Another beating: Six in a Row

The Oilers got whipped last night by a strong, contending team, showing us once again how far away they are from actually being a competitive team in the difficult Western Conference. The Blues shelled them 6-0, and the worst part for those of you who are unfortunately Oilers fans is that there was a complete lack of effort by the team after the first period.

It looked like they didn’t care, like they were watching the clock just hoping to get the game over and done with.

That lack of compete has been the death of this team all year. Sloppy line changes, weak defense, and a usual brutal goal given up by whichever goalie has the misfortune to play that night. It was ugly. There were a lot of people who were starting to get excited about this team again after they had a 7-3-1 streak; the fact was that this was against poor opposition. In their last six games, against competitive teams, they are 0-6. And generally looked pretty bad while doing it. The almost snuck one out against a napping Ducks team, but overall, the big guys of the West can push around this team to their hearts content. And not fear any repercussion.

Look at how David Backes pushed and shoved the Oilers all over the ice last night. Nobody stepped up to challenge him, so why on earth would he stop?

oilA running joke has been Craig MacTavish and his BOLD moves. So bold, that he is getting conditional 6th round picks for AHL players? How is that bold? When will the organization begin to see that so much is the fault of Kevin Lowe and his poor management of this team, that it trickles all the way down to the scrubs they are putting on the ice night in and night out. Time to look at real trade options. Could they get a definite #1 D for Taylor Hall? Time to explore the possibility. With no real assets on the team (let’s face it, Oiler fans, nobody is lining up to trade for Nail Yakupov, Ales Hemsky, or Sam Gagner, despite the perceived value fans here have placed on those players), it’s time to look at the most valuable players, and see if an actual NHL team could be built by moving them along. Does anyone want to trade one of the better left wingers in the game? Nope. But teams would pay dearly to get him. Multiple pieces is what the Oilers need, since they are definitely not one or two players away from competing. There are a dozen glaring holes. If you can get three roster players for Hall, isn’t that something that needs to be explored?

The Blues showed what a team with depth looks like. A team with size and speed and skill. And toughness. And teams like this will keep beating up on the Oilers until something drastic is done.

Downton Abbey: intelligent social commentary, or soap opera?

Before even beginning this post, I will admit: I have quickly fallen in love with Downton Abbey. I knew I would get to watching a show that had so much buzz about it, as well as an impressive haul of awards, but I didn’t think I would get into it so quickly. Thanks, Netflix. In just a couple of days, I have nearly completed the first two seasons. I realize there is much more to the show out there, but I feel this is a good start.

As much as I have enjoyed the stellar acting and engaging storylines, I must wonder if this show is really, really smart, or is just pulling the wool over our eyes and having us watch a soap opera with fancy costumes?

Well played. Now I am hooked.
Well played. Now I am hooked.

Some of the stories come straight out of the afternoon soaps: the gossip, affairs, back stabbing, murder (attempted murder?), pregnancy, sisterly fights, inter marriages, war, the gay character, strange and unexplained death. Don’t get me wrong, I like these stories and plan to keep watching to find out what will happen. But isn’t this exactly what a soap does? Throws preposterous storylines at us knowing that we have already become too invested to give up on the characters we have come to love or hate?

On the flip side, Downton Abbey does offer viewers the fun and somewhat unique (if you ignore the fact that it is basically Gosford Park as a TV series) glimpse into the lives of the elites, and those who serve them. There is very much an upstairs/downstairs separation between the characters, each set living their own lives. Yet, there is a fair amount of interaction between the two halves of the world, and it is interesting to see how each side will gossip about the other, while becoming close and friendly with them. It is kind of endearing, and all of the help on the show is wonderful. They are prideful people who respect their lots in life and take their jobs seriously. This is perhaps where the series is at its best.

But are they trying to do this, or is it simply just there because of the setting? Or because it provides us with two groups of people that we can discuss and gossip about, while they do the same?

High end literary television or not, this show is addictive and fun.

Fantasy Football Playoffs

Most of my focus goes into fantasy hockey at this time of year, and I am often only in football leagues that are low stress and not for money. I put minimal effort into fantasy football, it is more something that is there to check on every once in a while to see how I’m doing. And I don’t often do that well, meaning that Week 16 and 17 of the NFL is more a time to focus on the real teams and their playoff races.

However, this year, I actually seem to have drafted a pretty solid team. I finished in second place during the regular season, and am currently doing battle in a tight semi-final matchup. I have been a lot more invested in my team this year, made a few moves here and there, but mostly have just rested on the laurels of my top picks truly panning out. Instead of taking risky choices early on, I went with the tried and true. In this way, I got Marshawn Lynch and Drew Brees with the wrap-around pick in the first and second round (10th and 11th overall). And I have been riding that train ever since. Brees pretty much has got me to where I am.

So now I must be like millions of others. One eye on the scoreboard, the other glancing at my fantasy team. I no longer care about TDs and victories. I only care about my guys getting TDs, yards and receptions.

It is much more stressful than I am used to at the end of the season, but I like it.

Even if I’m not going to win any cash if I end up taking this thing. But still, pride counts for a lot.

#HelloCano

Even though I’ve never been a huge Robinson Cano fan, mainly due to the fact that he played for the evil Yankees, I was beyond happy to see him jump ship and head out West to join the Seattle Mariners.

I’m not a huge M’s fan, but I do have a soft spot for them because they are the closest team to where I live, and they are the team I have had the chance to see live the most times. Plus, I love Seattle, and Safeco Field is one of the best stadiums that I have ever been to.

canoMy primary reason is that because somebody actually left the Yankees. Yes, the Mariners overpaid him. And, yes, 10 years is far too long for a 31-year-old player. But the best second baseman in baseball left the biggest team, and that is good. Sure, he did it for the money, and he will probably miss playing in New York. Plus, this helps out my favorite team, the Boston Red Sox, as one of the best players will no longer be someone they have to deal with 18 times per season. So that can only be good.

The Mariners have a long way to go before becoming a serious playoff threat, but this is a start, and it gives them a building block for the next few years. Plus, if they were able to woo someone of Cano’s calibre, then who knows, maybe other big names could be lured by the Emerald City, to enjoy a great sports town and the beautiful Pacific Northwest.

15 Games- Is that enough? Nope.

Word just came in that Shawn Thornton has been suspended for 15 games by the NHL for his vicious attack on Brooks Orpik. After several attempts to engage him in a fight throughout the game, Thornton slew-footed him and beat him unconscious while Orpik lay defenceless on the ice.

It was pretty brutal. It was a cowardly act. It is just another thing that makes the NHL look like a league for goons. It makes the sport that so many of us love look like a complete joke, where we are sort of just waiting for somebody to die on the ice. Be it from something like a hit from behind, a brutal elbow to the head, or a grotesque attack on a defenseless victim.

And he gets suspended 15 games.

I personally believe that the conversation should have started at 40 games.

If the league wants to be serious about getting this kind of activity out the game, make the punishments unbelievably harsh. Maybe then someone will learn. Or maybe even, teams may stop employing these no-skill cowards who contribute so little to the actual sport of hockey, and do even less to provide your team with an advantage that will help you win the game. You know, by doing hockey type things like scoring or setting up goals.

Brooks Orpik
Tired of seeing things like this?

Of course there are dinosaurs out there (Don Cherry, Brian Burke) who believe that fighters are honourable and important parts to a teams success. And they are entitled to their opinions. But what will it take for us to realize that with the size and strength of these men, that someone will die on the ice at the highest level? Where would the league go from there?

Get the goons out. Make them pay for their actions. 15 games is hefty, but not nearly enough.

NFL Logos- Animals getting Angrier

Being a complete junkie for uniforms and team logos, I found the article linked below to be pretty hilarious. It is definitely all true. Everybody wants to look angrier. So we’ll make our logo try to look mean. Even if our team is named after the friendliest creature in the sea (Dolphins), we’ll do what we can to make it look a little bit more unruly. Even the Cardinal, perhaps the least intimidating of all winged creatures, needs to look like a pissed-off cardinal. That’ll show the other team what’s what!

cardinalsI especially enjoyed the comments on the disembodiment of the heads of the animals. An eagle? Apparently not scary enough. But the severed head of an eagle? Now we’re talking design department!

Take a look, it’s well done and funny.

http://www.businessinsider.com/nfl-logo-redesigns-1996-2012-a-history-of-really-pissed-off-animals-2012-4

Also, for other uni junkies like me, you must check out http://www.icethetics.info/ and http://www.uni-watch.com/. They always have must-read information on uniforms.

Can You Bet Against the SEC?

Well, I got my dream, in that Ohio State will not get to participate in the BCS Championship Game. I love it. As an added bonus, they won’t even get to play in the Rose Bowl, which is just a cherry on top of the delicious sundae of the Buckeyes losing to the Spartans last week.

So our final is set…the Florida State Seminoles against the Auburn Tigers.

This is a tough pick, in my mind. FSU has been ripping people apart this year. Ranked or unranked, they have decimated their opposition and look like an incredibly complete team. The Tigers have lost a game, but they survived the ultimate brutality that is playing in the SEC. You know, the conference that has won the past what, 7 national championships? Plus, they beat that little team from Alabama to get there. No easy feat, especially since the Mighty Tide looked like they were rolling to their 3rd straight championship. What an incredible beast of a team.

Auburn has benefitted from two unbelievably lucky finishes to keep their path to the NCG on track. But, whatever, they won the games.

As much as the Seminoles look like the better team, could I bet against the SEC representative?

I guess I can. I’ll take FSU by 10.