Friday, December 31, 2010

Kerrzy’s Notebook: Random Friday Thoughts

All Good Things…

Remember last week when the University of Connecticut women’s basketball team set an NCAA record with an 89th consecutive win?

Well, they squeezed one more win out of that impressive run before finally losing to ninth-ranked Stanford on Thursday night, ending the streak at 90 straight victories. Believe it or not, a loss to Stanford back on April 6th of 2008 was the last time the UConn Huskies tasted bitter defeat. It looks like they have their number!

Oddly enough, the UCLA men’s basketball team that held the previous record of 88 straight wins ended up losing to the same team, Notre Dame, on either side of their streak as well.

Here’s what UConn coach Geno Auriemma told reporters afterwards:

“I think disappointment is the right word, but not disappointment that we lost. There’s a sense of disappointment that we didn’t play well. There’s been other times we didn’t play well; it’s just that we haven’t faced anybody as good as Stanford was tonight.”

Two-time national player of the year Maya Moore didn’t score until the 17 minute mark of the game, finishing with about 10 points fewer than she normally averages, the Huskies shot 32.8% from the field and the team lost the rebound battle by a margin of 43-36…That’ll do it!

You know, it was a tough week for streaks now that I think about it!

Sidney Crosby’s run of 25 straight games with at least a point ended on Wednesday night against the NY Islanders as well. He hit the crossbar at one point but Rick DiPietro stood on his head the rest of the way, making 37 stops as the Isles beat the Pens 2-1 in a shootout. DiPietro even stopped him in the extra, extra frame!

From November 5th to December 28th, Sid the Young Adult (he’s no kid!) had 26 goals and 50 points for 32 goals and 65 points on the season, and he grew quite a threatening moustache to boot.

Well, you know what they say: All good things must come to an end…

Winter Classic in Jeopardy?

There have been some tense moments in Pittsburgh this week as the city gets set to host the 2011 Winter Classic on Saturday between the Pittsburgh Penguins and the Washington Capitals.

The forecast isn’t looking good ahead of the outdoor game at Heinz Field, the home of the NFL’s Steelers! Whatever happens, the NHL says it’s under control!

The forecast for the big game has a good chance of rain, which means the temperature will be above zero, which means the ice could be affected. The league says if weather becomes an issue they might play the game at night, or on Sunday.

Curious about how they turn a football field into a hockey rink? The NHL figured you might be, and made this awesome time-lapse video:


Oh, and if you’re worried about the conditions, click here to stay on top of things!

Hardcourt Happenings

It seems like just yesterday that the Miami Heat, with their spoil of riches, started the 2010/11 NBA season a modest 9-8, doesn’t it?

If you’re a Heat Hater, you’re trying very hard to remember those days because since then, Chris, Dwyane and LeBron have won sixteen of seventeen! They went from one game over .500 to a 25-9 mark in just one intensely successful month, a run that was punctuated with a 96-80 Christmas Day win over the LA Lakers.

What’s scary is that they could easily pass the thirty-win plateau before the next time they face any real challenges - their next six games feature just one current playoff team (the 17-16 Trailblazers) and a bunch of duds. Then they’ve got Denver and Chicago back-to-back, which should be a good test of how good they actually are.

Are you happy that the Miami Heat are finally starting to look like the powerhouse they were supposed to be?

Isn’t it great when fans get to vote on All-Star ballots? I’m guessing that Yao Ming of the Houston Rockets sure thinks so!

Despite not playing since early November and being out for the rest of the season, the Chinese superstar leads all Western Conference centres with 637,527 votes ahead of February’s All-Star game in Los Angeles. What’s even funnier is that the Lakers’ Andrew Bynum, who has only been back in the lineup since mid-December after missing significant time with a knee injury, is in second place.

Do the people that send in votes even watch basketball?

Other stuff…

DON'T FORGET TO CHECK OUT THE NEWEST FEATURE OF MY BLOG: The Kerrzy & Migs Friday WorkOut - a weekly workout from Miguel Cunha of ForcaFreeMotionBody.com!

Wrangler says it’ll be sticking by Brett Favre, despite the 41-year-old being out of pocket for not helping an investigation into some below the belt pictures…

The NFL’s Seattle Seahawks could make the playoffs with a losing record if they beat the Rams on Sunday…but apparently some Seattle “fans” are hoping for a loss!

Usually I don’t put videos in this part of the blog…but what the heck, it’s the last blog of 2010! Check out the sick penalty shot goal that Tampa’s Steve Stamkos scored on Montreal’s Carey Price on Thursday:


Happy New Year!!!!!

Kerrzy’s Notebook: Friday WorkOut!

Happy New Year!

So, have you made your New Year’s resolutions yet? If so, do any of them involving going to the gym?

If there was ever a great time to launch into a new blog feature that has to do with personal fitness, it’s got to be right now. Not only are we on the cusp of a new year, but it’s also a great time to catch the eye of those people including the gym on their list of things to do for 2011!

Introducing: The Kerrzy & Migs Friday WorkOut (or FWO)!

Yes, Kerrzy’s Notebook is teaming up with Miguel Cunha’s ForcaFreeMotionBody.com to bring you an awesome workout every Friday to help you get and stay healthy!

This week: The Farmer’s Workout:


-100 yard Farmer's Carry with two-24kg kettlebells

-100 step-ups on an 18" plyometric box (50 per leg)

-100 yard power wheel crawl

-100 forward & 100 backward jump rope



(3x)

Leave us a comment and let us know how you did or what you changed! You can also get in touch with us at FWOEdmonton@gmail.com.

See you next Friday!

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Polamalu's Hair: Week Seventeen Notes

Picture This!

Well, the Brett Favre thing is finally over…

No, I’m not talking about his career just yet. I’m talking about the NFL’s investigation into the allegations that he sent dirty pictures to a former NY Jets sideline reporter during his time in the Big Apple. So, did he send them after all? What about that video that people say he asked her for?

Well, the probe is over but we still don’t actually know.

The league fined Favre $50,000 on Wednesday for what it calls his failure to cooperate with investigators. NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said the 41-year-old was “not candid in several respects” which resulted in a longer investigation and extra bad press for all parties involved.

The league said he didn’t violate its workplace-conduct policy though, which means no one is really sure if he actually sent those “below the belt” picture messages or not. The ruling leaves it pretty open, but I think most people will assume that his apparent evasiveness means he probably did it!

The league says the fine will go towards funding a workplace conduct training program, but get this: The NFL website says Favre “essentially earned $50,000 over about five minutes of action,” despite sitting out Tuesday’s win over the Eagles.

Yeah, you read that right. Favre made the equivalent of his fine in five minutes of “kinda” work on Tuesday!

As for Sterger, her lawyer is accusing the “good old boys’ league” of playing favorites, adding that Sterger isn’t sure whether or not she’ll be taking legal action against Favre, the Jets or the NFL.

So will this be the last thing we remember about the long career of Brett Favre? It’s possible!

The Minnesota Star-Tribune says he failed another neurological exam on Wednesday, which means he may not start in Minnesota’s last game of the season on Sunday against the Detroit Lions. Earlier this year, Favre said this was for sure his last season, but will he want to go out like that?

I’m sure he’s walking around the Vikings dressing room telling old-man stories this week about how back in his day, you played uphill both ways and you were lucky if you got a concussion, because you had no pads on and they played with a rock because they couldn’t afford a ball…buncha wussies!

Brady or Vick?

Now that we’ve waded through the biggest non-football story of the week, lets take a look at one of the more high profile on-field questions: who is this year’s MVP?

The majority of people seem to think it’s a two-horse (QB) race at this point, but will it be Tom Brady or Michael Vick taking home the hardware?

While there are people (morons) out there who don’t believe Vick should be considered for such a high honor because of his past (remember that time he did something wrong and was punished for it by serving time in a federal penitentiary?), he has some pretty outstanding numbers. On the other side of the debate, there are people who believe that Brady, who is having another remarkable year, is the “clear cut” MVP.

When Pats running back Fred Taylor was asked recently just how good Brady is, he said: “I’ve played with a lot of quarterbacks in my career. If you put all of them together and form a Voltron, they might be as good as he is.”

If you ask Vick though, it’s an easy answer: “I would take…myself.”

Lets take a quick look at the numbers the two players have put up this season:

Tom Brady has thrown for 3,701 yards in fifteen starts with a 109.8 passer rating, connecting for 34 touchdowns while throwing just four interceptions. The 33-year-old does most of his work with his arm, running for just 30 yards on 31 carries this season with one TD. Also, he just set an NFL record for most pass attempts without an INT with 319!

Michael Vick has started 12 games for the Philadelphia Eagles, throwing for 3,018 yards, including 21 touchdown strikes and six interceptions, with a passer rating of 100.2. In addition to a strong arm, Vick can also get it done on the ground with 676 yards rushing on 100 carries, with nine touchdowns.

For me, the fact that Vick leads the team with his arm but is also the Eagles’ second leading rusher (by hundreds of yards) is probably the difference here. If we’re talking about the player who is most valuable to his team, I’ve got to go with Michael Vick on this one.

Obviously there are great points on both sides of that debate, so I’d like to hear from you on this one – leave me a comment!

Either way, we’ll see both of them in the Pro Bowl at the end of January…

Other stuff…

Sources say Donovan McNabb wants out of Washington after what has been a tumultuous season…

Vikings cornerback Antoine Winfield was fined $17,500 last week: $7,500 for a hit on Chicago’s Jay Cutler and $10,000 because of the height of his socks…?

New York Giants defensive end Dave Tollefson has one tough mom!

Fox analyst Tucker Carlson says he believes in second chances, but that Michael Vick should have been killed for his dog fighting crimes…

Game to watch: It’s the last weekend of the regular season, so there are plenty of scenarios that could play out involving divisional battles and playoff spots. The Green Bay Packers, the NY Giants and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, will all have one eye on the out of town scoreboard as they jostle for postseason berths, but in Seattle it’s a winner-take-all showdown for the NFC West! The 7-8 St. Louis Rams will win the division with a win or a tie, while the 6-9 Seahawks can take the crown with a victory and earn a playoff spot with a losing record. They might not be the most exciting teams in the league, but there’s no question that it’ll be fun to watch such a high stakes game!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Kerrzy's Notebook: 15 Minutes of Fame

Happy Holidays!

Christmas is over, but there's still one more present under that figurative tree: Episode 16 of your favourite weekly sports video-blog, "15 Minutes of Fame," featuring myself and Geoffrey Driscoll of Any Sport Any Time is finally here!

Since Santa buried us with presents this past weekend, we were forced to dig ourselves out and put off the latest edition, but here it is: This week we're talking about Taylor Hall's nickname (and putting out a few suggestions of our own) and Darryl Sutter stepping down in Cowtown; as well, things get heated when we discuss Chris Osgood's 400th win and whether or not he's Hall of Fame material!

Stick around for another edition of The GABBYs (The Good and the Bad By You), our weekly awards for the best and worst moments from the week that was in the world of sports, and another round of Quick Hits where we talk NFL MVP, World Juniors, Dwayne Roloson and more!


Don't forget to send us your submissions for next week's GABBYs - you can get a hold of us on Twitter @15MinutesYEG, you can find us on Facebook or shoot us an email at 15MinutesYEG@gmail.com!

For last week's episode, click here. Thanks for watching!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Kerrzy’s Notebook: Hall of Fame Career?

Is Chris Osgood a Hall of Fame goaltender?

On Monday night the Detroit Red Wings netminder became just the tenth goalie in NHL history to reach 400 wins with a career-best 46 save performance in a 4-3 victory over the Colorado Avalanche.

So, is he a potential Hall of Famer?

It’s a debate I’ve had countless times with people who say there is no way that Osgood should be up there with the best goalies to ever play the game. Without a doubt, he is one of the most hated-on and doubted goalies I can think of – it seems like no matter how good his numbers are, no one wants to give him his due. Lets put Monday’s accomplishment into perspective: in the 93-year history of the NHL, only nine other guys have done what he just did.

The biggest shot against Osgood you’ll likely hear is that he isn’t that good, he just played on good teams.

That argument drives me nuts because a bad goalie is impossible to hide. I know I’ve been on teams that were bursting with talent at every position except goalie and it just doesn’t work. Even great teams give up 20+ shots per game – there’s just no way a “bad” goalie can rack up 400 wins at the NHL level.

Monday night is a perfect example of that: The Wings, who are tied with the Penguins at the top of the standings, gave up 49 shots in almost 64 minutes of hockey. They’ve also given up an average of 28 shots per game over the past few seasons. There are no easy nights in the National Hockey League and “bad” goalies don’t generally make it to the show.

So, who else is in that 400+ club?

At the top of the list is Martin Brodeur with 607 wins, followed by Patrick Roy (551), Ed Belfour (484), Curtis Joseph (454), Terry Sawchuk (447), Jacques Plante (435), Tony Esposito (423), Glenn Hall (407) and Grant Fuhr (403).

Six of those goalies are already in the Hall and there’s no question that Brodeur will join them once his career is over, which makes seven HOF inductions out of the other nine guys on the list. On the outside looking in are Joseph, who never won a Stanley Cup, and two-time Vezina trophy winner Belfour, who has one Cup ring.

Grant Fuhr is a guy who really stands out to me, because I’m sure his detractors used the “good team” claim on him during his heyday with the Oilers.

In his 19-year career, Fuhr won five Cups and registered 403 wins in 868 games. He had four seasons with at least 30 wins, 25 shutouts and a career GAA of 3.38. In 150 playoff games, Fuhr won 92 times with six more shutouts and a 2.93 GAA.

Osgood is in his seventeenth NHL season, picking up win number 400 in just his 742nd game. The 38-year-old has 50 shutouts and a career 2.49 GAA with six 30-win seasons (including one with the Islanders and another with the Blues). In 129 playoff games, Osgood has 74 wins and 15 shutouts, the fourth most in postseason history, and a 2.09 GAA. He also has three Stanley Cup rings, and is one of just two goalies to go 10 years between championships as a starter.

The only thing Osgood doesn’t have is a Vezina trophy, which Fuhr won in 1988.

For me, it’s hard to argue his credentials when you consider that only six guys in the Hall have more wins than he does and only nine guys in the history of the game are higher on that list. I also think it’s fair to say that you can’t win Stanley Cups with a bad goalie, and you need much more than a good goalie to reach the top as well.

Of course Osgood played on good teams – most championship teams are quite good – but give the guy some credit!

What do you think: Should Chris Osgood end up in the Hockey Hall of Fame at some point?

Friday, December 24, 2010

A Kerrzy’s Notebook Christmas

Well, it’s that time of year again!

It’s hard to believe it’s already been a year since the last time, eh? The first sign that it’s coming is always the snow, unless you live somewhere nice (you jerk) – this year the white stuff came a little bit late to Edmonton, but it didn’t take long for the city to do it’s best North Pole impression.

Ah yes, I love this time of year.

Of course I’m talking about the time of year when professional athletes reach out to their fans by getting together to butcher festive tunes or make hilarious parody videos! Oh right, it’s also Christmas! Well, here’s my gift to you: I’ve searched high and low across the internet to try and find the best Christmas videos made by pro athletes this holiday season.

So put another log on the fire or turn your TV to the channel with the fireplace, gather ‘round the computer and check out this hilarious and ridiculous feast of Christmas cheer!

The Sharks Acapella Holiday Album

This pretty much sums it up: “Twenty of your favorite holiday tunes, each varying in their proximity to the original!” This one is a classic, starring guys like Joe Thornton, Patrick Marleau, Dany Heatley, Ryan Clowe and more!


The Chicago Bulls Present: The Twelve Days of Christmas

In this video, we get a Bulls version of a Christmas classic starring guys like Joakim Noah, Derrick Rose, Carlos Boozer and even features a cameo by Scottie Pippen! This one kills me – the soft-spoken plays it off like he’s in an elementary school play looking for his parents in the audience!


The Belfast Giants: All I Want For Christmas Is You

You may not have heard of the UK Elite Ice Hockey League, but you likely won’t forget the name once you’ve seen this video. The team has become a bit of a global hit with hundreds of thousands of YouTube views of what you’re about to witness!


This team has a solid promotions team – on Boxing Day they’re holding a “Dodgy Present Exchange” where people can re-wrap presents they don’t want and trade it for (hopefully) something better…Classic!

The Denver Nuggets: Christmas in Hollis

Here we have the Denver Nuggets take on the Run-DMC holiday hit “Christmas in Hollis” – complete with afro wigs and big bulky chains! This one even comes with its own blooper reel, which you should check out afterwards…


The New Orleans Hornets: Christmas in New Orleans

As it turns out, Christmas in Hollis was a popular choice among NBA teams this year for their holiday videos – but who does a better rendition: The Nuggets or the Hornets?


I think my vote goes to the Hornets!

The Pittsburgh Steelers: Christmas Carols

If you fancy yourself a bit of a Christmas Carol connoisseur, I would not recommend watching this 8:20 video of football players stumbling their way through all of the holiday favorites…If the Steelers take it down before you get to see it, consider yourself lucky!


Villarreal FC Plays Soccer with Santa

I’ll be honest – I have no idea what the players from La Liga side Villarreal are saying in this video, but I can see what they’re going for!


Well, that about does it for this year – I hope you enjoyed this special festive edition of Kerrzy’s Notebook. Merry Christmas!

Kerrzy's Notebook: Random Friday Thoughts

Question/Answer

Remember that Allen Iverson guy?

The last we heard from The Answer, he was off to Istanbul to suit up for Besiktas Cola Turka of the Turkish Basketball League after not getting any looks from NBA clubs. Aside from the name recognition, it doesn’t sound like he has done a whole lot for his new team, but he’s back in the headlines this week!

An alleged Iverson tweet has the basketball world talking, specifically fans of Australia’s Sydney Kings. I say “alleged” because no one is quite sure that the entire thing isn’t completely fabricated…

Australia’s The Daily Telegraph reported this week that AI had this to say on his Twitter account: “I am very happy here in Istanbul, but if I don’t return to the NBA I am considering a move to Australia after my two-year contract is up. I hear Sydney is a real good city to live in. My boy Rodney asked me to come over. I am comin!”

First of all: It doesn’t sound real. The “if I don’t return to the NBA” part sounds particularly fake because he has done nothing during his short time in Turkey to make an NBA team take notice, so why would he say that? Secondly, the alleged tweet is nowhere to be found, as Back Page Lead points out.

BPL’s Daniel Eade hears you saying “maybe he deleted the tweet,” and replies by wondering why no one retweeted the two alleged tweets and pondering the fact that no other news outlet in the world saw these tweets for themselves. Any mention of this story quotes the Daily Telegraph, who didn’t bother taking a screenshot either!

Sounds like some shoddy journalism to me…

Fight Club!

Doesn’t it seem like massive brawls are a little more common lately in the world of sports?

After that huge one in the UK Elite Ice Hockey League and the pathetically one-sided line brawl in the KHL, I thought we had reached our quota for the month…but it turns out that I was all kinds of wrong!

Lets start with the Lingerie Football League: First of all, yes this is a real thing. If you’ve never heard of it, it’s apparently a 7-on-7 women’s league where the players wear what I suppose is considered to be lingerie in terms of football. I’ve never watched a game, but I’m sure it’s just great.

Last Friday, all hell broke loose at the end of a game between the Miami Caliente and the Tampa Breeze:


A few players were suspended as a result of the brawl and one coach was released from the league. Who knew that the LFL was so intense!

The next big brawl comes to us via the National Lacrosse League, where a pre-season game between the Toronto Rock and the Buffalo Bandits got out of hand (via Inside Lacrosse):


Okay we’ve seen women football players fight, we’ve seen male lacrosse players duke it out – what about Swedish hockey fans?

As Yahoo's Puck Daddy tells us, massive brawls broke out in the stands ahead of the “Stockholm Derby” between AIK and Djurgarden on Wednesday, which included clashes with police and smoke bombs. It almost looks like everyone there is an LA Lakers fan who just heard about the back-to-back championships!


If you see any good Boxing Day brawls, be sure to load them up onto YouTube!

Recycle the Trash Talk?

This one here is for all of my Australian homies – your country’s national cricket team hasn’t been at its best lately, and you’ve probably been wondering why…

Well I was doing a bit of sleuthing, you know, trying to ‘suss out’ the answer, and it all comes down to sledging. If you’re a North American who doesn’t know about or care about cricket, I’ve probably lost you…but stick around! This one gets interesting!

Since putting up a world record 16 straight wins, Australia’s cricket team is a very average 17-12-8 – so what happened?

Australian Cricketers’ Association chief executive Paul Marsh tells the Sydney Morning Herald that the players were told that they had to change their on-field behavior after an incident during an Indian tour of Australia back in 2008. Apparently talking smack, or “sledging,” is a big part of cricket and players were told they could no longer use that tactic to get other teams off their game.

Marsh says Australia’s rivals have exploited this in the past two years, calling it a “weakness” in the national team!

Imagine that – trash talking is such an integral part of the game that being told you’re not allowed to do it anymore throws you for a loop. Who knew it was such an important aspect of the game? Does that change your perspective of cricket a little bit?

I love Australia – at the bottom of the Herald story there’s a poll question that reads “Did Cricket Australia make the Australian team soft?” to which 72% of people replied “Yes.”

Cricket Australia has since relented on its demands that players keep their mouths shut, as long as it is “hard but fair cricket” being played. So far it’s working – that change in attitude translated into an Ashes win over England in Perth this week, which leveled the series at 1-1.

The English were apparently thrown off by the “sledging” that came their way in the latest Test and say they will refuse to participate in the practice when the two countries meet on Boxing Day in Melbourne. Yeah, we’ll see how long that lasts!

These stories put cricket in a whole new light for me – I love trash talk!

Other stuff…

The NHL won’t say yet where the next Winter Classic might be…but apparently just about every team is trying to get the game…

Fresh off a beat down of Antonio Margarito, Manny Pacquiao has another fight lined up for the new year…

The guy who threw waffles onto the ice at the Air Canada Centre during a Maple Leafs game isn't allowed back

Check out what the Cleveland Indians did to their ballpark for the winter (for people who want to spend jussssssssssst a bit of time outside)…

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Polamalu's Hair: Week Sixteen Notes

T-O-E-S TOES!

There’s no question that above all else, the NY Jets have been one thing this year: Controversial.

That trend continued this week, with the latest episode involving coach Rex Ryan! This one isn’t so much a controversy in the way that the Brett Favre sexts, the treatment of a female reporter at Jets practice or the ‘sideline trip’ were – this one is more just a fairly embarrassing thing that has come to light.

One thing it does have in common with the Favre text story though is that it was brought to us by the website Deadspin.

Without further ado, here’s the scoop: A series of foot fetish videos have surfaced that appear to star a woman who looks a lot like Rex Ryan’s wife Michelle. The guy working the camera in one of the videos even sounds kind of like Ryan. The similarities between “Ihaveprettyfeet” and Michelle Ryan don’t seem to end there – both are 47-year-old housewives, both have a master’s degree and both once lived in Ellicott City, Maryland.

This isn’t a new thing though – Deadspin reports that “Ihaveprettyfeet” became wildly popular a few years ago and actually had her YouTube account banned, though her videos had been reposted on the site.

So it’s not really that controversial, it’s just quite embarrassing.

The poor guy was met with question after question about the foot videos at a scheduled meeting with reporters on Wednesday – but he stuck with calling it a personal matter that he didn’t want to discuss. USA Today reports though that when he spoke with his team, he told them he was “embarrassed” by what was going on.

How many pro sports press conferences have you seen where most of the questions are about foot fetishes? That’s the first one for me!

If the Jets are able to forget about all of this stuff and put their best foot forward on Sunday, they can clinch a playoff spot against the Bears. Lets be honest – if there’s any team used to playing through distractions, it’s the Jets!

Sideline Contact

Speaking of the Jets, remember what happened last week with the team’s strength and conditioning coach?

Sal Alosi was suspended indefinitely and fined $25,000 by the team for sticking his knee out and clipping a Miami Dolphin as he ran down the sideline during a punt. As it turns out, a player was guilty of doing something very similar, that same weekend!

Carolina Panthers defensive end Tyler Brayton was slapped with a $15,000 fine on Friday for hitting Atlanta’s Chris Owens while out of bounds during a punt return.

This one is crazy – Brayton gets up from the bench and drops Owens as he runs by with what looks like an elbow to the head. Fox Sports showed a video of the incident on TV, which I’ve got for you here (via The Huffington Post):


Much like what happened after the Jets incident, the coaching staff is denying that they employ those sideline tactics. This one is quite different than what happened with Alosi, but it’s interesting that the two incidents happened on the same day in a league where this type of thing apparently doesn’t happen!

All of a sudden the punt is the most exciting play in football!

Can’t Handle Connolly!

While we’re on the topic of kicks – this one happened on a kickoff, not a punt – did you see the kick return in the Patriots win over the Packers last weekend that set an NFL record?

No, it wasn’t Brandon Tate. It was 313-pound offensive lineman Dan Connolly rumbling for 71 yards late in the second quarter to set up a Pats score right before half time!

That is not a typo: A 313-pound man ran with the ball for a gain of 71 yards!

It was a thing of beauty – Connolly corrals the bouncing ball near his own 25-yard line and takes off (as fast as a guy who weighs over 300 pounds can). It almost seemed like no one from the Packers realized he had the ball and the next thing you know, he’s crossing the 50!

Connolly burns down the sideline looking like a seasoned vet, sheds one defender with a stiff arm, cuts inside to make a few more players miss and is eventually taken down a mere four yards from a touchdown!


Unfortunately for Connolly, his day ended a few plays later when he suffered a concussion.

Other stuff…

In another sign that Michael Vick is shedding the ‘bad guy’ perception that comes with the territory when you go to jail, he has starred in his first post-prison commercial!

No more T.Ocho? After a fairly productive season on a very poor Bengals team, it looks like Terrell Owens will be looking for a new place to call home…

Fed up with fighting players from other teams, the Houston Texans do a little bit of in-game infighting

Things go from bad to worse for Donovan McNabb, who says he feels “disrespected” by the Redskins, who dropped him from first to third string…

Game to watch: There are a few games with major playoff implications this weekend, but the best one should be the NY Giants and the Green Bay Packers. The Giants are coming off a crushing loss to Philly, while the Packers could have Aaron Rodgers back under centre following a loss to the Pats. Another interesting match up would be the Jets looking to clinch a playoff berth against the Bears, who have already won their division.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Kerrzy's Notebook: 89 & Counting

Geno Auriemma made headlines over the weekend in a room full of reporters when he talked the talk; his team did the same this week, walking the walk.

The University of Connecticut women's basketball team made NCAA history on Tuesday night, breaking a 36-year-old record with a 93-62 win over Florida State - the victory was their 89th in a row, eclipsing a mark held by the UCLA men's basketball team during a run that stretched from 1971-74.

Coach Auriemma spoke his mind on Sunday after consecutive win #88, blasting some reporters for what he perceived as a sexist attitude.

"I just know there wouldn't be this many people in the room if we were chasing a woman's record. The reason everybody is having a heart attack the last four or five days is a bunch of women are threatening to break a men's record, and everybody is up in arms about it...All the guys that loved women's basketball are all excited, and all the miserable (people) that follow men's basketball and don't want us to break the record are all here because they are (ticked)."
Whether that was billboard material for his team or not, it certainly worked as Maya Moore put up 41 points and 10 rebounds in the historic win.

Sure, eighty-nine sounds like a lot, but here is some added perspective: The UConn streak stretches back to an NCAA tournament semifinal loss back in April of 2008. Since then, no one has come close to dethroning them as the team to beat in women's college hoops. In fact, only two teams have come to within single digits of the Lady Huskies during the last two and a half years!

Under the watchful eye of Aruiemma, the Huskies program has won seven national titles and put together four perfect seasons, producing a "who's who" of women's basketball royalty along the way.

Speaking of college dominance on the women's side, the Penn State volleyball team won a fourth consecutive national title over the weekend in Kansas City, Missouri.

As USA Today tells us, the Nittany Lions are the only Division I school to string together more than two straight national titles, though their success has been overshadowed a bit by what the UConn ladies have achieved this week. As impressive as "89 & Counting" is, Penn State knows a thing or two about winning as well - they had an NCAA record 109-match win streak snapped back in September.

Much like Huskies coach Geno Auriemma, Penn State's Russ Rose has basically done it all at the NCAA level. Rose, who joined the coaching staff in 1979, is one of only two volleyball coaches with over 1,000 career wins and is the only one with five national championships to his name.

Which team impresses you more: UConn's 89 straight wins, or Penn State winning a fourth straight national championship?

Monday, December 20, 2010

Kerrzy's Notebook: 15 Minutes of Fame

This week's edition of 15 Minutes of Fame comes to you far later than usual because I've been without a laptop for about a week and, try as I might, I could only do so much on my iPhone! Either way, myself and Geoffrey Driscoll of Any Sport Any Time are back with our weekly look at what's happening in the world of sports!


This week we're talking about what fans and players should expect from a team like the Oilers during a so-called "rebuild year," the awesomness that is HBO's first attempt at an all-access hockey show, we hand out another round of GABBYs and in Quick Hits we discuss asking for an opponents autograph!


Don’t forget to send us your submission for next week’s edition of “The Gabbys” – shoot us a tweet @15MinutesYEG, get at us on Facebook or email us at 15MinutesYEG@gmail.com!


For last week’s episode, click here. Thanks for watching!

Friday, December 17, 2010

Kerrzy’s Notebook: Random Friday Thoughts

Done Deal?

After what feels like years of legal wrangling and potential owner after potential owner trying and failing to buy the team from the NHL, it looks like the Phoenix Coyotes finally have their man.

The Glendale Star reports that Glendale City Council gave a thumbs up to the lease deal for Jobing.com arena put together by Matt Hulsizer, the new answer to the question “Who owns the ‘Yotes?”

So who is Matt Hulsizer?

The 40-year-old Chicago businessman is the CEO of Peak6 Investment and played college hockey for Amherst, wearing the “C” for the Lord Jeffs, which is actually the name of the school’s hockey team.

NHL commissioner Gary Bettman was at the council vote and gave his support to the decision – the Star quotes him as saying “we believe hockey in Arizona can and will work.” Yes, they rank dead last in attendance, they haven’t been out of the bottom three in that category since the 2006-07 season (when they were in 24th place) and the team is hemorrhaging money, but hockey will work!

KSWT News reports local watchdog The Goldwater Institute may sue to block the lease agreement, which has the city of Glendale forking out over $200-million to Hulsizer. The city’s attorney says he is confident that the deal will withstand a challenge from the courts though.

Good on Hulsizer for getting over the hurdle that has stopped every other potential owner in their tracks, but I am still not sold on hockey working in that market. You’d think that with everything that has happened in the past year or so with the Coyotes, they’d be able to fill their building once in a while. Even when the team is good, they rank last in the league in attendance! The Edmonton Oilers were dead last in the NHL last season and still managed to sell out the entire year!

Speaking of the Phoenix Coyotes, did you hear about their backup goalie on Thursday night in New York against the Rangers?

With Ilya Bryzgalov out with the flu, 26-year-old Tom Fenton got the call. Don’t worry; I didn’t know who he was either! He works in the community relations department at Manhattanville College in nearby Purchase, New York, and got the call during the day while he was getting his haircut.

Thankfully for him, he was able to just watch from the bench because Jason LaBarbera went the distance. What a thrill that would be! At the same time, I don’t think you could really enjoy yourself until it was all over!

Boudreau’s Bad Language

The HBO series “24/7 Penguins/Capitals: Road to the Winter Classic” debuted on Wednesday night, a profile of the two teams in the lead up to the big game on January 1st at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh.

The Pens are on a roll, the Caps are in a huge slump, but the star of the show so far has easily been Washington coach Bruce Boudreau!

Dan Steinberg’s DC Sports Bog had an unofficial tally of 70 varieties of the F-word thrown down by Boudreau, along with about nine other “bad” words in speeches to his team or timeout tirades. Here’s a censored example, transcribed by [bleeping] Steinberg:

“So [bleep’s] not going right. It’s not [bleeping] working the last 10 days. [Bleeping] get your heads out of your [bleep] and [bleeping] make it work by outworking the opposition. You killed two [bleeping] men and then we stand around and watch it while they [bleeping] score here!”

The language used by the coach is so bad, in fact, that his mom gave him a call on Thursday after seeing a clip of one of his speeches on TV. The same thing happened to NY Jets coach Rex Ryan this summer after his mother saw how he spoke to his team on HBO’s Hard Knocks!

Another guy whose mouth is getting him in trouble this week is FIFA president Sepp Blatter.

When asked if fans might run into any cultural problems when they travel to Qatar for the 2022 World Cup, Blatter said that gay soccer fans should “refrain from any sexual activities,” if they travel to that country, smiling as he delivered his answer.

I think Blatter had good intentions because homosexual behavior is apparently illegal in Qatar, but the comments have gay rights groups demanding an apology nonetheless!

The European branch of the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association, or ILGBTIA I suppose, are really taking offence to what Blatter had to say. The group says instead of standing up to a country that is violating what they see as the basic human rights of its people, FIFA is practically encouraging the behavior.

What do you think: Should countries with laws that discriminate against certain groups be taken out of the running for massive events like the World Cup?

Is TCF Stadium TFC?

This week’s NFL Monday night tilt pits the no-playoffs Minnesota Vikings against the NFC-North leading Chicago Bears, and the most interesting thing about the game might be where it’s played!

Minnesota played in Detroit last Monday because the roof of their stadium collapsed over the weekend and with the Metrodome not quite ready to go yet, they decided to shovel all the snow out of the University of Minnesota’s TCF Bank Stadium this week to get it ready for Monday.

The problem is the players say it’s Too Flippin’ Cold!

The Minnesota Star-Tribune says the lack of a heating system for the turf means the field will likely freeze during the game, making things a little bit dangerous for the players. Another problem is that the players haven’t been asked for any input, which may lead to a grievance being filed!

Wouldn’t it be funny if the Vikings had to play back-to-back home games away from home?

Speaking of funny – check out this piece from The Wall Street Journal on all of the shows ESPN will have to cancel once Vikings QB Brett Favre retires for good!

A Long Time Coming…

If you missed it this week, Detroit Red Wings rookie defenseman Nick Lidstrom scored his first career hat trick on Wednesday night.

Well, he’s not quite a rookie – the 19-year vet has played in 1,442 career games and won six Norris Trophies as the league’s top d-man, but his three goals (and four points) on Wednesday marked the first time he has been showered with hats in his long, productive career.



NHL.com points out that the captain had 19 two-goal games before finally getting that elusive third goal!

Other stuff…

FIFA says it will consider moving the controversial 2022 World Cup to the winter because of the scorching hot temperatures in Qatar during the summer…

Fort Chipewyan, only accessible on the ground via a 100-mile ice road in the winter, gets a synthetic hockey rink

When you’re Wayne Gretzky, you can even up the value of a bathroom wall with the stroke of a sharpie…

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Polamalu’s Hair: Week Fifteen Notes

The Wrong Choice?

Here’s a hypothetical situation for you:

You’re a professional athlete, playing for a team whose first 13 games of the season can only really be described as a massive disappointment. You’ve been without your star player since mid-October, but your team is actually starting to come on a bit as you near the end of the year. You won two in a row and three of four, with a three point loss in there somewhere. This past Sunday, your team lost 30-27 for the second time in three weeks. Afterwards, do you:

A) Walk off the field
B) Shake hands & laugh with the other team
C) Ask for the winning quarterback’s autograph
D) Cry uncontrollably

If you answered “C,” you’ll find nothing wrong with what happened after the Philadelphia Eagles beat the Dallas Cowboys last weekend!

Moments after the Cowboys dropped to 4-9, running back Tashard Choice ran up to Eagles QB Michael Vick, who was surrounded by cameramen, pulled out a Sharpie and got him to sign one of his gloves.




“That’s probably the first time that’s ever happened to me,” Vick told reporters after the game.

Choice told reporters that he has known Vick for years and the autograph was for one of his nephews, who is a big fan of the former Atlanta Falcons pivot.

Let me just say that I’ve got no problem with players swapping memorabilia or asking for autographs after a game – lord knows there are a ton of people who make crazy money off of that type of stuff. At the end of a (hopefully) long career, it would really be a shame if you didn’t have a ton of mementos from your time spent playing with and against great players.

That said, I don’t think you have to do it in front of the thousands of fans that paid good money to be there in person and the others watching from home! It just doesn’t look right. It’s bad enough that, more often than not, players from both teams are smiling and laughing with each other after the final whistle blows.

If you really want an autograph, I’m sure there are plenty of opportunities to get it and plenty of people who can run and get it for you. Also, if you know Michael Vick, why not just shoot him a text or something?

My other question is: Did Tashard Choice have a pen with him all game?

All Good Things…

You know what they say: all good things must come to an end…

That was the story on Monday night at Ford Field in Detroit when Brett Favre watched from the sidelines as his Minnesota Vikings took a 21-3 beating at the hands of the NY Giants. Prior to that loss, the 41-year-old had started an NFL record 297 consecutive games dating back to September of 1992!

The potential for Favre to start #298 was helped along by a roof collapse at Minnesota's Metrodome on the weekend, giving him an extra day of recovery, but it wasn’t to be.

Let’s put that into perspective, because 297 doesn’t sound nearly as impressive as the 2,632 consecutive games played by Baltimore Orioles shortstop Cal Ripken Jr. Brett Favre’s streak started eighteen years ago, when Vikings running back Adrian Peterson was just seven years old! Think of all the players that have come and gone during that time – it really is amazing.

ESPN reports Favre’s shoulder injury won’t necessarily end his season though, as interim coach Leslie Frazier says he could be ready to go in time for Monday’s tilt with the Chicago Bears.

With the Metrodome still out of commission, there’s a chance the game could be held at the University of Minnesota’s TCF Bank stadium or the NFL could decide to ship it somewhere else completely.

It’s too bad that Favre’s streak is over, but at least he’s using it to make a bit of extra money!

Power Trip

The NY Jets acted swiftly in the fallout of TripGate 2010 this week, fining and suspending the team’s strength and conditioning coach for something that happened late in the third quarter of a loss to the Miami Dolphins on Sunday.

Sal Alosi has been fined $25,000 and was told to stay home for the rest of the season for his actions this past weekend: Alosi is captured on video sticking out his knee and clipping Dolphins player Nolan Carroll as he runs down the Jets sideline!

Here’s what Alosi had to say for himself (via NY Daily News):

"If I could go back again, I would sure as heck take a step back. ... Nothing went through my head. I wasn't thinking. Had I been thinking, I'd take a step back instead of leaning forward. ... I felt terrible."

What’s worse is that a former member of the Dolphins claimed this week that the Jets did the “human wall” thing on purpose!

Zach Thomas says because the five players standing with Alosi were foot-to-foot, they “had to be ordered to stand there,” adding that they were only there to restrict the space of a guy like Carroll.

Later in the week it turned out, through a team investigation, that Alosi had actually instructed the players to stand there and his suspension went from “for the rest of the season,” to “indefinitely.” The league has also chimed in, saying that the “human wall” strategy is definitely illegal.

What do you think? Was it one man acting alone, or shady dealings by the struggling J-E-T-S, Jets?

Other stuff…

Nine teams were eliminated from playoff contention last weekend…was your team one of them?

A missed extra point attempt costs the Washington Redskins holder his job…

Despite all the work the NFL is doing to try and limit head shots, concussions are actually on the rise

Yet another team is questioning the “double standard” when it comes to supplemental discipline in the league…

Game to watch: For me the biggest game of the weekend will be the Philadelphia Eagles taking on the NY Giants early on Sunday – a battle between two 9-4 NFC East clubs. Right now the Eagles lead the division because they hold the tiebreaker, so it’s a game that could have some serious playoff implications for Eli Manning and the Giants. Also, I have to say that I’ve really enjoyed watching Michael Vick play this season. If I saw him in person, I’d for sure ask for his autograph…

The Hoop & The Harm: Notes from the Hardcourt

Vote of Confidence

As a child I was led to believe by my schoolyard chums that Wednesday was ‘opposite day,’ at least when it suited whatever it was we were talking about…So I ask you, what is the opposite of a vote of confidence?

Lets let LA Clippers point guard Baron Davis take this one; he’s probably used to hearing it from the fans when he’s not playing well (like right now) but he, of all people, can take it a step further as his team’s owner has taken up heckling him!

Yahoo! Sports reports that Donald Sterling has been yelling things like “Why are you in the game?” or “Why did you take that shot?” and “You’re out of shape!” at Davis and he runs the floor for the 5-20 Clippers this season, one of his worst in the NBA.

The 31-year-old is averaging less than 25 minutes per game, though he’s missed 14 of his team’s 25 contests so far this season, and he’s putting up 7.4 points per game, all the while, earning (or not earning) a team-high $13-million. Even worse (for the Clippers), he has three years and over $40-million left on his current deal!

When asked about his courtside ‘presence’ at the game Sterling wouldn’t really comment, saying only that “we’re all disappointed” when players don’t make shots.”

Can you imagine if your boss’s boss came to your workspace and taunted you all day?

Gearing Up For Battle

If early indications are anything to go by, there will be a lot of elite basketball players with nowhere to play very soon…

In fact, with the threat of potential work stoppages looming over both the NBA and the NFL, 2011-12 could be a pretty boring season of sports!

Much like the NFLPA has done, the NBA players union is apparently going team-to-team and holding decertification votes – what this means I’m not completely sure, but basically if the union is decertified and the owners lock the players out, they can sue.

CBS Sports' Matt Moore says the union becomes a trade organization and a lockout becomes a “group boycott” by the owners, which goes against antitrust laws. That alone sets the two sides up for a potentially long and grueling court battle: as Moore points out, the league will argue that the union doesn’t really want to decertify and the union will argue the points about antitrust laws.

Never mind all of the other stuff the two sides will have to hash out before there is basketball next season!

Among those items are the hard cap vs. soft cap issue, the owners wanting an $800-milion rollback in salaries, the elimination of guaranteed contracts and the union wanting the age restriction dropped.

Believe it or not, the players are completely against most of the things the owners want and the owners have basically ignored the proposal sent to them by the union back in July.

This one has lockout written all over it!

The NBA’s Coyotes

A Louisiana-based group is coming together to potentially save the New Orleans Hornets from moving out of state.

The NBA recently bought the club because the owner was unable to sell it off to anyone else and obviously one very real option is that the franchise could change locations. The league says it would much rather find buyers that would keep the team where it is, especially given what the region has been through since hurricane Katrina nailed the region in 2005.

It looks like they’ll likely have a setup similar to what the Edmonton Oilers had prior to Daryl Katz purchasing the club – a coalition of local business owners coming together to keep the team in NO.

An interesting wrinkle in all of this is that the Hornets can get out of their arena lease if average attendance over a two-year period falls below 14,735. Right now, they’re averaging much less than that and a spokesman for the group that runs the building says they’ll need to average almost 14,900 for the next 12 home games to void the early exit clause.

Speaking of exits and the Hornets, check out this circus shot that LeBron James made recently against New Orleans where he practically exits the building before scoring!


Other stuff…

Remember all the Carmelo Anthony trade talk? CBS Sports reports he’ll now only accept a trade to the Knicks…

The NY Times points out that Boston’s Rajon Rondo could become just the third player since the NBA came about to lead the league in assists while averaging fewer points than helpers…

LeBron James says he can relate to Brett Favre leaving Green Bay after all those years…Uhhh okay!

Is Ron Artest not the most giving pro athlete you’ve ever come across? He says he’ll donate his 2011-12 salary to charity (maybe he’s expecting a lockout!)

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Kerrzy’s Notebook: Around the Rinks

Grand Theft Composite

Just when you think you’ve seen it all, Anaheim Ducks forward Bobby Ryan scored one of the strangest goals of the year on Sunday night in a 6-2 win over the Minnesota Wild.

In the final minutes of the second period with the Ducks leading 4-2, Wild captain Mikko Koivu loses his stick in the corner, skates past Ryan, rips the stick out of his hand and then starts playing with it! Since the refs didn’t see what had happened, play continued and about 20 seconds later Ryan decides to pick Koivu’s stick up off the ice – before realizing it’s the wrong hand.

Wouldn’t you know it, the puck comes to Ryan and he one-times it into the back of the net!


The Wild apparently tried to have the goal disallowed on the “illegal stick” premise, but I guess there is no rule against picking up someone else’s stick and scoring a goal. Furthermore, it was Koivu who started the thing by stealing Ryan’s stick!

As for the taunt after the goal, here’s what Bobby Ryan said to the OC Register: “I just said you took mine right out of my hands in the corner. Finders keepers, I guess!”

That’s classic!

Vityaz at it again…

Not to be outdone by the Coventry Blaze of the UK Elite League, Vityaz Chekhov of Russia’s Kontinental Hockey League is again making headlines for all the wrong reasons.

If you’re saying to yourself “I’ve heard that name before,” it’s because you probably have: Last January Vityaz and Avangard Omsk racked up an amazing 840 penalty minutes and 18 game misconducts in just 3:39 of “hockey” and the game had to be abandoned because there weren’t enough players left to play!

Guess what? It’s almost a year later and I’ve got another Vityaz vs. Avangard story for you!

Just six seconds into a game between the two clubs last Friday, Vityaz’s “starting lineup” went Charlestown Chiefs on the unsuspecting home side and began laying a beating on everyone, including the goalie.


The ringleaders were Canadians Josh Gratton and Darcy Verot, along with teammates Sergei Belokon and Ivan Larin. Verot was a big part of last year’s brawl between the two clubs and also made waves later that month for sucker punching CSKA’s Nikita Filatov.

Puck Daddy’s Dmitry Chesnokov runs down the punishments: 15 games for Gratton, 14 for Larin, 13 for Belokon, 12 for Verot and fines ranging from $300-$850 for each player.

As if those pathetic fines aren’t bad enough, Chesnokov tells us that some are claiming Vityaz had already arranged for those players to head home after the game, rather than continue with the team on its current road trip. If that’s true it’s an absolute travesty!

Obviously this ambush, because that’s really all you can call it, was planned to some degree – but if it runs that deep it might be time to review the team’s membership in the league.

Here’s an interesting note: If you put the UK brawl and the KHL brawl together, a handful of Canadians are serving a total of 42 games worth of suspensions right now!

Winter Classic?

There’s something I’ve always wondered about the NHL’s newest tradition, and this weekend that question was back on my mind: How do NCAA outdoor games continually draw a much larger gate than the ones the NHL holds?

On Saturday 113,411 people turned up to watch the University of Michigan beat Michigan State 5-0 at Michigan Stadium in Ann Arbor, setting a Guinness World Record for attendance.

That beat game one of this year’s IIHF World Hockey Championships in Germany, a record that eclipsed a 2001 outdoor game between the Wolverines and the Spartans dubbed “The Cold War.” Absent from that list is any of the four outdoor games the NHL has put on!

The only one even close to any of those records was the 2008 game at Ralph Wilson Stadium, but even then we are looking at over 3,300 fewer people (71,217) than any of the record setting games!

Edmonton hosted the NHL’s first modern outdoor game at Commonwealth Stadium in 2003 in front of 57,167 people, in 2009 40,818 people watched at Wrigley Field and 38,112 took in last year’s game at Fenway Park.

Shouldn’t the NHL be able to easily beat these attendance records? I know college sports have a big following in the US, but each Winter Classic game so far has been held in a traditional hockey market…

Is it just poor management by the NHL and a failure to capitalize on the opportunity? Let me know what you think, because I’m stumped!

The Good & The Bad

You know, if the Pittsburgh Penguins ever mated with the NY Islanders, they would have a decidedly average little team…

While the Penguins are tearing up the league with twelve straight wins (lets see them do it without Sidney Crosby!), the Islanders are easily and emphatically the worst team in the NHL.

As of today, they’ve lost six in a row and 20 of their last 21 games (1-16-3). The only thing crazier than that is the fact that the NJ Devils are only three points ahead of them with an 8-19-2 record!

At the other end of the spectrum, the Pens are 15-1-1 in their last 17 games, dating back to November 6th and Crosby is riding an 18-game point streak that’s seen him put up 20 goals and 36 points in that span.

Both of those streaks will be tested big time tonight when they travel to Philly to face the Flyers!

Will it be 13 and 19?

Monday, December 13, 2010

Kerrzy's Notebook: 15 Minutes of Fame

Happy Monday!

To help get the work week underway, here’s a new episode of “15 Minutes of Fame,” the weekly sports-themed video blog featuring myself and Geoffrey Driscoll of Any Sport Any Time.

On the slate this week: Were the Tampa Bay Lightning right to cry about Linus Omark’s shootout spin-o-rama? Is Kavis Reed the right man for the job with the Edmonton Eskimos? In the Gabbys – we list off the three best and three worst moments in sports from the week, including a UFC 124 beat down and a reigning Gabby champion!


Don’t forget to send us your submission for next week’s edition of “The Gabbys” – shoot us a tweet @15MinutesYEG, get at us on Facebook or email us at 15MinutesYEG@gmail.com!

For last week’s episode, click here. Thanks for watching!

Friday, December 10, 2010

Kerrzy's Notebook: Random Friday Thoughts

GSP vs. Gretzky?

In any country around the world that speaks hockey, Wayne Gretzky is probably regarded as the most famous Canadian the people there can think of – after all, he’s easily the greatest player ever to lace ‘em up.

What about the rest of the world though? If you polled the entire globe, asking who the most famous Canadian athlete is, who would it be?

If you ask UFC President Dana White, it’s welterweight champion Georges “Rush” St. Pierre!

Both White and St. Pierre are in Montreal ahead of UFC 124, where the Canadian will defend his title against Josh Koscheck on Saturday night. So, with White calling St. Pierre the most famous athlete “in the history of the world” to come out of our country, reporters were left asking “What about Wayne Gretzky?

“Lets fly Georges St. Pierre and Wayne Gretzky anywhere else in the world other than America and Canada. Who gives a [bad word]? I like Wayne Gretzky…Super nice guy. Got nothing against him. Fly him over to England, fly him over to Asia, fly him to anywhere in Europe – George St. Pierre gets mobbed, nobody knows who the hell Wayne Gretzky is.”

Always the good guy, GSP was quite diplomatic when asked by reporters for his thoughts on the topic:

“Wayne Gretzky, growing up, he’s my idol…I believe Wayne Gretzky [has] done more for hockey than I’ve done for mixed martial arts, and my goal is to reach that point and maybe pass that point if I can one day in my life.”

He did say though, that given the overall popularity of his sport, he might just be the more well known athlete right now:

“If you talk about world wide, the sport of mixed martial arts, it’s a fact, is actually more popular than ice hockey. Ice hockey is only in North America and some countries in Europe – outside of that it’s not very popular…So if you talk about worldwide, [White is] right, as far as popularity, but I haven’t reached the point that I’ve done enough for my sport to be like the ‘Wayne Gretzky of MMA’ right now – I’m not there yet.”

While there’s a good chance that Dana White means what he says about GSP and Gretzky, he probably also knew that by saying what he did, the UFC would rack up boat loads of free promotion for the big fight. You know what though? St. Pierre could very well be Canada’s most popular athlete right now!

It’s not like it’s an undeserved accolade either way: GSP is riding a seven-fight win streak (he’s won 13 of 14 and is a career 20-2 fighter) and if he wins on Saturday night it’ll be the fifth time that he has defended his welterweight title.

Not only that, but the guy is the ultimate champion – he trains hard, he doesn’t talk trash and he just seems like an all around good guy. Lets hope he comes out on top tomorrow night!

Speaking of Big Fights…

Did you hear about the massive bench-clearing brawl between the Coventry Blaze and the Nottingham Panthers of the UK Elite Ice Hockey League this week?

It was crazy – a Coventry player, BC’s own Brad Cruikshank, was being escorted off the ice after some kind of altercation when he darted away from the linesman and went right for Panthers goalie Craig Kowalski, who ducked down and hit him low. That cleared the benches and all hell broke loose on the ice!

The best part though has to be the commentary as this is all happening. The play-by-play guy gets heated up in the box as he’s directing traffic between all of the fights, including “the big fight” at the other end of the ice between two heavyweights!

Just when it looks like everything has calmed down, Coventry goalie Brett Jaeger goes to the penalty box to pick a fight with a much bigger Guillaume Lepine. It’s at that point that he is drilled from the side by another player, giving us some more gold from the guy on the microphone: “Danny Meyers should get beaten to hell for that!”

I love the passion! Here’s the video:


In the end, Cruikshank was suspended for nine games, Danny Meyers was handed a seven-game ban and a guy named Alex Penner will sit for five. The coaches and two other players were also suspended.

Next time I’m over in that part of the world I might try to take in a game or two!

Can’t Take the Heat

Last Thursday the World Cup dreams of England and the United States were shattered when FIFA awarded the 2018 and the 2022 installments of the tournament to surprise winners Russia and Qatar.

I’ve got to say, as a Scottish-Canadian, that one felt good on two fronts, but I’m not here to discuss that – there are already some good storylines brewing in connection with these events.

Never mind alleged FIFA corruption and all that: German soccer legend Franz Beckenbauer says the 2022 World Cup should be moved to January because Qatar is just too hot during the summer months!

Speaking to the AFP, Beckenbauer says:

“We need to consider this solution of January and February when in Qatar the temperatures are a pleasant 25 degrees. Why would that not be acceptable? The schedules for the big European leagues are due to be changed in 2012 and that would mean the impact would be less. Also, it would be a viable alternative to the huge expenses involved in setting up air-conditioning for the stadiums and the fan zones.”

According to my research, the average high for the month of June is 41 Celsius and in July it peaks to 46, but if you think that’s hot, imagine what it’ll be like after 12 more years of global warming!

In the meantime, have a look at the crazy stadiums Qatar is planning to build (I think my favorite is #1)!

Other stuff…

Forbes is out with its list of the best-dressed athletes...Two of them are hockey players, most of them are guys and one of the guys appears to be carrying a man-purse.

After the whole “intentional red card” thing a couple of weeks ago, Real Madrid appealed its UEFA punishment and won, kind of…

Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson is worried that always-injured Owen Hargreaves may never play again…

Retired defenseman Chris Chelios says he’s decided not to try his luck in the KHL…but the 47-year-old says he’d go from the front office to the ice for the Red Wings “tomorrow” if they wanted him…

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Polamalu’s Hair: Week Fourteen Notes

Targeting Harrison?

Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker James Harrison is feeling a tad bit paranoid these days, $125,000 later, as the fines handed down by the league continue to add up.

This week Harrison came out and said that he believes he is being unfairly targeted when it comes to supplementary discipline and his teammates seem to agree. It must be frustrating for him to see former Denver Broncos coach Josh McDaniel fined $50,000 for his role in a videotape scandal, and two guys fined $25,000 each for an on-field fist fight – all the while, Harrison gets slapped with a $75,000 fine for a hit that wasn’t even penalized on the field!

Adding another interesting wrinkle to this story is the fact that the Steelers are now claiming that Harrison was again targeted this past weekend…this time by the Baltimore Ravens!

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette says Ravens guard Chris Chester is being accused of trying to hit, or even injure Harrison as the Ravens went to kick a first quarter extra point. Chester took a false start penalty on the play and tried to nail the Steelers linebacker, but here’s the thing: Steelers guard Trai Essex says they are taught to hold their position on an extra point, because lunging forward creates gaps in the blocking wall.

So, James Harrison, was it deliberate?

“Of course it was deliberate. There’s no way that happens on an extra point because [o-linemen] don’t shoot out. It’s obvious that it was blatant…It’s cheap, but when it comes down to it, it’s only a 5-yard penalty, they move back to the 7 and re-kick. It’s not going to hurt them.”

Part of the frustration for Harrison is the inconsistency when it comes to the fines being handed out, or not being handed out, to players. To illustrate that point, here’s a gem: Houston Texans safety Bernard Pollard was fined $40,000 this week for “striking a player in the head area when he was defenseless.”

He should have just ripped the guy’s helmet off and thrown a couple of punches, it would have saved him some money!

Ups and Downs

Quite possibly the biggest story to come out of the NFL so far this season is the ‘return’ of Michael Vick to the elite class of quarterbacks in the league.

That’s a storyline that continued into this week, with word that Vick is leading fan voting for the Pro Bowl by a huge margin over the likes of Peyton Manning, who led the balloting two weeks ago. As of Wednesday, Vick was in front with just shy of 730,000 votes, almost 40,000 more than Manning’s total.

Does that mean the court of public opinion is shifting in Vick’s favor? I hope so, because in a society where high profile people tend to get off a little easier than the average person Vick did his time, spending about two years behind bars for his crimes. None of this in and out of jail in a couple of hours garbage like we see with the Lindsay Lohan’s and the Paris Hilton’s of the world. Actual hard time!

If that’s not good enough for you though, it might warm your heart to read that he’s still paying off a massive amount of debt to his creditors. Vick filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy back in 2008 and Yahoo's Chris Chase reports two-thirds of his money goes to creditors and taxes, while the rest of his money is “strictly controlled” by the court.

Whatever side of the Michael Vick issue you’re on, you might want to tune in when his Eagles face the Cowboys in Dallas on Sunday. Either you’ll see him continue to get hit after throwing the ball and have his facemask pulled, or the issue Philly brought up with the league will have been sorted out!

Interception

Speaking of Peyton Manning, all eyes will be on him when his Indianapolis Colts face the Tennessee Titans tonight, but not for the usual reasons.

People will be watching closely to see if the 34-year-old continues his humanitarian work with the pigskin!

In his last three starts, Manning has thrown a whopping eleven interceptions – three against New England and four a piece in losses to San Diego and Dallas!

So what’s wrong with Peyton Manning?

NFL.com analyst Pat Kirwan says it could be a mixture of a few factors, like the Colts running with an inexperienced group and Manning ‘carrying the team’ more than he’s had to in years past. It’s interesting to note that his touchdown pass production is still right on track, but he’s throwing the ball way more than ever before. Kirwan says Manning averaged about 30 throws per game back in 2005, but these days, that number is closer to 47!

Surely this is a dream Manning can’t wait to wake up from! Did anyone see Inception? Perhaps you can go into his dream and help him out!

Best Flow for your Dough?

The New England Patriots are on fire these days, coming off a 45-3 win over the NY Jets on Monday that put them atop their division and did a lot to cement their status as the team to beat in the NFL right now. Despite all of that though, it’s Tom Brady’s hair that’s still getting most of the attention

Why did he grow his hair out? Is he going bald? Did his supermodel wife make him do it? What does Justin Bieber think?

Personally, I wish they would just leave the guy alone and focus on the solid numbers he’s putting up every weekend. Besides, I think his hair looks pretty slick anyway. That said, I also think it’s a bit unfair that Brady’s loaf is getting all of the accolades so far though, and I’m here to ask you this very key question:

Whose hair should be the talk of the NFL?

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I’ve narrowed the list down to five players (clockwise): Pittsburgh’s Troy Polamalu, Cincinnati’s Domata Peko, Tennessee’s Chris Johnson, Brady and Green Bay’s Clay Matthews.

Obviously my vote goes to Mr. Polamalu (who else’s hair tweets?), but I’d like to know what you think – cast your vote down in the comments section!

Other stuff…

Washington Wizards rookie John Wall has got nothing on Detroit Lions QB Drew Stanton, who breaks it down in the end zone after a TD last weekend…

Steelers receiver Hines Ward sounded off about the NFL not caring about the safety of its players last week, and part of that tirade had to do with helmets. Well, it looks like he was on to something

Apparently Ward and the Steelers are up for UN peace awards...and it doesn't appear to be a joke!

The Seattle Seahawks let us in on a little secret – what happens in the pile, stays in the pile…I’m glad I never played football!

Washington Redskins complainer Albert Haynesworth will sit for the rest of the season after being out of shape, then whiney, then ‘sick,’ then mad…

Game to watch: There are a couple of beauties shaping up for this weekend – first of all, the New England Patriots take their 10-2 record to Chicago to face the 9-3 Bears. Can Brady and the Pats ride the momentum of a lopsided win over their AFC-East rival Jets? Conversely, they’ve tried to “bury” that embarrassing loss, but can the Jets bounce back with a win at home over the Miami Dolphins? As well, the Green Bay Packers can move into a playoff spot with a win over the Detroit Lions, paired with a NY Giants loss to the Minnesota Vikings. Should be a fun weekend!