Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Getting Back Into The Swing of Things

I'm back from my holidays/Green Bay trip/illness hiatus. So--as I frequently do when I fail to post for a week or so--time for random thoughts about the world of sports.

-If we're going to lose players to the World Juniors every single year, shouldn't it at least be a requirement that the US...I dunno...not lose to freaking Germany? Seriously guys? It's Germany. Canada is acceptable. It sounds like you battled hard after getting down 3-0, but GERMANY? Well...on the bright side, at least it wasn't Holy Cross.

-I'm having a hard time getting jacked up for the GLI. I'm not sure if it's the fact that we haven't won it in so long, the fact that our team has been playing like dogcrap since they last beat State, the fact that Billy Sauer is still our goalie, or a combination of the three. Tomorrow is a no-win game for me. If we win, yippee do, we beat Tech. If we lose, I'm pissed that we lost to Tech and I'll start cursing out Team USA and Canada again. And yes, I realize that Tech isn't that bad this year.

-Would a Billy Sauer/Justin Tobe matchup be the worst goaltending matchup ever?

-Expect some heavy fines for Lawrence Frank and Jason Kidd for their comments about the officiating last night. Anytime you call a ref out by name, and refer to them collectively as "The Three Blind Mice" it's not going to be pretty. Especially when David Stern is running the league. Oh, and it was a foul on Sheed. Definitely. But at the same time, Vince Carter still had a wide open 16 footer for the win. And if you asked them before the game would they take that, the answer would have been yes. Plus, you shot 35+ free throws, and the Pistons got T-ed up 3 times for arguing calls, so obviously the officiating wasn't as one-sided as the Nets would have you believe.

-After the ball went out of play with just over a second remaining, Frank ran out on the court like a pissed-off Jim Valvano. So much for the "no tolerance" rule there huh? Where's that T?

-What stat best goes to show how crappy the NBA's Atlantic Division is? That a 10-16 team is just 1 game out of first place, that a team which is 13 games below .500 is only 4 1/2 games out of first place, or the fact that the last place team in 3 of the other 5 divisions would be either leading--or less than a half game out of first place--in the Atlantic? Yikes.

-Jason Maxiell has just been fun to watch these last few games. Dale Davis as well. It's nice to see the guys coming off the Pistons' bench performing at a high level. I'm still a little worried about Flip Murray. He's playing like the Flip Murray of last year's playoffs, and that's not a good thing.

-It's Week 17 and the Packers still have a legitimate shot at the playoffs. Beat the Bears (not likely, but hey, the Lions were 1 play away from doing just that), have the Giants lose on the road against Washington (I'd say that's more than likely), and have either the Rams lose, or the Falcons win, or the Panthers win and we're dancing.

-I went up to Green Bay for the Packers/Vikings game last week. There's still no better place to watch a game than Lambeau Field. If you haven't been there, you need to. If you're not a Packers fan, who cares? Wait until your team plays at GB, and go. It's amazing. I love it there.

-I'm starting to think that unless he's franchised, the Packers should make Tony Gonzalez priority #1 in the offseason. It might be a product of a weak NFC, but this is a 10-5 football team right now if they've got a red-zone threat like him.

-Overall, I have to say I'm pretty happy with the direction Green Bay is going. The linebacking corps has been transformed from a glaring weakness to an obvious strength. Aaron Kampman leads the freaking NFL in sacks, Cullen Jenkins has been outstanding since they moved him outside. Ted Thompson was 2 for 3 on his big free agent signings this year. Charles Woodson and Ryan Pickett have been fantastic. Marquand Manuel has been a major disappointment. He drafted a bunch of players who are getting experience--particularly on the offensive line. A lot of young guys are getting experience, and there is some good young talent there. Obviously there's a huge hole at QB if Favre leaves because I don't think Rodgers is the answer, though he hasn't had a chance to prove it either way. But for what is probably the youngest team in the NFL, to be a borderline playoff team is a major accomplishment--no matter what my preseason expectations are. I said I wanted to see improvement, and I have. The defense was giving up big plays left and right at the start of the year and they've drastically cut those down, while they've increased their sacks and takeaways. The red-zone offense is what is holding this team back right now.

-Favre should come back and play. Can he still play? Yes. Can he still help this team win? Yes. Can they be a contender next year? They might get in this year, so I don't see why they can't improve on that for next year with $20-30 million to spend.


Anonymous said...

Another note about the WJCs: I got to watch the US-Canada game today. JJ was awful, doing all the bad things we saw last year. A bad pinch lead to a 2-on-1 and Canada's only goal, taking bad penalties, and turning the puck over. I think he just gets too hyper sometimes.

Erik Johnson was just as bad though. He threw his stick at Toews after JJ turned the puck over, leading to a penalty shot which Toews scored on. He also got beat by some Red Wings 5th round pick I'd never heard of for a goal. Both Johnsons blew, so to speak.

Anonymous said...

Oops, I meant to say Canada's *first* goal above.