Wednesday, December 27, 2006

The Hazies - Champs & Chumps

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

For those of you who haven't been here before, Monday night entries (or Wednesday night this week) take a look back at the week or so that was in the world of sports, highlighting some of the more notable performances. To those who have risen above the rest, we award them with an honourary "Hazie" - the lucky few have the title of "Hazel's Hero" bestowed upon them. While Hazel hasn't officially approved this week's winners, we'd like to think she'd give her trademark smile and thumbs up to our selections.


Boston Bruins G Tim Thomas was awarded the First Star of the Week for leading the Bruins to three wins, including wins over divisional rivals Montreal and the SenaTards. For the week Thomas posted a GAA of 1.33 and a save percentage of .959. I'm sure Hazel would be down with this one, she'll probably give Thomas props on next week's edition of The Buzz.

St. Louis Blues G Manny Legace was named the Second Star of the Week for leading the Blues to three straight victories under new coach Andy Murray. Legace posted a GAA of 1.69 and a save percentage of .930.

Tampa Bay Lightning C Vincent Lecavalier was named the Third Star of the Week. Lecavalier had six points in three games - Lecavalier has been one of Tampa Bay's lone bright spots this season.

Chicago Blackhawks LW Peter Bondra scored his 500th career goal last week. Bondra has never gotten the credit he deserves for being one of the league's best pure goal scorers - so it was good to see him get recognition for achieving a major milestone in the NHL.

St. Louis Rams RB Steven Jackson had a career day on Sunday against the Washington Redskins. Jackson ran for 150 yards on 33 carries, including a 21 yard TD in overtime, and caught six passes for 102 yards and a TD. Jackson's big day came too late to help out Hazel Mae's Cowboys though.

Tennessee Titans' QB Vince Young continues to surprise. Young led the upstart Titans to another upset win, this time over the Buffalo Bills. The rookie completed 13 of 20 passes for 183 yards and 2 TDs; he also rushed for 61 yards on 8 carries, including a highlight reel 36 yard run with time running out in the first half. Young is doing everything that Ron Mexico should be doing but isn't.

New Orleans Saints RB Reggie Bush ran for 126 yards on 20 carries, with 1 TD, to lead the Saints to a 30-7 pounding of the New York Giants.

Honourable mention goes to New England QB Tom Brady and Baltimore QB Steve McNair who lead their teams to big wins on the road.


Portuguese International Cristiano Ronaldo scored two goals for the second time in four days to lead Manchester United to a 3-1 victory over Wigan on Boxing Day - what made it all the more impressive was that he did it coming off the bench after halftime. Ronaldo now has 10 goals in 18 games and is one biggest threats in the Premiership - the future of Portuguese football...indeed!

We have to give it up to our man Bushey whose Ageswimmers pulled an upset victory over the heavily favoured Tina's Team in the Hazelspeeps Fantasy Football Pool final this past weekend. Bushey was pretty quiet all year long, but he stayed the course with his original team and won it all. Honourable mention goes to our rookie GM Tina who made a few key moves to get her team into the final - she's more of a baseball fan, but she held her own with the big boys in the football pool. Renee must be smiling over Tina's showing (stop laughing Renee...I didn't mean it THAT way).



While some fans look forward to the playoffs (or an outside chance at the NFC East title in the case of Dallas Cowboys fans) most are left to wonder what went wrong. We normally like to point the finger at players who cost their team the game - Ron Mexico is our favourite whipping boy - this week we are going to look at NFL coaches who should bear the brunt of criticism for their team's performances.

While it is often said that coaches can't get on the field to influence the game's outcome - they are responsible for making calls that influence the outcome of the game. As another NFL season comes to a close, a number of teams should be considering ushering in the new year by issuing pink slips to their three star generals - the coaches.

It goes without saying that the game has passed a few of the NFL's oldtimers by - I speak of Washington's Joe Gibbs, Oakland's Art Shell, and Arizona's Dennis Green. There is no justifiable reason why any of these three should be retained and allowed to guide their team into another dismal season. It may be a foregone conclusion in Green's case, while Shell and Gibbs may be able to get by...they shouldn't.

I submit the following names for your consideration and discussion.

Atlanta's Jim Mora. In a season that has seen a number of teams deciding to bench established veteran QB for untested/unproven first year starters (Dallas, Tennessee, Denver) - Mora has stood by a player who has consistently failed to get it done this year. Ron Mexico had another forgettable performance in a must-win game against a Carolina team that was starting a backup QB and was missing three starters on the offensive line. Mora's indecisiveness and stubborness has cost Atlanta time and time again this season - his insistence that his team's best chance to win rests with Vick at QB has gone from laughable to sad; the more he supports Vick, the more Vick fails to respond. It is time for Falcons' ownership to make Jim Mora Sr. look like a prophet when he said that he believed Vick was a coach killer.

Buffalo's Dick Jauron. The blame for Buffalo's loss to Tennesse last week rests squarely on Jauron's shoulders - bad decision making on his part cost his team the game. The Bills went into halftime on a down note trailing 20-19, after allowing Vince Young to run 36 yards for a touchdown in the dying seconds of the half. To their credit Buffalo came out and scored a TD in the third to retake the lead - with the Bills up by five Jauron decided to kick the extra point instead of going for two and extending the lead to a converted TD. I guess somehow Jauron thought that after giving up 20 first half points, his defence would hold the Titans to a field goal or less in the second half. To make matters worse in the dying seconds of the game, with Buffalo facing a fourth and five on the Tennessee 28 yard line - Jauron decides to go for it, rather than put the game in the hands of Ryan Lindell who had kicked five field goals to that point. The result was an interception and game over. Jauron's time as head coach of the Bears was marked by being too conservative and being a bad decision maker - things haven't changed in Buffalo...they won't win with him.

Cleveland's Romeo Crennell. Yes, he was a great defensive coordinator for the Patriots, but the fact of the matter is that the Browns aren't any better in the two years that he has been there - they are arguably as bad and further way from being in contention than they were before Crennell got there.

Giants' Tom Coughlan. The Giants came into the season thinking they had a shot at winning it all - a little bit of adversity was all it took for this team to come unravelled, and the blame rests with Coughlan. Major Tom's mitigation strategy to locker room problems was to begin calling his players out in the media. Coughlan threw gasoline on the fire by pointing the finger at his players during their second half dive - the Giants won't recover as long as he is there. As a Dallas fan, I want to quote the immortal words of former Toronto Maple Leafs RW Owen Nolan when interviewed after a game with the SenaTards, when told that the Tards were ravaged by the flu - "Boo Hoo".

A number of other coaches that should also get pink slips, but likely won't.

Indianapolis' Tony Dungy. We all like to point the finger and Peyton Manning and call him a choker, but the fact is that under Dungy (a defensive genius) the Colts defense has gotten progressively worse, to the point that any good running team can beat their asses. No excuses this year - Dungy should be canned.

Seattle's Mike Holmgren. The Seahawks blew their wad last year and it doesn't look like they are going to be able to get back to those heights. Holmgren has coached a number of very good teams with one Super Bowl to show for it - his failures far outweigh his success in terms of results. He's got to go.

Carolina's John Fox. His players love him, but the Panthers season has gone from leading contender to represent the NFC in the Super Bowl to being an afterthought and a joke. Carolina's offence is one dimensional and their defence has gone from being one of the league's best to being their achilles heel.

Detroit's GM Matt Millen. One look at the current state of the Lions is more than enough justification to fire this guy's ass.

That's about it for tonight gang - as always, if you think I have missed something, leave a comment or email me to let me know. Have a great one peeps.

Hazel, I hope things are groovy in your world.

Song of the Night on Hazelspeeps - I'm in a mood tonight.

Hard to Explain - The Strokes

Peesth Out...Buh Bye


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