Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Who's The NFL MVP?

This entire NFL season has been dominated by the New England Patriots, and more specifically, Tom Brady. Many people think that he is the NFL MVP, but I don't think it's that automatic.

Although Brady had had one of the best seasons in NFL history, i don't think it would have been possible without another player on the Pats. Randy Moss.

Moss came from Oakland looking like he was at the end of his career. But with a good QB, he has become the best receiver in the NFL, getting 19 touchdowns this season, just 3 off the NFL record set by Jerry Rice. I think that Moss may be the real reason for the Pats success. Not only does he get a lot of touchdowns, but with teams double covering him, he gets others in single coverage or even wide open. He could get the MVP award this year.

There is another player in the NFL that I think might get the MVP. Brett Favre.

Favre has lead a rejuvenated Packers club to a 12-2 record this year after a disappointing 8-8 record last year. During the off-season, Favre thought about retiring, but decided to come back. It is looking like a good decision for him. He is 2nd in the league in passing yards, 5th in the league in touchdowns, and 5th in the league in passer rating. And although many think that those wouldn't be MVP numbers, it is what he does off the field and during the game that doesn't get put on the statsheet that counts. He is a leader to a relatively young Green Bay club, and does everything in his power to win.

Those 2 players I think will give Tom Brady a run for his money when it comes to MVP voting. But no matter what happens, Brady has had an amazing year.

Simon Gone for 30

Last Saturday, it was just another game between the Islanders and the Penguins. But Chris Simon took a rough game too far during a scrum. He stepped on Jarrko Rutto's foot! Today he received his punishment.

He was handed the longest suspension in NHL history, as he will not be playing for 30 games! Although the act might not of been worth 30 games, it was him as a repeat offender that made it such a long suspension.

"There were several factors that were considered in imposing the largest suspension in NHL history for an on-ice incident," explained NHL Vice President Colin Campbell in a statement.

"While fortunate, Mr. Ruutu suffered no serious injury as a result of Chris Simon's actions, the deliberate act of kicking an opponent with a skate blade, especially when that opponent is in a vulnarable position, is and always has been a repugnant and totally unacceptable act in the game of hockey."

"In addition, while the act itself was extremely dangerous, the fact that this is the eighth incident requiring the imposition of supplementary discipline on Simon compelled me to impose a very severe penalty in this case," Campbell added.

"When a player repeatedly evidences the lack of ability to control his actions and conducts himself in total disregard of the rules, as well the health and safety of other players on the ice, each subsequent incident is deserving of enhanced scrutiny and more severe discipline. This response serves not only the purpose of imposing appropriate punishment for the player involved, but also the purpose of deterring the player and all other players from engaging in similar conduct in the future - hopefully creating a safer long-term work environment for all NHL players."

Simon will be eligible to return to the ice on February 21st.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Simon to Recieve More Punishment

Ever since that game last year between the Islanders and the Rangers, everyone has looked at Chris Simon a little bit differently. That's because during that game, Simon slashed Rangers player Ryan Hollweg in the face. It was one of the most disgusting sights that hockey had ever seen, and they suspended him accordingly. 25 games Simon got, which is the longest suspension in hockey history. Now, it looks like Simon might be facing even more suspensions.

Yesterday, Simon was thrown out of the game between the Islanders and the Penguins because he tried to step on Jarkko Ruutu's foot! At that time, it just seemed like Simon would just get thrown out, but it looks like he's going to missing many more games than just that one.

All signs point to the veteran forward getting the seventh suspension of his career, and it could be another lengthy one considering his status as a repeat offender.

But during a press conference, Simon was remorseful. "I want to apologize to my team and Islanders fans everywhere," Simon said last season in a statement regarding his hit on Hollweg.

"My actions played a major part in our team losing a crucial game. I also want to apologize to the National Hockey League for the damage I have caused this great game of ours."

But this is just another incident in what seems to be a league that doesn't have any respect for their fellow players anymore. Already there have been many acts of hitting from behind and slashing this year, that have resulted in suspensions. It seems that with the new NHL, the enforcer, has now gone to drastic lengths to get ice time, to the point where they may not get ice time, ever again.

The NHL will make their decision about what to do with Simon later this week, but it doesn't look good for him.

Leafs Lose Against Habs

The Toronto Maple Leafs were facing the Montreal Canadiens in a Saturday Night showdown between the 2 teams. It was a battle of 2 teams going in different directions. The Leafs winning 6 of their last 7, and the Habs playing their worst home hockey since 1968. It was sure to be a good game.

The 1st goal of the game went to the Canadiens, as Saku Koivu snapped a 12-game scoreless drought with goal off Hal Gill's skate. The Leafs then pressured all period to get the goal that would tie it, but they couldn't get it passed Carey Price, who was playing amazing. The shot total was 13-6 in Toronto's favour at the end of 1 period, but the Habs still held the lead.

Then the 2nd period started. The 2nd period had been a place that the Leafs had dominated all year, scoring a league-high 44 goals in the 2nd. But that was not the case in this game.

Early in the period, Saku Koivu scored his 2nd of the game to give the Habs a 2-0 lead, and the effects of the game a day before, were starting to show for the Leafs. They let the Habs have consistent pressure in the zone, playing almost a penalty kill system, but 5-5. Eventually, the Canadiens scored again, when a shot from the point from Mike Komisarek was tipped in by Andrei Kostsitsyn. Going into the 3rd period, the Habs had a 3-0 lead.

It was more of the same in the 3rd, as Alex Kovalev added to the lead before a late goal by Devereaux cut the lead to 4-1. Then, with the game virtually over, Bryan McCabe went down after receiving a check from Kostsitsyn, and went straight to the dressing room. What the Maple Leafs trainers found was not good.

After the game was final, at 4-1, the trainers found 3 breaks in McCabe's hand. The earliest he could come back is in 6-8 weeks. Toronto coach Paul Maurice was livid, saying Kostitsyn horse-collared McCabe and threw him into the boards.

"He's too good a player to miss that much time after a (expletive) play like that," he said.

But in the other dressing room, it was a much happier feeling. Saku Koivu ended a 12-game scoreless drought, and the Habs ended a horrible winless streak at home.

"When you don't score and there's a lot of talk about not scoring, getting that first goal was a big relief," said Koivu. "But this was more about getting that win on home ice. We played well for 60 minutes and, when you play well defensively, it gives you a chance to win."

The Leafs will now play Tuesday against the Ligtning, while the Habs will play the Panthers on Tuesday.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Pettitte Comes Clean

After the Mitchell Report named close to 90 former and current MLB players, some players have started to come clean about their drug-use. But so far, no one really vital to their teams or former teams had admitted to using steroids or HGH. But today, one of those players did.

Andy Pettitte, fresh off re-signing with the Yankees, admitted today that he took HGH in 2002. He took the performance enhancer after an early-season elbow injury put him on the DL. "I had heard that human growth hormone could promote faster healing for my elbow.'' So Pettitte asked the trainer he shared with Roger Clemens, Brian McNamee, to help him with HGH. McNamee recalled injecting Pettitte two to four times. Pettitte says that he only took HGH on 2 occasions.

''If what I did was an error in judgment on my part, I apologize,'' Pettitte said Saturday in a statement released by his agent. ''I accept responsibility for those two days. I felt an obligation to get back to my team as soon as possible. For this reason, and only this reason, for two days I tried human growth hormone. Though it was not against baseball rules, I was not comfortable with what I was doing, so I stopped. This is it - two days out of my life; two days out of my entire career, when I was injured and on the disabled list,'' he said. ''I wasn't looking for an edge. I was looking to heal.''

Even if Pettitte comes out of HGH problem this unscathed, he has just brought further evidence toward the great Roger Clemens' drug use. As it said earlier, Pettitte obtained the HGH from a trainer that he a Clemens shared at the time. Although Clemens and his attorney deny that he has ever taken performance-enhancing drugs, the evidence seems to piling up on him.

Leafs Continue Hot Play

Yesterday, the Toronto Maple Leafs were facing the Atlanta Thrashers and the best scorer in the league in Ilya Kovalchuk. It was going to be a real test of Toronto's defensive ability and goaltending, but they were up to it.

The game was expected to be a high scoring affair, but it was a defensive battle in the 1st period. Toskala and Lehtonen stopped a combined 14 shots in the period to keep it scoreless. But in the 2nd period, the scoring started.

While in the late stages of a penalty kill, Toskala stopped a blast from Kovalchuk, and the rebound went right to Hal Gill. He then dumped it to an open Boyd Devereaux coming out of the penalty box, but the pass went to deep and to the goaltender. But good hustle made Lehtonen make a mistake a fan on the dump. Devereaux then got the puck and shoveled it in to give the Leafs a 1-0 lead. Then, 3 minutes later, Mats Sundin took a bad shot from a bad angle, but he caught Lehtonen off his guard, as he opened the 5-hole just as the puck was coming to him. It was Sundin's 16th of the year to give the Leafs a 2-0 lead.

Nut before the period could end, Alexei Ponikarovsky took a hit to the head from Bobby Holik. The result was a hard bite on the tongue, and a whole lot of bleeding. Durong the intermission, he got stitches, but stayed in the game. It turned out to be a good decision.
Because in the 3rd period, after some hard work from Antropov in the corner, Ponikarovsky got the puck, and sniped it top shelf on Lehtonen. And 2 minutes later, he did it again, and again it was off a beautiful play from Antropov. The final score in the game was 4-0, as Toskala picked up his 10th career shutout, and his 2nd of the season.

This was the Leafs' 6th win in their last 7 games, and right now, everyone is firing at all cylinders. Sundin and Antropov are on pace for career years, and Toskala is playing great in goal. He hasn't allowed more than 3 goals in a game in his past 12 games, and hasn't allowed more than 2 in his past 7 games! Ironically, this stretch of good play came 7 games a go, when the Leafs won 4-2 over the Thrashers. So why is Toskala playing so good of late?

"I'm seeing the puck well," Toskala said. "Overall, I'm really comfortable. I'm having fun. That's the key."

The Leafs will now play Montreal in a Saturday night showdown of 2 teams going in opposite directions. The Leafs playing their best hockey of the year, and the Canadians playing their worst home hockey since 1968. It will certainley be a good game to watch.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Taylor Dead

Today, the entire football world mourned, as young of the brightest young stars of the NFL died today.

Pro Bowl safety Sean Taylor died Tuesday at the age of 24. His death comes a day after he was shot at his house at 2:00am. From that point on, he was in critical condition and in a coma.

"It is with deep regret that a young man had to come to his end so soon," father Pedro Taylor said in a statement on behalf of the family. "Many of his fans loved him because the way he played football. Many of his opponents feared him the way he approached the game. Others misunderstood him, many appreciated him and his family loved him."

Trauma experts said a serious wound to this large artery, leading from the abdomen through the upper thigh, is among the most difficult to fix and can quickly drain the body of blood, which can prevent oxygen from reaching the brain and vital organs.

The attack came eight days after an intruder was reported at Taylor's home. Officers were sent to the home about 1:45 a.m. ET Monday after Taylor's girlfriend called 911.

Doctors had been encouraged late Monday when Taylor squeezed a nurse's hand, according to Vinny Cerrato, the Redskins' vice-president of football operations. But family friend Richard Sharpstein said he was told Taylor never regained consciousness after being taken to the hospital.

"Maybe he was trying to say goodbye or something," Sharpstein said.

Sean Taylor (1983-2007)

Monday, November 12, 2007

Classa of '07

The Hockey Hall of Fame is set to induct its greatest class of all time.

Mark Messier, Ron Francis, Scott Stevens, Ron Francis and Al MacInnis will be honoured on Monday. Former general manager, NHL executive and director of central scouting Jim Gregory will also be inducted in the builder category.

"To know these guys and their professionalism, they're all such great ambassadors to the game," he told The Canadian Press. "To go in with that select company, you couldn't ask for a better group." said MacInnis, who is in awe of the players he's being inducted with.

It is a sign of the amazing careers of each player. Messier was the one of the most feared players in the league in his prime, as was certainly the most clutch in the league. Stevens became the hardest hitter ever to lace skates up. Francis made himself known as one of the consistent scorers in the league, scoring 20 goals in an amazing 20 seasons! And MacInnis made his slapshot feared by players and goalies alike, winning the fastest slapshot award numerous times.

In the future, it will be interesting to see if any Hall of Fame class will ever top this one.

Monday, November 5, 2007

Pats Stay Undeafeted

Yesterday, the entire football world was watching 1 game. The Colts vs the Patriots, in a battle of 2 undefeated teams.

The game started in Indy's favor, as they dominated the play and ended up with the 3-0 lead going into the 2nd quarter. The Colts added to their lead scoring 10 points in the quarter, but only after the Pats scored 7. So the score going into the half was 13-7.

But in the 2nd half, New England started a comeback. After a 3rd quarter where the Pats scored 3, Tom Brady took over in the 4th. But before he could get the ball, the Colts scored another touchdown, to make the lead 7 points more. But just a few minutes later, Wes Welker scored a TD to cut the lead by 7. And then, with the score 17-20, Kevin Faulk scored to give the Pats the lead. Indy couldn't come back though, so New England won 24-20.

The win in perhaps the NFL's biggest regular-season game ever keeps the Patriots (9-0) on course for the NFL's first unbeaten season since Miami did it 1972 and gives them the first tiebreaker over Indianapolis (7-1) in the AFC playoffs.