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Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Brodeur great,Devils and refs not so much....

You want evidence on why Martin Brodeur is still the best goaltender in the world?
Watch this game where he singlehandedly earned the New Jersey Devils a point in a 1-0 overtime loss that was filled with Green Lanternish saves,poor calls by the officials and pretty tame offensive work from the Devils.
The Devils have two days off before back to back games vs Chicago at the Rock and then the beginning of the three game "Washington tour" in Carolina,Atlanta and Florida.

Hell Raisers

1) Readers here know that I call it straight,when the teams will cover here play poorly-I say so.
On this night,the Devils offense was bad,but the officials were worse.
Three quick examples that I caught,one was the slashing (or interference ,if you prefer) that saw Patrice Bergeron slash the stick from Paul Martin's hands leaving him helpless to Bergeron on the OT goal.
The refs did call the exact same play and penalty on Zach Parise in the third period that negated a Devil PP.
To me,it was the same call,but two different calls resulted-just be consistent!

2) Same result,two call thread continues when Patrik Elias was called for tripping late in the game forcing the Devs to kill a penalty instead of aggressively going for the win.
Elias got two in the box,while Ilya Kovalchuk was clearly hooked from behind by Mark Recchi just before the game winner and no call-Just be consistent!

3) All of that said,the Devil offense floated through the game with just 21 shots,none of them tough saves for Tuukka Rask and only David Clarkson's shot that smacked off the top of the crossbar was even close to a goal.

4) I watched the game on NESN,as I always do when the Bruins play the Devils (and it sure isn't for Jack Edwards either) and Andy Brickley brought up a great point on the game winner.
With 18 seconds to go and without a stick,why didn't Paul Martin grab,tackle,shove etc Patrice Bergeron to get him away from the net.
Marty Brodeur was on the other side and had no chance to make the stop,so considering the worst case scenario,which would be down a man for 18 seconds-why didn't Martin do that?
Great point by Brickley.

5) Patrik Elias started the evening by being named as the Devils nominee' for the Masterton trophy.
Elias ended his night with a game misconduct given after the game for breaking his stick and yelling at the officials.

Bonus round) In the end,the Devils can blame no one other than the Devils.
The refs were bad,but the team didn't play well and other than the netminder,no one comes to mind that played well,other than maybe Pierre-Luc LeBlond,who at least was hitting some guys in the white shirts.
These are the type of evenings that make me feel very nervous about a 4-5 series against what looks like Ottawa in the playoffs....

Back later with some melting pot stuff that will feature my daughter!

Photo Credits-Jim McIssac-Getty Images

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

You sing like crap,get off the stage


Odd title,I am sure,but watching the New Jersey Devils play so poorly in a 5-1 loss to the Flyers,I couldn't get Eugene Levy as Mitch Cohen in the Mighty Wind saying "You sing like crap,get off the stage,very inarticulate" out of my head.
Nothing that I could say sums the game up more than that.
The Devils only goal by Ilya Kovalchuk (39) was a meaningless third period goal with the Devils already down 4-0.
The Devils host Boston tonight at the Rock,lets hope a better effort comes forth than this disaster...

Hell Raisers

1) The Devils wanted this game.The Flyers HAD to have it with Philly being in a battle just to make the playoffs and the need/want issue showed on the ice.
Make any excuses that you want,but this game was a awful game by the Devils.

2) The Flyers are so beat at goal that Brian Boucher is the main guy and the backup has played 4 AHL games as his pro resume' and yet the Devils played this poorly?

3) Marty Brodeur was just average in the game,allowing four goals,but it could have been worse as he made some tough saves.
Brodeur was pulled after two and Yann Danis mopped up.

4) The forecheck and backcheck moved well,backward after a solid night against Montreal.
The Devils couldn't seem to get the puck consistently in the Flyer zone and out of their zone.
Simplistic?Yep.
Truthful? No Doubt.

5) The defensive corps was pretty putrid too.
Paul Martin made a few blunders,Bryce Salvador was down for the second game in a row,Colin White seemed to be wherever he should not be and Mike Mottau was Mike Mottau.

Bonus Round-Fire and Ice is reporting the Devils may moving the Lowell franchise,since they do not have a lease for next season.
The likely homes if the Devils leave are their former home in Albany,who will be losing their team to Charlotte next season and appears desperate to keep a team or possibly Trenton and then finding a new home for their ECHL team....
Ironic,how Albany wanted the Devils to leave and now the Devils are their last hope to keep hockey in the New York capital.

Photo Credit-Len Redkoles-Getty Images

Monday, March 29, 2010

Happy Anniversary to us!


Three years old today.
I still am amazed that this has lasted so long,considering my track record of sticking with things.
I suppose that is because this is fun to do and I have always enjoyed looking back on my thoughts on things and how things actually turned out.

There are times that I run out of time to get this up every day and I wish I had more time to devote to this,maybe sometime I'll buy that laptop that I have been promising myself and truly kick this thing in high gear.
I enjoy the blog as this is not a chore for me for the most part and the key to doing things everyday is keeping it fun.
Now when I can figure out how to make exercise fun and make time for it,I'll drop some weight!

I have had people talk to me about the blog and offer this suggestion most of all-If you would specialize in one thing,readership numbers would move higher.
They may be true,but that would be one dimensional and I don't think that this would have made three years had I taken their advice.
Readership moved up a bit over the last year and hopefully,we can make a similar jump by the time we hit year number four.
I am always disappointed in the lack of comments that we get on the blog,but few things have made me feel better than when I get a email from reader that wants my thoughts on something and that is just as good as a comment to me.

One of the things that I have taken the most pride in is that two people have become Devils fans because of the blog.
Hockey has become a niche' sport and making new fans is a must.
So,I feel good about that,even though I know that our Devils coverage is not really what some of our readers come around most for.

I have also taken pride in bringing interviews to the blog and I never stop in trying to bring more of them here.
The most popular search to bring people here over the last year was "Erik Arnesen Baseball" and those interviews (especially the first) put us on the map,so to speak even if we are just a speck on that map.

Finally in wrapping up,I would like to thank a few people for their contributions.
The lovely Cherie sends me non-sports links on occasion and this was her idea to begin with.
Ryan gives me column ideas without him knowing it with the bull sessions that we share.
Rachel has become more involved as she is working on a logo for the blog that she is designing.
Thanks to Battlin' Bob for his constant plugs for us (Check Bob's blog out at the links page) and thanks to all of you that read us either every day or when the headline catches your eye.

Here is to another year!

Back later with a look at the Devils pathetic loss in Philly

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Devils win,clinch playoff berth


The New Jersey Devils clinched a playoff berth last night with a hard fought 4-2 win in Montreal over the Canadiens.
Devils goals to Brian Rolston (19 empty net) Jamie Langenbrunner (18 power play),Patrik Elias (15 power play) and Dainius Zubrus (8).
The Devils will be in Philly tonight against the Flyers before getting a night off.

Hell Raisers

1) Montreal games are always nail biting affairs it seems,but last night the Devils seemed to control the game and then allow le' Habs to slide back into the battle on several occasions.
Maybe its the atmosphere in Montreal,but games there just have tons of charisma...

2) Loved the forechecking by the Devils last night.
The forecheck was very active and hampered Montreal for most of the evening,but especially in the last half of the first period and first half of the second.

3) The empty net goal by Brian Rolston was the 700th point of his career,but the most impressive part to me was the pass to Rolston by Ilya Kovalchuk.
Kovalchuk had the wide open goal,but instead passed to Rolston for the clincher.
Kovalchuk is beginning to end the "selfish" rap placed upon him and I am beginning to think the Devils have a better chance than most think of re-signing him...

4) Yesterday,I was about to write on the missing Vladimir Zharkov and Anssi Salmela,but Zharkov appeared last night and had an assist on the evening.
Zharkov had the proverbial fresh legs,but I thought he played very well for being inactive for so long.

5) Salmela was scratched again and likely will stay that way until injury hits.
Martin Skoula continues to play full time in Salmela's absence.....

Hang in there with us as Blogger still has bugs to be worked out.
I think when everything is right that we will look sharper and have other new items as well...

Photo Credit-Graham Hughes-AP Photo

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Ch changes...


Sorry I missed yesterday.but Blogger has added some new features and templates and with anything new online there are always bugs to be worked out and some still have not been fixed yet such as changing font colors....
New look for the blog and new additions will be worked on further on my off days.

I won't get into the Devils shootout loss to the Rangers too much,but a positive and a negative on the game.
The Devils played very well in the first,not so well in the second and then decently in the third,but the positive was terrific play from the Kovalchuk-Zajac-Rolston line.
I was very encouraged by that lines evening.
The negative was Andrew Peters being activated to play two whole minutes.
I like hockey fights as much as the next guy,but to get that little out of an activated player weakens the lineup.
The Devils play the next two nights,so recaps after each game.

Boxing on both Showtime and HBO tonight with the biggest bout of the bunch on Showtime with the latest installment of the Super Six with Arthur Abraham taking on Andre Dirrell.
I like Abraham by a lopsided decision.
HBO has a rematch for the vacant IBF 135 pound belt between Ali Funeka and Joan Guzman.
The pair fought for the same strap a few months ago and Funeka was robbed in a decision that was called a draw in what might have been the worst decision of the year.

An additional good thing on Showtime is that Gus Johnson will be doing basketball and not tonight's fight.
An additional bad thing is Gus Johnson will be doing today's Butler-Kansas State game after Johnson almost ruined a classic game Thursday between Xavier and K-State with his screaming and trying to tell players "what they have to do".
Look for my list of my least favorite announcers coming soon and look for Gus to make a run for the top spot....

Forgot to comment on the Pirates sending down Kevin Hart.
Good move as the Pirates will be bad enough with a pitcher with wildness issues in the rotation.

I don't watch a ton of weekly Tv shows,but two new ones that I would recommend is Fox's Human Target and FX's Justified.
Human Target is very reminiscent of the late 60's-early 70's adventure shows and the opening credits with the theme really brings that home.
Justified stars Timothy Oliphant,who seems to be doing a pretty good Billy Bob Thornton impersonation,but it works in the show.
Give one or both a try.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Cleaning out the Inbox



Time to clean the inbox out a bit before things really begin to speed up with the Pirates starting the season soon and the previews for them (and possibly the Indians),along with the Devils continuing towards the playoffs,Cleveland Cavalier playoff coverage and the stuff from the signing front.

Belated goodbyes to former Hall of Famer,football commentator,actor and commercial spokesman Merlin Olsen.
The 15 time Pro Bowler passed last week at the age of 69 after battling cancer of the lung lining.
For all of Olsen's achievements on the field,he became more famous off the field with a supporting role on Little House on the Prairie and starred in Father Murphy thereafter and a series of commercials for FTD flowers.
Those moved Olsen into stardom beyond the football field as an entire audience began to know Olsen from acting,not football.
I always thought Olsen was an underrated commentator as well as he told you about the game,not about himself and he didn't do that in an excessive and screaming way either.
Merlin Olsen always seemed like such a nice man and I suppose that is what helped so much with his popularity.
He will be missed.



Another passing of note from the wrestling world as Baron Mikel Scicluna passed away at the age of 80 from cancer.
The Baron was well past his prime when I started watching wrestling,but he still was one of the "tough losers"(as we called them then) on the heel side on WWF TV and was always counted on for a honorable loss to the "good guys" on television.
A Scicluna ring entrance was not complete without the cape and mannerisms.
RIP Baron!


Looks like quite a few NHL teams are tweaking jerseys for next season.
Mostly minor moves,but two that caught my eye were changes in Buffalo and Pittsburgh.
The Sabres are going back to their classy jerseys of the past and dumping the logo that looked like Donald Trump's hair,while the Penguins are moving their powder blue third jersey back to the closet.
Too bad,I liked those,but kudos to Buffalo for their overdue move.
I hate it when teams scrap good uniforms for the in style togs that don't wear well over time.
Buffalo was the biggest hockey offender,now we can target NFL teams like Denver,Arizona and Minnesota for ruining classic togs.

Royals minor leaguer Danny Duffy has left the game for personal reasons.
I never met Duffy last year at Wilmington,although some friends were able to get stuff signed by him.
Here is hoping that he can straighten out any issues and return to the game thereafter...

A few mail signatures from the Signing Front
Lowell Devil Matt Corrente (2)
Former Brewer pitcher Kevin Kobel (3)
Former Red Sox,Cub and Giant pitcher Allen Ripley (4)
Former Ram All Pro Safety Nolan Cromwell (3)
Former Red Sox pitcher of No Hit fame Dave Morehead (3)
Former Oriole pitcher Dave Ford (2)

Photo Credits-Unknown

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Top Ten lists

As a long time fan of "classic" pro wrestling,I have enjoyed through the years the genre' of the "shoot interview".
These basically consist of someone involved with the wrestling industry sitting down on camera and discussing their career along with the territories that they were involved with.
These range from pretty honest to interesting horsecrap,but usually you get some type of entertainment from them.

Many stars of the past have done these,but many haven't,so here is a top ten list of shoot interviews that I would like to see.I am sure there are people that I have forgotten,so part two could be down the road..

1) Jesse "The Body" Ventura- Part of me says that the Body would never do one of these after his successes away from wrestling,but his willingness to take a check for almost anything gives one pause.I would love to hear Ventura's thoughts on former partner Adrian Adonis,his AWA days and even some thoughts on his days as Governor of Minnesota.

2) Michael "PS" Hayes-I would wager that a Hayes shoot would be range from hilarious to quite poignant when he looks back at the Freebirds,the late Terry Gordy,the Von Erich saga and the Freebirds heyday in World Class and Mid South wrestling.
This one will not happen until Hayes leaves the WWE (Vince McMahon doesn't allow employees to do these),but I bet it happens blazing fast,if Hayes ever leaves....

3) Paul Heyman-The former "Paul E.Dangerously" could have a chance at challenging Jim Cornette as the most entertaining shoot interviewee.
His days running ECW aside,I would bet his thoughts on his Memphis days,dealing with Verne Gagne in the dying AWA and his WCW tenures would be entertaining,if not 100 % truthful.

4) Randy Savage-The Macho Man would have tons of WWF stories and his legit heat with both Vince McMahon and Hulk Hogan might have some of the more explosive comments yet.
I would love to hear about the days of the Poffo led ICW outlaw promotions as well.

5) Jim Crockett-The man that ran the only real opposition to the McMahon 1980's juggernaut and lost both the battle and his company has never spoken out on his wrestling life.
Crockett's thoughts on 1987-88 alone would be worth watching for.

6) Ken Mantell- The man that booked World Class during their glory days not only has never done a shoot,but didn't appear on either World Class DVD retrospective (neither the WWE licensed or the independent doc by Brian Harrison).
Mantell's thoughts on World Class would be quite interesting.

7) Mr Wrestling II- A long career and being along with a few others that changed the Southern Babyface role forever in the mid to late 70's.
Mr II (as the Masked Superstar always referred to him as ) has been noted as quite a salty older fellow and if true,crankiness could be entertaining.
This one needs to be done quickly before it is too (II?) late.

8) Dynamite Kid- The former Bulldog seems to be a bitter person and just hearing the things that he throws against the wall could be some of the wildest comments yet.....

9) Sunshine-The former World Class valet is yet another to look back at the Texas territory.
Sunshine was the main character in returning women to non wrestling roles and her time in Texas was truly influential.

10) Dark Journey- Supposedly,she has turned down offers for years to do these.
Dark Journey's time in Mid South/UWF spanned Dick Slater to the end of the company and her brief stint with the Charlotte office would be interesting tales as well as her answering one of wrestling's urban legends for its truth.

Bonus) Doug Furnas-One of my favorites and an underrated star that never got his true due.
Furnas could have tons of stories on All Japan pro wrestling,the WWF time that never seemed to used right and the various southern promotions.
Furnas is reported to be suffering from Parkinson's disease and he may not able to do one of these....

Photo Credits-
Ventura-Unknown
Freebirds-Unknown
II-Georgia Wrestling History.com

Back in first after a hiccup

The New Jersey Devils split their last two games with a 1-0 loss on Saturday to the visiting St.Louis Blues and rebounding with a 6-3 win over Columbus at the Rock last night.
The Devils moved back into first with the victory in the Atlantic Division and still have 1 additional game to play than Pittsburgh.
Devils goals to Ilya Kovalchuk ( 37 power play),Zach Parise (34 power play and 35),Travis Zajac (22 and 23) and Paul Martin (2 power play).
The Devils host the Rangers on Thursday before a weekend road trip takes them to Montreal and Philadelphia.

Hell Raisers

1) Been busy with work on getting things in order for the baseball season over the last few days,but didn't want to ignore the loss to the Blues totally.
The game was kinda dull with neither team wanting to take the win and honestly the Blues wrapped up and played defensive hockey after the only goal by Alex Steen.
Not a great effort by the Devils in a very winnable game.

2) However,one main selling point to the contest that didn't bring a standings point was the fight of the year between Pierre-Luc LeBlond and former Devil Cam Janssen.
This,my friends, was THE fight of the year thus far.


3) The Devils woke up the power play after not scoring on 18 chances previously with three goals on the evening.
Some of that was the bounce of the puck,but sometimes the game is just one of confidence and this one can do nothing but help in that aspect of the game....

4) Ilya Kovalchuk broke a five game scoreless streak with a goal and three assists and the goal was the type of shot that the Devils acquired him for with a laser into a small sliver of light above Steve Mason's arm.

5) But the goal of the game went to Zach Parise,who stopped a knuckling puck with the back hand and then lifted it conventionally over poor Steve Mason.


6) Martin Brodeur picked up the win for his 40th of the season.
The 40th win is the eighth time that the Devil backstop has reached the plateau.
No other goalie has done that more than three times.

7) Mild mannered Dean McAmmond pounded Mike Blunden after being hit with a head shot that the league has banned all week.
McAmmond was hit with a four minute minor and a ten minute misconduct for pounding Blunden,who went smiling to the bench with nothing....

8) Smart play by Pierre-Luc LeBlond in the McAmmond aftermath when challenged by Jared Boll.
When Boll attempted to engage LeBlond,he was seen telling him the rules as if they fought then,they both would be ejected.
Smart thinking and they did battle later in the period.

Photo Credits
All-Andy Marlin-Getty Images

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Clueless in Seattle

Time for a look at the off season moves of the Seattle Seahawks that have been questionable to say the least.

Seattle made a trade with Philadelphia that sent starting defensive end Darryl Tapp to the Eagles in exchange for defensive end Chris Clemons and a fourth round pick.
Tapp was a second round pick in 2006 and had 18 sacks in his four seasons in Seattle,but fell to only 2.5 sacks last season.
To me,that could be explained by the lack of pass rush from the opposite side that had been there in the past,but with Julian Peterson being traded and Rocky Bernard allowed to leave via agency and their replacements not quite replacing them,Tapp's production was clearly going to be hurt.
The fourth rounder is fine,but I don't see Clemons as being anything more than rotation depth.

The biggest move was the one that brought the most questions as Charger third string quarterback Charlie Whitehurst was obtained for more than they had to pay.
Seattle swapped second round picks in this years draft with San Diego,which dropped them roughly 20 spots and sent them their third round pick in the 2011 draft.
Had the Seahawks signed Whitehurst to a contract and the Chargers not matched,he would have cost just a third rounder,although it would have been a 2010 pick.
Instead,Seattle gave up more and then signed the former Clemson Tiger to a two year 8 million deal that could be worth more with incentives.
Apparently,Seattle had to have Whitehurst,who in four seasons with the Chargers has never thrown a regular season pass.
Quoting John Morgan at Field Gulls-"Seattle became the first team I can remember that signed a tendered player and agreed to trade more than the original tender in exchange."
This seems really excessive in my opinion.

Seattle signed former Jet and Patriot tight end Chris Baker to a deal for two years and 4.75 million to back up John Carlson.
Baker was a decent player at one time,but his production has dropped in each of the last two seasons and his time looks to be past.
I fail to see how this upgrades the position when you consider the cost that the Seahawks paid.

The final move was the waiving of veteran safety Deon Grant.
This means that Seattle will need a safety either in the draft or in the later free agency period.
Grant was not an All Pro of anything,but he was a starter with no one around right now that seems capable of replacing him...

So far,color me unimpressed with the new regime and I didn't even mention using the franchise tag on kicker Olindo Mare instead of Nate Burleson.
Burleson was the first name player signed in free agency and tagging him might have at least brought a draft pick in return.
Seattle has two first rounders in the draft and they need some home runs to make me feel even mildly optimistic for 2010.....

Photo Credits
Whitehurst-Getty Images

Friday, March 19, 2010

Tripped in Toronto


The New Jersey Devils could not keep Mr.Mo going as they went to Toronto and looked a bit flat in a 2-1 shootout loss to the Leafs.
David Clarkson (9) scored the only Devil goal.
The Devils return to the Rock tomorrow against the St.Louis Blues..

Hell Raisers

1) In a surprise move,Yann Danis started for the Devils in goal and gave a much improved effort over his start against the Islanders.
Danis actually would get my vote for being the main reason that the Devils added a point on the evening.

2) Danis was,however,horrible in the shootout as he allowed all three shots to get by him.
And they weren't even close to being stopped.

3) David Clarkson continued to play well and credit to Pierre (3L) LeBlond for a nice pass to set up the goal.
The assist was the first of the season.

4) More power play issues as the Devs were 0 for 4,with just one of the group having any hope of putting the puck in the net.
You want my top worry for this team going into the postseason?That is it.

5) The start for Danis surprised me,but it has become clear that Jacques Lemaire wants Martin Brodeur to be a fresh as possible for the playoffs and if that means the 4 seed instead of the 2,so be it.
That doesn't make it anymore frustrating to watch these losses to crummy teams.

6) Andrew Peters fought Colton Orr in a good bout,but why were both Peters and Pierre LeBlond playing?
Keeping both them active is a handicap.Period.

Bullpen Notes

Hit on both of my NCAA Upset specials yesterday and (as of this writing) Wake Forest and Xavier have advanced with Ohio State and Maryland playing later tonight.

Hope to do a Seahawk off season post sometime over the weekend...

Photo Credit-Graig Abel-Getty Images

Thursday, March 18, 2010

The Sweep is clean for the Red and Green

The New Jersey Devils went to the dustbin and pulled the red and green jerseys out for the St.Patricks Day game showdown against the Pittsburgh Penguins and the results were the same as their regular jerseys as the Devils won for the sixth time in six tries against Pittsburgh with a 5-2 win.
The win moved the Devils into a first place tie with Pittsburgh and having played one less game.
Devils goals to Zach Parise (33),Patrik Elias (13 shorthanded),Rob Niedermayer (10 empty net),Dainius Zubrus (7) and Paul Martin (1).
The Devils get no time off as they travel to Toronto tonight for a game vs the Leafs.

Hell Raisers

1) Hope the Devils don't get too cocky after the win,they laid an egg against the Islanders after their last win over Pittsburgh.

2) Play of the game,Patrik Elias stealing a pass,going straight down center ice and beating Marc-Andre Fleury shorthanded.
The goal occurred seconds after Fleury robbed Travis Zajac of a another possible shorthanded tally.


3) Paul Martin returned to action,three days early as he wasn't expected to be back until Saturday's game against St.Louis.
Martin's goal near the end of the first period snapped the tie and sent the Devils into the locker room with momentum and the Penguins never recovered.

4) Look for a possible suspension for Rod Pelley after his hit on Alex Goligoski.
It looked similar to the Alex Ovechkin hit that cost the Capitals star two games...

5) Great work by the defense and especially penalty killing crew.
Solid all the way around and a special tip to Martin Skoula,who has played well and been a pleasant surprise thus far in the short time that he has been a Devil.

6) Loved the retro look tonight and I have always wished they had never changed the uniforms.
The red and green is such a unique look,so many teams use red and black and I liked the Devils being different.
Here is hoping that the Devils consider this as a third jersey or at least making this a St.Patricks day tradition!

7) And even if they don't,the Devils should keep offering them for sale!
I would love one with a Devil star of the Red and Green era's name on the back!

8) Pittsburgh and the Devils likely played their last game unless they meet in the Eastern finals as the division winner will be the two seed and the loser will likely be in 4th position,which will put them in Washington's side of the bracket.
If they match up,these games mean nothing,but it should weigh heavy on the Penguins mind.

Photo Credits
Elias Green Hat:Bruce Bennett;Getty Images
All others: Andy Marlin:Getty Images

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Jared Ramsden Interview-Part two

We move to part two with our interview with Hockey's Future columnist Jared Ramsden with more thoughts on the New Jersey Devils farm system...

TRS: Matt Corrente has been a long time favorite of ours with the type of game that he plays.
What do you see as the ceiling for Corrente?

JR: Not a top end talent, but a bottom pairing blueliner that brings a lot of intangibles to the table.

TRS: What concerns me about Corrente is many of the same things that have been written about him are similar to those written about David Hale,who was frankly a failure as a Devil.Is there a comparison between the two?

JR: I think Corrente is a little more well rounded than Hale is, which should enhance his prospects for success in the future.

TRS: Jeff Frazee seems to be the Devils only hope to have a developed goalie that is ready to step in for Martin Brodeur.A few thoughts on Frazee.

JR: He's come a long ways since his subpar collegiate career at the University of Minnesota. The talent is there to be a starter at the NHL level, but it is by no means a sure thing.

TRS: Is there a chance that Frazee could "die on the vine" at Lowell (although he clearly needs more time there) waiting similar to Ari Ahonen?

JR: With Brodeur's age, and the fact Frazee needs probably another year of development time after this year, I don't see that happening. He may even back-up Brodeur next year.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Upside down in Browns Town!

Plenty of moves to talk about in Cleveland with the Browns with two new passers in,two out along with a new tight end replacing a veteran and finally a starting linebacker leaving town.

First,lets look at the quarterback position with Jake Delhomme and Seneca Wallace in and Brady Quinn and Derek Anderson out.
Delhomme's stats from last season look awful,but I didn't see him play any last season,but I did see all of Seneca Wallace's games and he wasn't good at all.
Jake Delhomme certainly seems to be fading and I would not bet on a career turnaround in Cleveland,but other older QB's have found the fountain of youth in new scenery before,so I would not rule it out entirely.
Delhomme signed a two year deal and that will not a be franchise choker by any means.
It appears to me that the Browns plan is to attempt to find a quarterback in this draft,use Delhomme as the bridge for two years to get the draftee up to speed and use Wallace as the tutor in the West Coast offense,along with some interesting possibilities with Wallace and Josh Cribbs on the field at the same time.
On Delhomme,I think that he was obtained at no cost to Carolina and still may have some decent football left in him.
I would not want to bet on that though and that is likely why Mike Holmgren made sure to have Seneca Wallace around,but remember one thing-remember how many snickered at Arizona signing Kurt Warner after drafting Matt Leinart?

Brady Quinn?
Glad to see him gone.
Sure,the Browns didn't get much in return,but if Quinn was a proven player,they would not have moved him,now would they?
Remember this post?
Some are saying the Browns didn't get enough for Quinn and they could be right.
However,Peyton Hillis is a solid and versatile back and even though the picks are not great (2011 sixth and 2012 conditional on playing time for Quinn),it beat releasing him for nothing.
Quinn lived up to my low expectations with a inaccurate and less than strong arm and if you cannot throw long-you better be accurate with the short and intermediate routes.
Quinn was neither.
To me,the most telling thing on Quinn was this-Mike Holmgren ( and all the West Coast offense guys) are always trying to make a ribeye steak out of ground turkey when it comes to quarterbacks and yet Holmgren didn't have any interest in even trying to revitalize Quinn's career.
Considering that,the Browns got what they could and cut their losses.
The only thing that I wish that the Browns would not have done was traded Quinn to Denver.
If Quinn turns his career around as a Bronco,Browns fans will be muttering about curses for even longer...

Kamerion Wimbley to the Raiders for a third rounder,originally owned by New England?
I like it.
Wimbley played better in 2009 than in 2008 and the Browns were smart in selling high,even though he was the team top pass rusher.
The production was never up to first round caliber from Wimbley and adding a third,gives the Browns three third rounders in April's draft.
The Browns have many holes and over the long term,the pick (assuming it becomes a productive player) has more long term value than Wimbley,when you consider Wimbley becomes a free agent after the 2010 season.

The addition of the third rounders gives the Browns some interesting possibilities when you consider their hunt for a young quarterback.
They could nab one with one of those picks or even use one to package a possible move up into the second round for the player that they might covet most.
But,please no Tim Tebow.
I know the West Coast guys love to tinker with flawed passers,but please hold off on that project.

The Browns have upgraded at tight end by signing Ben Watson away from New England to a three year deal.
I have always liked Watson as a player and I have felt that Watson's numbers have been hurt by the constant tight end rotation that the Patriots have used for years.
It would be nice to say that this is the end of Robert "Dropsies" Royal,but instead it was Steve Heiden that got the pink slip.
Heiden leaves Cleveland after eight seasons and was reasonably productive when healthy.
The problem was that Heiden was rarely that over the last two seasons and with a chance to obtain Watson,someone had to go and Heiden made sense as that player.
Any chance that he could take Robert Royal with him?

Photo Credits
Delhomme:Margaret Bowles-Icon SMI
Watson:Matthew Healey-UPI

Devils cruise over Bruins


An inspired New Jersey Devils squad did all that they needed to do in the first period and they eased to a 3-2 win over the visiting Boston Bruins.
The Devils fired in all three of their goals in the first period as they were scored by Zach Parise (32),Rob Niedermayer (9) and David Clarkson (8),
The Devils will host Pittsburgh tomorrow night as the Devils make a one night only return to the classic red and green jerseys of yesteryear...

Hell Raisers

1) Yes,the Devils were dominant in the first period and never threatened thereafter,but I would have still liked to have seen more aggressiveness after the first.
I would have felt even better about the win,if the Devils had roared out of the gates in the second period with a goal to really slam the door.

2) Great night for David Clarkson with a goal and assist and I thought the assist was going to be a goal for number 23,but replays showed Rob Neidermayer with the redirection.

3) I did like seeing Jamie Langenbrunner take up for Zach Parise in the first period after a big hit and then later in the stanza Rod Pelley do the same for Langenbrunner,getting into a scuffle.
That shows me that even though their are kinks to be worked through,the Devils aren't having locker room issues...

4) Well played game by Martin Brodeur,who was beaten only by a wild corner shot and the extra man at the end of the game and what a great pass by Brodeur to Clarkson on his goal as well.


5) The Devils moved to within two points of Pittsburgh in the Atlantic Division and can tie the Penguins with a win tomorrow night against them....

6) Red and Green night against the Pens,here is hoping for a strong effort in the old jerseys!

Photo Credit-Andy Marlin/NHLI via Getty Images

Monday, March 15, 2010

FINALLY!!


Directv and Versus have come to a deal-FINALLY!
And just in time for tonight's game vs Boston!!
It took way too long,but at least the playoffs will be here!

Devils vs Boston after loss


Jacques Lemaire gambled on a Yann Danis start the night after a huge win over Pittsburgh and it didn't pay off as the Devils lost Saturday on Long Island to the Islanders 4-2.
Devils goals to Ilya Kovalchuk (36) and Mike Mottau (2).
The Devils play Boston tonight in what should be the final regular season game that I miss.
Sorry,this wasn't posted quicker,but got busy yesterday.

Hell Raisers

1) Yann Danis was awful.

2)Not sure,if it was rust or not,but it seemed to me that Danis had real issues keeping the puck in his glove.
Multiple times,Danis would catch the puck and then not be able to freeze it.

3) The second period might have been the Devils worst period of hockey all season.
The Devils were damn lucky to be down just 3-1....

4) The third period was better and crept within one before a power play breakdown led to the clincher for the Gorton Gang.
Jamie Langenbrunner chose the wrong player to go after on a two on one Islander rush and the game was over.

Sorry for the short post.
Back on the night shift with some thoughts on those crazy Cleveland Browns!

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Revamping ideas on a rainy day


Two leagues quietly floated changes from the "undisclosed league source" out to the media,I don't think either have much chance of being accepted,but I actually didn't mind one of the two.

The NHL is considering having each team not in the top seven participate in a one game knockout style tourney for each conferences final playoff spot.
This I kinda like,as it gives fans a reason to hope,gives extra games of equally talented teams and most importantly gives a bit of extra rest to the teams that locked up their playoff spots early.
It would be intriguing,but I won't waste time hoping it goes through.

Baseball and Bud Selig is talking about an absolutely awful plan in which teams could opt to participate in division changes by the year.
One example used was the Indians,who aren't expected to contend and could "join the AL East so they could have more home dates with the Yankees and Red Sox".
Or the Rays could move to the Central,where they would have a better chance of winning the division.
This is awful on so many levels,but I'll try to take a shot at this.
First off,the bad team moving to big time division for more home games against better draws is an awful idea.
For a team like Cleveland or Pittsburgh,where making money is the bottom line anyway,where is the incentive to win?
They could camp out in the basement,collect the dough and then have the convenient "we cannot compete" excuse..
As for moving to a division to better compete,wasn't the wild card supposed to be the solution to that problem?
Being in a good or bad division cycles,unless you are stuck with the Yankees or Red Sox spending money like water through a faucet and you shouldn't be able to jump around to best compete.
Just a horrible idea and just like Bud Selig to think that this solves issues when in fact it creates more problems.
Exactly what baseball needs right now,more issues with competitive balance.....

Baseball could use some divisional tweaks,but this is insanity.
The Perfect Alignment would be 32 teams with four four team divisions with no wild cards,but the downside to that is two more teams,which further dilutes the product.
I would be open to that down the road,but it does have its downside.

Small changes that I would make for now would be these.
In the American,since ESPN and FOX want to see 10,000 Yankee-Red Sox games a year,here is a way to give them more.
Kansas City moves to the West,Tampa to the Central and that makes the AL East the four team division and Voila- More New York vs Boston games and more teams with a better chance of competing!
The move would basically be the same,but if you prefer Minnesota to the West instead of Kansas City and/or Toronto to the Central over Tampa,I wouldn't quibble.
The National is easy as well,Pittsburgh to the East.
Easy enough,as the East becomes the six team division instead of the Central.
The Pirates get all division rivals in their time zone instead just one of five(Cincinnati) as it currently stands and the main rival to Pirate fans (Phillies) return to play them more often,plus closer teams in New York and Washington.
Makes sense to me.
And has no chances of being looked at.....

Devils pop Penguins 3-1


In a game that was filled with excellent play from both teams,the New Jersey Devils snapped a 1-1 tie with two third period goals and took a 3-1 decision over the Pittsburgh Penguins in an important Atlantic Division battle.
The Devils trimmed the Penguins lead to just two points in the division and have played two fewer games than Pittsburgh.
Devils goals to Ilya Kovalchuk (35),Patrik Elias (12) and Andy Greene (6).
The Devils cannot relax as tonight they travel to Long Island to play the pesky Islanders,who always seem to play New Jersey tough.

Hell Raisers

1) First thing off the bat,yes Penguin fans,it did appear that Travis Zajac hit Marc-Andre Fleury's glove on the goal scored by Ilya Kovalchuk.
Fortunately,it did not make a difference in the outcome.

2) This really was three different games.
The first was an up and down the ice offensive game,the second a special teams oriented tussle and the third was more along the lines of a normally paced game.
For the second game in a row,putting the win aside,the Devils played a fun game to watch as a fan.

3) Player of the game was Marty Brodeur,who looks to (MAYBE) be peaking at the right time rolling into the playoffs.
I thought Marc-Andre Fleury played well for the Penguins as well and helped make the game as good as it was.

4) Andy Greene's goal was his first in quite a while (over 25 games,I'd bet),but his assist and four hits were just as important in an excellent game...

5) The Power play still needs work though,not taking advantage of of nine minutes of PP time in the second period could have cost them the contest.
Not a ton of shots and not one chances stands out to me that Fleury had to make a great save on....

6) Of course,five minutes of that time was because of a stupid and extremely cheap shot by Craig Adams after the play was stopped on Martin Skoula.
If that was a Devil player that made a hit like that,I would have even more words for the brain dead hit.
I love physical hockey,but after the play brings major penalties and it takes no talent to smash an unsuspecting player after the whistle has blown...

7) I don't enjoy the shootout,but the penalty shot is exciting hockey and Ilya Kovalchuk's shot with the game tied at 1-1 was high drama.
Fleury made the save,but I would rather the rules be modified for a few more penalty shtos than games decided by shootouts

8) The win was the Devils 2nd in a row.
Big deal,right?
Well,they had not done that since January!

9) A rare fight for Rob Niedermayer against Matt Cooke.
A tip for Rob-Points for defending yourself,but leave that to the pros!


May be back later with more,if not tomorrow with Devils-Islanders.

Photo Credit
Al Bello-Getty Images

Friday, March 12, 2010

Jared Ramsden Interview-Part one


Today,we start our three part interview with Jared Ramsden of Hockey's Future (which can be reached from our links page.
Jared is the Devils prospect guru of the site and was gracious enough to spend some time with us on the Devils system.
Thanks to him for the time.


Thoughtsof RS: In researching,I saw that Hockey's Future put up a updated list of the Devils system's top prospects,where do the Devils rank in the league as far as the quality of their system?

Jared Ramsden: Hockey's Future places more of a premium on star potential player, something the Devils don't have a lot of. So on HF, they probably rank in the bottom third of the league. They have quality depth though, across the board, except when it comes to goaltending.

TRS: Mattias Tedenby and Jacob Josefson maintained their spot at the top of the rankings,what do you see as their chances to be in New Jersey next season or at least Lowell?

JR: Lowell is a good bet for both of them. Tedenby has an out clause that will allow him to come to North America next season, while Josefson's proven that he's mature enough to come to North America as well. 2011-12 is more likely when we would see them in New Jersey.

TRS:Tedenby is touted as a flashy Parise type player,is this accurate and has he raised his stock thus far in his Swedish league play?

JR: I don't know if Tedenby has the grit of a Parise type player, but he's got a lot of flash and glamour to his game. And his speed and quickness is phenomenal.

TRS: Josefson,on the other hand,is reported to be more like a typical Devils prospect in being a solid two way center,how accurate is that?

JR: Josefson does fit the mold of a typical Devils prospect. He is great at both ends of the rink, and he has fantastic on ice awareness and hockey smarts. Makes those playing with him better.

TRS: The fast riser in your rankings is defenseman Alexander Urbom,who made a huge leap in your rankings.Tell us a little bit about Urbom...

JR: Urbom has everything you look for in a defenseman. A great blend of size and skill. And scary thing is, once he gets stronger and asserts himself more physically, he'll be a beast to play against. Playing in the WHL has helped develop his offensive skill set.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

2009 Pirates Shadow Draft


Better late than never,here is our shadow draft for the 2009 Pirates.
Remember the rules are that I cannot pick a player that was not available when the Pirates chose in a particular round.
I will toss the picks out with this caveat-I will try to be as honest as possible and look back at how I would have picked them over the summer.
An example of this is the Pirates top pick Tony Sanchez.
Sanchez was a surprise pick and I was not wild about it,but his play thus far has shown he was deserving of the 4th overall selection.
So in all honesty,I wont be picking Sanchez in the shadow draft.
Fortunately,I have my notes for when this was SUPPOSED to be posted,so I can be as honest as possible.
If you want to compare how my 2007 and 2008 shadows have done thus far,click on the year.
I'll try to take a detailed look at them soon.

Round 1: Grant Green SS Southern Cal
Round 1 Supplemental (For not signing Tanner Scheppers in 2008):Tommy Joseph C Arizona High School
Round 2: Andrew Oliver LHP Oklahoma State
Round 3: Kyrell Hudson OF Washington High School
Round 4: Zach Dotson LHP Texas High School
Round 5: Shaver Hansen 3B Baylor
Round 6: Zack Von Rosenberg RHP Louisiana High School
Round 7: Cody Rogers OF Panola Texas Junior College
Round 8: Colton Cain LHP Texas High School
Round 9: Sequoyah Stonecypher OF Grossmont California Junior College
Round 10: Sam Honeck 1B Tulane

Photo Credit-Unknown

Devils double Rangers 6-3


The New Jersey Devils needed a big win after a flat outing in Edmonton and they got it with a 6-3 home win over their rivals from New York.
The teams exchanged the first six goals of the game before the Devils scored the finals three goals of the contest.
Devils goals to Zach Parise (31 Power play), Travis Zajac (21),Brian Rolston (18),Jamie Langenbrunner (16),Rob Niedermayer (8) and Bryce Salvaodr (4).
The Devils will host Pittsburgh tomorrow night.

Hell Raisers

1) Fun game to watch,especially when you consider that each teams came into the game suffering offensive problems.
The game was not always end to end hockey,but certainly aggressive offensive hockey.

2) The Rangers yanked Henrik Lunquist after the Devils 5th goal.I am not arguing that,but two of his five were redirected by the Ranger defender and none were especially bad goals.
That said,his tantrum on the bench didn't win him many fans.

3) Save of the game was Marty's Brodeur's diving stick hinge of save of Olli Jokinen.
Tremendous!


4) Four players with both a goal and an assist is always a good thing,but even without a goal,I thought Ilya Kovalchuk played well.
Maybe,it is just me,but Kovalchuk seems to be adjusting each time that I see him play.

5) The downside?
Two goals that were a fault of the defense and not Marty Brodeur.
The worst was the second period goal that saw Mark Fraser just throw the puck in front of the net and watched the Rangers score.
Bad play and Fraser sat the rest of the evening.
It would not surprise me to Anssi Salmela back for the Penguin game and Fraser scratched.

6) And finally,Pierre Luc LeBlond dropping the mitts against veteran tough guy Jody Shelley showed that LeBlond wants the enforcer role of Andrew Peters.
I thought LeBlond acquitted himself quite well against Shelley.


Will try to be back later with something else,everytime I think I will have time to do some fun posts,the football gets pulled away by Lucy!

Photo Credit-AP

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Brownie Bits

The Cleveland Browns have been somewhat active since the player movement period has started,but not as frantic as some thought could mark the beginning of the Holmgren/Heckert era.
The Browns have added two likely starters and a possible third and released Derek Anderson and dropped some salary with his release.

Before we look at the newest Browns,lets say goodbye to Derek Anderson,who for all of his flaws did bring Browns fans their only season of good news over the last ten years.
Anderson was not the best passer that Cleveland has ever had,but he might have had the strongest arm the Browns have seen and that arm is exactly why Anderson will have little problem finding a team over the next few weeks for 2010.
Derek Anderson will be playing in this league after Brady Quinn and Seneca Wallace are gone because of his arm.
Coaches and player personnel people will give Anderson chance after chance for that reason.
Take a look at the long and lucrative career of Vinny Testaverde,who looks like just what I see Anderson's career unfolding as.
It is hard to say Anderson will be missed,but the Browns have had far worse quarterbacks in Brown and Orange.

I did like the Browns two free agent signings and both should be starters in the opening day lineup.
Linebacker Scott Fujita will step right in and add a veteran leader that specializes in tackling,which is something this team needs badly.
The thirty year old has been with three teams and spent the last four with the Saints after stops in Kansas City and Dallas.
Don't expect Fujita to be a high impact player,but he is just the type of steady veteran that a rebuilding team needs.

Tony Pashos signed from San Francisco to basically become the right tackle.
This should shove Pork Chop Womack over to guard and shove John St.Clair to the unemployment line.
Pashos missed the final ten games of 2009 after injuring his left shoulder,but was a durable player before then in his time with the Ravens and Jaguars.
Pashos doesn't have to be Joe Thomas,he just has to not be the revolving door that St.Clair was.
Both Fujita and Pashos signed three year deals.

The Browns then traded for Mike Holmgren favorite Seneca Wallace from the Seahawks for an undisclosed/conditional draft pick in 2011.
I have seen every game that Seneca Wallace has quarterbacked in with the Seahawks and lets hope that the Browns long term plan is not Seneca Wallace.
Wallace is athletic,adds a different dimension to the offense off the bench and I can imagine that with some creativity (Wait,isn't Brian Daboll still the OC?,Never mind) that a Wallace/Josh Cribbs formations could be quite effective.
However,he is short at 5'11,his arm is not exactly huge and hasn't exactly shined for the most part in his starts in Seattle,which were quite frequent over the last two seasons with the injuries to brittle Matt Hasselbeck.
I have no problem with Wallace as a backup and he does being unique skills to Cleveland,but if this is another "West Coast" Guru that is going to "Remake" a quarterback into a star,then I am worried.
I do think that the Browns could have added a Seneca Wallace type without surrendering a draft pick,but at least it is a conditional one,so that is a bit better.

So,the Browns addressed the right side of the offensive line,added a starting linebacker and replaced one player at quarterback.
Overall,a small step of improvement.
What does this mean for the Browns in the draft?
With the loss of Brodney Pool and no veterans brought in,it looks to me like the Browns are looking at DB in the draft with Eric Berry (I hope) or Joe Haden (slow 40 time at the combine) as the likely picks for Cleveland.

Working extra tonight,so some planned posts are pushed back a bit,so more tomorrow....

Photo Credits
Fujita-AP Photo
Wallace-Unknown

Photo Credits

Does Andrew McCutchen deserve an extension?


A recent article in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette poses the question of an extension to the Pirates young centerfielder Andrew McCutchen after the Arizona Diamondbacks signed Justin Upton to a long term contract.

Should the Pirates offer McCutchen a similar contract in years,if not money?
Our answer is no.
Don't take that the wrong way,I like Andrew McCutchen.
He was a nice guy when he played with Hickory here,he has plenty of talent and lack of effort has never been a question for him either,but he is not Justin Upton and he likely will never be.
Justin Upton does everything that McCutchen does and will hit for more power.
McCutchen will generally steal more bases than Upton,but Upton will steal his share of sacks as well.
McCutchen is the far superior defender,but Upton is relatively new to the outfield.

Upton also has two solid seasons under his belt,while McCutchen has just a few months in the bigs.
Upton's contract also buys out his first two seasons of free agency and eliminates the hassles of arbitration,while McCutchen still may not hit arbitration for 2 years at best.
Take a look at some of these names-Todd Hollandsworth, Ben Grieve,former Pirate Eric Hinske and current Pirate Bobby Crosby as just a few examples of young players that watched their stats plummet and their careers to that of bench players.
I am not saying that Andrew McCutchen is going to be Ben Grieve,but one just doesn't know at this stage of his career and the risk at this point is not worth the reward.
Things change and a excellent 2010 changes things,but for now,lets see a complete season from the Pirates most talented and exciting player before we jump the gun prematurely....

Photo Credit-Unknown

Quick catch up work


Look for a couple of posts over the next few days as I have plenty to say about some varied topics,but for now I just want to catch up on some small stuff and then move on.

I missed the Devils 2-0 loss to the worst team in hockey Sunday night,but from what I have read,it was simply awful.
Edmonton's win added to the recent doldrums in New Jersey and I cannot seem to figure out why,although missing games isn't helping me much.
However,a quick perusal of the Devils schedule shows that I should see the remainder of the season with the exception of the 3-15 game against the Bruins on Versus.
Until the second round of the playoffs comes up,IF the Devils make it that far.
At that time,Directv and myself will have a less than friendly conversation that they were told was coming back in September if this still was an issue at playoff time..

A few signings through the mail from Lowell Devils Tim Sestito,Patrick Davis,Brad Snetsinger and Ben Walter along with the man who smacked the shot heard round the world in Bobby Thomson.

A new link on the links list promotes Dick Allen for the Hall of Fame.
Allen was the first ever player in our Forgotten Superstars series.

Just realized that I didn't do either of my awards for minor league baseball or a shadow draft either for 2009.
Better late than never and I will be working on those soon.
Look for those,the Browns pickups in the beginning of the movement period,a look at whether Andrew McCutchen needs an extension and hopefully a look at two things that have nothing to do with sports!

Photo Credit-AP

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Devils extinguished in Calgary


The New Jersey Devils dropped a 5-3 decision to the Flames in Calgary last night in a game that I saw little of since I had to go to work.
Calgary scored five goals in a row after I left for work with the Devils up 1-0.
Could I have been the difference?LOL!
Zach Parise scored two of the Devils three goals (29 and 30 power play) with Ilya Kovalchuk scoring the other (34).
Parise reached 30 goals for the fourth season in a row,which made him the first Devil to accomplish that feat in about the only sliver of good news on the night.
The Devils road trip ends tomorrow in Edmonton vs the Oilers.
For the game details,go over to In Lou We Trust.

Otherwise a pretty slow day unless one counts the Ravens bringing Anquan Boldin to Baltimore for a 3 and 4 in the draft.
One always has to give Ozzie Newsome credit for being one of the best GM's in the league,no matter how much it hurts....

Photo Credit-AP

Friday, March 5, 2010

Browns trade Corey Williams


The Cleveland Browns have not made any signings on Day one of the player movement period,but they did manage to clear some salary from the roster as the Browns shipped defensive end Corey Williams to the Detroit Lions along with a seventh round pick in exchange for a fifth round selection.
The fifth rounder is that of the Denver Broncos that Detroit had obtained in an earlier trade.

Williams had been a huge disappointment in Cleveland after being obtained from Green Bay for a second rounder before the 2008 draft and the trade saves the Browns the 4.2 million dollars that would be owed Williams for 2010.
Williams never fit into the Browns 3-4 defense after being a defensive tackle for Green Bay in the Packers 4-3 and seemed miscast as an end.
Williams did seem to show life last season after being moved to tackle after the season ending injury to Shaun Rogers.
Detroit could get a steal with Williams,if they use him properly and the Browns save cash on a player that was not productive when you consider the salary that they were paying...

The Browns also finally were able to renegotiate a new deal with Josh Cribbs which basically gave him more money on the three years remaining on his contract.
Cribbs also has six incentives that he can reach and add even more money to his deal.

The Browns also will be visited by Saints linebacker Scott Fujita tomorrow.
The hard hitting Fujita is just the sort of steady player that the Browns need in their linebackers and could then possibly allow D'qwell Jackson to walk away,adding a second rounder in compensation.....

Photo Credit-Unknown

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Cleaning out the inbox


Time to clean out the inbox where interesting things from sports and outside the sports world build up for future posts like these.

Great to see Neil Young on the closing ceremonies of the Vancouver game.
The Canadian star was the perfect choice to play on the finale'.
Neil didn't play this song there or even in Vancouver,but I like it so here it is.


The New Jersey Devils made a minor move at yesterday's trade deadline in obtaining defenseman Martin Skoula from Toronto for a fifth round draft pick.
Skoula spent this season with the Penguins before being traded to the Leafs on Tuesday.
Skoula played for Jacques Lemaire in Minnesota,so he knows the system,but this is a depth move at best.

The NFL player movement period starts tonight at midnight and the Cleveland Browns are reported to have been talking to several teams about trading for a quarterback.
Among the teams mentioned are talks with the Eagles,which scares me as Andy Reid is close friends with Mike Holmgren and Tom Heckert came from there.
Donovan McNabb would be a short team fix at best and Kevin Kolb looks promising,but is he anymore proven than Brady Quinn?
I suppose it depends on the sticker price.

The Browns cleared cap space with the release of Hank Fraley.
Fraley started 51 games for the Browns after arriving from the Eagles in 2006,but the arrival of Alex Mack put Fraley on borrowed time with the Browns
The undersized,but always hustling Fraley will be missed.

Those of you that wanted to see Boxing invade UFC will get your wish as three division champion James Toney has signed a multi-fight deal with Dana White's group.
The downside?
Toney is 41,has not won a significant fight in years and was not considered a huge puncher in his sport.
Anyone going from boxing to UFC is going to have to be a huge puncher and that was never Toney's game with the exception of his one punch career extinguishing KO of Michael Nunn in 1991,NINETEEN YEARS AGO!

Keep that in mind when Toney fails (and he very likely will) that Toney fighting MMA today is the rough equivalent to Royce Gracie putting on boxing gloves and fighting one of the Klitschko brothers.
Past your prime and fighting another man's game is generally a losing bet.

In a time where we seem to lose species every day,some good news in Australia as The Yellow Bell Frog was discovered on a farmers land after being thought to be extinct since 1980.
Seems like the gentleman that owns the land is willing to work with conservationists and that seems to be a great sign....

And finally,Scott Bowden over at KFR says goodbye to Angelo Poffo,who passed away at 84.
Poffo wrestled himself,but is most remembered for being the father of wrestling star "Macho Man" Randy Savage and lesser star "Leaping" Lanny Poffo.
Poffo is also listed in Ripley's believe it or not for his record of 6,033 situps over a four hour period.








Pirate thoughts


A few thoughts on yesterday's 6-3 loss in Tampa against the Yankees since this could be the only game that I see in the spring and if I see more,it wont be many of them since it appears that FSN Pittsburgh does not have plans to show many games.

As typically takes place in Spring Training games,lots of arms to showcase and lots of subs as well.
Virgil Vasquez was bad in allowing the winning three run homer to Colin Curtis in the ninth,putting the front two men on base and only retiring one Yankee.
Yuck.

The other pitchers did reasonably well with the first four (Maholm,Ohlendorf,Bass and Carrasco) not allowing a hit.

Only three hits for the Bucs with just Erik Kratz's double for extra bases.
Not a good start,but not worth worrying about either.

Jose Tabata singled,but butchered a fly ball in right,but his most memorable chuckle of the day came on the Curtis HR which flew over his head.
One step to the wall and then began jogging back to the dugout.

Reputed glove slickster Argenis Diaz missed a routine grounder in the game.
When your glove is your best tool,consider a warning sign raised...

Pedro Alvarez whiffed in his only at bat,while Jeff Clement and Gorkys Hernandez went 0 for 2 in the prospect roundup.

All for now.Will try to be back later with a feature,time permitting.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Devils chomp Sharks in San Jose


For almost two and a half periods,the New Jersey Devils played stunningly well and then the jinx struck-Steve Cangolosi to Chico Resch.
"The Devils have played almost a perfect game in San Jose here tonight,huh,Chico?".
Boom!
Three Sharks goals in under three minutes turned the rout into a squeaker,but the Devils held on for a huge 4-3 win.
Devils goals to Ilya Kovalchuk (33 power play),Travis Zajac (20),Dainius Zubrus (6) and Mark Fraser (3).
The Devils take two days off before traveling to Calgary against Brent Sutter and his Flames.....

Hell Raisers

1) A goal and an assist for Ilya Kovalchuk,who looked so much more smooth than in his pre-Olympic starts with the Red and Black.
Kovalchuk's power play work was so much more like the player that the Devils thought that they were getting than the often confused version that appeared right after the deal.

2) Travis Zajac's goal was a blazer that ripped by Evgeni Nabokov.
Looked like a typical skate into the zone and shot,except it wasn't as a lot of wood (or whatever composite they use now) on that bomb!

3) Liked David Clarkson's return,especially his assist on the Mark Fraser goal.
Clarkson's play brings so many intangibles to the Devils that often aren't noticed until he is absent from the lineup.

4) Dainius Zubrus was playing well when the break arrived and I thought he continued his run last night.
Zubrus is always at his best when he plays with power and when he does,his effectiveness improves...

5) The D corps played very well with the notable exception of the three goal stint.
I thought Bryce Salvador and Colin White very solid,but Andy Greene looked very rusty and made quite a few dumb mistakes...

6) Martin Brodeur looks to be past his Olympic pulling as none of three goals that he allowed were truly his fault or softees.
Hopefully,his Olympic time off could prove to be a benefit to Marty and the Devils.

Photo Credit-Ben Margot-AP Photo