Tagged with "A"
Q-o-t-D 4/15/14 Tags: Fantasy Hockey TheBeeze Sully Hotch
Who's got two thumbs and won The Gab Fantasy Hockey League?

Musings From The Hoodwood 4-15
Category: Daily Blog 2.0

Heres to you Mr. Robinson…Hoodwood salutes you.

Greetings from the Hoodwood, where are favorite golfers are named Boo, Tiger and Bubba and feel like one of our own won the Masters on Sunday…more on that later.

Im in my 3rd year writing this column and I will admit there are times where I struggle to put together a piece that is coherent and topical. This wont be one of them since I have lot of musings.

The Line You can draw from Jackie

As I mentioned at the end of last weeks column, my grandfather celebrated his 90th birthday last Sunday. My Grampy is a simple quiet man, very reserved and so low key its often hard to hear him. He is a very passionate baseball fan and knows the game well. We often went to ballgames and he would have the section we sat in enthralled with his simple story of watching Don Newcombe of the Brooklyn Dodgers throw a shutout at old Crosley Field, or Jackie Robinson scoring a run with a walk, a stolen base, a fielders choice and worrying the pitcher so much while at third he’d score on a balk.  Jackie Robinson was the first to break the color line and the Dodgers had fans in every city they played at. A heated discussion developed when my Grampy stated in his low-key way that while Jackie Robinson was the first, he wasn’t the best player to come from the Negro Leagues  and it wasn’t even close. Many of the white patrons at that game were shocked to hear him say that. I knew where he was going with his point, so I let the patrons continue their shocked disbelief while Grampy pointed out players like Josh Gibson, Cool Papa and Ray Dandrige never played in the majors but were stars in their own right, Satchel Paige was well past forty when he started playing for the Indians in 1948 and though is prime years were behind him was able to pitch effectively for the last Indians team to be crowned World Series Champs. When one of the patrons argued that he had never heard of these players except for Paige, I stepped in and challenged him to look all the players up and note that they each have their own plaque in Cooperstown.  Now the reason that Robinson was the first was because of where he had came from , he was college educated, he was a military vet and of the right mentality to take the merciless abuse he would get. With Robinson not only proving that he could play, but play well he opened the door for many other talented Negro League players as well as players from the Caribbean, but keep in mind with out Robinson you don’t have Brown v. Board of Education, you don’t have Rosa Parks, you don’t have freedom rides, a civil right bills isn’t celebrating it golden anniversary of passage . Martin Luther King Jr. was still a sociology student at Morehouse when Robinson broke in with the Dodgers. Over the last 67 years, the US has had tremendous growth in civil rights, and still has much progress yet to be made. But I dare say that none of that progress would have been made or would be severely stunted had Robinson not taken the field that overcast day in 1947. We’re all better for it.

PGA: Bubba does it again!

Its hard not to like Gerry Lester Watson Jr. The people call him Bubba and hes the 2014 masters champion. He won his 2nd green jacket on Sunday with an -8 score, besting young Jordan Spieth by 3 shots. The simple, earthy Watson is fast becoming a fan favorite for his unorthodox play, laid-back dare we say it aw-shucks manner and humble attitude.  Many people considered his 2012 Masters win a fluke, the lucky dog finding the biggest of bones, but this win you couldn’t write off as luck. Watson played it aggressive from the hilt, in the final round where many thought he would lay up, play it conservative and not try to do anything foolish on the brutal Augusta course, Watson with a three shot lead went for and got the green in two on the 15th when the experts all clucked their collective toungues and openly questioned Bubba’s aggressive style. But when it was all said and done, the roles were reversed and Aussie Adam Scott was putting the jacket back on Watson as Watson had put the jacket on Scott last year. And what did Bubba do to celebrate? Fancy dinner with wife and toddler? Welllll, if you call hitting a Waffle House early Monday morning after the win a fancy dinner. Watson becomes only the 7th golfer to claim his first two major wins at Augusta the first since Jose Maria Olazabal claimed his 2nd green jacket in 1999.  But that’s just our Bubba. You damn right Hoodwood claims him as one of our own, your humble scribe owns three Bubba Golf Shirts (damn, I miss Steve and Barry’s…lol) and with Tiger missing from the field, it was only right that the most down to earth guy wins the Masters.

NBA: Messed up playoff set

This just aint right. The Atlanta Hawks clinched their 7th straight playoff appearance, which is stunningly the 2nd longest active playoff streak in the NBA to the Spurs. Wait let that sink in the Hawks have meandered their way to the playoffs and I was stunned to see that indeed that they have made the playoffs 7 years running, with 3 different coaches, they ran off Mike Woodson and Larry Drew who were pretty capable coaches and if you can name the Hawks coach without looking it up you are a lie (No Sully, you aren’t eligible) But the Hawks will make the playoffs and wont be close to a winning record (they are 37-44 after losing to Charlotte Monday) but they edged out the sorry Knicks for the final playoff spot and will likely be ran out the playoff by the Pacers (maybe) who clinched the first seed in the east with the Heat tanking, errrrr losing to the Wizards which I think that seeing the easier playoff path at the bottom half of the East, they’ll run out the aforementioned playoff neophyte Bobcat-Hornets in the first round then get more playoff neophyte in the winner of the Toronto-Washington winner.  Even worse, the Pacers get the winner of the Brooklyn-Chicago winner in the top half of the East draw. You think the Heat will even break a sweat for a month before the East Finals? Meanwhile out west, there will be a team that will win at least 47 games…and go home. The Suns and Grizzlies are battling for the last playoff spot and the right to get executed by the 62 win Spurs, put either one of those teams in the East and they have home court in the first round, in the West you could have 7 teams that will have 50 wins. 50 wins in the East locks a 3 seed up. 37 wins in the west puts you in 11th…Am I the only on that thinks that a losing team shouldn’t get in the playoffs if there are other teams that have better records? Am I the only that thinks that either the Suns or Grizzlies will get sent to the sidelines with a better record in four playoff teams in the East? Should there be some playoff restructuring? Food for thought

NFL: Content Cowboy mediocrity

The Cowboys are so full of themselves. Really. I guess I have an inherent hatred of the team, but its messed up that their owner Jerry Jones is so deluded that he thinks that even though the Pokes are 136-136 since their last Super Bowl appearance in 1996, he is convinced that the Pokes are stlll a good draw and are good TV. The Cowboys are on TV all the time, and have been the Sunday night finale each of the last three seasons and have lost to their other three divisional rivals. Jones doesn’t care he just cares about the ratings. Jones was quoted in Vegas as saying “As you know, the Cowboys have not gone to the playoffs in several years. We have not gone. Yet we're the most popular TV show there is on television. We lead all teams in TV ratings. We lead, 24 out of the last top 25 shows were NFL games, and any time your Cowboys play, they're up there at the top and leading." Leading? Leading in what? Ratings is the only thing that seems to matter to Jones and being at .500 with only 1 playoff win in the past 18 years isn’t something you want to be known for. The Pokes are a joke and the sad thing either their owner doesn’t know it or doesn’t care.

Phat Dap Head Slap

Phat Dap

Phat Dap to Union College who won their first national title in school history by downing Minnesota in the NCAA Frozen Four. Union College in upstate New York made their first appearance in the Hockey National semifinals in Philly, after downing Boston College Thursday the Dutchmen scored three times in a 1:54 span in the 1st period to down the Gophers, who I was rooting for to take their 6th national title. But you have to give it to the tiny 2000 student college for whom Hockey is the only D-1 sport in taking their first national title.

Head Slap

To the 49ers Aldon Smith who thought it would be funny to say that he was carrying a bomb in LAX.  Smith was annoyed that he was being  randomly targeted for a secondary security search. Smith got arrested after he became belligerent and refused to be cooperative with the airport authorities. Smith needed to get checked, you don’t play with airport security…ever. Smith has numerous run ins with the law over the last few months and is walking on a thin line with the lack of discipline.

I might add some more random thoughts later, but until next post fellow sports fans!

The Greatest Wide Receiver Not In The Pro Football Hall of Fame
Category: FEATURED
Tags: AFL Charlie Hennigan Pro Football Hall of Fame NCAA Houston Oilers Oakland Raiders Tennessee Titans

(I'm having some awful writers block, and really tired from a long weekend at work...So I decided to go back in the archives, and share a post from our old friend ThirdStone...Enjoy  -The Beeze)



Charlie Hennigan
6'1" 187
Wide Receiver
Houston Oilers
7 seasons
410 Receptions
6,723 Receiving Yards
51 Touchdowns
5 Pro Bowls
AFL All-Time Team
First With 101 Receptions In A Season

Charles Taylor Hennigan joined the expansion Houston Oilers as an undrafted 25-year old in the fledgling American Football League in 1960. He had previously been a high school teacher at a high school, where he earned $4,000 annually. He kept a monthly pay stub of $270.72 in his helmet for inspiration on the gridiron.

He had initially went to college at LSU on a track scholarship, where the coaches of the school had designs for him to compete in the Olympic games. The Tigers were the SCC mile-relay champions in his freshman year, an event Hennigan specialized in.

Football became Hennigan's primary interest soon after his high school sweetheart passed away from cancer. LSU did not want him switching sports, so Hennigan transferred to Northwestern State University and played running back for three years.

After college, he was invited to try out for the Edmonton Eskimos of the Canadian Football League. He was cut after a week, so he had a stint in the United States Army before returning to Louisiana to teach biology and gym class while also coaching both football and track.

Hennigan used his time as a track coach to run and stay in shape, along with using isometrics. Red Cochran was a former NFL player who later became a scout. He happened to live nearby Hennigan, so Cochran got him to try out for the newly founded Oilers. Cochran's career would last 52 years in the NFL, ending up in the Green Bay Packers Hall of Fame.

Having no real experience as a wide receiver, Hennigan asked Cleveland Browns legend Dub Jones for some help. Jones, whose son Bert would later become a Pro Bowl quarterback with the Baltimore Colts, was a former Pro Bowl receiver who happened to live close by Hennigan as well.

Jones, who still shares the NFL record for six touchdowns scored in one game, drilled Hennigan on how to fake the defender and not the area. NFL defenses employed man-to-man coverage in those days, as opposed to the zone coverage most teams use in the game today.

Hennigan went into a Oilers camp that had a few stars trying out for the team. The team cut future stars like Hall of Fame cornerback Willie Brown and Pro Bowl wide receiver Homer Jones. Jones, who still holds the NFL record for yards per catch in a career, is known best for inventing the football spike after a score.

A big reason Brown didn't make the Oilers is because he had difficulty covering Hennigan in practice. The two would butt heads many times over the years, often complimenting each other as the toughest opponent either had faced in their careers.

There was a few hundred men trying out for the Oilers and Hennigan began to hear rumors he was about to be cut as well. Yet he made the team and had Browns great Mac Speedie, a former teammate of Dub Jones, as his wide receivers coach.

He and Oilers teammate Charley "The Human Bowling Ball" Tolar are the first persons at Northwestern State to play professional football. The school would later produce such greats like Hall of Fame tight end Jackie Smith, Pro Bowl players like quarterback Bobby Hebert, cornerback Terrence McGee, wide receiver Mark Duper, running backs Tolar, John Stephens and Joe Delaney. They are amongst the 44 players from that school to play professional football.

The five Pro Bowls Hennigan accrued is tied with Smith as the most ever by a Northwestern State Demon. Also a track star, he has been named one of the 100 greatest football players in school history.

He soon won a starting job in camp and developed an amazing repertoire with Hall of Fame quarterback George Blanda. Hennigan scored the first touchdown in Oilers history, which happened in the first game in franchise history against the Oakland Raiders.

Separating his shoulder in the first half of that game, Hennigan then sat out for three games as he healed from the injury. He returned to be second on the team in receiving yards and touchdown catches as the Oilers eventually reached the first ever AFL title game.

Playing against the Los Angeles Chargers, Houston came back from an early deficit to capture the championship with a 24-16 victory. Hennigan's four receptions for 71 yards were both the second best totals on the team.

The 1961 season started out strange for the Oilers. After stumbling out to a 1-3-1, they replaced head coach Lou Rymkus with Wally Lemm. This awoke the Oilers roster, as they would then explode upon the AFL with 10 straight wins on their way to winning the second, and so far last, title in franchise history.

The offense was ranked first in the league in offense, total yards and passing yards. They also finished second in rushing yards, points and total yards allowed. It was also the finest season of Hennigan's career.

He had to share receptions with Pro Bowlers like Tolar, Billy Cannon, Willard Dewveall, Bob McLoud and Bill Groman. Groman led the AFL with 17 touchdowns off of 50 receptions for 1,175 yards that year, as well as leading the league in yards per catch.

Hennigan racked up 82 catches at an impressive 21.3 yards per reception average that was second best in the AFL. He led the league with a career best 1,746 receiving yards, breaking an 11-year old record previously set by Hall of Famer Elroy "Crazy Legs" Hirsch.

He had started out the season charting out a way to break Hirsch's record. Hennigan once calculated the number of receptions and receiving yards he needed to break the record by writing on a bathroom mirror with soap as he shaved.

Not only did he set a career best mark by leading the AFL with 124.7 receiving yards gained per game, he also caught a career high 12 touchdowns. The 124.7 yards mark stood as a record until 1982, when Wes Chandler surpassed it in a strike-shortened season that lasted nine games that year. Hennigan appeared in 14 games 21 years earlier and his average still ranks second best in pro football history.

Yet he also piled up more records. He still owns the record for three games of which Hennigan had over 200 yards receiving. He also owns the record for seven straight games of at least 100 yards receiving, which is how he started out the 1961 season. Hennigan was also the first player ever to have 10 games in a season with over 100 receiving yards.

Hennigan had 11 total games that year of at least 100 yards receiving. It, as well as his streak of seven games, was tied in 1995 by Hall of Famer Michael Irvin. Irvin needed 16 games to tie the record.

His streak of seven games ended after getting 232 yards and two scores against the Buffalo Bills. After missing his eighth straight game by 22 yards the next week in a game Houston won 55-14 over the Denver Broncos, he did not catch a pass the following game.

While the Oilers beat the San Diego Chargers for the 1961 AFL Championship, they did a good job limiting Hennigan to 43 yards on five catches. The reason was because they concentrated on him after he had burned them for 214 yards and three scores just three weeks earlier.

Not only did his 1,746 total yards lead the AFL on 1961, Hennigan began a streak of five consecutive Pro Bowl appearances. The record of 1,746 receiving yards stood as a record until 1995, when Isaac Bruce and record holder Jerry Rice surpassed it. Yet Hennigan's total still ranks and the third most ever.

The difference between Hennigan's record setting seasons to those who tied or surpassed him is the fact he passed Hirsch's record in 12 games, the same number of games Hirsch had played in 1951. Rice and Bruce needed 16 games, two more than Hennigan played in 1961, to surpass him.

Another difference is that only Irvin was on a championship team like Hennigan was during these record-setting years. Rice, a Hall of Famer, and Bruce would win titles in different seasons.

Hennigan, who was named First Team All-Pro in 1961 and 1962, then continued his excellence after his incredible year. He grabbed 115 balls for 1,918 yards and 18 touchdowns over the next two seasons. The 1962 Houston team reached the AFL title game for a third straight season, but lost in overtime.

Some say Hennigan's 1964 season was his best, while Hennigan prefers to think his 1961 season was. Though he was good friends with Denver Broncos legend Lionel Taylor, he set out to break Taylor's 1961 record of 100 receptions.

He broke the record by grabbing 101 passes that year. This mark stood 20 years until Hall of Famer Art Monk had 106 in 1984, a record would stand for. Hennigan also had 1,546 receiving yards, which also led the AFL and still ranks as the 21st most in pro football history.

The 110.4 yards gained per game receiving average he has in 1964 also still ranks as the eighth best ever in pro football history. Hennigan is the first pro player ever to have two seasons of over 1,500 yards receiving, and he is also the first to have four games of 200 or more receiving yards.

Concussions began to catch up to Hennigan by 1965, as well as the fact he was running around on an injured knee. He gutted it out over the next two years, catching 68 passes for 891 yards and seven touchdowns over that time.

One game against the Chargers saw San Diego cornerback Claude Gibson hit Hennigan with a rabbit punch, knocking the Oilers star out cold. Hennigan woke up in the locker room, but was dazed. He was put back out on the field, but didn't know where he was most of the time because of the concussion he suffered.

It turned out to be a mistake by Gibson, a great punt returner who led the AFL in punt return yardage and average twice. Player in those days took care of their own teammates.

Unbeknownst to Hennigan, two of his teammates set up Gibson during a preseason game a few years later. He was hit in the knees, which ended Gibson's career. Hennigan was told this story at a 50th anniversary reunion by his teammates.

Concussions went untreated back then, and medical technology was not good enough to do a good job repairing knees either. Houston traded Hennigan to the Raiders for a future draft pick, but he failed the physical and decided to retire.

Not only was Hennigan on the gridiron for the love of the game, but he was able to pursue his doctorate in education with an increase in salary compared to what he earned as a teacher.

He once asked Oilers owner Bud Adams for a raise after his monster 1961 season, but was refused. Instead, Adams cut him a check for $10,000 and sent Hennigan out of his offices.

When Hennigan retired after the 1966 season, he basically owned every receiving record there was for the Oilers and AFL. He still has the most touchdown receptions in franchise history, as well as the fourth most receiving yards and sixth most receptions in team history.

He owns the Oilers record of most catches and receiving yards in a game, when he went for 276 yards on 13 receptions in 1961. His 26 games of at least 100 yards receiving is also a franchise record.

His 71.8 receiving yards per game is not only the best in team history, it is still the 12th best ever in pro football history. Four of the players ahead of him on this list are still active, so Hennigan could move back up the list as the years go on.

The 16.8 yards per reception average is excellent for any era of football, especially one that dealt with the 10-yard chuck rule. Not only does it rank 39th best ever in yards per touch in pro football history, it is the second best in Oilers/ Titans history behind Oilers great Ken Burrough.

I do not know what disgusts me most. Hennigan's exclusion from the Pro Football Hall of Fame or the fact Adams has seemingly spit on his teams earlier history.

Blanda and Jim Norton are the only early Oilers in the franchises Hall of Fame. Ken Houston and Elvin Bethea, two more Hall of Fame players, are the only other AFL Oilers inducted into the teams Hall of Fame.

Hennigan should have been inducted into both the Pro Football Hall of Fame and Oilers/ Titans Hall of Fame by now. Not only is he the greatest wide receiver in that franchises history, he is one of the very best in AFL history. Hennigan is a member of the AFL All-Time Team.

There are the obvious signs of the continued AFL disrespect by the Pro Football Hall of Fame as one of the reasons to why Hennigan has not yet been inducted. Even though the building in Canton does not say NFL Hall of Fame, it has become just that.

The NFL's anger of being forced to merge with the successful AFL still seems to burn brightly. The voters obviously cower and heed this anger by inducting modern inferior players instead.

Not only did Hennigan have to deal with the 10-yard chuck rule, which is a lot harder to have success in compared to the modern five-yard rule, he dealt with playing fields that were nowhere as near as pristine as they have been the past few decades.

Football used to be a game for men in Hennigan's era. Players had to actually earn their accolades then, as opposed to the rule changes that guarantee successes like now. Yet the numbers he put up easily match or exceed many players today that are deemed as stars.

Some detractors will point at he fact he lasted just seven seasons, but the Hall of Fame is filled with men who had careers of that length or less. Men who put up inferior production as well.

While Hirsch is in the Hall of Fame, he went to two less Pro Bowls and had one less First Team All-Pro honor than Hennigan. Though a great wide receiver, Hirsch had two excellent seasons and several decent ones.

Lynn Swann, another Hall of Famer, lasted nine years but many of his number pale in comparison to Hennigan. Swann was finalist 13 times before induction, while Hennigan hasn't even been named a semi-finalist once. Hennigan also has more receptions than Hall of Fame receiver Bob Hayes, let alone the fact he either owns or shares several other records with some of the best receivers to ever play the game.

Blanda, who was later a teammate of Brown's, often lamented the exclusion of Hennigan from the Hall of Fame up until his death. Hennigan set his receptions record after catching nine passes against Brown, who also agrees with Blanda that the Oilers legend deserves a bust in Canton.

Not only did Hennigan's 101 reception season stand as a record for 20 years, his 1,746 yards gained stood as a record for 34 seasons. He is the only player ever to have three games of 200-yards receiving in a season.

Voters should look at the travails Hennigan had to persevere through compared to the game now. Not only the rules to empower the modern offense that he did not have to help him nor the shoddy fields he played on often. How the hash marks placement greatly differed then and the goal posts used to be placed hazardously on the goal line in his day.

How the defenses of his day actually were allowed to play defense and even extend it further to the realm of crossing the lines of fair play. Even with medical care that didn't have as much expertise as now, Hennigan went out there and performed at a Hall of Fame level no matter how hurt he was.

There is no doubt that Hennigan belongs in Canton. The seniors committee of the Pro Football Hall of Fame is afforded just two nominees each year, which is unfair to the tremendous backlog they have to sift through annually. Yet Hennigan should never have reached the seniors pool, because it is obvious he should have been inducted long ago.

While he is in that deep seniors pool now, Hennigan easily rises to the top of the best wide receivers not yet inducted. Yet too much times has passed in his omission, so the voters must get it together now and put him in so Hennigan can enjoy his long overdue induction.

It is easy to see Charlie Hennigan is the greatest wide receiver not yet put into the hallowed halls within Canton. He belonged long ago, but now is the time to right the wrongs made by past voters. Contact all of the voters and tell them that Hennigan deserves his rightful place inside the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Nostalgia Sells: Rose Colored Glasses
Category: Daily Blog 2.0
Tags: Hartford Whalers Bruins NHL

On October 11, 1979, the Minnesota North Stars opened the season playing the Hartford Whalers.  The Whalers had been in existence since 1972 when the somewhat disingenuously named "World Hockey Association" or WHA began operations, and when the WHA and NHL merged, “the Whale” became one of the 4 teams that joined the NHL, along with the Oilers, Nordiques, and Jets. 

The NHL treated the merger as an “expansion,” but for an organization “welcoming” new  partners, the 4 new NHL franchises were basically stripped of their players and placed at the end of the draft order  due largely to the acrimony between the two leagues – and the result was predictable – the Oilers were the only team that ever became successful (due in large part to one particular once-in-a-lifetime player), the rest were relegated to mediocrity.  The rest of the three eventually relocated to greener pastures: The Whalers to Raleigh to become the Hurricanes, the Nordiques became the Colorado Avalanche, and the Jets became the Phoenix Coyotes.  It was only upon relocation that the Whalers and Nordiques achieved any real level of success.  Arguably, the league's hubris here started a downward spiral to their canceled season - who wants to pay to see subpar competition?

And so it was 18 years after the inauspicious start in Minnesota (a 4-1 loss) that on April 13, 1997 they defeated the Tampa Bay Lightning – perhaps apropos given the NHL’s expansion efforts into areas not typically considered “hockey friendly.”  Also apropos, the day before Ottawa defeated Buffalo – far more typical hockey outposts – which eliminated Hartford from the possibility of the playoffs.  April 13, 1997 would be the Whalers final game in Hartford.

They’ve been gone from Hartford now for almost as long as they were in the NHL.  17 years ago yesterday, they pulled up stakes and left Connecticut for good. 

 Connecticut has not been without sports – see the 2014 NCAA Basketball Champion University of Connecticut: the New England Patriots flirted with moving to Hartford until it turned out the property they were looking at was in fact a toxic wasteland and since 2003 the WNBA’s Connecticut Sun has played at Mohegan Sun Resort Casino, but let’s face it ALMOST being an NFL city isn’t the same as being one; being the home of a WBNA team – basically a vehicle for the Indian Casino to draw crowds – isn’t exactly the same as being home to an NBA team. 

Here’s the thing though: there are probably more Whalers fans now than there ever were when they were playing.  When they would play the Bruins, it was basically a home game for the Bostonians.  From 1988, attendance was on a steady decline – it only began to increase when talks of the team moving began.  In contrast, The B’s were consistently drawing a healthy crowd.  It took three years for the Hurricanes to average what the Whale had been averaging, but they’ve been a healthy draw since.  The Whalers now have about 456 fans on facebook

There was a great write up in the Boston Sunday Globe yesterday on the “Fanniversary” of the last game, and while nostalgia sells the fact is there is one really good reason there is no longer a Hartford Whalers team.  No one went to the games.   Hartford is really no closer to getting another team than they were back in 1997.  The merch sells – back in 2010, it was the best selling merchandise in the NHL and is consistently in the top 5 – but if you want to catch an NHL game in new England, you’re going to the TD Garden in the shadow of the Zakim Bridge in Boston.  That’s where you’ll see the 2014 President’s trophy winner Bruins as they make their months long playoff run to get back to the Stanley Cup Finals.

So, everyone loves a good story - even if that story isn't exactly non-fiction.  The Whale is dead; Long Live the Whale.


Sunday Musings #142
Category: User Showcase
Tags: CollegeBasketball Jerry Tarkanian BostonCollegeAthletics MLB NewEnglandPatriots HighSchoolSports WNBA MichiganStateSpartans BostonCeltics
While still marveling over Storrs, Connecticut being the center of the college basketball universe...again...
UConn - Monday night saw the rise of the men's basketball team to the top of the heap after their 60-54 defeat of Kentucky. Kevin Ollie did a marvelous job in guiding the team to the title and Shabazz Napier was just awesome.
Following that up was the UConn women's team completing a 40-0 season with their defeat of Notre Dame, 79-58. As a matter of fact, the game and entire women's tournament went pretty much how I thought it would. I told a co-worker that the women's tourney would come down to a matchup between #1 UConn and #2 Notre Dame and then UConn would win by 20 points. Which is pretty much what happened.
Speaking of the tournaments themselves, the final breakdown of the four brackets I had going broke down like this:
Men's NCAA record -  43-26 (Won the YouGabSports ESPN Bracket Challenge Group)
Women's NCAA record - 48-15 (Picked the national title winner)
NIT Record - 13-18
WNIT Record - 37-26
Kentucky - After the Wildcats loss, noise about John Calipari as the front runner for the LA Lakers job started getting louder. SI.com's Pete Thamel wrote that Calipari's coaching job in the final showed how he can never succeed in the NBA. You can read that here: http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/-college-basketball-mens-tournament/news/20140408/kentucky-wildcats-connecticut-huskies-john-calipari/
Manhattan - After it was learned that Steve Masiello did not have the degree he claimed to have received and lost out on a job, he decided to try and stay at Manhattan. But the school put him on leave until they decided what they were going to do.
The news this past week was Masiello would keep his job but is on unpaid leave until he completes his degree studies at Kentucky. Associate head coach Matt Grady will run the team in the meantime.
UMass - This past Wednesday, sophomore guard Derrick Gordon broke the news that he was gay, thus becoming the first openly gay active player in D1 men's basketball. Reaction to the announcement was initially positive. Here's an article link: http://sports.yahoo.com/news/umass-basketball-player-gordon-comes-141736069--ncaab.html
Michigan State - Lacey Holsworth, the little girl befriended by Spartans player Adreian Payne, passed away this week after fighting cancer. You can read more here: http://sports.yahoo.com/news/father-girl-befriended-hoops-star-133020625--ncaab.html
UNLV - Former Runnin' Rebels coach Jerry Tarkanian was hospitalized on Thursday. The 83 year old complained of feeling weak and having trouble breathing. His son was quoted as saying his father was having trouble keeping his eyes open as well.
It was later reported that Tarkanian is being treated for pneumonia and while improving is still hospitalized.
There was an article on ex-major league player Chad Curtis on Sports On Earth this past week. Curtis was one of those holier-than-thou jerks who constantly wore out his welcome on whatever team he played for. And as usual, the most virulently religious are usually exposed as the biggest hypocrites. You can read about how Curtis was revealed to be a major scumbag here via this Sports on Earth article link: http://www.sportsonearth.com/article/70575174/how-chad-curtis-went-from-hero-to-convict-for-sexual-misconduct
Men's Basketball - There has been a lot of activity with the men's team this week. Between the introduction of the new coach to a flurry of transfer news both real and rumored, it has kept the fan base very engaged.
Men's Hockey - The Eagles faced off against Union College on Thursday in the Frozen Four.
They owned the first period, leading 1-0 at the break. But the start of the second period saw Union dominate the first 9 minutes. They took a 2-1 lead during that time. After that, the Eagles controlled the next 9 minutes allowing just one shot on goal for Union.
It was tied 2-2 after the second period. Union took a 3-2 lead. Boston College then got the benefits of a five minute power play. They weren't able to capitalize on it though. Union then took a 4-2 lead and things looked very bleak.
BC pulled their goalie with 2:32 left in the third and they managed to score to make it 4-3. Union countered with an empty net goal to make it 5-3.
Not to go down quietly, BC's Patrick Brown scored to make it 5-4. But with just 3.2 seconds left in the game, Union prevailed by that 5-4 score to end the Eagles season.
Also, while it doesn't reduce the hurt of finishing short of a national title, BC's junior forward Johnny Gaudreau capped his year by being named the 2014 Hobey Baker Award winner.
Despite holding a 19 point lead in the 3rd quarter, the Celtics week started off with a 115-11 loss to the Detroit Pistons. The loss featured three Celtics going for more than 20 points apiece and Phil Pressey having a 12 point 11 assist night with Rajon Rondo sitting out.
Things didn't get much better on Wednesday night when the Hawks handed Boston a 105-97 loss. Avery Bradley scored 24 points to lead the offense while Rondo had 19 points and 12 assists. Jared Sullinger added 15 points and 11 boards.
However, the Celtics did manage to break their losing streak on Friday night thanks to a 106-103 victory over the Charlotte Bobcats. Bradley again led the offense by scoring 22 points and Sullinger had 20 points. Rondo was out with a bruised shin so Phil Pressey handled the point with 10 points and 13 assists.
They followed that up with a 111-99 win over Cleveland on Saturday night. It's been quite a while since they won 2 games in a row and over the first three quarters, the Celtics looked like the dominant team of yore as they built up a 31 point lead. A combination of them slacking off and Cleveland getting hot saw the Cavaliers outscore the Celtics by 19 points in the fourth quarter, making things tighter and the final score more respectable.
Kelly Olynyk scored 25 points and grabbed 12 rebounds to lead the Celtics. Avery Bradley also scored 25. Jeff Green and Brandon Bass also chimed in with 19 points apiece.
In other NBA news, Joe Dumars is reportedly going to resign as GM of the Detroit Pistons. He's been with the team for 29 years including a front office job since 2000. It's really too bad because he's been the one Bad Boys era Pistons player that you could actually root for.
But the team has been terrible the last few years and I don't think anyone can really argue that a change isn't needed.
Now that he's with the Buffalo Bills, ex-Patriot Brandon Spikes mouthed off on Twitter this week about his time with the Pats. While most of his comments were inconsequential hype, the one comment that is sure to tick off a lot of people was how he termed his time with the Patriots as "Four Years a Slave".
Really Brandon? Seriously? You are trying to compare being a well paid pro athlete with the black mark on US history that is slavery?
While I'm not in the habit of rooting for ex-players that leave the teams I root for, I generally leave them alone in terms of the booing and such. But with the idiocy of his comments, I'm going to actively root against Spikes during the two games he faces off against the Patriots.
My fandom for the league has hit a downturn with the news on Thursday that the Chicago Sky had cut former Boston College standout Carolyn Swords.
She saw her season end early last year with a knee injury but when I saw her a couple of times at BC games this winter, she said rehab had been going well and expected to be back in Chicago for the upcoming season.
I don't know what if anything happened to make the team change their mind and release her. But I do know that they are losing out on a decent backup.
I don't know what her plans will be now. She could go overseas again or look for another WNBA team. (The Connecticut Sun would be a nice landing spot for my own selfish reasons of being close enough to actually go see her play again)
However, with her departure from the team, my interest in the Chicago Sky just went into the crapper. And with Katie Smith retired, there are currently no active WNBA players I have any interest in following. Yes I'll keep track of the New York Liberty because Smith will be an assistant coach there this season but it will be a different experience to not be rooting on a particular player.
Wareham Girls Track - The team picked up their first win of the season by beating Bourne 106-30. They won all but one of the individual events in the meet. My ex-player Paige picked up individual wins in the long jump (14 feet 4 1/2 inches) and the 800 meters (2:41.4). She and another of my former players (Kali) were part of the quartet that won the 4 x 400 meter relay event (4:41.4).
Wareham Girls Varsity Softball - The Vikings got blasted by Fairhaven on Wednesday, losing 19-4 in a mercy rule shortened game. Rae-Lyn got tagged with the loss on the mound.
On Friday, the Vikings lost to Old Rochester 15-5, despite Gina going 2-3 with a home run.
They are now 0-4 on the season.
Upper Cape Girls Varsity Softball - The Lady Rams are 4-1 on the season after beating Cape Tech 16-0. The Upper Cape pitcher threw a no-hitter.
Friday's game against Old Colony saw the Rams take a 14-13 thriller to improve to 5-1 with a 2-0 conference record.
Movies - Pop-topia.com reviewed Captain America: The Winter Soldier here: http://www.pop-topia.com/steve-rogers-squares-s-h-e-l-d-captain-america-winter-soldier/
Music - My review of the Lone Justice CD This Is Lone Justice: The Vaught Tapes, 1983 can now be seen via the following Pop-topia.com link: http://www.pop-topia.com/cd-review-lone-justice-lone-justice-vaught-tapes-1983/
You can check out the video for the new Winger song "Tin Soldier" below.
Books - I finally finished reading a book this week. It was the Star Trek Enterprise novel Rise of the Federation - A Choice of Futures by Christopher L. Bennett. It was a surprisingly good read and much like the other books based on the Enterprise TV show, far better than anything that came in the first three seasons of the series. I loved the fourth season which was just awesome until the abomination they call the series finale.
I also picked up the Ingrid Thoft thriller/mystery Loyalty. It is the first book in her series featuring PI Fina Ludlow. I read a review of the second book in the series and thought it sounded good so I wanted to read the first book.
TV - The extended trailer for 24: Live Another Day has been released online. You can see it below. I get more excited as May 5th draws closer.
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