Monday, October 23, 2006

Tomato - "Tohmato" Its About Time

Hey Peeps and anyone else checking in. A special "Hey" goes out to Hazel Mae.

Plenty to talk about this morning - last night's World Series game and the performance Kenny Rogers put in and another surprising NFL Sunday loaded with upsets (Hazel must be smiling at what the Chiefs did to the Chargers), but that will have to wait.

The Philadelphia Flyers announced yesterday that they had fired coach Ken Hitchcock and the their GM Bob Clarke had resigned from his post. Where do you start with this one?

I'll start by saying that Hitchcock didn't deserve this fate - the guy is solid and has a proven track record of success; the mess the Flyers were in was a direct result of the ineptitude of Bob Clarke to adapt to the new NHL. I know coaches have input into players the team acquires; but I don't believe for one second that Bob Clarke worked to get the players his coach wanted, it has always been Clarke's show so he should accept full responsibility and bear the brunt of criticism for the state of the Flyers. Hitchcock has proven that he can win as a coach - Bob Clarke has not proven that he can, or could ever, build a winner.

Clarke has made a series of bad moves over the years, from not acquiring players who could help to acquiring players who were a detriment to the team - it has always been about Bob Clarke and nothing but Bob Clarke. Prior to the 2004 lockout, Clarke's Flyers were always considered to be one of the teams that could win it all - the Flyers' weakness was in goal. In the pre-salary cap NHL, Clarke had a chance to acquire Curtis Joseph who had left the Maple Leafs looking to sign with a team that had a chance to win the Stanley Cup; Clarke didn't even bother talking to Joseph, instead letting his hatred of anything and everything connected to the Maple Leafs cloud his judgement and opting to go with Robert Esche. Esche had one good playoff series against the Maple Leafs and has faded into relative oblivion - destined to be a backup goalie.

After the lockout, Clarke ignored what was going on around him: he refused to believe that the NHL would change and start strictly enforcing the rules in the game, he continued to sign older, slower players who couldn't possibly compete in the new NHL - he wanted a big plodding physical team, thinking that his boys could wear down the opposition.

The first two that come to mind are Derian Hatcher and Mike Rathje - two post lockout free agent signings that have turned out to be a bust. Hatcher has been average at best, and Rathje isn't even playing these days (a back injury is keeping him out). Clarke went into last year thinking that in the "new and improved" NHL, he would build his defence around his two free agent signings to go along with Joni Pitkanen and Eric Desjardins (who was over 35 at the time).

It was Clarke who decided to sign Peter Forsberg; don't get me wrong, when Forsberg plays, he is one of the league's dominant players - the problem is that he had not played a full season in years and was rumoured to be considering returning to Sweden. Everyone knew that Forsberg's body was breaking down, but few knew that his desire and passion to play in the NHL was fading fast. Instead of passing on Forsberg, Clarke let his hatred of Eric Lindros get in the way of making sound hockey decisions and decided to sign Forsberg - austensibly to right the wrong he had made 15 years earlier in trading a package of players (including Forsberg) to the Quebec Nordiques to acquire Lindros. Forsberg's time in Philadelphia has been marked by flashes of brilliance, and a number of injuries (the latest being a bad wrist).

Clarke has made a number of other bad to terrible acquisitions - Mike Knuble, who was signed away from the Bruins has been a shadow of the player that skated with Joe Thornton and Glen Murray in the black and gold (yellow). Petr Nedved was acquired for some stupid reason - he was recently assigned to the minors. In the first week of this year's free-agent period, Hitchcock told Clarke he wanted Ruslan Salei of the Ducks, Clarke instead opted to sign free-agent defenceman Nolan Baumgartner (thought by most to be a number 4/5 defenceman) - Baumgartner is no longer on the Flyers.

The list of Clarke's brain cramps go on and on and are too numerous to list here - I'll wrap it up with this one: going into last year, in the post-lockout NHL, Clarke decided to put his faith in two teenagers - Jeff Carter and Mike Richards. They haven't quite panned out the way Clarke had hoped...but what could you expect from a couple of teenagers?

Bob Clarke said yesterday that he had resigned - admitting that he hadn't been very good and that he no longer had the desire to continue on. I find it pretty hard to believe that a guy with Clarke's history would walk away from the organization he had been a part of for almost 35 years - I think the the way it went down was more like, owner Ed Snider went to Clarke and said "I don't want to fire you, but I have to - you can resign if you want to...but you have to go." I think Clarke took the easy way out, and hung his coach out to dry in the process. You can say he resigned, I say he was asked to leave - tomato "tomatoh".

The Flyers are going to suffer for a good long while, as a result of Clarke's ego and bad decision making - as a member of Leaf Nation, I'm going to love watching this nosedive into the basement of the NHL. Most people predicted the Leafs wouldn't be very good this year, that remains to be seen - but it looks like a pretty good bet that the Flyers are going to be really bad. I feel sorry for Simon Gagne who is going to be stuck in this mess - he, like Hitchcock, deserves much better.

Another day of surprises in the NFL yesterday - count me as one of the people that thinks that parity sucks...any given Sunday my ass:
  • Hazel had to be smiling with the Chiefs win over San Diego (I've learned my lesson, I won't bet against Hazel's boys at home);
  • Oakland and Houston registered their first wins of the season (the latter hurt, I'm out of another suicide pool after picking Jacksonville);
  • Seattle lost to the Vikings and may have lost QB Matt Hasselbeck for a long time (suspect MCL injury) leaving the NFC wide open;
  • Ron Mexico throws 4 TDs leading the Falcons to an O/T win over the Steelers - I don't know about you, but did anyone see the humour in Roethlisberger leaving the game with a concusssion? You know...he WAS wearing a helmet. The 3 point margin was GREAT for me, I won a great Pro-Line ticket!
  • A number of news sources are reporting that Chargers LB Shawne Merriman will be suspended for four games for violating the league's substance abuse policy.
My NFL picks have been less than stellar - but a few things that I have been saying since day 1 are coming to the forefront. I have said from Week 1 that the Philadelphia Eagles are counterfeit (yes I picked them again today, but that was my brain cramp for the week) - the last two weeks have shown that the Eagles are the beneficiaries of a last place schedule and a bad game by Dallas. The Washington Redskins, picked by many to be in the playoff mix, are not a .500 team - the game has passed Joe Gibbs' by, its time for him to go and take Brunnell with him. The Miami Dolphins, with Daunte Culpepper or anyone else quarterbacking that team, were going to be a bad team - today's loss against the Packers is the final nail in the coffin for Nick Saban's team. I may be dumb, but I know a few things about the NFL...and I know when "experts" are blowing smoke up people's asses.

As I had said yesterday, the Detroit Tigers would even up the series against the Cardinals - there were a few tense moments in the ninth with Todd Jones loading the bases with two out, but the Tigers rode a great performance from Kenny Rogers to win Game 2.


The aforementioned Kenny Rogers of the Detroit Tigers pitched eight shutout innings against Albert Pujols and the Cardinals, limiting them to two hits and three walks while striking out five. Rogers has to be the post-season MVP.

Peyton Manning of the Colts had a field day against the Redskins yesterday. Manning was 25/35 for 342 yards and 4 TDs. Anyone who beats up on Washington is A-Ok with me...even if he is loathed in New England.

Algee Crumpler of the Atlanta Falcons caught six passes for 117 yards and 3 TDs in a 41-38 O/T victory over the Steelers. Algee is a member of El Presidente's Hazel Mae's Cowboys in the yahoo pool.

Honourable mention goes to the Chunky Soup lovin' mama's boy who threw 5 TD passes yesterday - unfortunately for the Eagles two of those TDs were to Bucs defenders. For good measure, McNabb pulled away from center and threw up on the field...AGAIN. Ya, T.O. was lying about McNabb in the Super Bowl...ah huh.


We attached dollar amounts to yesterday's selections - if we were actually gambling, we'd up up $72.50 after going 2-1 yesterday. Today's picks

Edmonton over Phoenix - Gretzky's return home won't be a pleasant one. The Oilers have too much for the Coyotes. I'd go $50.

San Jose over Columbus - San Jose is starting a road trip tonight in Columbus, in the NHL, teams that start road trips have a great record in the opening game of the trip. I'd go $50 on the Sharks to start their trip out right.

Dallas -3 over NY Giants - I have heard the betting public has been all over New York in this one, I don't know why. Parcells has the Cowboys ready to play tonight. I'd go $25 on the Boys.

There you have it gang...Have a great one Peeps.

Partnerships, contracts, health concerns and money matters must be dealt with today. Information is being withheld in a partnership you are in. Don't pry. Give this person a chance to come to you. 3 stars

Hazel, I hope things are groovy in your world.

Song of the Day on Hazelspeeps - Dwight Yoakum turns 50 today, I'm not much on country...but Dwight's good in my books. So for Dwight's birthday

Guitars, Cadillacs - Dwight Yoakum

Peesth Out...Buh Bye!


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