Tuesday, October 27, 2015
Yet any legitimate criticism of his play is often met with excuses and my favorite "He's not the reason they lost." (even though his job is to be a reason the team wins, not to just not be a reason they lose)
But let's limit our scrutiny of sacred cow Tuukka Rask to October of 2015. And let's also not talk about his play as a percentage of the blame pie for the Bruins' struggles. It doesn't matter if he's only 10% responsible for the B's losses, or 5% or less than 1%. His quality of play is what matters, and it's below the standards of an NHL goalie, let alone one of the allegedly better goalies in the League.
He's been lackadaisical, imprecise, passive. He cuts off angles incorrectly, he handles the puck awkwardly, and his form has been allowing pucks to leak through. He's done the bare minimum of his job. He's not the cause of the Bruins' losing, but he's not doing much to cause them to win.
So why is he in net tonight instead of Jonas Gustavsson? J-Goose hasn't been amazing, but he is trying. Unlike Rask, who seems to be trying to be benched or traded. Don't the Bruins want to reward effort and punish apathy? Jonas Gustavsson has been playing the best that Jonas Gustavsson has been playing. Rask is playing nowhere near the best that he can play.
The Bruins have 3 wins this season, 2 of those were with Gustavsson in net. I'm not saying the B's should trade Rask, or permanently put Gustavsson ahead of Rask on the depth chart. But Rask shouldn't be starting right now. Send Rask a message and play the goalie who is giving you 100% and winning.
Wednesday, October 21, 2015
You know the phrase "Winning isn't everything, it's the only thing?" Cubs fans are satisfied with just the first part.
I like Theo Epstein. I like Jon Lester. I outright hate Joe Maddon, and that hatred outweighs any positive feelings I have for Epstein or Lester. Maddon is obnoxious. His teams are obnoxious. If he wins a World Series, the obnoxiousness will only increase exponentially.
The Cubs are not kindred to the pre-2004 Red Sox. Even the nature of the team's two Curses are different. The Red Sox sold Babe Ruth and a number of other great players to the Yankees, and the Sox paid their penance for those sins for nearly 9 decades. The Cubs pissed off a guy with a goat, and then they weren't good for a century. Great story.
Cubs fans aren't frustrated or cranky or sarcastic enough to compare to the fellowship of the miserable that were Red Sox fans before 2004. Red Sox fans were tortured. Red Sox fans cared. Cubs fans do not.
Look at Red Sox fans' reaction to the waves of Pink Hat that infiltrated Fenway after 2004. The Pink Hats didn't care if the Sox won or who was on the team and what role they played, they just wanted to go to Fenway and take a selfie of themselves eating a hot dog. #WallyWave
All Cubs fans are Pink Hats! Their priorities are the exact same. Fuck that.
I don't want that content with failure Chicago fanbase to be rewarded with a World Series. I don't want Joe Maddon's already gargantuan ego to be augmented by a World Series ring on his finger. I don't want to hear about goats or Back to the Future II anymore. So let's go Mets.
And please, Mets, finish it tonight so I can stop hating myself for rooting for a New York team.
Monday, October 19, 2015
It wasn't the embarrassing blowout that many Patriots fans had been hoping for and many sports pundits had predicted. But there's still embarrassment. There's still Tom Brady being amazing. There's still a Patriots win over the Colts.
You were never going to get "revenge" in this game, Pats fans. But the chance to reassert your superiority over the Colts while simultaneously laughing at their buffoonery carries with it a certain satisfaction.
The Patriots didn't let the hype around this game affect them. They played with focus and concentration. They made adjustments. They were patient. The Colts, on the other hand, played with too much urgency. They tried too hard to write the script of the game instead of just letting it happen. The fake punt Snapfu (term coined by Grantland's Bill Barnwell) was a perfect example of the Colts trying to force the game to play out a certain way. Just punt. Or fake.
Seriously, Pagano, you're going to go after the Patriots by trying to out-coach them? That was the "weakness" you attacked?
The Colts were able to keep this game close thanks to plays like Julian "Nine Fingers" Edelman bobbling a pass, giving Mike Adams an easy pick 6. Indy had a strong first drive as well, but even that series was a fraction of an inch away from ending with 0 points. It was a 21-20 Indy lead going into halftime, but at no point did the Colts have a firm grip on the game.
The Pats benefited from what was probably a bad call on an Indy onside kick. That was luck. What makes the good teams great is capitalizing on lucky bounces and calls. The Pats did that a few plays later when LeGarrette Blount ran for a 38-yard TD.
Danny Amendola had a big game, which was pivotal with Julian Edelman's bent pinkie finger. Edelman and Jamie Collins made the most athletic plays of the game, Edelman twisting inside defenders on a 4th down run, Collins leaping over a long-snapper to block a PAT.
And Tom Brady was Tom Brady. That interception that wasn't his fault was his first of the season. He was mobile inside the pocket, giving himself time to make plays. What continues to impress me the most about Brady is his inhuman ability to not be distracted by all the noise and the things that would affect normal human beings like us.
So the Indy game is over. And we're on to New York and the Jets. And it's for first place in the division. That's not a typo.
Sunday, October 18, 2015
It's time for revenge. Because somehow beating the Colts by 50+ points will make up for the months of misinformed "11 of 12 footballs being 2+ PSI under" bogus stories that the NFL leaked (what former Jets employees leaked, so the Day of Vengeance should be next Sunday when the Jets come to Gillette). Will beating the Colts by 7 touchdowns put all the BS back into the mouths of morons like Michael Felger? Will a thorough and complete beatdown of the Colts atone for the lack of fact-checking by ESPN and the rest of the sports media, and the subsequent lack of apology for being completely wrong, and allowing themselves to be used as the propaganda arm of the NFL?
This game isn't about revenge. It's about winning, and winning against a team you have comprehensively dominated for years. And if it's a win by 1 point, I think that'd be so much better than winning by 50. It would be more heart-breaking, more of a tease. Furthermore, it would also trick the Colts into thinking that they're close to the Patriots, just a few minor adjustments away from being contenders. That kind of false hope is priceless, and would be a true revenge. Let them think they're close so they don't fire their horrible GM or their foolish head coach, and don't tell Andrew Luck to stop turning the ball over. So while part of me wants this to be a 50+ point slaughter, part of me also wants this to be a closely fought struggle. Just to fool the Colts that they're in the Patriots' league. False hope is true torture.
Anyway, here's a drinking game you can play during the football game. Please make sure you do two things before playing this: #1. call out of work on Monday because you'll be quite incapacitated. #2. Put your last will and testament in order, because it will be needed.
The rules of the game (which must be strictly adhered to, or players will be suspended for 4 weeks, and there will be a loss of draught picks, which means you won't be able to pick which beer you drink)...
Anytime a commentator says...
"Deflate" or any form of the word - take 1 drink of beer
A word that ends with "-Gate" - take 1 drink of beer
Something about DeflateGate without saying "deflate" - drink for 12.5 seconds
"Air" = 1 drink
"Pressure" = 1 drink
"Goodell" = 1 drink
"Indianapolis" = 1 drink
"AFC" = 1 drink
"Championship" = 1 drink
"Revenge" = 1 drink
"Brady" = 1 drink
"Gronk" = 1 drink
"Luck" = 1 drink
A stupid pun and/or play on words involving the word "luck" (e.g. "luck of the draw," if the Colts run a QB draw) = 1 shot of hard liquor
"Al" = 1 drink
"C(h)ris" = 1 drink
"Bob" = 1 drink
"Michele" = 1 drink
"D'Qwell" = 1 drink, 1 shot of Nyquil
Anytime this happens...
The Patriots score = drink for as many seconds as the Patriots have points (you must also drink after PATs)
A DraftKings or FanDuel commercial = take 1 drink
Air pressure is mentioned = drink 11 of 12 ounces of beer
A penalty = 1 drink
Tom Brady points out the "mike" = 1 drink, bonus points for drinking from Mike's Hard Lemonade
Brady says all or part of "Alpha Milk" = 1 drink, bonus points for drinking a White Russian
Brady holds the ball for longer than 2 seconds = 1 drink
Rob Gronkowski throws somebody out of the club = finish your beer
Gronk scores = 1 drink
Gronk spikes = finish your beer, then spike the container (bonus points for spiking glass bottles/mugs)
Jamie Collins makes a big play = 1 drink
Julian Edelman makes a guy miss = 1 drink
Dion Lewis makes a guy miss = 1 drink
The Patriots run for 5+ yards = 1 drink
Kick or punt return = drink during entire return
Touchback = 1 drink
Matthew Slater makes a special teams tackle = 1 drink
Andrew Luck turnover = 1 whole beer
Anytime this is on screen...
A banner = 1 drink per banner (this will be a lot of drinking)
The number 12 (on jerseys, scoreboards, clocks, graphics, etc.) = 1 drink
Highlights from previous Pats/Colts games = 1 shot of liquor
Peyton Manning = drink for 18 seconds
Rodney Harrison = drink for 37 seconds
Ty Law = drink for 24 seconds
Bob Kraft = 1 drink
Kraft talking to someone = drink the entire time he's talking
Jim Irsay = 1 drink (please don't drive)
A shot of footballs and/or ball boys = 1 shot
Ernie Adams = drink a bottle of wine by the time the game ends
So enjoy the game, get lubed up responsibly, don't drink and drive, don't complain about air pressure unless you understand the basic laws of physics.