Saturday, November 30, 2013

Quick PPM

Last week: 5-2
Season: 55-24

Ohio State over michigan 30-20
The next two have been played but I would have gotten both correct
Texas over Texas Tech
Bowling Green over Buffalo
Game of the week
Auburn over Alabama 31-30 (I have to dream)

Browns over Jaguars 13-10
Saints over Seahawks 24-20
Game of the Week
Broncos over Chiefs 31-21

This Devils rally gets the W!

The New Jersey Devils rallied again in the third period against the Carolina Hurricanes,but there was a difference from the past game versus Carolina-this one went into the win column as four third period goals gave the Devils a 5-2 victory in Raleigh.
Mark Fayne gave the Devils the lead after one period with his first goal of the season,which was overcame with two Carolina goals in the second.
New Jersey exploded with four third periods tallies against Cam Ward led by (in order) Andrei Loktionov (2),Adam Henrique (6 power play),Dainius Zubrus (4) and Jaromir Jagr (11).
Cory Schneider finished with 16 saves in his return to the lineup.
The Devils will return home to Newark Saturday for a night game against the Buffalo Sabres...

Hell Raisers

1) Of all the goals,the prettiest one was the one handed putback by Adam Henrique,who took a rebound off a Eric Gelinas bullet and chipped it into the net.
Very nice goal from Henrique and what a shot from Gelinas,who sent a Hurricane off the ice on the shot.

2) Jon Merrill looked to have scored his first NHL goal,but Dainius Zubrus would stake his claim to the goal as he deflected the puck by Cam Ward.
Merrill looks to be a good one as part of the Devils kiddie corps of defensemen.

3) Jaromir Jagr shot the puck off Cam Ward's pads and then quickly slid the puck by Ward almost in one motion.
Jagr also finished the evening with two assists to add to his goal.
I still wonder how Jagr's legs are going to hold up over the course of the year,but of late,Jagr has clearly been the top offensive threat.

4) Anton Volchenkov returned to the lineup in this one.
New Jersey is going to have some tough calls when Bryce Salvador and Adam Larsson come back and put the blueliners at full strength...

5) I've never been the biggest Mark Fayne fan,but I was happy to see him score his first goal.
Fayne (and Adam Larsson) seem to get the short end of the stick in the Peter DeBoer system as they get scratched at the slightest perceived misdeed,so it's nice to see them do well...

6) Cory Schneider didn't have to do much (16 saves) to get the win,but he was solid enough.
It'll be interesting to see if Schneider plays against Buffalo tonight.

Photo Credit:AP Photo

Friday, November 29, 2013

Random Thoughts

Slow news day,but here are a few thoughts on a few things!

I mix up what I watch between the various news networks.
I think CNN does the best job covering breaking news,but many of their personalities are less than exciting.
I used to watch MSNBC,but other then Morning Joe with Joe Scarbrough and Mika Brzezinski,I've found their network has gone downhill since they left Keith Olbermann without a contract.
On off days,I'll check Al-Jazeera (AJTV are not on work cable)
out from time to time since they hired Nicole Mitchell (remember our five part interview with her?) as the morning meteorologist.
I tend to watch Fox in the mid-morning to early afternoon,but other than the Kelly File,I cannot stand the evening Fox lineup.
But,I must admit-when Christi Paul fills in for CNN or HLN,I go there everytime!
Christi's energy is infectious and when you work my hours,you need as much of that as you can get!
Christi walks the tightrope of being high energy without being obnoxious about it.
I'd root for one of the Atlanta networks to give her a show of her own,but with my luck-it would be at a time that I couldn't watch!

It's Thanksgiving weekend and it always makes me think of the only game that ever meant as much to me ( at one time) as Ohio State-michigan.
I've written before about Barry Switzer's Oklahoma teams being the only teams to rank as high in my heart as the Buckeyes,but the holiday weekend brings back memories of the dead rivalry between Oklahoma and Nebraska.
That game was often played on Thanksgiving friday,when the game meant Big 8 titles,Orange Bowl trips and often national championships.
Wishbone and option football on display along with some of the best running game talent around,the game is no longer played with Nebraska leaving for the Big 10.
Pity,I miss it...

Still angry about not being able to find 7UP 10 anywhere.
After falling in love with the low calorie,regular taste version of the greatest drink created by man,only my local Target sold it and now they don't either!
Diet 7up is great,but 7up 10 is even better!
The next time I see it someplace,I'm stocking up and if it's on sale on that occasion-look out,my car might be scraping the back fender on the ground due to weight!

I'm asked often around this time of year "Do you do Black Friday?".
I resist the urge to say "Hi,I'm Shawn-have we met?" and use the truth-I am always at work on Black Friday,but even so I think my personality wouldn't mesh well with the routine that goes on these things.
After all,I'll be busy watching Oklahoma-Nebraska,Oh wait..Never mind...

Finally,I wrap up with this-a few thanks since it is the season.
Thanks to my lovely wife and daughter for taking care of the author everyday.
Few people are lucky enough to have the freedom that I have combined with the level of caring that Cherie and Rachel give to me.

Thanks to Ryan as he goes onto the next station in his life as he moves a few hours away.
It is always a bit melancholy when your first born moves out,let alone away,but I wish the best for him in his newest adventure.

Finally,thanks to all my friends,old and new.
I don't want to get into all of you,but from friends for years all the way to my autographing buddies and to some of you that read this without knowing me at all...
Thanks to all of you and I hope to have some fun stuff for you coming up over the winter as I am working on more interviews for the cold season!!!!

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving

Just a quick note to wish you and your families all a Happy Thanksgiving.
Thanks especially goes to the most important people in my life,Cherie,Ryan and Rachel.
Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday because no matter your stance on religion/faith,we all can find things to be thankful for.
Hope you all enjoy the holiday weekend!

Devils rally falls shy in 4-3 loss

The New Jersey Devils fell behind early to the Carolina Hurricanes by allowing two goals and only a Travis Zajac goal (4) sandwiched in between two more goals put the Devils on the board in what loomed to be a blowout.
However,the Devils then put together one of their better offensive periods of the season besides just two goals as their offensive aggressiveness almost tied the game before a terrific Cam Ward save on Adam Henrique on what looked to be an open net in a 4-3 loss to the Hurricanes.
Andy Greene (3) scored halfway through the third period before Jaromir Jagr (10) scored with under two minutes to cut the lead just one goal.
The same two teams hit the ice in Raleigh on Friday night...

Hell Raisers

1) First off,the Devils came so close to tying this with six skaters on the ice as Adam Henrique was just robbed by a prone on the ice Cam Ward.
Nothing that Henrique could have really done other than try to put the puck in a corner and then he took the risk of hitting a pipe.
What a save by Ward!

2) The elephant in the room with the Devils right now has to be the comments of Cory Schneider about his lack of playing time after Martin Brodeur started his third game in a row.
I can understand Schneider's frustration with not playing,especially for the third game in a row,but Brodeur has been playing well.
The larger issue is this-Schneider is only signed through next season and after giving up a first rounder for Schneider,can the team afford to let him walk?
This situation will be very interesting to follow as the season progresses.

3) As for the aforementioned Brodeur,he was decent on a night that very good would have earned two points.
I hold Marty blameless on the middle two,but the first and last were softer.
Stop those and a loss becomes a win...

4) I really did like the aggressive play on offense in the final period and I was encouraged by the attack,but that does not make the Devils desultory play in the first two periods any easier to swallow.
Other than maybe Travis Zajac,which was easy because he scored the goal,none of the Devils forwards really stood out until the final period...

5) Jaromir Jagr's goal was number 691 and passed Mario Lemieux for ninth all time on the goal scoring list.
Imagine how much higher Jagr could have been had not spent time in the KHL.

Photo Credit:AP Photo

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Browns sign the world's most accurate QB

Forced into signing a quarterback after the concussion to Jason Campbell,leave to the Browns to sign someone with no experience,a bit of a carnival act and someone that even a film junkie like me has never seen him play.

However,on a slow news day,this passes for news here in the blogverse.
Alex Tanney is your quarterback that you could see on Sunday with a ill-placed hit on ugh,Brandon Weeden.
The 26 year old Tanney played Division III level for Monmouth (Illinois) and has never seen NFL action other than some pre-season play with the Chiefs and Cowboys,
and since I didn't watch any of those games-I know nothing about Tanney.
Tanney was signed over former Bears QB Caleb Hanie,who was the only name mentioned with the Browns.
Hanie isn't exactly Otto Graham,but he has taken an NFL snap,so what does Tanney have?
Well,he has nice size at 6'4 and a pretty cool trick throwing video on YouTube.
Other than that,he's an unknown factor to the equation.
Considering the known quality of awful that is Brandon Weeden,seeing Tanney actually play couldn't be much worse now,could it?

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Jets fly over Devils 3-1

The Winnipeg Jets beat Martin Brodeur off each wing in each of the first two periods and it was enough to skate away with a 3-1 win in Newark.
Patrik Elias scored the Devils only goal (5) in the third period to cut the lead before Winnipeg scored into the empty net for the final margin.
The Devils have now lost two in a row and will play a home and home next against Carolina.

Hell Raisers

1)  Just a few quickies for today.
I thought the game winner by Evander Kane deflected off the stick of Marek Zidlicky.
Zidlicky just frustrates me so much.
These things happen to all,but they seem to happen more to Zidlicky than most....

2) Adam Larsson missed the game,Jon Merrill returned.
Considering this season might be a grind at best and the Devils are among (if not The) oldest teams in the league,I'd love to see them commit to a youth movement with the defensemen.
It's easy with Anton Volchenkov and Bryce Salvador out,but considering their sizable cap hits (4+ million for Volchenkov and 3+ million for Salvador) and time remaining on contracts (this year + 2 for Volchenkov,this year +1 for Salvador) will the Devils do this?
 Because I don't see anyone taking that cap bite for slow and old blueliners....

3) In Lou we trust brings up a great point on Damien Brunner and Michael Ryder.
Neither put a shot on net and both are pretty much offensive players.
ILWT says if neither are shooting the puck,they aren't much good.
I tend to agree,

4) Martin Brodeur was beat twice,but I can excuse both goals within reason. Ondrej Pavelec was a little better,but Brodeur played reasonably well.

5) Eric Gelinas leads this team in power play points despite playing 9 fewer games than his teammates?
Good news-It's rare on this team to see that type of production from a defenseman and Gelinas should only get better.
Bad-That means lots of veterans that were brought here to produce-aren't

Photo Credit:AP Photo

Monday, November 25, 2013

Browns stalled by Steelers 27-11

The Cleveland Browns hung around for most of the first half,but slowly watched the game get away from them in a game that saw Jason Campbell injured and yes,the return of,heavy sigh, Brandon Weeden in a 27-11 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers in Cleveland.
Josh Gordon grabbed the Browns only touchdown among his 14 catches for a new Browns record 237 yards.
The now 4-7 Browns host the resurgent Jacksonville Jaguars in what should be an inspiring battle between Brandon Weeden and Chad Henne.

Brownie Bits

1) Right off,let's take on the big question-the William Gay hit that ended Jason Campbell's day and really took an comeback hopes off the board.
Yes,it was a high hit,yes it should have been a penalty and yes,if called,Pittsburgh would not have scored the TD that essentially ended the game (for that time).
However,Campbell wasn't exactly moving the Browns up and down the field and I don't think Campbell would have made a difference in the result.

2) What it did do is this-Jason Campbell simply is too fragile to be relied on and despite his shortcomings,we are stuck with Brandon Weeden and what he brings to the table.
Weeden has been talked about before,so I'm not going down that road,but I can say this-if we get Brandon Weeden to finish the season,it will be a long five weeks...

3) Josh Gordon's stats shows that when the Browns get a quarterback to get him the ball consistently and maybe another offensive weapon to diversify the offense,he will be a huge impact player in the league.
Granted,some of his numbers came in garbage time,but not all and the Steelers had huge issues covering him.
Imagine what this team could look like....

4) Another key fumble by Chris Ogbonnaya in a key spot.
The game was only at 10-3 and the Browns were moving the ball into Steeler territory before the cough up.
Second week in a row that Ogbonnaya fumbled the football at a key point in the game...

5) So,maybe the Browns are going to be forced to sign a quarterback after foolishly going with just two with the injury history of Jason Campbell.
Even if Campbell thinks he can play next week,his less than sturdy health still screams the need for a third quarterback with the way Browns passers have been hit this season.
The Cleveland Plain Dealer has a list of available throwers and none of these guys are going to remind of John Elway,but there are two names that interest me.
On the younger player list,I liked G.J.Kinne coming out of Tulsa and he is on the Eagles practice squad.
On the veteran list,there is one player that I would give a call to and it might surprise you-Vince Young.
Young is big,mobile and can make plays on the run.
Young is down to his last chance and these last five games would be about twenty times more entertaining with Vince Young running around instead of lumbering Brandon Weeden dropping back and throwing the ball six yards out of bounds...

6) Antonio Brown did beat Joe Haden deep for the first Steeler TD,but what I did like was Haden's recovery where he hustled back and almost stripped the ball away from Brown.
Many times beaten corners toss in the towel,Haden didn't....

7) Again,not a awful defensive day by the Browns.
Only one (the Brown catch) could be hung on the defense as a four yard drive and an interception return accounted for the three Steeler touchdowns.

8) For those of you that think I overkill the lack of a run game,consider this number-1 rushing touchdown in 11 games.

9) After a while,the offensive line needs to have accountability for the injured quarterbacks.
Mitchell Schwartz has taken a huge step back at right tackle and Shaun Lauvao has not been a standout at right guard.
The left side is still fine and Alex Mack is good enough at center,but the right side has been an issue for years..

10) Finally,if we want to assume that it's Brandon Weeden for the final five games,let's take a look at those five.
Jacksonville at home next week should be a winnable game,if only because of the Florida team hitting the road in the cold,but thereafter?
Well,the Browns aren't knocking off the Patriots on the road and nothing I saw yesterday gave me hope that the season finale in Pittsburgh is a win either.
That leaves the Bears at home and the Jets on the road.
The Bears just lost to the Rams on the road,but without Jay Cutler,who will likely be back with Chicago by the time they play in Cleveland.
The Jets might be the most erratic team in the game and they are using enigmatic Geno Smith at QB.
If the Browns win any of the final four games unexpectedly-the Jets might be the one.

11) Hate to start talking draft already,but right now,the Browns would pick 10th with their pick and the Colts pick would be 26th.
Not sure if the 26th pick would be enough to move the Browns up from say 10 to 5 or 6.
At this point,keep rooting against the Colts....

Photo Credit:Cleveland Plain Dealer

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Indiana-Just Another Victim

Senior day means careers ending,at least at home and the Ohio State Buckeyes did not disappoint as they raced to a 42-0 lead and cruised to a 42-14 win over the Indiana Hoosiers to improve to 11-0 and move on to that team up north next Saturday.
Braxton Miller tossed two touchdowns and ran for two more to pace Ohio State to the win.
It's now michigan week!!!

Olentangy Offerings

1) Braxton Miller may have stole the show on the stat sheet,but the player of the game to me was on the defensive side as Michael Bennett.
Bennett was all over the field with sacks,tackles and generally rampaging across the countryside leaving Hoosiers and villagers in his wake.
Dominant might be too nice of a word...

2) Braxton Miller continues to mature and all the speculation is about will he leave for the NFL.
Selfishly,I'd like to see him stay,but not just for OSU.
Miller still has one speed of pass-Fireball.
Another year of college might help the touch a bit...

3) Ryan Shazier finished with 20 tackles,so his day was not too shabby either1
Shazier deserves the Butkus Award.

4) Carlos Hyde was solid again in his march to 1,000 yards.
Injury barring,he gets it.

5) Loved the dusting of snow! Not enough to affect the game,but a great visual!

That's pretty much it for today,I'm short on time.
Back tomorrow with Browns-Steelers and the Grey Cup!


Saturday, November 23, 2013

Quick PPM

Last Week: 5-1
Season: 50-22

Ohio State over Indiana 62-27
Bowling Green over Eastern Michigan 27-7
Game of the Week
Oklahoma State over Baylor 36-33

Steelers over Browns 16-13
Saints over Falcons 32-20 (Picked before Thursday)
Game of the Week
Broncos over Patriots 36-28

Grey Cup
Hamilton Tiger-Cats over Saskatchewan Roughriders 28-24

Friday, November 22, 2013

Still Missing

Another surprising West Coast win that I missed by the Devils from the road office and leaving in the middle of the Saints win (I hate Thursday night football),left me with little to do other than a few little things.

I spent much of last night rearranging baseball card boxes.
Big deal right?
Well,I was outgrowing the spot that I keep my minor league stuff for graphing and I need to buy some more boxes for the final off season of Hagerstown Suns baseball-thanks to all the clowns that teamed up to cause that.
Yet,another big deal,right?
However,moving the boxes around meant some reflection and I'm sure that must sound silly too.
But besides those boxes on the left where new boxes will go was was Teddy's favorite spot.
Right besides our aging PC and under the desk,the PC gave him warmth in the winter and a cool spot to lie in on warm days,that spot was Teddy's and it's stayed that way for the last few months.

Teddy was such a part of my (ours) lives and every day I think of something he did,"said" or just pop in a random memory and I cannot get that back or even fill that hole.
Maybe another dog could eventually enter and create their own space,but they will never have what Teddy had.
Wally Schirra once said after the Apollo one fire that we mourn the loss,but we don't wear the black armband forever.
Filling that slot might be the beginning of healing.
Teddy is still so so missed and with the first holiday season without him since 1999 on the horizon,I doubt that will get any better in the immediate future,but that will always be his spot,whether cards are there or not.

I'm at the work office now and I'll be working on that area for the next few days and thinking of my friend as I do it.
See you soon......

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Blastin the past

On the first of three Devils west coast games that I will miss from the road office (starting with a win in Anaheim),I thought about some things from the non-sports world.
Frankly,I wonder if you can ever really escape the past.
People remember what was more than they really remember what is and memory can play tricks on us all.
Things can better or worse depending on how you want to remember them
The good old days weren't always as good as good as we remember them and some times we can hold resentment towards things that might not be remembered accurately.

I'm not different from anyone else.
Things are remembered better than they might have been and I can hold slights that in hindsight weren't that important in the big scheme of things.
Is it possible that happens?
Yeah,pretty likely,but often times,memory is pretty dead on too.
Losing things that you cannot get back stings and those issues and people can be carried around for a long time.

Bad memories can often cause present problems too.
Imagined problems or at last exaggerated ones do just that and it adds stress and hassles.
The problem often is-whose problems are the exaggerated,mine or someone elses?
It could be mine.
We can't all be the people that we once were and more often than not,that's a good thing.
Everything is a process and I still make the walk forward and back.
Some people are around long term,others for a second in time,but whats done is done-
One can only deal is what is,not always what was,whether that is good or bad..

All I know is this-some times the harder you try,the less you truly know.
It's cliche' I'm sure-but trying to jump the hurdle of what was can get in the way of dealing with what is.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Warm Stove Talk-Indians,Pirates and Giants!

The Hot Stove season has just started up,so let's call it the warm stove as each of our three teams have made moves big and small to improve for the 2014 season.

We start in Cleveland as the Wahoos have signed their starting right fielder for 2014 in David Murphy to a two year deal.
The lefty swinging Murphy will likely platoon in right for the Tribe,but lefthanded hitters usually play more in a platoon than their righty batting counterparts.
Murphy struggled last season ( .220 13HR 45 RBI) after his best season in 2012 in his seven seasons with the Rangers and there is no guarantee with Murphy that he will bounce back to previous form.
I would still imagine Murphy will be good for the numbers that he generally put up in Arlington (.270-.280 15 or so homers),but perhaps last season is the beginning of a steep decline.

The Giants added a aging but still solid arm to their rotation in inking former Brave Tim Hudson to a two year deal worth 23 million.
Hudson was off to a rough start last season,but had a strong last month before his season ended after a gruesome ankle injury in July.
The contract returns Hudson to the Bay Area,where he started his career in Oakland for the first six years of his career.
Hudson is 38 and the contract does seem high on the surface,but watch the numbers that pitchers sign for soon and you might think the Giants got a bargain for striking first.
Hudson will fill the fourth slot in the San Francisco rotation behind Matt Cain,Tim Lincecum and Madison Bumgarner....

The Pirates made a minor deal with the Twins as the team reacquired Duke Welker from Minnesota for Kris Johnson.
Johnson pitched well at AAA Indianapolis,but does not look to have a slot available in the rotation and ranks behind several others in the system.
Welker could find a spot in the bullpen with some of the changes in the pen for next year.
Johnson should have a chance to join the Minnesota rotation,so this might one of those deals that help both teams....

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Cleaning out the inbox

We return to clean out the filling up inbox with a few notes and news!

The Houston Astrodome recently had a "yard sale" selling all sorts of stuff from the "eighth wonder of the world"which was the first domed stadium that opened in 1965.
The Astrodome looks headed for demolition after Houston voters defeated a plan to renovate the old girl,but before the vote,the sale was held with seats,turf,lockers etc available for sale.
Why do I never hear about these types of things until it's too late?
I would love to install in my sports room,seats from Cleveland Municipal Stadium,Three Rivers Stadium,Richfield Coliseum and yes,the Astrodome....

My beloved Aunt Becky sends word of the opening of the new Westbound Inner Belt Bridge in Cleveland.
We have written here in the past about the decrepit state of the two inner belt bridges to the point that Becky refuses to drive on them!
With the West bridge completed,work will now commence on the new Eastbound bridge after the old one is demolished.
The West will hold two way traffic until the Eastern is completed in 2016...

More Grantland as an Atlanta lifer discusses his pain on the Braves leaving Atlanta for the suburbs of Cobb County GA.
It's an article filled with pain from a team leaving town,even if it is just 20 miles or so.
It could be worse,you could lose them to Fredericksburg VA. Sniffle.

Congrats to the Hamilton Tiger-Cats for their upset win in the CFL Eastern Final on Sunday over the hated Toronto Argonauts in Toronto!
The win boots the Cats to the Grey Cup against Saskatchewan Sunday and rest assured I'll be on the couch watching and rooting for the Tabbies!
Before the game,the Canadian press was filled with articles on the heated Hamilton-Toronto rivalry.
The Toronto Globe and Mail's take is here,the Toronto Sun looks at it here and the Hamilton Spectator glances from the Eastern Ontario side.
I am considering coverage of the Grey Cup since I will be able to watch it live!

This Thanksgiving is a rarity as Thanksgiving and Hanukkah crossover on the same date for the first time since 1888 and for the last time until 79,811.Thats right 79,811.
It is because the 28th is the earliest that Hanukkah can start and the latest that Thanksgiving can be held.
The Baltimore Sun takes a look at all the possibilities here.

Battlin' Bob sends me word that the Cleveland Browns have found their 1946 All American Football Conference trophy in a garage in North Carolina.
The trophy was with a former minority owners grandson and discovered on a TV show named "Garage Gold".
Great to have this piece of Browns history where it belongs!

We wrap up with my friend Tricia sending me a link from NPR about the work being done to make sports video games commentary better and better.
I remember those robotic early SEGA Genesis games and their basic commentary and they have come a long way!
I still shudder remembering the first play by play game-Joe Montana's football for SEGA, "Back to pass,better hurry".
It was delivered far duller than it reads!

Ah,the inbox is now clear for a while.Thanks to all who sent links and remember full credit for anything I use.

Photo Credits;
Astrodome and CFL:Unknown
Trophy:Cleveland Browns

Monday, November 18, 2013

Browns blow opportunties in Bengals loss

The Cleveland Browns used two interceptions in the first quarter by Joe Haden to leap to a 13-0 lead,but I had a funny feeling that this was the old Browns.
The Browns that took chances to build leads with touchdowns and instead settled for field goals that would cause them misery.
That is exactly what happened as the Cincinnati Bengals scored 31 points in the second quarter and won the Battle of Ohio 41-20.
Jason Campbell threw for 248 yards and a 74 yard touchdown pass to Josh Gordon,but also tossed three interceptions.
Gordon finished the day with five catches for 125 yards to lead a less than hefty Browns offense.
The now 4-6 Browns host 4-6 Pittsburgh next week.

Brownie Bits

1) You look at 41 points allowed and think the defense was bad.
It was not.
Give Cincinnati 7 points on a blocked punt score,7 more on a fumble returned for a score and another seven set by a blocked punt and you come up with only 20 by the defense.
The Bengals were outgained and were not overly impressive with the ball.
The loss doesn't go on the D.

2) Joe Haden shut down A.J. Green and if he doesn't make the Pro Bowl,it's a travesty.
Haden picked off two passes and returned one for a score,while Green caught just two passes for seven yards.
Enough said...

3) The Browns ground game was not great,but Chris Ogbonnaya rushed for 69 yards,although 43 were on one carry.
Considering the Browns ground game status,things could have been worse...

4) Josh Gordon looked great on his long touchdown pass,but sometimes looked disinterested at other times.
Maybe I'm off,but sometimes Gordon's smooth style makes me think he is not playing hard.
I hope that's the case,anyway...

5) Jason Campbell showed a lack of poise in this game.
The slightest rush caused a checkdown,usually to Chris Ogbonnaya,for minimal gains.
Ogbonnaya and Jordan Cameron each caught six passes,but for just 30 and 29 yards respectively.
Isn't seeing "checkdown charlie's" what doomed Brandon Weeden?

6) The lack of any semblance of a downfield game other than the TD pass to Josh Gordon doomed the Browns.
Without a strong ground attack,the Browns need to open the field and the almost refusal to get the ball to any receiver other than Gordon tends to make a team dependent on the short passing game and without a ton of players that can make plays in space,it becomes tough to move the ball..

7) Awful day for the special teams with two blocked punts.Add to that a 29 yard punt that after return added three points for the Bengals,one could see why Spencer Lanning had a rough outing..

8) The Browns held the Bengals under 100 yards passing and stopped them on every third down,but one and still lost by 21!
Take those scores away not allowed by the defense and this could have been close.

9) I noted above about all the checkdowns and it's too bad because Jason Campbell throws a nice deep ball.
His pass to Josh Gordon was a beautiful toss,we just didn't see enough of them.

10) The Browns settled for field goals on the first two drives when Campbell overthrew Jordan Cameron in the end zone on one drive and had a pass batted away when he threw a line drive instead of a floater to to a wide (and I mean wide) open Greg Little.
It would have been interesting to see how things went at 21-0 not 13-0.

11) The AFC North suddenly seems weaker with 3 teams under .500 and the Bengals not reminding anyone of a Super Bowl contender.
The Browns need help at offensive spots,but if they can get at least some of them,they could contend next year.
They have to fill the holes well,but maybe...

Photo Credit:Cleveland Plain Dealer

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Ohio State tromps Illinois 60-35

The national media may not have been impressed with the 60-35 win by Ohio State over Illinois,but it was never in question to me.
Carlos Hyde didn't start,but finished with 248 yards rushing with four touchdowns and Braxton Miller finished with over 300 yards of total offense and two more scores for the now 10-0 Buckeyes.
Ohio State will finish their home schedule next week against Indiana....

Olentangy Offerings

1) Look,this game was never in danger,but allowing 35 points to a now 3-7 team doesn't look great from the outside looking in.
The defense didn't play great,but considering they had two starting linebackers out and Joey Bosa on the bench for the second half,it could have been worse...

2) Joey Bosa and Noah Spence are going to be two loads to block next year,
Bosa had two and a half sacks in the first half before leaving early in the third quarter.
That might have been the key in Illinois scoring points in the second half as Nathan Scheelhaase began to escape from the pocket where he was being dumped by Bosa.

3) Carlos Hyde did not start due to a "classroom issue",but was dominant.
Hyde has not only improved to the point of helping this team,he has helped himself rise in the NFL draft rankings with his season.

4) The wind was heavy,no doubt about it,but Braxton Miller was struggling anyway through the air.
Fortunately,Miller's legs weren't affected as he rushed for over 180 yards on the day.
When Miller struggled in the second half,it was when OSU was forced to throw.

5) Boy,did this game DRAG! Almost four hours long,college football really needs to look at some ways to speed up televised games.

6) The announcers for this one,Brian Griese and Dave Pasch were not just bad,but they were unrelentingly brutal on Illinois coach Tim Beckman.
Granted,Illinois is bad and fights on the sidelines with your coaches (it happened in this one) does not make your program look like one running smoothly,but it seemed like every call the guy made-they were ripping.
I didn't have a dog in that fight,but they seemed way too hard on a guy that has only two recruiting classes (one of them short notice) in tow....

7) I didn't like the special teams allowing a punt for a TD.
Poor tackling as the defenders appeared to be pushing with their blockers rather than being aggressive.
An easy fix,but one that needs to be addressed.

8) Urban Meyer clearly was not happy with the team at the half and I'm sure that he will be no different following the game as the second half was not sharp either.
This is far from a perfect team and with michigan and Michigan State on the horizon,some refining is needed...

9) I like the new Illinois helmet with the state with the I in the borders.
I like stuff that incorporates the state into the logos and field design.
Ohio State uses the state of Ohio at center court for basketball,but I would love to see them put them in the corners of the end zone too....

10) Did the Buckeyes get "style points"? Likely not.
However the W is more important than anything else,ask Stanford....

Photo Credit;Marvin Fong-Cleveland Plain Dealer

Devils pop the Penguins 4-1!

After a disappointing loss to the Los Angeles Kings (I missed it,thanks to a bad tape) that was reported to be a less than strong offensive outing,one could not be expected to think highly of the New Jersey Devils chances against the first place Pittsburgh Penguins.
However,I was surprised with a 4-1 win by the Devils with some excellent play between the pipes by Martin Brodeur.
The Devils were led with Jaromir Jagr scoring the final two goals (6 and 7 empty net),while the defensemen added the remaining two from Andy Greene (2) and Adam Larsson (1).
The Devils now head west for a three game swing through California.
Please remember that I will see none of these games,so either recaps will not be in depth or may be limited to side notes in case of Devils news...

Hell Raisers

1) Martin Brodeur has had shutouts this season,but this might have been his best game,despite allowing a goal to Chris Kunitz.
Brodeur was strong against rebounds and showed agility that belied his age.
Marty is on a roll right now and hopefully that can carry over into California.

2) Super to see Adam Larsson get a goal.Larsson sometimes still seems a bit tenative on the offensive end,but he is blossoming since the callup of Eric Gelinas.
I also loved Larsson showing some physicality as he crunched a Penguin as he came out of the penalty box. 
As hard as it is to believe Larsson just turned 21 and he may be beginning to make his move in maturation..

3) Jaromir Jagr seemed to be all over the ice even before his two third period goals,but the goals against the team that he started with must have been sweet.
The first was a frozen rope that cooked Marc-Andre Fleury (who looked less than sharp) off a Kris Letang flub up that brought to mind his sniper days.
The other was an empty netter that he battled for the puck,fought off the defender and added a spinning backhander that went into the net.
Not bad for an empty netter...

4) The Devils penalty killers did their job in killing off all four penalties,but Martin Brodeur stood tallest as he made 11 saves with the Devils a man down.
The goalie can often be your best penalty killer and Brodeur was in this one...

5) The Devils have ground their way back to just one point out of third and just as it happens,here comes a west coast swing after their first trip to the left side put them in the hole that they were digging out of.
Considering their issues-If you told me I could have three of a possible six points-I'd take it...

Photo Credit:AP Photo

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Quick PPM

Quick PPM
Last Week: 3-2
Season; 45-21

Ohio State over Illinois 43-10
Baylor over Texas Tech 52-40
Game of the Week
Texas over Oklahoma State 32-30

Bengals over Browns 16-14
Saints over 49ers 24-14
Game of the Week
Broncos over Chiefs 35-17

Friday, November 15, 2013

Cavaliers thoughts

I didn't get the NBA league pass this year and I thought that might have been a mistake with the Cavaliers possibly being improved.
Thus far,it might be a good move as the Cavaliers are 3-6,Mike Brown has returned as coach with his dull and uncreative offense,first overall pick Anthony Bennett is averaging one point a game and things appear to be less than strong in Cleveland.

Not that I know from watching games other than the opener,but I can read a stat sheet and when neither of your starting guards (Kyrie Irving and Dion Waiters) are shooting 40 percent from the field,there are problems.
Mike Brown's offense didn't seem tailored to Kyrie Irving's abilities to begin with,but this looks like a disaster.
I understand Dan Gilbert and Chris Grant (more on him later) were disappointed in the less than strong play on the defensive end from last years team and Mike Brown was going to add an emphasis to that part of the game for sure.
However,considering the issues that Brown had with LeBron James in Cleveland and then Kobe Bryant in Los Angeles with his offensive system,it would not have been a stretch to imagine that further problems awaited in his second stint in Ohio.

I was in favor of the gamble on Andrew Bynum,who might have been the only Laker that liked Mike Brown and he will take time to return to form,if that ever happens,but the remainder of the risks taken by General Manager Chris Grant in his term have been less than fruitful.
Tristan Thompson has been solid and seems to be rounding into a dependable 14 pts,10 boards guy and for now has the slight edge over Jonas Valanciunas,who I preferred.
However,it is easier to find a decent power forward than center and I still would rather have had Valanciunas.
I'd rather have Klay Thompson over both of them,but I didn't say so at the time.....

Dion Waiters was another risk over Harrison Barnes by Grant.
Waiters' total numbers are better than Barnes,but Barnes appears to be maturing nicely with an up and coming Golden State team and plays the biggest position of need for Cleveland- small forward.
From what I see of Waiters,he reminds me of another former Cavalier Ricky Davis-a bit selfish,numbers oriented and lackluster on the defensive end.
Waiters might be best suited to being the best player on bad teams....

This years gamble was Anthony Bennett,who before scoring six points in his last game,had scored one basket all season.
To be fair,although I did like Ben McLemore best in the draft,there was not a standout,so I could see any one of a handful of guys at number one.
Nine games is way way too short of a sample size to declare a player a bust,but this doesn't look good thus far.

Add it all up and Chris Grant is starting to look a bit like the Oakland Raiders-trying so hard to show he's the smartest guy in the room that he misses obvious selections.
That just might catch up with Grant and Mike Brown-the Cavaliers need to show improvement and a talent base if there is a slim chance of attracting you know who and anyone else in the off season.
If things don't turn around in Cleveland with so much on the line-Grant and Brown could be looking for work....

Thursday, November 14, 2013

A man named Floyd

Many of you know that the author has been a superhero fan since childhood of both major comic companies (DC and Marvel), collected figures, and comics for many years.
I quit collecting comics because they have gotten too expensive (4.00 and up) for too light of a read (24 pages usually), too many "crossover" stories (having to buy multiple books that I might not normally read to get the entire story) and constant revamps and changes to the heroes and villains that I like, but I still love the genre' and buy "graphic novels" still with reprints of classic comics and my comic collection of too many to count is still intact.

My favorite hero growing up was the Green Lantern, but GL's Rogues Gallery (comic book term for villains that tend to battle a particular hero often) was pretty weak, so I also loved the Flash and of course, Batman, who each had rich Rogues Galleries to mine often.
I read some Marvel comics, but I've always considered myself to be a "DC Guy" and my collection shows it.
I have tons of GL stuff, including a very cool statue that the lovely Cherie bought me for one anniversary, but GL might be my favorite hero and despite many villains fighting for my favors since childhood, the winner is someone that I didn't even hear about until 1987.

Deadshot was a one-note character that appeared once in 1950 as he tried to usurp Batman as a hero while committing crimes, after being defeated, Deadshot was forgotten about until 1977 when he was returned to action with a distinctive outfit and a nasty attitude as the worlds greatest marksman.
Deadshot still did not show up often, so I had no knowledge of him, which is understandable in those times as he wasn't kid-friendly enough to reach the toy lines and wasn't used enough to be known unless you had that comic he appeared in.

However, in 1987 things changed-Hagerstown got its first comics shop and I was a buyer of whatever Batman was on the cover of and he was on the cover of this book called The Suicide Squad.
I bought it and went back the following week to buy the issues that I missed.
As I read The Squad, Deadshot became my favorite and some research helped me find his Batman appearances as well.
Deadshot became so popular that he received his own four-issue "mini-series", which was just reprinted in novel format and is on my XMAS list at
Deadshot would stay through another mini-series and other incarnations of the Squad, but nothing was ever going to live up to the classic first run of the Squad, which I'll get into down the road.
I have even thought of re-reading the Squad run (No novel reprint yet) and if I do -that will be the Squad post time.

Floyd Lawton was born of privilege and as noted originally wanted to "be" Batman.
The mini-series explains his family background and just how he became so bitter and hated life.
I'd tell you more, but you never know, Deadshot Beginnings might wind up on your Xmas list!
That is how interesting the character is in my opinion.
Floyd doesn't want to commit suicide, mind you, but he is not against death as he takes reckless chances that make many think he has a death wish.
The assassin for hire that never misses (except against Batman, who informed Floyd in the 1st book I saw him that he "Pulls his shots" is certainly multifaceted and far from a standard comic character.

I don't buy current comics for the above reasons, but I must admit if the cost fell (fat chance) I could get back into at least a few and I'm sure Deadshot would be right at the forefront.
Give Deadshot a try this Christmas, I bet you don't regret it!! 

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

The Cleveland Devils??

I don't have a ton of information on this because I only have one source, but it is interesting to see how it could have changed hockey history and even could have resulted in the hockey team that I love-playing in the state I love.

Gene Kiczek wrote two books (I own both) on Cleveland hockey-the first on the AHL Barons and the second on the NHL Barons, WHA Crusaders, and other teams to play in Cleveland.
The WHA was the second league in the 1970s and was losing money hand over fist despite signing top-notch talent.

The Cleveland Crusaders played in a beautiful new building, the Richfield Coliseum, made the playoffs for all four years of their existence and had terrific uniforms and logo, but were still a WHA team.
The Kansas City Scouts were just two years old, but drowning in red ink with an awful expansion team and had owners looking to bail out.
Quietly the owners of the Scouts and Crusaders owner Nick Mileti began to work out a deal that would see the Scouts and Crusaders merge their rosters, play in Cleveland as the Crusaders and play in the NHL!
The deal was near completion when the now-defunct Cleveland Press found out about the rumor, the Crusaders players revolted (Some of them at least would lose their jobs to incoming Scouts) and the Crusaders fans protested.
The deal fell through, the Crusaders moved to Minnesota for a merger with the Fighting Saints and were soon dead.
The Scouts still left Kansas City at the end of the 1975-76 season and moved to Denver for a few seasons before becoming the New Jersey Devils!

So, would I be a fan of the Cleveland Crusaders had it bounced that way?
You know it, but there might not be three Stanley Cup banners hanging in Cleveland.
Lou Lamoriello doesn't strike me as a guy that would want to leave the east coast and likely would not have been the man to build the franchise in Cleveland that he did in New Jersey, so I have my doubts there.
But had Cleveland kept pro hockey, the New Jersey Devils would have never existed.
Looking at a third team in the NYC market, it might have been tough for anyone but John Macmullen to pull a move off to New Jersey with his local background
History spinning on a newspaper report!
Interesting to think about, isn't it?
Hope you enjoyed it...

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

On the Signing Front

You ARE LOOKING LIVE above Medlar Field in State College PA!
We return to the signing front after I finally bought a new binder and sheets,so this should knock some more out,if not totally catch up for the season,although not today!

We start with thanks to Tom O'Brien,who worked on my Richmond Flying Squirrels (San Francisco Giants) team set for me.
Richmond was finished in Harrisburg early this season,so I wasn't able to do them there,but Tom did my work on the Squirrels in Bowie.
Richmond was not loaded with prospects this season but Joe Panik is a top one,as is Adam Duvall,Edwin Escobar, Andrew Susac and Tom got them all for me as well as Angel Villalona.
Villalona was a huge prospect at one time before being tried for murder in the Dominican Republic and losing basically three years.
Villalona signed three cards for me and Tom reports no problems
Tom also worked on the home BaySox at this time and added Eduardo Rodriguez on his Carolina League top prospect and all star card,but the best catch was Matt Wieters on his Frederick Keys 25th anniversary card!
Thanks as always to Tom!

Next in the Hub City was the Delmarva Shorebirds (Baltimore Orioles) and their wonderfully friendly manager Luis Pujols.
Pujols had run in after run in with collectors in Hagerstown,but seemed to be most likely to sign on the first night.
Before about 12 people at the Muni,Pujols signed for one of them,I quickly moved over and nailed Pujols on his team set card before he grumpily stomped away.
I didn't see him sign the rest of the series.
Adrian Marin was very nice in signing his Delmarva card and a USA Champions card.Mychal Givens signed the same.
Some collectors have complained about Givens,but I have never had problems with him and he has always been gracious to me.
Josh Hader was the other Shorebird pickup that proved to be strong as Hader was traded to the Astros shortly thereafter in the Bud Norris trade.
This series also saw the Hagerstown team set come out and add the best Suns prospects in Pedro Severino,Brett Mooneyham,Tony Renda and Brandon Miller.
Great story on this set,as you know I trade Suns sets with Tom (Bowie),Corey (Tennessee) and Jason (Binghamton),so I have to get 4 of each player finished over the course of the year.
With the Suns,I try to get them done at once,so I don't have to bother the player again.
For Pedro Severino,he signs three and then says "Thank you" with the other and jogs into the dugout!
Language barrier?
The same thing after the same game by the clubhouse with reliever Gilberto Mendez,who signs one and tries to put the other two in his pocket!
This one I catch and get the cards back.but I did give one to Mendez later after shuffling cards and buying another team set to fill in blanks-I'll pass on that recap!

The Lynchburg Hillcats (Atlanta Braves) returned to Frederick and I only had a few cards to fill in from their team set and some players that had been called up from Rome.
The biggest catch was powerhitting outfielder Josh Elander,who was a bit of a Sharpie crusher,but nice.
Other nice pickups were David Rohm (CL All Star),Nate Hyatt (CL top prospect) and Carlos Perez.
Of all the team sets that I saw this year,Lynchburg would be my choice for set of the year with its strong hunter green border.
Derreck did the Keys during this night and added Matt Hobgood on his Delmarva card and the elusive Lex Rutledge for me on a few cards.
Thanks again to my good buddy,who I don't thank here as much because we help each other so much that the reader should figure that goes without saying.

The Kannapolis Intimidators (Chicago White Sox) entered Hagerstown with a few prospects,but not many as a large number had been promoted to Winston-Salem.
Kannapolis did have the Chi-Sox first and third rounders on the team in Tim Anderson and Jacob May and Keon Barnum,who has tons of different cards.
Anderson was quiet,May was much more talkative and Barnum was super in signing all my stuff as there was only two of there.
Those that chose to wait for Barnum later in the series would miss on that decision as Barnum was knocked cold in a play at that plate by Pedro Severino,would be carried off the field and spent the rest of the series at the hotel.
Luck in this hobby goes both ways.

I had already gotten the Binghamton Mets (New York Mets),but rode along to Harrisburg with Kendall Morris anyway.
Jason had done the B-Mets team set,but this was a chance to get the best two prospects in the Mets system.
Noah Syndergaard was dominant on the mound and nice after the game (Jason would get more of Syndergaard as the season went on) in signing his top 100 card!
The Mets top prospect-catcher Travis D'Arnaud was rounding back into shape following injury and was back in AA to do so.
D'Arnaud signed two per and was nice doing so...

The Lakewood Blue Claws (Philadelphia Phillies) moved into Hagerstown for a series,but I held off on a team set because they would be back for the last set of the year and I wanted to have something to do.
This had a bonus though as Phillies star Domonic Brown would be playing for one night for the Blue Claws.
Domonic was a favorite as a young player and I was anxious to see how he signed after being a major leaguer.
Domonic was as good as remembered as he signed and chatted.
I'm even a bigger fan now than I was before!!!

The Myrtle Beach Pelicans (Texas Rangers) were a great signing team earlier in the season and continued to do so in Frederick on their last visit.
Most of the work was on the Pelican team set and a few previous misses.
Notables included Drew Robinson,Hanser Alberto (on his minors heritage),Will Lamb and Patrick Cantwell.
The Pelicans were a terrific team and maybe the best all season that I saw.

The Reading Fightin' Phils (Philadelphia Phillies) were in Harrisburg and I survived an extra inning game to work on them and their awfully ugly uniforms.
As I have written in the past,Harrisburg has become a postgame town,so you need to get through those sometimes.
Top prospect Jesse Biddle didn't have a good game on the mound,but signed everything ( Top 100) as he did with Lakewood.
Super guy.
Sebastian Valle signed one,as is his want and Maikel Franco,the breakout player of the year in the Phillies system signed one as well.
Other Phils of note included Zach Collier,Anthony Hewitt,Seth Rosin and Brody Colvin.
Hewitt is noted for making Derreck run him down in Harrisburg in a previous visit and laughed when we recounted the story to him this time.
Tyler helped me with Billy Burns on his Potomac and Carolina League All-Star card as Burns had just been promoted.Thanks,Tyler.

We wrap up after lots of typing with thanks to Bruce Begole,who helped me with a Midwest League trip that he made to Lansing.Notable pickups included Nick Travieso,Daniel Norris,Dwight Smith Jr,Jesse Winker among others.
Thanks to Bruce for thinking of me and the help!!!

Whew,that knocked things down,but there will still be more signing front entries for the future,so stay tuned!!!

Monday, November 11, 2013

Cam Janssen-Offensive Juggernaut?

The New Jersey Devils defended their home turf on Sunday night with a dominating 5-0 win over the Nashville Predators at the Rock.
Martin Brodeur turned aside just 15 Nashville shots in adding another shutout to his career record in notching the win.
Devils goals scored by Jaromir Jagr (5),Cam Janssen (2),Travis Zajac (2),Marek Zidlicky (2 power play) and Mattias Tedenby (1).
The Devils return to the ice Tuesday at Madison Square Garden against the Rangers.

Hell Raisers

1) Cam Janssen with a stat that is surprising to any hockey fan.
3 games,2 goals 0 fights.
Enjoy that ride while you can!!

2)  Jaromir Jagr went over 1,700 points for his career with his goal and assist on the evening.
Jagr is 7th all time in point scored and would be higher if he had not played a few years in Russia's KHL.

3) What I really liked about this game was the Devils finishing plays at the net and not overpassing.
The Travis Zajac goal was an example-one sharp pass and fire,I am hoping to see that trend continue.
Dainius Zubrus to Jaromir Jagr to Zajac-fire.Sweetest goal of the night.

4) Mattias Tedenby has been a disappointment in his chances with the Devils mainly because he seems to use his speed to get nice opportunities to score and then whiff on them.
Very late in the game,Tedenby grabbed a loose puck,drove to the net and got his first goal of the season.
Tedenby's skills has always intrigued me and perhaps this meaningless goal in a blowout will jump start Tedenby a bit...

5) Dominant Devils defense as none of Nashville's shots against Martin Brodeur were especially difficult ones.A few were cold one on ones,but none were amazing or tough....

6) Easily the best total game played all season by the Devils.
Solid goaltending,nice defense and finishing strong  with the puck makes this an easy call to make!

Photo Credit:AP Photo


Sunday, November 10, 2013

The Browns at the Bye

A few words on the Cleveland Browns on their bye Sunday,since the Buckeyes were off,I have little football to write about.

The Browns are 4-5,but could be playing as well as anyone in a suddenly ailing AFC North and with some luck,could be far better in the win-loss columns.
Had Rob Chudzinski started either Brian Hoyer or Jason Campbell instead of the hopeless Brandon Weeden,the Browns could be as good as 6-3.
I certainly think better play at quarterback would have beaten Baltimore in week two and would have held on to a 10 point halftime lead over the Lions.
I'm trying not to get too excited.The Browns trail the Bengals by two games,but can make waves with a win next week over those same Bengals and should Baltimore defeat Cincinnati today,that game could put the Browns just a half game back.

The division (and future) suddenly looks a little brighter since the Steelers seem to headed down the wayward path under noted know it all Mike Tomlin (just ask him) and look to be overhauling their defense under Tomlin not Dick LeBeau and the Ravens seem to have confused a last year effort to "win it for Murderin' Ray" with a solid franchise along with mixing up Joe Flacco's playoff performance with an elite QB and paying like one-the door might be opening where it was locked before.

Things aren't perfect either for now or the future.
Neither Hoyer or Campbell have proven anything more than stop gap measures at QB and the running game is bad to put it simply.
The Browns will need to find a young quarterback,need a runner BADLY and another wide receiver to match with Josh Gordon or even replace Gordon in case he leaps off the wagon and into suspension.
As good as Gordon can be,the Browns cannot use him as a top pass catcher alone on faith.

The pass rush has improved under Ray Horton,but the linebackers have been exposed in coverage and could use another starter.
Joe Haden has improved to the point of being Pro Bowl caliber and a shutdown corner that most teams dream of having and Buster Skrine has taken a huge leap forward at the other corner,but I'd still like another since third rounder Leon McFadden rarely plays.
T.J. Ward has had a huge bounce back year at one safety and if the team can re-sign him,Cleveland could use Ward as the thumper and find a playmaker at the other safety.

With seven games to go,six of the seven seem winnable (at New England is the other),but only Jacksonville at home is one that looks to be a heavy favorite in,so who knows how this could go.
However,for the first time in a while,I feel better than usual about those Brownies!!!

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Quick PPM

Last Week: 3-3
Season: 42-19

Texas Tech over Kansas State 38-29
Game of the week
LSU over Alabama 20-17

Saints over Cowboys 38-31
Games of the Week
Broncos over Chargers 42-30
Lions over Bears 28-20

Shootout proves bedeviling in Toronto

The New Jersey Devils seemingly put together a template for a winning night in Toronto-strong defense,great goaltending and a little luck.
However,the one thing that has bitten the Devils all season struck again-the shootout.
Travis Zajac beat Jonathan Bernier,but his shot struck the post and James Van Riemsdyk scored the only goal of the shootout to give Toronto the extra point and a 2-1 win.
Michael Ryder's third period grounder that trickled through Jonathan Bernier (5 power play) was the only score for the Devils.
New Jersey will play Nashville Sunday in their next game...

Hell Raisers

1) Shootout woes continue as the Devils not only lose another one,but again fail to score a goal.
The team is now 0 for 14 on the season.

2) Cory Schneider was great in the net.I heard the overtime in the car on the way to work,but the Toronto radio crew were raving about a 3 on 1 save that according to them should have ended the game.
Cannot blame this one on the netminding.

3) Phil Kessel's regulation goal that he carried from the Leafs zone through until his goal was pretty to watch,but the power play that he scored on was set up by a bad hooking call on Andy Greene.
Greene didn't hook on the play,but that didn't keep the call from being made.

4) More on the Kessel play.Marek Zidlicky was beaten on the play and was called for hooking yet again.
Zidlicky did hook Kessel,but not enough to keep him from shooting.
If you are beaten so badly that you feel you must take a penalty to keep the opponent from scoring-Eliminate the Play! Zidlicky committed the penalty and didn't ruin the play....

5) Eric Gelinas played,put five shots on goal and assisted on Michael Ryder's goal.
Nice game from a guy who was on crutches the previous day.

6) The Ryder goal was one that reminded me of a baseball error as Jonathan Bernier didn't keep his stick down flat (baseball glove),the puck slid up and over his shoulder into the net.
Lucky,but I'll take it.

7) Strong effort on the road against a decent team with a hot goalie.
If someone can get on an offensive roll,this team could make up some of these points they are handing away...

Photo Credit:AP Photo

Friday, November 8, 2013

Janssen jolts Flyers!

In what was very similar to the game last week at the Rock,the New Jersey Devils reversed to score under similar circumstances as the team scored on deflections by Adam Henrique (5) and Cam Janssen (I swear I'm not making that up) (1) and Jaromir Jagr added the kill shot (4 empty net) to lift the Devils to a 3-0 win over the Philadelphia Flyers in Philly.
Martin Brodeur finished the game with 22 saves in earning the 122nd shutout of his career.
The Devils travel to Toronto tomorrow night at 7:30 and play against the Maple Leafs.

Hell Raisers

1) If this game is ever remembered at all (it likely shouldn't be) it will be due to the deflection goal by Cam Janssen.
Janssen had not scored a goal since he was a St.Louis Blue in 2011.
Janssen had been recalled from Albany and Rostislav Olesz was returned to Albany after the Devils last defeat.
I would wager goal scoring was not the reason for the callup!

2) From Scott Gilbert on Rachel's Devils fan page-Cam Janssen now has more goals for the season than Claude Giroux! HA HA

3) Martin Brodeur was flawless in goal,but wasn't exactly tested either.The Flyers looked like the Devils did in Newark.
Dull,tired and not a good effort for a Flyers team that looks to be cooked this season.

4) Eric Gelinas shot the puck that Adam Henrique deflected in and played well,but left the game in the third after taking a puck off the foot.
X Rays showed no breaks,but Gelinas left the arena on crutches,so look for Gelinas to miss the Toronto game at least.

5) Adam Henrique did get a goal on a deflection,but missed on a better opportunity by trying to pass rather than shoot and the pass was broken up.
Sometimes being unselfish can be selfish and trying to show that you are a team player can lose chances to score.
Henrique is not the only one to do that,just the one on this night...

photo credit;AP Photo

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Sometimes I just don't get it

Sometimes I just don't understand what I do here.
I do this because I enjoy it, it's fun getting my thoughts and ideas on the various teams that I root for on "paper" and have those down for perpetuity for whatever version of the web exists after my time.
But last night/this morning is one of those things that makes me laugh, chuckle, and shake my head in wonder.

Readership goes up and down and as much as I wish I could make readership explode, I've come to terms with having a core bunch and extras here and there, but somethings I write for me, some I write for you, and yet others just happen.
So last night, when it was a slow night in the sports world and for the teams we cover, I took about 15 minutes to toss together a fun little post (located below) on 1970's teen idols and didn't think much of it.
Until last night at the road office.
When I discovered that yesterday for a post that took a short time to do and not a ton of thought finished in the top five posts for hits in a day in the history of the blog!

As I told my friend Tricia-let me get this straight-I can write a nuanced opinion on America's role in space and get crickets but mention the damn Bay City Rollers (yes, that is Witchiepoo with them) and I get a top five day EVER?
Frankly, I'm confused.
Not looking a gift horse in the mouth, I'll take whatever I can get in readership, and maybe with luck, I might keep a few of them around, but it makes me wonder about things.
I am not ending or anything or even rethinking things, but I just laugh and wonder.

I've been told before that I'd better served to settle on one team and cover them or even one sport.
Baseball and the Browns seem to do the best, but I like what I do and if readership never hits it big-I'm Ok with that, it just makes me wonder what people like and how I can better get it to them.
It might be writing more about the Bay City Rollers!!!!

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Fun with Teen Idols

It's a slow night so let's have a little fun and today the topic is teen idols, those easily made fun of,androgynous-looking "singers" (I use that term loosely) that appeal to the 18 (if they are lucky), usually 16 and under crowd that idolizes them before the kids' age and idol get kicked to the curb.

Most of these fellows are generally men that look more like boys, which explains much of their appeal and most are usually not overwhelmingly talented either.
Other than Rick Nelson, the original TV teen idol and maybe if you want to be generous, David Cassidy not many were moderate talents at best.
Most of the idols from my day in that age bracket did a lot of "cover tunes" and other than Nelson didn't do a lot of their own songs.

Many became idols through either television shows, where they get exposure every week to that demographic-David Cassidy with the Partridge Family is one example and/or through the ever-popular teen magazines.
Those things are still around to this day as I remember Rachel buying them for her generation's idols-the Jonas Brothers.

So without further ado, a few YouTubes of teen idols from my day with a special tip to Battlin' Bob, who does a mean impersonation of Leif Garrett, so I'm told, and one of these to the lovely Cherie for her version of the Jonas Brothers from her youth and another to my favorite Aunt Becky, who I included her favorite as well.
I may revisit this on another day with more of these "winners' from the past, so I have saved some of the "best" for down the road!

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Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Another set of lists!

Time for another set of lists.The lovely Cherie hates these,so I only do them sparingly

Top current TV shows that I watch ASAP
1) Justified-FX
2) Person of Interest-CBS
3) The Americans-FX
4) Eastbound and Down-HBO
5) Revolution-NBC

Top 5 characters on TV today
1) Boyd Crowder-Justified
2) John Reese-Person of Interest
3) Kenny Powers-Eastbound and Down
4) Raylan Givens-Justified
5) Sebastian Monroe-Revolution

My Go to DVD list on sick days
1) Wild Wild West
2) Quantum Leap
3) Star Trek-Deep Space Nine
4) Have Gun Will Travel
5) Justified

1) Newsradio
2) Corner Gas
3) The Office
4) Odd Couple
5) ALF

Top 5 Silly things that I'd like but would never buy/afford
1) Oakley Sunglasses
2) Stetson Cowboy Hat
3) Pinball Machine
4) 100 gallon Plus Salt Water Fish Aquarium
5) Sandy Koufax rookie card

Top 5 states that I'd like to visit that I have never visited
1) Texas
2) Arizona
3) Washington
4) Oregon
5) Minnesota

Top 5 things to drink
1) 7up 10
2) 7up
3) Diet 7up
4) Dasani Water
5) Sundrop

That killed a post didn't it?

Monday, November 4, 2013

Dull Devils dropped in Minnesota

The less that I can write about such a crappy effort the better,but that is what I'm paid (ha ) to do,so here we go.
The New Jersey Devils allowed a goal in each period and then allowed an empty netter in a 4-0 loss to the Minnesota Wild in Minnesota.
No goals means no credit.
The Devils next play in Philly against the Flyers that it matches the excitement of the game in Newark should put most of you to sleep.

Hell Raisers

1) First off,the horrible looking injury to Jon Merrill just minutes into his NHL debut.
Merrill was tripped by Torrey Mitchell,was sent careening into the boards and was helped off the ice with bad cuts on his face.
Merrill was reported to have received several stitches,but might be back for the Flyers game if needed...

2) Cory Schneider was not awful.
The second and third goals came off deflections,one of them off Marek Zidlicky and the first one could be blamed on Mark Fayne and Jacob Josefson pulling a heel bump and allowing a open net for the Wild...

3) This team does miss Patrik Elias and Travis Zajac,no question,but this team cannot blame two games of under 20 shots on goal on the loss of the pair.
No one wins faceoffs (28% in this one),so you cannot try any set plays and no one breaks away either.

4) The power play is just bad.
No one brings the puck in the zone except Marek Zidlicky,who is just as likely to lose the puck as not and it is the same crap again and again.
Dump it in-opponent clear-Repeat for two minutes.
Just terrible.

5) The Devils have now played over 150 minutes without a goal.
What does THAT say? More than I can write.

Glad that's done-getting sick.....

Browns end streak! Rattle Ravens 24-18

The Cleveland Browns snapped an eleven game losing streak to the Baltimore Ravens behind three touchdown passes by Jason Campbell and took a 24-18 decision in Cleveland.
Davone Bess caught two of the touchdowns with Gary Barnidge grabbing the other.
The Browns improve to 4-5 entering the bye week and will return against the Bengals in Cincinnati....

Brownie Bits

1) Jason Campbell played most of the game with injured ribs after Haloti Ngata fell on Campbell shoving the football into his ribs.
Campbell missed three plays in which Brandon Weeden was booed loudly by Cleveland fans,but returned on the next drive.
Campbell's courage had been doubted by some in the media for not seeming to want to play when Brian Hoyer was inserted into the lineup.
Considering the ribs on this day,the doubts must be non-existent now...

2) Greg Little had a mixed day,but showed his physical ability with a seven catch day for 122 yards.
Little didn't drop a ball in a refreshing twist and was a beast in running with the football after the catch.
This is the type of play that shows the talent of Greg Little when the concentration is there and we even saw some toughness from Little,who injured a shoulder,but still attempted to come back in the game in crunch time...

3) Little still had his down points in being called for two unsportsmanlike conduct penalties.
The first was for taking a loose Raven helmet and flinging towards the sidelines.
That was deserved,but a later taunting penalty,while undoubtedly guilty seemed a bit light with the Baltimore guy jawing as well.
Either way,Little still needs to calm down and play the game..

4) I was critical of Davone Bess here last week and he deserved it,but I'll praise him today.
Bess finished with two scores,but the first one was a great catch through two Ravens pulling and stripping the ball.
That Bess is what I expected to see when the Browns traded for him with Miami.

5) Give credit to Rob Chudzinski for going for it on fourth and goal from the one in the first quarter,
One could not blame Chudzinski for taking the easy three early on,but the gutsy call was to play to win and he did so.
I would have liked that call even if it failed because they threw the football!

6) The Browns are going to be one dimensional for the rest of the season.
Willis McGahee looks like a spent comet to me and Chris Ogbonnaya is rarely used except as a pass catcher.
The Browns could have made this game far easier with any semblance of a 4th quarter running game...

7) Ray Horton's defense gets some kudos too.
Horton is never afraid of sending heat after the passer and blitz after blitz hounded Joe Flacco on this day. Five sacks from five different players says that.
I'll say it again,I was dubious of changing defensive schemes-it seems to have being the right move with Horton....

8) That didn't mean that there weren't breakdowns.
A coverage problem near the end of the half led to a long pass play to Torrey Smith and allowed the Ravens to score near the end of the half to keep them in the game.
Another drive made Marlon Brown look like a star.
The secondary play has improved,but there still are coverage issues...

9) I didn't like a pooch punt instead of a 52 yard field goal try.
Sometimes teams outsmart themselves and if you are going to punt-I'd rather have the guy getting paid for it do the kicking...

10) The run defense continues to be stout,Baltimore rushed for just 55 yards and averaged under three yards a carry.
Ray "Spit Take" Rice accounted for just 17 yards on 11 carries.

11) I asked this question on Facebook and here is my opinion.
What would the Browns record be if they had started either Jason Campbell or Brian Hoyer in the four games started by Brandon Weeden?
The Browns lost all four games,but I think they would have beaten the Ravens in Baltimore (14-6) and I think they would not have had an offensive breakdown against Detroit in a game they led at the half 17-7 in a loss at home(31-17).
Miami and Green Bay would have won anyway in my opinion,but move those two games in the W/L column and the Browns are 6-3 tied for first....

12) Finally,does this mean the Browns are in the playoff chase? Not really.
Despite being 4-5 and being ahead of both Baltimore and Pittsburgh,they are still two games behind the Bengals.
A wild card isn't likely as 1 team from the AFC West is a likely lock,so the Browns will have to win the division.
Ironically,A Baltimore win over the Bengals next week would go a long way towards helping the Browns.
The rematch in Cincinnati for the Browns is a must win to have any chance at all...

I will try to be back later with a look at another Devils lackluster performance.