Tuesday, December 30, 2008


Two power play goals and a shorthanded score propelled the Bruins to their 9th straight victory, 5-2 over the reeling Penguins.

The Bruins dominated the contest, even though they didn't lead until halfway through the 2nd. The Penguins knocked in a freak rebound, and Chara gave up the puck to Sidney Crosby at his own blue line, and that's how Pittsburgh scored twice.

But the B's put 40 shots on net and had a majority of the scoring opportunities.

Martin St. Pierre had the shorthanded goal, his first score in a Bruins uniform. He was set-up by Savard who poke-checked a pass, saw St. Pierre was free, and went up the ice 2 on 1. Savard also set up Phil Kessel's goal in the 2nd, and scored one himself earlier in the period. Dennis Wideman also had a goal and 2 assists.

Aaron Ward returned from his ankle injuries and looked decent. Having Ward back gives the Bruins much more depth on the blue line.

The Bruins have 60 points this season. They didn't reach 60 until February 8th of last season. This was also their 12th win in December. The last time the Bruins had 12 wins in one month was 1977.

These two teams meet again Thursday night in Boston. The B's will be looking for their 14th straight home win, and 10th straight overall.

And I hate Michel Therrien, so the more the B's can pile on, the better.


Photo Credits:
AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar


More baseless predictions for you. These are the New Year's Eve games:

Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl
Fort Worth, TX
Houston vs. Air Force

Both teams should have good fan support in this one. Houston isn't too far, and there are a lot of Air Force installations in Texas. I just love the Mountain West too much this season to pick against them, especially when they're facing a 7-5 C-USA team. Air Force flies away with this one.

Brut Sun Bowl
El Paso, TX
Oregon State vs. #20 Pittsburgh

There's a big difference between Pasadena and El Paso. Oregon State was rerouted from their potential Rose Bowl trip by rival Oregon and I think they'll be out to prove a point in west Texas. OSU also beat USC earlier this year. Pitt's biggest win was against West Virginia. They also lost to Bowling Green and Rutgers. They needed OT to beat Notre Dame. The Beavers win one for the Pac-10 44-30.

Gaylord Hotels Music City Bowl
Nashville, TN
#24 Boston College vs. Vanderbilt

Speaking of teams one win away from a BCS Bowl...

Vanderbilt has the homefield advantage, and they'll need it. The Commodores are 6-6, and they've lost 6 of their last 7, including a 23-10 loss to Wake Forest, and a 10-7 embarrassment to Duke. BC should handle them with ease, but they'll probably find some way to make things difficult. Nevertheless, the Eagles extend their bowl winning streak with yet another triumph in a semi-relevant Bowl.

Insight Bowl
Tempe, AZ
Kansas vs. Minnesota

For some reason people expected Kansas to be really good at football this year. Maybe once more this century it'll happen, but that's gonna be it. Then again, Minnesota's no prize pig. They went 3-5 in the subpar Big Ten. And to be fair to the Jayhawks, even though they're in the Big XII North, they had to play Texas, Texas Tech, and Oklahoma. This was Minnesota's fluffy non-conference schedule:

Northern Illinois
@ Bowling Green
Montana State
Florida Atlantic

KU wins this one with ease. Rock. Chalk. Jayhawk.

Chick-fil-A (Peach) Bowl
Atlanta, GA
#14 Georgia Tech vs. LSU

As bad as the ACC was this season, they've gotten some pretty winnable bowl selections. The Yellow Jackets might have been the best team in the ACC, if not the second best. LSU, on the other hand, was a monumental disappointment, finishing 3-5 in the SEC. Tech also gets to play this one just a few miles from campus. They were 2-0 against SEC teams this season and will improve to 3-0 with a victory over the Tigers.


A few months ago I wrote a post about how the lagging economy might affect our favorite sports. I'd like to reintroduce the topic with a few more specific predictions/possibilities for what the future might hold.

Without going into too much detail, the economy sucks right now because there's not enough debt to go around. Companies use debt in order to expand, or even just to run their business day-to-day. Example: A bar uses debt to buy a month's worth of alcohol, which they sell over the course of a month. Without that debt, the bar can't buy the booze, then can't sell it, then it goes out of business. Then all the bar's employees are out of work, they can't buy as much stuff at Best Buy, then Best Buy goes out of business, and so on, and so on.

College football's postseason is 34 Bowls deep these days. These Bowls are fueled by corporate sponsorship. But companies are trying to go lean in order to survive, which means cutting advertising and promotions. Furthermore, the attendance at Bowls games has already been down this season, and 2009 might be even worse. People have less money to spend on a trip to Shreveport or Houston to see their favorite team play in the Independence Bowl.

The big games will be fine, and unfortunately, so will the BCS.

The NHL is going to have to cut its salary cap in 2 seasons, which will squeeze every good team that's near the max payroll. The League might have to contract teams if it keeps losing money. Teams like the Bruins, Rangers, Canadiens, Maple Leafs, and Red Wings are doing well, and will continue to do well. But the teams down South, and in smaller Canadian markets (Calgary, Alberta, Ottawa) will be going through some tough times, and might be deleted or relocated.

The Phoenix Coyotes have already asked for an advance on their revenue sharing money. They might have to declare bankruptcy. Other NHL teams are in similar predicaments.

We've already started to see this here in Boston. The New York Times wants to sell their share of the Boston Red Sox, for about half what it used to be worth. Almost every company in the world is desperately trying to generate cash to keep themselves afloat. Selling assets like a sports team is an easy way to get this cash. But who's going to buy?

How do you buy something big like a sports team? By borrowing money (debt). But nobody is lending. And nobody is willing to borrow for something that's essentially a toy for super-rich people to play with (See: Mark Cuban).

Right now the Yankees have enough cash, a discounted Stadium all their own, and tons of reliable revenue. They're the only team in baseball that isn't acting as if there's a recession. This off-season they've committed nearly half a billion dollars to players. Right now they're still sitting pretty. But two or three years from now, if the economy hasn't rebounded, they might be royally fucked.

Imagine if half the companies that buy luxury boxes from the Yankees go under, then those posh, expensive cash generating boxes would be nothing but closets with a great view of the field. Season ticket holders are likely to dwindle if the economy stays stagnant. As are the casual fans who go to 3 or 4 games a year with the family. People won't be paying $25 for Derek Jeter t-shirts (although that money is divided among all 30 teams).

The Yankees are committing huge sums of money in a very dangerous economic climate. It's like driving to the mountains during a blizzard. You might make it, and if so, the skiing will be great; but you might get blown off a cliff and explode in a fiery maelstrom of death.

Notice how cheap gas is these days? How about all those 40% off sales before Christmas and those 70% sales right after? One good thing about a recession is that prices drop for pretty much everything, especially non-essential and/or recreational things like sports tickets.

What are the odds the Pats increase ticket prices? If anything, they'll go down. And it will be even better for fans in cities with smaller fanbases and less success on the field. If I lived in Florida, I could probably get Marlins tickets for $5 for an entire weekend series. Hell, they might even pay me to go to games.

And imagine the deals you'll get at minor league parks and college games. Can anyone say 50 cent beer night?

Monday, December 29, 2008


The Red Sox have once again tapped the seemingly inexhaustible pool of has-beens and DL addicts to replenish their pitching staff.

Brad Penny was signed to a one year deal worth $5 million, and potentially more if he reaches certain incentives. Penny was sidelined with tendinitis for most of the 2008 season. When he did make it to the mound, it was even more painful. He was 6-9 with a 6.27 ERA

However, he's only a year removed from back-to-back 16 win seasons. But at the same time, he's never been a consistent pitcher, healthy or unhealthy.

After the Yankees signed away Kevin Cash, the Red Sox were compelled to acquire a back-up catcher. They signed Ithaca's Josh Bard. You may remember Bard being acquired in 2006, then traded for Doug Mirabelli right before a Tim Wakefield start.

Bard hit .202 for the Padres in '08, playing in only 57 games.

Maybe I'm just in a bad mood because Patriots season is over, but both of these moves irritate the piss out of me. Another question mark riddled starter a la Bartolo Colon. And a .202 hitter to back-up the .220 hitting starting catcher.


Sunday, December 28, 2008


More ignorant bowl predictions. These games are on Monday and Tuesday.

Papajohns.com Bowl
Birmingham, AL
NC State vs. Rutgers

Rutgers was 2-3 outside of the Big East, with wins over Army and Morgan State. They're biggest win was a 12-10 squeaker at home against UConn. NC State finished the season strong with 4 straight wins. They played a somewhat tough schedule, with 10 of their opponents going to bowls, but they were 4-6 in those games. I gotta go with Rutgers, 24-16.

Valero Alamo Bowl
San Antonio, TX
#21 Missouri vs. #23 Northwestern

Northwestern's had a great year, but Chase Daniels and Missouri are too potent an offense for NW to stop. Missouri 44, Northwestern 31.

Roady's Humanitarian Bowl
Boise, ID
Maryland vs. Nevada

Nevada had to play Texas Tech and Mizzou and they still finished 7-5. Maryland stumbled down the stretch against good teams, and this is quite a long trip for them. Maryland epitomized the whole ACC. They were good one week, horrible the next. They beat California but lost to Middle Tennessee State. Nevada wins 24-17.

Texas Bowl
Houston, TX
Rice vs. Western Michigan

Rice gets to play in their own backyard. Both teams are 9-3, both teams had decent schedules. This could be a very good game and you'll probably miss it because it's on the NFL Network. I give Rice the edge because it'll essentially be a home game.

Pacific Life Holiday Bowl
San Diego, CA
#13 Oklahoma State vs. #17 Oregon

This one's just unfair. OSU has three losses: #3 Texas, #7 Texas Tech, and #1 Oklahoma. They played Texas and Oklahoma very close. Oregon's good, but they'll be outclassed by OSU 56-24.


The Pats shutout the Bills 13-0 in a windy and wild game that saw a 26 yard field goal attempt blown wide right, Matt Cassel punt the ball 57 yards but only throw 8 passes, the Pats go 2 for 10 on 3rd down, then go 3 for 3 on 4th down, and stoppages to keep the uprights upright.

It was a crazy game, and a solid win over an inferior team, but it was all for not. Brett Favre threw three point-shaving quality interceptions to gift-wrap the Dolphins an AFC East title, and end the Patriots' season at 16 games.

In the end, however, the Patriots could have done just a bit more to make their case for a playoff spot. They were certainly in that 34-31 OT loss to the Jets at Gillette Stadium. And the 18-15 debacle in Indy was an extremely winnable contest.

It is a joke that the 9-6-1 Eagles made the playoffs and we didn't. That the 9-7 Cardinals made it and we didn't. That the 8-8 Chargers made it and we didn't. But again, the Pats only had to win one more game. It's a shame that an 11-5 season will go to waste, but the Pats had an easy schedule and certainly could have gone 12-4.

But it's still very lame to be tied for the 6th best record in the NFL and be denied postseason football. It's lame to be a mere 2 games behind the best record in the League and be left out. It's lame, but that's football. Again, one more win and the Pats are tied for the 2nd best record.

Nine months of incubation then the Patriots will be reborn.

Go Bruins! Go Celtics!


Photo Credits:
AP Photo/David Duprey
AP Photo/Rob Carr
AP Photo/Julie Jacobson

Saturday, December 27, 2008


The last time the Bruins won 7 in a row was 1993. Since the start of November, the Bruins are 21-2-1, which is simply astounding.

The Canes have actually put up some solid efforts against the Bruins this season. Reminiscent of a few years ago when the Whalers would suck unless they were playing the B's.

Carolina finished the 1st period with a 1-0, as the Bruins looked a bit rusty. Blake Wheeler scored twice in the 2nd - he now leads NHL rookies in that category - but Carolina evened things up. Through the first 2 periods, the Hurricanes outshot the Bruins 25 to 12.

The 3rd period was one of the best 20 minute stretches I've seen from the Bruins lately. They killed a pair of penalties that came back-to-back, and even generated some shorthanded opportunities. They hit a few posts and crossbars before Marc Savard set-up Michael Ryder.

Savard is simply a magician with the puck. The way he draws attention, and diverts defensemen and goalies is unreal. He then disguises his passes until it's too late for the defense to react. In this instance, Michael Ryder had half an empty net to shoot at and give the Bruins a 3-2 lead. This was Ryder's 10th goal in 13 games.

Chuck Kobasew ended an 11 game scoring drought with an empty netter, which was also set up by Savard.

The Bruins stay in Dixie as they play the Thrashers in Atlanta Sunday evening at 5. The B's are 2-0 against Atlanta this season, and 9-1-0 against the Southleast Division.


Photo Credit:

AP Photo/Karl B DeBlaker

Friday, December 26, 2008


More bowl predictions. All these games are on Saturday, except the Independence Bowl, which is on Sunday.

Meineke Car Care Bowl
Charlotte, NC
West Virginia vs. North Carolina

Essentially a home game for UNC. Both teams come into this game 8-4, but WVU has explosiveness on offense in Pat White. I think he leads the Mountaineers to victory in his last game. WVU 27, UNC 17

Champs Sports Bowl
Orlando, FL
Wisconsin vs. Florida State

Weird to see neither of these teams ranked. The Badgers had a losing record in the Big Ten, which is sad. They also lost to Michigan, which is suicidal sad. They needed overtime to beat 1-AA Cal-Poly. FSU isn't a powerhouse, but 3 of their 4 losses were to ranked teams (Florida, BC, Georgia Tech). They even beat #19 Virginia Tech. The Seminoles can lose half their team to suspension/arrest and still pull this one out. FSU 38, Wisconsin 21.

Emerald Bowl
San Francisco, CA
Miami (FL) vs. California

Cal beat #17 Oregon and #18 Michigan State this season, and was 7-0 at home. This game is right in their backyard, 9 miles from campus. Miami beat Virginia Tech, but lost to every other decent ACC team. They were 3-3 on the road, with wins against Duke, Virginia, and Texas A&M. The Golden Bears win one for the Pac-10 in this matchup, 41-21.

Independence Bowl
Shreveport, LA
Northern Illinois vs. Louisiana Tech

Tech may have lost 14-7 to Army, but NIU's biggest win was over Bowling Green. Plus the game is very close to Tech, so I'll give them the edge. 30-28. More points scored than viewers.

Monday, December 22, 2008


Ho hum. Another Sunday afternoon. Another Bruins victory. Another Celtics win.

The Bruins beat the St. Louis Blues 6-3, winning their 5th straight, 10th in their last 11, and 19th in their last 22. Blake Wheeler scored 2 goals in the first 5 minutes of play. The rookie now has 11 goals on the season.

The Blues made it a game for the first 2 periods. It wasn't until Marc Savard netted his 11th of the season late in the 2nd to make it a comfortable 5-3 Boston lead.

Phil Kessel extended his point streak with 2 assists. David Krejci added to his total with 3 more helpers.

But the bad news is that Patrice Bergeron was diagnosed with another concussion. No official word yet as to how long he'll be out for. But with the extended absence of Marco Sturm and Bergeron, the Bruins lose a lot of depth at forward. PJ Axelsson was on the power play unit Sunday afternoon for crying out loud.

The B's continue their road trip in New Jersey Tuesday night.

The Celtics were in Boston and won their 18th straight thanks in large part to 26 points from Rajon Rondo. Ray Allen added 18, Paul Pierce 17. KG had 12, along with 8 assists. Kendrick Perkins also had 12 points to go with his 12 rebounds.

Although the score was uncharacteristically high for a Celtics game, a win is a win is a win. And this one was far from ugly. It was simply played at a faster pace.

The C's are also in action Tuesday night as they host the 76ers.


Photo Credits:
AP Photo/Bill Boyce
AP Photo/Michael Dwyer

Sunday, December 21, 2008


The snow showed up, but the Arizona Cardinals did not. It's kind of a sham that Arizona has clinched a divisional title, and the Pats still need help just to make the playoffs. Then again, New England got to feast on the NFC West this season, going 4-0, and outscoring them 124 to 62. In other words, the Pats are 6-5 against teams that aren't in the NFC West.

The Pats put up a grotesque 514 yards of total offense, which is even more impressive when one considers the weather.

Cassel was once again outstanding, throwing 20 completions in 36 attempts for 345 yards and 3 scores. But the story of the day was the ground game. The Pats rushed the ball 42 times for 189 yards, 2 TDs and 4.4 yards per carry. If you exclude the kneel downs at the end of the game, it was 4.8 per carry. Jordan and Morris provided the 1-2 punch, combining for 166 yards.

The absence of LaMont Jordan earlier in the year cannot be overlooked. He literally doubled his carries for the season from 20 to 40 Sunday afternoon. The Pats were 4-4 in games he missed.

It's hard not to be excited after a 47-7 win. But this was an Arizona team that fell 35-14 to the Vikings last week. So let's not get too crazy. And what chance does a team from Glendale have in 20 degree freezing rain anyway?

The Pats win the AFC East with a win next Sunday and a Jets win over Miami. They can also clinch a wild card spot with a win and a Baltimore loss to Jacksonville.

Pats @ Bills next Sunday at 1. Forecast looks like temps in the low 30s and "Few" snow showers, but that can change fast in Western New York.


Photo Credits:
AP Photo/Stephan Savoia
AP Photo/Winslow Townson

Saturday, December 20, 2008


I'm making shallow, vague, uninformed, thoughtless predictions of every Bowl game this year. These games are from Sunday to Friday.

R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl
December 21st
New Orleans, LA
Southern Miss vs. Troy

Sun Belt Champion Troy against a 6-6 Southern Miss team. Southern Miss is closer to New Orleans, only about 2 hours away, but that's about all they have going for them. Troy wins 38-20. The girl is Diane Kruger, who played Helen of Troy in Troy.

San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl
December 23rd
San Diego, CA
#9 Boise State vs. #11 TCU

The Pac-10 didn't have enough eligible teams for this game, so it is WAC vs. Mountain West. And what a matchup we'll get to see because of it. Boise State finally gets tested, and tested hard. TCU is 10-2. Those losses were on the road to #1 Oklahoma, and #6 Utah (13-10 score in that game). I think they derail Boise State's perfect season and win 38-35.

Sheraton Hawaii Bowl
December 24th
Honolulu, HA
Hawaii vs. Notre Dame

There's only one word to describe Notre Dame... pathetic. This will be the 10th straight bowl that the Irish lose. Hawaii is hard to beat in Honolulu, but they would win this game if it were in South Bend, Alaska, or Mars. Notre Dame sucks. Hawaii 103, Notre Dame -2.

Motor City Bowl
December 26th
Detroit, MI
Florida Atlantic vs. Central Michigan

FAU went 6-6 playing in the Sun Belt Conference. CMU was 8-4 in the stronger MAC. CMU's also playing 150 miles from their campus. Prediction: CMU 34, FAU 6. (The picture is of swimsuit model Shay Lyn, a CMU alum) CMU is in a bowl game and Michigan isn't! HAHAHAHAHA!

Friday, December 19, 2008


The Bruins allowed their most goals of the season. They also scored their most. NESN's Jack Edwards described the game best, calling it an "accordion." Boston went up 2-0, then Toronto made it 2-1. Then the B's went up 5-1, and Toronto came back to make it 5-4. The Bruins finally pulled away for good in the 3rd.

David Krejci, Phil Kessel, and Marc Savard were the offensive lead the offensive onslaught. Krejci recorded his first career hat trick, and the 3rd hat trick for the Bruins this season. The young Czech scored 6 goals and 21 assists in 56 games last season. This year he has 11 goals and has already matched the 21 assists in just 31 games.

Phil Kessel extended his point streak to 16 consecutive games. He also had an assist. He's 3rd in the NHL with 21 goals.

Marc Savard assisted on 3 goals and knocked one in on his own. He's 3rd in the League in assists.

Marco Sturm scored the Bruins' first goal 36 seconds into the game in his return from a neck injury. But he left early with a "lower body injury" which could mean just about anything.

After the 2nd period, Tim Thomas was pulled and replaced by Manny Fernandez. It was the first time a Bruins goalie's been replaced mid-game this season. Most of the goals in the 2nd period weren't Thomas' fault, but he was starting to get shaky in net. The moved worked out as Manny Fernandez made some great saves in the 3rd and stopped all 13 shots he faced.

I wouldn't be shocked if Fernandez is in net Saturday night when the Bruins host the Carolina Hurricanes.

The Bruins have scored the most goals in the NHL (114), and have also allowed the fewest (72).


Photo Credits:
AP Photo/Charles Krupa

Wednesday, December 17, 2008


It's one of my favorite times of year. The overly complicated NFL playoff races, hockey and basketball are in full swing, college basketball is about to start conference play, and it's Bowl Season. Oh yeah, plus there's Christmas and junk.

I'm making shallow, vague, carefree, and most likely incorrect predictions for each and every Bowl game this year. Here's the first batch. All these games are on Saturday.

EagleBank Bowl
Washington, DC
Wake Forest vs. Navy

First time this bowl's being played, because we really needed more Bowls Games. Navy is essentially playing at home, only a few miles from Annapolis. Wake Forest is one of 10 ACC teams going bowling, which speaks more to the mediocrity of the conference then anything else. 6 of the ACC's 12 teams were 4-4 in conference play.

Prediction: Navy rolls over the Deacons 31-13

New Mexico Bowl:
Albuquerque, NM
Colorado State vs. Fresno State

Neither of these teams are very good, but Colorado State plays in the tougher Mountain West Conference, so I'm giving the Rams the edge in this one. CSU 27, FSU 21.

magicJack St. Petersburg Bowl
St. Petersburg, FL
Memphis vs. South Florida

The game's in Tropicana Field, but it's essentially a home contest for the USF Bulls. South Florida should be able to handle the 6-6 Memphis Tigers, especially in St. Pete. USF 41, Memphis 17.

Pioneer Las Vegas Bowl
Las Vegas, NV
#16 BYU vs. Arizona

Brigham Young lost to #11 TCU, and #6 Utah. Both on the road. And that's it. They beat Washington and UCLA earlier in the season, so they've handled Pac-10 teams before. Both schools are about 400 miles from Vegas, and should fill the 36,800 seat Sam Boyd Stadium. I think it's kind of funny that the biggest Mormon school in the country will be playing in Vegas. BYU is going to win this game, and win it easily. BYU 52, Arizona 17.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008


The bad news is that the Pats don't control their own destiny. They can win out, finish 11-5, and miss the playoffs. The good news is that the help they need can come from several different places.

Currently, there are four teams vying for two spots in the AFC. The Patriots, Jets, and Dolphins are tied atop the AFC East. The Patriots, Jets, Dolphins, and Ravens are tied for the 2nd and final AFC Wild Card spot. The Jets, Dolphins, and Ravens all have better conference records than the Pats. In the event of a tie, the Pats lose.

All of this assumes the Patriots win their last two games. If they don't, they're out.

The best shot is the Wild Card. Since the Dolphins and Jets play each other in Week 17, one of them will knock the other one out of the Wild Card race. This leaves just the Pats and Ravens. Baltimore has to play the 9-5 Cowboys in Dallas on Sunday night. That's a real tough game. We all saw what the Cowboys did to the Giants. Then Baltimore finishes their season at home against the lowly Jaguars.

The Pats can also slip in if the Colts lose their last two games. Indy is at Jacksonville Thursday night, then they host Tennessee in Week 17, so it isn't much of a stretch.

The Pats can stay in the division race if either (or both) the Jets and Dolphins lose in Week 16. The Jets are at the 3-11 Seahawks, and the Dolphins are at the 2-12 Chiefs. If the Jets lose, then the Pats need them to be the Dolphins in Week 17. If the Dolphins lose, then the Pats need them to beat the Jets in Week 17. If they both lose, then it doesn't matter who wins in Week 17.

If the Jets and Dolphins both win this weekend, the Pats would need them to tie each other in Week 17 in order to win the AFC East.

So this weekend the teams to root for are:

New England over Arizona (duh)
Dallas over Baltimore
Jacksonville over Indianapolis
Seattle over New York
Kansas City over Miami

Monday, December 15, 2008


It won't get the same attention that Brett Favre's famous performance received a few years ago. After all, it wasn't on Monday Night and it was against a dreadfully bad team, but Matt Cassel's game was, in a word, inspirational. In sloppy weather, he was 18/30 for 218 yards, a career high 4 TDs, and a tipped ball INT that should've been a reception.

Cassel was helped by his friends, specifically his running back friends. As a team, the Pats ran for 277 yards on 39 carries, or 7.1 yards a carry. Those are college numbers. Morris ran for 117, Jordan put up 97 on his old team, and Faulk added 45. Both Morris and Jordan had rushing TDs, Faulk had a receiving score.

Cassel only threw passes to 4 different receivers. Welker and Moss had 6 catches, Faulk had 5, and Sam Aiken had 1. But when you're running game is devouring yardage, and you've got guys like Moss, Welker, and Faulk; you don't need to spread the ball around much.

The defense had a good game overall, but had moments of sheer ugliness. The missed and messed up tackles remain an incessant theme. It seems like Ellis Hobbs must miss a big tackle and allow 30 extra yards at least once a game. But on the bright side, Junior Seau looked more in tune. And Jonathan Wilhite has emerged as a decent CB, taking snaps away from Deltha O'Neal. Thank frigging God.

The Pats didn't get tons of help around the League. The Bills had the Jets down 27-24 under 2 minutes, and for some reason they rolled out JP Losman on a 2nd & 5 passing play. Losman was sacked, fumbled, and the Jets returned it for a touchdown.

The Dolphins beat the 49ers 14-9. San Francisco couldn't manage a touchdown, and Miami rode a pair of 1st half scores to victory.

The good news is that Baltimore lost to the Steelers. So now there's a tie for the Wild Card.

Pats host the Arizona Cardinals next Sunday.

The best moment of the game was seeing Matt Cassel cradling the game ball with pride as he walked off the field. He didn't spend much time on the field after the game, but just enough for Coach Belichick to find him and give him a hug. That was a very nice scene.


Photo Credits:
AP Photo/George Nitkin
AP Photo/Bill Kostroun

Sunday, December 14, 2008


Call the Bruins General Sherman because they destroyed Atlanta this weekend. What? Too soon?

The 4-2 score in Saturday night's game doesn't attest to how dominant the Bruins were. For one stretch in the 2nd, the B's had the puck in Atlanta's end for 2 solid minutes. The Thrashers had to ice the puck three straight times before they could work it out of their zone in the traditional way.

Atlanta's Johan "All Together" Hedberg kept the game from being an absolute slaughter. Without some huge saves, the Bruins would have been up 6-1 after 2 periods instead of just 3-1.

Der Kessel is German for "the boiler." Actually, it's primary translation is kettle, then bowl. But Heizkessel specifically means boiler. I'm not sure if Phil Kessel is of German descent, but he is boiling hot. He had a power play goal and a power play assist. That's 15 games with a point, which is the longest streak in the NHL this season.

Aaron Ward didn't play with an ankle injury, Bergeron was scratched with the flu.

A bit of bad news came out regarding Marco Sturm. He was placed on the long-term injured reserve list, which is kind of like baseball's 60 day DL, only much shorter. The move is retroactive to November 17th. Players on LTIR are not eligible to return until the team has played 10 games and it's been 24 days since the injury. Moving him also clears up cap space. But the Bruins wouldn't place him on the list unless they expected Sturm to be out for a few more weeks.

The B's host Toronto Thursday night. The Bruins are 2-1-0 against the Maple Leafs this season, but they were also the last visiting team to win in The Garden.

The Sports Network

Photo Credit:
AP Photo/Michael Dwyer

Friday, December 12, 2008


6 different goal scorers, and 13 players with points. That's how the Bruins thrashed the Thrashers 7-3. Phil Kessel is officially hotter than the sun as he added a goal and 2 assists to his total. He's recorded points in 14 straight games now and has 18 goals on the season. He had 19 last year.

The Bruins dominated from the start, with Mark Stuart scoring 3:31 after the puck dropped. Michael Ryder made it a 4-0 route 12 minutes into the 1st. After that, some stretches of complacency gave Atlanta extra scoring chances. But the Bruins clamped down whenever the Thrashers made it "close."

By the way, Matt Hunwick had one of the best games from a Bruins defenseman I've seen in ages. Not only did he have 2 assists, but he was all over Ilya Kovalchuck throughout the night. He broke up most of Atlanta's offensive plays before they even had a chance to get started. Sheer brilliance.

The victory is bittersweet as Aaron Ward left after only 2 shifts. He appeared to reaggravate his leg injury and I doubt he'll make an appearance in Saturday night's game. Which is also against Atlanta.


Photo Credit:
AP Photo/John Amis

Thursday, December 11, 2008


What are we? The fucking Devil Rays? The Marlins? We have 4 jerseys now! No, wait, with the green ones that's 5! And now we have our very own "alternative cap?"

I'm bullshit about this. Absolutely positively about to have an aneurysm kind of bullshit. Kick the dog, bite your own tongue 'til it bleeds kind of bullshit.

I don't mind the new road jerseys. I actually like them. They remind me of the new Bruins' jerseys. A sense of history with a bit of modern style. They make a statement without being too loud.

But now we have alternate home jerseys (the red ones) AND alternate road jerseys? What the fuck?

I'm sorry, but that's a spring training warmup, not a Major League Baseball uniform, and certainly not the uniform of a 108 year old team like the Red Sox. Laundry like this should never leave Fort Myers.

But the worst part. The absolute worst part of all this pre-Holiday promotional garbage is the hat that belongs in McCoy Stadium down in Pawtucket, not in Fenway. This is a joke. I can't believe the Boston Red Sox will be taking the field with this travesty atop their heads.

It's not that these things look particularly ugly. And certainly there are worse jerseys around baseball. But why change? How much money is enough? Don't the Red Sox sell enough pink and green and turquoise merchandise for Luchino to survive through the stormy waters of today's stock market?

The Red Sox have 5 different jerseys. That's one more than the Royals. Nuf said.

Extra Bases


November 30, 2000: The New York Yankees sign free agent Mike Mussina to a 5 year, $68 million deal. Which seemed big at the time.

December 19, 2000: Seemingly in response to the Mussina signing (the Sox had made offers, but they fell on deaf ears), the Red Sox sign slugger Manny Ramirez to an 8 year, $160 million deal.

December 10, 2008: The Yankees sign top free agent pitcher CC Sabathia to a 6 year, $160 million deal. But this time, Red Sox Nation laughs at the Yanks for overspending. What a difference two Championships make.

December ?, 2008: the Red Sox overpay to sign Mark Teixeira.

It's going to happen, it's just a question of when and for how much. And I can't help but remember 2000 when we all labeled Dan Duquette a reactionist for signing Manny Ramirez to such a huge contract. We all figured Mussina would extend the Yankee dynasty into the 21st century. Thankfully we were wrong.

But CC Sabathia is not Mike Mussina. We might all laugh at how much extra the Yankees have to pay in order to convince him to come to the Bronx. We might predict he'll break down for some reason. But the Yankees can afford to overpay him. And there's no reason to believe Sabathia will falter physically in the next 6 years.

However, the Yankees just acquired one of the best pitchers in baseball. A pitcher who has proven he can succeed in the AL. A pitcher who has never started fewer than 28 games.

And they're not done spending. They might also acquire former Sox and former Dodgers Derek Lowe and Manny Ramirez.

The AL East just became a three horse race. And Mark Teixiera's production replacing Mike Lowell's won't be enough to give the Sox the inside track.


Monday, December 08, 2008


Although the game ended 5-3, the Bruins were much more dominant than that score would suggest. Up 3-0 after the 1st period, and 4-1 after 2, the Bruins took their foot off the gas just enough to let Tampa Bay get back into the game. But the Bruins clamped down in the end. PJ Axelsson put it away with his first goal of the season, an empty netter. Earlier he had been awarded a penalty shot that was just barely stopped by Mike Smith, so it was nice to see him finally get on the board.

The Bruins didn't have much killer instinct in the 3rd. It's almost as if having a 3 goal lead is a bad thing for this team. They play so much better when it's a 1 or 2 goal game.

Phil Kessel is unstoppable. He had a goal and an assist, extending his goal streak to 6 games, and his point streak to 12. In those 12 games he has 10 goals, 6 assists and is +9. Matt Hunwick added an assist, increasing his point total to 10. Pretty impressive for a defenseman in 15 games.

Wednesday night will be a treat. The Bruins go down to DC to play the Capitals. Washington is 10-1-1 at home and they're the Southleast Division leaders. Weird scheduling quirk, the Bruins are in the middle of a 6 game stretch of Southleast Division opponents.

I don't mind.


Photo Credit:
AP Photo/Charles Krupa


The Pats defense struggled all day, and it nearly cost them a golden opportunity to tie the Jets in the AFC East. Injuries played their part as Ty Warren didn't even dress, Vince Wilfork went out early, Tedy Bruschi left the game in the 1st half, and Mike Vrabel missed a few plays. Junior Seau played much more than he should have and was fully exploited by the Seahawks. Colvin also failed to impress.

But in the end it was the defense that made the game sealing play. Brandon Meriweather, who has looked better and better as the season's progressed, timed his blitz to perfection, went untouched to the QB, and forced a fumble. Seattle was only 10 yards from field goal range so it was a massive play.

The Pats were also inches away from another game changing opportunity. The Seahawks fumbled on a kickoff and Stephen Gostkowski was the closest one to the ball. He got his hands on it, but wasn't able to surround the ball with his body and maintain possession. Two plays later Deion Branch is scurrying all over the field, gaining 63 yards, and just barely staying in bounds when he caught it.

Cassel didn't have a "Player of the Week" type of day, but he was very good throughout. He led the comeback drives nicely, looked poised all day, and avoided pressure. Seattle, at times, put a great deal of pressure on Cassel and he seemed to make the right decision each time. He used his feet to get back to the line of scrimmage, or buy him more time. He threw it away when he had to, and stepped up when he could.

How annoying were the announcers? Did they have to recite the alma mater's of EVERYONE that made a play? Did they have to ballwash their darling Pittsburgh Steelers at every opportunity, somehow giving THEM credit for Seattle having an 8 point lead? Calling Wes Welker "The Slot Machine" and "Mighty Mite" was ridiculous and quite lame. And the way they talked about Deion "Ever Since Tom Brady Stopped Being My QB I've Sucked" Branch as if he were still a relevant player. He juked Junior Seau and had one good game out of 30 in Seattle. Whoopty shit.

And Seattle, you're not the home of the 12th Man. College Station, Texas is home of the 12th man. And get rid of those puke-green gloves and cleats. It's one thing to suck, it's another thing to look bad while sucking.

With the Dolphins beating the Bills and the 49ers beating the Jets, there's a three way tie in the AFC East. If you're curious, Here are the NFL's tie-breaking procedures. All three teams are also a game behind Baltimore and Indianapolis for the 2 Wild Card spots.

The Pats stay out West and play the 3-10 Raiders. Get ready for some tuck-rule whining.


Photo Credits:
AP Photo/Elaine Thompson
AP Photo/Ted S. Warren