Goalie Fights: Because you are more of a winner if the loser has less teeth

Sunday, October 2, 2011

A Letter To Krispy Kreme King

AKA, Fire Fat Andy

Before I launch into an all out tirade about the Birds, who will hence forth be referred to as the 'Turds,' let me first give a brief lesson in baseball knowledge.

Phillies are looking solid. With that pitching staff, it really is hard to not pick them to win it all. So yeah, I'd go with them. The american league is a little spotty this year, although, the Rays kind of remind me of the Rockies from a few years ago. Never ignore a team coming in hot. Also, to every Red Sox fan out there (and, I guess, Braves fans) I give you this. Suck on that.

And now for the main attraction, a letter to Andy Reid...

Mr. Reid,

Good evening. How are you feeling? Probably a bit hot, seeing as you are carrying a second person on your body like a frontpack (as opposed to a backpack). Also, possibly hungry. Bet you'd like a cheese steak. But that is really neither here nor there. What I am really writing you about is my Eagles.

Now, let me start by saying that I love what you did this offseason. Bringing in talent on defense, especially Jason Babin (he is having an insane year so far), and trading away Kevin 'I look like the cat in the hat' Kolb, I really liked. You spent the money, brought in the pieces, and put the team in a place to win. I loved it.

But that's where the love ends, and the pain train makes its first stop. Andy, how can you drop $50 mil on new players, and not sign one single linebacker? Not one. We drafted Weis brand Matthews, have Moisture Foku, and 'Jaffar' Cheney. Ray Charles could have seen this corps struggling, and he's a mother-loving dead AND blind guy. How many years does your philosophy of not needing great linebackers because the 'scheme' works have to fail before you admit that that it is a bigger lie than the time your doctor told you that your diet was probably a quality one?

Speaking of questionable defensive decisions, when you bring in a player who is arguably the best at his position, which of the following seems like a good idea: A) Let him play the style that has made him a monster in the league B) place him in a system run by a coordinator who both has no experience on that side of the ball and who will make him play the exact opposite style from what he dominated at, or C) I don't know, because I'm a god-damned asshole? Well, you apparently chose a combination of B and C, because if you had chosen A, Namdi wouldn't look like he has never heard of football before. I blame mostly Juan (or Luis? not sure) Castillo for not knowing his ass from a hole in the ground, but you helped put Castillo in that position. I have no idea why that seemed like a good idea then, but it is clearly a worse decision than casting Omar Epps to play Mike Tomlin in a movie. Wait, that would be a great idea. See Andy, do you see what a good idea looks like? Its based on reason and logic, not on 'Ooo, Juan Castillo gave me a piece of candy, lets make him a D-Coordinator,' type of bull crap.

But, you never have been that defensive minded. (As an aside, Tony Dungy, I want to hit your wimpy, whiny, apologetic ass in the dome for your continuous bitching about the Victor Cruz play at the end of the Giants game. I hate the Giants and am amused when they fail, but dude, Cruz clearly gave himself up. He dropped to the ground, put the ball down, and started to get up and turn the other way. The rule says that a player has 'given himself up and is therefore down' if he 'drops to the ground or his knees and stops trying to advance forward.' That's the rule. That's what happened. Quit your damned bitching. And quit looking like the green goblin.)

As I was saying, Andy, you care more about your cholesterol than you do about Defense, and that would equate to none caring. So I will ignore the defense. With an offense like this, you ought to be able to blow teams up, scoring early and often. Which it does!!! But why don't we win then? Oh, probably because you get a (Faith Hill in tight leather body suit, I like) huge lead and then run the ball with your phenomenal running back. Oh wait, we would win if you did that. Instead, you... Throw the ball? Stop the clock often and allow the other team to get back into it by taking your offense out of rhythm, and placing the onus of winning the game on the defense which you don't care about and left in the hands of a completely incompetent coordinator? Please tell me you see the flaw in that little plan. You said that short passes replace runs in a west coast system. Well guess what. They god damned don't, because you can't have an incomplete running play, which stops the clock because it was incomplete. BECAUSE RUNNING PLAYS CAN'T BE INCOMPLETE, BECAUSE THEY ARE RUNNING PLAYS AND NOT PASSES! That is why they are different, Andy.

Do you game plan for upcoming games? Or do you channel your inner Bill O'Reilly and just say, "Fuck it, we'll do it live..." I am guessing you O'Reilly that shit, based off of the fact that you still can't recognize blitz packages, play call themes, and pretty much anything the opposing team stands for. Your look of, "I don't know what this is, I've never seen this before," when teams run the ball on you and blitz Vick is frustrating, because I don't know squat about football, and I know teams will do this. Every week.

Andy, enjoy the next 12 games as the coach of the Eagles, because you won't be back next year. You can't not make the playoffs with the team you have, and get to blow it again next year. You are the Donovan McNabb of coaches; you put up great numbers, but you aren't really a winner, and it doesn't seem to bother you, because you keep making the same tired mistakes. I'm tired of it, and I hope Jeffy Jeff is too. You and Juan can have a nice trip to wherever else will take you (the Chiefs? the Jaguars?). But you are done here. And good riddance.


Every Eagles Fan Ever

On a nicer note, the Flyers are in a much better position than I thought. There is nobody good in the Atlantic, so it should be an open race, and the Flyers aren't devoid of talent by any means. Jagr is going to be a monster, just wait and see.

For fun, a picture of Troy Aikman looking like he is made of wax and standing near a heat source.


Sunday, August 7, 2011


Hello, and welcome to part 2 of this weekends return to Goalie Fights! The only sports blog that enjoys outrageous nicknames and analogies more than it likes the idea of Ann Coulter getting mauled by bears. As promised... SuperEagles!


Now that that's out of the way, let's get down to business. Let's roll through the insanity of the Eagles list style.

1) The Eagles front office smashed the faces of the Cardinals front office. The Kevin 'Corn on the' Kolb trade was a bigger sports related theft than OJ's sports memorabilia heist. I mean, Domanique Rodgers-Cromartie, hence forth known as the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC, get it?!) for Kolb is probably a win for the Beagles. But adding in a 2nd round pick that will now be a cap friendly pick thanks to the new CBA just makes it that much better. Thank you Arizona.

2) Nandi Bear!!!!!!! Mr. Asomugha is going to be a much welcomed addition to the secondary, as will the addition of the afore mentioned DRC, and the return of Nate Allen and the drafting of Jaiquwan Jarret. I mean, really, have fun throwing into that. Oh yeah, and we have Asante Samuel (who they BEST not trade). At least when Eli starts imploding with picks, it will be more understandable why.

3) Cullen Jenkins. I haven't thought of a good nickname for him yet, so I'm all ears. Maybe Blade. I like that for the reasons demonstrated in this picture, and if you cannot connect the dots, laugh anyway because you know it would be hilarious if you got it. Yes, yes, it must be Cullen 'Daywalker' Jenkins. Gooood... Gooood... On the upside here, he bolsters the poop that is the Eagles run defense. Casey Matthews should also help on that front (although, I'm expecting maybe too much from him off of his brothers credentials, but we will see).

4) Jason Babin. He is really the X-factor for this defense, and here is why. I have NO idea which Jason Babin will show up. Pro Bowler or former Eagle? If its the former, Trent Cole or he draws the double, and Cullen Jenkins and Cole/Babin gets single blocked and runs a muck. Someone is going to have 13+ sacks, 3 FF, one QB kill, and a great shot at D player of the year. But we need him to be the Pro Bowler. I put the odds on him being dominant at 2:1.

5) Ronnie Brown. Love it. Yes, he is made out of tooth picks and silly puddy, but he won't be taking the majority of the carries. Plus, he can power through when he needs to, can catch the ball, and has the experience to protect the ball. Its also not like he has ever been a bad back, he just gets hurt more than a man with no skin. Just saying.

6) Vince 'The Hammer of Anger' Young. Literally, the perfect backup to Vick. He plays the same, has quality mobility, is kind of like a young Vick, and has the tools to be good down the road. Granted, he isn't as skilled at present, but Andy Reid has made McNabb look good, Kolb worth DRC and a 2nd rounder, and Vick into an MVP caliber QB. I mean, the guy could have made Bobby Hoying a starter. Give him a few years with Vince, and lets see what the fat man can do.

7) There is no one good left in the division. I mean really. The Giants would be closest, and they have too much internal strife, too much Tom Coughlin, and too much Lesser Manning. The Cowboys are probably the sleeper pick to finish second with the motivation of new coaching and a fresh start, but the both suffer from a lack of depth of talent, a lack of peak talent, and the have a Ryan coaching them, which translates into tons of talk, getting close, and never pulling it off. Hey Rob Ryan, I bet you have strong jaw muscles from the combination of eating the souls of children, eating two cheesesteaks at a time, and mouthing off about how intimidated you are by the Eagles. (I'm not even going to mention the 4th team in this division by name).

8) Let's wrap it up with some Predictions. Eagles snag the Division with a 10-6 record (I hear the screams of thats too low, but just hold onto your horses), utilize the bonus first playoff game to get acclimated to crushing skulls in the playoffs by trouncing the Buccaneers, then roll up through bitches into the SB, and avenge their week 12 loss to NE by putting up a 34-13 beat down on them, curtesy of Michael Vick, the Nandi Bear, and 'I wear my Shady's at night' McCoy.

So it has been spoken. To be fair, that was a lot more of just being totally stoked for the Eagles actually being scary good than anything, but still, let's be excited.

Thanks to all those that came back for the weekend special. I'll see you all next Sunday. Here's a picture of... Cupcakes

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Don't Call it a Comeback

But it is. The Return of Goalie Fights! I apologize for the long absence of sports analysis for you fans out there, but there just wasn't that much happening in sports. I mean, really, did you want to read analysis of the WNBA? I didn't think so. So let's get down to part one of this weekend's two part (oh yeaaaa) return special.

While I literally cannot wait to rant and rave and brag about the Eagles, that is best saved for its own column tomorrow. Today, let's recap what I didn't analyze with my sterling humor and wit.

1) The Canucks did not win the SC. HA! Well, to be fair, I did make about 20 wrong picks in this years playoffs along the way, however, I KNEW they would not win it. Luongo will never win a cup, because he is just a really bad mental goalie, and you can't be that and win a cup. Can't do it. So kudos to Tim 'I don't even know who I am' Thomas for just playing out of his mind bonkers the whole time.

2) Staying with hockey, and being out of your mind bonkers, three cheers (or jeers) for the Flyers front office. Now, if you will recall, I may or may not have said that the Flyboys would sign big Bryz, should trade Richards, and should make Bob the goalie of the future. Well, they did all those things. But then they went and traded Carter because, apparently, Holmgren didn't see the part of tropic thunder where we all learned the important lesson from Robert Downey Jr. about NOT going full retard (no offense to our special needs readers out there, his words, not mine). Well, while trading Michelle Richards and giving Bryz about all the money they had seemed crazy to some, the Carter trade is mind-blowing in its obvious overreaction status. There is no way they make up for those lost points. None. They just set themselves up to be the same team they were last year in 3 or 4 years when their new youth movement matures. By then, they will again be out a top goalie (Bryz has about 2-3 good years left) unless Bob emerges, and they will be sans a serviceable Pronger by then as well. Facepalm.

3) The Phillies are silly good. I know I said they would find ways to win with guys like Exxon Valdez and Uncle Ben 'Rice-a-Roni' Francisco (yes, that is TWO instant rice jokes in one), and I'm counting John Crunchberry Jr. for myself because how many people knew about him before this season? I mean really. But then again, who would have thought they would find ways to win over 60% of the time? I know some of you are out there, right now, saying you knew. Well kudos. But, what they are doing is better than even what you thought, because instead of doing it with small ball and 4 aces, they are doing it with 3 aces, solid run production, and some guy from GTA Vice City, or his brother or something. I don't even know at this point, he's so obscure. He's this guy.

Now, with the addition of Hunter 'I'm more awkward than high-fiving someone who's hands are penises' Pence, that team is down right terrifying. I mean really, go easy on the Nationals. They are only a triple A team for crying out loud. So, yeah, I fully expect them to not lose a game in the postseason. Really.

4) The NFL lockout ended! YAY! I'll give them credit for not missing any real time, and for getting it resolved more efficiently, effectively, and with less childish antics than our own CONGRESS can get things done, which just goes to show you, Congress sucks (I hope you weren't expecting a real lesson there).

The FA bonanza has been more fun than tying a politician to bear, but that analysis is for tomorrow. :)

5) On the other hand, the NBA has locked out, and honestly (oh before I forget, I called Mavs over Heat. BOOM), I could care less. Hopefully they just stay locked out, because then hockey will get more coverage and I can enjoy my winter sports.

Also, they boycott I called for on the NFL if they didn't fix it in time? Yeah, that now applies to the NBA.

6) Women's World Cup was awesome. If you didn't watch it/like it, what is the matter with you. It was the first time I've really watched a women's sport and enjoyed it more than the men's equivalent. That's not to say the men aren't better, but here's the thing about some of these super technical sports; if they get to too high a level, its hard to enjoy exactly how good they are because so little appears to happen. Example: MMA.

The top levels of MMA are generally less exciting because they guys tend not to make exploitable mistakes, so it becomes a grind it out sort of fight, which is fine, but not as exciting as the lower levels. In the lower levels, they guys are less technically sound, so mistakes are much more common, which leads to people getting caught in awesome chokes, arm bars, face kicks, hulk smashes, and whatever else can happen when you are nearly perfect. On top of that, they aren't as solid at executing those cool things, so you often get two or three of those cool things in one fight.

Same with the WWC. More mistakes leading to more exciting play and more goals and more drama. Plus, the almost total lack of falling down and acting like your leg has been cut off was so refreshing. Kudos to those fine ladies for putting on a great show, and props to Japan for continually sticking it to the broadcasters who just kept saying they weren't good enough to win. SUCK ON THAT IAN DARKE.

7) El Tigre fired Steve Williams, who threw a hissy fit and basically bashed Tiger the first chance he got (because, yeah, f that guy who only made you $20 million dollars to do what a 13 year old could have done). Plus, Tiger is back playing, so maybe, just maybe, gold may matter again. We will see.

8) If Chris Osgood doesn't get into the HOF, I will find every last voter and poop in their shoes. I swear I'll do it.

I think that's it. I will, for now, reserve the right to revisit any of these topics and further expound upon them should the opportunity arise. However, if I do not, consider the matters closed.

Tomorrow, we will be returning to our regularly scheduled programming featuring the newly formed Philadelphia SuperEagles, and what the wheeling and dealing will mean for the upcoming NFL season.

Until tomorrow, stay thirsty my friends.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

SuperEagles, but no Raptors

Aloha, and welcome to another riveting addition of Målvakts Slagsmål! As usual, I am here to guide you through a few of sports most stimulating topics to date, with only minor stops along the way for comedy.

Before we start, I would just like to remind everyone that when you see a word in a different, seemingly highlighted color, its a link. If you click the link, you get the prize, which is usually a fun picture or video. If you knew that, great. If you didn't, well then you've been missing out in a big way! So get clicking.

With all that behind us, lets get to topic. First at bat, Darwin Barney! Just kidding! (but really, he plays for the cubs). No, today, let's talk some Eagles. They have been unfortunately neglected in this blog, mostly due to the idiotic NFL lockout. I would love to rant and rave more about that topic, but today is not the day. No, I made a very important realization about the Eagles plans and future last night, and want to share the insight with all of you. So lets do it.

The primary Eagles topic every time I overhear people talking about them is whether or not they should/will trade Kevin 'Corn on the' Kolb. I myself have pondered this question many times. Finally, last night, it all became clear: Kevin Kolb's ass is getting traded, ASAP. The front office revealed their hand, and their plan is obvious. But how do we know? Let me show you.

In order to answer this question, you need to first answer this question about the Eagles management; Are they trying to win a SB now (as in the next three years) or in the future (as in 3-7 years from now)? They have the youth to build long term, if they so choose, with an offensive core that is as young as they are explosive (Jackson, Celek, Maclin, Avant, McCoy), and a defense that, while suspect, will get better as the younger players grow, and as I expect them to pick up pieces via free agency. So, the long term option is there.

Short term, the offensive players previously mentioned are great NOW. Injury, aging (DJack is only going to slow down), and cap space can and probably will thin out a player or two from that list. Conventional knowledge would say that, to become adverse to those risks, you play the for the immediate future. Likewise, the defense should be improved through the draft, and if/when FA happens, the Eagles will most certainly target the likes of the top tier defensive players available (Nnamdi 'The Nandi Bear' Asomugha among them), and load up to drastically improve their defense.

Obviously, the two names left out so far are seemingly the keys to this argument, in Michael Vick and Kevin Kolbinator. Vick is clearly the short term option, as he is AMAZING right now, albeit at risk for injury at any moment, while Kolb is the semi-dopey looking face of the future.

But wait! If they just keep Kolb on roster and resign him to replace Vick when he inevitably gets destroyed while scrambling, they can have both! Horseshit. I think Kolb is a nice guy, even a loyal and good guy as far as athletes go, but come on. This is entirely too similar to the Aaron Rodgers/Brett Favre scenario that played out a few years ago. Aaron Rodgers was not going to keep hanging around waiting for his chance. He was ready, and he needed to play, end of story. Kolb is ready, and needs to play, and he knows it. The difference here is that the Eagles have not gotten their fill of Vick's magic yet, while the Packers were (wisely) willing to part ways with their aging star in order to allow their future to become their present.

The Eagles are almost definitely going to keep Vick and resign him long term. I would be shocked to see them let him go, if for no other reason than Lurie LOVES the money Vick generates. So, I assume that the Eagles are going to resign him. Obviously, New Vick is not going to be the backup to Kolb anytime soon, so it would seem the Eagles are rolling the dice on the short term option. But outside of franchising Vick, what other evidence do we have of not just the short run conclusion, but that the Eagles should/will be trading Kolb? The answer is just another big question to the untrained eye.

What the hell were the Eagles thinking drafting a 27 year old rookie with their first round pick? I mean, I know they need offensive line help, but Gabe Carimi was available when they picked, and they are essentially the same player, except that Carimi will have a longer career and has more room to develop, where as Watkins is essentially entering his NFL prime. So what gives? Short run, win now. The Eagles stated loud and clear that they are going for it all in the next 3 years with Michael Vick at the helm. No shot Kevin Kolb stays.

That draft pick is exactly analogues to the larger choice at hand. Win now at the expense of the future, or build for later? They chose now. They are going now. Kolb is probably going to the Cardinals for a 1st rounder or 2 second rounders. With that, depending on a lockout shortened season, the Eagles will be able to bring in some more D support.

Additionally, they took an NFL ready safety out of temple, a backup CB in the third, and stole Casey Matthews in the 4th. Jamar Cheney will become a household name, and with Matthews and Bradley (if he stays healthy) in the LB corps, the Eagles defense really begins to take shape.

A lot of experts also predit Nnamdi Asumogha will become an Eagle to lockdown their non Asante Samuel side. Asumogha plays press coverage, which would force QB's to throw to Samuel's side on blitzes, which is exactly how Samuel intercepts 90% of his passes, by jumping routes. So, the Eagles turnover ratio should really jump up if that happens (and it really should).

That gives the Eagles the following defensive look: Graham and Cole at the ends, DT X & Y, Cheney, Matthews, and Bradley at LB, Allen and Jarrett at S's, and Asumogha and Samuel at CB, plus their serviceable CBs that can come in as needed. That really just leaves the DT position in question for them, which is important. Mike Patterson is acceptable, but Dixon is kind of crap, and it leaves open the gamblers question of the day; Do the Eagles take a shot on Albert Haynesworth?

Look, the guy is a terd. He has all the skills and abilities to be a monster, yet his attitude crippled his tenure as a Redskin. However, Mike Shanahan was never the right coach for him, and the Deadskins were never competitive while he was there. I'm not making excuses, but I do think that he is on the Randy Moss side of ego's interfering with performance. Moss was atrocious in Oakland, so bad that many people thought he was a fossil. But, given a much improved situation with real coaching and a decent team in NE, and boom goes the dynamite. To win a SB, you need to take chances. Haynesworth will come cheap, because Washington wants him out, and the Eagles may be one of the only teams that can take on his contract. It really may happen, and it could seal the deal.

All the pieces would be there. The Eagles are all in for the SB in the next 3 years. If Vick (among others) can stay healthy, if the youth on this team continues to grow, and if the abyss that is the O-line tightens up, this is absolutely a team that could win it all. Its a lot of ifs, but there always are. This is there shot. Management knows it, the players must know by now, and the fans are figuring it out. Lets finish making the moves, lets get them signed, and for monkey's sake, lets play some damned football.

Quick picks: Mavs over Heat in the finals, Lightning over Canucks in the SCF (I legit don't know how, but I am not picking the Canucks), and props to Shackleford for the Preakness.

I hope you had a good poop, Andy.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

How to Fix the Flyers

Hello Readers, and welcome to another Sunday frolic through the field of sports, compliments of Goalie Fights.

First and foremost, condolences to those close to Derek Boogaard. It is always tragic to see such a loss of life.

Todays topic, for those of you eager to dive right into it, is the state and possible future of the Flyers. Considering that there are key members of the team reaching geriatric stage, and there are MASSIVE internal issues with the chemistry of this team, 'adjustments' are going to be needed this offseason if the front office of the Flyguys wants to cash in on the window of opportunity available to them. Lets take a look at what Holmgren and company should do, complete with the likelihood that they will make each move. Then, we'll all have waffles and ice cream. Boom boom, acka lacka lack.

Lets start with what I know Flyers fans consider their biggest hole, even though they are wrong (I'll explain in a minute). Goaltending. Oh, the groans are audible from here (yes, I can hear into the future). I'll admit, over the last two years, the Flyers have suffered both one of the most epic goaltending circuses ever for a playoff team and the softest goal ever allowed to clinch a Stanley Cup. Both were painful to watch as a hockey fan, so I know it had to be that much worse for you Broadstreet Hooligans out there. That said, this years collapse/circus was entirely Laviolette's fault, and his idiocy will have lasting repercussions for the Flyers. As I have written before, Laviolette should never have taken Bob out of game 2, Boucher should never have played a minute of any game, and Leighton should never have even SNIFFED dressing a game, let alone playing in one. Literally three of the worst coaching decisions I've ever seen in the playoffs of any sport, right up there with Grady Little leaving Pedro in there against the Yankees and the Giants punting to DeSean Jackson (oh, that wasn't in the playoffs? well suck it anyway Giants). Frustrations aside, it is now likely in my professional opinion that Bob's confidence is thoroughly enough destroyed that he will not be a legit number one goalie on a team coached by Laviolette, and he was probably set back 2 full years in his development thanks to the mindf*ck he received courtesy of Angry Pete. This means, the Flyers are going to need a goaltender. So lets get down to business.


Bob is making 1.75 mil a season, and Boucher is making 925k. That said, Boucher is 34 years old and garbage. I know there are those of you out there who LOVE Philadelphia's former first round pick (bet you forgot that, didn't you?) but he is not good. He also isn't a long term piece for this team in any capacity. Luckily, he's an UFA. Let him walk, especially when you can bring in...

Ilya Bryzgalov. The big Bryz is a UFA who, my inside sources tell me, will not be resigning with the 'Yotes. This means the Flyers should make him priority number one. He's reasonably young at 31, and is as dominant a starting goalie as any we've seen in a free agent class in a while. The flip side of all those good things is that it will be costly to sign him, but I'm guessing its not going to be as bad as you might think. Good goaltenders around the league are getting between 5 and 6 million a year (Brodeur, Luongo, Kiprusoff) and even foundation guys like Ryan Miller and Henrik Lundqvist are only in the 6-7 million range. Sure, its not peanuts, but its also a goalie. Unless some scrub team like the Islanders tries to give him 8 million, or something absurd (which I actually expect), the Flyers have a great shot at getting him, if they will pony up the dough. Even if some crap team makes a ludicrous offer, Bryz wants to go to a contender, I'm sure, so the Flyers have got to look good.

Question: Where do the Flyers find 6 million in cap space to sign him? Answer: The cap is expected to rise by about $3 million, so there is half. Existing cap plus Boucher's money is another million, so there is $4m. $2m more that was going to Zherdev that won't anymore because they won't resign him either, and you have $6m pretty easily, with no drastic changes needed. Odds on this happening: 70%

As a backup plan, though, Tomas Vokoun will also be available this offseason. If the Flyers can't get Bryz, they should pursue Vokoun. He is very good as well, and there is even an outside shot he is better (tough to tell because Bryz plays on much better defensive team). His downside is he is older, but the Flyers could easily cash in and win one in the next three years. Odds: 20%, unless they can't get Bryz, in which case I'd say about 55%.


Building from the back, here we reach what I consider the second biggest flaw in the Flyers; their D. For whatever reason, the D corps for the Flyers is absurdly inconsistent, to the point of making the goalies look worse than they actually are. Matt 'Who taped over my blades' Carle, Braydon 'I spend more time on my hair than my game' Coburn, and Kimmo 'Therapy' Timonen are making a combined $13m. Outrageous.

For Coburn and Carle, trade them or send them down to the minors, Rangers style, to avoid the cap hit. Literally, both those guys are 3rd pair, $1m per year defensemen making first and second pair money. I'm sure you can trade Carle, and I would even say you can get good return on him, say, a Keaton Ellerby of the Panthers, for a lower cap number to fill in your third pair. Coburn is tougher, because he is worse, and its really apparent. It'll be tough to get a team to buy him, so the flyers will probably have to just bury him in Adirondack. No matter what, though, the Flyers will need the combined 6.5 million they'll save from dumping them both. Odds for each individual are the same: 80% one of them gets moved 43% they both go.

Timonen is a tough matter from the ntc perspective and the recognition of how much he's given to the Flyers, but he clearly well past his prim, and he is making the 2nd most money on the team (behind only Briere). You can't keep him if you want a cup. If he can be talked into being traded, there are definitely teams that would take him (the Oilers are a prime example, or some other young team looking for leadership), There is no chance the Flyers bury him in the minors, but I expect them to threaten it if he won't agree to a trade. His $6.5m is crucial money, too, though for the Flyers. Odds: 15%, even though this one should be about 98%.

To fill these voids, the Flyers (if they followed my plan) ought to get a second liner in a trade, a third liner in a trade, sign a second liner in free agency, and call up a second/third liner (Erik Gustafsson). Shelley may or may not stay, no biggie either way. Meszaros is a first liner, along with Pronger. It would be a lot of new guys, and they'd need a chance to gel, but I think the fresh blood and youth would really invigorate what has become a plodding defense. Plus, the 13m they'd save, minus 5m or so for the new guys, plus the 3m jump in Giroux's salary, still leaves 4-5 million to work with. That is opens up some doors.


The strength and weakness of the Flyers is up front. Highest skill, highest production, most consistency. Worst leadership of any playoff team from its 'leaders' outside of Vancouver (where Ryan Kesler should be the captain). Similarly, we have a young rising star who is both highly skilled and highly gritty in Claude Giroux here in Philly who seems more and more to me all the time to be the future of the franchise. There is little doubt anymore that he will be the best player on the team in the next 3-5 years, but what strikes me most about him is how he is maturing into a leader. I really see him as the future captain, which adds to the already massive problem the Flyers have, namely, Mike Richards.

Don't get me wrong, he's a great player, and a nightmare for the opposition on the PK, but he is an atrocious captain. Any team that can't play all 60 minutes of a single game in a season has leadership issues, but its worse than just that. Pronger, who I loathe but respect as a great player and leader, hates Richards for how shitty of a leader he is, the front office is now questioning their choice of him as the C, and obviously the players aren't all on board given how their season went down the shitter as the season wound down. Unacceptable, if you want to win a cup. This move is not about salary, its about making the right moves and fixing chemistry. I know the Philly Phans love how gritty he is, but I guarantee the Flyers don't win a cup while Mike Richards is the captain. Trading him, however they have to do it, needs to happen. Perhaps thats how the flyers could get rid of a Braydon Coburn type, and in return get something like a Keith Yandle. Actually, a Richards for Yandle trade would be a huge move for the flyers. They have been talking a lot about trading Carter, but its Richards they should be considering. Make Pronger the captian until Giroux is ready to wear the C, then let Claude lead the way. Odds of Richards getting moved: 5%, but it should be 99%

If the Flyers followed all my directions, they'd have $10m in space to work with. That resigns Ville Leino for a long time, and signs a big name forward that can fill any role the Flyers may need filled. Or, a couple smaller names that can really mesh well into the team. There are a lot of good looking FA coming up on both O and D that could help the Flyers, and going into it with 10+ million in cap space would allow a good but flawed team to become a great team, maybe even a dynasty team.

The only other move I can see that would improve the Flyers is dumping Scott Hartnell. Again, gritty guy Flyers fans like, but he is terrible. He also is making 4.2m. To put that in perspective, here are players in the NHL making less or the same as that: Johan Franzen, every player on the St. Louis Blues, Shane Doan, Patrick Sharp, Pekka Rinne, Shea Weber, Joe Pavelski, and Dustin Penner. Does that seem like the kind of player Hartnell is? Maybe if the highest you can count to is potato. But you read Goalie Fights, so you can count higher, to at least Zanzibar. Odds on Snott Fartnell moving: 13%.

So there you have it. The Flyers, with a little hard work and ingenuity, could be backstopped by a top 10 goalie, sport a stout, young, energetic defense, and have one of the dirtiest, deepest lineups in all of hockey, with a new captain to boot! Also, a Stanley Cup ring ;).

I know the Flyers won't follow my plan, but they should. Because it would not only kick serious ass, but make the Flyers tremendously better. I'm rooting for you, Flyers Fans.

Shout outs to the OKC Durantulbrooks, who look poised to finish of Memphis and go to the West Semis, and the Heatles, because LBJ is good.

Also, Doc Ellis, just because.

Muck the Fets.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

A Stern Warning

“I look into their eyes, shake their hand, pat their back, and wish them luck, but I am thinking, 'I am going to bury you." And a heartfelt thanks to the late Seve Ballesteros for a literal perfect introduction into todays edition of Goalie Fights

I asked around this week for a topic for today, and someone brought up the fact that I've devoted a fair amount of articulation to hockey (which makes sense, considering the title), but not so much to the NBA (although I do cover essentially all sports). My immediate reaction was, 'Well of course, the NBA is awful. Its not even basketball anymore.' While I wholeheartedly believe that truth, I realized that it may be interesting to examine why the NBA is so gut-wrenchingly bad these days. And thanks to Seve and my boy Reggie 'Spike Lee can suck my balls' Miller (technically a documentary on him, but still), I realized just what could bring the NBA back from the edge of absurdly meaningless. So let's investigate. 

Do you remember when the NBA was great? Late 80's (that, I don't remember so much, but some of you do) and early to mid 90's (which I remember enough to own a SpaceJam shirt and how I once lied and told my friends that Penny Hardaway was my uncle, despite my rather pale skin complexion)? Yeah, golden freaking age. Dream Team. Bulls vs Pistons, Pacers (mainly Reggie Miller) vs Knicks (with Patrick Ewing). Young Shaq, MJ, Pippen, Young David Robinson, Ewing, Miller, Shawn freaking Kemp, Rodman, Barkley. That list could go on and on and on. Thats not to say that today doesn't have stars (LBJ, DWade, Kobe, Dwight, old man river Duncan, Durantula, etc), but there is a stark contrast between those all stars and todays main men. What, you ask?

“I look into their eyes, shake their hand, pat their back, and wish them luck, but I am thinking, 'I am going to bury you." 


There is no doubt that every time MJ walked on the floor, that thought was in his head. Actually, it was more like, 'I'm going to rip your throat out and whip you to death with your own trachea,' or 'I'll rip your arms off and dunk with one of them, because I don't just want to beat you, I want to destroy your basketball identity.' I have watched the replay of Pippen dunking on Ewing, knocking him over, then staring him down while straddling him like a million times, because its awesome. Reggie Miller got into an on the court pissing match with Spike Lee during an NBA playoff game because the Knicks and Pacers hated each other so much. Not only is that drama, which America just LOVES, but its good sports. You can't play half-assed if you hate your opponent so much your defensive strategy is to foul them so hard if they go for a layup that they won't want to try another. Not exaggeration, that was the straight faced goal for the previously mentioned teams. Go back and watch replays. Go back and watch Ewing miss a layup to send a game 7 into overtime against the Pacers because he was so used to getting killed in the paint that he braces for contact and puts to much on it. Back iron and out. There is heart, soul, and love of the game there. The hatred of your opponent fuels the drive to compete. Blowouts suck, even if your team wins. Sports loves game 7s, overtime, scrappy, gritty, tough action. Not lopsided snooze-fests. That was the 90s. Kick the other guy in the mouth, because you are more of a winner if the loser has less teeth. 

Flash forward. Welcome to the NBA, also known as, the 'No Blatant Aggression' or the  'National Bromance Association.' They are all friends! There's no hard fouls because they don't want to injure one another. They don't want to mess up the income of their friends so they can cruise the caribbean this summer with yachts filled with strippers and gold and captain crunch (that's what I'd do with my friends anyway). They play on the same teams so they can 'win championships.' In what? Brotacular Brodancing? Horseshit. I want you to play on opposite teams not so you can 'win one on your own,' but because I want you to be so sickened at the thought of the guys on any team other than you own that you instantly vomit when you consider having to see them on a regular basis that does not involve kicking them in the face while wearing golf spikes. I want Chris 'Bostrich' Bosh to go up for a layup and to get his skinny ass chucked into about the fifth row by Kevin Garnett. Or Pau Gasol to get pulled backwards by the hair when he goes up for a layup by Jason Kidd. And I want the teams to get in each others faces like hockey teams when they meet up in the crease for some 'face time.' 

I've heard the argument that the old school bloodlust is dying out because of the culture that these players now grow up in. They play on the same AAU teams, the travel together, they become stars together, and they share the journey via text messages and facebook and twitter. Again, I call shenanigans. I don't care how much time you spend with people, that doesn't translate into liking them necessarily. Maybe it would happen occasionally, but just as many enemies should be made as best brofriends. I can think of plenty of sports teams that I played on where for every close friend I made, there was a kid on the team I'd love to watch get stung by bees. The rest, I like because we are on the same team, but I could just as easily loathe for not being on my team. Plus, there are the teammates you have that you love because you don't have to play against them (Dennis Rodman, Chris 'Birdman' Andersen). You would hate them entirely if they played for a rival. So no, I don't buy the new age player is naturally a pussy. 

In fact, this is becoming surprisingly clear in the Boston, Miami series. I give Lebron credit, he may actually be beginning to hate the Celtics. Maybe getting his head caved in by them last year broke the 'lets play nice' mentality, and he's reading to start utilizing his Brian Urlacher-esqu physique to start pummeling Paul 'Cheshire Cat' Pierce and Rajon 'My head is to small for my body' Rondo for keeping that ring off his finger. I see the anger building. Pierce getting tossed, Wade fighting back. Its growing. But by old school standards, its still just dudes bringing magic markers to a paintball game. 

So, what gives? Why the Nerfing up of the NBA? I'll tell you. Overreaction, fear, and shortsightedness. 

Whoa, those things are oddly specific, and would seem to point to a catalytic event that would cause great change in the NBA via its rules and how they are enforced...

Right you are, knowledgable Goalie Fights Aficionado! This crap product the NBA is producing today is directly and indirectly a hangover type result from the Malice at the Palace. One night that essentially has handicapped the players ability to play with the level of intensity and aggression that they used to, that made the NBA 'Nightly Beatings Association.' 

Granted, Stern was already trying to remove the 'thug' image from the league to lure in old, rich, white dudes to buy skyboxes during a time when it was becoming clear that tons of money could be made off old, rich, white dudes by getting them to buy that awkward middle ring of seating with the bars and tvs in them. What he didn't realize, though, was that eliminating the violence was not the way to do that. Anyone who has ever played basketball can tell you that killing people in the paint who are trying to make a layup isn't a basketball attribute of 'thug-life' or of some underground black counter culture. Its an attribute of gritty teams and of teams that hate each other (btw, old, rich, white dudes love violence. for proof, ask the MGM Grand to profile their saturday night PPV boxing audience). 

The Pacers-Pistons brawl was just the final straw, and a way for David Stern to get rid of violence entirely without anyone saying poop about it. Nobody stopped to say, 'hey, calling more technicals and not letting things get heated on the court won't prevent incidents like that from happening.' Everyone just kind of jumped on the 'physicality in basketball is bad because it starts riots, so lets get rid of it' bandwagon and off it went. Remember, though, it wasn't the on the court fight that led to the incident, it was the fight spilling over into the seats, it wasn't even a player getting into it with a fan (a la Reggie Miller vs Spike Lee). It was a damned fan throwing a cup of juice (perhaps a red death?) onto Ron 'Not mentally stable' Artest while he was NO LONGER IN THE FIGHT that set him off and made him run up into the stands, and start a riot. You know what prevents that? Fans not throwing shit at players, thats what. Not players NOT pounding each other into a bloody pulp. 

Look at hockey. Those games are incredibly heated, bloodlust fueled, and brawls happen regularly, including my all time favorite, the Avalanche vs Red Wings which included... A GOALIE FIGHT. What we don't see happening in the NHL is players running up into the stands and trying to stab people with skates. We don't see that because 1) there is a high wall of glass separating the two parties and 2) hockey fans to chuck shit at players who are laying on the scorers table. Actually, the player to fan interaction is limited severely because of the glass. Excluding gambling between the backup goalie and fans near the cracks in the glass behind the bench, they can't really do anything more than bang the glass and yell things that get misconstrued into other things. Like, for instance, I always yell, 'Go to Pizza Hut afterwards for a slice with me!' which players apparently think I'm actually yelling 'Go f*ck yourself and afterwards lick an ass!' which I totally would not say. 

The point is, a certain amount of separation between players and fans is necessary to prevent things like the Brawl from happening. When you have your players diving headfirst into season ticket holders and fans who are half drunk by tipoff because they are sitting 8" from where the game is played, something crazy could happen. However, eliminating players ability to be tough with each other and play physical games is not the way to remedy that issue. Either put up a barrier, or accept the fact that at some point, some drunk is going to do something that leads to a 6'8" monster right hooking him into next week. Its the nature of your stadium setup David Stern. 

So here is my Warning, which I promised in the title. Stern, fix the rules so that Joey Crawford can't T up Tim Duncan on the bench for cleaning his dentures. Tone back the flagrant fouls, the technicals, and the quick whistles. Let the boys play. Let Manu Ginobli get punted. Let Wade get tackled. Do you know why this is becoming a point guard league? Because they can't be touched in the paint anymore. You don't need a huge dude who can take punishment anymore. You need a fast guy who can make layups. I want the punishment, and I know I'm not alone. Stern, if you don't fix this, you will continue to lose fans, and the game will continue to look more and more like pro wrestling. Your refs can control the game to much, which I know you like, but everyone else hates. Let the players play, let the rumbles happen, and let the rivals start to hate each other again. 

Stern, you want the NBA back on top? Let Lebron knock Kobe into the 3rd row on a layup, and I promise all eyes will lock in to see what happens next. 

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Defending the Phans

Remember that time Philadelphia fans booed Santa? Because I sure as hell don't.

Why, you ask? It happened in 1968. This also means that sportscasters like Matt Vasgersian, Joe Buck, and other top henchmen essentially born after 1963 don't remember it either. Despite that fact, such media clowns have no issue bringing that issue up for nearly any reason when they do Philly games. Its time to address this issue.

For those of you readers out there who don't know me, or know me well, I really am not a Philly sports fan. I am an Eagles fan, and I will root for Philly teams against most anyone, but I have favorite teams in hockey, baseball, and basketball that I would gladly pick over their Philadelphia equivalents in a head to head matchup. But, I live in a fairly close proximity to Philadelphia, and I've been to enough Philly games to have interacted with their fans, and frankly, even if I hadn't, the actions of certain professional athletes, especially of late, from Philly teams would be evidence enough that the national sports media is maintaining an outdated view of Philadelphia fans. Lets discuss reality.

Just this past year, Jeff Carter resigned with the Flyers for $5.2 million/year, which both he, I, and the Flyguys know is about $2-3 millions less per year than he would get on the open market. Someone could argue that he is only willing to do that because of how good that team is, but does anyone really think he'd stay if he hated the city and the fans? Doesn't Carter seem like the perfect candidate to cut and run from fans that expect greatness? I feel like yes, he is, but maybe that is just me. In any event, I think that his resigning was a tribute to the atmosphere created by the fans as much as the quality of the team.

But Jeff Carter's signing is tiddlywinks compared to one Clifton Phifer Lee's (re)signing with the Sillies. Now, he didn't really take any less money to sign in Philadelphia, but he could have gotten equal money (and, really, more in Texas because of their tax system) to stay near home in Texas, or equal (and again more because of endorsements in NY) from the Yanks who are no slouch of a team, and who have one of his and his wives close friends on it. No, Cliff chose Philly, citing how much he enjoyed Philly the first time around, and how he didn't want to leave it in the first place. Also, the fans not needing a teleprompter to cheer (suck that one NY, Seattle, and Texas).

"But you throw batteries at your own players!" Says that guy in your office who claims he's from Boston, but you know he's lying because you played tickle the pickle with his sister in high school (because even back then, you knew that guy was going to be a dick later). Your response? 'Oh, you remember that! Because I don't. Because it was in the 1960's as well, asshole.' Also, f*ck that guy.

"Buy that guy threw up on a little girl!" Yep, and he got KILLED via every social media outlet imaginable for the next 3 months by Philly fans. If people had known about it in the stadium at the time, I guarantee you he would have been booed, heckled, and probably gotten batteried for doing this. Somehow, because this guy is a drunk moron, apparently everyone in Philadelphia would not only do this, but supports it wholeheartedly. Makes perfect sense. Also, a writer for GQ called this the "most heinous incident in the history of sports." The most heinous. To recap, this article was published in April, 2011, after the Giants fan was beaten into a coma by Dodger fans. Even accounting for a delay in publication, come on. Really. Vomit vs Death. Yeah, puke on me 50 times, I will live. Also, if we are talking all of sports (which is included in the 'history of sports,' if you want to make big claims, you better be ready for me to tear your throat out with knowledge), google 'fan killed.' Apparently, fans being killed by each other is pretty common when we are talking about English and Spanish soccer clubs. But hey, Adam Winer said the puke was the worst, and he writes for GQ, so he's probably right.

Let me address the other, recent knock on Philly fans. The kid running on the field and getting tased. 1) people run on fields all the time, the worlds an imperfect place 2) how the cop tasing the kid is somehow a negative about Philly sports fans alludes me 3) the kid apologized and said he shouldn't have done it, and the security quit carrying tasers so this stuff wouldn't happen again. I pretty much don't understand why this was a big deal, other than it happened in Philly, so obviously screw Philly fans. A much worse incident occurred in Pittsburgh, but I bet you didn't even know about it. Check it out, and you tell me which was worse.

Ultimately, I'm tired of the national sports media. By and large, they sell out their actual sports knowledge to get attention and to pander to the masses. They know less about sports and more about people, and they utilize that skill to insult certain fan bases to get others to feel like they are superior (see Skip Bayless). Don't get me wrong, there are media guys who know their stuff. Barry Melrose, Steve Young, and Bob Knight are all really good. What separates them from the rest is they actually discuss their sports, rather than the fans of a specific team. They don't waste their time talking about shenanigans, they talk about why Kemba Walker will tear your throat out in the final 5 minutes of a game. I want more sports, less fan characterization (or charicaturization, in this case), and actual knowledge. Jalen Rose knowledge, not Chris Broussard knowledge. Give me real journalism, TMZ for men aka GQ (GQ sold out to sell magazines, and their writers went with it... shocking, I know).

Go hate on LA fans media, for not showing up to games, for being actually bad fans, and for killing people. They couldn't keep TWO NFL franchises in town, and they are the 2nd largest base in the country. Do you think, for a second, that any of Philly's big 4 will ever get contracted or moved? Not in a million years. Get off me national media, and get off Philly fans. Get something original, and come back and see me.

On a lighter note, lets get some SC Playoff predictions coming at you from the second round.


I stand by original picks of Red Wings and Preds making it to the finals. The Sharks are playing rather well against the Wings at present, but thats in large part to Niemi playing well, and over a 7 game series, he WILL play mediocre or worse 4+ times, so I am not sweating even a 2-0 whole for the wings. Wings in 7.

The Preds? Preds looking good through 2, and will keep getting better. They will grind the soft Canucks out of the playoffs. It will be gorgeous. Of note in that series, and in general; Ryan Kesler is the best player on the Canucks, not the Sedins. Nashville in 6.


Flyers are actually looking worse after beating the Sabres. Look for the Bruins to dispatch them in 6 or less.

Tampa jumped out to an early lead over the Caps. They also seem to be undergoing the boost from beating the penguins in the first round that I expected the Flyers to have. I'm not sure if it was rust from the Caps having so much time off, or if it is the Bolts finally hitting on all cylinders. Either way, the Caps need to win the next two, or they are going to be in a really tough spot. Caps in 7.


Same. Wings vs Caps, Caps in 7. Although, I am feeling less and less reserved about saying the Predators could make it to the finals this year, and I have little doubt that they could beat either the lightning or the caps in a 7 game series. If you are looking to put down some money in Vegas with a huge payout, I'd go Nashville. They have great goaltending in Pekka Rinne, and Shea Weber's beard. That may be all you need.

Ran into Apollo Ohno this past week. Pretty nice, but rolled with huge D-Bags.

The Memphis Grizzlies are not good. I cannot believe they keep winning.

Josh Johnson is a machine. NL Cy Young is all his if he stays healthy.

Kudos to the Indians. They really are playing well. Good to see.