Thursday, January 31, 2008

The sunny side of the street

Hey Peeps and anyone else checking in. A special "Hey" goes out to Hazel Mae, who is hanging out in Arizona this week.

It is almost time to do the Thoughts of Hazel Mae Super Bowl prediction - Tilt has the Patriots winning, but while in Vegas he laid money on the Giants to win outright (+ $400) so who knows what he's thinking; and yours truly...undecided.

We'll all get something up in the next day or two.

While Hazel is hanging out in Arizona, filing reports for NESN, her former colleagues in Toronto have gone past the point of ridiculous in speculating about the future of Toronto Maple Leafs captain Mats Sundin. The latest theory comes from TSN's "Hockey Insider" Darren Dreger (the donkey doesn't merit having his picture posted) who speculates that the Maple Leafs are tanking the season in order to try to get the number one pick in the 2008. To support his speculation - Dreger pointed to Leafs' coach Paul Maurice's decision to play 19 year old rookie Jiri Tlusty on the first line with Mats Sundin and Nik Antropov. In Darren's opinion, it may be a sign that Leafs management is trying to encourage Sundin to waive his no-trade clause by playing him with players who are not ready. It is a giant leap in logic - but as an aside, have you ever met a person named Darren who wasn't a retard?) - but that's par of the course with TSN's experts. They normally qualify this nonsense with a "I'm not saying it is this way but" or "I'll leave you to consider that" or "I don't know for sure...but it sure seems funny". Whatever Darren.

Don't waive that clause Mats - don't let them off the hook for the awful decisions made by JFJ; let them find a way to trade McCabe or Tucker - according to Damien Cox, JFJ had been in talks with teams that wanted them...oh wait, I forgot that Damien Cox said that.

Ok, back to the subject line - The sunny side of the street; rather than focus on the boring or the negative, I'll go with something positive today.

Question to the readers - is there a professional athlete playing a team sport who is dominating his league like Cristiano Ronaldo? The Portugal international scored twice yesterday in Manchester United's 2-0 win over Portsmouth. Ronaldo has dominated by the best domestic soccer league in the world, he has been dominant in domestic league cups, he was dominant in the qualifiers for Euro 2008 (though the competition wasn't top notch), he has dominated in European club tournaments. Ronaldo's numbers for 2007/2008 look like this (keep in mind that soccer doesn't feature a lot of goals)

Premier League 19 goals in 19 games
English FA Cup 3 goals in 2 games
Champions League 5 goals in 5 games

Over the last 2 years - Ronaldo has scored 60 goals in 98 games.

You can offer up your own names - Tom Brady, ARod (oh wait, most of you are in New England huh? never mind), Kevin Garnett - I'll say this to put it in perspective. The best comparison I can make to Ronaldo - think Michael Jordan when he started to dominate the NBA.

Young, Talented, Portuguese - says it all.

Have I mentioned Cristiano Ronaldo's performance yesterday? Go to to see the highlights - an absolutely filthy goal by Ronaldo on a free kick.

Minnesota Wild LW/RW Brian Rolston had a goal and an assist in a 4-1 win over the Anaheim Ducks - good waiver wire pick up for the Maeple Leafs in the yahoo pool.

Calgary Flames RW Owen Nolen had a hat trick to lead the Flames to a 5-4 win over the San Jose Sharks - for good measure he has a one sided fight against Mike Grier.


New York Islanders over LA Kings - Kings started off their longest road trip of the season with a loss, expect it to continue tonight when they play the ultra-tight Islanders. Lay $100 on the Isles - $150.

Washington over Montreal - the back end of a home and home where the Caps were dominated and destroyed by the Habs, expect them to respond with a better effort. Lay $100 on the Caps - $120.

Added 6:00 pm

Ottawa/Boston under 5.5 - Krusty the Klown isn't suiting up for the Tards tonight, couple that with a game against the offensively challenged Bruins - you do the math, 1+2 = 3. Lay $100 on the under - $115

Leaving it at that for now - though games could be added later in the afternoon.

That's it for today gang - thanks for taking the time to check in. Have a great one peeps - leaving you with a song of the day, give it a kicks.

Lupe Fiasco - Go Go Gadget Flow

Hazel, here's hoping things are groovy in your world.


Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Worst Beat Ever...

There are very few times in poker when one plays that you end up flopping a full house. Last night, I did just that and somehow I managed to lose the hand. This is a tale of how slow playing a monster hand can lead to disaster.

It was early in the tournament and I had taken a fairly big chip lead in a 90 man sit and go. I was in first position (under the gun) with A-7 off. I limped in from my position, with the expectation to fold if someone raised. No one raised and we went to the flop (a total of five players playing). The flop came Ac-7d-7s (rainbow). Having flopped the full house, I decided to slow play the hand, hoping that someone hit the ace, or was playing a bad seven. The turn card showed a 5d, leaving the potential for a flush to appear. I checked again and the player in last position made a small bet of $50 into the pot...I flat called this, as the two others players made the call as well. The river card came 8d, which I loved (as I was hoping someone hit the flush). I made a small bet into the pot (1/3 of the pot) and was instantly raised by the fellow in last position. I re-raised him, which lead to another raise by my opponent (all in) which I instantly called with my full house. When the cards opened, I was shocked to see that my boat had been sunk by a straight flush (runner runner straight flush), as my opponent showed 4d and 6d (see image below).

I went through this hand over and over again in my head and there is NO way that I would play the hand any differently. It was unfortunate that the cards came up as they did, because rarely do you lose when you flop a boat. There are dangers to slow playing monster hands (this was one that I was not expecting).

Pope Brian I

“If you are Catholic, this is the Vatican.” Brian Burke speaking about Toronto’s significance in the world of hockey.

Ask anyone in the NHL, or the media types who cover the league, for their opinion on “current” Anaheim Ducks GM Brian Burke and you are likely to hear him characterized with words like “arrogant, authoritarian, bold, brash, cocky, controlling, creative, defiant, no nonsense, old time hockey, a throw back, tough, unforgiving, unpredictable” and some other less than flattering terms – but you will never hear anyone characterize him as dumb; quite the opposite.

While those covering the league aren’t quite ready to join yours truly in bestowing the title of “Hockey God” on Burke, they will (somewhat grudgingly) acknowledge that he is one of the smarter men in the game.

Last Friday, the Anaheim Ducks donated a Stanley Cup ring to the Hockey Hall of Fame. The Toronto media was not going to allow Brian Burke to slip out of town without asking him about his interest in taking over the reins of our (counting Hazel in here) beloved Toronto Maple Leafs.

Burke’s response was classic – he said all the things that the Ducks ownership wanted to hear AND a lot of things that Leaf Nation wanted to hear – once again demonstrating the true genius of this man. On one hand, reiterating his commitment to the Anaheim Ducks; while on the other hand, leaving the door unlocked (if not slightly open) to the possibility that he would one day be interested in being Toronto’s top dog. And in classic Burke fashion, there was also some harsh criticism for the media.

Burke was at his defiant best in denying he had any interest in moving to Toronto – citing his family’s love for the city of Los Angeles, as well as his respect and commitment to the Ducks “great” owners. Step one in Burke’s plan was to reassure his current employers that he is committed to staying there – let the contract extension talks begin.

Burke quickly switched gears to chastise the media and Maple Leafs Sports Entertainment for what he called the slow and torturous disembowelment of former Leafs GM John Ferguson Jr. Brian always calls them like he seem them – and he wasn’t afraid to put the majority of the blame at the foot of MLSE, saying that the donkeys running the show there should have let Ferguson go before the season if they knew they weren’t committed to the guy. (That is where I respectfully, and very humbly, disagree with Hockey God).

The media continued to press about the job in Toronto – again, Burke was bold, bordering on combative, as he stated that he would have no problem working with MLSE and Richard Peddie. Burke’s soliloquy was almost hypothetical – talking about how important it is for Toronto to be relevant in the NHL, how it is a shame that an original six team is struggling, and how Toronto (along with Montreal) were the epicenter of hockey.

While it would be foolhardy to question Burke’s integrity and honesty in his commitment to the Ducks – Leaf Nation can only hope that Burke’s words were not intended to jump start extension talks with the Ducks, but rather a thinly veiled list of demands that would have to be met in order for Hockey God to lead Leaf Nation.

No one can say for certain what Burke is thinking – but if you are a member of Leaf Nation, you have to go with what you know about the man. The obvious thing is that he is “old-time hockey” personified – he has too much respect for the game and those in the game to throw anyone under the bus (in this case, interim GM Cliff Fletcher, MLSE or the Ducks) in stating his interest in hockey’s “plum job” – so let’s dispense with that.

First off, he understands the significance the Maple Leafs – they are THE most important franchise in the NHL, period. Burke’s words should be heeded by the donkeys in Detroit and Ottawa who like to think of themselves as “Hockey Town” or “Hockey Country”. Breathing life and bringing hope to this franchise is important to the NHL – the league’s leading revenue generator MUST be a playoff team and a contender for the ultimate prize.

Second, he is very well aware of what leading the Maple Leafs to a Stanley Cup would mean to his legacy in the world of hockey – he would be crowned “Modern Day Hockey God”. Like any great GM, he has an ego – and what better way to have it stroked than to bring the dream to millions of rabid hockey fans who are waiting for the ultimate prize. Burke has never shied away from a challenge, and the Leafs would present the ultimate challenge – one that he would certainly relish taking on.

Third, he doesn’t bow to anyone – he sets the tone for the way things go. His words and tone last Friday set the ground rules for him taking the job in Toronto. First, it would be his show – he could work with Richard Peddie…the operative word is “with” – he isn’t going to work “for” Richard Peddie or MLSE. Second, he put the media on notice that he wouldn’t or couldn’t be bullied or brow-beaten by the media. Where JFJ would retreat and ramble on in politically correct “legalese” about the state of the team – Burke would handle things much differently, putting the media on notice that a new sheriff had taken over and things would be done HIS way.

A lot of good things were said last Friday – does it mean that Burke unofficially stated his interest in the job? Leaf Nation would like to think so. Would he be the perfect man for the job? Without a doubt; Leaf Nation knows it and so does he.

“We” would like to take it as Burke effectively put the ball in the court of MLSE – its up to the suits to return the ball with an offer of $30 million for five years and complete control of hockey operations at the ACC. Leaf Nation can only hope – hey, how about nominating Hazel as a representative of Leaf Nation to act as a mediator and broker this deal to bring Burke to Toronto?

On behalf of Leaf Nation, we would welcome Pope Brian I to the Vatican of the hockey world.

The NHL starts up again tonight after a less than spectacular (actually more of a crap-tacular) All-Star Weekend. Leafs interim GM Cliff Fletcher has said that this team has two weeks to play itself into playoff contention or risk being gutted (to the extent possible with some of the ridiculous contracts JFJ left the team with).

The weight of the world is on Mats Sundin with everyone speculating/suggesting that for the good of the organization he must/will waive his no trade clause in order for the team to move him for prospects. Totally unfair to put the fate of the franchise on a guy that has done right by these donkeys for more than a decade. Mats is the only guy on the team that should get to call his own shot.

Last week ended being a break-even week – it gets turned around this week. Tonight’s suggestions:

San Jose over Edmonton – the Sharks have been road warriors this year, picking up 35 of their 31 points on the road; expect them to get it done tonight against the Oilers. Lay $100 on the Sharks – $145.

Dallas over Vancouver – the Stars weren’t great going into All-Star weekend, but they catch a break tonight as Roberto Luongo won’t play tonight. Lay $100 on the Stars + $115.

Columbus over Phoenix – you have to like the Blue Jackets at home against a team that is only two points behind them in the conference standings. Lay $100 on the Jackets - $145.

That’s it for today gang – thanks for taking the time to check in. Special thanks to Tilt, who is recovering from a horrible beat at the poker table, for posting this. Have a great one peeps.

Hazel, here’s hoping things are groovy in your world.


Thursday, January 24, 2008

Vegas Report

After being home for two days from Las Vegas, I think I've recovered enough to write this entry. For the record, I would advise against going down to Las Vegas to play poker AND conduct a bachelor party. While one can't avoid gambling in Vegas, it is very adviseable to refrain from playing poker and drinking heavily. I watched many people walk into the poker room at 2 am and simply lose $200 to $500 in a matter of minutes because they are too drink to play (also a bit of personal experience - but I can't recall that - damn Gin!!!) In any case, for those of you planning on going down to Las Vegas here are some recommendations for poker rooms:

Cesear's Palace: The poker room is located right beside the Sportbook and Pure Nightclub. If you play in the evenings, you'll walk past some of the most beautiful women you've seen. The poker room itself is excellent. Large and spacious, the bonus is that you are isolated from the rest of the casino, making it a very good place to concentrate on your game. The attendents are friendly, but the cocktail waitresses are not as beautiful as those you'll see at the Venetian or Wynn. The type of play is average at best. You'll find one or two regulars at your table, but there are also many people who are willing to simply play cards. Be tight and aggressive and you should be profitable.

Wynn: Excellent poker room with absolutely gorgeous cocktail waitresses. The Wynn is the newest poker room on the strip and takes the concept to a whole new level. The cocktail waitresses are centrefold material and the play is ok. Didn't play here all that much, simply because I kept getting distracted. Play is average at best.

Excalibre: Probably the place where I made the most for the amount of time I spent at the table. In an hour, I ate up the table I was at pretty easily going from a buy in of $100 to $300. Many calling stations and action junkies. Poker room is dull and needs to be updated. Overall Excalibre was tacky and I would never play there again - even if I was making money.

MGM Grand: Has a nice poker room. Their tournament structure sucks (if you want to play tournaments, go to Cesear's). The room is nice with lots of things to view as your playing. Dealers here could use some work - I had one guy make 3 mistakes in 15 minutes. The table I was at at the MGM was pretty tight with a mix of tourists and regulars. Another good place to make a profit - especially after dinner hours.

Venetian: Probably my favorite poker room from this trip. The Venetian has incredible looking cocktail waitresses (who serve red bull) and the staff in the poker room are fantastic. Regulars in this poker room include many celebrities. The game is fairly loose, but the post-flop play is fantastic (be very weary of the commentary).

The Palace: Don't even bother playing poker here.

Binions: I really wanted to visit and play here, but when I got down to Freemont St. I was completely disappointed. The place is old and worn out. Definately needs to be updated.

FYI - for those of you into the "ladies" Speariment Rhino is the place to be!!! Highly recommended.

10 more days of this???

Hey Peeps and anyone else checking in. A special “Hey” goes out to Hazel Mae if she is checking in.

“The Counterpart” better known to those of you who check in here regularly as “Quikdraw” has made no bones about his dislike of the two week break between NFL Conference Championship games and Super Bowl Sunday; citing an over saturation of media coverage on everything from the mundane to the downright insane. After reading what is passing for news related to the Super Bowl – who in their right mind could disagree with him? (Except for the nonsense that would involve canceling any show that featured the lovely Hazel Mae – Quikdraw, you are a very very baaaaaad man).

It took less than a week for an intrepid reporter (Boston Herald) to break the first “billboard material” story of the Super Bowl. You’d think this kind of ridiculous stuff wouldn’t be given any credence – but hey, a story is a story right? (insert UGH) This time the media is going to fire up the hometown team with a story that Giants DE Osi Umenyiora is calling Patriots OL Matt Light dirty. It is summed up with:

“Umenyiora’s remarks, however, are coming 11 days shy of a Super Bowl date with the Patriots, who are the masters of utilizing bulletin-board material. Whatever his motivation, Umenyiora’s comments will be used to add spark and spice to the proceedings before and after the teams get to Arizona.”

That’s what you call “insight”. Jeezus.

If that wasn’t bad enough – leave it to Ron Jaworski to show you how much he more knows about football than you do, or anyone else for that matter (Boston Globe). While us dumb fans discussed Sunday’s games – Ron showed everyone why he is THE Monday Night Football guy (forget Kornheiser, he’s a donkey and his shtick stopped being mildly amusing years ago). Big Ron poured over the game tape of the New England/San Diego game to pinpoint the exact play that Pats QB Tom Brady (may have) injured his ankle. Actually, Ron is so damn thorough that he picked out, not one, but TWO plays.

“When I went back and looked at it from the sideline angle, the end zone angle, the TV angle, and some angles that NFL Films cameras had, I thought at the top of the drop[back] - it was a five-step drop - he rolled over his ankle a bit. It looked to me that he tweaked his ankle a bit; the delivery was very awkward. When he followed through, he brought his right leg around and didn't want to transfer weight on it. Then on one of the NFL Films cameras, you could see him looking back at the spot, almost as if he was asking, 'What did I hit?' His cleat got caught."

Big Ron didn’t stop there though – this guy is (should be) committed to providing the answers to the question that every Pats fan is asking.

“An early third-quarter play in which Brady was sacked by Chargers defensive end Luis Castillo also stood out to Jaworski. ‘As he was in the pile, he was hit a little higher on that same ankle,’ Jaworski said. ‘So on the first one, he rolled the ankle on the plant, and on this one, a body rolled over it on the pile and he got up a little gingerly.”

Methinks Ron needs to spend a little less time in the film room and a bit more time with his family – football fans across North America would welcome a timeout from the man aptly known as “Jaws”.

Almost as amusing as Jaws’ indepth analysis are the opinions volunteered by some of Boston’s finest (assumption) medical practioners who, while not treating Tom Brady’s suspected injury, are more than willing to provide a hypothetical diagonsis of his injury and serverity of said alleged injury and a prognosis for his availability to the big game. Paging Dr. Nick Riviera, Dr. Riviera.

Wow, if these guys have that much free time – send them up here; we have a shortage of qualified doctors in Canada. On second thought…no thanks.

Not to be outdone – Quikdraw’s favourite, ummmm “girls” (Boston Herald’s Inside Track girls) posted a story about the possibility that New England’s Champ of Champs, Tom Brady, may have hair plugs. This seems to have riled some of the girls’ readers who are standing up to defend their golden boy – while some point to this as some horrific character flaw. Still waiting for Seattle Seahawks QB, and former BC Eagle, Matt Hasselbeck to chyme in with a “Who cares?”

Well, so much for a recap of what the donkeys that make up Toronto’s sports media have to say about our (counting Hazel) beloved Toronto Maple Leafs.

Toronto Maple Leafs captain Mats Sundin scores the winner with less than 30 seconds left in regulation in the Leafs’ 3-2 win over Washington. For those of you counting, it was Sundin’s 544th goal, tying him for 24th on the all-time list with Maurice “The Rocket” Richard.

Toronto Maple Leafs G Vesa Toskala made 30 saves, including robbing Ovechkin more than once, in last night’s win.

Vancouver Canucks D Mattias Ohlund had two goals in regulation to help the Canucks get to a shootout, where they beat the Blues by a count of 3-2.

The week got off to a late start, but a good one with the Leafs and Canucks winning. Tonight’s suggestions:

Anaheim over Los Angeles – normally don’t like backing teams playing on consecutive nights, especially when they lose the night before – but the Ducks will make up for losing to the Wings last night when they travel across town to play the Kings. Lay $100 on the Ducks - $160.

Dallas over Buffalo – the Sabres are crashing right now, they can’t score on the power play and can’t kill off penalties; while the Stars have been one of the league’s better home teams. Lay $100 on the Stars - $155.

Philadelphia over Pittsburgh – the Flyers have played the Penguins well this year, and that was WITH Crosby in the lineup. Philly will be looking to atone for an embarrassing loss to the Devils earlier in the week. Lay $100 on the Flyers - $180.

Other suggestions: Tampa over Ottawa, Columbus over Chicago, and New Jersey over Montreal.

That’s it for today gang – thanks for taking the time to check in; scroll down to read the latest entries from Quikdraw.

Hazel, here’s hoping things are groovy in your world.


Wednesday, January 23, 2008

One down...but the other won't go

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

The news Leaf Nation was waiting came Tuesday morning when TSN reported that the Toronto Maple Leafs had fired GM John Ferguson Jr. and would name former Leafs GM Cliff Fletcher as an interim GM who would stay on as a consultant with the team once a permanent GM (cough cough Brian cough Burke cough cough). The announcement was good, bad and scary.

The Good
While some members of the Toronto media, most notably (but not surprisingly) Damien "the donkey" Cox were quick to call the hiring of Fletcher a mistake. This was a banner day for Cox - pointing to Fletcher's previous tenure in Toronto as proof positive as to why Fletcher is the wrong man. Cox was up to his usual tricks, pointing out how Fletcher often traded youth for established veterans as a quick fix for what ailed the Leafs. Of course, Damien doesn't mention that it was a different time, a different era, when there was no salary cap; he also neglected to mention that most of the "young guys" Fletcher traded didn't go on to outstanding careers. Never mind.

Hiring Fletcher was the best move Toronto could make at this point in time. Fletcher has proven that he can put together big trades involving a number of players switching teams - Fletcher is the one guy that can put a trade together and get the Leafs some cap relief. While everyone points to trading Sundin - don't be surprised if Fletcher manages to unload one of the overpriced, underachieving free agents JFJ signed. The most important thing for Leaf Nation is that Fletcher was pretty clear that he would make a decision within the next two weeks about what the Leafs were going to do - either look to make the playoffs or start looking to move bodies. The events of the last few days should give Leaf Nation hopes that this team can make the playoffs - if they do...who knows?

Just wondering - is JFJ's firing a sign from Hazel that she is still a member of the Nation? Was that Hazel Karma at work? Relax was just a joke.

The Bad
Maple Leafs President Richard Peddie (who should also be removed from hockey operations) announced that the organization would be looking for a GM to come in and also assume the role of President. Of course it would be too much to hope that Peddie would given the incoming President/GM full control of the team - Peddie will stay on as CEO of the team, meaning he has ultimate control. Small victories I guess...

The Scary
Peddie announced that he and sports lawyer (and grossly overtanned) Gordon Kirke would handle the search for the Leafs new GM. This is akin to Dumb and Dumber conducting the search - Leaf Nation can only hope that Larry Tannenbaum gets involved in this one and forces these two clowns to give the incoming guy the Bryan Colangelo deal. Brian Burke, Brian Burke, Brian FREAKIN Burke.

The final verdict on Fletcher will be determined in a few months - today though, it is a good day for the Toronto Maple Leafs. Under his watch, the Leafs enjoyed the prestige not seen since the days of Conn Smythe (that would be before Hazel was born) - the players liked him, the coach liked him and the city (except for Damien Cox) loved him. All he has to do to make his abbreviated tenure a rousing success is dump ONE big contract (preferrably Bryan McCabe).

Just wondering...

The Bruins dropped their sixth consecutive game to the Montreal Canadiens - the same Canadiens that lost to the Penguins minus Crosby - by an embarrassing count of 8-2 . Can any Bruins fans seriously say that the Bruins are not the Habs bitches?

The SenaTards welcomed their captain/inspirational leader/god Krusty the Klown (Alfredsson) back with another lackluster performance. The Tards were out-skated, out-worked, out-hit and were absolutely dominated by the Panthers - this time going down by a count of 5-3 loss. The people's choice, Ray Emery, was beaten five times - Martin Gerber...COME ON DOWN!

Seriously, when Tim Thomas is named as a replacement for Martin Brodeur - it ceases to be an All-Star game. Just call it what it was when it was conceived to help former Leafs forward Ace Bailey - call it a Charity Game. Every year it seems like more and more players are opting out of the showcase game.

Why is TMZ breaking news on Tom Brady's foot cast? Why is it even news TWO weeks before the Super Bowl? Are the sports books in Vegas having Brady tailed? As an aside, for those of you that watch TMZ's half hour show - doesn't one of the blonde girls sitting behind a desk remind you of Muddy Mudskipper of Ren & Stimpy? So much for the notion that only beautiful people make it on television.

A sign of the apocalypse - Eli Manning winning a Super Bowl.

The abbreviated Fletcher Era starts tonight with the Leafs hosting Ovechkin and the Caps - a good 10 game stretch would do a lot towards making the playoffs.

Florida Panthers G Tomas Vokoun made 40 saves in a 5-3 win over the Tards.

New Jersey Devils D Johnny Oduya had a goal and three assists to lead the Devils to a 7-3 pasting of the Flyers.

Nashville Predators G Dan Ellis stopped all 38 shots he faced to lead the Preds to a 4-0 win over the Avalanche in Colorado.

Vancouver over St. Louis - the Canucks have dropped a couple in a row at home, they should get things turned around against the Blues who have been struggling. Lay $100 on the Canucks - $165.

Toronto over Washington - No excuses now for the Leafs, they've got two weeks to prove they deserve to be playing in Toronto. Lay $100 on the Leafs - $125.

The three play will be updated later - thanks for taking the time to check in. Have a great one peeps.

Hazel, here's hoping things are groovy in your world.


Tuesday, January 22, 2008

The weekend that was

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

Mailbag 2008?
Not since the days of one of Thoughts of Hazel Mae's departed bloggers has there been a mailbag here. I'm probably stretching it with this one - but hey, a comment is a statement is a question. To Anonymous from Sunday Three Play entry: if you are reading this, you are absolutely right - the Vegas picks were weak. On the whole, the Vegas total wasn't bad (- $50) because I was able to call Tilt to play a few more games to minimize the losses - not a great five days, but definitely not awful.

This entry has featured Three Play picks for two and a half years - the year start with Week 1 of the NFL and ends on Opening Night of the next NFL season. This year's total is awful (see below), but over the course of the first two years the total ended up even - the winning percentage was good, but laying your cash on favourites can hurt - not great, but certainly nothing to be embarrassed about. The picks are for entertainment purposes only - if for nothing else, to show the absurdity of gambling - but some people check in for advice (either to bet on it, or go against the picks).

What I will say is this - while breaking even over two years isn't great, there were 10 games that I could point to that resulted in a $3,300 loss instead of $1,000 gain. IF 10 big favourites had not crapped the bed - the total would have been about + $4000. It comes down to that.

My picks sucked this weekend - it happens, what can I say? Like I said, the year to date total is really ugly right now, but it was like this last year and the loss was erased before Week 1 of the NFL. Keep checking back in - you can be the watchdog, so I won't be accused of cheating.

Rants/Observations on:

AFC/NFC Championship games

The saying, at least in the NHL, goes:

"You earn your money during the regular season, you earn your reputation in the playoffs."

Never has that rung as true as it did yesterday. Green Bay Packers QB Brett Favre gets far too much love from the media and fans - another favoured Packers team goes down to a big underdog in the Giants. For all of Favre's regular season accomplishments, the playoff record is 11 - 10 - hardly the kind of record that one of the game's greats would post. Favre was his dumb old self yesterday: throwing into triple coverage, throwing interceptions trying to force the ball into the wind, abandoning the running game far too early - it was a typical Brett Favre day in the big game. He gets all the credit when they win, and is rarely held accountable when they lose - same old, same old this year. Great quarterbacks lead their teams to victory - Brett Favre, very good, but NOT great.

In the category of over-rated - Green Bay CB Al Harris. How many times did they talk about this guy being a Pro-Bowler? Harris looked like a rented mule on the field against Plaxico Burress - he looked like a chump out there. You would think my man Troy Aikman would have done some homework on Green Bay's dream season - facing the likes of Jon Kitna, Rex Grossman/Brian Griese and Tarvaris Jackson twice a season AND playing a last place schedule? Geezus, Hazel could have made the Pro-Bowl playing CB for the Packers.

The New York Giants may be one of the worst Super Bowl participants in recent memory - I still can't figure out how these guys manage to win. They didn't deserve to beat the Cowboys, they should have lost yesterday to the Packers - I have a sickening feeling in the pit of my stomach that this Super Bowl is shaping up to be a repeat of the Super Bowl that saw a BORING Giants team under Bill Parcells beat the high-powered Buffalo Bills with Jim Kelly? Something tells me the stinking Giants are going to pull an upset - just to piss Dallas Cowboys' fans off. The only good thing, if there can be such a thing, if the Giants win the Super Bowl is that they did it WITHOUT Tiki Barber.

Congratulations to the New England Patriots and their fans for a good win against the Chargers - overcoming three interceptions by Brady and indifferent day from Randy Moss they still win. While you have plenty to celebrate - is anyone a little concerned that they didn't steamroll the Chargers who played without L.T. and had Phillip Rivers playing on one leg? that somewhat disconcerting? I'm sure Tom Brady will be fine for Super Bowl Sunday...its an air cast right?

Media types often have this smug smile when the athletes they make their living covering, show a disdain for them and members of their profession. Some media members wear an athlete's contempt for them like a badge of honour - a sign that they have finally arrived or that they are pretty damn important. There are a lot of smug smiles around the ACC in Toronto these days - with many of the Maple Leafs not being very talkative these days. So while these jackasses pat themselves on the back after another "good column" - they should really take a look back at what they wrote and try to figure out why some guys don't have time for them.

The "visionaries" in the Toronto media are putting forth the notion that the organization should be losing games (tanking the season) in order to get a lottery pick in the upcoming draft. While these donkeys try to make a convincing argument about how it would be good for the future of the team - do they actually expect a professional athlete to roll over and not play to win...for the good of an organization they might not be with by the time these great prospects come up? I may be a crazy member of Leaf Nation who hopes they make the playoffs - hey, if they don't, I've gotten used to it. But Leaf Nation cannot, will not, forgive any player that quits playing. Gee, you don't think the likes of Damien Cox would love to see the players throw in the towel on the season just so he could rip them for being an ever worse team than he has made them out to be?

Funny - the Leafs have blown two goal leads in six or seven games this year, losing every one. While this is obviously a problem - shouldn't Leaf Nation take some solace that the guys can compete? Add seven wins to the total and they'd be a playoff team - just something to think about...there is still hope.

The SenaTards are a glowing example of the state of the NHL with 30 teams and a salary cap. If you have read this page in the past, you know I what I think of "the new NHL". Most teams have 5 or 6 top notch players and the rest are fill ins. The Tards, playing without two of their three best players have lost two in a row and look like they aren't even able to compete. It looks good on these clowns and their fans who were talking Stanley Cup in November after getting out to a 15-2 start; fast forward a couple of months and the Tards are sporting a 15-12-4 record and looking like chum for the Western Conference's top teams. So much for the donkeys that have boasted that the Tards have players in the AHL who could be solid third liners on most teams.

One last question to fans of the SenaTards - is it possible to have a goaltending controversy, in the true sense, when both of your goalies suck?

Speaking of looking like chum (I'm being polite), the New York Rangers have brought new meaning to the team sucking "Ace". The Rangers were thought by many, me included, to have THE team to beat in the Eastern Conference this season. Their free agents have done nothing, their defence is soft and if Henrik Lundqvist isn't the reincarnation of Terry Sawchuk on any given night, they lose. The Rangers are the season's biggest disappointment - Gomez was overrated and overpaid, but I thought Drury would bring more to the table.

Question for Bruins fans (all 17 of you) - How can you stand to watch these guys play? They're winning, but can you even stand to watch these guys? Claude Julien is getting high praise for turning these guys around...but seriously, they play NOT to lose - they are without a doubt one of the most boring teams to watch. Geezus, Hazel has her work cut out for her trying to find "highlights" of these guys. Enjoy the playoffs - you won't be there for long.

Speaking of "won't be there for long in the playoffs" - the Montreal Canadiens game against Pittsburgh showed why these guys can't be taken seriously come April. When Georges Laraque dominates your defence - you have a problem. The Habs, facing a Penguins team without Sidney Crosby, were dominated physically and didn't want to engage. The Penguins showed that when push comes to shove - the Habs pack it in and call it a night. They are a team who have built their record on the basis of getting six or seven power play chances a night - stay out of the box and you'll beat these guys.

For anonymous - back later with tonight's three play suggestions.

That's it for today - thanks for taking the time to check in. Tilt should be posting later today about his trip to Vegas.

Hazel, here's hoping things are groovy in your world.


Monday, January 21, 2008

Vegas Report

After being home for two days from Las Vegas, I think I've recovered enough to write this entry. For the record, I would advise against going down to Las Vegas to play poker AND conduct a bachelor party. While one can't avoid gambling in Vegas, it is very adviseable to refrain from playing poker and drinking heavily. I watched many people walk into the poker room at 2 am and simply lose $200 to $500 in a matter of minutes because they are too drink to play (also a bit of personal experience - but I can't recall that - damn Gin!!!) In any case, for those of you planning on going down to Las Vegas here are some recommendations for poker rooms:

Cesear's Palace: The poker room is located right beside the Sportbook and Pure Nightclub. If you play in the evenings, you'll walk past some of the most beautiful women you've seen. The poker room itself is excellent. Large and spacious, the bonus is that you are isolated from the rest of the casino, making it a very good place to concentrate on your game. The attendents are friendly, but the cocktail waitresses are not as beautiful as those you'll see at the Venetian or Wynn. The type of play is average at best. You'll find one or two regulars at your table, but there are also many people who are willing to simply play cards. Be tight and aggressive and you should be profitable.

Wynn: Excellent poker room with absolutely gorgeous cocktail waitresses. The Wynn is the newest poker room on the strip and takes the concept to a whole new level. The cocktail waitresses are centrefold material and the play is ok. Didn't play here all that much, simply because I kept getting distracted. Play is average at best.

Excalibre: Probably the place where I made the most for the amount of time I spent at the table. In an hour, I ate up the table I was at pretty easily going from a buy in of $100 to $300. Many calling stations and action junkies. Poker room is dull and needs to be updated. Overall Excalibre was tacky and I would never play there again - even if I was making money.

MGM Grand: Has a nice poker room. Their tournament structure sucks (if you want to play tournaments, go to Cesear's). The room is nice with lots of things to view as your playing. Dealers here could use some work - I had one guy make 3 mistakes in 15 minutes. The table I was at at the MGM was pretty tight with a mix of tourists and regulars. Another good place to make a profit - especially after dinner hours.

Venetian: Probably my favorite poker room from this trip. The Venetian has incredible looking cocktail waitresses (who serve red bull) and the staff in the poker room are fantastic. Regulars in this poker room include many celebrities. The game is fairly loose, but the post-flop play is fantastic (be very weary of the commentary).

The Palace: Don't even bother playing poker here.

Binions: I really wanted to visit and play here, but when I got down to Freemont St. I was completely disappointed. The place is old and worn out. Definately needs to be updated.

FYI - for those of you into the "ladies" Speariment Rhino is the place to be!!! Highly recommended.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Sunday's Picks

Quick post for Three Play Peeps - resisting temptation to talk about the Maple Leafs today.

New York Rangers over Boston - Bruins won yesterday, expect the Rangers to even the score today. Lay $100 on the Rangers - $185.

San Diego + 14 over New England - see yesterday's entry. Lay $100 on the Chargers plus the points.

Green Bay - 7.5 over NY Giants - see yesterday. Lay $100 on the Packers

Philadelphia over Ottawa - Tards are reeling with injury concerns - so much for their great depth. Flyers get it done today. Lay $100 on the Flyers - $145.

Enjoy your Championship Sunday.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Would you like nuts with that?

Ok, I had to log back on to post this one.

For our American friends - back in the day when political correctness wasn't an issue, Canadians in the central part of the country would often poke fun at our Atlantic cousins in Newfoundland - kind of like those of you in northern states make fun of rednecks and hillbillies down south.

A shocking story from a Dairy Queen franchise in Newfoundland appeared on the Canadian Broadcasting Company. It is about some of the hijinks that goes on when students are left to run a business. Pictured is an employee who decided to moon anyone who happened to be passing by the drive thru window - after showing his bare white ass, he didn't bother to wash his hands...wonder if someone ordered a banana split. The story can be found here. The CBC's report can be found at

The funny part of the story is how this story came to light - it seems as though one of these geniuses thought that the shenanigans were the height of comedy and decided to post the videos on facebook. And Atlantic Canadians wonder why the rest of the country like to poke fun at them for being a little less than brilliant.

So the next time you go into the Dairy Queen and the kid behind the counter asks you - "would you like nuts with that?" Be very afraid - the person serving you may just be a transplant from Atlantic Canada.


NFL Sunday and more

Tomorrow presents an interesting dilemma for yours truly. Like everyone else, I entered a couple of playoff pools - naturally, I had the Cowboys going to the Super Bowl and beating New England - while I thought the Cowboys loss cost me a pretty big pool, I found out that IF the Giants manage to beat the Packers, I stand in line to get a share of the big prize. So, I'm faced with a dilemma: do I put aside my hatred of the Giants and hope they pull one out and win a few bucks, or do I remain loyal Cowboys fan who hopes to see them crushed in Green Bay. I'm going with the latter.


San Diego + 14 over New England - giving up 14 points may be a bit too much for New England for a couple of reasons: 1) they haven't won by more than 11 points in their last five games; 2) the Chargers are a team that can pose problems for New England, their defence is physical and fast and their offence is predicated on the run - something the Patriots have had trouble stopping; 3) this could be the kind of game where Belichick pulls his starters early to rest them for the Super Bowl. New England will win this game, but it stinks of a back door cover. The Chargers cover the 14.

Green Bay - 7.5 over NY Giants - the word is that Tony Romo hurt his thumb early on in last Sunday's game against the Giants; that would explain his sub-par passing day. The Giants are banged up in the secondary, so Brett Favre should have a big day against them. Green Bay should be able to slow the Giants pass rush down with running plays and quick slants against a patchwork secondary that will try to avoid giving up the big play. Green Bay wins this one by at least 10 points.

The Toronto media won't stop talking about how Toronto should be looking to conduct a fire sale - even in January. Everyone likes to criticize the media for one thing or another, the collective "we" here certainly do, sometimes our criticisms may be unduly harsh - but other times...

Case in point - the prevailing thinking amongst the media is that Toronto MUST trade Mats Sundin for draft picks. This is a shining example of jackasses throwing something our there as well thought out, reasoned, "expert" analysis of what Toronto is lacking. Their solution is to trash the team and get younger in a hurry - while it looks good on the surface, the logical question these morons ignore is:

What kind of draft picks are the Leafs going to get from a team that is a contender for the Stanley Cup? What kind of players are these teams going to give up?

To trade Sundin to a Cup contender for a package of players/draft picks would at BEST bring back a draft pick in the 25-30 range - hardly where you expect to get an impact player. The only "NHL Ready" players the Leafs would get back are young third or fourth liners with potential (emphasize potential) to become top six forwards.

You'd expect these donkeys to know this and more - if these donkeys knew half as much as they professed to know, they'd be calling for the ONLY logical trade for Sundin (provided he waives his no-trade clause - which he doesn't have to). The only team the Leafs should be talking about trading Sundin to is Anaheim - the Ducks own Edmonton's first round pick in 2008 (projected to be the best draft in a decade with at least 5 can't miss prospects - any trade discussion would start with the first round pick acquired from Edmonton (likely to be a top 5 pick), and prospect Bobby Ryan with another player to be added.

Trading Sundin to any other team wouldn't bring back half as much as Toronto would get from Anaheim - but then again, when you think about it, the donkeys in Toronto who are suggesting trades for Sundin are the same guys who would love to see the Leafs blow it so they would have material for years to come.

The situation in Toronto is akin to figuring out a Rubik's cube - smart Leaf fans (like yours truly) know that the only way out of this mess is going to be to part with the few decent players Toronto has as part of a package with other overpaid guys. The Leafs, in order to try and get rid of the likes of Jason Blake, Darcy Tucker and/or Pavel Kubina are likely going to have to include a player like Alex Steen, Matt Stajan or even Tomas Kaberle with one or more of the overpaid free agent busts. Unfortunately, JFJ has put the organization in the position of taking THREE steps backwards, to take one step forward. There have been rumours that the Blackhawks are showing interest in Tomas Kaberle - if I'm Toronto's GM, I'm listening, but any deal for our best defenceman would have to include Jason Blake going to Chicago with Kaberle. See what I'm getting at?

This issue will be further explored in the coming days and weeks - tonight though, the focus is on beating the Sabres and trying to claw our way up the standings.

Tilt checked in from Vegas this afternoon - he staggered into his hotel room at 6:30 am Vegas time and had no clue of where he had been or what had happened to him in the previous six or so hours. I'm thinking - GREAT, this is the dummy I'm trusting to lay down some coin on my picks. Geezus. I'm going to let him sober up and put something in for tonight - he got his ass out of bed late today so the Rangers and Blues were out as today's feature picks. We'll see if I ended up hating Tilt or thanking him for saving me some money.

Calgary Flames C Daymond Langkow had three goals to lead the Flames to a 6-1 pasting of the Kings.

Carolina Hurricanes C Eric Staal also had a hat-trick in a 7-2 beatdown of the Edmonton Oilers.

Buffalo Sabres C Derek Roy, coming off an injury, had three goals and an assist in a 10-1 hammering of the Atlanta Thrashers - going with Roy over Stafford, because Roy is on the Maeple Leafs roster in yahoo fantasy pool.

Tilt blew my first two picks today - so here's the best of the rest:

Montreal over Pittsburgh - the Penguins lost Sidney Crosby last night and rolled over for the Lightning without their captain in the lineup. Things don't look good for them tonight against a rested (and hot) Habs team. Lay $100 on the Habs - $170.

Vancouver over LA Kings - the Kings got hammered last night, and I expect it to continue tonight against Luongo and the Canucks. Lay $100 on the Canucks - $240.

Philadelphia over NY Islanders - the Flyers have played the Islanders well this year, expect it to continue tonight. Lay $100 on the Flyers - $115.

Tampa Bay over Ottawa - the SenaTards have some injury issues, the latest being questionable status of Krusty the Klown, aka Daniel Alfredsson - the Lightning are coming off big win over Pittsburgh and should carry momentum into Ottawa tonight. Lay $100 on the Lightning + $180. Upset special.

That's it for today gang - thanks for taking the time to check in.

Hazel, here's hoping things are groovy in your world.


Friday, January 18, 2008

Say it ain't so Hazel...Leaf Nation wants a sign

Hey Peeps and anyone else checking in. A special "Hey" goes out to Hazel Mae if she is checking in, and we really hope she is today.

The day started out great - Leafs beat the Bruins in a shootout, Quikdraw emailed to say that Hazel was in the stands for yesterday's game, and the picks went well (I'm not worried about Tilt carrying my cash). Yup, it was a good day to be a member of Leaf Nation.

It was actually a great day...until this afternoon - what is wrong with this picture?

Some of our friends in Boston checked in to stick it to Leaf Nation - sending in this pic and raising questions about the always lovely Hazel Mae's allegiance to Leaf Nation and the hometown team. Our friends were all to happy to point out/suggest that with her choice of seats anywhere in the TD Banknorth Garden - Hazel chose to sit behind the Bruins bench as a sign that she has switched sides.

Nice try guys (and girl) but Leaf Nation isn't buying it - that would be akin to a Boston Red Sox fan switching teams because they moved to another city. Leaf Nation knows that Hazel sat there because she works with the Bruins - it is a case of professional courtesy. You just don't quit on the Blue and White.

Hazel if you are checking in - Leaf Nation would appreciate a sign of some sort that you are still with us and that we can count on Hazel Karma. Say it ain't so Hazel...say you haven't switched over to the dark side.

That's it for tonight - oh yeah, I took the home game if you are checking in from Vegas Tilt...BOOYAH.

I'm Out.

Friday Night Picks

Makin' it brief - while Tilt is playing poker in Vegas, and doing well as of his last call, I'm hitting a home game tonight and I'm gonna take it down.

Tonight's NHL Picks - the total for the week is more or less even now.

New Jersey over Florida - the Panthers are reeling and the Devils are steaming after dropping one to the Isles. Devils have won their last seven home games against Florida. Lay $100 on the Devils - $210.

Chicago over Colorado - upset special. The Avs will be without Paul Statsny tonight - as if playing without Joe Sakic and Ryan Smyth wasn't enough. Avs first home game after long road know what the trend says about that. Lay $100 on the Blackhawks + $140.

Calgary over LA Kings - the Flames return home after a road trip, but I'm going to buck the trend here and say they turn it up a notch or two to beat the Kings. Lay $100 on the Flames - $210.

That's it for now - I can't believe what I just found in my time to address it now, maybe later, maybe tomorrow. Thanks for taking the time to check in.

I'm Out!

Hazel in the house - Leafs Win!

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

How many times have you read "Hazel Karma" here? My man Quikdraw emailed to say that Hazel was in the stands at the TD Banknorth Garden, looking stunning as always, to watch HER Toronto Maple Leafs win 3-2 in a shootout over the Bruins. Guess we can all safely assume that Hazel is still a member in good standing of Leaf Nation.

We believe in the power of Hazel Karma - ok, its really just me, since Quikdraw and Tilt aren't buying it - but it looks like not even Hazel Karma is enough to save the job of Maple Leafs embattled GM John Ferguson Jr. For weeks now, Canadian hockey experts (using that term loosely) have been speculating that Ferguson's time is running out at the ACC.

It looks like a foregone conclusion as the media has shifted its focus from portraying JFJ as a delusional fool who thinks his team is a legitimate playoff team - now, he is being painted as a victim of an unfeeling, evil corporate beast (read: representatives of the Ontario Teacher's Pension Fund who sit on the Board) who won't do the honourable thing and release him from his duties with the team now that, for all intents and purposes, his authority to do anything has been taken from him. Stories are surfacing that Ferguson approached the Board of Directors a couple of years ago and presented a "rebuilding plan" that was rejected - while on one hand, it certainly is a case of the greedy corporate monster wanting playoff revenue at all costs, on the other, he accepted it. He made the deal with the devil, so no tears shed now.

Hell, TSN even got hockey god, Brian Burke, to comment on the situation, and not surprisingly Burke sided with his colleague, saying that it is very hard to be in the position of a lame duck GM. I'm not one to ever question Brian Burke, but this is a little much.

First, why should Ferguson be allowed to walk away from this colossal mess with what amounts to six months severance pay? He should be forced to sit there and watch this mess unfold (or right itself) until the organization finds a suitable replacement - either "interim" or permanent. We (me, Leaf Nation and Hazel) have to watch it, he should too; at least he's getting paid for it. He should have to answer questions each and every day about how this team will take years to get out from under a number of his awful decisions.

Second, why shouldn't the organization take its time in at least (on the surface) trying to find a suitable replacement - be it interim or permanent. Some have been very critical of the Leafs talking to former GM Cliff Fletcher - saying that it isn't fair to JFJ. I'm wondering - since when have these donkeys found principles? On an interim basis, there probably isn't a better GM to come in and purge the roster of deadweight. But, then what would these donkeys have to write about? Except for Damien Cox, he'd find something wrong - even if the Leafs managed to trade Bryan McCabe for Sidney Crosby straight up...he'd still find something bad.

What it comes down to is this - JFJ took the job that many others, including hockey god, didn't want; a job where he would have to report to a Board of Directors who only cared about the bottom line. Many before him turned it down saying the situation was untenable and they weren't willing to risk their reputations and careers - JFJ took it and now he'll have to deal with the consequences. He could have made it work, the Board always let him spend what he wanted - he screwed up, plain and simple.

Hazel Mae for GM of the Maple Leafs. Think of it, Hazel's Toronto Maeple Leafs - I like it.

Toronto Maple Leafs forward Alex Steen came back from being down with the flu to score a goal in regulation and the clincher in a shootout to lead the Leafs. Pretty sweet goal in the shootout - ask Hazel if you see her.

Toronto Maple Leafs G Vesa Toskala made 29 saves in regulation and two more in the shootout.

Toronto Maple Leafs C Mats Sundin had an assist in regulation and the first Leafs goal in the shootout - he was dominant last night and could have had a few goals.

Why three Leafs? The way we are going these days - it may be a while before a Maple Leafs player makes the grade.

The total for the week is pretty much even after winning both games last night - Dallas and Anaheim both got it done.

Tonight's picks post later this afternoon.

That's it for today gang - thanks for taking the time to check in. I see my man Quikdraw checked in last night with you thoughts on the media - scroll down.

Hazel, here's hoping things are groovy in your world - hope you enjoyed the game last night.

I'm Out

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Thursday's Picks

No time for anything this morning - for those of you checking in for Three Play picks: yesterday's selections split, not good when the Devils were heavy favourites. Tonight's picks:

Anaheim over Nashville - the Ducks are 12-2-2 over their last sixteen and play the first of a three game road trip. You know what they say about teams on the first game of a road trip. Lay $100 on the Ducks - $130.

Dallas over San Jose - the Sharks have been average at home, I read today that the visitor is 9-1 over the last 10 games between these two. Good enough for me to say Dallas. Lay $100 on the Stars + $170.

Leaving it at that.

If you are going to see the Leafs v Bruins - look for Hazel in the crowd...she's still a member of Leaf Nation so you can bet she'll be there. Be sure to say "Hey" to our girl Hazel.

I'm Out!

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Brothers from another mother

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

On any other day, the Toronto Maple Leafs win over the Carolina Hurricanes would be the lead item - but in case you haven't heard, everyone and their brother in Canada has written off the season.

So instead, an open letter to Canada's favourite sports journalist, Mr. Damien Cox of the Toronto Star, seems like the right thing to do.


Another great blog article today big guy. Man, you really hit the nail on the head with why the Maple Leafs can't move forward - who would have thought it was because they can't resist moving back? Leave it to you to spell it out for us dummies in Leaf Nation - we all feel so dumb now, why couldn't we see this?

It was great to see you so eloquently state how hiring Cliff Fletcher, even on an interim basis, is case in point in why this organization has been an abject failure since their last Cup win in 1967 (if you throw out a large part of the nineties when they were among the league's best teams, even into the early part of the millennium). You did a masterful job of pointing out how Cliff Fletcher came in and tore this team apart - leaving them as a 68 point team.

Don't worry champ - I won't remind your loyal readers that Cliff Fletcher mortgaged the future of the franchise for what Leaf Nation called for - taking your best shot to win a Stanley Cup, as opposed to being perennial playoff participants with no shot of winning. Don't worry Damien, we live in a society where people have trouble remembering what they had for lunch, never mind what someone said two days ago. You remember? You've been on this management all year about not moving players, not demoting players, not firing those responsible for the mess - so I can see where Cliff Fletcher would be a horrible choice. The guy has a reputation for making impact trades, identifying weak links and finding some team to take them.

That's why I like you Damien - you just tell it like it is. That's why I stopped listening to sports radio and made The Star my information source for all things sports - especially my beloved Toronto Maple Leafs. Years back, I wasted a few months listening to that idiot Jim Rome - you may have heard of him (but I'm sure you wouldn't admit it).

But when I found you Damien - I saw the light. I turned off my radio and started reading The Star. Damien, you are a shining example of journalistic integrity in sports reporting - you are old school journalism...not like that jackass Jim Rome.

See Damien (because I'm sure you have never heard of the man who once referred to himself as "The Pimp in the Box") Jim's Shtick is that he talks down to his listeners - you know, he insults their intelligence by passing off common knowledge as words of wisdom that he came up with. Jim will go on and on and on about something as obvious as "the sky is blue" - he keeps repeating it, pausing for effect, and repeats it again. He does this because his "clones" (his listeners) don't know that already. His "clones", IF they are lucky enough to get through his screeners get on air to tell him how great he is - or they get their emails of praise for him read on air. Sometimes Jim reads an email that "he really doesn't want to talk about" but he does to discuss some mindless idea he came up with while in his thinking spot (the station's urinal) and he goes on and on and on about nothing - for his listeners.

We Canadians know you are too good for that Damien - well, you do seem to talk down a bit to your readers by telling them over and over about the problems with the Leafs organization, like we don't know what's wrong with them. Oh, and you have your winged monkeys who like to tell you how right you are when you post a blog - but I'm sure they are just "objective hockey fans" who happen to agree with everything you say. And, ummmm, your mailbag seems to be filled with people who, on a weekly basis, need to be reminded about the problems with the Leafs. But I'm sure it is all a coincidence. I'm sure an approachable guy like you gets hounded by Leaf fans every day, and I'm sure they tell you that they are planning the Stanley Cup route. You know, short term memory problems - I guess you have to keep reminding Leaf Nation that there is no chance for a Cup.

Rome is famous for rambling on about anything for minutes and minutes - telling it the way he sees it, only to end with "I'm not saying that, blah blah blah - I just don't know. I'm just saying that..." Can you believe that? He wastes all this hot air talking about something, only to back away from it at the end so that he can't be pinned down. I guess that's in the Radio 101 handbook.

Hey, don't you do stuff like that too? Sometimes? Like when you talked about how much the Leafs messed up with not hiring Scotty Bowman? Only to say a few days later that you weren't saying that Bowman was the right guy for the job, you were just saying MLSE messed up. Good thing too - especially since it would have looked like you were advocating for a 74 year old GM only to say two days later that a 72 year old "interim" GM would be too old - that it is a young man's game. I think it is absolutely brilliant how you dissect everything that is wrong with Toronto, but never offer your opinion on what should be done. I know you are a columnist and all, and your job is to stimulate discussion - but if you spend that much time analyzing things, shouldn't you have an idea of how to fix it? Or is it that you are don't know enough about what you are talking about to discuss a solution? Just wondering - what makes you hold back your wealth of knowledge from us dummies in Leaf Nation. You aren't worried that you might get called on it when your bulbous melon appears on TSN are you? Certainly you can offer more that "A change in management and personnel is needed" - c'mon champ, take a giant leap and tell all us dummies what you would do to fix it. You have such in depth knowledge of the NHL that it should be easy for you. The Damien Cox for GM faction wants to know.

You know Damien, come to think of it - you really don't say much of anything, other than pointing out the obvious...could it be that you are as bereft of ideas as you claim MLSE is?

Back to Rome, he's an arrogant, obnoxious, idiot who made a name for himself by hounding former Rams QB Jim Everett in an interview to the point where Everett got up and was about to beat Rome into next week.

You're too smart for that Damien - I mean, you're arrogant and obnoxious, but you aren't dumb enough to challenge a professional athlete to a fight; I'm guessing you probably learned better from being on the end of countless beatings in the school yard or play ground while you were growing up huh? Smart move champ.

Damien, I want to be the first to congratulate you for reaching new heights as a print journalist - with just the written word, you talented devil you, YOU have managed to reach the heights previously only known by America's favourite sports radio host Jim Rome. Congratulations Damien, you are now officially the biggest jackass in Canadian sports media. I always knew had it in you.

Damien, meet your brother from another mother.

p.s. Damien, I can't wait to hear you tell Leaf Nation to settle down and stop planning the parade route after yesterday's win over the Hurricanes.

For Damien Cox, Toronto Maple Leafs D Anton Stralman had an assist and was named the game's first star in a 5-4 win over Carolina.

Washington Capitals LW Alexander Semin had two goals and an assist in a 4-2 win over the Ottawa SenaTards. You know the drill when anyone sticks it to the Tards.

Colorado Avalanche G Jose Theodore stopped all 32 shots in a 3-0 win over the Lightning last night - pretty heady stuff when you post a shutout against Lecavalier and company in their building.

I said there would be a twist - normally, the three play suggestions are for entertainment purposes only, they are just that "suggestions". Well, for the next five days, the suggestions are "the picks" - my man Tilt is off to Vegas today and I gave him a few bucks to lay down, on my behalf, at the sports book. So for the rest of this week - I'll be right there with those of you who follow the three play. Tonight's picks

New Jersey over NY Islanders - Devils have been lights out at home lately; expect it to continue against the Isles who lost last night. Lay $100 on the Devils - $210.

New York over Buffalo - the Sabres at pretty much icing their farm team with the injuries they have, expect the Rangers to get it done at MSG tonight. Lay $100 on the Rangers - $130.

That's it for today gang - thanks for taking the time to check in.

Hazel, here's hoping things are groovy in your world.

I'm Out!

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Go ahead and crown their damn asses

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

You can probably guess what my thoughts are on the weekend that was in the world of sports.

First things first - congratulations to the New England Patriots for their fourth Super Bowl title in six years. Sunday's shockers have pretty much cleared the way for the Patriots to win it all again - please, no ridiculous emails about how Brett Favre and the Packers can beat the Patriots; Bill Belichick will develop a defensive game plan that will make Favre look a donkey (the donkey he really is). So while the likes of Pete Prisco (of CBS Sportsline) console themselves after Indianapolis' latest playoff failure with thoughts that the stinking New York Giants might be a charmed team; we (Tilt and I) will be the first to extend our hands and congratulate the Patriots and their fans on a historical season. Even Dennis Green would agree.

Still haven't recovered from the shock, embarrassment and disgust over the Cowboys imploding against the stinking Giants - while the world laughs at Terrell Owens, I'll give it up to him for getting in the game. The loss doesn't go on Terrell, it doesn't go on Romo, and it doesn't (as my esteemed counterpart suggests) go on the offensive line of the Cowboys (maybe Leonard Davis for a stupid and selfish penalty for plastering Strahan) the loss can be put squarely on the shoulders of:

Patrick Crayton for dropping a third down pass in the third quarter that resulted in the Giants getting the ball back in great position and going in for the score. Crayton solidified his status as Donkey of the Game by inexplicably coming to a stop on the five yard line on a play that was supposed to go to the end zone. If Jimmy Johnson was still coaching the Cowboys - Crayton's ass would have been on the bench after the first drop; and he would have been cut today, irregardless of the result.

Jacques Reeves for a stupid 15 yard facemasking penalty at the end of the first half when the Giants receiver was obviously trying to get out of bounds - 15 yards and the ball on the 25 yard line instead of the 40. Never mind how badly he was burned all day.

The Dallas Cowboys coaching staff for awful clock management that lead to wasting a couple of timeouts in the second half; not to mention their decision making in getting away from running Marion Barber and trying to get the ball to Owens. Cowboys offensive coordinator Jason Garrett is seen as a hot coaching prospect - yesterday's game proved he isn't quite ready to step up and be in charge.

People are lining up to take shots at Romo for his trip to Mexico with Jessica Simpson - that's a load of garbage, he put the ball in the hands of his receivers...he can't be held responsible for them dropping the ball.

If things weren't bad enough with the NFL - the Maple Leafs lose all three games in California last week and the vultures are lining up to pick at John Ferguson Junior's carcass. While addle-minded cretins like Damien Cox keep joyously proclaiming the season a total wash (though he claims to be indifferent to the Maple Leafs) and spend far too much time talking about who should be fired and calling for the Maple Leafs management to "do the right thing" and trade Mats Sundin for prospects; leave it to Rosie DiManno to take a different angle on the current state of the franchise.

Rosie DiManno is a columnist at The Star, and unlike Donkey Damien Cox, writes a fantastic article about what Mats Sundin must be going through these days. DiManno sticks it to her colleagues and members of Leaf Nation who have been calling for Sundin to be traded in the name of "rebuilding". She talks about how Sundin doesn't want to leave the team he loves playing for, the city he loves playing in, and even the fans who have treated him like crap since day one because he was traded for Wendel Clark. DiManno is dead on when she says that Sundin has given enough to this franchise and this miserable bunch of clowns that runs the franchise that he deserve to call his own shot.

If you are a member of Leaf Nation, and ever doubted for one second that Sundin is a true champ, read Rosie's article in Monday's Toronto Star. I have more respect for Sundin today than I have ever had - he isn't looking for a cheap ring. Sundin isn't going to base his career on whether he gets a ring or not - he'll let his playing define who he was as an NHLer.

As bad as it was this weekend - leave it to a fellow Portuguese dude to provide the lone bright spot. Cristiano scored a hat-trick on Saturday to lead Manchester United to a 6-0 win over Newcastle. By all accounts, Ronaldo was the man of the match, controlling the flow of the game with slashing runs, pinpoint passing, and "a sublime" free kick that went for goal. He's playing like a man on a mission after getting snubbed for FIFA's World Player of the Year - here's hoping he takes it into Euro 2008 this summer.

I should have left well enough alone on Friday and went on my weekend trip without trying to pick games over three days - it was rushed. For any of you who lost cash - sincere apologies for a miserable weekend; the healing starts tonight...with a bit of a twist to follow tomorrow. The total for the year stands at a horrible - $2,750. Tonight's suggestions:

Montreal over NY Islanders - Islanders are playing their first game at home after a long road trip, that usually results in a loss. Lay $100 on the Habs - $150.

Edmonton over LA Kings - Edmonton just has more at every position than the Kings's as simple as that. Lay $100 on the Oilers - $165.

San Jose over Phoenix - see explanation for Habs/Isles; plus, the Sharks usually bring their A game on the road. Lay $100 on the Sharks - $150.

We might check in before game time with another suggestion or two - but that's it for today. Thanks for taking the time to check in.

Hazel, here's hoping things are groovy in your world.

I'm Out!

Friday, January 11, 2008

We don't need no stinking analysis

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

The divisional playoff are set to go tomorrow - starting in Green Bay and winding up on Sunday afternoon/evening in Big D. By now you have undoubtedly read what the experts are saying - so we won't bore you with our views, since we have nothing fresh to offer; just an opinion which is as good as anyone else.

Today's post is for those of you checking in for the Three Play - we had a tough night last night, with the Leafs sinking into the abyss in Los Angeles and the Sabres losing in a shootout to the Tards. The total for the week is + $135. We'll do all four NFL games and post a few hockey picks for the weekend.

Calgary over NY Islanders - the Flames will be looking for blood after dropping a game to the Coyotes the other night. Calgary gets it done in a big way tonight. Lay $100 on the Flames - $210.

Vancouver over Phoenix - both teams played last night and lost. The Coyotes are playing their 3rd game in four nights, so expect them to be a little worn down. Lay $100 on the Canucks - $200.

Seattle + 7 over Green Bay - the world is in love with Brett Favre, so be it - but remember, he is just as prone to mistakes as Matt Hasselbeck is. The Seahawks are road wimps, so we don't expect them to win - but they should keep this closer than a TD. Lay $100 on the Seahawks.

Jacksonville + 13 over New England - the Jags can play with anyone in the league, including New England, for about 45 minutes - they inevitably have a brain cramp at some point in the game. It'll cost them the game Saturday night - but they have the kind of offence that can wear the Patriots D down and get their share of points. Lay $100 on the Jags.

Detroit over Ottawa - both teams went to shootouts on Thursday night - the Tards won, the Wings lost. Still though, up and down the lineup the Wings are the better team - its like New Jersey vs Boston, they both play the same game, one is just decidedly better. Lay $100 on the Red Wings.

Indianapolis - 9 over San Diego - we started out the week liking the Chargers, but with Antonio Gates hurting it may too much to put on Phillip Rivers shoulders. The Colts win this one in the second half. As much as we hate to say it, lay $100 on the Colts.

Dallas -7.5 over NY Giants - no explanation needed. Lay $100 on the Cowboys.

That's it for the weekend gang - we're gone until Sunday. Here's hoping our man Quikdraw checks in to entertain you - we've given up hope on Tilt getting off his ass to post something...he's getting ready to go to Vegas next week.

Hazel, we hope things are groovy in your world - have a great weekend.

We're Out!

Thursday, January 10, 2008

When Donkeys Speak

Hey Peeps and anyone else checking in. A special “Hey” goes out to Hazel Mae if she is checking in.

One of our favourite websites – joesportsfan (definitely worthy of a daily check) – has a weekly entry entitled “Crap that actually came from someone’s mouth”. The guys at joesportsfan focus mainly on ESPN - the self-proclaimed “Worldwide Leader in Sports” – and their panel of donkeys for a good part of the content that goes into the weekly entry. Its unfortunate that the guys aren’t down with hockey, they could write a daily entry with the crap that comes from the mouths of TSN’s panel of donkeys. As an aside, TSN happens to be associated with ESPN proclaims themselves as “Canada’s Sports Leader” see the connection?

As can be expected from a Canadian sports station – TSN prides themselves on the most complete coverage of all things hockey: from the NHL to Major Junior Hockey to the World Junior Hockey Championships. Part of being “Canada’s Leader in Sports” means that you have to assemble a panel of hockey “experts” to break everything down for the average Joe who tunes in. We won’t get into the crap that comes from Bob “I state the obvious, but I’m not saying it is for sure” McKenzie, or Pierre “I have a bad case of man-love for everything Ottawa Senators or Detroit Red Wings” McGuire – we’ve given those two donkeys more than enough play here.

Instead, we are going to look at two former NHL players, who were also bad GMs, who are getting plenty of face time at TSN.

Former Philadelphia Flyers player/captain/GM Bob Clarke was interviewed by Michael Landsberg on a show called “Off the Record”. Clarke had plenty to say about Saturday night’s game against Toronto where Flyers resident retard, Steve Downie, sucker-punched Leafs forward Jason Blake. When asked about the incident Clarke responded:

“When he went after Blake, I loved it. Blake was a guy who had no problem going out saying that (Downie) should be suspended for life or suspended for a year. When you do that and say something that stupid, why shouldn't this kid go after him? The kid did what every hockey player should do: stand up for himself.”

This is particularly amusing to Canadian hockey fans who know that during his playing career Bob Clarke was the epitome of a gutless coward. Clarke was one of the dirtiest players ever to play in the NHL, but was never held accountable for his actions because he had Dave Schultz, Bob Kelly, Don Saleski and a number of other goons protecting his cowardly can. When asked about his fighting prowess by a Russian interviewer a few years back – well, Bob said: “No, I couldn’t fight worth a damn. I tried especially when I was young but I quit it pretty soon. Now, playing good tough hockey is a different matter.”

We know Bob, some of us remember you actually fighting (actually flailing like a little girl) with your gloves on.

For our American friends – TSN has also added former Bruins player/coach/GM Mike Milbury to the fold. Milbury is never at a loss for words and never shies away from an opportunity to be “controversial” (read “Donkey”). Milbury has made a number of outlandish statements that don’t merit repeating – but we are going to highlight a quote for the foolhardy Milbury.

Reporters at the Toronto Star have followed the lead of head donkey/associate sports editor – the one and only – Damien Cox in pronouncing the 2007/08 Toronto Maple Leafs dead in the water. They have turned their focus on what the Leafs have to do to turn the ship around in the future – it starts with trading Captain Mats Sundin. The Star asked eight hockey people what they would do with Sundin. All eight proposed trade scenarios with the most likely partner and who would be involved in a potential deal. All but Milbury stated they would look for at the very least two young NHL ready players, with most adding they would also demand two or three additional high round draft picks (1st or 2nd round). Not Mike though – Milbury said he would trade Sundin to New Jersey for:

Nicklas Bergfors, RW. 20 years old. New Jersey's first-round pick, 23rd overall, in 2005 and 2008 first-round draft pick.

That’s all Mike would ask for. Not only would Milbury would ignore the bad history between both franchises, he wouldn’t dare ask for “too much”. Keep in mind this is the same donkey that, when in charge of the Islanders, traded Jason Spezza and Zdeno Chara to Ottawa for Alexei Yashin (he of the 10 year/$90M) and also traded away Roberto Luongo. Leaf Nation thanks you for your input Mike.

Speaking of the Toronto Star – there’s Damien Cox. Never mind, he has solidified himself as an all-time donkey; we don’t need any more examples to illustrate that.

We wouldn’t leave out our American friends – not with four playoff games going in the NFL this week. Thank God himself for CBS Sportsline’s Pete Prisco – once again this week, Big Pete, shows us all why he knows more about the NFL than the rest of us. Pete has made a name for himself by picking dogs to win the game outright – he does it every week – but in Pete’s line of work, wins and losses don’t count for much (he still gets paid by the word); no, what counts is pointing to the dogs you picked to win outright…who cares if you are wrong 9 out of 10 times, you celebrate your shot in the dark with a glass of scotch and a pat on the back.

Big Pete, when not spit-shinging Peyton Manning’s member, studies all the trends – who put a poor season behind them with one or two good games, who played poorly in a meaningless game, all that stuff that makes Pete piles of cash with his book. Pete’s upset pick of the week is the Giants – it started out with all four favourites winning, but Pete was asked “who could be upset”. Damn it all if Pete didn’t go with the Giants – it went from the hypothetical to a foregone conclusion; the Giants are going to beat the Cowboys this weekend because Pete says:

“The Giants appear to be on a roll.”

Pete points to Terrell’s injury and the fact that Eli Manning had a “mistake-free game”. He’s got the Giants winning 34-30. Before you call your book with Pete’s expert analysis, consider this from Wild Card weekend:

“The Redskins appear to be on a roll. They've won four consecutive games and they have the look of one of those "charmed" teams. You know the kind that gets hot at the right time. The Redskins are doing it with good defense and a running game. Clinton Portis is playing his best football. Todd Collins is doing a great job of not turning the ball over at quarterback. Seattle has been inconsistent this season. Their loss at Carolina a few weeks back is a major red flag for me.”

A 21 point loss where Todd Collins was 29-50 for 266 yards and 2 INTs and where Clinton Portis rushed for 52 yards on 20 carries isn’t going to dissuade Pete from going with the trends. Pete’s gonna pick that dog eventually – if it isn’t the Giants this week, it’ll be Green Bay over Dallas and Peyton Manning’s Colts over your New England Patriots next week. For the record, CBS Sportsline’s “expert” was 1-3 vs the spread; and the lone game he picked correctly was the Giants over Tampa Bay.

We have been lazy this week and it has had a direct impact on the total – we would have been a perfect 3-0 on Monday and 2-0 last night; but that counts for nothing. The total for the week stands at + $235. Tonight’s suggestions:

Toronto over LA Kings – the Leafs were pummeled last night in Anaheim (hence no three stars today), but as bad as they have been – the Kings have been worse. With everyone writing the Leafs’ season off, we like them to respond with a win. Lay $100 on Hazel’s favourite team + $115.

Montreal over Boston – the Bruins are banged up and playing inconsistent to downright poor hockey; the Habs on the other hand are relatively healthy and in the midst of a good run. Lay $100 on the Habs - $115 and say hi to Hazel if you see her at the game.

Buffalo over Ottawa – our upset special. The Tards’ goaltending has been less than adequate lately and they go into tonight’s game against a Sabres team that always plays them tough and is desperate for a win, having not won in seven games. The Tards might be down a player or two tonight as the flu bug is going through their dressing room. Lay $100 on the Sabres + $180.

That’s it for today gang – thanks for taking the time to check in. Special thanks to Tilt for posting this entry. Have a great one.

Hazel, we hope things are groovy in your world.

We’re Out!

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Tuesday's suggestions

After an awful start to the week, we're calling it the New Year's Eve crap out, we recovered and minimized the damage for the week - one bad pick (Tampa Bay) and a few questionable officiating calls left us at - $260 for the week. The total for the year is still pretty ugly (-$2,150) but we'll keep chipping away at it.

For those of you checking in for tonight's suggestions.

New Jersey over Buffalo - the Sabres are in a tailspin right now and things aren't going to be any easier for them tonight against a rested Martin Brodeur and the Devils. Brodeur has won 8 of his last 9 home starts against the Sabres, you know what we say about bucking the trend. Lay $100 on New Jersey - $155.

Calgary over Phoenix - the Coyotes have been a surprisingly good road team - but they are up against the red-hot Flames, led by Maeple Leafs Jarome Iginla and Kristian Huselius. Lay $100 on the Flames - $165.

Detroit over Colorado - the Avs are hurting without Joe Sakic and Ryan Smyth, that won't help their cause as they travel to Detroit to face the Wings. What you need to know: the Wings are almost unbeatable at home, while the Avs are very beatable on the road. Lay $100 on the Wings - $220.

Nashville over LA Kings - the Preds got steamrolled last night by the Ducks, but they'll rebound against the Kings who have been brutal at home of late. Lay $100 on Nashville even.

Montreal over Chicago - the Blackhawks are a mess right now, with six regulars out of the lineup - factor in their poor special teams and you have a recipe for a beatdown against the Habs. Lay $100 on the Habs - $180.

That's it for today gang - good luck if you play them.

We're Out!

Monday, January 07, 2008

Wild Card weekend thoughts and more

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

For the most part - the Wild Card weekend went according to form (except for changing our minds about the stinking Bucs - we won't be consulting the "experts" anymore), the teams that went into the game with the better regular season won rather easily. While some would say Jacksonville's win was anything but easy - we'll chalk that up to awful officiating.

So what did this weekend's game tell us? Absolutely nothing and at the same time, a lot. We'll just say that we aren't buying the hype in Seattle and New York - if you are a fan of either one of these teams, there's not a lot to get excited about.

The Redskins were overrated going into the game - at the beginning of the year, many thought they wouldn't be a playoff team; as it turns out, they weren't. The Seahawks went into the game with the mindset that they were going to make Todd Collins beat them - a good strategy - but these road wimps will find things considerably tougher against the "pass-first" Packers. While everyone is talking about their defense and the three Pro Bowlers on D - let's not forget who their opposition was this year: their numbers were compiled against the likes of the 49ers, the Rams, the Ravens, the Bucs and the Bears - not exactly offensive juggernauts. The Seahawks D was torched by some of the league's better offensive units - it is going to be ugly this weekend. We've been saying it all year - they're counterfeit; they play like champs at home and chumps on the road.

Eli Manning plays one decent playoff game and suddenly the Giants are on the right track and head into Dallas with momentum? Get real people, the Bucs wouldn't have been a playoff team in any other division - they got there because Carolina and New Orleans crapped out this year. Yes, Eli (also known as Eli-zabeth on some of our favourite messageboards) had a good game, but it was against a Bucs defence that rarely got in his face and decided to sit back for most of the game. It was the same old story with the Bucs D - they start out great, but they're lack of size means they can be worn down. The Giants D had their way with a boring, unimaginative, risk-adverse offence that couldn't/wouldn't try to stretch the field. The Giants won, good for them; but let's keep things in perspective, the Bucs were probably the worst team going into this year's playoffs. We say that despite our hatred of the Giants and Redskins - and with the knowledge that we were stupid enough to fall for the hype. The Giants are going to find things a lot more difficult this weekend in Big D.

San Diego won in spite of the awful play calling on offence. Norv Turner is widely thought of as one of the brightest play callers - why he insisted on running L.T. on first down until midway through the third quarter is beyond us; maybe he was gearing his team to run the ball down Indy's throat this weekend. The defence's solid performance should be tempered, after all, it was just Tennessee. The most important thing to take away from the game is that Phillip Rivers can actually be trusted to throw the ball downfield - he's had a forgettable year (he's the 2007 Eli Manning), but he came through when his team needed him. San Diego has to feel good about the possibility of running play action against the Colts on Sunday - whether their D can get enough pressure on Peyton Manning to disrupt the Colts offence remains to be seen. Still though, we like the upset in Indy - sorry Patriots fans, you'll have to wait another year for revenge on the Colts.

Last but not least - the most telling game. Going into the playoffs this year, I (Quikdraw and Tilt aren't on board with me here) thought the Jaguars had a legitimate shot at beating the Patriots. The Jaguars have proven they can attack New England's achilles heel - the run defence - and maybe generate a few big plays off play action. But, the Jags showed again on Saturday night that they can't seem to put a team away - they have blown big leads twice to Pittsburgh and blew a chance to beat the Colts; they seem incapable of playing 60 mins of football. The Jags have what it takes to beat New England - a ball control offence and a physical defence - what they don't have is the focus and concentration to do it. All that said, we like Jacksonville to cover the number against New England (currently 12.5), but they'll have a lapse in concentration and New England will pounce.

So there you have it - a weekend that in some ways proved nothing (Seattle, New York), yet brought to light factors that could impact this weekend's games (San Diego, Jacksonville).

And more...
The NHL announced that Philadelphia Flyers forward (pest) Steve Downie would not be suspended for sucker-punching Toronto Maple Leafs LW Jason Blake. For those of you who didn't see it (or hear about it) Downie, the weasel that he is, punched Blake who was being held by a linesman during a scrum. The NHL is telling anyone who will listen that they are trying to crack down on incidents that aren't part of the game and conduct the is dangerous or unbecoming of the game. What is more cowardly and potentially dangerous than sucker punching an opponent who is being restrained by an official? The NHL's head jackass, Colin Campbell, told the media that he talked to Downie about his conduct and about crossing the line - a precedent has now been set; we can't wait til someone like Minnesota's Derek Boogaard decides to cold-cock someone. Actually, we're waiting for someone to take matters into their own hands and beat Downie to within an inch of his life - not that that will change his style of play; still though...

Dallas Stars LW Antti Miettinen had two goals in a 3-1 win over the Wild - honourable mention goes to our man Mike Ribeiro who had two assists (gotta represent the NHL's only porkchop).

Edmonton Oilers RW Ales Hemsky had a goal and an assist in a 4-0 win over the Islanders.

Anaheim Ducks RW Chris Kunitz had a goal and an assist in a 4-1 win over Nashville.

That's it for today gang - we'll post our Three Play suggestions later this afternoon (through Tilt). Thanks for taking the time to check in.

Hazel, we hope things are groovy in your world.

We're Out!

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