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Sunday, September 30, 2007

Phillies Complete Historic Comeback


On September 12th, everything was going smoothly for the New York Mets. They were getting hitting, they had Pedro Martinez back from injury, and most of all, had a 7.0 game lead on 2nd place Philadelphia in the National League East. But that was September 12th.

Today, on September 30th, just 18 days from the 12th, the New York Mets were tied with the Phillies going into today. Yes the Mets had given up a 7.0 game lead in 18 days. But the Mets could still make the playoffs. They had a game left to do that. But the problem is, the Phillies had one as well. So it came down to 2 games. The Phillies vs the Nationals, and the Mets vs the Marlins to decide the NL East Title.

The 1st game that was played was the Mets game. Coming into the game, many thought it would be a pitching duel between veteran Tom Glavine and ace Dontrelle Willis. But that was not the case. Before the Mets could even come to the plate, the Marlins pounded Glavine for a total of 7 runs! It was just the 2nd in Glavine's amazing career that he lasted less than an inning. He was booed off of the field and for good reason. The inning blew the Mets' entire season. New York could not comeback from 7 runs down. They looked frustrated and depressed the entire game. They only managed 1 run against Willis. The final score was 8-1 Marlins.

Now for the deciding game. But before even 1 pitch was thrown, the out-of-town scoreboard put up the Marlins big 1st inning, which caused a lengthy standing ovation from the Phillie faithful. The ovation inspired the Phillies to play their best, and they did. They scored 3 runs through the 1st 3 innings, then added another 3 by the end of the 7th. The Nationals could only muster up 1 run, which meant the Phillies won the game and NL East Title for the 1st time since 1993!

"A lot of people counted us out," Howard said. "That's why they call us the Fightin' Phillies. We're going to celebrate, the whole town of Philadelphia is going to celebrate, but we're going to come back on Wednesday ready to go."

The playoffs will begin right after the Padres and Rockies have their 1 game playoff to decide the winner of their division.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Kings Beat Ducks in '07-08 Season Opener


It was a historic day in the world of hockey today. Not only was the 2007-08 NHL season getting underway, but the 1st ever NHL game was being played in London, England, and 2 future stars took to the ice for the 1st time in their NHL careers.

It was packed at the O2 Arena in London with fans from all over the world in attendance. After a short delay due to the lighting, the game got underway. Mike Cammaleri got the 1st goal of the new season early in the period to give the Kings the surprising lead. It was then a full period and 2 minutes until the next goal was scored, and that was in part due to the Kings goaltender, Johnathon Bernier. Bernier played 2 games for Canada in the Super Series and looked superb, and he looked the same facing the games best. He saved shot after shot as the Ducks tried to tie the game up, but Bernier didn't flinch.

Then, in the middle of the 2nd period, the Kings were on a powerplay. Anze Kopitar fired a shot that didn't get through all the way. The puck laid in the crease and to the back of the unsuspecting Ilya Bryzgalov when Rob Blake tapped it in to give the Kings a 2-0 lead. Los Angeles didn't wait long to get goal number 3, as Cammaleri scored his 2nd goal of the game early in the 3rd to give the Kings a 3-0 lead. From then on, Bernier took over... again. He was a brick wall and seemed to have no jitters as he neared closer and closer to his 1st NHL win. His day would of been perfect if it hadn't been for another rising star.

While on the powerplay, Chris Pronger fired a shot from the blueline that was saved by Bernier. But a huge rebound came to the 2nd overall pick in 2005, Bobby Ryan. Ryan showed no hesitation, as he went quickly to his backhand and potted the puck in. But that goal was all for none, as Micheal Handzus scored a empty-net goal shortly after to clinch the game for the Kings. The final score was 4-1.

All the talk after the game was the stellar performance from 19 year-old Johnathon Bernier. "I don't think you could've expected a better game from a 19-year-old goaltender," Kings coach Marc Crawford said. "There was a lot of pressure tonight, and he looked like a really solid, solid goaltender. Not very many pucks bounced off of him, and he made a couple of great saves."

''It's pretty amazing,'' said Blake. ''At 19 years old, the way he plays is very calm. He just stands in there, he doesn't move too much, he seems to swallow those pucks. They got that goal and started coming at us pretty good and he smothered two or three pucks and you could see our bench calm down.''

They other key to the game was Anaheim's lack of discipline. 3 of the Kings 4 goals were scored on the powerplay, and the 4th goal as you might remember was just a empty-netter. ''Our inability to stay out of the box obviously killed us today,'' said Ducks captain Chris Pronger. ''You're going to lose a fair amount of games if you take that amount of penalties.''

The 2 clubs meet tomorrow at the O2 Arena for what promises to be a good re-match.

NHL's Top 3 Breakout Players


Every year, there is 1 player who has an awesome year, when no one expects him to. Eric Stall did it in '05-06, and his brother Jordan did it last year. This year, there are a couple players that may just be the next Jordan or Eric Stall, and I'm going to give you my choices to be that player.

Number 3: Anze Kopitar Kopitar had an amazing rookie year as he piled up 20 goals and 41 assists for a total of 61 points! This year, he still has Michael Cammalleri (who is only going to get better) to center him, and Alexander Frolov on the other wing. Kopitar is a center, but did play a little wing last year, and I think the Kings will put him there for the entire season. I predict 36 goals, 45 assists and 81 points.

Number 2: Paul Stastny The kid from Colordao tallied up 28 goals and 50 assists last year for 78 points in total. But this year, he has Ryan Smyth with him, and an aging Joe Sakic, so Stastny may get the 1st line job. The Avalanche also has Wojtek Wolski on the wing, another young player to help out Stastny. I predict 35 goals, 55 assists for a total of 90 points for Stastny.

Number 1: Evgeni Malkin Although Malkin is already a superstar, I expect big numbers from him this year. The Russian scored a total of 85 points last year. But with improving players such as Crosby and Stall, and veterans such as Mark Recchi and Petr Sykora, his point total can only go up. I think Malkin gets 42 goals and 58 assist this year for a total of 100 points.

There you have it. 3 player who I think will shock the NHL world and have career years. I will be keeping watch on these players all year, and have regular updates on them.

The NHL Opener


Sorry about not putting up an alert saying that I would be away for a week. I just forgot. But now that I'm back, it's time to do one of the biggest stories of the year.

The NHL season opener is today at 12:00pm with the Kings facing the defending Stanley Cup champions, the Anaheim Ducks. Don't think I made a mistake with the time. The game is being played in a special place. London, England! Yes the great city of London is hosting it's 1st ever NHL game. But right now, the teams aren't thinking about showing hockey off to English fans. They are just thinking about winning the opener. ''There's a subtle feeling that comes over a team,'' said Kings head coach Marc Crawford. ''And you can see it in the players, there's a little more focus in their eyes."

Although the Kings might be focused as Crawford said, I don' think they have a chance at winning this game. The Ducks did suffer some blows during the off-season, losing Maurice Richard Trophy candidate Teemu Selanne to free-agency, Dustin Penner to Edmonton, and maybe Scott Neidermayer to retirement. But they do have some young players ready to step up, like Corey Perry, and Ryan Getzlaf, how everyone is choosing to have a breakout year.

Because of this, I think the Ducks will beat the Kings in the season opener today. But be ready to see a re-match tomorrow, also at 12:00pm.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Wellwood May Require Surgery


The Toronto Maple Leafs are expecting to be in the playoffs come spring-time. But they may have suffered a huge set-back to that plan, before the season has even begun.

Kyle Wellwood, the Leafs best young player may need additional surgery for a hernia injury last year. The team received word early Friday evening that extensive testing had discovered an issue in the same abdominal area that was surgically repaired in Montreal last season.

Wellwood missed over 1/3rd of the Leafs games last year with the injury, but still almost tied his point total from the year before in which he scored 45 points. The extent of the injury is unknown. It could be as many as 2 days, to 2 weeks to 2 months!

Wellwood has been picked by many hockey experts to be this years breakout player, as new linemates Mark Bell and possibly Jason Blake will add talent to Wellwood's line.

The Leafs are going to get more info about his injury as training camp goes on, but it seems that Kyle Wellwood may be watching the 1st few games in the Leafs season in the press box.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Leafs Lose Pre-Season Opener


The Toronto Maple Leafs are coming into this season with high expectations. Fans expect a playoff berth for the 1st time in 2 years. They got their season started yesterday against the Edmonton Oilers.

The Oilers got the 1st goal of the game, when Slava Trukhno scored late in the 1st. But the Leafs came back just 2 minutes later with a goal of their own to tie it up. In the 2nd period, there was no score, so on to the 3rd. In that period, the Leafs got the lead when Bryan McCabe fired a shot past the Edmonton goalie. But just like the Leafs in the 1st, Edmonton came back quick to tie the game back up. The game ended up going into overtime.

In the O.T period, the Oilers scored early when Denis Grebeshkov scored just 3 minutes in to give the Oilers the win. Oilers head coach Craig MacTavish says the whole organization is still discovering what the 23-year-old Grebeshkov brings to the table.

``He has all kinds of skill,'' he said of Grebeshkov. ``For him to win the hockey game has to be a good feeling for him. There were other aspects of his game that we all saw can use some fine-tuning but there is obviously a lot to work with there.''

The Leafs will play tonight against the Coyotes.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Belichick Pays


Roger Goodell already has a reputation for being strict. He has already dealt with Pacman Jones and Micheal Vick, and now he needed to deal with Bill Belichick, who was spying on the New York Jets.

The New England coach was fined the NFL maximum of US$500,000 Thursday and the Patriots were ordered to pay $250,000 for stealing an opponent's defensive signals. Commissioner Roger Goodell also ordered the team to give up next year's first-round draft choice if it reaches the playoffs and second- and third-round picks if it doesn't.

When Belichick addressed the media yesterday, it was almost painful to watch. "All we're focusing on is the San Diego Chargers." That was his answer to everything. He seemed that he had gone days without sleep, and was hiding something.

The Patriots have been caught once before. Last November, during their 35-0 victory in Green Bay, the Packers caught the Pats shooting unauthorized video and told them to stop.

New England will now try to put this incident behind them and get ready for the San Diego Chargers on Sunday.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Bell Suspended


After a long wait, the NHL finally announced today the length of Toronto forward Mark Bell's suspension for DUI back in 2006.

Bell will miss 15 games of the season without pay for his actions back on September 1st, 2006. The 27 year-old was has been sober for over a year now. "Playing in the National Hockey League is a privilege, and with that privilege comes a corresponding responsibility for exemplary conduct off the ice as well as on it," said NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman.

"However, over the past year, Mark has made extraordinary strides in his rehabilitation," added Bettman. "This positive progress was a material factor in reducing what could have been a lengthier suspension."

The NHLPA though is not in favor of the suspension.

"The NHLPA sees no basis for the excessive suspension Gary Bettman has imposed upon Mark Bell. Mark has fully accepted the serious consequences of his actions. He faces incarceration at the conclusion of the season and has already been suspended without pay as a result of his placement in Stage 2 of the NHL/NHLPA Substance Abuse and Behavioral Health program (SABH). There is no legitimate purpose served by adding a substantial league disciplinary suspension to the severe sanctions that have already been imposed."

Whether it was fair or not fair, this is all part of the road to staying sober for Mark Bell.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Everett Under Sedation


Yesterday, during the game between the Denver Broncos and the Buffalo Bills, Domenik Hixon was returning the second half-opening kickoff. It seemed like a normal play. Nothing special was happening. It looked like the Bills had Hixon cornered, and all they had to do was wrap him up. But instead, the Bills' Kevin Everett decided to hit not with his shoulder, but with his head. The moment he made contact, Everett went limp. It took trainers 15 minutes to put Everett on a stretcher properly and put him in a ambulance. Today was the 1st time that we heard from him since that play yesterday. The news wasn't good.

Everett, after under-going 4-hours of emergency surgery was evaluated by doctors. They said that he would be lucky to walk again. Eric Armstead, a partner of the player's agent Brian Overstreet, told The Associated Press on Monday, ''He'll be sedated for the next 24 to 48 hours and we won't know more until then,'' Armstead said. ''We were told by the doctors that the surgery went well.''

Replays showed the player twitching for a few seconds as he attempted to get up before falling back to the ground. Everett had his eyes open but showed no further signs of movement during the next 15 minutes. Everett though did show some signs of life, as he twitched many times when at the hospital.

The reason for this injury, and for other injuries like this is the way these players are taught to hit. They are taught to use their head, instead of the more traditional way of wrapping up the guy with your hands and shoulders. If your going full speed, then putting that kind of force on your neck, your bound to get hurt at some point.

I think the NFL should stop this nasty habit. Maybe put in a new rule that you can't hit with your head or it will be a penalty. Or you could argue that the penalty could be even more severe, and the player should get kicked out of the game. All of these are good solutions. The NFL should really consider doing some sort of rule change.

Tomlinson Leads Chargers to Victory


Yesterday was the 1st Sunday of the NFL season. There were a lot of teams going at it , but there was 1 matchup that everyone was going to watch.

The Chicago Bears and the San Diego Chargers were facing off yesterday in what was supposed to be a game full of scoring. The Bears went to the Super Bowl last year, and the Chargers had the best record in football at 14-2 last year. But after the 1st quarter, no one had scored a single point. The 2nd quarter wasn't much different, as the Bears scored the lone points with a measly field goal. But LaDainian Tomlinson wouldn't be denied in the 2nd half. He got the Chargers in the lead in the 3rd as he threw his 7th touchdown pass of his career to Antonio Gates. Then, in the 4th quarter, LT ran in for his 1st touchdown of the 2007 season. The Chargers defence took over from then, and held the Bears scoreless for the rest of the game for the Chargers to win 14-3.

The Bears, who topped the NFC last year at 13-3 before losing in the Super Bowl to Indianapolis, were nothing short of brutal with four turnovers. Two of the turnovers set up the game's only touchdowns. 'When we're playing at our best, those mistakes don't happen and tonight definitely wasn't our night,'' said Grossman, who was a pedestrian 12-for-23 for 145 yards and an interception. ''We had all the opportunities in the world. Our defence gave us a chance to win this game.''

Here are the rest of the scores from yesterday:

New York Giants vs Dallas - 35-45
Detroit vs Oakland - 36-21
Tampa Bay vs Seattle - 6-20
Tennessee vs Jacksonville - 13-10
Denver vs Buffalo - 15-14
Pittsburgh vs Cleveland - 34-7
Philadelphia vs Green Bay - 13-16
Miami vs Washington - 13-16
Carolina vs St.Louis - 27-13
New England vs New York Jets - 38-14
Atlanta vs Minnesota - 3-14
Kansas City vs Houston - 3-20

Friday, September 7, 2007

Colts Win 2007 NFL Season Opener


The last time the Indianapolis Colts took the field in a meaningful game, they won the Super Bowl (in convincing fashion I might add). Yesterday, they looked as dominant as ever against the New Orleans Saints, who were coming off a 10-6 year which was ended by the Bears in the NFC Championship game.

The game started out horrible for the Colts, as one the 1st play, Joesph Addia went down. There were a few moments of silence in the crowd, but it was evident that Addia would return. On the Colts 2nd possession, Peyton Manning threw long for Marvin Harrison, who caught it for the 1st touchdown of the 2007 NFL season. In the 2nd quarter, the Saints came back. An interception brought a touchdown and a tie game, and a field goal gave them the lead. But the Colts later kicked their own field goal to have it tied up at 10 a piece at half-time.

The 2nd half was all Colts. 1st, Joesph Addia, who was back in the game ran 2 yards for a touchdown, after Manning marched the Colts down the field. Then, Reggie Wayne scored after catching a 28-yard pass Manning. The Colts kept on coming in the 4th, as Wayne scored another touchdown and Matt Giordano got a 83-yard interception. The final score was 41-10 for the Colts.

The key to this game was the Colts defence. They shut down Drew Brees, and didn't allow anything from Reggie Bush. ''All off-season, that's what everyone talked about, that the defence has lost all these guys,'' said Peyton Manning, who threw for 288 yards and three touchdowns. ''A lot of young guys played good tonight. It's only one game and there's a long way to go, but we played really well tonight.''

Now the Colts can relax and get ready for their week matchup.

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Printers Signs With Ti-Cats


Former MVP of the CFL Casey Printers thought he had football figured out. He went from the CFL to the NFL, thinking he would become a star. It didn't work out, and now he is back in the CFL.

Printers signed a 3-year deal with the Hamilton Tiger Cats today. Financial terms of the contract are unknown, bot is expected that Printers will make a high salary of $500,000. For the past few years, Printers played for the Kansas City Chiefs. He never got much playing time, and failed to make the lineup during this pre-season. As many as five teams were said to be in the running for Printers. The Montreal Alouettes believed they had a deal with the 2004 Most Outstanding Player, until the Ticats swooped in with a last minute offer he could not refuse.

At only 26, the former MVP will look to lead the Ti-Cats past the Argos and into a playoff spot.

Sorry

For the past week, I haven't been able to update my blog. I apologize to all my readers and I will try to make some more free time in the future.

Sunday, September 2, 2007

Top 5 Moments of August


September was a month to remember. The Super Series, Micheal Vick and a lot of other things make up the top 5 moments of August.

Number 5 - Phil Rizzuto Dies at 89. The former player and announcer died at 89 year early in August. He was one of the best shortstops in Yankee history, and was a fun announcer known for his catch phrase "Holy Cow".

Number 4 - Little League World Series. It was Georgia and Japan in the final of the LLWS late in August. It was a close game that went into extra innings. When Dalton Carriker came in the 8th, he blasted a ball to right, clearing the fence to win the Little League World Series.

Number 3 - MLB History. In the month of August, lots of stuff happened in the MLB. Tom Glavine got his 300th win of his career, Alex Rodriguez hit his 500th homer, and Barry Bonds hit broke the all-time home run record.

Number 2 - Canada/Russia Super Series For the anniversary of the 1972 Summit Series, Canada and Russia decided to do a series with their juniors. It was supposed to be a close Series, but Canada took the 1st 4 games of the Series and will play in Canada on Tuesday.

Number 1 - Micheal Vick and Dog Fighting. After months of investigations and controversy, Micheal Vick finally pleaded guilty to charges of dog fighting. He will face a minimum of 1 year in jail.

Rookie Buchholz No-hits Orioles

Clay Buchholz. Do you know the name. Probably not. He's an MLB pitcher for the Red Sox. But during his entire career, he had only made 1 start, which he won. Before yesterday he was just a young pitcher fighting for a job in '08. But now he's in the history books.

Buchholz took the mound yesterday against the Orioles and looked for his 2nd career win. He didn't need to wait long for the Sox to get him some runs, as Coco Crisp drove in his 49th run to give the Sox a 1-0 lead. The runs just kept on coming from there, as the Sox cashed in 10 by the 8th. But by then the buzz wasn't about the runs, it was about Buchholz. He had throw a no-hitter threw 8! All he needed was 3 more outs. Brian Roberts was the 1st to go up, and went right back to the dugout after Buchholz struck him out. Then Corey Patterson flew out to centre for the 2nd out. Then, Nick Markakis came up to bat. Buchholz got 2 quick strikes then a nasty curveball to strike him out and throw a no-hitter! It was the 1st no-hitter by a Red Sox rookie ever.

The closest the Orioles came to a hit was when Miguel Tejada led off the seventh with a sharp grounder up the middle. Second baseman Dustin Pedroia raced to his right and dove. He backhanded the ball, stood up and fired to first, where the throw easily beat Tejada, who slid in headfirst.

''I jumped up as fast as I could and I threw it as hard as I could,'' Pedroia said. Buchholz jumped but missed the ball. ''I was thinking it was over,'' Buchholz said. ''When he made that play I knew something was meant to happen tonight. It was an incredible moment in my life.''

Buchholz joined Mark Buehrle of the White Sox (April 18) and Justin Verlander of the Tigers (June 12) among the pitchers to throw a no-hitter this season -- all of whom are American Leaguers. He also became the 21st rookie to throw a no-hitter, the first since Florida's Anibal Sanchez on Sept. 6, 2006.

''There's no going back to Triple-A,'' Red Sox manager Terry Francona said.

Saturday, September 1, 2007

Canada Sweeps 4 Games in Russia


Team Canada was coming into their game today up 3-0 in the Canada/Russia Super Series. They were looking to make it a 4-game sweep of the games in Russia.

Russia started out the game great, putting the pressure on the Canadians from the puck-drop. But Canada managed to get a goal from Brad Marchand near the end of the period to take a 1-0 lead. Same Gagner then added on to the lead with a early 2nd period goal. John Tavares got the final goal of the period, his first in the series and Canada's third of the game with a power-play goal at 12:19 thanks to a heads-up play by Claude Giroux.

But Russia wouldn't go away. In front of the home-town crowd, Russia sored 2 quick ones to get within 1 of the Canadians. But Brad Marchand came up big once again with a goal off a rebound. That took the wind out of the Russians sails, and the Canadians played it safe for the rest of the game. The final score was 4-2 for Canada.

The key to the game was Canadian goalie Steve Mason. As in the 1st game, Mason stopped all but 2 shots in the game helping Canada to a win. If Canada gets even a tie in Winnipeg on Tuesday, Canada will have won the series.