Monday, March 1, 2010

Weekend Hangover - Love/Hate


- Hockey was the big winner yesterday. Canada comes away with the gold, and US goalie Ryan Miller wins the MVP award, and people actually cared about hockey for two weeks. It will be interesting to see if there is any lasting boost for hockey, or if it will disappear from the casual sports fan’s conscious. The announcers put some nice plugs in for the NHL during the gold medal game, reminding fans how many of the players were NHL guys and when the NHL games on NBC would be telecast.

As for the game, it doesn’t get much more dramatic than that. The US scores a goal with less than 30 seconds left in the game to send it to OT, but Sidney Crosby scored about 9 minutes into the extra period to win the gold. About 30 seconds before the game winning goal, I was thinking how quiet Crosby had been. I don’t follow hockey, but he is among the 10 players in the league I could name and I know he is one of the NHL’s biggest stars. Yet he hadn’t scored a point – goal or assist – during the tournament. I don’t even think I completed the thought before he snuck one through Ryan Miller’s five-hole and the Canadian party was on. I guess it’s time for everyone to put on your Canadian tuxedo (see picture) and drink some Molson.

- The Canadian men’s curling team was dominant in winning the gold. I was strangely attracted to curling throughout the Olympics, in much the same way people are attracted to Kristen Stewart. I don’t really understand it, but it’s definitely there. Their bald, veteran skipper, Kevin Martin got most of the headlines, and he was spectacular, but the real difference maker was the younger John Morris. I still don’t know all the strategy involved in curling, but I do know that Morris consistently was able to knock two and three of his opponent’s stones out of scoring range consistently.

- Last Thursday night, the Canadian women’s hockey team won the goal medal and then took some heat for their celebration tactics. They came back out of the locker room with beer, champagne and cigars to celebrate out on the ice, which was seen as classless by many in the media. I don’t see the issue. They worked four years for this accomplishment, so when they get it, you expect them to clap their hands and smile? Let’s be a little realistic. You earned it girls, so drink from the bottle of champagne, shotgun those LaBatte Blues and light up the victory cigars!

- The movie Shutter Island was incredible. Saw it this weekend and I don’t want to give anything away, but one sign of a great movie is when you’re walking out and you think you know what happened, but someone else could very easily argue that something else happened and there are clues for both sides. Martin Scorsese put out another gem combining with Leonardo DiCaprio in the psychological thriller that has been tops at the box office the past two weeks. Scorsese has been cranking out great movies for decades – The Departed, Gangs of New York, Casino, Cape Fear, Goodfellas, The Color of Money, Raging Bull, Taxi Driver and others I’m sure I’m missing – and has an uncanny ability to use music and silence to create an intense and dramatic scene. And as much as everyone wants to hate DeCaprio, the guy is pretty much the king of the Hollywood world right now. Who knew that the kid that started as the extra adopted kid in Growing Pains would become among the top movie stars in the world and be dating Bar Rafaeli. Yes, he wins. (and if you really thought I was going to put a picture of DiCaprio up because of the movie......then you haven't been reading this blog for very long)


- Marquette won another close game this weekend, and has now won 6 games by less than 5 points. Yet, watching the end of the game, it’s obvious that while Buzz Williams has some recruiting ability, his game management is suspect at best. In their victories over UConn, St. John’s and now Seton Hall, the Golden Eagles have had the ball with a chance for a game-winning shot. Williams did not draw up a play in any of the situations, and yet, his players have bailed him out by making some big shots to win the games. Watching the way both Marquette and Seton Hall played the end of the game, neither team deserves a spot in the NCAA tournament.

- Duke has quietly positioned itself to get a #1 seed when the tournament brackets come out in two weeks. They have cruised through the abnormally weak ACC conference this year, and were sitting at #5 in the country before the top 3 teams lost this weekend. With Purdue going to battle without Robbie Hummel, they are not the same team that was ranked #3 going into the weekend. That leaves the Blue Devils with the ability to roll through the ACC tourney and into one of the coveted top seeds. They are the girl that’s been at the bar all night that you didn’t even notice because of all the other flash around the bar, yet as the place starts to clear out and the music quiets down, she’s all that’s left, so you have to play the cards you’re dealt. That’s probably also how girls from Duke feel if they ever venture over to a UNC bar – they don’t have a chance until after 2:15 am.

- The NFL Combine is such an overhyped and overrated part of the draft process. ESPN just led the news out of the combine with the headline that Tim Tebow set the record for QB vertical leap. Can anyone give me any way that a vertical leap even slightly relates to playing quarterback in the NFL? Who cares how high he can jump if he still has that loopy, slow delivery that Urban Meyer was too arrogant and selfish to fix? He’s not going to be jumping, he’s going to be flat on his back in the NFL. It’s the equivalent of signing a pitcher that can't pitch to a long-term contract because he had one successful post season stretch and four years later having your highest paid player fighting for a chance to be the fifth starter. Ladies & Gentlemen........Jeff Suppan!!!

- The Closing ceremonies were exceptionally strange. I wasn’t fully focused on them…..but here’s a quick recap of the things I saw……a Canadian version of a mosh pit with everyone wearing white and holding snow boards jumping up and down……..naughty women mounties………a Canadian Macy’s Parade complete with inflatable mounties, moose and beavers………and William Schatner. I’m really not sure what to say about it.

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