Burying Hambino

I am only writing this article because Hambino bitched and moaned about me burying his mock draft post with something entertaining.  And because of that I decided to bury it with another article.  So, suck it.

While we’re at it Hambino continually calls me a glory hunter and how much better my life is as a sports fan is than his.  But let’s face it.  I would rather win championships than be a better team most years.  Who the hell cares if the last five years the Redskins have been better than the Buccaneers.  I can’t remember a Redskins Super Bowl yet he can remember a Bucs.  We’ve agreed on this point many times but for some reason he continually ignores it because the fact doesn’t validate his argument.  Typical Hambino with his alternative facts.  Let’s lay it out on the line here.  He may not be a die-hard just how I am not for some of these teams but here it is on the line.

He’s a Swansea fan, which granted sucks.  Being a Chelsea fan is fantastic compared to that joke of a club.  We’ve already covered the football route so he wins there.  Baseball he’s at least got to see the Rays go to a series while my Orioles can’t seem to make it past the ALDS.  Same argument holds up in Basketball.  The Wizards are finally good enough to run right into Lebron James at the height of his game while he’s seen his Magic get to a final.  Oh, and don’t get me started on my ever-disappointing heartbreak that is the Washington Capitals.

In summation, Hambino stop your bitching about how I am such a glory hunter.  I would rather watch anxiety free a terrible team with no chance punctuated by Championships than this continual mediocrity and heartbreak that is my sporting life.  At least we can both agree on the Noles and USMNT.  

Advertisements

Fighting for Hockey

This is a huge pet peeve of mine.  Every week I sit on my couch and turn on various sports shows to hear commentators complain about fighting in hockey.  They attack it as a barbaric act that has no place in a major American sport.  This sentiment is then spread down to the lower, developmental levels of the sport that attack fighting like a plague.  For instance the league I grew up playing had a minimum 6 game suspension for a full out fight for everyone involved.  However, fighting is important for hockey and not just because it adds to the entertainment value.

ReavesFightsEngellandContrary to popular belief fighting in hockey is not all that common.  Yes there is an excessive amount of extracurricular activity after many whistles but this doesn’t constitute a fight.  The pushing and shoving when the play is dead would be regarded in most sports as unnecessary but even this has its place.  Clearing people away from goal or a little shove on a defender shows your team mates that you’re standing up for them.  It also protects exposed players, like a goalie covering a puck or a forward that’s been knocked to the ground.

On average this year there has been about one fight in every two games.  In fact the number has stayed below a fight a game in the last twenty years and never got over 1.3 fights a game.  This is because the situations that necessitate a fight are far and few between.  For one, both players have to be willing to drop the gloves and square off which takes a little prompting.  Really the only time a fight breaks out is when something blatantly brutal happens to defenseless player.  Bertuzzi provided us with a perfect example a few years ago.

This was a particularly upsetting situation since it basically ended Moore’s career.  However this is just an example of a hit that warrants a fight.  In this way hockey becomes a self-enforcing sport.

EmeryHoltbyFightNo one in hockey is forced into a fight.  When a non-willing player is pushed into one, i.e. Emery on Holtby, most of the hockey world is appalled.  Most of the time the biggest or toughest player on the line is the fighter and he is usually quick to stand up for the skill players.  When a star player is being drawn into a fight with a bigger player the enforcer usually steps in.  So what is the result?  The game usually gets a boost of adrenaline and play steps up.  In American sports we love a game changer and the time after a fight tends to be the most exciting part of the game.  The result can also be a momentum changer for a team that’s been dominated physically thus far.

So how does hockey fights differ from a fight in any other sport?  Fighting is not usually a personally motivated tool in the NHL.  Defending a teammate or protecting your team in general tends to be the motive as opposed to a personalron-artest-brawl1 vendetta.  There is also a contained feeling to fights in the NHL.  Both players understand the rules and when the fight is over, usually when someone falls to the ice.  However this level of civility and respect doesn’t exist in the other major sports.  Most fights are prompted by some personal event that occurs in the moment.  These fights are usually insanely intense and require other members of the team to break them up.  The NBA has even had a brief history of these fights flowing into the stands (see below).   The NHL though is able to separate the fan from this experience and control it.  The referees become diligent MMA officials and control the circumstances of the fight.  So please commentators, BACK OFF.  We like our sport how it is.

Thanks to dropyourgloves.com for the stats!

Week of 7s

LogoI spent all of last night in a Jim Carrey state of shock at the number of 7s that swirled around the sports world this week.  Staring at SportsCenter in a sleep deprived state may have had something to do with my arithmomania.  Unlike most weeks though, this week was Halloween.  There may be something spooky going on.  I may also be crazy and you may not want to deal with my sports version of 23. However, if you want to enter SBDS own version of the Twilight Zone, read on.

Our saga appropriately begins the day before Halloween with Real Madrid forward Christiano Ronaldo, who wears number 7 for the Spanish side, netting three goals against Sevilla in a La Liga match up.  Despite a large difference in talent level and league spots, Sevilla made the game interesting into the half.  The Blancos were too much for their La Liga brothers, as Garreth Bale netted two more in his home debut to add to Ronaldo’s hat trick.  Madrid looked incredibly dangerous and unstoppable going forward, so much so that even Karim Benzema netted a goal on their way to a team total of 7.  However the aggressiveness that Real Madrid possesses could end up being their downfall this year.  Yes they looked strong going against an average defensiveronaldo effort, but they made a decent attacking side look terrifying.  The win was great but it was only good enough to bring them to 3rd on La Liga table, 5 points back from their in city rivals.

The string of 7s continued a few nights later up in Philadelphia.  The Ovechkinless Capitals racked up 7 goals against the home side.  The Flyers took offense to the score total which involved Capitals player Grabovski with his 7th assist and subsequently broke out in a line on line fight in the third period.  For those who have never seen a goalie fight, the spinning melee of padding and punches is something that is rare on ice, but worth the watch.  The resulting punishment ended up being 10 penalties to the Flyers and you guessed it, 7 to the Capitals.  The Capitals continued their winning ways over the Florida Panthers the next night at home, achieving their 7th win of the year.  Don’t get too excited Washington fans though.  Both victories were over subpar teams and the chemistry among the Capital lines looks like it could use some work.

110113-NHL-Ray-Emery-Fights-WIth-Braden-Holtby-PI-CH_20131102015328580_660_320

The streak continued the next morning with Manchester City scoring 7 goals against Norwich City.  The boys from the Etihad should be proud of acheiving the highest goal differencial in on game during this Premier League season.  However, Manchester City has struggled with a consistency all year.  In the last 7 Premier League ties they are 4-2-1, far from what is expected of a title contending side.  During this period they also looked completely outclassed by Bayern Munich in a Vincent_Kompany_2207458cChampions League tie.  However, thanks to every other team struggling, the Rowdy Neighbors find themselves 5th on the table and not out of Champions League contention.  The midfield looks phenomenal when Nasri and Silva are willing to get wide and Pelligrini unleashes Yaya Toure to rampage.  Whenever Toure is asked to take a more defensive role though, Man City’s offense comes to a grinding halt and relies too much on their strikers.   The availability of Vincent Kompany is crucial to their form since Garcia looks fragile as a center back, and could add confidence to City’s midfield.

This wasn’t the end of our 7 trend.  Nick Foles threw 7 TDs tying an NFL record.  Russell Westbrook, on his first game back, was responsible for 7 assists.  Jimmy Johnson won on the Sprint Cup series putting him 7 points ahead of 2nd place driver Matt Kenseth, who has seven wins on the year.  It is true 7’s are used across all of sports whether it is a 7 game series or 7 points from a touchdown and a point after, but this was more.  7 goals in the upper divisions of Soccer and Hockey are rare, as is a 7 touchdown passing game.  In fact, before Peyton Manning did it this year it hadn’t been done in 40 plus years.  These were incredible feats that even though the scoreline may have not said it, was still must watch TV.

A 6 Pack of Must Watch Games

With all that goes on in sports on a weekly basis, it is hard to keep up with everything going on.  The sheer magnitude of games is enough to overwhelm any body.  Luckily for you the staff of SBDS has broken down a few games from all sports for you to watch this week.  Enjoy a sneak peek and if none of these peak your interest you can always catch up on the new season of Eastbound and Down I guess.

 

World Series Game 7 (If it happens)

Thursday 8:07 PM EST

 world series               If the 162 game Baseball Season comes to a game 7, it would be must watch TV.  Two historic baseball powerhouses duking it out in Game 7, what could be better?  Well there is hockey, college football and the NFL all on at the same time.  However, if baseball does strike your fancy, this is the game to watch.  Both teams have a decent pitching staff and some clutch hitting.  The series going to Boston doesn’t necessarily mean high scoring like the first two games of the series.  Rain is in the forecast, which means small ball is at a premium.

 

Red Wings vs Flamespavel datsyuk

Friday 9:00 PM EST

                Sometimes standings can be deceiving.  The Flames are second from the bottom in the Pacific division but despite this they have a winning record.  However I’m excited to see rookie Sean Monahan against a perennial power like the Red Wings. The Flames have also developed a habit for high scoring game and with Pavel Datsyuk on the ice there’s a potential for something fantastic.  Is it a rivalry or a high ranking game? No.  But this one has potential to be great!

 

Arsenal vs Liverpool

Saturday 1:30 PM EST

                I can’t wait for this game personally.  The brilliance of Suarez is usually magnified in these games, and is only surpassed by his idiocracy.  If we’re lucky it’ll be Dr. Jeckyll and not the toothy Mr. Hyde.  The Arsenal midfield has also been a breeding ground for brilliance.  Mikel Arteta will be banned for the game which should be a concern for the Gunners increasingly growing list of unavailable players.  The London side’s starting 11 still should be a strong one against the Red’s.  However, unlike in the past, Suarez is not walking alone up top in Merseyside.  The brilliance of Sturridge on the season combined with the pure ability of Gerrard (whose coming off his 100th goal at Liverpool) should make this more than just a fair contest.  Expect goals, cards and a touch of the unbelievable.

 

Georgia vs Florida

Saturday 3:30 PM EST

Murray Between the Hedges

Murray Between the Hedges

Ah it’s a cocktail party in Jacksonville and the whole south is invited!  Georgia leaves the comfort of the hedges and the Gators make their way out of the Swamp to battle it out on Florida’s eastern shore.  Most years this game has National Championship implications; however neither of these teams are ranked.  None-the-less this game has the potential to be a great one.  Aaron Murray has found a way to win football games despite his entire support structure vanishing around him.  However the Florida defense is still incredibly stingy.  It’s strength against strength in the mediocre yet interesting SEC east.

 

Florida State vs Miami

Saturday 8:00 PM EST

                Expect this Saturday to feel like a twilight zone episode where you journey into the past… yet somehow it’s not the same.  These two teams have different faces everywhere but the game still has the feeling of those National Championship deciding games of the 90s.  Senior Quarterback Stephen Morris has this one last chance on a national stage to prove to the NFL he is still worth a glance.  However his counterpart “Famous” Jameis Winston looks to continue his hot streak.  This ACC matchup is definitely one to watch even if the spread is in the 20s.

 

Bears vs. Packers

Monday 8:20 PM EST

                Aaron Rodgers will be watching tape and checking it twice against this explosive Bears defense.  The Lions last week, with a win over Dallas makes this game a must win for each team.  The Pack need the victory to stay on top of the division, while the Bears need the W to keep up with the division.  The Chicago team enters the frozen tundra without QB Jay Cutler, which certainly complicates things.  Rodgers is also coming off of an explosive day against the at best poor Vikings.  This game is what Monday Night Football is all about.