Thursday, September 24, 2009

Gretzky Quits the Coyotes

Super athletes rarely develop into super coaches, as Wayne Gretzky discovered during his four seasons behind the Phoenix Coyotes bench.

The greatest player in NHL history? You won't get an argument from me.

I had the pleasure of covering Gretzky during his time with the Los Angeles Kings, following his blockbuster trade from the Edmonton Oilers in 1988, and he was as gracious and approachable off a sheet of ice as he was great on it.

But Gretzky, who owns virtually every league scoring mark imaginable, stepped down today as head coach of the Phoenix Coyotes after four seasons with a record of 143-161-24, with two fifth-place finishes in the Pacific Division, two fourth-place finishes, and no playoff appearances.

(Continue to Through the 5 Hole)

The Rise and Fall of Brad Lidge

How the mighty have fallen.

This will be the fourth and, I pray, final time I write about Brad Lidge blowing a save. The same Phillies closer who was perfect last season. He finished 4th in Cy Young voting and 8th in MVP ballots in 2008.
Now, his stats are looking eerily similar to the horrendous year in 2006 only worse!

Tonight, he lost his 8th game of the season, has blown his 11th save, and increased his ERA to an unheard of 7.48. Two run lead, bottom of the ninth....Phillies have a problem. I have ignored this obvious concern to the best of my ability but I can no longer turn a blind eye to how pathetic Brad Lidge has been this season.

I am not sure what season was more remarkable and beyond belief: the success of last season or the failure of this one.

(Continue to Philadelphia Sports Scene)

Packing Heat: Delonte, No!

Cavaliers star Delonte West, a guitar case strapped to his back, was riding a Can-Am Spyder motorcycle on the Capital Beltway last Thursday when cops in Prince George County, Md., pulled him over for speeding.

No surprise here that a rich athlete was traveling in the fast lane. Athletes tend to be thrill-seekers, often living their lives on the edge. And what is more thrilling than cruising the roadway with the wind at your back, weaving in and out of traffic with a panoramic view everywhere?

Had speeding been all West did wrong, he wouldn’t have found himself wearing a pair of handcuffs. Speeding alone might have gotten him a stern warning, and he could have been on his way home.

(Continue to Justice Is Served)

Sports News? How Tweet It Is

I know, I know, you're busy. All I am asking for is a couple minutes of your precious time. Gotta get something off my chest. Cool?

So I turned on my computer this morning, checked my email, saw one from the gods at World Sports Blogs encouraging me to join Twitter, minimized that message, grumbled at all the spam, ignored (again) some dude named Norton Update, saw a message from Facebook, went there to find 'a friend' ragging me to join Twitter, saw 17 other 'friends,' telling their 13,000 friends what they were feeling at that very moment (most of them were feeling overwhelmed, by the way -- sorry, btw), was directed to YouTube and a must-see video of a rhinoceros passing gas in an unsuspecting chimpanzee's face, laughed, came back to my email account, re-read the message from WSB that I never finished, grudgingly clicked off a pop-up of a bikini-clad babe asking for a date, saw WSB was also asking me to become a fan of their new Facebook page, went back to Facebook, became a fan, watched the rhino again, laughed, checked my homepage, saw that another 8 friends were now complaining about being overwhelmed, went back to my email account, and finished reading the WSB message that ended by saying something about keeping up the good work.

(Continue to The Grill Room)

Say It Ain't So, Foppa

Brett Favre, and now Peter Forsberg?

The 36-year-old forward and former NHL most valuable player is attempting yet another comeback, this time with his hometown team Modo in the Swedish Elite League.

The oft-injured center has experienced problems with his right foot for several years and didn't play at all last season, except for three games with Modo, when the chronic foot ailment forced him to give up the comeback attempt.

A great one in his prime and one of hockey's most entertaining players, Foppa as he's affectionately known in Sweden and by his legion of fans (especially in Colorado, where he's still revered), has undergone several foot surgeries and experimented with various skates in an attempt to return to the ice.

(Continue to Through the 5 Hole)

Cloud Hangs Over Tavares Debut

This is the night Islanders fans have been waiting for ever since the club selected its next savior, high-scoring forward John Tavares, with the first overall pick in June's NHL Entry Draft. In fact, this is the night the diehards have been salivating over since the Isles won the draft lottery.

Tonight, John Tavares dons the home blue jersey and skates in his first game---albeit a pre-season one---in front of the hometown faithful at the Nassau Coliseum following training camp in Saskatoon.

It should be a happy occasion for these fans, who have been mercilessly beaten down with on-ice foibles and off-ice turmoil the past 15 years or so. Tavares' home debut should signal that there is a bright light at the end of a long dark tunnel.

(Continue to Jim Cerny's Rink Rap)

K.C. Hockey Fans M.I.A

The city of Kansas City seems to be a little confused right now. Maybe people play head games in relationships by trying to make it seem as though they aren't TOO interested even though they really like somebody, but that won't work when trying to attract a professional sports franchise.

Last night, hockey fans in Kansas City had a chance to show how badly they wanted an NHL team. The Islanders and Kings were staging an exhibition game and only 9,792 fans showed up in an 18,000 seat arena.

That's barely more than half of capacity. And guess what? Tickets were cheap. If you went to the ticket window and mentioned the name of a local sports talk radio station, you could get into the arena for $10 per ticket. There weren't too many takers. In fact, there were so few takers that the upper bowl was completely closed off.

(Continue to Brad's Barbs)

KU Fight Club: Bad Press or No Press?

By now most sports fans have heard how the KU football and basketball teams did their best Brad Pitt and Edward Norton impressions.

It's easy to say how the fights will be a black eye to the University -- and to some point they will. But will the old saying "bad press is better than no press" ring true with these two teams?

Of course everyone knows the Jayhawk basketball team is good, but does anyone on the east coast think they are better than Kentucky? For some reason, they are still viewed as choke artists on messages boards, despite defeating a one-loss team (one that supposedly even cheated) in the NCAA championship just two years ago.

(Continue to Inside Jayhawk Nation)

USF Pins Hopes on Daniels

Meet Bruce Edward Daniels, known in University of South Florida football circles as B.J.

He is fast, blazing fast, elusive, shifty, powerful and has a heck of an arm for throwing the football.

He is perhaps a reincarnation of an incredible college football player who once graced the field of the old Tampa Stadium. His style of plays bears remarkable resemblance to a former University of Tampa and NFL great.

Travel back 35 years in Tampa football history, if you will. The year was 1974 and it was the senior season for the remarkable Freddie Solomon, dynamic quarterback for the UT Spartans.

(Continue to Running with the Bulls)

Notre Dame ... Missing Tiller

As Notre Dame prepares for Saturday's contest at Purdue, Irish fans should reflect on how much they miss former Boilermakers coach Joe Tiller.

Ole Joe always seemed like one heck of a nice guy, but he might have been the only mentor in the Big Ten that Charlie Weis could out-coach. Tiller actually might have stressed defense less than Weis.

Of the three Big Ten teams that Notre Dame plays regularly, Weis has a winning record only against Purdue. He is 2-3 against Michigan and Michigan State - counting this season's results - and 3-1 against the Boilers.

(Continue to Bob Birge's Irish Eyes Are Smiling)

Gary Williams on WaPo Live

(Continue to Terp Ticker)
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