Monthly Archives: March 2010

St. Patty’s Day Special

In honor of St. Patty’s Day, I’ve decided to compile a list of all time favorite Irish (or Irish-American) athletes. I’ll probably miss some guys, but here’s the list.  Don’t forget to have a drink or two for these guys tonight.

Paddy Harrington 

One of my favorite non lefthanded golfers, the Dublin born Harrington has three majors under his belt including back to back Open Championships in ’07 and ’08.  As for his distant cousin Joey Harrington….yeah, let’s just say he won’t be making this list.

The 1986 Boston Celtics

Led by Kevin McHale, the ’86 Celtics dominated going 67-15 and beating the Lakers for the NBA Championship. Oh yeah, and they had some Larry Bird guy on this team…I think he was pretty decent.  Before anyone says anything about the whole team being Irish, I’m pretty sure you have to be Irish to play for the Celts.  I wouldn’t be surprised if they do background checks.

Owen Nolan

The five time NHL All Star from Belfast has had quite a career, scoring 420 goals for six franchises over the better part of two decades.  Not only can he score, but he can bang the body as well, being one of the top power forwards in the NHL in the late ’90s.

Sheamus

I don’t watch much wrestling these days, but I have heard of this Irishman. Still technically in his first year in the WWE, Shameus has already won gold as the promotion’s champion.  Ok, so it’s scripted, but it’s still an accomplishment.

Connie Mack

The son of Irish immigrants, Cornelius McGillicuddy is a legend in the baseball world.  He managed the Philadelphia A’s for FIFTY years, which included five World Series titles.  The old ballpark in Philadelphia bore his name and now he has a statue outside of Citizens Bank Park.

John McEnroe

Not afraid to speak his mind, McEnroe was the King of the tennis world in the early ’80s, winning 7 Grand Slams, all between the years of 1979-1984.

Dishonorable Mentions:

Mark McGwire

10 years ago, Big Mac would probably top the list, but between then and now, things have changed.  McGwire has fallen from the top of the mountain, landed hard and is now trying to work his way back up, by joining the Cardinals as a hitting coach. 

Peter Griffin

His selfishness and arrogance get Patriots quarterback Tom Brady pissed off at him, and get Peter Griffin traded to the London Silly Nannies.

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The Madness is Back

Madness is in the air and Braketology is the class to take this spring. Time for some Dickie V and his “high fliers,” “diaper dandies,” and “dipsey-do, dunk-a-roo’s.” Time for the office pools and the depression when your Final Four crumbles after the first weekend. Here is a look into the teams and players to keep an eye on when filling in your brackets.

Five Teams to Watch:

See full size image-Syracuse #1 – They earned their top spot with their dominant play in the Big East. Villanova, who will seek revenge for an embarrassing loss a couple weeks ago, isn’t the only team who put a target on the back of the Orangemen.

See full size image-Kansas #2 – The 2008 champions were the preseason favorite and deservedly so. Senior Sherron Collins is averaging 15.3 points per game [PPG].

-Kentucky #3 – Led by freshman John Wall, the Wildcats had the best regular season record in the tough SEC. Winning the conference will only build up more steam for the Tournament.

-Duke #4 – The Blue Devils will hope to win the ACC and ride that momentum into the Tourament. This is the last chance for senior Jon Scheyer for Duke, who hasn’t won since 2001.

-Michigan St. #11 – All five starters were key players on last year’s Finals team. Tournament experience could guide them as they look to make noise against the elite.

Five Players to Watch:

Scottie Reynolds, PG, Villanova

 

The senior is averaging 18.8 PPG for the #9 Wildcats, who are hoping to get over their late struggles. Reynolds has the ability to change an entire game, especially with his shooting abilities beyond the arc.

Cole Aldrich, C, Kansas

Aldrich is probably the best big man in college. The 6’11” junior is averaging just under-10 rebounds a game. The Jayhawks will need a dominant center to compete for a second title in three years.

John Wall, PG, Kentucky

Wall is the most exciting freshman in college basketball. He’s averaging 17 points per game and has made Kentucky a favorite in the tournament.

Evan Turner, SF, Ohio St.

The most complete player on this list, Turner is averaging 19.5 PPG and has ripped down 9.3 boards. This kid can do it all as he hopes to give the #6 Buckeyes a chance.

Da’Sean Butler, SF, West Virginia

#11 WVU wouldn’t be anywhere without Butler, who has made a name for himself this year. It’s the last hoorah for the senior, who is averaging a solid 17.2 PPG

Flyers Forecast

As we step back into the NHL season, the Flyers resume play tonight against the Tampa Bay Lightning.  In addition, the trade deadline is in 27 hours, at 3:00 tomorrow afternoon, right before the Flyers take on the Florida Panthers.  As it stands right now, the Flyers are sixth in the Eastern Conference with 67 points, 8 behind 5th place Buffalo, and 10 behind division leader New Jersey, although the Flyers have one game in hand on the Devils.  We’ll take a quick look at the rest of the schedule.

Home (10): Maple Leafs, Islanders, Bruins, Blackhawks, Thrashers, Wild, Devils, Canadiens, Red Wings, Rangers

Away (12): Lightning, Panthers, Sabres, Rangers (2), Predators, Stars, Thrashers, Senators, Penguins, Islanders, Maple Leafs

As you can see 9 of the final 22 games are against teams currently in the playoffs (Boston, Chicago, New Jersey, Montreal, Detroit, Buffalo, Nashville, Ottawa & Pittsburgh).  However, only 5 games are against teams who are against teams who we would declare “out”, 4 of which are against Toronto and the Islanders (Florida the other).  So what we see is, the Flyers play against teams they are competing with for positioning, and have to beat the teams they are expected to beat. 

I expect the Flyers to finish sixth, take on the Northeast division winner (Buffalo or Ottawa) in the first round.  I think they could move up, but it’ll take a huge hot streak and a couple teams above them to go ice cold.  Possible, but not likely; the gap between the Flyers and the teams above them is just too big at this point.  This could work in the Flyers’ favor as they could avoid a first round matchup with either New Jersey or Pittsburgh.

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Trade Deadline News (or non news)

Yesterday the Flyers waived forward Riley Cote and defenseman Danny Syvret, both have since cleared waivers.  The team also put goalie Ray Emery on long term injury reserve, most likely ending his season.  Defenseman Ryan Parent was activated from the LTIR this morning.  As it stands now, the Flyers have about $1 million to work with.  Don’t forget that any player traded to the Flyers counts as a full season cap hit because the team has players on its LTIR (thank you Mike Rathje, July 1 can’t come soon enough). 

Ryan Parent will play tonight, even while being subject to all of the latest rumors.  Rumored is that he and possibly Braydon Coburn would head to Nashville for defenseman Dan Hamhuis.  Taking on two defensemen for one doesn’t make sense for Nashville, as they have seven defensemen already (including Hamhuis).  Nashville GM David Poile has stated that he won’t move Hamhuis unless an offer blows him away.  Nashville is also looking for draft picks, none of which the Flyers have.  I don’t think the Flyers have anything to offer the Predators that will knock their socks off, so I don’t see Hamhuis coming here unless Nashville lessens their asking price or Holmgren caves and overpays.