Wednesday, January 23, 2013

It's Hockey Time!

The NHL is here and has quickly reached full swing. I know that I was bitter during the lockout but man am I happy to see this game played again. Thus far, I have watched a few post-lockout games of NHL hockey and one thing seems obvious: some teams have come back in force and others are still trying to figure out where the puck is. The Buffalo Sabers are a team to keep an eye on. A good bit of the team played together in the AHL during the lockout. Ryan Miller was the goalie representing the USA in the most recent Winter Olympics and he has a fast glove. I enjoy watching this guy play. He has only allowed 3 pucks to enter his net this season. Some of you might argue that he's only played 2 game so far and that's a valid point in a way. There may have only been two games thus far but, looking at the spectrum, other goalies have already allowed 4 to 7 goals per game! So I am just pointing out that I think he is going to be hot.

I watched the L.A. Kings come to Denver and face the Avalanche in their home opener last night. Both of these teams had a hard time playing as just that, a team. Some of the lines on both sides are playing great, but others not so much. The game had two young goal tenders. In the crease for the Kings was Jonathan Quick who just turned 27 on January 21st. This kid had a heck of a season last year and even though the Kings are 0-2 he has played well. He really lives up to his name because he is just so Quick. On the opposite side of the rink in the Avs jersey, was the 24 year old from Russia, Semyon Varlamov. This kid is a very strong goalie. He is fast, agile, and he fits very well with the Avs because he is not so old that he's lost some of his ability nor is he so young that he allows his nerves to take over. Varlamov is able to get the respect he deserves from his team because of the skill and leadership he portrays on the ice.

In this shortened season a team can't afford to throw away any games. Some sportscasters are saying that the younger teams will be better deeper in the season because they have young legs and great stamina which will allow them to keep up with the fast pace of this condensed season. There is some truth to this theory. The young teams might be healthy and ready to play, however, if they can't win in the first half of the season it won't matter how they feel in the second half. In this sportscaster's opinion, the teams that will be in the playoffs and make it to the Stanley Cup finals will be the teams that have a good balance of veteran leaders and fast youngsters.

There is no mixed conference play this year. This will make the Cup even more fun to watch, with no possible chance for the two teams in the finals to face each other until game 1. The less exciting part of the Stanley Cup is that the first game won't take place until the END OF JUNE! This is ridiculous and, obviously, due to the silly, drug out lockout! There is no reason hockey should be played in any summer month. Every team will have a harder time keeping the ice cold enough, especially the southern states. I understand that the NHL wanted to squeeze in 48 games but this all goes back to the fact that there never should have been a dang lock out in the first place. Despite this fact, I'm rarin' and ready to watch that puck drop.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Playoffs and Super Bowl XLVII  
Some of you might have noticed that I predicted the Seahawks were going to make it to the Super Bowl this year. Well I was wrong. Don't expect me to say that again. Back to the Seahawks, Russel Willson looked nervous. He also had the 'wow I am in the playoffs' look. By the second half they started to get back into the rhythm we all are used to seeing in the Seahawks, though. We also saw the Falcons start to choke in the fourth quarter, allowing 21 points and a lead change that made for a very interesting last few seconds of the game. I don't get why you would try to ice a rookie kicker who was trying to do a long field goal in the final seconds of a playoff game. Just let his nerves take care of it. Oooh Pete Carroll.

I have been saying from week twelve of the NFL season when the Broncos clenched their division, that if the Broncos received a bye week it would hurt them. I could see that they had finally found their stride and were all on the same page. The first week of the playoffs provided the number one seeded AFC West Broncos a bye week that ultimately threw off their groove. While both fans and players froze their butts off, the refs had a nice Saturday chat about their weekend. Okay, maybe they were talking about the game but it sure took a long, long time to make any decisions on penalties called. The officiating in this game was just plain bad. I know this sounds like a cop out since I'm clearly a Broncos fan, but it was just as terrible for the Ravens. This is one of those games that shows the NFL should not change up the officiating teams for the playoffs and super bowl. The regular season officiating teams have developed a system by the end of the season.  They individually understand their role within each game and how to cohesively work together. So why mess with switching out refs that haven't worked with one another all year? All in all, the game was an emotional wreck to watch, however, after licking my wounds as a die hard Broncos fan, I have begun to move forward and start to think about Super Bowl XLVII.

This year's Super Bowl, which will be played on Sunday, February 3rd, will represent a battle of NFL coaching brothers Jim and John Harbaugh. It is the first time that a set of brothers will act as head-coaches against each other on the big stage of the Super Bowl. I have followed both the Ravens and the 49ers all season. I think that the 49ers have a strong defense and one of the best tight ends in the league, but don't forget about Frank Gore, either. If the the Ravens are able to stop Kaepernick and Gore from running down their throats and, on top of that, keep Money Earnin' Vernon Davis and Michael Crabtree in check, the offense for the '9ers could be shut down. On the other hand, the Ravens have their own set of weapons that could be just as hard to turn off. The running game from Ray Rice is just as powerful as that of Gore. Rice isn't a big fellow but he is quick and effective. He can find holes that would be hard for even an eel to penetrate. He is dangerous on all downs of all lengths, just ask the San Diego Chargers. The Ravens possess one of the most dangerous kick and punt returners, Jacoby Jones. In my opinion, he should never take a knee or wave a fair catch. Did I mention he is a good wide receiver as well? You also can't forget about Torrey Smith. He can burn the best cornerbacks out there. To top it off, Joe Flacco can throw a bullet to Anquan Boldin and Dennis Pitta.

As I look at this game all I know is that you have to put the QBs on the turf. The outcome of Superbowl XLVII could really go either direction. I will guarantee, however, that the winning coach will have the initials J.H. and the last name Harbaugh.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

The NHL is Back!

The NHL is back but are the fans going to join them back in the stadiums? I think the people of the great white north will be back 100%, but some of the lower 48 will be hurting to get their fans back to the buildings. I am a huge hockey fan. It took me many years to really start following the NHL after the first strike and once I got back to it they went and pulled this stunt all over again. Yes I am a tad bit frustrated with them but the NHL somehow won me over, again, by coming back. I refuse to spend money to go to any NHL games this year. I'll be supportive from my couch and watch them on TV but I will not go to a game unless someone gives me tickets.

The thing that irks me the most about the whole lockout is that the players took a deal that was offered MONTHS ago. On October 16, 2012 a 50:50 revenue split was offered to the players and two days later the Players' Association came back with three counter proposals that were just too far for the owners' to accept. This whole fiasco could have been solved before they had to cancel many regular season games if they had just said yes in October to practically the same offer they agreed on a few days ago.  With all that being said, I am very excited to be able to watch some hockey!

BCS National Championship

What a boring game that was Monday night. I don't care if you are the biggest BAMA fan out there. It was a boring, blowout game. I am not saying that the Crimson Tide didn't play good football because they did. Notre Dame couldn't get anything going offensively. They also couldn't stop the BAMA offence. I was extremely disappointed in the officiating, though. In my opinion, there were some horrible calls. If I didn't know better I would say that they were paid to make the outcome as it played out. Now, were there really enough terrible calls to change the outcome of the game? Maybe not. However, the highly questionable calls in the beginning of the game forced a snowball affect on Notre Dame, no doubt! I also believe that the game would have been much different if there wasn't such a long break between the end of the season and the National Championship game itself.  44 days between the last regular season game for Notre Dame and the BCS Championship and 37 for Alabama is simply too many! There isn't a person out there that can say that the teams are the same after that long of a break. It's not just this gap between the regular season and the Championship, there is also a huge period of time between the regular season and all the other silly bowl games. I hope in the future this playoff system is closer to the end of the season.

NFL Playoffs

The wildcard weekend was fun to watch.  However, some games were more fun than others. I was surprised how well the Texans played contrary to how bad the Colts played. I thought the Texans were in a tail spin and were going to crash and burn but they pulled it out over the Bangles. The Colts, in my mind, were going to be a tough team in the playoffs but instead they were easily pecked off by the Ravens. My predictions for the next set of games are as follows: SEA over ALTSF over GBNE over HOU, and, last but sure not least, DEN over BAL. I know it's jumping slightly ahead but my Superbowl prediction is DEN 35 to SEA 21.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Top Ten Moments in Sports 2012

10.             Michael Phelps new medal record. 19 medals, 15 of them gold. That is an impressive feat. Yes, he swims many events in the Olympics but he is simply the best swimmer out there. Some argue that it’s not fair to other Olympians, like LeBron James, because he only gets to play in one finals game. Phelps doesn’t have a team to help him in all his medal events. Swimming is an individual sport and that’s why Michael Phelps makes the list.

9.                 Notre Dame football going undefeated. I don’t want to hear they don’t play in a conference and that means they don’t play any of the best teams. That argument is rubbish. It is ridiculously hard to go undefeated and they did. That takes a great team and that’s why the Notre Dame football team makes the top ten.

8.                 Back to swimming and the Olympics. Rebecca Soni broke her own world record twice in the 200 breast stroke. Once in the semifinals and the second time in the finals. Her current world recorded is 2:19.59.

7.                 The Washington Capitals beating the Boston Bruins in the Stanley Cup playoffs. Three of the seven games went to OT, one to double OT. I have been to both arenas and man can they get loud. It was fun hockey to watch.

6.                 The Miami Heat winning the World Championship. The 5 game series had some of the best basketball players of modern time. I won’t be surprised if the finals in 2013 is a rematch.

5.                 San Francisco Giants winning the World Series. The Detroit Tigers played good baseball but were not able to pull out a win. Both teams were loaded with good players and it was sure entertaining to watch. 

4.                 Peyton Manning and Adrian Peterson’s amazing comebacks from horrendous injuries. Both of these extraordinary athletes destroyed the record books this year. Manning put his name on many Denver Broncos club records, while Peterson was just nine yards shy of breaking the all time rushing yards in a single season. Do I need to say more? 

3.                 Eli Manning beating Tom Brady in the Super Bowl. Again.

2.                 Miguel Cabrera winning the MLB Triple Crown for the first time in forty years. 

         And…the number one slot for best sports moments of 2012 is…

1.                 The Olympics take the cake! London did an amazing job hosting. They used every nook and cranny of the city to make one of the most amazing sporting events of all times look just that, an amazing sporting event. 

Looking Forward to in 2013 
  • Rugby Six Nations looks to be good, as always. I love to watch rugby, as it is fast and rough. The opening round this year has some amazing matches. The first few matches look like this: Wales v Ireland, England v Scotland, Italy v France. Which all will take place in February.

  • Broncos Super Bowl!!!

  • Knock out round of the UEFA Champions League. This year it is set up so that some of the best teams face off early in the tournament: Real Madrid v Manchester United, Arsenal v Bayern Munich, and Milan v Barcelona.

  • Opening day of baseball. You don’t have to be a fan of baseball to recognize that there is something special about that day.

  • The NHL figuring out how to solve this crisis. It doesn’t matter what happens. They just need to stop this bickering.

  • NBA Finals.

  • March Madness. Best tournament in all sports.

  • Is this a year for a Triple Crown winner in horse racing? It would be the first time in 35 years if it happens in the coming year.

  • Rugby Sevens World Cup. The U.S has a strong team. Maybe they will bring the cup home from Moscow.