Friday, March 10, 2006

Basketball, Hockey, JWalk, and the Wings Nastiness

I’m not talking about Michigan basketball. They might still get in. I’ll be thrilled if they do, but frankly they don’t deserve it. When you’ve got two games: one at home against Indiana, one on a neutral court against a team you’ve smoked twice, and a win in either game makes you a lock for the tournament and you choke away both of them? And when you can’t bring better than your C-game in either of them? You don’t deserve to be in the tournament. Blame Amaker if you want, blame Hunter for jacking up threes, blame Courtney Sims for taking over for Jimmy “Butter” Carson as the definition of soft, blame Horton for running his mouth about how “We’re in” after the Ohio State game. There’s plenty of blame to go around. And it’s too bad that they’ve let a 16-3 start pretty much go to waste. Enough about them.

Hockey is heading down the same road as the basketball team. Great start, collapse down the stretch, now we need to get some wins to get in. They’re going with Noah Ruden tonight. I would’ve gone with Sauer myself, but I can’t disagree with the choice. They’re both the same goalie for all intents and purposes. I’ve got a pretty good feeling about this weekend, hopefully I’m right. I think we’ll learn pretty quick if this team has any kind of run in them. They’ve had two weeks of practice, so whatever Red wanted to ingrain in this team he should have been able to.

The MSM agrees with me that the Avs trade for Theodore was completely idiotic. Now they’re saying that he might not even be back until the playoffs start (more for salary cap reasons than anything—which is just unbelievable that they could be that stupid to have to keep their starting goalie on IR to not go over the cap). Couple that with Svatos being out for the year, and they’re just not getting in. If they don't, this will just look like a colossal blunder by LaCroix, especially since Sakic is a FA this offseason and they're not going to be able to tell him to take less money than Theodore.

I went to the Red Wings game last night. God is that a fun team to watch. Datsyuk and Zetterberg are just incredible. Datsyuk had a move last night that I won’t even attempt to describe, but let’s just say that if he scored, it would’ve been right next to Ovechkin’s goal from his back on the top plays of the year. Lidstrom has to go down as the best defenseman of this era doesn’t he? He’s going to win his 4th Norris this year, he was in the running for 3 more. That guy is just never out of position, and with his four points last night, he became the highest scoring Swedish defenseman of all time. Chelios amazes me. He single-handedly killed off a long 5 on 3 in the first period. The guy looks like he could still play another couple of years. What a freak of nature. Lang/Williams/Yzerman looked like a real nice line. I don’t get all the people that were calling for Lang to be traded.

I like the move for Cory Cross. That was just the type of move that they needed. They got a big stay-at-home dman and they didn’t have to give up a high pick or a prospect to get him. It’s an upgrade over Jamie Rivers, who was moved, and that’s all they were looking for. They’ll probably trust him in the playoffs over Ledba or Woolley if he plays at all well down the stretch.

Horribly officiated game last night. Babcock didn't take the bait (probably since they still won by 4 goals) but I have no idea what those guys were doing last night. Holmstrom got called for diving on a high-sticking penalty (that was also called) negating a 5 on 3 chance, the Kings got two really cheap 5 on 3s (the Kings fan next to me agreed that those calls were horrible), and on a Wings PP in the first period, they ignored a blatant hit from behind right in front of the ref. I thought Brian Aaron was calling that game.

Javon Walker decided today that the best response to his failed demand for a new contract would be to not only burn his bridges in the Packers organization, but to blow up the bridge, set it on fire, drop his pants, and piss on the remains of the bridge. Strong comments (by him, not his agent this time) on this morning:

Some of the most choice quotes:

"I really have no interest in being in a Green Bay Packers uniform or playing
for Green Bay again."

"If I had to go back there, I'd retire," he said. "I don't have to play."

The rift is so deep and his animosity toward Favre so great that, Walker said,
he is even willing if necessary to repay the Packers the prorated portion of his
signing bonus, which amounts to around $850,000.
"Why should I risk another
year of getting beat up playing for a team that I don't want to play for? That's
stupid," Walker said.

If I’m Ted Thompson, you know what I say? Alright jackass, have it your way. You have permission to seek a trade, but if you want to be paid like Randy Moss, then the compensation that we’re asking for in a trade is in line with what you would get for trading a top 5 WR. Namely a starter and a high first round pick. Like the Vikings got for Randy Moss. Otherwise, give us back our $850,000 and retire you ungrateful piece of crap. Because you're totally going to walk away from $15 million.

I’m sowwy that Bwett Fawve huwt his wittle feewings when he said that JWalk should get his ass into camp and stop holding out, but at the same time, Favre didn’t hold a gun to his head. If he was that unhappy, who cares what Brett Favre thinks? Brett Favre didn’t turn the state of Wisconsin against him. Drew Rosenhaus and Javon’s attitude turned Wisconsin against him. Favre didn’t have anything to say to the media about Sterling Sharpe or Antonio Freeman and everyone still hated the two of them after they held out.

I didn’t see him in any hurry to pay the Packers back any money when he had a shit year his first year. Unless I’m mistaken, it’s extremely unusual for rookies to get new contracts before they are into the last year of the deal. I believe the Vikings waited until the last year of his contract to pay Moss, so why should JWalk have been any different? Moss had actually had more than one good year at that point too.

If he would’ve just shut up, come to play, and performed like he did 2 years ago, the Packers would have taken care of him. He might not like the way the organization is run, but you know what? Until last year, they were the only team in the league to not have a sub-.500 season in the salary cap era.

Did he really think that a brand new general manager (which Ted Thompson was last year) was going to come in and throw money at him when the team had no cap space whatsoever? Yeah Javon, we can’t afford to keep either of our Pro Bowl guards and actually protect our Hall-of-Fame quarterback, but we’ll get right on giving a new contract to a WR who—albeit very talented—has 2 years left on his deal, has a bad attitude, and has only had one real good season. If he came to play, showed he was back from his injury, and got off to a good start this year, they would’ve broken the bank for him. They have the money to do it. Instead he pulls this crap.

Trade him to Baltimore and see how he likes Kyle Boller throwing him the ball (unless they’re the ones trading for Culpepper, in which case he can go to Cleveland and see how he likes Charlie Frye).

It adds an interesting wrench to the Packers’ offseason though. Do they try and trade Walker for TO and swap malcontents? Do they trade him for John Abraham and then take AJ Hawk with the #6 pick? Do they use him as trade bait to move up in the draft to get Reggie Bush? Truth be told, if someone’s willing to give up a 1 or a high 2 for him, I take it and move on. The only problem is that Ferguson is probably gone, Murphy’s career is probably over, Chatman isn’t coming back. With Walker gone, they need to find 2, if not 3 receivers this offseason (depending on if they keep Rod Gardner).


Tom said...

Both Chelios and Lidstrom are amazing. I was thinking about how I was a little worried about Legace in the playoffs, but then I remembered that Detroit had won a cup with Osgood in net, and then I wasn't so worried anymore. On a related note, has there ever been a goalie that has played with more HOF caliber d-men than Osgood? I was thinking about this the other night and came up with:

Larry Murphy
Slava Fetisov
Paul Coffey
Konstantinov (not a HOF'er, but might have been)
Schneider (maybe)

Packer487 said...

God you aren't kidding. He's had some really really great ones in front of him. I have no doubts that we won that Cup in 98 in spite of him, not because of him. Granted that Game 6 against Dallas was probably the best game of his career, but the reason it got to Game 6 was because he let in that shot from center ice in game 5.

I think Legace will be ok in the playoffs. I thought he did pretty well 2 years ago, but Lewis panicked and put Joseph in there.

I'm more worried about him staying healthy. This team has more talent on the blue line than any team in the league, and they've got at least 2 excellent scoring lines.

Ottawa and Philly will be tough, but we would only have to play one of them! No one in the West scares me all that much, except for whatever team has the token hot goalie we have to play.

Tom said...

Well, I was going to nominate Aebischer for the goalie that finally emerges in the playoffs and kills Detroit, but that doesn't look like much of a problem now. If Alex Auld gets hot, Vancouver is going to be almost impossible to beat (assuming that their blueline gets healthy). Of course, you could say that if Legace gets hot, the Wings are going to be almost impossible to beat.

I knew I forgot somebody important on the Osgood list, add Chris Pronger and Al MacInnis (sp?) who he played behind in St. Louis.

Here is hoping that Michigan learned something about holding leads last night. When 5-1 became 5-4 I just about cried, but at least they won, right?

Packer487 said...

Vancouver is going to be a tough team. They'd be even tougher if Bertuzzi would remember how to play hockey again.

If Legace gets hot, we're having a parade this summer in Detroit. They'd got the best group of Dmen and not too many teams are as loaded as the Wings up front (especially if Williams gets going again). Goaltending is the big question mark. With a healthy Hasek like in 2002, this team wins the Cup in 20-22 games.

At least they won is right. I just laughed when it got to be 5-4. This team is so trippy it's amazing. Hopefully they'll just put em away tonight and punch their ticket for the big dance.