Friday, April 29, 2011

Random Friday Thoughts: Alves Dive, Danish Coach gets Pushy, King of the Hillis

Chumpions League?

We all expected a show, and boy did we get one this week - the latest clash between Spanish giants Barcelona and Real Madrid was so good, the fireworks are still flying days later!

If you missed it: the first leg of their Champions League semifinal featured sideline scuffles, fouls (and dives) and a straight red card, which was followed by a pair of magnificent goals to give Barca a 2-0 road win. Leo Messi was the star of the game, but it was Real Madrid coach Jose Mourinho stealing the show afterwards!

“The Special One” was all wound up about the Pepe red card in the 61st minute of what was then a 0-0 game. The Brazilian defender lunged for the ball with his studs up and appeared to clip Barca’s Dani Alves, who had to be taken off on a stretcher, but we’ll get to the foul itself in a moment.

Mourinho went on a post-match tirade, pointing out that Barcelona quite often end up playing against 10 men in big games, and wondering aloud if it’s to “give more publicity to [shirt sponsor] UNICEF.” The Madrid coach went on to say that Pep Guardiola has already won a scandal-tainted Champions League and if Barca goes on to win again this year, it’ll be more of the same.

As for the foul that saw Pepe sent off – a video posted on the Real Madrid website on Thursday might make you feel for Mourinho a little bit. It appears to show absolutely NO contact being made between the foot of Pepe and the shin of Alves, who is seen going to ground, wincing on a stretcher and then walking back onto the field moments later (Pepe “foul” at 1:29).


For their part, Barcelona have launched a complaint to UEFA about Mourinho’s comments and the governing body of soccer in Europe is looking into the situation.

While I know both sides are definitely guilty of regularly trying to deceive refs by diving, I do think that the home side was kind of ripped off on Wednesday. The red card to Pepe was a game-changer, and it looks as though it was nothing more than an elaborate dive by Dani Alves that tricked the ref.

Wouldn’t it be cool if UEFA took the red from Pepe and gave it to Alves based on the video evidence?

Sore Loser?

If you think Jose Mourinho is bad, at least he knows how to use his words!

After a 4-0 defeat last week, Danish club Randers FC fired their coach, claiming it was because of the “poor result.” The pink slip (do people still give those out?) also happened to come a day after Ove Christensen hit a reporter for asking “stupid questions” though, which might also have contributed to the decision!


Isn’t that a funny exchange? The reporter asks the coach why he hit him and he replies “Because you did so well, I gave you a pat on the shoulder, I thought you were really good.”

Classic!

King of the Hillis

A new face will grace the cover of Madden 12 when it comes out in August, and it’s a face you might not be all too familiar with!

Cleveland Browns running back Peyton Hillis beat out Michael Vick in the final of the ESPN bracket-style contest that saw almost 13 million votes cast by the time all was said and done. If you don’t know Hillis, he’s a six-foot-one, 240-pound machine who has been known to literally jump right over top of approaching opponents!

Hillis ran for six touchdowns and just shy of 400 yards with the Denver Broncos over the first two seasons of his NFL career, before exploding for 1,177 yards and 11 majors last year in Cleveland, his first season as a starter.


Hillis says he’s not afraid of the “Madden Curse” and can’t wait to prove people wrong.

Other stuff…

After going a perfect 8-for-8 in the opening round of the NHL playoffs, the fine people over at EA Sports are out with their next set of picks. See how those picks differ from mine by clicking here!

Amid all the unknowns about the Phoenix Coyotes at the moment are two solid truths: The team is still losing big money, and Glendale is on the hook for most of it!

A Dutch soccer club signed a one-year-old to a decade long pro contract this week…because of a viral video that shows the kid kicking some balls into a toy box!

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Kerrzy’s Notebook: NHL Round Two Preview

Eight teams remain in the race to sixteen wins as the NHL playoffs continue with second round action this week.

The opening round had a bit of everything – a sweep, four matchups that went the distance, blowouts, shutouts, overtime drama and a ton of suspensions as well as some other questionable conduct that went unpunished. Oh, and did I mention that a new champion will be crowned this spring?

Let’s get right to it with the Western Conference semifinals:

Vancouver (54-19-9) vs. Nashville (44-27-11)

The Vancouver Canucks (and their fans) are riding high after narrowly avoiding one of the worst collapses in NHL history against the Chicago Blackhawks, but how will that experience affect the team going forward? Sure, they won the series, but they also blew a three game lead and came very close to a complete meltdown. Nashville, on the other hand, turned a few heads with a six-game triumph over the Ducks, the first series win in the history of the franchise. The Preds are a tight-checking, defense first team with (usually) strong goaltending. We all know what the Canucks are capable of, but it’ll take guys like Ryan Kesler stepping up when he’s called upon to get them into that third round. After carrying their respective teams during the regular season, both Pekka Rinne and Roberto Luongo had somewhat disappointing opening rounds, so it’ll be interesting to see who wins the goaltending battle heading deeper into the playoffs. Vancouver is the superior team offensively, so Rinne will probably face more rubber, but I can see Nashville giving the Canucks some trouble and grinding out at least a couple of wins.

San Jose (48-25-9) vs. Detroit (47-25-10)

For the second straight season, it’s the San Jose Sharks and the Detroit Red Wings meeting in the second round of the playoffs and it should be another good one! The Sharks took the 2010 meeting four games to one (with the ‘one’ being a 7-1 loss), but the Wings aren’t coming out of a seven-game series this time around. In fact, Detroit hasn’t played since sweeping the Coyotes back on April 20th and they’ll be getting some help up front with Henrik Zetterberg returning to the lineup. He hasn’t played since early April when he went down with a knee injury, but the Wings still managed to cruise through the opening round in the absence of their leading scorer. The Sharks are coming off an emotional six-game win over the LA Kings, a series that showcased the depth of the team and the strength of their goaltender, Antti Niemi, between the pipes. I expect to see a tight, close-checking series that will end up featuring a couple of long overtimes. The question will be: whose depth players are able to step up to push their team over the edge?

Predictions: After much thought and consideration, I think it’ll be the Canucks and Wings in six games each (though I hope I’m wrong about that first one!).

Washington (48-23-11) vs. Tampa Bay (46-25-11)

A come from behind series win over the Penguins has the Tampa Bay Lightning earning some praise as we get set for second round action this week. Depth has been key for the Bolts all season long and that rang true in the opening set with several key goals coming off the stick of role players. The big difference though was Dwayne Roloson, who posted a 36 save shutout in game seven and comes into this series boasting a league-best .949 save percentage and a 1.77 GAA. He’ll really have to be on his game though if the Bolts have any hope of beating the high-flying Washington Capitals! The Caps beat the Rangers in five with captain Alex Ovechkin and rookie goalie Michal Neuvirth leading the charge – Ovie with six points, Neuvirth with a 1.38 GAA and a .946 save percentage. The team’s defense-first mentality this season has turned them into a true contender and key additions like Jason Arnott have added a new dimension to the leadership of the club. A wildcard in this series might be the play of Steve Stamkos, who didn’t do much in the first round.

Philadelphia (47-23-12) vs. Boston (46-25-11)

Both the Boston Bruins and the Philadelphia Flyers have shown a flair for the dramatic so far in these playoffs, but will this series compare to what we saw last season? The Flyers battled back from down 3-0 in the series, and 3-0 in game seven, to send the Bruins packing and they eventually went on to lose in the Stanley Cup Final to Chicago. Philly has a huge amount of skill up front, led by players like Danny Briere and Claude Giroux, but the back end might cause them some problems. They did, after all, become the first team since the late 1980’s to win a series with three different goalies making an appearance. One key for the Bruins will have to be forcing the Flyers to be unsure in front of their netminder du jour. Meanwhile, Boston has great goaltending and a pretty solid lineup from top to bottom, but their Achilles heel so far has been the power play. You’d have to think that in order for them to have any continued success, they will have to do better than 0-for-21 with the man advantage!

Predictions: Capitals in six, Bruins in seven!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Kerrzy’s Notebook: Big Debut for FC Edmonton

Edmonton’s newest pro sports team takes centre stage on Wednesday night in a high-stakes home debut in the city’s biggest barn!

It’ll be a “baptism by fire” of sorts for FC Edmonton in their first taste of Nutrilite Canadian Championship action with MLS-side Toronto FC swinging through town. After a summer of strictly exhibition matches, FC Edmonton kicked off the inaugural North American Soccer League season this month with wins in Fort Lauderdale and Atlanta, before coming up short in Cary, North Carolina.

To quote rocker Meat Loaf though, “two out of three ain’t bad,” especially when we’re talking about three road games to start the season!

"The chemistry is there and we're working well as a team right now,” says FC Edmonton right back AndrĂ© Duberry. “Obviously there are a few things we need to work on, but team chemistry is big.”

As for what he’s seen from the competition so far, the 28-year-old Calgary native says the NASL is a very high level of soccer, but it’s nothing they can’t handle.

“It's a very high level - very fast paced, a lot of quick one-twos. Over in the States, they've got some big boys, some fast boys. We're keeping up and we're working hard. It’s a learning process and we’re just growing."

FC Edmonton’s biggest test to date comes on Wednesday though with the current Voyageurs Cup holders providing the opposition. To make matters worse, there’s no doubt that Toronto FC will be looking to use this game to get back on the winning side of things after a fairly slow start to the MLS season.

Toronto opened things up with a loss to the Vancouver Whitecaps and they are winless in five matches since beating the Portland Timbers on March 26th, scoring just three goals in that span.
Despite coming into the game as a major underdog, Edmonton’s Duberry says he knows his team will be ready to compete when the two sides hit the field.

"Right now our heads are in the right place and we're just training hard. We're looking forward to playing Toronto, we've looked at a few tapes and we've been training well at practice and working on a few things, so hopefully it will pan out."

One thing that might play into Edmonton’s favor, believe it or not, is the fact that they’re a new and relatively inexperienced club. Boris Aguilar is the president of The Red Patch Boys, a Toronto FC supporters club, and says there’s always the danger that the team will end up taking Edmonton lightly.

“As a TFC supporter, I think it is safe to assume that anything can happen and there is no such thing as a sure thing,” says Aguilar. “As I answer this question, I am just thinking of various examples of when we may have taken a team too lightly only to be disappointed.”

The Red Patch Boys say they’re well aware of FC Edmonton’s hot start to the season, and they’re also cognizant of the fact that the team will be looking to make a big splash in its first game on the big stage in Canada.

“I can firmly say that the chatter amongst supporters right now is that we will not take Edmonton lightly at all. I just hope that [coach Aron] Winter and the players themselves see the importance of the match.”

Fellow supporters group The Yorkies say TFC’s schedule might play a role in what type of team they field on Wednesday. Tony says we could see a younger side thanks to a tough draw last weekend and a tough upcoming road game in Seattle.

“There are a number of young players in need of minutes who could be caught out by FCE, who seem to have found an early groove in the NASL,” says Tony, adding that Toronto has been accused of taking “The NutCan” too lightly at times in the past.

The Yorkies say that probably won’t be the case this season though, as it is probably the team’s only chance to capture some hardware!

“The Reds are in the midst of an admittedly large rebuild and you would be hard-pressed to find a supporter who thinks that an MLS Cup, or even the playoffs, is a realistic goal in 2011,” says Tony. “There is a feeling that hoisting the Voyageurs Cup again is the only chance at glory for TFC in 2011.”

One thing everyone can agree on though is that FC Edmonton’s addition to the landscape is another positive step for Canadian soccer.

“For us, we’d love to see more FC Edmontons around the country. Football in Canada can only benefit from strong professional clubs and I doubt you would find a single supporter in Toronto who doesn’t want to see FC Edmonton succeed on and off the field,” Tony says. “Just not against TFC!”

The Red Patch Boys agree, saying it improves the local support for the sport and the awareness of the game nationally, which will hopefully translate into a stronger national team program.

For FC Edmonton’s AndrĂ© Duberry though, the focus lies on just one part of the country right now.

"There's no place like home, so we're all pumped and we're all ready!”

FC Edmonton and Toronto FC meet at 6pm on Wednesday night at Commonwealth Stadium. The Montreal Impact visit Foote Field on Sunday night in Edmonton’s NASL home opener.

Around the Rinks: Game Seven(s), Roli is Clutch, Jumbo Joe

Down to the Wire

Get ready for another big night of NHL playoff action on Tuesday!

A day after the Tampa Bay Lightning forced a game seven against the Penguins in Pittsburgh and the San Jose Sharks got a big goal from their captain in a series clinching win over the LA Kings, we’ve got a pair of Game Sevens to look forward to. First up, it’s the Sabres in Philly, followed by the Canucks looking to avoid a total collapse when they host the Blackhawks.

Also on Tuesday night: the Habs can take it the distance with a win over the Bruins, which would give us the most seven-game series’ since the 1995 playoffs!

So, who will join Detroit, Washington, Nashville and SJ in the second round?

It’s a tense time in Vancouver at the moment, with the team on the verge of either a “phew, that was close” moment or a monumental collapse at the hands of a bitter rival. The Presidents Trophy winners led this series 3-0 before losing 7-2, 5-0 and then 4-3 in overtime on the weekend!

I’m not sure if Canucks GM Mike Gillis was trying to add fuel to the fire on Monday or if he was inadvertently providing his players with another “it’s not our fault” excuse, but he certainly grabbed some headlines ahead of the deciding game!

Speaking to the media, Gillis implied that there hasn’t been a “level playing field” in this series and that the referees seem to be favoring the defending Stanley Cup champions (via ESPN):

“I thought we played our best game of the series last night. I felt that if it would have been a level playing field, we would have won the game…We’re going to be very hard-pressed to win hockey games if throughout an entire series when the score is tight, they get 75 percent more power plays than we do. And that’s just the reality. That’s the facts we’re facing.”

The Hawks actually have enjoyed a pretty significant edge in power plays during the series, with 27 to Vancouver’s 16, but are we really supposed to believe that there’s some kind of conspiracy here against the Canucks? Couldn’t it just be that they’ve played undisciplined hockey against a team that tends to really get on their nerves?

The fact of the matter is that Vancouver has blown a 3-0 series lead and they now have one last chance to redeem themselves. I’d personally prefer to see the Blackhawks come all the way back to win this one, and I’m expecting a very hard fought game seven!

As for Buffalo and Philadelphia, I’m going to predict a Flyers win, though with their goaltending situation anything can happen! If the Sabres do pull it out, I hope it’s Tyler Ennis with another big game winner.

Holy Moly Roli

When everything is on the line, Dwayne Roloson is the man.

The 41-year-old Tampa Bay Lightning netminder improved to 5-0 when his team is staring down the end of their season, backstopping the Bolts to a 4-2 win on Monday night. The former Oiler made 27 stops, but none were more important than these three (starting at the 40-second mark):


It was a busy night for Roloson, who also had to stop a penalty shot in the second period…well, kind of:


Poor guy – can you think of a more embarrassing situation? He’ll probably never hear the end of that one!

Crowning Moment

The San Jose Sharks punched their ticket to the second round with a 4-3 overtime win over the LA Kings on Monday night to take the Battle of California in six games.

Sharks captain Joe Thornton capped off the victory 2:22 into the extra session, batting a loose puck past LA’s Jonathan Quick to seal the deal. The best part of the whole thing though was his Fleury-esque celebration:


Here’s what Thornton had to say afterwards (via TSN):

“I didn’t know what to do – usually I’m on the other end, I like to pass the puck, and so I really didn’t know what to do. The ice was pretty slick, so I really didn’t know what I was doing!”

Classic!

Monday, April 25, 2011

Kerrzy’s Notebook: 15 Minutes of Fame

It’s a holiday – but the boys from “15 Minutes of Fame” are back in the saddle for another week!

This week Geoff & Jim are talking playoff hockey after NHL disciplinarian Colin Campbell called his job “thankless” this past week, and we discuss the future of the Phoenix Coyotes after they were bounced from the postseason – are they moving? In the GABBYs: Stoke makes the FA Cup final, Corey Crawford contributes offensively, former players have front office success and lots more!


See something you think should be a GABBY? You can get a hold of us on Twitter @15MinutesYEG, find us on Facebook or shoot us an email at 15MinutesYEG@gmail.com!

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

Friday, April 22, 2011

Random Friday Thoughts: NHL Suspensions, Real Bad Drop, Pitching Robots

Suspendable Offence?

The same week he called his job “thankless,” Colin Campbell is out with another head-scratcher!

The NHL’s head disciplinarian went off on TSN Radio about how he feels a bit disrespected by all of the criticism he is facing, especially now that we’re into the playoffs. I can kind of see why he’d be rattled because he has definitely been active in punishing players who break the rules lately, handing out five suspensions in the last week and a half or so. That said, I think we’re all a bit miffed about a few of his calls so far.

Case and point: the Raffi Torres hit on Brent Seabrook.

Okay, so Seabrook should have had his head up. Fair enough. The argument from the league was that Torres didn’t leave his feet or extend his elbow and the hit occurred in a “hitting area” of the ice. The key point being left out there is that he made contact with the head of a guy who didn’t see him coming.

Here’s where people get confused though: there was no suspension for Torres, who was in his first game back from serving a four-game ban for a similar hit…but Steve Downie was suspended for one game for leaving his feet on a shoulder-to-shoulder hit against Tampa Bay a day later. Does that make sense to anyone?

Then this happened:


Anaheim’s Jarkko Ruutu was also suspended for one game for this hit on Nashville’s Marty Erat. It’s a bit of a late hit and it ends up catching Erat in the “sweet spot,” but it doesn’t look like much to me.

If you’re Colin Campbell, you can’t possibly call that a headshot while ignoring the Torres hit on Seabrook, can you?

El Clasico x 4

It’s quite a time to be a fan of Spanish soccer right now, especially if you support Barcelona or Real Madrid.

The bitter rivals are in the middle of a stretch that has them playing four times in 18 days – a period that some are calling the biggest in the history of domestic footy in that country. They played to a 1-1 draw last Saturday and Madrid won an extra-time decision in the final of the Copa del Rey on Wednesday – and both games certainly had their talking points!

In Saturday’s tie game, Leo Messi caused a bit of controversy, on field and off, when he blasted the ball at some opposition fans as it was going out of play:


This next video is a classic though – after Cristiano Ronaldo led his club to its first Spanish Cup in 18 years with a goal in the 103rd minute on Wednesday, one of his teammates dropped the trophy from the roof of a double-decker bus!


The Guardian says there were reports that the trophy was pretty banged up but defender Sergio Ramos, the guy who dropped it, was quoted as saying “the cup is alright” after the fact.

Real Madrid and Barcelona meet again next Wednesday, this time in the first leg of the Champions League semifinal.

PhillieBot is Lame

Did you hear about the robot that threw out the first pitch at a Philadelphia Phillies game this week?

PhillieBot, a one-armed robot built by University of Pennsylvania engineers, was the headliner on Science Day at Citizens Bank Park on Wednesday afternoon. Pretty cool, right? Depends on your definition of “cool,” I suppose. When I first heard about this, for some reason I pictured an awesome piece of machinery that would be throwing a 90mph fastball or something.

Unfortunately, that’s totally not what they meant:


Being able to build a robot is pretty impressive, regardless of how far it can throw a ball, but I just expected it to be able to make it to home plate! I hope it has some other functions it can fall back on!

Other stuff…

With the NFL lockout dragging on, ESPN looks at some players who are just trying to make ends meet…

If there is a football season down south, the Buffalo Bills will “host” the Philadelphia Eagles in Toronto…but will Michael Vick be able to get into the country?

The NBA came out this week and admitted that the refs made a mistake in a playoff game on Sunday…isn’t that type of honesty refreshing?

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Kerrzy’s Notebook: Jet Set?

If the Phoenix Coyotes have, in fact, played their last game in Glendale, Wednesday night’s loss was a fitting finale to what has been a nasty, yet productive couple of years in the desert.

It all started with the team going bankrupt back in 2009 and ending up as property of the NHL after a long, drawn-out battle in the courts. As potential deal after potential deal fell through for one reason or another, talk of relocation heated up and the distractions grew large for the team. Despite that, the Phoenix Coyotes won 93 games over those past two seasons and, at times, looked like one of the better clubs in the league.

Wednesday night was a fitting end though.

All series long the Coyotes played well enough to win, but found a way to lose and game four was just the icing on the cake. Phoenix took it to Detroit in front of the hometown fans on Wednesday and looked like a team hell-bent on extending their first round series to at least a fifth game, taking a 3-3 tie into the late stages of the third period.

Then it happened - after a hard-fought 53 minutes, Wings forward Dan Cleary fired the puck towards the Phoenix net from below the goal line…and it went in. Less than two minutes later it was 5-3 and an empty-netter sealed the team’s fate with just over 30 seconds to go.

The last two years have been a grueling ordeal full of distractions and uncertainty and optimism mixed in with some disappointment, but through all of that the team kept up its end of the bargain and played some damn good hockey. In the end though, when their best just wasn’t good enough, it was a fluke goal that ended their crusade.

So what happens next?

NHL commissioner Gary Bettman’s stance hasn’t changed yet - he told Sportsnet on Wednesday that the league’s focus remains squarely on “trying to make it work” in Arizona.

Bettman also scoffed at rumors that the league has been planning a quick move of the team as soon as their season is over, while refusing to comment on whether or not a “backup plan” exists if the latest deal falls through in Glendale.

There’s nothing there that I find all too surprising – the NHL is just keeping its cards close to its chest while we all wait to see what happens between the city, Chicago businessman Matthew Hulsizer and the Goldwater Institute .

The watchdog group doesn’t like what it sees in the proposed deal between Hulsizer and the city and is threatening a lawsuit if the deal goes any further. The two sides will be meeting today though to see if they can work out, or work on, some of their differences.

Then again, time is running short and there are many who believe the damage is done on that front.

The Globe and Mail had an interesting take on the situation this week, stating that TV markets could be the reason that the NHL is working so hard to keep the team in AZ. With the league signing that big fancy 10 year, $2-billion US television deal this week, David Shoalts says it would be a shame to see them lose out on the 12th largest TV market in that country. He says there’s even a chance that they would end up having to give some of the money from that contract back if the team moved back to Canada!

Knowing the struggles the NHL has had getting on national TV in the states, I’m sure they take this aspect of the Coyotes saga quite seriously. Shoalts quotes one anonymous league governor as saying “It’s not that they don’t want to go back to Winnipeg, it’s that they want to keep the Phoenix market.”

While the league continues to publicly distance itself from any Winnipeg stories, the Winnipeg Free Press reported last week that their sources say the NHL has been having continued negotiations with True North Sports and Entertainment, the group that wants to bring the Coyotes to that city.

With all of the reports and conflicting reports floating around out there at the moment, it’s tough to say exactly what is happening behind close doors, but I can tell you this – if this move is going to happen, it’s got to happen fast.

Winnipeg would have to get the MTS Centre ready and they would have to figure out what to do with the Manitoba Moose, never mind taking care of all of the other things that go into launching a new pro sports team in your city!

Shane Doan and the gang know that training camp opens up in about four and a half months from now, but where will his team call home when it does?

Photobucket

What do you think: Will the NHL move the Phoenix Coyotes (to Winnipeg), or do you think this big mess of a situation in Glendale will end up getting resolved?

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Kerrzy’s Notebook: Fighting for the Fighting Sioux

It’s going to be an interesting year for athletics at the University of North Dakota, as the NCAA prepares to come down hard on the school.

Are they in trouble for recruiting violations? That’s been happening a lot in college sports these days, but that isn’t it. Have players been selling UND stuff on eBay or accepting payments? Nope, that’s not it either. Well, does it have to do with performance enhancing drugs then? Nope!

It’s all in the name.

Until they’re no longer known as the University of North Dakota Fighting Sioux, the Grand Forks Herald reports the school won’t be allowed to host any playoff games or wear uniforms that display the team name or logo if they do make it to the postseason. ESPN says the NCAA has been trying for years now to rid the college ranks of offensive “American Indian nicknames, logos or mascots” and the UND’s deadline for a name change is mid-August of this year.

Okay, so why not just change the name then? Unfortunately it’s not that easy!

The North Dakota state government recently threw another wrinkle into this story by passing legislation that requires the school to keep the “Fighting Sioux” name. That’s right – the state says they have to keep the name, while the NCAA says they have to ditch it or face penalties. What’s a school to do?

If they had the support of the two local Sioux tribes, Spirit Lake and Standing Rock, the NCAA would back off and this would be a non-issue. The problem there is that the Spirit Lake Sioux supports the school, while the Standing Rock tribe is against the use of the name and logo. The Herald says this divide dates way back to 1969 when a reporter for the paper at the time wrote that a group of Standing Rock band members gave the school permission to use the name during a pipe ceremony.

Here’s where it gets complicated: that article is the only mention in the public record of such a ceremony taking place, and so there are many people who aren’t convinced that it ever happened. Further to that, the son of the author, who is now dead, says his dad never mentioned it. On the flip side, those tribe members who believe the sacred pipe ceremony did happen say that according to tradition, the decision can’t ever be reversed.

Whether or not the 1969 ceremony happened, both the school and the state are now pleading with the NCAA to let them keep the name. Those calls have fallen on deaf ears though, for now at least, with the association pulling out of an April 22nd meeting on the topic.

By all accounts this is a touchy subject, but here’s what it really boils down to – the NCAA wants to get rid of offensive names and logos and I don’t believe this one falls into that category. The fact that local Sioux leaders can’t agree about whether or not the school was given permission to use the name doesn’t prove that it’s an offensive moniker. Shouldn’t the fact that at least one prominent tribe has backed the use of the name prove that it isn’t offensive?

What do you think: Should the NCAA be able to force the University of North Dakota to change its team name/logo, even when the school’s home state makes it illegal for them to do so?

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Around the Rinks: Kunitz the new Cooke?

Colin Campbell is a busy man these days!

The NHL’s head disciplinarian kicked off the 2011 playoffs by handing out a couple of early suspensions to LA’s Jarret Stoll (one game) and Anaheim’s Bobby Ryan (two games). He followed that up by deciding not to suspend Vancouver’s Raffi Torres for a controversial hit on Sunday night (even though Torres probably deserved at least a game or two), which drew the ire of the Chicago Blackhawks.

Well, after Monday night’s game between the Pittsburgh Penguins and the Tampa Bay Lightning, it looks like he’s got another couple of decisions to make! Tampa’s Steve Downie and Pittsburgh’s Chris Kunitz will both be hearing from the league on Tuesday, though my guess is that Kunitz will be the one facing a ban for his actions. (Scroll down for the update...)

Let’s start with the Downie hit on Ben Lovejoy: The Pens defenseman gets the puck behind his net and sends it around the boards just as Downie comes flying in with a crunching check, leaving his feet in the process. The funny thing is, Lovejoy’s pass finds Max Talbot, who goes up the ice and scores on the delayed penalty!


Does that hit remind you of anything? For his part, Lovejoy didn’t seem too bothered after the game, a 3-2 Pens win, telling the St. Petersburg Times that it was a “good” hit:

“I knew it was coming. You have to be aware when [Downie] is on the ice. It was a good hit, though I haven’t seen (a replay). He certainly didn’t get me in the head. He put his shoulder right into my chest. I knew it was going to be a hit like that. It’s the Stanley Cup playoffs.”

The NHL didn’t suspend Raffi Torres, so they probably shouldn’t suspend Steve Downie here. Yes, he appears to leave his feet, but according to Lovejoy, he still managed to go shoulder-to-chest. If the league suspends him, it will only make it more difficult for players and fans alike to figure out what the heck is allowed and what isn’t!

As for Chris Kunitz, he should be suspended for what was a pretty nasty elbow on Simon Gagne.

After losing the puck on his way to the front of the Pens net, Gagne tastes the elbow pad of Kunitz, who stretches out and only makes contact with the head of the Bolts forward. Not only is it a blatant elbow (right in front of the ref), but Gagne doesn’t even have the puck!


Is there a precedent for suspending this type of hit, you ask?

In the last six weeks, five players have been suspended a total of 21 games for hitting opponents with elbows to the head and another guy was slapped with a fine!

Kunitz’s teammate Matt Cooke sat 10 games plus the first round of the playoffs for a hit on NY Rangers defenseman Ryan McDonagh, while Pavel Kubina, Brad Marchand and Dany Heatley were all suspended 2-3 games for elbows to the head as well. Raffi Torres got four games for an elbow to the head of Jordan Eberle and Patric Hornqvist escaped with a $2,500 fine for a hit on Boston’s Tyler Seguin.

If the NHL doesn’t suspend Kunitz for this hit, they’ve completely lost the plot.

What do you think: Should the NHL start throwing the book at players who continue to target the head?

[UPDATE: Okay, so the NHL gave each player a one game suspension today – believe it or not I disagree with at least one of those calls. In the case of Steve Downie, he’s been in trouble before (but not recently), so I’m not overly surprised that he’d get at least a game. When it comes to Kunitz though, I’m disappointed. Here’s a guy who goes out of his way to throw an obvious elbow at the face of an opposing player, which could even be seen as a sort of retaliation for the Downie hit, and he escapes with one game? The league looked serious about this type of play for almost two whole months! If thet gave him one game because we’re in the playoffs, they should consider that guys like Kunitz aren’t treating it like the playoffs! There are at least two games left in the series, he should have been given at least two!]

Monday, April 18, 2011

Kerrzy’s Notebook: 15 Minutes of Fame

It’s Monday, which means it’s time for another episode of “15 Minutes of Fame,” the weekly sports video-blog featuring myself and Geoff Driscoll of Any Sport Any Time!

This week, in honor of the Edmonton Oilers earning the first overall pick at the upcoming entry draft, we’re discussing the merits of a handful of prospects that could end up wearing the Copper & Blue next season. In the GABBYs, the Devils turn it around (kind of), the NHL sticks to its guns, NBA fights, the owl kicker strikes again and much more!


See something you think should be a GABBY? You can get a hold of us on Twitter @15MinutesYEG, find us on Facebook or shoot us an email at 15MinutesYEG@gmail.com!

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

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Random Friday Thoughts: Hot Wheels, NFL to WWE, Spurs Gumshoe

A Reason to Watch Racing

I’d like to start this blog with a riddle: What weighs 3,500 pounds, happens 57 days before the Edmonton Indy and will probably be the coolest thing you’ve ever seen?

Oh, I don’t know – maybe a NASCAR-sized truck zooming down a real-life Hot Wheels track before the Indy 500, hoping to break a world record for the longest jump by a four-wheeled vehicle? Yeah, I said it.

About an hour before the May 29th race, an unidentified driver will hop into an 850-horsepower truck, which will be sitting at the top of a 100-foot-high structure somewhere in the infield area of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The driver will then take the vehicle down a steep drop and launch it into the air, hoping to glide the 302 feet required to set a new world record.


After the jump, the driver will be unmasked! Who could it be though?

Well, Team Hot Wheels is made up four mystery drivers who have apparently been off training in a secret location for “the most incredible driving experience ever witnessed.” If there is anyone crazy enough to try something like this, it’s Travis Pastrana!

Don’t believe me? Check this out:


It’s got to be Pastrana!

NFL to WWE?

With the NFL currently in the middle of a lockout, some players are looking to seek other employment for the time being.

It’s a bit different than when the NHL locked its players out for the 2004-05 season though – most guys just wound up playing in another league somewhere for the year, either in North America or abroad. The problem for NFL players is that, apart from the CFL, there aren’t really many options football-wise!

Cincinnati Bengals receiver Chad Ochocinco was the first player to try something different, cracking the reserve squad of Major League Soccer side Sporting Kansas City last month. Add St. Louis Rams linebacker James Laurinaitis to the list of players who are thinking outside of the box though!

Ohio State student newspaper The Lantern reports that Laurinaitis may hop into the “squared circle” and follow in the footsteps of his father if the lockout lasts long enough.

Who is his father? None other than “Road Warrior Animal” of the famed Legion of Doom!

Laurinaitis says he’s “95 percent” sure that the lockout will be over by the fall, but that he’d consider taking up wrestling in the event that he’s wrong. Unless he needs the money though (which he says he doesn’t), it’s probably not a good idea to risk an injury by getting into the ring!

I suppose there’s always the UFL!

Rafael van der Vaart: Gumshoe

I think most of us would come to expect that a professional soccer player would be good with his feet, but this is just ridiculous.

Check out this video of Tottenham midfielder Rafael van der Vaart doing tricks with his gum!


Here’s what I want you to do: get a piece of gum, chew it up and give this a try. It’s about as hard as it looks!

Other stuff…

Remember the Colombian soccer player who got into trouble for kicking an owl that wound up on the field? He’s graduated to kicking humans!

How do you stop Alex Ovechkin? The Wall Street Journal has some ideas…

MMA fighter Cindy Dandois has pulled out of an upcoming bout with Gina Carano because she just discovered that she is pregnant…and that she fought her last fight while she was pregnant too!

Kerrzy's Notebook: Whirlwind Wednesday for Kobe

What a whirlwind day for Kobe Bryant on Wednesday.

It started with some bad news about his jersey, which was followed by some more bad news in the form of a massive fine for some trash talk gone awry. Thankfully for Kobe and the Lakers, he went back to doing his talking on the court by the evening, ending the day on a high note.

It was a tough start to Wednesday for Bryant, as he learned that his #24 jersey was no longer the most popular among NBA fans after two years on top. Much like his team, Kobe was going for the three-peat, but LeBron James stood in the way of that, taking over first place on the list, according to the LA Times. With the playoffs starting this weekend, the big question will be: if the Lakers make it out of the Western Conference, will LeBron James and his super popular jersey stand in Kobe’s way once again?

If LA ends up playing for the Western crown, there’s a good chance they’ll have to beat the San Antonio Spurs to claim it, which brings us to our next bit of controversy.

The Lakers beat the Spurs on Tuesday night, but Kobe Bryant paid the price after the fact. No, he wasn’t injured (though Andrew Bynum was), but he did end up in some trouble for something he yelled at ref Bernie Adams after being given a technical foul. Bryant punched his seat, threw a towel and tried to get the ref’s attention, before spitting out a “gay slur.” Unfortunately for him, a TV camera caught the whole thing and he was fined $100,000 on Wednesday!

For his part, Kobe said afterwards that he didn’t mean it like that:

“What I said last night should not be taken literally. My actions were out of frustration during the heat of the game, period. The words expressed do NOT reflect my feelings towards the gay and lesbian communities and were NOT meant to offend anyone.”

Moving right along, Kobe’s day ended on a much higher note as he put up 36 points, nine rebounds and six assists in a 116-108 win over the Sacramento Kings in LA’s final regular season game. That ensured that his club would finish no higher than his jersey in the final standings, setting up a first round playoff meeting with the New Orleans Hornets.

Thankfully for Lakers fans, it doesn’t look like this referee drama will be a distraction for the team heading into the postseason, since Bryant didn’t waste any time in issuing an apology. It’s certainly not a good time to be stirring the pot like that though!

What do you think: Is a $100,000 fine a tough enough punishment?

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

The Hoop & The Harm: Charlie V flips out, Wafer Whiffer

“Heat of the Moment”

Losing to the Cleveland Cavaliers will drive a man to do crazy things, it seems.

The Detroit Pistons witnessed that first hand on Monday night when forward Charlie Villanueva completely lost the plot with just under six minutes to go in his team’s final home game of the regular season. Now, when I say he “lost the plot,” I mean it – responding to an elbow earlier in the game, Charlie V hit Cleveland’s Ryan Hollins with a “subtle jab to the groin” as Detroit Free Press writer Vince Ellis described it.

After being ushered away from the ensuing scrum, Villanueva tried to sneak his way back over to confront Hollins, but was dragged away once again by a teammate and a member of the coaching staff. It turns out it’s just not that easy for a 6-foot-11, 232-pound guy to be sneaky!

It didn’t end there either – Villanueva tried to make his way into the Cavs locker room and had to be restrained by police officers! Here’s a clip of the on-court stuff:



Whatever Hollins said, it must have cut Charlie V pretty deep. According to the Free Press, Villanueva was overheard saying to himself “I will kill that dude, I don’t give a (what!)” as he was escorted back to the Detroit locker room.

Here’s what he had to say for himself on Twitter the next day:

Photobucket

It was no Malice at the Palace, but you’ve got to think that the NBA will hand down some type of punishment!

*UPDATE: The NBA has suspended Villanueva for five games, four of which will have to be served at the start of next season.

Von WHIFFER

Looking for a good laugh today (at the expense of someone else, of course)? Well, you’ve come to the right place!

If you’re like me, you love a good sports blooper, especially when it comes at a meaningful point in a game (even if it’s a mostly meaningless game)! Guess what? Von Wafer of the Boston Celtics provided us with just such a moment in the final three minutes of a 95-94 overtime loss to the lowly Washington Wizards on Monday!

Wafer gets the ball at the top of the key and drives to the basket, launching himself into the air for what should be a thunderous dunk and a four point lead for the visitors. The problem is, he missed the dunk and the Wizards recovered the ball!

The best part of this blooper though is just how Washington got the ball back.

After Wafer missed on the dunk attempt (fail #1), he proceeded to celebrate under the basket (fail #2), and when he turned to run back up the floor, he bumped into the teammate of his who snagged the rebound and caused him to double dribble (fail hat-trick)!



Was this one worse than the Glen “Big Baby” Davis miss earlier in the year?

What’s the worst basketball blooper you’ve ever seen? Leave me a comment below!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Kerrzy’s Notebook: NHL Playoff Preview – Eastern Conference

The NHL’s second season gets underway on Wednesday as we get a glimpse of five of the eight first round matchups, including two from the Eastern Conference.

Earlier today I took you through each pairing in the West, from the Canucks to the Predators. Now, it’s the East’s turn!

Washington (48-23-11) vs. NY Rangers (44-33-5)

It was a tough season for the Washington Capitals, as their big three of Alex Ovechkin, Nicklas Backstrom and Alex Semin each saw dramatic drops in their offensive output and the team finished…wait, hold on a second. Those three each saw their point totals drop off big time and the Caps still finished first in the East and second overall? Oh boy, the Rangers have their work cut out for them! The Capitals committed to team defense this year and it paid off for them in a big way, but will it mean playoff success? New York might have something to say about that! It’ll be up to Henrik Lundqvist to hold off what is still a high-powered Capitals offence through the course of this series and give his team a chance to hopefully chip away at the inexperience of Washington goalies Semyon Varlamov and Michal Neuvirth. That inexperience between the pipes could be the Achilles heel of the Capitals.

Philadelphia (47-23-12) vs. Buffalo (43-29-10)

The Philadelphia Flyers present an enigma of sorts for me heading into these playoffs – they’re a team with a potent offence, pretty solid defense and what has been steady goaltending for most of the season, yet they went 7-7-6 from the start of March until the end of the schedule. During that stretch, they lost to Atlanta three times and of their seven wins, only one came against a team that made the playoffs! That said, the Flyers are a fairly veteran bunch that should be able to rise above the recent struggles and put the entire focus on the task at hand. As for the Sabres, they’ve been playing “playoff hockey” for a few weeks now and will probably be champing at the bit to get going. I know I’ve been harping on the importance of good goaltending in a lot of my series previews, but the play of Ryan Miller will be the difference for the Sabres in this series.

Boston (46-25-11) vs. Montreal (44-30-8)

If you’re not excited for this series, you should probably seek medical attention because there is clearly something wrong. Let’s see: Long Standing Rivalry? Check. Recent Bad Blood? Check. Scores like “8-6” and “7-0” in the season series? Check! This matchup has the potential to be the nastiest series of them all, if nothing else. There’s a good battle in goal between Carey Price and Tim Thomas, Hal Gill and Zdeno Chara are the towering blue liners of each club, both clubs have a good mix of players up front…I’m excited to see how this series plays out. The difference might be the “edge” that guys like Milan Lucic play with that the Habs might not have an answer for.

Pittsburgh (49-25-8) vs. Tampa Bay (46-25-11)

Still no Sidney Crosby for the Penguins, who face a tough competitor in the Tampa Bay Lightning in their opening round pairing. In all, Crosby missed exactly half of the season (41 games) and it’s not known when he’ll be back. Despite missing their captain (and Evgeni Malkin) for that extended period, the Pens still managed to win 49 games this season which shows you that they’re a team with extreme depth. Speaking of depth, the Lightning also have plenty of secondary scoring as well – in behind guys like Steve Stamkos, Vinny Lecavalier and Marty St. Louis are guys like Simon Gagne (17 goals, 40 points) Teddy Purcell (17 goals, 51 points) and Dominic Moore (18 goals, 32 points). If the Bolts want to pull off the upset, they’ll have to try and get inside the head of Marc-Andre Fleury and really rely on those secondary guys to go to work!

Kerrzy’s Notebook: NHL Playoff Preview – Western Conference

Well folks, the NHL postseason is finally here: sixteen teams looking for sixteen wins and an opportunity to sip out of Lord Stanley’s famed mug.

The first round of the playoffs begins on Wednesday night and features some burning rivalries, new and old, and some others that are slowing inching toward “rivalry” status. Whatever the case, it won’t be long now until we see the captain of one of the sixteen remaining teams lifting the Stanley Cup proudly over his head…but who will it be?

Here’s a look, through my eyes, at the Western Conference pairings!

Vancouver (54-19-9) vs. Chicago (44-29-9)

This is one of those “new” rivalries I mentioned above – the Hawks have bounced the Canucks from the playoffs in each of the last two years, both times in game six of the second round. There was certainly no shortage of drama when the two clubs met last year, but there are obviously some key pieces missing this time around. For one, there will be no Dustin Byfuglien making life miserable for Roberto Luongo at the top of the Vancouver crease. A lot is riding on this series for the Canucks, who despite a ton of injuries during the season managed to capture their first Presidents’ Trophy. For them to be successful, the Sedin twins have to have room to skate and Luongo has to be at the top of his game. The Hawks are a dynamic team that, despite backing into the playoffs on the final day of the regular season, will pose a tough challenge for anyone left. If Vancouver loses to Chicago again this year, even I’ll feel a little bit bad for Canucks fans.

San Jose (48-25-9) vs. Los Angeles (46-30-6)

The “Battle of California” provides us with another interesting rivalry in this opening round of the 2011 playoffs – a Sharks team still looking to shed the tag of second season nobodies against a Kings team rocked by two key injuries in the final month of the season. Not having Anze Kopitar and Justin Williams in the lineup removes 47 goals and 130 points from the team’s offence, so it’ll really be up to guys like Dustin Brown, Ryan Smyth and Jarret Stoll to step it up in the absence of those two. Am I forgetting someone? I suppose it would be a great time for Dustin Penner to make his mark on this LA side – perhaps he could play a Byfuglien type role for the Kings. On the other side of things, the Sharks had another great regular season, but unless it translates into some postseason success, it doesn’t mean a whole lot! It’ll be up to the likes of Joe Thornton and Patrick Marleau to lead this club, but they’ve got a solid group of younger players (Devin Setoguchi, Logan Couture) who will be leaned on to provide that extra bit of grit and offence. Can Antti Niemi prove that last year was no fluke?

Detroit (47-25-10) vs. Phoenix (43-26-13)

The Detroit Red Wings have a tough test ahead of them with the Phoenix Coyotes providing the opposition right out of the gate in the 3-vs-6 pairing. I think the Wings are in a bit of trouble – they’ll likely be starting the playoffs without their leading scorer in Henrik Zetterberg, they haven’t been getting great goaltending as of late and, worst of all, the Coyotes are a hell of a team. With Shane Doan leading the way up front and Keith Yandle providing a lot of offence from the blue line, Phoenix can be a real handful. Their biggest weapon though stands between the pipes – Ilya Bryzgalov is a guy who is more than capable of stealing a series for his side. Depth and experience will be important for the Wings, who will also likely need Jimmy Howard to stand on his head. Will the Coyotes be able to perform in front of a full building though when the series shifts back to Glendale? It might be a bit odd for them, no?

Anaheim (47-30-5) vs. Nashville (44-27-11)

Both the Anaheim Ducks and the Nashville Predators play a very gritty, hard nosed brand of hockey, which should make this a very interesting series to watch once it gets going. On one hand, you’ve got 50-goal scorer Corey Perry and guys like Teemu Selanne (31 goals, 80 points), Ryan Getzlaf (76 points in 67 games) and Bobby Ryan (34 goals, 71 points). On the other hand, you’ve got a Preds team that gave up 41 fewer goals during the regular season than Anaheim and scored 20 fewer goals. Nothing outlines that fact better than this stat: Nashville’s leading scorer has as many total points as Corey Perry has goals! Goaltending will be huge in this series, but it’ll be especially interesting to see who the Ducks go with – they’ve got Dan Ellis, Ray Emery and Jonas Hiller, who is apparently still battling through vertigo issues. I expect the Ducks to rally around their experience as a dangerous playoff team and grind out a win over a pretty defensive Nashville club.

Check back later today for my look at the Eastern Conference!

Monday, April 11, 2011

Around the Rinks: Let the NHL Postseason Begin!

The NHL playoffs officially begin on Wednesday, but the lineups weren’t set without a bit of weekend drama!

Fortunately for the NY Rangers and the Chicago Blackhawks it was a disappointing, anticlimactic type of drama! The Carolina Hurricanes and the Dallas Stars were both in the driver’s seat in terms of the final playoff spots in their respective conferences on the weekend, and both fell flat on their faces when push came to shove.

Playing for their playoff lives, the NY Rangers beat the NJ Devils 5-2 on Saturday morning, a game I was sure the Devils would treat like game seven of the Stanley Cup Final. Later that night, the Tampa Bay Lightning jumped out to a 4-0 lead on the way to a 6-2 romp over the ‘Canes, ending their season. A similar showdown took place on Sunday, when a Blackhawks loss left the door to the postseason wide open for the Dallas Stars, but they fell 5-3 to the Minnesota Wild. At least Carolina was effectively knocked out of the picture by a playoff-bound team!

Before we go any further, I feel obliged to provide you with this ridiculous display of skill from Detroit Red Wings forward Pavel Datsyuk from Sunday’s win over Chicago:


Come on! The Red Wings have a tough first round ahead of them, especially if they’ll be playing without Henrik Zetterberg for a couple of games, so they’ll need as much of that as possible!

Speaking of segues, let’s take a look at those first round matchups:

In the Western Conference, we kick things off with a rematch that will be missing some of the key pieces when the Vancouver Canucks face the Blackhawks. The San Jose Sharks get a state rival for their first round tilt in the LA Kings, a team missing its top two scorers. The Wings and Coyotes meet again after a seven-game classic in the first round last year, won by Detroit. Finally, it’s Anaheim against Nashville in a series that, let’s be honest, could either be very entertaining or a bit dull.

In the East, the Rangers will travel to Washington to face a suddenly defensive-minded Capitals team in the 1-vs-8 series. The Flyers and Sabres face off in a series that could easily provide us with our first big upset in my mind. For all the firepower that Philly has, I’m not convinced when it comes to their goaltending. This next one will be a classic (hopefully): The number three seeded Boston Bruins against the number six seeded Montreal Canadiens – who else has a feeling that this one could get pretty mean? Finally, we’ve got Pittsburgh taking on Tampa Bay, with the wildcard in this one being whether or not we will see Sidney Crosby.

Of course, the big day for Edmonton Oilers fans is tomorrow when the NHL holds its Draft Lottery – will the Oil snag the first overall pick for a second straight year? If so, who should they think about selecting?

For those of you saying Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, do the first two games of the WHL’s East semifinal have you second-guessing him as an impact player? His Red Deer Rebels were outscored 14-1 (at home) over that span and he is a minus-3!

Check back tomorrow for some playoff previews!

Kerrzy's Notebook: 15 Minutes of Fame

We’re back in the “15 Minutes of Fame” home office this week after taking our show on the road last Saturday night – there are no Nerf guns this episode, but still lots of great sports talk!

This week, Geoff Driscoll of Any Sport Any Time and I are talking about the end of the line for the Edmonton Oilers (and that fight-filled affair against the Wild on Friday) and the Raffi Torres hit on Jordan Eberle, and why it resulted in a four-game ban. This week’s GABBYs (The Good And the Bad, By You) include: Anaheim milestones, Baseball moustaches, Positive Drug Tests and much more!


See something you think should be a GABBY? You can get a hold of us on Twitter @15MinutesYEG, find us on Facebook or shoot us an email at 15MinutesYEG@gmail.com!

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

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Around the Rinks: Mac-Attack, Ger-Beauty, Senior Hart?

Don’t Mess With Mac

For a second straight year the Edmonton Oilers will finish dead last in the NHL, but they didn’t go down without a fight in their final home game on Friday night.

The first period of a 3-1 loss to the Minnesota Wild featured two game misconducts, four 10-minute misconducts, six major penalties and an even 100 penalty minutes! For you math whizzes out there, that equals out to five penalty minutes for each minute played in that opening frame! While the Oilers ended up losing the game, they certainly won the three fights we were treated to early on:

Theo Peckham worked over Clayton Stoner in the opening seconds, JF Jacques got the best of Brad Staubitz a couple of minutes later and Steve MacIntyre laid such a hurting on Staubitz near the midway point of the period that they didn’t even give out two fighting majors!


After the game, MacIntyre wouldn’t say a bad word about Staubitz when asked about him “turtling” during the fight, saying instead:

"I'm there for the boys - it might be the end of the season, but you know what, it's who I am and it's what I'm going to stand for. I didn't think it was that great of a hit and I tried to make it right."

I dare you to try and dislike this guy. I dare you!

He’s the ultimate teammate – a guy who is completely fine with his role and playing one or two minutes a night (if that), and a guy who will hop the boards and defend any one of “the boys” at the drop of a hat. Go Mac!

Trash Talk Fail

If you ever played hockey with me or against me, you’ll know that I like to talk my fair share of trash – I can’t help it!

Well, sometimes running your yap can backfire on you, and that is exactly what happened to Philadelphia Flyers agitator Dan Carcillo on Friday night at the HSBC Arena in Buffalo. Replays showed Carcillo patting Buffalo’s Nathan Gerbe on the head after the whistle at some point, likely a shot at the fact that he’s only 5-foot-5, but the Sabres forward would have the last laugh.

Buffalo needed at least a point to clinch a playoff spot, and with less than 10 minutes to go, Gerbe brought the puck into the Philly zone and beat Sergei Bobrovsky with a spinning backhander from the high slot:


What a goal!

Mighty Duck

With the season winding down, it’s time to start thinking about who should get what when it comes to individual awards this summer.

Corey Perry’s name is starting to come up quite a bit in Hart Trophy conversations, especially since he potted his 50th goal of the year earlier this week. There’s no question that the Anaheim Ducks forward has certainly played a major role in getting his club to the playoffs, but the way Teemu Selanne is playing, I wish there was a “Senior” Hart and a “Junior” Hart they could give out!

Selanne scored both goals in a 2-1 win over the LA Kings on Thursday to punch Anaheim’s ticket to the postseason, giving him 31 goals on the season. That makes him just the third 40-year-old player in the history of the NHL to crack the 30-goal mark!

It’s amazing to think that 18 years ago Selanne was smashing the record for goals by a rookie, and he’s still scoring!


The best part of this video is the cameo by Quebec Nordiques defenceman Adam Foote, who retired this week!

Friday, April 8, 2011

Random Friday Thoughts: Where’s Poonam? NHL Playoff Races, 50 in 80

Where’s Poonam?

Indian model Poonam Pandey became a household name overnight last week because of a promise she made during the Cricket World Cup – it’s a week later though, and people in India are wondering when she’ll be living up to that promise!

Pandey faced a ton of controversy last week when she said she would strip for the Indian cricket team if they managed to win the World Cup. Ever since the team’s Saturday triumph over Sri Lanka though, the people have been wondering: Where is Poonam?

In response to the fierce backlash her actions caused in India, Pandey said this week that she would gladly take her little strip show to a different country. She even wrote to the Board of Control for Cricket in India to ask permission to ‘perform’ for the team. An Indian media outlet reports that the “whole nation is going crazy” to see Pandey strip, but at the moment she is in hospital with kidney stones!

Another outlet, ApunKaChoice.com, wonders if the whole thing is just a well executed publicity stunt. What do you think?

Gone in 15 Seconds

The NY Rangers saw their playoff hopes take a bit of a hit on Thursday night, all in a matter of seconds!

Former Oiler Rob Schremp and Andrew Ladd scored goals 15 seconds apart in the second period of a 3-0 Atlanta win at Madison Square Garden, a huge loss for New York. The Rangers are still in eighth place in the Eastern Conference, but they are now only two points up on a Carolina Hurricanes club that still has four points up for grabs.

Here’s the scenario: New York plays New Jersey on Saturday afternoon, which is obviously a must win game. By then, the ‘Canes will have already played Atlanta on Friday and will be getting ready to face Tampa Bay on Saturday night. If Carolina can win without going to a shootout in either of their games and the Rangers lose, New York is out. If both teams win their remaining games (without a shootout), the ‘Canes go through on Regulation Plus OT Wins (ROW). Don’t forget about the Buffalo Sabres either – they’re just one point up on the Rangers in seventh and could end up missing the playoffs if they lose both of their remaining games (and both NY and Carolina win out)!

National Hawkey League

Have you heard the whispers this week about a supposed NHL conspiracy to get the defending Stanley Cup champions into the playoffs at all costs?

Those whispers started on Wednesday when the Chicago Blackhawks benefited from some slightly suspect refereeing and some overly generous video reviewing on the way to a 4-3 overtime win over the St. Louis Blues. The visitors jumped out to a 2-0 lead before Marian Hossa kicked off the comeback with a strange goal that a distant ref verified on the ice. The review showed no “conclusive evidence” that the puck crossed the line, but since it was already called a goal, that was the end of it!

There are some who think this shows a clear NHL bias towards the ‘Hawks, but I’m here to tell you that’s just not the case!

This is obviously part of an NHL plan to keep the Calgary Flames out of the playoffs! The league feels so bad for the Edmonton Oilers, what with all the injuries and the bad luck over the past two seasons, that they’ve instructed the war room in Toronto to work its magic! Don’t tell me you forgot about that questionable disallowed goal for the Flames last week against Anaheim!

The Chicago win, coupled with a Ducks win that same night eliminated Calgary from playoff contention. A job well done by the NHL!

Speaking of Anaheim – Corey Perry scored three goals in a mighty beat down of the San Jose Sharks on Wednesday to become the first player to crack 50 goals on the season:


Look how excited Teemu Selanne is when Perry scores that third goal – I absolutely love how pumped up that guy has been this season. He looks like a little kid out there!

Other stuff…

Leo Messi has more Facebook friends than you…way more!

Fenway Park will now serve hard liquor at Red Sox games…what an interesting response to the team’s worst start since 1945!

Enjoy watching basketball while you can…experts predict lost games for the NBA when it comes time to negotiate a new CBA!

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Kerrzy’s Notebook: Play Ball!

We’re officially one week into the new MLB season and already some interesting trends are developing around the league, specifically in the American League East.

For one, the Toronto Blue Jays are looking like a pretty solid ball club early on!

The Jays kicked off the regular season with a 13-3 rout of the Minnesota Twins last Friday and followed that up with a 6-1 win the next night, before losing a close 4-3 ballgame on Sunday. Earlier this week, the Jays opened up a three-game set with the Oakland Athletics by scoring a pair of come-from-behind wins at the Rogers Centre to sit at 4-1 with…three percent of the season in their rear view mirror.

Still, it’s a good start!

Toronto’s pitching has been great so far with Ricky Romero, Kyle Drabek, Brett Cecil and Jesse Litsch all allowing no more than three earned runs each in their first starts. Jo-Jo Reyes is the only Jays pitcher to get into some trouble so far, giving up five runs on nine hits in just over three innings of work early in an extra-innings win over the A’s on Tuesday.

Travis Snider was the man for the Jays on Wednesday, crushing a three-run shot over the wall in the fourth inning to put his club on top for good. Nothing in the world of sports is sweeter than Snider’s moustache though. It’s so impressive that I’m pretty sure the MLB should test it for steroids. Just saying.

Now that we’ve got the Jays out of the way, it’s been a pretty interesting start for the rest of the AL-East as well:

The Baltimore Orioles suffered their first defeat of the season on Wednesday night after opening up with four straight wins. Why is that impressive? It took them until April 27th last year to reach the four-win mark!

The Tampa Bay Rays are playing so bad right now that they’ve got people talking contraction! The Rays are winless through five games, they’ve been held to one run in four of those outings and they’re dead last in the Major Leagues when it comes to runs (7), hits (21) and overall batting average (.136). The worst part about the 0-5 start though is probably the fact that each of those losses has come at home!

Don’t worry though Rays fan, you’re not alone (except at Tropicana Field). The Boston Red Sox are also looking for their first win of the season through five games and, believe it or not, they’ve actually got Tampa beat in at least one statistical category. The BoSox have given up 37 runs so far, the second most out of anyone in the MLB. Boston is so bad that crazy stuff like this is happening to them!

So, after one week things are looking a bit different than we’re used to in the AL-East, but it’s a long, long (too long?) season my friends. I’m sure Tampa and Boston will right the ship sooner rather than later, but the most interesting stories to me are Toronto and Baltimore.

Are the Jays ready to challenge for the division crown or maybe that extra wildcard spot? Are the Orioles really a different team under Buck Showalter? Both are questions I can’t wait to learn the answers to…

Play Ball!

Other stuff…

San Francisco Giants pitcher Brian Wilson stars in the latest “This is Sportscenter” commercial for ESPN:


No Guts, No Glory brings us these funny courtroom sketches from the Barry Bonds perjury trial…

MLB commissioner Bud Selig says he wants to ban chewing tobacco…which seems like it would be a tough sell with the players association!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Kerrzy’s Notebook: 15 Minutes of Fame

It was a big weekend for Geoff Driscoll and I as “15 Minutes of Fame” went live at the Beer Hunter Bar & Grill on the west end on Saturday for the Any Sport Any Time Hotstove!

Usually our format consists of the two of us going back and forth about what’s happening in the world of sports, but since we had so much time to fill this weekend we decided to bring along some friends! Our guests on the night included national champion trapshooter Amanda Chudoba (who accepted our challenge to shoot an apple off of Geoff’s head with a Nerf gun), four members of the Oil City Derby Girls and, last but certainly not least, Kyle Koch, Gord Hinse and Patrick Kabongo of the Edmonton Eskimos!

Check it out:









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!