Saturday, February 28, 2009

The Life

For The Record-I've had a great time chilling with my boys this week. I've been going hither and thither, just having a great time. I've watched Arsenal play twice at the Phoenix, I've gone downtown to watch the Bruins twice. I've hung out and watched the Celtics at a friend's house. I just love spending all day moving from place to watch sporting event after sporting event.

It's the life.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Zdeno Chara for MVP

For The Record-I've been preaching this for quite some time, but Zdeno Chara deserves to be the MVP. No other player is as important to his team as he is. Not only does he log big minutes playing solid defense, but he is the guy that goes all out for his teammates and it seems he's gotten all the clutch goals.

Often forgotten in his massive size and his tremendous slap shot is the fact that he is one of if not the best defenders in the League. This year, he's done it all. He deserves it.

Off the top of my head, a couple instances of the above:
Phil Kessel gets hounded by Boris Volabik of the Atlanta Thrashers, Chara takes him and shows him who is boss.

Clutch goals:
Chara scores two goals against Montreal, helping the Bruins defeat their most hated rivals.

Chara scores a goal in the last minute against Nashville to tie the game and send it into overtime.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Weekly Sports Stroll

Alright, I just wanted to address a few of the week's subjects in a post that we'll for now call "Weekly Sports Stroll."

For The Record-While golf may have been hit somewhat by this financial crisis, it was probably hurt more by the absence of the greatest golfer to ever walk the earth, Tiger Woods. Next week Tiger makes his return, fans of the US Open champion should be pleased, but the PGA should be ecstatic.

For The Record-My heart leaped when Kevin Garnett ushered himself to the bench after injuring his knee. The season and the chance to repeat flashed before my eyes. I certainly don't think the path to the title will be any easier this year, but without Garnett, the Celtics' chances are abysmal. Rondo was great in the loss to Utah, but Pierce struggled and fouls plagued the entire front court...

For The Record-I'm glad to see Charles Barkley back at TNT. I found the interactions between Chris Webber, Kenny Smith, and Gary Payton to be humorous, but Chuck always is so candid and was dearly missed.

For The Record-Phoenix's hiring of Terry Porter, a defensive minded coach, for the personell that they had may have been the wrong decision, but so far, firing him seems to be the right decision. The Suns are red hot, having won 3 straight games. However, with Stoudamire out now for an extended period of time, Shaq and Steve Nash have to get back to playing great basketball. Shaq has been pretty good this year, and it appears that the Suns are having a lot more fun playing basketball. With exciting players like Leandro Barbosa, the Suns run and gun offense has made them one of the funnest teams to watch in the Association.

For The Record-L'histoire se joue ici - agree or disagree? I have to vehemently disagree. You would think being 21 points behind the first place Bruins is bad, but then the turmoil with Alexei Kovalev and this new saga with the Kostitsyans arises and things have gone from bad to worse for the Habs. The squad is struggling to maintain its standing in the playoff hunt, and if another showdown with the Bruins happens, expect the Bad News Bruins to make history of this year's Habs.

For The Record-I am glad that the Bruins don't have to go to Europe to start next season. Having seen the toll that it took on the Red Sox opening in Japan, I can only say that the extra mileage is not welcome especially in a game that is so physical. While it's a great opportunity for the four clubs to expand into Europe (especially the Red Wings who feature five prominent Swedes in Johan Franzen, Tomas Holmstrom, Henrik Zetterberg, Mikael Samuelson and Nicklas Lidstrom), I think the costs may outweigh the benefits in this case.

For The Record-I'm glad that Leach got a five year extension. He really deserved it. If Texas Tech had let him go, it would've been one of the worst mistakes a school has ever made. He put them on the map.

For The Record-Great to hear that Michigan lowered their ticket prices for next year considering the economic crisis that has hit hard areas around Ann Arbor. However, I would pay that $1.43 extra a game for a team that performs better on the field.

For The Record-Carlos Tevez looks to be on his way out of Manchester United at the end of this season. I see him as a tremendous fit at Barcelona over the Arsenal trio of Van Persie, Adebayor, and Fabregas because of his partnership with Lionel Messi for the Argentinian National Team. At the same time, the idea of a Xavi, Iniesta, Cesc central midfield blows my mind as well, but I would hope that that doesn't happen any time soon.

For The Record-Speaking of Arsenal, it seems many of their players are getting healthy soon. They are playing more inspired now, and with Arshavin debuting tomorrow, Walcott and Eduardo returning in a couple weeks, Rosicky and Cesc set to return in a month, all of a sudden, things are looking bright at the Emirates. As of now, the Gunners find themselves 5 points behind Chelsea and 7 points behind Aston Villa in qualifying for Champions League play, but with the new inspired football they are playing, I expect them to overtake Chelsea for the Champions League.

For The Record's play of the week: Alex Ovechkin's ridiculous goal

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

A-Rod: A Double Dip

For The Record-A-Rod is still a robot. I believe that his press conference was for the most part sincere and a rare occurance where a professionnal athlete owns up to his misgivings. However, I did not see the emotion that I wanted to see. I did not see the remorse. Honestly, I'm the last person who wants to get into a debate about steroids, but I was not impressed from what I saw from A-Rod today. 

When he wanted to thank his teammates, I didn't know whether he wanted to cry or smile. He looked like he was holding back. I don't think he helped his A-Fraud image at all. Furthermore, he continued to hide behind his "young and naive" comment. Sure he may sincerely believe that, but I expect him to be questioned and grilled through out the season. I just want him to be honest. I don't really care about the numbers because I don't care for A-Rod. I just want to know the facts, the real story.

For The Record-A-Rod hasn't disgraced baseball. Bud Selig may say what he want, but his whole tenure has been a failure in the sense of keeping the game clean. Sure attendance and revenues have gone up and the game is more popular than ever, but this is large part in due to the widespread use of performance enhancing drugs (PEDs). In the season that "saved" baseball, the two most popular players, Sosa and McGuire, were both on PEDs. The game's most prolific home run hitter, Barry Bonds, has been shamed by his use of PEDs. Many others have fallen in the same way.

A-Rod is no different, but he hasn't brought more shame than others. It's important to note that MLB started full testing in 2004. Since then, A-Rod has not tested positive. He may have done steroids, but it was not against the rules. Now the whole debate about numbers being tainted or whatever, that's for everyone else to decide, but for the record, A-Rod did not do anything wrong.

As far as the other 103 names go, I would like to see those names become public as well. I know that it may hurt to see some of my favorite players on that list, but why should A-Rod be the only one whose name is exposed from a list that was supposed to stay private? 

The only way we can really understand the steroid era is to get as many facts about it as possible. 

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Claude Julien: I don't trust my youth

For The Record-For a team built around its youth, I don't think Julien feels the youth on the Bruins has earned his trust. He was quoted after the game as follows:

"[Wheeler]wasn't very good for us tonight," said Julien. "I didn't think Krejci was very good for us either compared to what we're used to seeing. They're no different than anyone else. I've always said that you earn your ice time. I didn't feel those guys were good enough to have the ice time they normally have."

I understand that they did not have their best game, but I feel like he's being harsh on David Krejci. Blake Wheeler deserves the blame that was put on him because he spent four minutes in the box. Unfortunately for Krejci, he was put under a microscope in a game in which he was playing without one of his wingers and instead with someone who he probably never played with in Shawn Thornton. Furthermore, his other linemate was consistently in the penalty box. 

That's not to make an excuse to justify Krejci's supposed poor performance, but given those circumstances, I do think he had a decent game. Right now, one could make the argument that Krejci is the best center on the team, and playing second fiddle to Marc Savard isn't too shabby as well. To limit him to 12:41 of playing time and having all three of the other centers logging more time just doesn't make sense. 

Honestly, I think Claude's biggest problem at this moment is that he doesn't trust the youth. It's unfortunate for him that he has several young players who play a significant role on the team, but I think when push comes to shove, the ones he trusts are his veterans. Why do you think since Bergeron came back, Krejci's minutes have fluctuated?

WAS:  DK-20:40 PB-17:38
NJD: DK-17:42 PB 16:31
NYR: DK-15:06 PB-15:19
MTL: DK-17:09 PB-19:06
PHI: DK-15:26 PB-16:21
OTW: DK-20:19 PB-19:41
PHI: DK-12:41 PB-21:37

The problem is that Krejci is judged more based on the performance of his linemates. Unfortunately, recently Blake Wheeler has struggled with committing penalties. This has brought down Krejci's time on the ice as a result. I don't think Krejci's ice time should be effected by his line's play, but rather by his own play.

David Krejci has become one of those players that can be useful in all assets of the game. He's improved dramatically defensively and his ability to see and provide the passes necessary to set up his teammates for goals. IF HIS LINE ISN'T PLAYING WELL, SHUFFLE THEM UP AND PUT HIM WITH PLAYERS WHO ARE PLAYING WELL. 

The bottomline is you play your best players. This afternoon, Claude Julien did not play David Krejci as much he should have and that in itself probably was one of the deciding factors in the game today. 

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Arshavin: Savior

For better or for worse, Andrei Arshavin will be deemed or labeled as a savior at the Emirates this winter and spring. It will be him to inspire push the team to its full capabilities, back into the top four and into the vaunted Champions League spot. As of now, Arsenal stands five points behind Aston Villa for the fourth and final Champions League spot. They are ten points out in the league, and it appears with the way that Manchester United are playing, that winning the league is nothing but a pipe dream.

However, there is the FA Cup. There is getting into the Champions League. This season overall might be a disappointment, but it can be saved from being a disaster. With the loss of skipper Cesc Fabregas, it was vital to get a player to help rejuvenate the lacking squad. That man is Andrei Arshavin.

The Russian star missed the first two games of Euro 2008 to suspension, but came back with a vengeance. Following a 4-1 drubbing at the hands of eventual champion Spain, Russia was in need of inspiration. That came from Arshavin as he lead them to a semifinal rematch against Spain. Along the way, they beat the 2004 champion, Greece and the Group C winner, Holland. Much of this is credited to the way Arshavin played, and the way the team played as a result. 

He will be asked the same at the Emirates, and I don't doubt he can do it.  With Eduardo returning soon and Theo Walcott a month away, the immediate future looks to be bright at the Emirates. It's a shame that it's so dim right now.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Georges St. Pierre: Better or Boring

For The Record-I believe that Georges "Rush" St. Pierre is amongst the most gifted fighters in the world. He has been a favorite fighter of mine, but I wonder to myself: has he become boring? He used to get knockouts and he used to get submissions. Now it seems that all his fights go to decision. However, at the same time, he is imposing his will against the best in the world, negating their strengths and showing he is better at what his opponents do best. It is awesome to watch how he will dominate his opponent. 

So has GSP become boring? I think it depends what your definition of boring is. I believe he shows something new every fight, and his ability to "impose his will" on his opponent is just awesome. GSP is still an exciting fighter.