Thursday, August 14, 2008

Josh Smith Interview with AK47 - Austin Kent

My buddy and mentor Austin Kent over at used his stunning good looks and mostly his connections to grab an interview with Atlanta Hawks big man Josh Smith, who just became a whole lot richer. CHECK IT OUT!!!


Wednesday, August 13, 2008


I have to post this link to another blog after reading his last rant about Jays fans. I have many friends that are "Jays Fans" but choose to rip on them every time they can get. Me? I choose to rip but in a loving way. Never will I hop off the Jays bandwagon. But I will be the first guy to still cheer Halladay if he leaves! That much can be expected. Anyway, here's the link. Check it out all you band wagon jumpers.


Monday, August 11, 2008

Pope's Potluck

After starting out 7-1, Blue Jays’ Jesse Litsch has gone 1-6 since the beginning of June with an Earned Run Average (ERA) of well over five. So either he is finally reaching puberty or the rumours are trueand he can’t handle it.

The Jays are also still reportedly shopping AJ Burnett around to the rest of the league. However, it is starting to look as if Burnett is a piece of bacon at a bar mitzvah . Maple Leafs Sports and Entertainment recently announced that they were giving away free tickets to a Leafs exhibition game. Either MLSE is actually trying to give back or trying to rub it in people’s faces that the Leafs will still sell out every game with a team full of minor leaguers. I’m thinking the latter.

With the Rogers Cup being played in Toronto this week, a Federer vs Nadal final is more of a guarantee then the Leafs will miss the playoffs AGAIN.

The NHL schedule recently came out to the public. And with that being the biggest story in the NHL lately, it goes to show that the NHL pre-season is about as exciting as the PGA tour without Tiger.

The New York Giants recently cleaned up at the ESPY’S on the weekend, taking home various awards. Tony Romo kept was wondering why the Cowboys didn’t win anything. That was until T.O pointed out to Romo that he brought Jessica instead of Carrie.

One year removed from the Grey Cup finals, the Winnipeg Blue Bombers have started the year 0-4 and turning to their back-up Quarterback, Ryan Dinwiddie, giving him his second career start. His first came in last years Grey Cup Final. Basically he has about as much experience as Saku Koivu does speaking French.

A Swedish newspaper recently reported that Mats Sundin had indeed agreed to play for the Canucks. Mats came out and set the record straight saying it was false, showing us we can believe European reporters about as much as we can Brett Favre.


Simpy the Best

Magic or Michael? Ruth or Mays? Montana or Unitas? Sampras or McEnroe? Woods or Nicklaus? Gretzky or Howe? Ali or Tyson?

There is one common argument that comes up despite what sport you are talking about. Judging by my lead, I’m assuming that you know by now that the argument I’m talking about is; who is the all-time best?

Naturally, when this type of argument comes about there are cases to be made for each and every player involved in the discussions. It seems as if each argument ends up in a stalemate with the impossible task of comparing stars from different generations. So to help knock out one of these arguments, I’m going to take a look at Wayne Gretzky and compare some of his stats to others in an attempt to see if he truly was the greatest player to ever play the game of hockey, or if it was just the generation that he played in.

Gretzky’s highest point output was in 1985-86 when he scored 215 points in only 80 games as the National Hockey League (NHL) hadn’t yet expanded their schedule to the full 82 games. To put into comparison how remarkable that point total is, Alexander Ovechkin won the scoring race this year with 112 points which is an average of 1.36 Points Per Game (PPG). During Gretzky’s record-setting season he had 168 assists alone.

The 200 point plateau has only been hit three other times, and of course all by Gretz himself in 1981-82 (212 in 80), 1983-84 (205 in 74) and 84-85 (208 in 80).

In the NHL’s inaugural season in 1917-18, the schedule was only 22 games long and the Montreal Canadiens' Joe Malone led the league in scoring with 44 points which is an average of 2.18 PPG. However, if he were to play a full 80 game schedule that would only have sat Malone with 174 points. Good? Damn Good! Gretzky Good? No.

Then in 1929-30 with the schedule now doubled, Boston Bruins’ Ralph “Cooney” Weiland led the NHL as top scorer with 73 points. Despite the increase of games, Cooney`s 1.66 PPG was still lower than Malone’s and would have only been 133 points over a 80 game schedule.

In the 1943-44 another Bruin, Herb Cain, notched up an impressive 82 points in a 50 game schedule. Cain earned 1.64 PPG which would still only be 131 over 80 games. Still not even close. NEXT.

Gordie Howe is often called the greatest player to ever play the game but his highest output was in 1952-53 when he scored 1.36 PPG – 95 points in 70 games – which would translate to 109 points in an 80 game season.

Then it was two Black Hawks who tried to outscore Gretzky, even though Gretzky had not stepped foot in the NHL. Bobby Hull and Stan Mikita both scored 97 points over a 70 game schedule in the mid-sixties. This left them both with just a measly 1.39 PPG and 111 points in an 80 game season.

While with the Bruins, Phil Esposito racked up 152 points in just a 76 game schedule. For those of you who are doing the math yourselves, I’m sure you noticed that was 2 PPG even. This would have left him with 160 points over 80 games, still over 50 points away from Wayne’s 215.

Had Esposito played with Gretzky and notched his 2 PPG, he still would have finished second in scoring to Gretzky for seven straight years (1980-81 to 1986-87) as Gretzky had over 160 points for those seven seasons.

After Espo, no one notched 150 points until Gretzky came into the league. Then the hockey world was treated to Gretzky vs Lemieux. Mario played 17 seasons in the NHL but not once played a full 80 games. It is well documented the struggles and tribulations he went through with injuries and eventually with his battle with cancer.

Over his career Lemieux took home six scoring titles; his highest output was when he managed to put up 160 points in 1992-93 playing only 60 games. So if he were to have played the other 20 games at his 2.67 PPG, he would have ended up with 214 points, just one point behind “Wayne the Stain”, that is IF he could have kept that pace up.

Joe Thornton had the highest point output since the turn of the century with 125 points in 2005-06. This turns out to be 1.52 PPG, still middle of the pack compared to the rest of the field.

So brief recap (Click here for table)

Now let us turn to Gretzky. Wayne played 20 seasons in the NHL and scored more then 120 points in his first 14 out of 15 seasons. In Gretzky’s 215 point output he earned an astounding 2.69 PPG.
What about his other seasons in the league? Well ... not that far off. (Click here for results)

He won the NHL scoring title 10 times and came in second an additional 3 times. Gretzky scored over 100 points 15 times in his 20 year career. In the past four years the NHL has only seen 11 different people break the 100 point plateau.

Of course we have to take into consideration the amount of equipment goaltenders wore, the new style of goaltenders, the new style of play, the trap, teammates and all the rest of the facts that go along with the game of hockey.

But that would take even more effort than this. And quite frankly, this is enough for me to call Wayne Gretzky not just “The Great One” but truly, “The Greatest One”.


So Much for Celtic Pride

When this year's NBA finals were set, I was one of the select few that were upset not to see a Pistons – Spurs finals. The main reason I was rooting for the Pistons and Spurs was basically because that was exactly the last thing David Stern wanted to happen. Not to mention, every year it seems most fans continue to hate on the Spurs and almost everyone outside of the ‘D’ always forget to mention the Pistons when talking about the leagues elite because of the lack of star power.

With the beloved Raps out of the playoffs long ago, I was left with having to choose to cheer for the Celtics or Lakers. The way that Chris Wallace basically handed Pau Gasol over to the Lakers like it was Christmas Eve in a soup kitchen hit me the wrong way. That along with Ray Allen, KG and Pierce all going for the first ring made me want the Celtics to win.

That is until it actually happened.
As the seconds fell off the clock in the fourth quarter and Boston was on the way to the largest margin of victory in a NBA championship deciding game, the bar started erupting in excitement with many Celtics fans clapping and chanting, “Na na na na hey hey hey…goodbye.” This led to many of the Lakers fans in fact, saying goodbye.

The clock reads zero, the ball is in the air, people are rushing onto the floor and then it happens. Kevin Garnett runs off the bench and drops at centre court to kiss the Celtics symbol as if he had been with the franchise since his first NBA game and been through the rough times, lived and breathed Celtic pride, as if he had never played for another franchise. But none of that is true. This was his first season in Boston. He was not standing next to Doc and P-squared last year through the death of the great Red Auerbach and the dismal 24-58 record.

Watching that made me think that I had seen something similar back in the day … say maybe around 1996. Wait. That was Michael Jordan after his first championship since the murder of his father.

Hey Kevin, you are no way near half of the basketball player Michael Jordan was and you never will be. Please never try and be Michael again, we already have Kobe trying to be like Mike.

The Big Ticket is then being interviewed by Michele Tafoya and decides that it’s necessary to not answer her question but scream at the top of his lungs with tears in his eyes that are hidden by his hat that looks to be 10 sizes too big, “Anything’s possiblllllllle” numerous times.

Then came the real shocker.

Bill Russell makes his way over to KG through the horde of people to congratulate Garnett on something Russell did 11 times (in 13 years). What does Garnett do? No, he doesn’t realize he is among a (in the best impression of WWE’s JBL) basketball god and thank Russell for everything he has done in his life but he hugs Russell and tells him, “I got one of my own now; I got one of my own baby.” Instead of gloating to one of the all-time greats, Garnett should have been humble enough to speak to Russell as the god his is.

Dare I say it again, hey Kevin, you are no way near half of the basketball player Bill Russell was and you never will be.

Then came the trophy ceremony when the trophy was being passed by the team, KG grabbed it with his two hands and held it high as he looked into the rafters hoarding it from the rest of his teammates instead of sharing in the glory.

In my mind, all of these things piled together in a matter of 15 minutes of selfishness by Kevin Garnett definitely made me wish that it was Kobe and the Lakers that had won the Championship. At least then we would be expecting the cockiness.


The Makeme Laughs

This year was another rumour filled year for the Maple Leafs. This year the Leafs fired their GM to bring in someone who could clean house but was unable to because of the numerous no-trade clauses and the many players that basically anchored the Leafs ship at the bottom of the Eastern Conference.

Two years at the helm and no Stanley Cup, let alone a single playoff berth, signalled the departure of Paul Maurice on Wednesday. Cliff Fletcher was brought in as interim General Manager and spoke openly about how the future of the Head Coaching position would be decided by the new permanent General Manager. Instead they leave the dirty work to the interim. Reminds me of Bill Clinton. Oh wait, that was the intern. My bad.

So with ‘Fletch’ being the one to drop the axe this must mean that the Leafs are either having trouble finding someone who wants to take over a club that is falling apart quicker than Brittany Spears or their still sitting on Brian Burke and waiting for his contract to expire. I find it hard to believe that no one would want the job, even with the team in the state that it’s in.

The Leafs recently asked the Canucks for permission to speak with Ex-Canuck GM Dave Nonis, which adds more weight to the Leafs attempt at bringing in Brian Burke, considering Nonis was the assistant to Burke in Vancouver. Despite all the rumours, Burke has said he enjoys his job in Anaheim and has built the team that he wants so why would he leave? But money talks and MLSE has a big mouth, so don’t count anything out.

With an organization that seems to be run by the owners, has no General Manager in place, no head coach, and no captain, along with Fletcher saying that Leaf fans will have a hard time recognizing most of the Leaf players next year, the Leafs don’t really boast an ideal situation to jump into. Unless of course you’re wanting to jump off a building. I say this because since 1967 – the last time the Leafs won the Cup – they have had 14 different coaches (15 including Maurice), most of which are pretty big names, and only three have went on to find another head coaching job in the NHL.

Despite all of these factors, the Leafs Head Coaching job is still touted to be one of the top tier coaching jobs in the NHL because, of course, it’s the Leafs. They’re the team that most Canadians - with the exception of the west coast and Quebec - grew up idolizing when playing road hockey games as a youngster.

Maurice has always been considered a top coach in the NHL but two dismal seasons in Toronto may change that. Fletcher said he fired Maurice prior to the off-season in hopes that Maurice can find another job within the NHL. Maurice said he saw the axe falling on his head and stated that he only regretted one thing - the firing of John Ferguson Jr. Maurice took responsibility for JFJ’s canning as he felt that JFJ gave him a good product and it was Maurice who couldn’t put it together on the ice. Because of that statement, Maurice may be a bigger idiot than I thought.

How starting off the season with Andrew Raycroft as your number one starter and paying that defense core what he did is giving the head coach a good product is beyond me. I personally would not sign Raycroft to play in my annual ball hockey tournament.

Now that Maurice is out of the picture, still no word on a new GM and the future of Mats Sundin is more uncertain than ever, it’s time for all the rumours to begin as to who is going to be manning the helm of the rescue mission of this sunken ship.


Forgotten Celebrations

The NHL changed the rules in their game to create more scoring in hope that fans would start watching more hockey. I, for one, love a 7-6 game as much as I love a 1-0 game, with the exception of one thing. Dirty cellys. I’m not talking about the basic hands in the air screaming, I’m talking the celebrations where there is some thought put into it. Alex Ovechkin is a prime example of someone in the league who absolutely loves to score and shows it in his celebrations.

I know Don Cherry doesn’t like when players showboat after they sniped a rocket, bar and in, but I do. I would love to see the same enthusiasm put into celebrations for open net goals that go into celebrations for game winning goals. I would also like to see more controversial celebrations because everyone seems to be doing the fist pump and jumping into the glass. So here are the top-5 forgotten about celebrations that we as hockey fans should be seeing every night in the NHL.

5. “Duck Hunting”
This celebration is often seen in road hockey games opposed to on the ice. It begins with the player ripping his glove off of his one hand and throwing it up in the air in front of them. This is followed by the player using their stick as a gun and pretending to shoot down the glove at its highest point. Not a bad celly, really, but there are many out there more creative and not to mention you leave your hand exposed for the opposing team to break some bones.

Dirtiness scale – 5/10
Risk factor – 2/10
Chance of getting "Hollweg'd" afterward – 7.5/10
Total Score – 14.5/30

4. “The Swim”
Like “Paddling the Canoe,” many young aspiring NHL stars have attempted to “go for a dip,” if you will, in many practice shootouts. Not very often do you see something along the lines of “The Swim,” as it is most suitable for an overtime winner, where in most cases you aren’t really prepared to perform the move and the lack of room on the ice attributes to its rarity. A common question that comes along with “The Swim” is whether it is breaststroke or freestyle. Just don’t even think of attempting the backstroke.

Dirtiness Scale – 6/10
Risk Factor – 3/10
Chance of getting "Hollweg'd" afterward – 7.5/10
Total Score – 16.5/30

3. “Paddling the Canoe”
“Paddling The Canoe” has been a classic in minor hockey practices after shootouts for ages. The player skates as fast as they can, usually to the blue line or red line and drops to their ass with their feet out in front and grabs their stick like an ore and begins to paddle as fast as possible. Players who attempt to go down the red river should be careful not to catch their skate blade on the ice as it could turn the canoe around before you go anywhere, which will take away from a solid celebration.

Dirtiness Scale – 7/10
Risk Factor – 4/10
Chance of getting "Hollweg'd" afterward – 8/10
Total Score - 19/30

2. “Riding the Stick”
Also known as “Riding the Horse,” this is maybe the oldest and most simple celly of the five. It is performed when a player gathers speed and straddles their stick and sits down on the shaft, maintaining the blade of the stick on the ice. Easy to perform, yet may be the most insulting celebration of the five. When “Riding the Stick” it is important to maintain the sturdiness and not intend for the stick to act as a chair or you’re going to be looking at the rafters real soon. Also, the ideal place to “Ride the Stick” would be right in front of the opponent’s bench. Certain players have been known to take one hand off the stick and use it to motion as if they are waving a lasso. If someone doesn’t knock your head off after you “Ride the Stick” then consider yourself lucky.

Dirtiness Scale – 8.5/10
Risk Factor – 5/10
Chance of getting "Hollweg'd" afterward – 10/10
Total Score –23.5/30

1. “Shooting the Moon”
This celebration is quite complicated and could make you look more like an idiot than a hero. It is very rarely seen due to the chance of screwing it up, but if you possess the skills to pull it off, I guarantee that you will be talked about in dressing rooms forever. The player places two hands on their stick in front of them and begins to bend one knee. They then begin to almost sit on the ice with their opposite leg straight out in front of them. “Shooting the Moon” could be taken to the next level if you threw in a fist pump.

Dirtiness Scale – 8.5/10
Risk Factor – 10/10
Chance of getting "Hollweg'd" afterward – 6/10
Total Score – 24.5/30

The argument of what the best celebration is has been going on among hockey fans forever. In the past you had the Jaromir Jagr kiss of the two fingers pointing to the crowd and Theo Fleury’s knee spin. More recently, you’ve seen the Brad Marchants in the world grabbing the symbol on the front of the jersey and the aforementioned Alex Ovechkins with the one knee fist pumps and their own version of the Lambo Leap into the glass. But I am still searching for that one special player to pull out a “Shooting the Moon” into a “Duck Hunt” on to “The Canoe” which I would call, “Shooting the Duck on the Moon in a Canoe”. Now THAT would make me celebrate.