Thursday, December 06, 2007

What I am thinking

Do I have an original thought in my head, my bald head? Maybe if I were happier my hair wouldn’t be falling out. Life is short. I need to make the most of it. Today’s the first day of the rest of my life. I’m a walking cliché. I really need to go to the doctor and have my heart checked. There’s something wrong. Maybe if I were happier, my blood pressure would be normal. The dentist called again; I’m way overdue. If I stopped putting things off, I would be happier. All I do is sit on my ass. I should start jogging again. Five miles a day. Really do it this time. Maybe rock climbing. I need to turn my life around. What do I need to do? I need to fall in love. I need to have a girlfriend. I need to read more and prove myself. What if I learned Russian or something? Or joined a band? I could speak Chinese. I would be the lab technician who speaks Chinese and plays in a ska band. That would be cool. I should get my hair cut short; stop trying to fool myself and everyone else into thinking I have a full head of hair. How pathetic is that? Just be real, confident. Isn’t that what women are attracted to? Men don’t have to be attractive. But that’s not true, especially these days. Almost as much pressure on men as there is on women these days. If I had money I would be happier. I wouldn't have to drive an 88 Jetta with the bumper falling off. Why should I be made to feel I have to apologize for my existence? Maybe it’s my brain chemistry. Maybe that’s what’s wrong with me: bad chemistry. All my problems and anxiety can be reduced to a chemical imbalance or some kind of misfiring synapses. I need to get help for that. But I’ll still be ugly though. Nothing’s going to change that.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

2007 NFL Season Predictions

Almost football season. I rarely do good at these things: last year, I predicted a Dallas/Miami Super Bowl. Oops! At least the 'Boys made the playoffs. On the other hand, I did predict a monster season for Drew Brees and the Saints when every sports writer was picking Carolina to easily win the NFC South. So here goes nothing...

AFC East
New England - Their additions of Moss, Stallworth and Welker are questionable given Brady's ability to make any receiver a star. That said, they're probably the most complete team in the league.
Miami - The Dolphins linebackers are among the league's best and should win some games for them. But they had a horrible draft and won't be able to depend on Trent Green and Ted Ginn Jr.
NY Jets - Pennington will likely get injured again, and they have nobody to back him up. They'll end up relying too much on Thomas Jones. Defence didn't get much better either.
Buffalo - I never know where to rank the Bills, but they lost a lot of talent this offseason. Looks like Peerless Price is a starter, and that's not a good thing.

AFC West
San Diego - I think replacing Schottenheimer with Turner was a mistake, but maybe now they'll win a playoff game or three. The Chargers don't have much in the way of receivers. I guess that's not a problem when you have Tomlinson.
Kansas City - Chiefs look decent. The only question is with Damon Huard and whether or not he can be a full time starter.
Denver - I think Jay Cutler will improve, but their front 7 won't be able to stop Tomlinson or Johnson, so they finish 3rd. Having only 4 draft picks might come back to haunt them.
Oakland - None of the moves they made in the offseason really impressed me. At least it looks like their games might actually be close this season, and they won't finish dead last.

AFC South
Indianapolis - The Colts look awful on defence, but managed to keep most of the offence together. They'll come out on top of some really high scoring games this season.
Jacksonville - Looks like Garrard's the starter so they can finally end the QB circus. Most of the other pieces are in place, except at safety.
Tennessee - Titans finished strong last season, but losing Pacman was huge. Unfortunately, they have too many other holes to fill as well.
Houston - The Texans needed more than just Matt Schaub, mainly an O-line that can pass protect.

AFC North
Baltimore - Ravens look to have the best defence in the league. All they need is a QB. McNair won't be able to take them far into the playoffs.
Cincinnati - As long as Palmer's bionic knee holds together, they should be okay. Their D is going to have quite a few problems this season. Fortunately, the division isn't that strong offensively.
Pittsburgh - Who knows with Pittsburgh. The motorcycle crash screwed up Roethlisberger in the head, so if he comes back from that, they may win the division outright. Defence looks pretty solid, except at corner.
Cleveland - Brady Quinn has looked pretty good in the preseason, but for now it's still the Chaz Frye show. Quinn won't get the starting job until it's too late.

AFC Playoffs
San Diego over Jacksonville
Baltimore over Cincinnati

New England over Baltimore
San Diego over Indianapolis

New England over San Diego

NFC North
Chicago - Rex Grossman may never get his confidence back after his Super Bowl performance. I don't think he'll be bad enough to hold the whole team back though. They probably have the best defence and special teams in the league.
Detroit - On offence, things actually look pretty good. They need to rush more with Jones and Bell, and they should replace Jon Kitna pretty soon. Defence keeps them out of the playoffs (for now.)
Green Bay - The Packers will be good in a couple of years especially on defence. Part of me thinks Favre is going to have a monster season, but 3rd place is more likely.
Minnesota - Tarvaris who? It will be hard for the Vikings to get any offence going unless Adrian Peterson's as good as everyone thinks. They should still be good against the run.

NFC South
New Orleans - Hopefully the commentators shut up about Katrina because I'm really tired of hearing about it. Anyway, they needed to upgrade their defence and they didn't, so I don't know what to say. I still pick them to win the NFC because of how crappy the competition is. P.S.: Reggie Bush and his 3.6 yards per carry can suck my balls.
Carolina - They're pretty good all around when they're healthy. Pencil them in for a wildcard spot.
Tampa Bay - I don't think Garcia will provide enough to get the offence going. They also got a lot worse on the D-line.
Atlanta - Mike Vick Mike Vick Mike Vick...even though he's gone, that's still the only thing we're going to hear about during Falcons broadcasts. Joey Joe Joe hasn't looked as horrible as I had feared, but I'm not getting my hopes up either. Offence wouldn't worry me so much if Warrick Dunn wasn't coming off of back surgery. Jerious Norwood is a capable replacement at RB though. And if the D-Line can keep off the injured list, the Falcons may not be as terrible as everyone thinks. But my realistic expectation is for them to be picking first in the draft.

NFC East
Philadelphia - The Eagles had some big losses on defence. They might have problems against the run but look pretty good against the pass.
Dallas - I think Romo is very overrated. A healthy TO may be able to do some damage. They have a pretty good looking defence and Wade Phillips as head coach was a good move.
Washington - The Redskins don't look all that bad on paper. I don't know anything about Jason Campbell, so I'll give him the benefit of the doubt. I don't think they did enough to improve the 2nd worst defence in the league though.
NY Giants - Eli Manning threw way too many interceptions and got sacked way too many times last season for me to take the Giants seriously. Until they fire Tom "Mr. Personality" Coughlin, they won't go anywhere.

NFC West
Seattle - Losing Darrell Jackson is pretty big, and it'll be interesting to see if Shaun Alexander can come back from such a brutal season. The addition of my favourite player (Patrick Kerney) should help things out on D.
Arizona - Leinart has some great receivers to go to, and if the D can stop the pass, they might even make the playoffs.
St. Louis - I don't get the hype about St. Louis. While their pass and run game looks solid, I think they could have real problems on defence.
San Francisco - I don't think Alex Smith is going to keep improving.

NFC Playoffs:
Seattle over Arizona
Carolina over Philadelphia

New Orleans over Carolina
Seattle over Chicago

New Orleans over Seattle

New England over New Orleans

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Say It Ain't So, Mike!

When the Falcons traded Tim Dwight, their 1st round and 3rd round picks in 2001, and 2nd round pick in 2002 to the San Diego Chargers, they acquired the first overall pick in the 2001 NFL entry draft and used it on stand-out sophomore Virginia Tech quarterback Michael Vick. He was the chosen one. He was supposed to bring the Falcons to the promised land of Super Bowl victory. He was supposed to bring credibility and respect to the team.

In his rookie season, Vick seemed destined for great things. He passed for nearly 3000 yards, broke NFL records for rushing by a quarterback, and upset the heavily favoured Green Bay Packers in the playoffs. After missing 11 games of the 2003 season with a broken leg, Vick returned to win 4 of his 5 starts. In the 2004 season, Vick led the team to an 11-4 record as a starter, good enough for 2nd in the NFC. They easily beat the Rams but lost to the Eagles in the NFC Final. Still, he had legions of fans and could seemingly do no wrong in the eyes of Falcons fans. The expectations grew higher.

Well, Vick got himself into a bit of trouble in 2005, when a woman sued Vick claiming he gave her herpes, under the alias of Ron Mexico. The lawsuit was settled out of court. Chump change to Vick, though. He was bringing in money by the dump truck, having earlier signed the richest contract in NFL history: 10 years, $130 million including bonuses, and was bringing in good money through his endorsements.

Then, his on-field performance began to taper off. Vick's QB rating dropped in the 2005 season and admitted to "not giving his all" in the meaningless last game of the season. The Falcons finished at 8-8 and out of the playoffs. The first sign that the boy's cheese was sliding off his cracker was when he gave the sold-out Georgia Dome crowd two middle fingers following a loss to the New Orleans Saints in 2006. Vick was fined $10,000 and apologized for the incident. In January 2007, his water bottle was confiscated at Miami International Airport prior to his boarding a flight, and security officials smelled a substance in it that smelled very much like marijuana. Drug tests later came back negative and no charges were filed.

And then, the whole dog fighting thing came to light. Vick first denied that he was ever at the property and blamed his family for taking advantage of his generosity. 4 months later, after his co-defendants sold him up the river, he finally admitted to the whole sleazy story.

I don't need to point out the obvious. It's been constrained by every sports pundit that he threw away the richest contract in the NFL for his illegal hobby, so we'll just leave it at that. On top of that, the Falcons have every right to pursue the $22 million paid to him in bonuses. I have been a big supporter of team owner Arthur Blank ever since he bought the team. Vick looked him in the face and lied to him about everything and he deserves better than that. Vick has devastated a team that already had 40 years worth of failure and embarrassment under its belt. It also means that despite receiving a $6 million salary cap credit this season due to his suspension, the Falcons are still on the hook for future cap penalties, depending on what the league decides. Ergo, Vick has damaged this team not only this season, but for a further six seasons!

Not only did he let down his entire NFL team, he has damaged a campus community already devastated by the worst act of school violence in the history of the United States. As a former Hokie, Vick could have done so much to help the healing of the whole Virginia Tech campus. Much as the suddenly-winning New Orleans Saints did much to lift the spirits of that hurricane-ravaged city, Vick could have done so much as the predominant VA Tech alumnus in the NFL.

To make matters much worse, he has let down an entire generation of underprivileged children looking for role models. Vick grew up in a housing project in Newport News, VA, and now the children currently living in that neighbourhood (note that not much has changed there since Vick left) will watch yet another former resident go from the poor house to the big house. As the highest paid player in the NFL, he could have motivated so many troubled or at-risk youth to get their lives back on track, but now that would seem pretty hypocritical of him, yes?

In all this, I blame his upbringing, and that's not a knock at anyone who lives below the poverty line. Mike started life at a marked disadvantage, born to 16 and 17 year old parents, but there are so many kids who are raised in the projects under similar circumstances who have never felt compelled to do shit like this. The truth is there's something screwy with that whole family. Case in point: Mike's brother Marcus, whose rap sheet is actually much longer than Mike's; the difference being that Marcus has been charged with misdemeanors as opposed to felonies.

I anticipate the NFL will do the right thing and never reinstate him, thus making Mr. Vick one of the biggest losers to ever disgrace the already tarnished name of professional football.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Requiem for a beer factory

Molson Edmonton closes.

I haven't worked there for a few years now, but I thought I'd pay it a tribute because it's the place where I got my first job. It's also the place that my dad used to work at when I was a kid. When he'd have to go in on Saturdays, I used to terrorize his office, eat cookies from a drawer in his file cabinet and dick around on his computer.

I loved working that job and was incredibly disappointed when they told me they weren't hiring a summer student for the lab anymore. But that kind of led me to where I am now, so I suppose you can file that one under "Stuff happens for a reason." Picture it like this: it was like growing up an Oilers fan, and then getting signed by the Oilers and playing a season for them. The next season, I got cut from the Oilers and signed with the Flames, where I've been ever since. This has been the key joke of my career working in the brewing industry thus far.

There were several key differences between the two companies. Molson's lab did a lot more leg work because everything was so damn far apart. The plant was pieced together in various additions over the last 100 years or so. When I got to Labatt, I was impressed at the layout of the plant, and the efficient European style of management and operation. It had its problems too, but compared to Molson, it was a well-oiled machine. The lab used more up to date technology and the union guys actually brought down samples for us. Molson's union was far more militant and I used to have to get everything myself.

So, to the Molson union, I say, well done, ladies and gentlemen, you killed the golden goose, over your new hires making $22 an hour. I make slightly more than that now, but after three years of temp work, I would have killed for $22. Maybe that's just me. I guess you guys needed those three extra sick days too.

Monday, June 11, 2007

I'm still alive

Facebook me. Yes. I did just use that as a verb.

I'm living anti-socially in St. Albert, my job performance is on the down cycle, my flying isn't making any progress and the Stallions are 0-2 (they've never lost two games in a row, so this is really something.) I think I'm mere inches from striking my quarter-life crisis, so I'm trying to set some hard goals for myself with respect to aviation:

April 30, 2008: Multi-engine rating
September 30, 2008: Instrument rating
December 31, 2008: Commercial Pilot License
April 30, 2008: Instructor rating
August 27, 2014: A job that involves flying planes at a somewhat decent salary

I still have to fit commercial ground school in there somewhere, and that may be all but impossible given my shift schedule. I may be forced to retire from football after this season to accomodate it; a scenario I was hoping to avoid.

With housing prices the way they are, and with no relief in site, my exit strategy from my parents' basement is totally shot, and I've had to push the deadline back to January 1, 2010, if I don't get thrown out before then. That's a long time from now, but I may need that entire time to get my shit together financially.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Sunday, May 06, 2007

NHL Playoffs: Conference Finals

1-3 in the second round, 7-5 overall.

Sabres in 7.

Ducks in 5.

That is all.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

NHL Playoffs: Conference Semi Finals

6-2 in my round one predictions.

(6) NY Rangers vs. (1) Buffalo: The Thrashers were the suckiest bunch of sucks that ever sucked in the first round. Buffalo won all 4 games against the Rangers, but three were one-goal games. I really like the Rangers as a potential dark horse in the finals. Lundqvist has been great, and they've been scoring a lot more as well. I didn't like how the Sabres looked against the Islanders...those 5 games didn't really look like playoff games. The Sabres should have blown them out in 4 games, even with DiPietro. I think with the advantage on special teams and goaltending, we're going to see an upset. Rangers in 7.

NYR #18 goals for vs. BUF #13 goals against
NYR #9 goals against vs. BUF #1 goals for

NYR #8 power play vs. BUF #20 penalty kill
NYR #12 penalty kill vs. BUF #17 power play

(4) Ottawa vs. (2) New Jersey: This is a tough call. Brodeur had kind of a rough start but things seem to be good now. I have no idea how the Senators goal scoring is going to go because the Penguins have no defence. Same thing with the Devils. And I don't care about the stats, Ray Emery is still a piece of shit. The Sens defence more than makes up for it though. Anyway, they stack up pretty close, so since New Jersey took the season series 3-1 I'll go with Devils in 6.

OTT #2 goals for vs. NJ #4 goals against
OTT #10 goals against vs. NJ #27 goals for

OTT #14 power play vs. NJ #4 penalty kill
OTT #9 penalty kill vs. NJ #16 power play

(5) San Jose vs. (1) Detroit: I liked the Sharks' "angry guy" thing against Nashville, it was very entertaining. I think the Sharks have a lot of momentum...they knocked off what a lot of people considered to be a Stanley Cup contender in only 5 games. I don't think the Wings will dominate the shot tally the same as in the last round because the Sharks' defence has been a little better than the Flames' recently. Nick Lidstrom against Joe Thornton will be pretty fun to watch. Detroit hasn't lost at home yet, but the Sharks are the best road team in the west. Also, the Sharks won the season series against the Wings 3-1, not too shabby. Sharks in 6.

SJ #6 goals for vs. DET #10 goals against
SJ #6 goals against vs. DET #2 goals for

SJ #2 power play vs. DET #21 penalty kill
SJ #14 penalty kill vs. DET #7 power play

(3) Vancouver vs. (2) Anaheim: I've said it before, I'll say it again...every team could use more Chris Pronger. The Ducks have what is most likely the best playoff goaltending tandem. Still, I have to give Luongo credit, he's by far the best player on the Canucks. Naslund and the Sedin sisters have been pretty quiet so far, and I don't think the Canucks will be able to score more goals against the Ducks. I gotta say, I wish I hadn't sold my purple Mighty Ducks jersey in grade 7 for 60 bucks. Ducks in 5, and reach the conference finals for the third time in four seasons. Quite good,'s almost New England Patriots good...

VAN #22 goals for vs. ANA #7 goals against
VAN #5 goals against vs. ANA #9 goals for

VAN #20 power play vs. ANA #5 penalty kill
VAN #1 penalty kill vs. ANA #3 power play

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

NHL Playoffs: Conference Quarter Finals

Last year, I went 8-7 in my NHL playoff predictions so I'm trying to do better this year. I still ended up beating all the TSN experts except the monkey. This year in the East, I like the Sabres, and in the West, I like the Sharks, with the Sabres winning the Cup.


(8) NY Islanders vs. (1) Buffalo: Buffalo came within a game of the finals last year, so not making it there again would be a major letdown. These are always dangerous series to have the Presidents Trophy winner with a ton of pressure to go all the way and the team that backed into the playoffs and is just happy to be there. But, since the Islanders have no Rick DiPietro and since they have MA Bergeron, I'll say Sabres in 4.

BUF #1 goals for vs. NYI #12 goals against
BUF #13 goals against vs. NYI #14 goals for

BUF #17 power play vs. NYI #18 penalty kill
BUF #20 penalty kill vs. NYI #12 power play

(7) Tampa Bay vs. (2) New Jersey: Crazy Lou fired Julien which is odd since the players seemed to like him. But, he gets the benefit of the doubt since it did work once before. The Lightning were horrible down the stretch, losing 9 of their last 20 games in regulation. They also made the playoffs despite being outscored. The Devils can't score goals, but I'm not about to bet against Brodeur in the playoffs. And who plays in goal for the Lightning? Does anyone know? Devils in 5.

TB #12 goals for vs. NJ #4 goals against
TB #24 goals against vs. NJ #27 goals for

TB #9 power play vs. NJ #4 penalty kill
TB #28 penalty kill vs. NJ #16 power play

(6) New York Rangers vs. (3) Atlanta: Southeast division wasn't too good this year, and it looked like Atlanta was just coasting through the last month trying to hold off the Lightning. Atlanta has scary special teams problems and I think it will be their downfall. This one is hard to predict because of Bob Hartley...he has made at least the conference finals in every one of his playoff appearances and led the 'Lanche to the 2001 Stanley Cup. But, Rangers in 6.

NYR #18 goals for vs. ATL #15 goals against
NYR #9 goals against vs. ATL #15 goals for

NYR #8 power play vs. ATL #26 penalty kill
NYR #12 penalty kill vs. ATL #23 power play

(5) Pittsburgh vs. (4) Ottawa: This is going to be an awful series. Ray Emery is a clown, the Penguins have no defence, and don't even get me started on Crosby. I guess experience will make the difference. I honestly don't know what else to say. I'm just not going to watch any of this one. Senators in 6.

PIT #4 goals for vs. OTT #10 goals against
PIT #14 goals against vs. OTT #2 goals for

PIT #5 power play vs. OTT #9 penalty kill
PIT #17 penalty kill vs. OTT #14 power play


(8) Calgary vs. (1) Detroit

Playing Detroit in the early rounds has been a gift the last few seasons. The Wings were very soft in last year's playoffs and they will depend on Bertuzzi this year to give them the toughness they need. I think the Flames' record was held down by overtime and shootout losses and quite a few one-goal game losses especially on the road. Meanhile, the Wings record was probably inflated by playing Columbus, Chicago and St. Louis eight times. I'm concerned that the Flames' defence is going to vanish just like last year's series against the Ducks and that they've played Kiprusoff to much all season and he's going to run out of gas. But, unlike last year, the Flames can actually score goals 5-on-5, and luckily for them, the Wings power play is nowhere near what it used to be. Maybe I'm just spending too much time around people who seem to think that Kristian Huselius is a good hockey player, I don't know. Flames in 7. Unfortunately.

CGY #7 goals for vs. DET #2 goals against
CGY #11 goals against vs. DET #10 goals for

CGY #11 power play vs. DET #7 penalty kill
CGY #22 penalty kill vs. DET #21 power play

(7) Minnesota vs. (2) Anaheim: Anaheim's a great team, no doubt, but I'm going to haul out the "defence wins" cliche. The key for the Wild is to stay out of the penalty box since the Ducks scored the most goals in the league with the man advantage. I don't really know how the Wild are going to score their own goals...I'm thinking we're going to see a lot of 1-o games in this series. Wild in 5.

MIN #19 goals for vs. ANA #7 goals against
MIN #1 goals against vs. ANA #9 goals for

MIN #6 power play vs. ANA #5 penalty kill
MIN #2 penalty kill vs. ANA #3 power play

(6) Dallas vs. (3) Vancouver: This is looking like another good goalie battle. This one will depend on how far Luongo and the Sedin sisters are willing to carry the team. And while their Cloutier problem is finally gone, Vancouver could have a big problem scoring goals, especially at even strength. But good young goalies in their first playoffs have a tendency to take their teams on long playoff runs, so Canucks in 6.

DAL #21 goals for vs. VAN #5 goals against
DAL #3 goals against vs. VAN #22 goals for

DAL #7 power play vs. VAN #1 penalty kill
DAL #11 penalty kill vs. VAN #20 power play

(5) San Jose vs. (4) Nashville: This will be the most entertaining series for sure. Another case of a Central division team that might not be as good as their record. And seeing as how this exact same series happened in the first round last year, I expect to see the same end result, but the Predators will at least make a series out of it this time. Sharks in 7.

SJ #6 goals for vs. NSH #8 goals against
SJ #6 goals against vs. NSH #5 goals for

SJ #2 power play vs. NSH #3 penalty kill
SJ #14 penalty kill vs. NSH #18 power play

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Remember the guy before the tailspin? Yeah, people liked that guy...

Here's a lame quiz, just because I haven't put anything up here in a while.


How old were you? 12
Where did you go to school? Lawrence Grassi Middle School
Where did you work? Unemployed
Where did you live? My house
Where did you hang out? In Canmore at that age??? Home!
What was your hair style? Same as now. Short.
Did you wear glasses? Nopes.
Who were your best friends? Cody, Dillon, Taylor, Ben...short list. God, Canmore sucks ass!
How many tattoos did you have? At age 12? Are you kidding me?
How many piercings did you have? See above.
What car did you drive? My bike.
What was your worst fear? Not getting promoted to corporal. And it happened!
Had you driven yet? Nopes.
Had you been to a real party yet? I guess pop and chips parties don't count, eh?
Had your heart broken? Hell no!
Single/Taken/Married/Divorced/Bitter: Single.


How old were you? 17
Where did you go to school? Strathmore High School
Where did you work? Unemployed! YES!
Where did you live? My house
Where did you hang out? Mostly at the movies in Calgary
What was your hair style? Same as now. Short.
Did you wear glasses? Yup.
Who were your best friends? Dustin, Mick, Sarah, Jen, Jen, Peter, Chase, et al.
How many tattoos did you have? Self-mutilation's not my flava.
How many piercings did you have? See above.
What car did you drive? 1988 Ford Bronco. Best. Truck. Ever.
What was your worst fear? Not getting accepted into the army. And it happened too!!
Had you driven yet? Here there and everywhere.
Had you been to a real party yet? That New Year's party at my brother's wasn't just was legendary
Had your heart broken? Nopes!
Single/Taken/Married/Divorced/Bitter: Taken.

MARCH 2007

How old are you?: 22
Where do you work? Labatt, but I'll probably be unemployed again soon due to my poor performance. Woohoo! 3 for 3!
Where do you live? In my parent's basement
Where do you hang out? The bar, Lister, or the movies. But mostly work.
How is your hair style? Short
Do you wear glasses? Contacts mostly
Who are your best friends? Dustin, Heather, Andre, Mick, Mick's entourage.
Do you talk to your old friends? Depends which old friends. And facebook doesn't count as talking to them.
How many piercings do you have? Self-mutilation
How many tattoos? See above
What kind of car do you have? 1988 Volkswagen Jetta. God I love that car.
What is your favorite band/group? STEVE WINWOOD
What is your biggest fear? I'm not so sure I should put something here, given how well the other two turned out!
Have you been arrested, if so how many times total? Nope
Has your heart been broken?: No...
Single/Taken/Married/Divorced/Bitter: BITTER!

Saturday, March 03, 2007

In Defence of Kevin Lowe

Alright, so there's been a lot of bandwagon jumping and people saying they're not renewing their season tickets and some "Fire Kevin Lowe!" and all that stuff, so I just have this to say:

1) If Smyth had become a UFA in the summer, you would have griped about how Lowe let him walk away for nothing. If he signs with the Oilers in the summer, Lowe will have grabbed two decent forward prospects and a first round draft choice for next to nothing. Genius move. If not, well, they've got the prospects, the draft choice, and about $5.5 million in cap space that they otherwise would not have had.

2) With the salary cap in place, it's going to be really rare to see players play out their entire careers with one team. We see this with the NFL all the time. Get used to it.

3) Name one trade that Lowe has made that has not worked out in the best interests of the Oilers. Anyone? (The panicky Chris Pronger trade doesn't count.) Name one prospect that Lowe has traded that went on to become a star with another team. Anyone got a name? There was bitching about how Lowe traded away "the future of the Oilers blueline" Doug Lynch and Jeff Woywitka for old-balls 31 year old defenceman Chris Pronger and we all know how that turned out...Stanley Cup Finals appearance. There was bitching about how Lowe gave up too much to get Dwayne Roloson and that turned out the same way...Stanley Cup Finals appearance. You complained about losing Mike York to get Mike Peca. Peca was awesome in the playoffs. What has York done recently?

4) Heart and soul of the team...isn't that what some of you dummies said about Georges Laraque?

5) YES, the Oilers have packed it in for this season. NO, they wouldn't have made the playoffs had they kept Smyth. NO, you can't expect the team to make the playoffs every year. If anything, the team should have traded more vets so they could rebuild properly...which every professional sports team has done at one point or another, and the Oilers will have to do it as well to get something better than 8th or 9th place finishes every season. This is called "putting things into perspective."

So basically to everyone STILL crying out're wrong, and Kevin Lowe will prove you wrong.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

NFL Playoffs: Super Bowl XLI

(3) Indianapolis vs. (1) Chicago: The last time these two teams faced each other, it was Week 11 of the 2004 season and the Colts won 41-10 in Chicago. But that hardly counts for anything. It was so long ago.

It's interesting that everyone's going on about how good Indy's rush defence is. Maybe it's that good because all three teams the Colts have faced in the playoffs gave up on the run and it proved to be their un-doing. The Chiefs had 17 rushing attempts, the Ravens had 20, and the Patriots had 24. All 4 teams that beat the Colts in the regular season did so because they were able to grind down the clock and keep the Colts offence off the field. Look at the games the Colts lost: the Cowboys had 36 run plays, Titans had 35, Jags had 42, and the Texans had 42.

...Which brings us to the Bears running game. They ran the ball 503 times this season for an average of 3.8 yards/attempt. That's a lot of attempts (5th in the league) but not a great average. But sometimes all a team has to do is run up the middle for no gain and everything will be fine. The Bears have the luxury of being able to do this and let the defence and special teams win the field position battle. Devin Hester will need to be better on punt and kick returns to give the Bears the advantage.

The Bears did little to contain the Saints' passing attack. Turnovers killed the Saints. And, in the Bears three losses this season, turnovers did them in as well. Since Indy is #22 in takeaways (see below) for the Bears to win all they have to do is protect the ball. It's very simple but easily forgotten in such a big game. Still, the Saints got some big plays on the Bears, and had they held onto the ball, the game could have been way different.

I'm reluctant to pick a dome team because there's only ever been one dome team to win the Super Bowl. The Bears do have a lot going for them in this game but I don't think it will be enough. Let's set the final score at Indianapolis 20, Chicago 17 with Vinateiri getting the game-winner late in the 4th. That means to bet against the spread. Having said that, Manning is well-known for choking in big games, so an outright Bears win wouldn't surprise me at all.

IND #3 total offence vs. CHI #5 total defence
IND #21 total defence vs. CHI #15 total offence

IND #2 scoring offence vs. CHI #3 scoring defence
IND #23 scoring defence vs. CHI #3 scoring offence

IND #18 rushing offence vs. CHI #6 rushing defence
IND #32 rushing defence vs. CHI #15 rushing offence

IND #2 passing offence vs. CHI #11 passing defence
IND #2 passing defence vs. CHI #14 passing offence

IND #22 takeaways vs. CHI #28 giveaways
IND #4 giveaways vs. CHI #1 takeaways

IND #13 punt returns vs. CHI #23 punt coverage
IND #31 punt coverage vs. CHI #2 punt returns

IND #7 kick returns vs. CHI #5 kick coverage
IND #30 kick coverage vs. CHI #8 kick returns

Sunday, January 21, 2007

AFC/NFC Championships (a.k.a. Fuck the Super Bowl)

These are the games without all the hype and good commercials and also when we determine which NFC team will get steamrolled in the Super Bowl.

(2) New Orleans vs. (1) Chicago: The last time these teams faced each other, the Bears won 20-17 at Tiger Stadium in a game where Aaron Brooks and Kyle Orton were terrible. So don't take too much from that, but it does concern me how close the game was. Anyway, the Bears shook off last year's loss to Carolina and won their first home playoff game in a long time, which means the pressure's off. That's bad considering how well Rex Grossman does with no pressure. I recall a meaningless Week 17 game against Green Bay in which Grossman scored a rating of 0. Applying the playoff formula (dome teams lose) should assure the Bears a win, but I don't have any reliable stats about how the Saints fare outdoors in January. I am already cringing thinking of Feb. 4 if the Saints's going to sound like "Blah blah blah Hurricane Katrina, blah blah blah Reggie Bush, blah blah blah biggest surprise team BLAH BLAH BLAH!!!" Anyway, it's the playoffs, so defence wins! Bears 26, Saints 21.

NO #1 total offence vs. CHI #5 total defence
NO #11 total defence vs. CHI #15 total offence

NO #5 scoring offence vs. CHI #3 scoring defence
NO #13 scoring defence vs. CHI #3 scoring offence

NO #19 rushing offence vs. CHI #6 rushing defence
NO #23 rushing defence vs. CHI #15 rushing offence

NO #1 passing offence vs. CHI #11 passing defence
NO #3 passing defence vs. CHI #14 passing offence

NO #31 takeaways vs. CHI #28 giveaways
NO #6 giveaways vs. CHI #1 takeaways

NO #28 punt returns vs. CHI #23 punt coverage
NO #7 punt coverage vs. CHI #2 punt returns

NO #14 kick returns vs. CHI #5 kick coverage
NO #16 kick coverage vs. CHI #8 kick returns

Weather forecast at Chicago: Flurries, 32°F

(4) New England at (3) Indianapolis: This is what I like to more #1 and #2 teams. This is what playoffs is all about. The last game between these two was very unusual. First, the Patriots lost at home (Colts 27 Pats 20 was the score,) Vinateiri honked a 37-yarder and a 46-yarder, and Brady threw 4 picks. I am still having a really hard time believing that Indy's defence is that good. I could blame the Ravens loss on poor blocking and poor coaching though. Baltimore seemed to quit as the game went on and the play-calling was rather preposterous. Did anyone get the feeling watching that San Diego game that the Patriots were resurrecting their dynasty? Cripes, I sure did watching that 4th quarter. I'll let the Brady man love continue. Patriots 20, Colts 17.

NE #11 total offence vs. IND #21 total defence
NE #6 total defence vs. IND #3 total offence

NE #18 scoring offence vs. IND #23 scoring defence
NE #2 scoring defence vs. IND #2 scoring offence

NE #12 rushing offence vs. IND #32 rushing defence
NE #5 rushing defence vs. IND #18 rushing offence

NE #12 passing offence vs. IND #2 passing defence
NE #12 passing defence vs. IND #2 passing offence

NE #4 takeaways vs. IND #4 giveaways
NE #17 giveaways vs. IND #22 takeaways

NE #3 punt returns vs. IND #31 punt coverage
NE #26 punt coverage vs. IND #13 punt returns

NE #1 kick returns vs. IND #30 kick coverage
NE #20 kick coverage vs. IND #7 kick returns

Saturday, January 13, 2007

NFL Playoffs - Divisional Round

3-1 last week. NFL Playoffs - Divisional Round:

(3) Indianapolis vs. (2) Baltimore: The last time these teams met, the Colts embarrassed the Ravens 24-7 in their 2005 season opener at the RCA Dome. It was the beginning of a 6-10 season for them. This is a completely different Ravens team though. I believe the Ravens are the teams that nobody wants to face in the playoffs. I'm not entirely convinced that the Colts can duplicate their performance on defence (they held the Chiefs to 44 rushing yards.) Plus, I'm thinking the home crowd is going to be relentless on the team that abandoned the city in '84. Ravens 14, Colts 10.

IND #3 total offence vs. BAL #1 total defence
IND #21 total defence vs. BAL #17 total offence

IND #2 scoring offence vs. BAL #1 scoring defence
IND #23 scoring defence vs. BAL #12 scoring offence

IND #18 rushing offence vs. BAL #2 rushing defence
IND #32 rushing defence vs. BAL #25 rushing offence

IND #2 passing offence vs. BAL #6 passing defence
IND #2 passing defence vs. BAL #11 passing offence

IND #22 takeaways vs. BAL #8 giveaways
IND #4 giveaways vs. BAL #2 takeaways

IND #13 punt returns vs. BAL #20 punt coverage
IND #31 punt coverage vs. BAL #24 punt returns

IND #7 kick returns vs. BAL #11 kick coverage
IND #30 kick coverage vs. BAL #11 kick returns

Weather forecast at Baltimore: Cloudy with showers, 42°F

(3) Philadelphia vs. (2) New Orleans: In Week 6, the Saints collected a 27-24 win on a last second field goal set up by an 16-play 8:26 drive. The Eagles could not stop the pass at all as Brees racked up 275 yards and 3 TDs through the air. Losing Lito Sheppard isn't going to make this any easier for them. I'm encouraged that the Eagles aren't as pass wacky as they once were. Last week, they called 37 pass plays and 27 run plays. However, the Saints will likely still control the time of possession and get the last possession and the win. Saints 38, Eagles 35.

PHI #2 total offence vs. NO #11 total defence
PHI #15 total defence vs. NO #1 total offence

PHI #6 scoring offence vs. NO #13 scoring defence
PHI #15 scoring defence vs. NO #5 scoring offence

PHI #11 rushing offence vs. NO #23 rushing defence
PHI #26 rushing defence vs. NO #19 rushing offence

PHI #3 passing offence vs. NO #3 passing defence
PHI #9 passing defence vs. NO #1 passing offence

PHI #14 takeaways vs. NO #6 giveaways
PHI #9 giveaways vs. NO #31 takeaways

PHI #10 punt returns vs. NO #7 punt coverage
PHI #21 punt coverage vs. NO #28 punt returns

PHI #28 kick returns vs. NO #16 kick coverage
PHI #24 kick coverage vs. NO #14 kick returns

(4) Seattle vs. (1) Chicago: The Seahawks visit to Soldier Field in Week 4 resulted in a 37-6 drubbing for their first loss. Hasselbeck and the running game were bruital, Rex Grossman threw 2 TDs and Thomas Jones rushed for 2 more. I've heard a lot about Rex Grossman's extremely poor play lately. It won't matter because the Seahawks are virtually out of their league in this one. The only reason they beat Dallas is because Mike Holmgren craps horseshoes and four-leaf clovers. The balmy 33°F temperature plays in their favour though. Bears 28, Seahawks 7.

SEA #19 total offence vs. CHI #5 total defence
SEA #19 total defence vs. CHI #15 total offence

SEA #14 scoring offence vs. CHI #3 scoring defence
SEA #19 scoring defence vs. CHI #3 scoring offence

SEA #14 rushing offence vs. CHI #6 rushing defence
SEA #22 rushing defence vs. CHI #15 rushing offence

SEA #20 passing offence vs. CHI #11 passing defence
SEA #16 passing defence vs. CHI #14 passing offence

SEA #21 takeaways vs. CHI #28 giveaways
SEA #27 giveaways vs. CHI #1 takeaways

SEA #15 punt returns vs. CHI #23 punt coverage
SEA #17 punt coverage vs. CHI #2 punt returns

SEA #18 kick returns vs. CHI #5 kick coverage
SEA #27 kick coverage vs. CHI #8 kick returns

Weather forecast at Chicago: Rain/snow, 33°F

(4) New England vs. (1) San Diego: The last time these two teams met, the Chargers ran away with it 41-17 There's a thing about San Diego...they have an awesome rushing offence and are almost immune to committing turnovers. When you look at the stats, the Patriots are actually a better team than the Chargers. Dare I give the "defence wins" cliche? I would, but the Chargers defence aren't slouches either. It'll be close. In fact, I'll bite on the upset. Tom Brady is 11-1 as a starter in the playoffs. Patriots 21, Chargers 17.

NE #11 total offence vs. SD #10 total defence
NE #6 total defence vs. SD #4 total offence

NE #18 scoring offence vs. SD #7 scoring defence
NE #2 scoring defence vs. SD #1 scoring offence

NE #12 rushing offence vs. SD #23 rushing defence
NE #5 rushing defence vs. SD #2 rushing offence

NE #12 passing offence vs. SD #13 passing defence
NE #12 passing defence vs. SD #16 passing offence

NE #4 takeaways vs. SD #1 giveaways
NE #17 giveaways vs. SD #15 takeaways

NE #3 punt returns vs. SD #15 punt coverage
NE #26 punt coverage vs. SD #17 punt returns

NE #1 kick returns vs. SD #12 kick coverage
NE #20 kick coverage vs. SD #3 kick returns

Weather forecast at San Diego: Sunny, 59°F

Next week:

New England at Baltimore
New Orleans at Chicago

Monday, January 08, 2007

Atlanta Falcons Year End Report

Another NFL regular season is in the books and once again, the Falcons went home early while 8 teams are left competing for football's ultimate prize.

Meet Bobby Petrino. Well, that was fast. I don't question bringing in a college coach, even after the Nick Saban fiasco, but Rich McKay wanted somebody with head coaching experience. This is good...they'll throughout that West Coast offence garbage and maybe keep running that college option that worked so well early in the season.

Here's some of the good, the bad, and the ugly of the 2006 season:


Alge Crumpler: The bright spot in the team's passing game. Algernon made the Pro Bowl and caught a career high 8 touchdown passes (and dropped several others, the game in Week 3 against the Saints springs to mind...) and had 38 first downs. If only he were a better blocker...

Jerious Norwood: A 3rd round steal in this year's draft as he (and many other rookie RBs for that matter) managed to outrush Reggie Bush. He had 633 yards for a 6.4 yard per carry average, which was the best in the league among RBs with 20 or more carries. He's the future of this position for the Falcons.

Tyson Clabo: On an O-Line that doesn't know the meaning of the word "blocking," Clabo is the exception. After being undrafted and bounced around on several teams' practice squads and the waiver wire, he earned a starting position this season. Good on ya.

Lawyer Milloy: A veteran presence in the secondary, he surpassed expectations. He has sharp football instincts, and as strong safety, he did his job as he was in on virtually every play and made clean tackles. Unfortunately, he was held without an interception. Hey, at least it worked out way better than the last time the Bills and Falcons did business.


DeAngelo Hall: I know that it's bizarre to put a Pro Bowl selection down here, but he only made it because of 4 INTs and a TD. Those plays were the exception...the norm is for D'Lo to get lit up, give up on plays, and attempt to intercept hail mary bombs when a good DB would simply knock it down. He's a selfish player and deserved every drop of the face-spitting TO gave him.

Edgerton Hartwell: Exposed as a fraud. Jamal Lewis made him look so good in Baltimore that he was signed to the Falcons to a big contract to be a run-stopping middle linebacker. He ended up being injured half the season, and in his absence, Keith Brooking did a better job in the middle than he did. Time to move Jordan Beck up to this position.

Roddy White: Roddy showed flashes of brilliance like in the Dallas game where he racked up 102 receiving yards, but he had a bad case of the dropsies this year. It was bad enough for Jim Mora to sit Roddy's ass on the bench and have Ashley Lelie start in his place (who didn't do a lot better.) As a former first round draft pick in his second year, I expected to see a lot more development than this.

Michael Koenen: I'm kind of reaching with this one, but Koenen was so bad in the placekicking department that the front office had to thaw out Morten "Old Balls" Anderson to take over those duties. After hammering a 58 yarder for the franchise record last season, Koenen missed on tries of 50, 50, 30, 36, 30, and 40 in the first two games of the season. However, I might as well give the blame to the field goal/punt unit as a whole because two of those tries were actually blocked, and the next game, the Saints managed to block a punt for a TD. Three blocks in three games? Come on guys, one is too many for the season!


Matt Lehr: A friggin' turnstile, and a steroid monkey to boot. When you play left guard, and the quarterback is left hand, which way is he going to go? Maybe to the left? Which means it might be a good idea to block somebody instead of watching as Vick gets sacked yet again. And if you're going to cheat and break the substance abuse policy, you should at least have something to show for it!

Jim Mora: This is more of an afterthought, but he still deserves a mention. His antics both on and off the field were an embarrassment to himself and to the team. I scarcely need to mention that squeaky-clean owner Arthur Blank had no patience for that shit. After going 11-5, he posted an 8-8 season despite starting 6-2 and took the team to 7-9 this year despite starting 5-2.

Michael Vick: He had a career high for passing TDs (20) and rushing yards (1076). So what's the deal? As pictured above, Vick's antics created a sideshow for the Falcons and an unnecessary distraction. The Ron Mexico scandal put him on thin ice, and now that ice has broken. It's time fans stopped saying "All he does is win games," because he no longer does.

Friday, January 05, 2007

NFL Playoffs: Wildcard Round

The early Super Bowl pick: Early in the season, I picked the Cowboys vs. Dolphins. I will go with the Eagles in the NFC, and I will go with the Chargers in the AFC, with the Chargers winning the big game in a rout.

(6) NY Giants vs. (3) Philadelphia: A closely matched game between division rivals. The season series was split between the two with the Giants winning at the Linc. It was especially frustrating for the Eagles because they flushed a 24-7 lead going into the 4th quarter. Not only that, but a personal foul by Trent Cole with 7 seconds left put the Giants into field goal range for the game-tying FG. The tables have turned since then; Jersey/A has no momentum, losing 2 of its last 8 and the Eagles have all the momentum, winning 5 in a row. I'll put this one on coaching: Fat Andy has had playoff success and Tom "Mr. Personality" Coughlin hasn't. And, don't look now, but the Eagles have something that resembles a running game. Eagles 27, Giants 21 in overtime.

NYG #14 total offence vs. PHI #15 total defence
NYG #25 total defence vs. PHI #2 total offence

NYG #11 scoring offence vs. PHI #15 scoring defence
NYG #24 scoring defence vs. PHI #6 scoring offence

NYG #7 rushing offence vs. PHI #26 rushing defence
NYG #14 rushing defence vs. PHI #11 rushing offence

NYG #19 passing offence vs. PHI #9 passing defence
NYG #28 passing defence vs. PHI #3 passing offence

NYG #17 takeaways vs. PHI #9 giveaways
NYG #18 giveaways vs. PHI #14 takeaways

NYG #16 punt returns vs. PHI #21 punt coverage
NYG #3 punt coverage vs. PHI #10 punt returns

NYG #30 kick returns vs. PHI #24 kick coverage
NYG #18 kick coverage vs. PHI #28 kick returns

Weather forecast at Philadelphia: Light rain, south wind at 5 km/h, 50°F

(5) Dallas vs. (4) Seattle: Dallas has skidded into the playoffs winning only one of their last three. Lucky for them, Seattle's skidding too. Well-coached teams have figured out how to beat Tony Romo. The two teams have identical records, with Dallas going 9-7 the hard way (against a GOOD division, that is.) It is irrational for me to pick Seattle since they are outmatched in almost every statistical category I listed below. The last meeting between these two at Qwest Field, as most of you will recall, involved a terrible decision to pass on 3rd and 7 with 14 seconds to go, game tied at 10. The result: interception, and Josh Brown's 50 yard figgie made the Seahawks 5-2. To add to the misery, Jose Baby Cortez had honked a 29 yard attempt wide left earlier and it ultimately cost him his roster spot. Much is being made of Seattle missing its two starting corners. I don't understand why. Trufant is overrated, Herndon just plain sucks, and beside, they have the second best free safety in the NFC (Ken Hamlin.) I guess it might have something to do with T.O. That said, a Cowboys win wouldn't surprise me at all...they were road warriors this season and the Seahawks faltered at home to lesser teams. Seahawks 23, Cowboys 20.

DAL #5 total offence vs. SEA #19 total defence
DAL #13 total defence vs. SEA #19 total offence

DAL #4 scoring offence vs. SEA #19 scoring defence
DAL #20 scoring defence vs. SEA #14 scoring offence

DAL #13 rushing offence vs. SEA #22 rushing defence
DAL #10 rushing defence vs. SEA #14 rushing offence

DAL #5 passing offence vs. SEA #16 passing defence
DAL #24 passing defence vs. SEA #20 passing offence

DAL #9 takeaways vs. SEA #27 giveaways
DAL #21 giveaways vs. SEA #21 takeaways

DAL #21 punt returns vs. SEA #17 punt coverage
DAL #25 punt coverage vs. SEA #15 punt returns

DAL #9 kick returns vs. SEA #27 kick coverage
DAL #2 kick coverage vs. SEA #18 kick returns

Weather forecast at Seattle: Cloudy with showers, south wind at 5 km/h, 39°F

(6) Kansas City vs. (3) Indianapolis: I was surprised that the Chiefs were even in the playoff hunt last week. Indy had the last ranked rushing defence in the league, allowing all 16 of their opponents to rush for over 100 yards and allowed a franchise-worst 5.3 yard per carry average. The Chiefs and Larry Johnson will be able to exploit that to keep the clock on their side and keep the Colts' offence off the field. The Colts have honked out of the playoffs early for the past four years and have everything to lose. The Chiefs, on the other hand, were very lucky to make the playoffs and therefore have nothing to lose. Teams like that are always dangerous. The only thing that worries me is that the Colts were unbeaten at home this season, and the Chiefs are 0-3 at the RCA Dome. Chiefs 31, Colts 28.

KC #16 total offence vs. IND #21 total defence
KC #16 total defence vs. IND #3 total offence

KC #15 scoring offence vs. IND #23 scoring defence
KC #12 scoring defence vs. IND #2 scoring offence

KC #9 rushing offence vs. IND #32 rushing defence
KC #18 rushing defence vs. IND #18 rushing offence

KC #22 passing offence vs. IND #2 passing defence
KC #18 passing defence vs. IND #2 passing offence

KC #11 takeaways vs. IND #4 giveaways
KC #15 giveaways vs. IND #22 takeaways

KC #23 punt returns vs. IND #31 punt coverage
KC #14 punt coverage vs. IND #13 punt returns

KC #24 kick returns vs. IND #30 kick coverage
KC #22 kick coverage vs. IND #7 kick returns

Weather forecast at Indianapolis: They play indoors...

(5) NY Jets vs. (4) New England: I'm sorry, but Jersey/B is a pretender. When you beat Miami 13-10 in a sleeper and beat Oakland 23-3 in the final two weeks, that qualifies as backing into the playoffs. Still, I love a playoff game between division rivals. The Jets won at Gillette Stadium earlier this season in a pretty fantastic 17-14 game that saw both offenses working out of the no huddle quite a bit. But the bottom line is that the Patriots become a different team when the post-season rolls around...every year I predict they'll lose and every year they prove me wrong. Patriots 20, Jersey/B 10.

NYJ #25 total offence vs. NE #6 total defence
NYJ #20 total defence vs. NE #11 total offence

NYJ #7 scoring offence vs. NE #2 scoring defence
NYJ #6 scoring defence vs. NE #18 scoring offence

NYJ #20 rushing offence vs. NE #5 rushing defence
NYJ #24 rushing defence vs. NE #12 rushing offence

NYJ #17 passing offence vs. NE #12 passing defence
NYJ #14 passing defence vs. NE #12 passing offence

NYJ #24 takeaways vs. NE #17 giveaways
NYJ #12 giveaways vs. NE #4 takeaways

NYJ #19 punt returns vs. NE #26 punt coverage
NYJ #9 punt coverage vs. NE #3 punt returns

NYJ #5 kick returns vs. NE #20 kick coverage
NYJ #9 kick coverage vs. NE #1 kick returns

Weather forecast at Foxborough: Sunny, 46°F

Alrighty then, next week we have some fantastic looking games:

Seattle at Chicago
Philadelphia at New Orleans
New England at Baltimore
Kansas City at San Diego