NHL Norris Trophy

So with the season winding down a few names have emerged as leaders to receive the coveted Norris Trophy, the award given to the NHL’s best defenseman.  The candidtes are:

1. Victor Hedman – Tampa Bay Lightning – As discussed on the Sports Nerds Network Hockey show earlier this evening, Ron Gallo and I both agree (amazing) that Hedman has had a breakout season with the Lightning despite the fact that Tampa has had a mediocre season.  he has 38 points through 47 games, on pace for 55 points for the season

2. Drew Doughty – Los Angeles Kings – Doughty has an advantage over Hedman in that he is playing on a good team that has its share of talented defensemen on it’s roster.  he ranks 7th in goals for percentage and his case will increase if the Kings make the postseason

3.  Erik Karlson – Ottowa Senators – This is Ron’s pick for the Norris Trophy as he is one of the main reasons the Senators are a playoff team this season. 

4.  Shea Weber – Montreal Canadiens – Weber is the sentimental choice because he has been snubbed in past seasons, but in order for him to be a solid contender the Habs have to make the playoffs and there is no guarantee that will happen.

5.  Brent Burns – San Jose Sharks – Burns is part of arguably the best team in the Western Conference, making him a prim choice for the trophy, but there remains concerns despite him leading in points and goals among all other defensemen.

HONORABLE MENTIONS:

Duncan Keith – Chicago Blackhawks – with 50 points this season he cannot be overlooked.  Not his best season compared to past years, but he is a valuable spoke in the wheel that drives the Blackhawks

Justin Schultz – Pittsburgh Penguins – on a team that is overshadowed by the presence of Sydney Crosby, Schultz has managed to produce 48 points and a +32 +/- this season.  I see him as a dark horse.

These are my opinions, and not facts.  its gonna be a great playoff push to end the season to see which player takes home the gold.  Personally I am pulling for Hedman (Of course) but it will be exciting to see who will take it home.

World Baseball Classic

In case you have been preoccupied lately with Football Free Agency, NBA Basketball, March madness or NHL hockey, there is meaningful baseball being played right now in Los Angeles at Dodger Stadium.  It’s the World Baseball Classic and the US is in unfamiliar territory right now, as they face Japan tonight in the semifinals at 9pm eastern time.

It may not be the World Series, but your lovable MLB’ers are playing in it, and from what I have been reading and watching they are proud to be part of it.  It is international baseball at its finest, and in case you have not been watching (and I know you havent) you have missed some great games.

So do yourself a favor, tune in tonight and watch the Americans take on the Japanese and try and remember baseball when it was pure, when it was meaningful, and when no one cared about money, cause this is good stuff.

Monday Night Football Reaction and other ramblings

Well hello there again.  Two posts in less than 24 hours, what were the chances. I was speaking with Brian “Scooter” Cullen last night and mentioned to him that I need to get my Mojo back when it comes to my writing.   He told me (through his sickness and foggy head) that the fact I wrote a Blog post was “Very cool”.  Not surprising coming from a closet hippie that is still stuck in thee 80’s (just like me).  But when I told him that I was  inspired by the new show he emulated to me “Right On”..  I wondered to myself if he was actually coherent enough to get what I was saying.  After all, he was not on cam for our Sunday morning show and he wasn’t feeling well enough to do the Sunday night show (neither was I and the show was cancelled) so I wondered if he even understood what I was saying.   But the truth remains that I AM excited for the future of this blog, and I have plans in my head of what I want it to become. 

With all of that being said, lets get on to the Monday Night game between Seattle and Buffalo.  I know my good friend Jon Olson is not feeling good today after watching his favorite team lose on National TV, because The Seattle Seahawks defeated the Buffalo Bills 31-25 on Monday Night Football.  the game was marred by what happened at the end of the first half when Richard Sherman jumped offside and continued on, due to no whistle being blown, touched the football and hit Bills kicker Dan Carpenter as he was attempting to kick the ball.  This was totally the fault of the officials.  they should have blew the whistle earlier and when Sherman ran into Carpenter, even though he did make contact with the ball, it should have been at the very least, running into the kicker, which would have moved the ball up 5 yards closer and created a shorter kick for Carpenter on the re-try.  This was a failure totally on the officiating, not on the players.  Rex called Sherman’s play “dirty” but in fact it wasn’t so much dirty as it was careless.  Players are taught to play to the whistle, and that’s exactly what Sherman was doing, as he explained to the on-field reporter after the game. 

I have a very strong opinion on the NFL officiating not just this year but in years past.  The NFL Officiating is terrible, its imperfect, and it needs an overhaul from the NFL.  I am an advocate of full time officials, simply because it would allow for continuous training, study, and attention to detail.  In relation to that, quoting NFL.com..  “On the ensuing field-goal attempt, the referees flagged the Bills for delay of game even though an official was over the ball with less than 10 seconds remaining on the game clock. Blandino(Dean Blandino, NFL senior vice president of officiating) said referees need to reset the game clock if they’re handling the ball with fewer than 20 seconds left on it.”  The referees did NOT reset the game clock which led to the delay of game.  That is gross negligence and again, this is on the referee and his staff.

Despite all that, the Seahawks still end up with the win, and there is no changing that, but if the NFL is wondering why their ratings are slipping, they can look at Monday night’s game as part of the reason why. 

In one other quick observation..  The College football poll came out tonight .. in fact.. as I am writing this it came out.  the top 4 are as follows:  1) Alabama 2) Clemson 3) Michigan 4) Washington.  I think this is right.  Ohio state doesn’t deserve to jump Washington yet despite their big win against Nebraska.  In my opinion Nebraska was an overrated top ten team.  the real test for the Buckeyes comes when they play Michigan Thanksgiving weekend.  The polls mean nothing to me until that happens.

Today is election day, hope you made the right decision for what you believe in.  good luck to your candidate and here is to the future of our great country.

Until next time….

Week 9 NFL Recap

Yeah I know..  where the hell have I been?  I’ve been here.  Working a lot, being lazy when I can, and of course, ignoring this web site.  Well something happened in the last month or so that has changed my outlook on the future of this site.  I am now broadcasting four times a week on Huzza.io with a couple of friends of mine.  One you may know, that’s Brian “Scooter” Cullen, my best friend and co-host for the Sunday night Sports Nerds Show, along with another good friend of mine Eliot “Big E” Lomba.  We broadcast Wednesday through Friday nights, and again on Sunday mornings.  This time of year it is mostly about NFL, but we have Hockey Wednesday nights, College Football Fridays, and Thursday and Sunday we talk for two hours about the NFL and fantasy football with Derek Lofland from Fantasy Football Maniax.  So click the link above and subscribe to our channel and j you will be notified when we are about to go on air.  Join our Facebook group at Sports Nerds Network, follow us on @SNNonHuzza, and watch Replays on our YouTube Channel at SNN – Sports Nerds Network.  I am real excited at this new direction and I hope you can join us!!

For my first post in weeks, I’m gonna dive right in and pick up like I never left.  Let’s recap Week 9 in the NFL.  I have picked a few games to highlight and then after that I will make some random comments about what I saw this past week.

Detroit Lions 22 Minnesota Vikings 16 – Well after starting the season 5-0 the Vikings have now lost 3 in a row since their bye week in week 6.  the defense that looked unbreakable the first 5 weeks now is showing signs of bending and have let them down when they were needed most.  They allowed the Lions to drive 35 yards in just 2 plays and 21 seconds to allow Prater to kick a 58 yard FG as time expired to force OT.  The Lions get the ball to begin the OT and once again the Vikings D gives up a drive that started at the Lions 13 yard line and finished with a 28 yard TD pass from Matthew Stafford to Golden Tate to end the game.  The defense wasn’t the worst of the Vikings Woes, the offense has been inept and has stalled after lighting it up with Sam Bradford.  The absence of Adrian Peterson looms large as Minnesota was able to rush for just 78 yards as a team.  Bradford was 31/40 for 273 yards and a TD.  that’s just 8 yards per completion on average, which doesn’t get it done in today’s pass-happy NFL.  On the other side, Matthew Stafford continues to figure out ways to win, making this the 5th come from behind victory this year by the Lions, which just happens to be the number of wins they have had all season.  they find themselves just a game back of the Vikings, but with the way Minnesota has been playing of late, it may not be too much longer before the Lions lead the division if this pattern keeps up.

NY Giants 28 Philadelphia Eagles 23 – The Eagles are another team that have lost their luster since starting the season 3-0 including a huge win against the Pittsburgh Steelers in week 3, but have managed to go just 1-4 in the 5 games since.  The Eagle secondary was picked apart by Eli Manning for 4 TD’s and 257 yards.  There were moments where Eli looked like Eli, he did throw two picks, but the defense of he Giants made up for it, stopping the Eagles 3 out of 4 times on fourth down, and getting 2 interceptions of their own.  Odell Beckham Jr. caught two of Eli’s 4 Td’s, finishing with 4 catches for 46 yards.  it wasn’t a huge yardage game, but the defense of the giants stepped up when they needed to and secured the win. 

Oakland Raiders 30 Denver Broncos 20 – The seat of power officially changed hands Sunday night in Oakland as the Raiders dominated this game from the opening gun and never let off.  Latavious Murray ran for 114 yards and scored three touchdowns against the Leagues #1 rush defense, with the entire team giving up 218 total yards on the ground.  Derek Carr only managed 184 yards through the air with no TD’s, but with the running game going the way it did, they didn’t need Carr to have one of his 300+ yard games (513 last week alone).  the Raiders are the real deal folks and Sunday Night’s performance put the rest of the AFC on notice, the Raiders are good, and they don’t show any signs of letting up.

Some other thoughts I have regarding week 9:

Pittsburgh looked horrible against a very average Baltimore Ravens team.  Pittsburgh was my preseason pick for the Super Bowl this year, but if they cant get it going, Big Ben injuries aside, they will not make it far in the postseason.

Atlanta took control of the NFC South with that victory against Tampa Thursday night.  The only question remains for the Falcons is whether they repeat the late season swoon that kept them out of the playoffs last year.

The New York Jets need to move on from Fitz.

New Orleans and San Diego may have defenses full of more holes that Swiss cheese, but man are those offenses fun to watch.

Green Bay should be better, Aaron Rodgers looks lost, and with no viable running game, they could be looking at a wild card this year instead of winning the division.

Ill be back tomorrow  with another post to re-cap the Monday night game as well as thoughts on the rest of the sports world.  Until then, take of yourself..  and each other…

My thoughts on the Sports World

So here we are, 3 weeks out from yet another NFL Season.  Two weeks to College Football.  the pennant races are heating up in MLB.  NBA and NHL about to start training camps, and the 2016 Summer games have officially come and gone.  So much to discuss, so much to comment on, yet it seems we have been here before.  Every August for me brings new feelings of hope, excitement, and dreams of another NFL season to look forward to.  Can the Browns win?  Can the Bucs get out of their own way?  the answer to both questions, of course, before the first down is played is no.  I don’t believe in being hopeful, because as my friend Robert Arnold always says, expect disappointment and then you wont be disappointed when they suck. 

Here’s the deal…  The Cleveland Browns are not going to win a championship this year, and neither are the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.  That’s not a bold statement, that’s reality.  This has been my reality for the last 14 years (my god has it been that long) and I don’t see any change coming this year.  The Browns actually may have a decent offense this year, but because of their defense they will los games, because if you cant stop anyone, the best offense in the world wont help you.  A fact that my Cowboy fans can relate to looking back at last season’s performance.  With all of that being said, I will focus on Fantasy Football this year, since I am in two paid leagues and can really earn some decent cash, but then again,I am usually not the league winner, but this year can be different.  I have more faith in my ability in fantasy than I do in my two favorite teams.

As for Baseball, well that’s a different story.  The Indians lead the AL Central, have the best record in the AL and are poised to make a run to the World Series.  the problem there is should they make it to the Series, they could very well have the Cubs waiting on them, and that again poses some challenges.  If that scenario does come to fruition, I will root for the Tribe, but I also will be thinking of my Paternal Grandmother who was a life long Cubs fan.  she rooted for the Cubs the latter part of her life thanks to WGN and cable.  Still, I will root for the tribe until the last out, and should they not make the Series…  Go Cubs!!

The Olympics wrapped up over the weekend and the train wreck I expected to happens did not occur.  It was a great two weeks and my most endearing memory will be of Michael Phelps and his performance at 31 years old, Katie Ledecky smashing her own World Record and taking home 4 gold medals.  Simone Biles also taking home 4 Gold Medals in gymnastics in the all around competition.  Who could forget Usain Bolt, taking 3 more gold’s for the third straight Olympics.  there were events to forget (see Ryan Lochte) but for the most part, Rio did a good job, and it was an excellent Olympic Games. 

That’s all the thoughts I have right now..  More later… as the motivation hits me..