- U-S-A! U-S-A! The men’s hockey team upset the Canadian powerhouse last night, which is ironic since today is the 30th anniversary of the Miracle on Ice victory over Russia in the 1980 Olympics. This was nowhere near the level of upset and is still in pool play not a medal round, but it was an extremely entertaining game – especially for a guy like me that does not follow hockey (I have an issue with any sport that calls it’s jerseys “sweaters”). But the best part of a hockey game? The goal horn. Is there anything better than the loud fog horn that blasts after each and every goal in any hockey game? Just awesome.
Since I am not old enough to have any memories of the 1980 games, here is my first memorable hockey introduction. I grew up in Wisconsin, which is hockey crazy, yet despite my cousins playing the sport, I never was really exposed to the game. Fast forward to college, where Wisconsin has a rich hockey tradition. I somehow snag two prime seats at mid-ice for a game and manage to talk this girl who played on the University’s women’s club hockey team to go with me. Now I know what you’re thinking – that she was more interested in the cheerleaders than me – but I don’t think that was really the case. We settle into our seats and she’s attempting to explain the game to me when Dany Heatley (currently playing for Team Canada) scores for the Badgers. The place goes bezerk and that fog horn goes off. I’m into it, though still spinning trying to figure out how people can keep up with the puck. Suddenly the entire crowd starts pointing at the opposing goalie and chanting “Sieve!” - particularly this 75 year old grandmother sitting next to us who is screaming with extreme passion! That’s when I knew that hockey was something that must be in your blood and you either have it or you don’t. I didn’t. Grandma Sieve defintely did.
- NBC Hockey Announcer Doc Emrick is outstanding. He combines the emotions and pace of Gus Johnson, the intelligence of Jay Bilas and the personality of Steve Lavin all into one. There were times during the game where I wasn’t fully paying attention but simply the tone and pace of his voice made me focus back on the game.
- I have generally poo-poo’d all of the hype around John Wall at Kentucky this season. Without having seen him play very much, I tended to believe that that he was a very talented guy, lightning quick point guard with a solid shot, but he was immature and probably quite as good as advertised. Well, I’m starting to come around. Despite having an off shooting night, he was able to come up with a game saving blocked shot and knock down crucial free throws as Kentucky took down Vanderbilt on Saturday night. I still think Wall is not as polished as Derrick Rose was during his one year in college, and I think DeMarcus Cousins might be the best freshman on Kentucky this year, but I’m starting to believe that he will be a major contributor in the NBA next season.
- I am a big fan of match play golf relative to the low-score method that is used in most pro tournaments. There’s just something to going head to head for the 18 holes against the guy you’re battling and not having to worry about checking the scoreboard to see who is having a good round. It just brings a different attitude to the course – kind of like on The Bachelor when they make all the women live in the same house with no access to television or phones and a fully stocked liquor cabinet. Then we act surprised when the claws come out and the girls are not quite as they appear on the show………like this season’s villain, Vienna.
- Boner has gone missing!! Who knew that this would be the only time it would “family friendly” to type those words? Andrew Koenig, the guy who played Richard “Boner” Stabone on the 80’s sitcom Growing Pains went missing at the Olympics this weekend. He was supposed to return to LA and didn’t show up for his flight. Hard to believe that guy is 42 years old now, and another sad story of a childhood actor struggling when their career matures.
- Enough with the analyzing of Tiger’s speech last week. To no one’s surprise, there are people crying for more from him and others who think he nailed the apology. Obviously, those that profit from Tiger (like ESPN & the PGA) think he was great. Those that profit from continued drama (like the rag mags) think he was too staged and robotic. Who cares? Let the dude put his life back together.
- I have had enough of Bode Miller. I get that the guy is the “most decorated Olympic skiier” in US history – which is kind of like being the tallest midget. The guy can ski faster than anyone because he has no fear, which is impressive. But he is obvlivious to the honor of being an Olympian, and has no pride in skiing for his country. Listen to some of the past medal winners in the US or even some of the current winners – Brian Boitano, Dorothy Hamil, Lindsey Vonn or even Shaun White – they all speak about the pride and pressure they felt to win for their country. Not Bode – he measures success not by winning or posting a good time, but by the fun he has with a twelver in the hot tub. In his spoiled, deuchebag world, this is just another week partying on the slopes. He’s the John Mayer of skiing – he has one great talent, but is a complete asshat when he’s not doing that one talent.
- While Major League Baseball fans whine about the lack of a salary cap in baseball, the system that is currently in place in the NBA doesn’t seem to be working either. What kind of system rewards a team for blowing up a team for 2-3 years with no intentions of winning in hopes of clearing enough salary cap space to sign two super stars? That’s been the program the Knicks have been on for the past 3 years. Not a program of rebuilding with young stars that may take some years to develop. (That is the plan the Blazers and Thunder have used successfully) The Knicks have taken on terribly overpaid players with expiring contracts and have freed up the cap space to sign two of the big free agents from this year’s bumper crop of available stars.
Can they convince LeBron James and Dwyane Wade to both come to New York and rule Gotham as Batman & Batman? Tracy McGrady would play Robin to the two of them, and let’s not kid ourselves – a team of those 3 would easily be among the favorites to win the title. Part of me wants to see it happen just for the intrigue of it, but the rest of me doesn’t want to reward a franchise for being awful and taking money from their season ticket holders who were paying good money for an intentionally suboptimal product.