in a row now, and were didn't have a shot on net in 12 straight minutes of the game last night. I think this calls for a coaching change, don't you?
Thursday, December 8, 2005 -- AfternoonMario Lemieux was released from hospital this morning with a diagnosis of atrial fibrillation which is a common problem that can be controlled with medication. It seems that he has been having problems since summertime, but the doctors were unable to figure out what was going on until he was admitted to the hospital yesterday. He should be practicing again in a few days and returning to play sometime after that. I think that they are just taking it a day at a time.
Jocelyn Thibault is going to be in goal tonight against the Minnesota Wild because Marc-Andre Fleury has a stomach flu. I'm not expecting a win tonight, but you can never tell. Miracles can happen, or so I hear.
Wednesday, December 7, 2005 -- Mid-EveningOfficial word has been released about Mario Lemieux going to the hospital. At this time, it is just a precautionary measure, and Lemieux will definitely not be playing tomorrow against the Minnesota Wild. I won't be going to the game tomorrow because I have my final fiction writing class, but I will give a synopsis later in the evening.
Wednesday, December 7, 2005 -- EveningBreaking news here in Pittsburgh is that Mario Lemieux has been admitted to hospital for an irregular heartbeat. It seems that Lemieux is under observation and the irregularity could be addressed with medicine. Perhaps Lemieux might realize that it's time to retire and concentrate on being an owner as opposed to owner/player. It also seems that he probably won't be playing in the Olympics this coming winter. Now this isn't anything that Lemieux is saying, just my thoughts on the matter.
Eddie Olczyk is not very concerned about Mark Recchi's plus/minus rating. Recchi has the worst rating of anyone in hockey, but Eddie O claims that the low rating is due to Recchi doing things for the betterment of the team. What? Sometimes I wonder if Eddie O lives in some sort of Wonderland where he is Alice and the Pens, the Cheshire Cat. I do know that some of my friends are starting to jump on the Fire Eddie O bandwagon, and all I have to say is "about time". Eddie O may be the nicest guy personally, but a coach he ain't.
Tuesday, December 6, 2005 -- MorningZiggy Palffy and John LeClair are expected to be back at practice today. Their injuries are healing nice, and they should be playing in the next Pens game. Meanwhile Craig Patrick is taking responsibility for the team's failure to perform so far this season. He says that the problem is that he was trying to put together a club that would make it to the playoffs and he failed. However, he still thinks that the team in its current form can succeed and just needs some fine tuning. Hmm. We shall see.
Monday, December 5, 2005 -- AfternoonThe big question here in Steeler nation is whether the Steelers have blown a chance at the Super Bowl this year or even the playoffs. There has been alot of talk over the summer about how the Steelers were going to make a real run for the Super Bowl this year. The thing is that last year was the year for them. A team doesn't often go 15-1 and then play as poorly as we did in the playoffs last year. Last year was our year, and they blew it. This year the team has been saddled with injuries and poor play. In my prediction at the beginning of the season, I had the Steelers doing alittle bit worse then they actually have been doing, although if they totally crap out, my prediction of a 7-9 season might not be too far off. I also thought that the Cincinnati Bengals would take the division this year, and they do seem on track for that. Right now the Indianapolis Colts look like they are on their way to a possible win in the Super Bowl with their win yesterday. Right now, the Colts are undefeated at 12-0. Of course, all bets are off once the playoffs start and every team starts at 0-0.
Monday, December 5, 2005 -- MorningThe Baby Pens lost yesterday to the Hershey Bears. They managed to tie the game in the third period, but lost in a shootout with a final score of 3-2. The record for the team is now 20-0-2-1 (with the one being a shoot out loss).
Sunday, December 4, 2005 -- AfternoonThe Baby Pens are doing great. They won again last night with the winning goal occuring in the last two minutes of the game for a final score of 3-2 over the Norfolk Admirals. It's the 15th consecutive road win for the the Baby Pens, and their record for the season is 20-0-2. The Baby Pens have another game today against the Hershey Bears.
Sunday, December 4, 2005 -- Late MorningI was just watching a pregame show for the Steelers game this afternoon. It seems that Ben Roethlisberger has been having some problems with his thumb. Supposedly as he was coming off the field from practice he was telling people that his thumb was really hurting him. This has been a season plagued with injury for Roethlisberger. It appears that the thumb may actually be broken because when he was asked by someone if the thumb was broken, Roethlisberger said "I don't know if I can disclose that." Interesting, but that's how the NFL is about injuries--very secretive. Charlie Batch is dressing as a third quarterback choice--meaning, you got it--Tommy Maddox might be playing today. Just in general, it's not looking good for the Steelers because we have so many injured players and the Cincinnati Bengals have been playing well. Chad Johnson is one of my favorite players and has been a steady producer on my fantasy team.
Friday, December 2, 2005 -- EveningThe Penguins have plenty of problems. The question is how can the problems be resolved. More fans and sports writers are starting to get on my Fire Eddie O bandwagon. The Pens management says that it supports Eddie Olczyk, and that the problem isn't him, but it's all the players who aren't making an effort to play together and who aren't doing their best to live up to their potential. My question is how long can the management be blind to the fact that Eddie O was never a coach, isn't one now, and probably won't be one any time in the foreseeable future? The players are all saying that it is only a matter of time when they start playing together as a team. Yep, that's a repeat of Eddie O's first season where in the final month of play the team managed to start to play together in spite of Eddie O's lack of guidance.
The Baby Pens are playing the Norfolk Admirals this evening.
Tuesday, November 29, 2005 -- AfternoonSurprising news from the Pens. Jocelyn Thibault has been placed on waivers today. If he isn't picked up by another team by noon tomorrow, Thibault will go down to the Baby Pens. The question is whether anyone will want him with the record he has this season of 1-7-2. Thibault could refuse to go to the minors, but Eddie O and Craig Patrick don't believe that will be the case. I will be going to the Pens game tonight against the Buffalo Sabres tonight, and I am hoping for a win. Don't worry, I'm not holding my breath. Report on the game later this evening.
Tuesday, November 29, 2005 -- MorningThe Indianapolis Colts scored another field goal last night, and won the game with a final score of 26-7. The Colts are undefeated for the season at 11-0. This is not looking good for our Super Bowl hopes. The Steelers have been talking about making a run at it since we lost in the playoffs last year. I just don't think that this year is our year though. I may be wrong because the season isn't over, and I have been wrong in the past. We will just have to wait and see.
It seems that Mario Lemieux may be playing tonight after all. It seems that he was unable to practice yesterday because he was sick, but within hours was all of a sudden feeling better and might actually play. I think this stomach complaint is weird; I'm just not sure what is going on. Is it stress related, or is it just an excuse for something else?
Monday, November 28, 2005 -- Early EveningThe Pittsburgh Penguins have recalled Marc-Andre Fleury. He should be in goal for tomorrow's game against the Buffalo Sabres. Also, rumor is that Mario Lemieux will not be playing tomorrow due to that ongoing stomach ailment. It does make you wonder about ths stomach ailment. It is because of anxiety or just an excuse because he is really not playing up to par and should be off the ice. On the Sunday Sports Showdown on KDKA, as Dejan Kovacevic was saying, the problem is that the team doesn't have a system of any sort. He said that he's been watching hockey all his life, and if the Pens have a system, he can't identify it. As he said, it you get a group of offensive powerhouses together and they don't have a system, they perform in a disjointed way and become frustrated. As Dejan says, it's coaching. When the team is behaving like it is, that is the only answer. Another comment Dejan made that makes the point is "when the Pens are on a 5 on 3 and can't cross the red line, who is the problem?" Answer of course is coaching. You can blame all the individual elements all you want, but at some point you have to realize and accept that the reason all those individual elements have problems, and with the Pens, there are multiple individual and group problems, you have to blame the coach.
Monday, November 28, 2005 -- MorningOne thing that I forgot to comment on yesterday was that the Baby Pens won another one on Saturday night. The record for the season is 18-0-2. The game on Saturday was against the Binghamton Senators and the final score was 4-1. Tomas Surovy scored two goal in the game and is still the leading goal scorer on the team. Dany Sabourin was in goal, and deflected 42 shots on goal.br>
Sunday, November 27, 2005 -- Late MorningSidney Crosby may not play in the game against the Tampa Bay Lightning later this afternoon because of a badly bruised ankle that he got after being whacked in the leg with a stick in the game on Friday. The pain and swelling have lessened, but it's thought that it might be best to sit Crosby for this game. We will have to see how the scoring goes without Crosby creating opportunities.
In other Penguins news, it looks like the team is going to try to bring Marc-Andre Fleury back to the major leagues. What has to happen is that the team has to find the money to pay Fleury a $3 million bonus if he plays for an extended time in the NHL. Let's hope it happens although I think that we also have problems in the defense and center areas. It might be too little too late.
I'm not alone in thinking that Eddie Olczyk is consistent in making poor choices. It seems in the game on Friday that Jocelyn Thibault had the better record against the Florida Panthers, but Eddie O. decided to play Sebastien Caron because he had one the last game for the Pens. As the writer of the article in the Post Gazette said, Eddie O. has consistency. He wants to play the goalie who won last as opposed to putting any sort of coaching analysis into the game and picking the goalie that has the better record against the team. Yep, Eddie O sucks as a coach.
Friday, November 25, 2005 -- MorningThe Pitt Panthers had their butts whooped last night by the West Virginia Mountaineers. The final score was 45-13, and capped off a losing season for the Panthers who had five wins and six losses this year. The Panthers performance was pitiful, and there will be much to work on for next season. They will have the time though since there will be no bowl game for the Panthers to undeservedly go to as they did last year. West Virginia, on the other hand, is being considered for the Orange and Sugar Bowls. We'll have to see where they finally wind up.
Thursday, November 24, 2005 -- AfternoonThe Baby Pens lost last night in overtime. The final score was 2-1 with the Providence Bruins winning. So the Baby Pens are 16-0-2. It's understandable that the Baby Pens are going to have some problems since the Pens have taken all the top scorers for the team. The next game for the Baby Pens will be on Friday against the Rochester Americans.
The Backyard Brawl will take place tonight. It's the annual game between the Pittsburgh Panthers and the West Virginia Mountaineers. Pitt has to win tonight in order to get into any sort of bowl game. The Mountaineers have an 8-4 record. It is expected that they will whoop Pitt's butt, but then you never can really say how these things will go.
Wednesday, November 23, 2005 -- AfternoonIt appears that after a game, Sidney Crosby just doesn't go off and rest. He does the routine interviews with the media giving his feelings and impressions about the winning or losing effort. After that, he goes off to do some exercising. Crosby's exercises of choice are plyometrics which are exercises that are meant to improve athletic performance. Crosby says that the exercises help him to rid his body of lactic acid and help his performance. The plyometric exercises require that you already have build up your strength with weight training and performing in the sport of choice. The exercises then help the athlete to increase his speed or strength in certain movements. Crosby is joined by some of his teammates, mostly Maxime Talbot and Mark Recchi.
Tuesday, November 22, 2005 -- AfternoonKonstantin Koltsov , Rico Fata, and Rob Scuderi have all cleared waivers and are being sent down to the Baby Pens. Two players are being brought up from Wilkes Barre. They are Michel Ouellet and Matt Hussey. Hopefully, this move will make a difference, but I'm not alone in being surprised at the move. I don't think it's going to get the Pens what they want because the problem is a deeper one. The players such as Hussey and Ouellet are doing well with the Baby Pens because the system and the coaching work there. With the Pittsburgh team, it's just a hodge podge of misdirection that isn't conducive to winning. Hussey and Ouellet will be playing tonight when the Pens play the Washington Capitals at 7:30. We'll have to see how the team does with this minor changes.
At his weekly press conference today, Bill Cowher listed Ben Roethlisberger as probable. That should mean that he will be starting next Monday barring any unforseen circumstances.
Two former Steelers players and a coach have made the semifinal list for the Pro Football Hall of Fame. The players are Dermontti Dawson and L.C. Greenwood. The coach is Russ Grimm. The semifinal list for the next induction into the Hall of Fame has 25 names, and that will be narrowed down to 13 candidates in January from which three to four will be selected for the Hall of Fame in February. Good luck guys!
Saturday, November 19, 2005 -- AfternoonThe Baby Pens won again last night for a record of 14-0-1. It seems that Marc-Andre Fleury did an excellent job, stopping 34 shots. This comes after his game with the Pens where he blocked 45 shots. At least Fleury is being philosophical about being sent back down to the minors when he is probably the best goalie that the Pens have right now. I don't understand it. The kid is good and deserves a shot to play since he is showing that he is capable of it. Obviously the Pens are more interested in losing games than to make the proper moves that would have them winning games. Last night, the Baby Pens beat the Norfolk Admirals by a score of 3-1, and will be facing the Admirals again tonight at Norfolk. Tomorrow, the Baby Pens will be playing the Bridgeport Sound Tigers.
The Pens are playing the Philadelphia Flyer tonight. The game should be an exciting one, especially based on the game last Wednesday. It will be interesting to see how Sidney Crosby handles the game especially since in the last game, he had some teeth chipped by Derian Hatcher. I have tickets for the game tonight, so I will be commenting on the game when I get home. Poor Sidney's mother was not very happy with him for not wearing a mouth guard, but I guess that's the manly, hockey player responce.
Friday, November 18, 2005 -- EveningAntwaan Randle El is one of my favorite players. This past Tuesday, Randle El went to school with a local boy, Robert "Schwartzie" Schwartz, as part of the NFL and JC Penney's Take a Player to School program. Children can enter their names into the contest, and the winning child gets to take a player to school on Tuesdays, which are typically off days for the players. Randle El showed up at Schwartie's house in a limo and went to school with him at Jefferson Elementary School. At the end of the event, Randle El put Schwartie's phone number in his cell phone so they could keep in touch. It seems that Randle El told the kids that his favorite position is quarterback. There has been alot of talk about whether having Randle El be quarterback would be a bad or good idea. Randle El has alot of confidence in his abilities. Although Randle El was a good quarterback during his college years at Indiana, he's really on the small side (5 ft. 10 in and 192 pounds) which would make it difficult for him to play the position in the NFL. Bill Cowher has commented that he wasn't so sure about Randle El having a good line of sight over the large linebackers to thrown the ball. The only way that Randle El will be called into action is if Tommy Maddox is injured and Charlie Batch can't go in for him.
Thursday, November 17, 2005 -- AfternoonMarc-Andre Fleury has been sent back down to the minors. It seems that Sebastien Caron is now recovered from his leg injury and will be taking over the starting goalie duties.
Tuesday, November 15, 2005 -- EveningEddie Olczyk's daughter has been ill lately. It seems that she has been having stomach pains for over a month, and her mother took her to Children's Hospital here in Pittsburgh right before the New York Rangers game last week. Even after exploratory surgery, the doctors don't know why the girl has been having the stomach problems. Regardless, I hope that she is feeling better soon. I like Eddie O. In fact, I really loved him as a sports announcer. A coach he ain't. But that does not mean that he's a bad person. He is a caring father, and in general a nice guy. He just shouldn't be a coach.
Tuesday, November 15, 2005 -- AfternoonCharlie Batch is definitely out for this Sunday's game. Ben Roethlisberger is still listed as questionable, but things are looking like it is going to be Tommy Maddox starting the game. This isn't necessarily good news because the team had some issues with Baltimore Ravens the last time that we played them.
Someone up there is listening to me. Mario Lemieux will be sitting out tomorrow's game because of stomach flu. Lemieux will sit out the game with the Philadelphia Flyers. So let's see how the team does without Lemieux. One of the things that I was discussing with my boyfriend at lunchtime is that we need to get the geriatrics off the ice who are not performing and see if some of the younger players have the legs to play 60 minutes of hockey. At this point the geriatrics, those older plyers like Lemieux, don't seem to have the oomph. It was funny because at yesterday's game, Ryan Whitney was talking to Brooks Orpik. Whitney was saying that he's afraid that he's going to hit Lemieux with the puck one of these days and be sent down. That might not be a bad thing because at least the Baby Pens are winning.
Tuesday, November 15, 2005 -- MorningIt seems that the Steelers may be planning on playing Ben Roethlisberger this coming Sunday against the Baltimore Ravens. Even if they don't, they might possibly go with Charlie Batch who has a broken pinky finger on his right hand (which is his throwing hand). There's also the horrible Tommy Maddox and Antwaan Randle El, the college quarterback with the 51 yard pass this past Sunday. All will be decided based on how much practice Roethlisberger does and how he bears up under the practice.
Ryan Malone was a healthy scratch in yesterday's game. Why? Because Eddie Olczyk didn't like the way that Malone was skating. Yeah, Eddie O. didn't think that Malone was moving his feet efficiently. Interesting! The non-productive geriatrics on the team who slow down the plays and can't make a goal in an empty net aren't scratches. Oh, I get it! It's because the geriatrics have a storied past, and they just deserve to be on the ice because of who they are, not on how well they play. That's another reason why we are losing. Eddie O. doesn't have what it takes to stand up to the geriatrics.
Meanwhile the quality of play in the first two periods of the game was unexceptionally bad. I've seen better games with kids on the ice. The team was slow moving and lethargic and couldn't seem to get its act together. Now that is a problem, and guess what, taking Ryan Malone, a guy with energy, didn't fix it. It was torture to sit through most of the game, and the little bit of quality play didn't erase the memory of a team wallowing in lethargy and geriatric play. Maybe we should be sitting out some of the older non-producers and letting the young kids get on the ice.
Monday, November 14, 2005 -- Late AfternoonSome people really irk me, and I have to admit that my biggest source of irkdom is the person who sits next to me in the cube farm where I work. This person insists that fan threw trash on Tommy Maddox's lawn and harrassed his children in school. Granted, part of the problem is that the true story did not get reported to the extent that the rumor was reported. However, if Maddox's wife denies that it happened, and there is no police report, I have to say that it didn't happen. Now maybe Maddox spread that story around at first until he realized that he was caught in a lie, but the fact of the matter is that it did not happen! Well, the person in the cube next to me (boy, I can't stand him) refuses to acknowledge the stories that are out that prove that the fans are innocent of charges. I don't understand someone who is unwilling to accept facts because they heard a rumor and the rumor must be true. What an irritating putz! What do you do about people who are closed minded? The obvious answer is to ignore him, but the fact that this untrue rumor continues to besmirch the reputation of the Steelers fan gets my goat.
Interesting side note on the Hines Ward reception statistics. Although Ward has more receptions than John Stallworth, Stallworth has almost 2,000 more yards from scrimmage, and 63 touchdowns compared to Ward's 42. This is not to lessen Ward's accomplishment because we also have to understand that the Steelers are not necessarily a throwing team, and they do tend to rely more on the running game.
Monday, November 14, 2005 -- AfternoonThe Baby Pens won again yesterday against the Hartford Wolf Pack. The final score was 5-4 with the winning goal scored in the last 2:33 of regulation time. The Baby Pens record is now 13-0-1. Now if only the could have some of that consistency. The team is having difficulty understanding why they can't put their performances together because if you look at the members of the team, they should be beating everyone. The problem as I keep on saying is coaching, and everyone skirts around the issue and tries to blame everyone else. There is a reason why our powerplay sucks and why we can't score goals. I think that a shake up in the coaching might work wonders for the team. The question is when will the Penguins management wake up to that reality?
To listen to Mario Lemieux, you might think that the problem was his stick. Lemieux hasn't like the way the composite sticks were handling the puck, so he is using a hybrid that has a wooden blade and a composite shaft. So far, Lemieux likes the stick. The question is if that will improve his level of play.
Sunday, November 13, 2005 -- AfternoonThere really was no good reason for the Penguins last night. They should not have been tired because they just had a day off and there aren't any real illness that the team can claim laid waste to them. The team was claiming that the lackluster performances of late have been because of the fact that they had a tiring road trip. According to Rico Fata, "I think we just had to match their work ethic. If we matched anywhere near their work ethic, I think we would have been fine." My question is why doesn't the team match the New York Rangers work ethic? General laziness of the individual players or a coach who is wallowing in incompetence and is able to command the respect of the team so they do put in the effort? It is glaringly obvious, and has been since the 2003/2004 season, that Eddie Olczyk is in over his head, and no one is realizing that it is in the best interests of the team to get a coach who has a clue of what to do. Yes is it frustrating at Eddie O. admits. It must be exceptionally frustrating for a person who has no coaching experience to suddenly be expected to be able to turn in a good performance. Let's put Eddie O out of his misery. Fire Eddie O, and put in a competent coach.
Speaking of competent coaches, the Wilkes Barre Pens soundly beat their opposition last night. The score against the Portland Pirates was 6-0. In thirteen games, the Baby Pens are 12-0-1. This record should be sending a message to the Pens. I think the only signal that they are receiving is that they should bring up random players in the hopes to make the situation better instead of realizing that coaching is everything. Perhaps the Baby Pens coach, Michel Therrien, doesn't want to come to the Pens and to take a backseat to unofficial coach, Mario Lemieux. In fact, that might explain Lemieux's support of Eddie O. Eddie O. probably lets Lemieux make all the decisions which is obviously a problem. The Baby Pens will be playing the Hartford Wolf Pack this afternoon at 4 pm.
Maxime Talbot broke his nose in the hit that he received on Thursday from Montreal's Steve Begin. Talbot doesn't blame Begin though because it was one of those hits that gets made on a player with the puck. The problem was that Talbot was low on the ice which put in face in a vulnerable position.
Pitt won yesterday afternoon against Connecticut with a score of 24-0. The Panthers are hoping for a win in their final game of the season which will be against the West Virginia Mountaineers. Pitt is hoping that with a win that they will get a bowl game even though they really don't deserve it. Why? Because even though West Virginia is the better team, Pitt with it's crappy record might be able to secure a bowl bid with six wins. West Virgina is undefeasted in the Big East so far, and only lost one game in the entire season. The team is good though and should whoop Pitt's ass. I'll be cheering them on to do so on Thanksgiving evening. This really shows you how screwed up the BCS is that an undeserving team like Pitt might actually get a bowl game which they don't deserve.
Friday, November 11, 2005 -- Early EveningEveryone has been talking about the great ending to the Penguins game last night. Sidney Crosby is quiet a hero, and he has been doing an exceptional job. Yesterday's game was also a good one for Jocelyn Thibault. He didn't play last year because of the lockout, and only played 14 games in the previous season with 5 wins. So it was good for Thibault to get a win under his belt. Meanwhile John LeClair was back on the ice last night with a plastic shield over his face to protect the multiple fractures over his right eye. LeClair said that there were some visual problems with the shield which I don't understand because it is clear. Yeah, I don't like a hat with a brim on my forehead, but if it were made of clear plastic I wouldn't say that it blocked my vision.
A Kansas City group is trying to lure the Penguins out of the city. It's well known that the team is having financial issues in the city, and that there is a need for a new arena. As the Kansas City group said, if the Pens don't have a deal by next year, they are prime targets for becoming the Kansas city Penguins. Let's hope that the Penguins work out a deal so they can stay in the city.
Thursday, November 10, 2005 -- AfternoonMarc-Andre Fleury has been recalled to replace Sebastien Caron. Flery was named the AHL Goalie of the month last month because of his 6 wins and 0 losses for the month of October. Tonight the Pens will be playing the Montreal Canadiens.
On the Steelers front, it seems that James Farrior is hoping to be back on the field this coming weekend, and Ben Roethlisberger is hoping to be back by the Nov. 20 game.
Tuesday, November 8, 2005 -- MorningI'm not the only person in Pittsburgh who questions Eddie Olczyk's coaching ability or lack thereof. Even though the Penguins won last night, it wasn't from lack of trying to blow a well earned lead. It seemed that even though it was the third period and the Pens were ahead 3-0, Eddie O. called the team over to give them some suggestions that lead to the Rangers coming to within one point of tying the game. I guess that Eddie O doesn't know when to keep his mitts out when the team is doing well. Probably because as a coach, Eddie O is the pits.
Sidney Crosby is a bright spot on the team. He's always there to make a play or to put pressure on the other team. Jaromir Jagr managed to keep all the hype about Crosby in perspective however by saying that the kid may be good, but that he would wait to make that assessment because it's not fair to those who have been great for years to say that Crosby is the "Next One" based on one month's worth of play. He's right. Of course, being Jagr, some of the sarcastic bite comes out, such as when Jagr was asked about Crosby's performance against the Rangers. Jagr's reply was: "I didn't really pay attention to him. I was just concentrating on myself. Of course, he scored a goal and he had some good plays."
Charlie Batch will be the starter this coming weekend against the Cleveland Browns who suck. I'm not so worried about Batch not giving a stellar performance because he did what was needed. He didn't lose the game.
There is controversy with the Pitt football team. Tyler Palko spoke out yesterday and said that there are some players on the team who aren't giving there all for the team, and who aren't working out as hard as they could. It seems that Palko is a hard worker and a team leader, so he is just trying to call out the other members of the team to make them realize that if they don't work, they won't win any championships or may not get as much play time when the new recruits are ready to play. Palko was not alone in dissing his teammates. H.B. Blades, the middle linebacker for the team, agrees that not all of the teammates have the same desire and work ethic. Let's see what happens now that the players have brought this to light. Will Dave Wannstedt make any changes?
Monday, November 7, 2005 -- MorningI am really looking forward to the Penguins game tonight because they will be playing the New York Rangers. Jaromir Jagr has been one of my favorite players for awhile now, and he has made a goal in almost every game that he has played this season. The goal is to see if he can score 50 in 50. Yes, Jagr can be a pain with his personality, but that's one of the things that I like about him too. He doesn't try to please. Jagr is Jagr, and with a talent like that, you just accept him as he is. Jagr is happy with the New York Rangers, and that's something that he hasn't been in a long time. It's obvious from his successful play that things are going well for him psychologically and physically. I'm just looking forward to the show tonight, and not expecting much from the Pens.
Mario Lemieux is hoping to put in a full year of play this season. In the past, he has been plagued with back problems and other health issues. This year though, he is hoping to prevent it from happening. The question is whether this is a realistic hope since Lemieux is 40 and has never played a full season in the NHL in his entire career.
Meanwhile, the Baby Pens are still winning. They beat the Philadelphia Phantoms again yesterday. The Baby Pens record for the season is 11-0-1. Not bad at all.
Sunday, November 6, 2005 -- EveningGood news from the Baby Pens. They won their game yesterday against the Philadelphia Phantoms and now have 10 wins and 1 loss for the year. They beat the Phantoms with a score of 4-1. They played again this afternoon, so I should have those results either later tonight or tomorrow depending on the update on the page. We don't get alot of news about the Baby Pens even though they are doing much better than our Pens. What needs to happen is that we need to bring the coach of the Baby Pens, Michel Therrien here to coach the Pens. It's not like he hasn't had head coaching experience in the NHL. Believe me, no one could be worse than Eddie O.
Saturday, November 5, 2005 -- Late AfternoonYou have to feel for Terrell Owens. A couple of weeks ago, he had his 100th touchdown reception and received no recognition of the fact publicly by the Philadelphia Eagles. The team management does know how to recognize T.O. when he complains about the lack of recognition for his individual effort and that he thinks that the team might be doing better with the aid of Brett Favre than with the mediocre play of Donovan McNabb. If you look at the passer ratings for both, Favre is better. McNabb's stats are boosted by last year's really good ratings. Granted, I am not a big fan of McNabb's since his loser whine in losing the Super Bowl last year because he was just puking from exhaustion. Yes, T.O. has been disruptive to the team this season, but he did ask to be traded and Philadelphia refused. So they are getting some of what they asked for by keeping him around. Now T.O. has been suspended indefinitely for his comments. Sometimes I don't understand team management. They hire folks like T.O. knowing that they are prone to be outspoken and troublemakers in a fashion, but they think that it will be different under their management. No it won't. I think that the Eagles handling of T.O. just made the situation worse. I think that if I worked with McNabb, I'd be beating his ear just like T.O.
Friday, November 4, 2005 -- EveningThe Pitt Panthers lost yet another game last night. They were playing Louisville who was favored to win, and did so with a final score of 42-20. Pitt did it's scoring in the first half and then just fell apart miserably. With the schedule that the team has coming up, it seems likely that this will be the worst season that Pitt has had since 1999. Chances are that the team will finish up with a losing season of at best 5 wins and 6 losses. The reason for this thinking is that one of the two teams that we have left to play is West Virginia at Thanksgiving. West Virgina has 7 wins and 1 loss.
Thursday, November 3, 2005 -- AfternoonBen Roethlisberger had arthroscopic knee surgery today, and should be out for the next week to two weeks. That means that Charlie Batch will be starting until Roethlisberger comes back.
Sidney Crosby has been named the NHL's rookie of the month for October. This is impressive considering how poorly the team has done on the whole and based on the rookie competition. Crosby has the right attitude about the award. He says that it's nice to get, but that he is more concerned with winning games at this point.