Archive for the Sports Category

Maryland Moves To The Big 10

Posted in Basketball, Football with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 22, 2012 by FEGNS

Everyone who follows college sports has been weighing in on University of Maryland’s recent decision to leave the ACC in favor of the Big 10 conference.  Maryland and Big 10 officials alike seem very pleased with the move, but I’d like to add my opinion to the mix with a wide-angled view of the situation.

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Maryland’s Black Ops Uniforms

Posted in Football with tags , , , , , , on November 16, 2012 by FEGNS

The Maryland Terrapins will take on Florida State this weekend (November 17, 2012) with their new “Black Ops” Under Armour uniforms.  People may remember that Maryland made headlines last season with a new uniform each week.  They also experienced some jeers from people who didn’t like Under Armour’s last attempt at Maryland pride.

These new uniforms successfully (in my opinion) take a more subdued approach to Maryland pride than their 2011 counterparts.  Not to mention the fact that they just look really bad ass.

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Maryland Uniforms for the 2011 Season

Posted in Football with tags , , , , , on September 7, 2011 by FEGNS

When University of Maryland played the University of Miami Monday night, they took to the field with some very unique uniforms.

What has now become a polarizing issue, Maryland’s new uniforms have utterly dominated Twitter feeds and the university  itself was the No. 1 search term according to Google Trends.  Check out the new uniforms for the 2011 season.  They’re all made by Under Armour (the founder of that company is a University of Maryland alumni).

Do you love them or hate them?

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Time Magazine – Jackass Editor

Posted in Hockey, News with tags , , on May 15, 2009 by FEGNS

This morning I stumbled across a column written by Joel Stein for Time Magazine.com that made me vomit in my mouth.  Apparently, Mr. Stein’s douche-bag of an editor thinks that hockey (more specifically NHL hockey) is not relevant enough to appear as part of a Time Magazine publication.

This editor gave Stein one last chance to prove that hockey was worth writing about.  You can see Stein’s final(?) article here.  There is also a place on the page where readers can vote on the issue (“yes” to ban him from writing about hockey, “no” to keep him writing about the NHL and hockey).

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2009 NHL Awards – Selke Trophy

Posted in Hockey with tags , , , , , , , , , on April 29, 2009 by FEGNS

frank j selke trophy-top defensive forwardThe Frank J. Selke Trophy is given out every year to the forward who is voted as “most proficient in the defensive aspects of hockey.”

In my opinion, this award is one of the more underrated awards, and it doesn’t receive enough attention.  All of the finalists and winners of this award are every bit as important to their teams (and sometimes more important) than a great goal scorer or passer.

Finalists for this year’s Selke Award include: Pavel Datsyuk, Mike Richards, and Ryan Kesler.

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2009 NHL Awards – Lady Byng

Posted in Hockey with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 25, 2009 by FEGNS

lady byng trophy-gentlemanly conductThe Lady Byng Trophy is given each year to the NHL player “who has exhibited the best type of sportsmanship and gentlemanly conduct combined with a high standard of playing ability.”

Simply put, usually it goes to the player who has the combination of high point totals and low penalty minute totals.  Pavel Datsyuk has won the award three years in a row, and is one of the finalists for the award again this year.

Joining Datsyuk on the list of finalists are: New Jersey LW, Zach Parise and Tampa Bay RW, Martin St. Louis.

Obviously, all three candidates are stellar options… but let’s briefly take a look at each player (as we have done with the other awards).

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2009 NHL Awards – Norris Trophy

Posted in Hockey with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on April 23, 2009 by FEGNS

james norris trophy-top defensemenThe three finalists for 2009’s award for the “best defender in the NHL,” The James Norris Trophy have been revealed.

All three finalists are on teams that finished at the top of their divisions, and all three are quite deserving of the award and title as best defender of the year.

The Finalists are: Mike Green (Washington Capitals), Nicklas Lidstrom (Detroit Red Wings), and Zdeno Chara (Boston Bruins).

I can by no means argue with these three finalists as they were all absolutely stellar this season, and I can not realistically remove any of the three in favor for any other defender that isn’t a finalist.

Let’s take a closer look at their seasons, what each of them brings to the table, and possible reasons that they should win this prestigious award.

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2009 NHL Awards – Rookie of the Year Finalists

Posted in Hockey with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 22, 2009 by FEGNS

calder trophy-rookie of the yearToday the NHL revealled the 3 finalists for the “Rookie of the Year award,” The Calder Memorial Trophy.

As expected, standout Columbus Blue Jackets goaltender Steve Mason was on the list of young stars… as was Anaheim Ducks breakout forward, Bobby Ryan and Chicago Blackhawks power forward, Kris Versteeg.

Notable exceptions to the list include the minute-muching, defensive anchor from the Los Angeles Kings, Drew Doughty; and the lanky goalie with a quick glove from the Nashville Preditors, Pekka Rinne.

Let’s break down the incredible seasons that these five young players had.

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2009 NHL Awards – The Givens

Posted in Hockey with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 16, 2009 by FEGNS

nhl-awards

As of April 12th, 2009… the recipients for three of the many yearly NHL awards were decided: The Maurice “Rocket” Richard Trophy (which is awarded to the most proficient goal scorer each season), the Art Ross Trophy (which is awarded to the most proficient point getter each season), and the Presidents Trophy (which is awarded to the team with the best record at the end of the regular season). 

These awards are not determined by votes and as of the end of the last regular season game this past Sunday night, their winners have been determined.

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Stanley Cup Playoffs – Round 1 (West) Predictions

Posted in Hockey with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 14, 2009 by FEGNS

 stanleycup2009-west (1st Round Predictions)

As a continuation of yesterday’s playoff predictions, here I’ll jot down some thoughts and theories regarding the Western Conference round one Stanley Cup Playoff match-ups.  To see the first post with Eastern Conference predictions, Click Here.

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Stanley Cup Playoffs – Round 1 (East) Predictions

Posted in Hockey with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 13, 2009 by FEGNS

 

stanleycup2009-east (1st Round Predictions)

Every year as the NHL regular season wraps up, I find myself attempting to make predictions as to which teams will advance through the playoffs. 

This year is no different… so I’ve decided to break down my thoughts regarding the upcoming playoff series’ of the Eastern Conference.  The Western Conference predictions will be posted tomorrow.

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Avery “Accidently” Hits Boston Goalie Tim Thomas

Posted in Hockey with tags , , , , , , on April 6, 2009 by FEGNS

Over the weekend, New York Ranger Sean Avery somewhat reverted to his old ways, when he “tapped” Boston Goalie Tim Thomas in the head with his stick during a break in play

Needless to say the event caused a huge ruckus, and it ultimately resulted in a 4 on 4 situation between the two teams (which were at that point in the game tied 0-0).  To see the clip of the incident, view the bottom of this post…

Now don’t get me wrong… I’m not one of those people that thinks that Sean Avery should be hung from the rafters by his toe nails (these people are out there though).  I actually think this was pretty funny, and pretty typical Sean Avery.  He riled Tim Thomas up something major, and there was every bit the possibility that Thomas would be enough off of his game because of the incident, that the Rangers could have won the game.

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Canucks and Blackhawks… Ding Ding!

Posted in Hockey with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on March 30, 2009 by FEGNS

March 29th.  The Vancouver Canucks played the Chicago Blackhawks in an important western conference matchup that would possibly dictate playoff seeding and home ice advantage for the Stanley Cup Playoffs. 

Vancouver ended up winning the game soundly, but that wasn’t what drew the most attention that evening.  Moments after Dustin Byfuglien punched Roberto Luongo in the head while driving the net, Alexandre Burrows and Duncan Keith mixed it up near center ice.  During the scrap, Burrows pull Keith’s hair and scratched his face with his finger nails.

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NHL Final Standings Predictions – WEST

Posted in Hockey with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 28, 2009 by FEGNS

A couple of days ago, I decided that I’d take a crack at figuring out what the final standings (and therefore the first round of the playoffs) would look like in for the Eastern Conference.

This is the second post (of two) on this topic… here we’ll discuss the Western  Conference and what might end up happening in the closing weeks of the regular season.

Pictured to the right is the current playoff picture in the western conference (as of the morning of 3.28.2009)…

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NHL Final Standings Predictions – EAST

Posted in Hockey with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 26, 2009 by FEGNS

nhl east standings -(3.26.2009)

UPDATE: Check out my Western Conference Predictions Here.

With just under 10 games left (give or take a couple of games) for most teams in the NHL, I decided that I’d take a crack at figuring out what the final standings (and therefore the first round of the playoffs) will look like in a couple of weeks.

This is the first post (of two) on this topic… here we’ll discuss the Eastern Conference and what might end up happening in the closing weeks of the regular season.  The Western Conference analysis will be up in a day or two, so check back for it.

Pictured to the right is the current playoff picture in the eastern conference (as of the morning of 3.26.2009)…

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Should Pittsburgh Trade Crosby or Malkin?

Posted in Hockey with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 24, 2009 by FEGNS

About a month ago, Adam Gretz of NHL.Fanhouse.com wrote a well thought out reaction to recent talk that the Pittsburgh Penguins should trade either Sidney Crosby or Evgeni Malkin to attain depth. 

Since his article was written on February 24th, Pittsburgh has made a head coaching change, traded Ryan Whitney to Anaheim for Chris Kunitz, and acquired Billy Guerin at the trade deadline from the NY Islanders.  These combined changes seem to have spurred a turn around in Pittsburgh, as the Penguins now sit comfortably in a playoff spot with many of the teams around them in the standings slumping and moving backwards.

This recent success, while wonderful for the Penguins and their current season hopes for a Stanley Cup, have not (at least in my opinion) changed anything in the grand scheme of things… and have certainly not rendered Mr. Gretz’s article moot.

It’s my opinion that the thought of trading one of Crosby or Malkin is not as outlandish and destructive of a thing as he makes it seem, so let’s look at things from a slightly different (but entirely appropriate) economic perspective.

In economic theory, when you determine the value of something… you must consider not only what it is currently worth, but what the assets committed to such a quantity could be worth if allocated elsewhere.  This theory is likely front and center in most NHL general manager’s heads as they assess the “value” of not only their players, but other players in the league, and other players not in the league (draftees, prospects, and European players).  Mr. Gretz did not consider this subject when writing his article, and consequently many of his examples of “failed trades” do not actually support his argument.

Let’s look at a few of these examples to see the basic theories of economics at work…

August 2, 2005 — Chris Pronger: The St. Louis Blues send Chris Pronger to the Edmonton Oilers for Eric Brewer, Doug Lynch, and Jeff Woywitka.

Chris Pronger was reportedly unhappy with a 7+ million dollar qualifying offer that the Blues gave him as an RFA the summer that they traded him.  This was the same summer that the salary cap andthe collective bargaining agreement went into effect.  St. Louis decided that with a salary cap maximum of just under $40 million, that their money could be spent better elsewhere.  Moving Pronger not only avoided a situation of an unhappy player becoming a cancer in the locker room, but also allowed the Blues more monetary flexibility.

July 11, 2001: Pittsburgh trades Jaromir Jagr and Frantisek Kucera to the Washington Capitals for Kris Beech, Michel Sivek, and Ross Lupaschuk.

Pittsburgh had not been to the Stanley Cup finals since the 1991-92 season.  Trading away Jaromir Jagr allowed the aging Penguins team (that consisted of not much more than Alexei Kovalev and Mario Lemieux at the time of the deal), to focus on rebuilding and becoming a contender again.  With the loss of Jagr, the team drafted in the top five years in a row… selecting Ryan Whitney, Marc-Andre Fleury, Evgeni Malkin, Sidney Crosby, and Jordan Staal with these respective top 5 overall draft picks.

By trading away Jagr, the Penguins have rebuilt their team into one of the most skilled young teams in the league.  Oh yeah… and all five of the above listed players were an integral part to getting the Penguins back to the Stanley Cup finals for the first time since the early 90s.  So was the Jagr deal really that bad?  When you think of everything that has directly come from it?  Jagr and Lemieux are long gone from the NHL, so if the Penguins had kept Jagr… where would they be now?

November 30, 2005: Boston Bruins trade Joe Thornton to the San Jose Sharks for Brad Stuart, Marco Sturm, and Wayne Primeau.

During the time that “Jumbo Joe” was in Boston, they never made it past the 2nd round of the playoffs.  Since Thorton has been traded to San Jose, the Sharks have never made it past the 2nd round of the playoffs (despite making it to the western conference finals the season before acquiring Thornton).  Trading Thornton allowed Boston to sign Zdeno Chara and Marc Savard via free agency, and they have been a large part of Boston’s success in the eastern conference this season.  Boston also has a number of young players contributing to their very good 2008-09 season, that they likely would have never had the chance to draft had they not traded Thornton.

June 23, 2006: Florida Panthers trade Roberto Luongo and Lukas Krajicek to Vancouver for Todd Bertuzzi, Bryan Allen, and Alex Auld.

Florida is on pace to finish the 2008-09 season with their highest point totals in the standings since before they acquired Luongo from NYI.  They acquired Tomas Vokoun and Craig Anderson via free agency to adequately address their needs in goal, and Bryan Allen has been very solid defensively since joining their team.  Florida traded Todd Bertuzzi to Detriot for blue chip prospect Shawn Matthias, and a conditional draft pick.  So had Florida not moved Luongo, they wouldn’t likely have the contributions of Vokoun, Anderson, Allen, or Matthias. 

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You can list nearly all the “bad” superstar trades in NHL history, and if you follow the cookie crumbs that are left in the wake of the actual deal itself, you can see that close to 100% of the time, things pan out the way they should.  While many trades seem like bad ideas at the time sometimes they are necessary to ultimately achieve success.

This happens, because the “value” of the player/superstar that you are trading can almost always be transferred into new or different players.  If Crosby or Malkin were dealt in a trade, there’s not a doubt in my mind, that the “value” of the returning package would at the end of the day make the deal worth while. 

The bottom line is that the Penguins have close to 22 million dollars committed to 3 natural centers.  You can not win a Stanley Cup without a supporting cast for these pivots.  With the contracting economy, the salary cap pinch will likely be felt in the next couple of seasons, and if I were a betting man… I’d suggest that one of two things happen in the coming years:

1) The Penguins continue from struggle from a lack of depth have trouble finding secondary scoring outside of Crosby and Malkin.  Their consistency suffers, and they fail to make a serious run at the Stanley Cup (without blowing their draft picks and prospects on a talented rental winger like they did last year with Marian Hossa).

2) They trade one of Crosby or Malkin and they receivenot only depth, but salary cap room to modify their team chemistry and create a balanced attack and a perennial contender. 

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Any betting man knows that you don’t help your chances of winning big if you put all your eggs in one basket.  The Penguins would do well to at least entertain offers for their franchise centermen… though I’d imagine that there wouldn’t be as many takers as some seem to suggest.  With teams dying to shed heavy salaries this past trade deadline, there will be more andmore teams that are stuck withlarge contracts… Pittsburgh being one of them.  Not only have they put themselves in a bad position withthe salary cap with their big contracts, but they’ve put themselves in a bad trading position as well. 

As Mr. Gretz mentions there are many teams with large amounts of money committed to players for next season… but how many teams can claim that they have approximately $21.4 million in cap space committed to three players that play the SAME POSITION

Say what you want about Detriot, Washington, NY Rangers, etc… and their cap positions… but at least they’ve diversified their cap allowance throughout their roster.

If you still don’t think the Penguins should move either Malkin or Crosby, take a moment and consider how many superstars that play the same position have remained on a team together for their entire careers… it doesn’t happen… it didn’t happen before the salary cap, and now that there is a salary cap, it CERTAINLY won’t happen.  The penguins would be wise to consider trading one of these players while they are young, marketable, and still have some years left on their contracts (this will guarantee the maximum immediate value in return)…

As final note: both players are unrestricted free agents at the termination of their current contracts… and BOTH have no-trade clauses in the final year of their current deals.  Pittsburgh GM Ray Shero should be at least considering trading one now… so that he doesn’t get caught with his pants down losing one for nothing a few years.

Tuukka Rask Meltdown

Posted in Hockey with tags , , , , , , on March 23, 2009 by FEGNS

Tuukka Rask is a highly touted, 22 year old NHL goalie prospect in the Boston Bruins pipeline.  He was drafted 21st overall back in the 2005 entry draft, and is currently leading Boston’s AHL affiliate, The Providence Bruins with a 2.51 30-19-3 record.  He has a 2.51 GAA, 91.5 save%, and 4 shutouts on the year for the baby Bruins.

This past friday, Rask had a noteworthy preformance against the Albany River Rats.  First, he posted a shutout through regulation to give his team (which was also shutout), a chance to secure a victory in the shootout competition.  It was during this shootout however, that things really got interesting

With the P-Bruins leading the shootout, 1-0, Albany’s Jakub Petruzalek skated in on Rask, lost the puck, recovered and then hesitated before he fired a shot from the bottom of the left circle past a sprawled-out Rask. Much to everyone’s surprise, the goal was counted.

Harrison Reed followed with a goal of his own tucked right under the crossbar for the game-winner to lift the Rats to a 1-0 victory. After the Reed goal, Rask chased referee Frederick L’Ecuyer toward the penalty box and then let his emotions out by slamming and tossing his stick and then chucking a milk crate.

“He went backwards and stopped the play and waited three seconds and then shot it,” said Rask after the game. “I guess the guy didn’t believe it either because he stopped and then took the shot.  As long as the ref doesn’t blow the whistle, it’s game on I guess.”

While Rask’s meltdown is probably one of the more interesting and/or comical moments in goaltending history, this incident could possibly raise concerns about the prospect (who is widely consider Boston’s future goaltender) and his mental game.  Any goaltender, or NHL scout can tell you that the mental game of a goalie is every bit as crucial to success at the NHL level as physical skill/capability is.  While some goalies do very well playing on the edge of their emotions… for others, a lack of focus due to emotions can lead to a game changing goal at an inopportune moment.  

I suspect that it is a distinct possibility that when the time came for the second Albany player to attempt the shootout, Rask was still thinking about the previous goal.  This slight distraction could have lead to the second & game-clinching goal against the P-Bruins net-minder. 

While it’s completely possible that Rask may have a tremendous NHL career in spite of his outbursts and flagrant signs of emotion… my money is on his emotions being a negative for his future as a professional goalie, and not a positive.  He needs to learn to avoid getting upset, while focusing his disgust for bad calls on keeping the rubber out of his net. 

See below for a clip of the incident:

Blake Griffin gets flipped in First Round Win

Posted in Basketball with tags , , , , , , on March 20, 2009 by FEGNS

Oklahoma big man Blake Griffin suffered a concussion last month from a blow to the jaw, and after last night… it’s clear that his season of getting roughed up isn’t quite over just yet.

Morgan State senior, Ameer Ali flipped Griffin over his back and onto the hardwood in the second half after the two became “entangled” in a dangerous looking incident that could have turned out worse for Griffin than it actually did.

While it was quite obviously an intentional foul that could have been avoided by Ali… and while it was much deserving of the ejection that Ali received, the backlash that has occured since the incident is completely uncalled for.

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Ovechkin Celebrates 50th Goal

Posted in Hockey with tags , , , , , on March 20, 2009 by FEGNS

Last night, Alexander Ovechkin scored his 50th goal of the season against the Tampa Bay Lightning.  To commemorate the event, he laid his stick down on the ice and treated it as “too hot to handle.”  For several seconds before skating off of the ice.

A few weeks ago, color commentator, Don Cherry expressed a certain level of disgust with Ovechkin’s celebrations following goals… but this latest example of premeditated celebration will really burn Cherry’s britches I’m sure.  I’d imagine that Cherry will have more viewers than he’s had in years the next time he’s on t.v. as people tune in just to hear what he’s got to say now. 

In case you missed it here’s (what will become I’m sure) the notorious celebration:

As far as the celebration goes: I’ve made it very clear to everyone I talk to that I love Ovechkin’s passion for the game.  I typically have no problem with him pumping his fist and being excited about goals.  I actually don’t have much of a problem with him planning a celebration for milestone goals… but what I do have a problem with, is the star player of a team seemingly focusing more on his own personal achievements and goal scoring than the teams success as a whole. 

The Washington Capitals are a team that is 5-4-1 in their last 10 games.   That’s the 8th best “last-10” record in the Eastern Conference right now.  This team needs to focus on winning games; not celebrating goals or personal achievements.  If Ovechkin is ever to be a captain of this squad (he’s currently an alternate), he needs to learn that lesson. 

I’ve got no problem with celebrating… and I really don’t care one way or another about planned celebrations in hockey… but I do think that any celebrating that is done, should come only after the success of the team as a whole. 

If the Capitals were on a tear, mopping the ice with their competition of late, it’d be a completely different story, and I’d have a very different opinion as to whether or not this celebration should have occurred… as things are right now, Ovechkin and his teammates need to be more focused on how they can advance their position in the standings, and how they can prepare themselves best for a long playoff run. 

At the end of the day, you can scored 50+ times in numerous regular seasons… but if you don’t win a Stanley Cup, you will retire unsatisfied.  Ovechkin and the Capitals as a whole need to take a second and refocus on what is (or at least should be) their most important goal: Lord Stanley’s Cup.  After that goal is achieved, then you celebrate… and you celebrate as a team.

Brodeur Breaks All-Time NHL Wins Record

Posted in Hockey with tags , , , , on March 18, 2009 by FEGNS
Martin Brodeur - Win 552

Martin Brodeur - Win 552

Last night, Martin Brodeur broke Patrick Roy’s all-time NHL wins record with a 3-2 win over the Chicago Blackhawks.  The win was Brodeur’s 552nd, and while arguments as to who the best goalie of all time is will likely continue… one thing is certain:  Martin Brodeur is the one with the most wins. 

Brodeur is 36 years old this year and looking capable and energetic enough to play at least the remaining 3 seasons left on his contract with the New Jersey Devils.  There is no doubt in my mind that he will have smashed this record to bits by the time he hangs up the skates and the mask for good.

See below for a clip of the waining seconds of the game:

Congratulations Marty.