Saturday, October 3, 2009

Obama No Match for This Game

Well, that'll teach our sports-minded president to get involved with a political mob like the International Olympic Committee.

And he thought Chicago politics were rough and tumble ...

Whether President Obama should have involved himself so directly to bring the Olympic Games to Chicago in 2016, given the other pressing things he has on his plate these days, is fair game for the political pundits -- but this thing was never going to end well.

It seems to me that he, and the dynamic duo of wife, Michelle, and Talk Show Goddess, Oprah, had everything to lose and nothing to win when they made the long trip to Copenhagen to genuflect in front of an institution that has shown itself over the years to run a cottage industry specializing in corruption, warped judgment, and greed.

(Continue to The Grill Room)

Avs Make a Shrine for Sakic

The Colorado Avalanche certainly did it up big Thursday night for former captain Joe Sakic, whose No. 19 jersey was officially retired at the Pepsi Center before the season-opening 5-2 win over the San Jose Sharks.

A banner with the digits was raised to the arena's rafters to conclude the 45-minute tribute, joining those of Patrick Roy (No. 33) and Ray Bourque (No. 77).

"To see it up there with Patrick and Ray, it's a tremendous honor," said Sakic, who was accompanied by his parents, his wife Debbie and their three children.

Not only that, the Avalanche surprised Sakic by creating a shrine at his old corner locker.

(Continue to Through the 5 Hole)

A Favorable Second Impression

Among the many story lines and subplots to Opening Night in the National Hockey League on Thursday, one of the more intriguing ones to me was how a pair of embattled goaltenders---Carey Price (above photo) of Montreal and Jose Theodore of Washington---would fair in their first chance at making a second impression.

Let's just say both Price and Theodore passed their respective first tests of the season with flying colors.

Price, the 22 year-old who battled on and off ice woes in Montreal a year ago, was stellar in turning aside 43 of 46 shots in last night's 4-3 overtime victory against arch-rival Toronto. Most impressive to me was how Price controlled his rebounds so well. He didn't force himself into making tremendous acrobatic saves. Instead he positioned himself well and seemed to swallow up shot after shot as a result.

(Continue to Jim Cerny's Rink Rap)

Fall of Troy? Not So Fast

Pete Carroll's motto is "Win Forever." And by and large, that's what he has done at USC since becoming the head coach in 2001.

After starting 1-4 in his career at Troy, Carroll has laid waste to the college football landscape. Since 2002, the Trojans have gone 83-10. The 10 games they did lose were by a combined total of 39 points (by comparison, Cal lost to Oregon by 39 points just last week). During that span, each game USC lost was by seven or fewer points. In fact, the largest margin of defeat in the Carroll era was 11, a 27-16 loss at Notre Dame in his rookie season. Pete has made amends by not allowing the Irish to beat the Trojans since.

But it looks as if USC is at a crossroads. Coming into this Saturday's game at Cal, the Trojans are vulnerable. They may be ranked No. 7 in the AP Poll, but they have struggled offensively with a freshman quarterback. And just this week, they lost running back Stefon Johnson after a freak and near-catastrophic weight room accident.

(Continue to BCS Guru)

Look Ahead: Serie A, La Liga, EPL

Don't look now, but Sampdoria is sitting atop the Serie A standings while AC Milan is struggling and sitting in the middle of the pack.

Sampdoria has only lost once in its first six matches, giving them a league-high 15 points. It's lead though is tenuous, as Juventus is only a point behind them and both Inter Milan and Fiorentina are only two points back. AC Milan meanwhile is struggling, playing to a scoreless draw with AS Bari last Sunday and losing to Udinese the week before. Milan is tied with three other clubs for eighth in the table.

(Continue to Soccer 24-7)

Aussies Sting England for Final

With bees swarming on cameras and flying ants disrupting the start of Australia's reply, there was no shortage of wildlife at Centurion last night -and it was the reigning champions who stung England yet again with a nine-wicket win and cruised into the final against rivals New Zealand or Pakistan, who play today.

This was vintage Australia and 'old England', the team we thought had vanished after sterling performances against Sri Lanka and South Africa, but was merely in hibernation, as Ponting and Watson flayed their docile attack to all corners under the floodlights.

(Continue to Crick Down the Legside)

Tips From a Golf Coach

One thing I have wanted to do with this blog was to do more than just comment on the state of professional golf. I have been looking for a golf coach who could provide the kind of useful tips for the every day golfer to help him or her improve their game.

So it was a fortunate set of circumstances that led me to meet up with such a coach while playing behind a tournament at my course here in Colorado.

His name is Robert D. Bates and from time to time, Coach will provide tips to improve your game. I can vouch for him as he dropped one on me as we were playing and I have already reaped the rewards of his tutelage.

(Continue to Par for the Course)
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